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Today, Charlevoix is home…

The sign at the limits of the city says "Charlevoix-the-Beautiful", and it is. A little town, right in the middle of three lakes, including Lake Michigan. A few thousand people live there all the time, but perhaps 100,000 visitors will make their home for a few weeks or more in summer. Boating, eating at any of our several world-renowned restaurants, buy exotic and typically expensive clothing, art and more. Charlevoix is beautiful...

Charlevoix "Operation
was started in 1982. It takes about an hour, and
Charlevoix has petunias on both side of the street...miles of petunias!

Every year, the Thursday before Memorial Day, volunteers plant 50,000 petunias on both sides of the streets in

The moon, right over the lake appears to be waiting for us to pick it up! A million dollar moon, million dollar homes, clean air and water and more stars then I have ever seen. You can almost spit to Mackinaw (about an hour by car) but take your time (you will have to)...the deer are lazy around here and during the summer months the draw bridge is the only way through the city. Ski during the winter and during the summer enjoy Waterfront Art Fair, Craft Shows, Apple Festival, local art, music and the Venetian Festival (the best fireworks in the world).

You would think I was the president of the Chamber of Commerce right? No, I'm not, but yes, I did.


I have not always lived in Charlevoix…

I was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin. In the 40's I was too young to have seen the Depression or the Second War, but I was old enough to remember things like having no cars, no tires, no gas, ratio stamps for groceries, some kind of soup four days a week and toys were something we created. I was too young to know about things but I did know what happened. We had nothing, but no one did. Unemployment was the norm: television had not been invented yet and those that did have a telephone had to share it with their neighbors. The pro-Depression and pro-war years were hard for everyone, but I didn't know it.

As far as I knew, that's the way it was supposed to be. My father was a "serious" person, did not laugh often and simply worked all of his life. He was English, and his parents came from England. My father was originally a farmer, but eventually spent more than thirty-years in the automotive industry. He was a labor man all of his life,  and he believed the union was more important than the company. He liked the fact that he had been a steward for many years in the U.A.W. My mother never had a paid job...just sat around, taking care of six children, took care of the bills, made breakfast, lunch and dinner, washed everything he could see without electrical appliances and, well...you've got the idea. It was a different world at that time and everyone else was in the same spot. My mother was Irish and she was CFO, Operating Manager, nurse, teacher and president of everything else, except CEO...that was my dad's position.

I almost made it to finish High School...almost. I left school just before my senior year and got a job at Nash. At that time, in 1958, that was the biggest automotive plant in the world under one roof. From using the iron to make engine blocks to driving a completed car to the end of the line. Nash, and eventually American Motors Corporation, did everything. The company did everything and I did too...from sweeping the floors, truck steel from the crankshaft fillings to a dumpster, moved thousands of motors from one side of the line to the other, installed pistons, assembled engines and body parts, painted, drove and inspected almost everything. Spent many years as an Inspector and spent many years as a Steward or Chief Steward, and as an organizing labor I had walked the streets during one of the most bloody strikes that the UAW ever had. I had helped negotiation two strikes and assumed that I would do that again if necessary, but life had a way to change things.

I stayed with AMC for twenty-five years, but spent a few years as a plant security, which means I changed from the UAW to the Teamsters and then a Protection Union. Changed jobs, but still in the labor workforce until someone asked me why I didn't change to the salaried rolls. He knew that the company needed supervisors, but I didn't even own a white shirt...

The Venetian Festival
began in 1930, as a boat race, but eventually it became a
candlelit parade of sailboats.

Today, the festival is a week-long event, with food, music, entertainment, carnival rides, a boat parade and wonderful