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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Up North Identities

First it must be noted that “Up North” depends on your starting point. For some the North begins at Clare or White Cloud, while for others anyone south of the Mackinac Bridge is a troll, and I don’t really know the distinctions used by the central part of the state or the northern Lake Huron shore. Here in the greater Grand Traverse region, the following terminology applies:

Fudgies are people here on vacation, either camping or staying in motels or with relatives or renting cottages. They watch fudge being made, buy it, eat it and take it home to friends. This term also applies on Mackinac Island. The local economy depends heavily on this group.

Summer people are those who have second homes here. In addition to spending summers Up North, they may also come for fall and winter holidays and Memorial Day weekend. This is another group that contributes mightily to northern livelihoods. Many summer people are city people in their other lives, hailing from Chicago, Detroit, Cincinnati or even New York.

Permafudge used to be fudgies. Then they moved up here to live fulltime. They do not have second homes elsewhere.

Locals, whether permafudge or native, live here fulltime. Locals can go on vacation elsewhere, for long stretches of time, as many do several times a year, without ceasing to be locals.

Snowbirds claim a primary Up North residence but leave to spend the winter in second homes, most of these located in Florida, Arizona or Mexico. A few Northport summer residents only go “south” as far as Traverse City and are not called snowbirds, because, well, Traverse City gets plenty of snow and is definitely still Up North.

Natives were born here. A Traverse City native was born in one of two Traverse City hospitals or at home. A Northport native may have been born at home, in the hospital in Northport or in a hospital in Traverse City.

Native Americans have tribal affiliation, genealogical and usually official, most often with the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians.

There is room in the Up North identification system for some movement from one group to another. One might, for instance, start out as a fudgie, move to permafudge status (hence becoming local) and later become a snowbird. Summer people, too, have been known to retire to live Up North fulltime. Not every category wall is permeable, though. As should be obvious, you can’t move into the Native or Native American category by changing your address.

The category of Americans, however, embraces most of us, and those who visit from other countries deserve a warm welcome Up North, too. After all, unless they came from Canada (and we love our Canadian visitors), they’ve come a long way to get to Leelanau County, and every group contributes something to making this place what it is for all of us.

Good news on a becoming-cloudy Up North day: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, by Stieg Larsson, arrived today. I also have now in paperback Dan Ariely’s Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions, along with his new title (hardcover only at this point), The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home in hardcover. You’ve heard Ariely on NPR; if you haven’t read him yet, you have a treat in store. How rational do you think you are, and how important do you think rationality is? Interesting questions at any time of year.


torchlakeviews said...

An Up North friend of Rob the Firefighter says there is another category: a 'Rounder, for year-rounder--a person who began as a Fudgie and moved through Permafudge status. Essentially a Permafudge person who does not go to warmer climes during the summer.

RtF's friend says I used to be a 'Rounder, but once I began working at the EPM I became a Local.

I will never be Native, but I am glad to be a Local. In my next life I plan to come back as a cedar tree.

torchlakeviews said...

GACK!! I meant winter. Warmer climes during the winter. Feel free to fix or to leave as it is for entertainment value. We'll see whether anyone is paying attention!

P. J. Grath said...

I'm leaving both your comments, Gerry. I'm also uploading a couple of images from Grand Traverse Bay this morning, which I didn't get on when I posted earlier.

Leave for warmer climes during summer? We know people who do that! They live in Australia and used to rent a house in Leelanau County every winter, coming to enjoy cross-country skiing. Now they have built a house here, but they are spending the summer back in Melbourne and won't be here again until the fall. I don't think there's a category for such insanity. (P. & I., you know who you are!)

Dawn said...

Coming back as a cedar tree sounds good! If it can be a cedar tree up there!

There's another category. Called something like "wannabes" for those of us still downstate who wanna be up there!

筠銘 said...
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P. J. Grath said...

I'd anticipated corrections to the classification system I laid out, and instead I get additions--interesting! Dawn, I guess I was a fudgie with my parents, a TC local in my first marriage, a long-time wannabe when David and I lived in Kalamazoo (which I also loved--don't get me wrong), a 'rounder in Leland.... Now it seems we are different things in different years, sometimes sticking through the winter, sometimes heading south (though not to a second home of our own!).

One thing I've been realizing since last week's graduation is that, since my bookstore will be 17 years old in July, many of next year's graduates--and all in subsequent years, assuming the bookstore hangs on--will be younger than Dog Ears Books. Which means that I, the bookstore lady, will have "always been here" in the memory of those kids. A staggering thought!

Deborah said...

Pamela - you'll be like the story lady in the movie You've Got Mail! All the children grew up with the story lady - and of course, now these Northport children also have Nikki and Sarah, lucky children that they are. Me? I'm definitely a wannabe.

P. J. Grath said...

Luckily for me, Deborah, I'm in a very small town with a very short season, so it's doubtful that a big chain will push me out of business as it did Meg Ryan's character in "You've Got Mail"!

Dawn said...

I think that's a wonderful thing to be...the book story lady that has "always" been there. Congratulations!

P. J. Grath said...

Person who was born here, moved away and only comes back to visit doesn't like to be called a fudgie. Well, you aren't. Once a native, always a native.

Walt said...

Thanks, Pamela :) I actually figured I wasn't a Fudgie, but a non-Local Native. Or perhaps a Native Fudgie, but that just seemed weird :)

And how does that classification system deal with spouses?


P. J. Grath said...

Maybe I need to clarify: the "system" I posted isn't "mine" but merely a reflection of the way I hear the terms used in Leelanau and Grand Traverse counties. So the question of spouses isn't really for me to answer, but I'm guessing that it's every individual on his or her own here. That is, you can marry a native, but that doesn't make you one. Another interesting question is that of a husband claiming residence in one state, wife in another. Can they be locals in both places? Don't ask me! What do the rest of you think???

Bill said...

I used to work way "down state" (Pontiac area). To people down there ("sub-trolls"?) Saginaw is "Up North"!!! Eee-gads.

P. J. Grath said...

From Illinois, South Haven is Up North. I suppose from Florida, Tennessee might qualify? Or from Key West, Naples? One of those relative deals, isn't it?