From the President's Desk

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings
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Author: Alvin E. Rudisill

We have installed all the remaining named bricks in the front sidewalk. If you purchased a brick make sure you stop by and check out where it is located in the layout. We really appreciate all the support we received from this fundraising effort. We cleared approximately $25,000 on this project even after paying to have the limestone slabs removed, trimmed and replaced. The photo shows you how the new sidewalk looks.

Michael Gute is the new intern in the YHS Museum from the graduate program in Historical Preservation from Eastern Michigan University. Michael’s duties include working with the Museum Advisory Board on projects and programs. He is also responsible for our membership database, Society mailings and coordinating advertising and sponsorship for the Gleanings.

The “Annual Home Tour” sponsored by the Ypsilanti Heritage Foundation was held on Sunday, June 28. The upper apartment of our Carriage House, occupied by Lynda Hummel, was on the tour along with the historic Towner House located just across the street. Also featured from North Huron Street was Tom Manchester’s office building at 206 North Huron Street and the John and Patti Harrington home at 209 North Huron Street. There was an excellent turnout for the home tour and many commented about the uniqueness and attractiveness of the upper level apartment occupied by Lynda Hummel.

We have installed a “Colonel Charles S. Kettles” display in the Edmunds/Ypsilanti Room in the Museum. Colonel Kettles served during the Vietnam War and is currently being considered for the Medal of Honor. The program at our 2:00 pm, September 27th, Membership Meeting will feature the service of Colonel Kettles and the display will be dedicated at that time.

I want to thank all of the volunteers who serve on our boards, docent in the Museum, provide services in our Archives, or provide other services to the Ypsilanti Historical Society. Without their efforts it would be impossible to provide the many services available through the Society.

Photo Captions:

Photo 1: A view of the front of the Museum showing the named bricks placed alongside and across the sidewalk.

The Ypsilanti Historical Museum, 220 North Huron Street

The Ypsilanti Historical Museum, 220 North Huron Street

A view of the front of the Museum showing the named bricks placed alongside and across the sidewalk.

Rights Held By: 
Ypsilanti Historical Society

Marjorie Walters – One of the Original “Rosie the Riveters”

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings
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Author: Katie Heddle

At 93 years of age Marjorie Walters has little trouble recalling details of her time spent as a riveter at the Willow Run Bomber Plant. She easily recalls coming to Ypsilanti from Superior, Wisconsin as a young lady and living with her brother and sister-in-law in their house on Perrin Street, "…they had seven roomers in that house," remembers Walters. "It was hard to get an apartment around here to yourself back then."

She remembers well the apartment she lived in after that on N. Huron Street and the job she got at the United Stove Company making 40 cents an hour. When she heard they were hiring at the Bomber plant she decided to head over and apply. "Over there they paid a dollar an hour and that was a big raise," she says with a chuckle, "we felt like we were really making something then!"

Marjorie Walters is an original “Rosie the Riveter.” The name having become synonymous with women who worked in factories during World War II. She helped build B-24 liberators in a plant not far from the home she lives in now in Ypsilanti. Though precious little remains of the original Willow Run Bomber Plant, what is left is not only being preserved but converted to the National Museum of Aviation and Technology by the Save The Bomber Plant Campaign. As the need for funding to populate the museum ramps up, the Campaign is gaining more traction and recognition, most recently by organizing a Guinness World Record setting event for the most Rosie's in one place. Marjorie and 43 other original Rosie's attended the event.

These women are becoming increasingly precious with each year as they are approaching centenarian status. Nearly six million women answered the call for help as the nation's men went off to war. Though nearly one million men were still present to work, it was the first time in history that women outnumbered men in the nation's workforce.

Marjorie recalls after she got her job she had to attend rivet school. Each position at the plant had a 'school' which was a period of training for their position, and although the monikor 'riveter' is synonymous with Rosie's, the women who worked in factories during the war performed a variety of jobs. They put together not only planes but tanks, jeeps, guns, shells and canons as well.

"One of the days I was in rivet school President Roosevelt came through. He was in the area dedicating a road." The day she's speaking of was in September of 1941. He was there to see the newly built bomber plant and to dedicate a stretch of what is now I-94. The stretch of road was the first expressway in America and was created for the sole purpose of giving Detroit workers a road into the plant. Marge showed me a picture she has from that day of the President riding in his open top car and I'm reminded how much the world has changed since then. We would never see a President so out in the open today with no security around.

That day President Roosevelt was joined by Henry Ford and Charles Sorenson, Ford's Production Manager. Sorenson is the man responsible for the design of the plant itself. As the war began the B-24 was made one at a time by hand with no two alike. By 1945 the Willow Run Bomber Plant was making one B-24 an hour on a mile long assembly line, the peak expected production when Sorenson conceived it. The year’s production for just that one model of plane exceeded the production of the entire Japanese air fleet for that year.

It seems surreal to many people alive today, especially those of the younger generations who have no concept of war other than what they see on the news happening far away, that America existed in the way that it did back then. Everyone pulled together for the common goal of defeating an enemy and defending our land, not just in spirit but in action. Action included wartime food rationing, paper drives, the sale of war bonds, saving waste fats for explosives, turning in scrap rubber and metal for tanks and planes. These efforts by all Americans gave a sense of community and togetherness rarely seen before or since that time.

Though we do not wish for the experience of war, we do long for the sense of community that this particular crisis provided for Americans. On October 24th, 2015 roughly 2096 women and children came together to experience a bit of that nostalgia and camaraderie in an aircraft hangar adjacent to the remains of the Willow Run Bomber Plant. The gathering was ultimately a successful bid to set the record for the number of women dressed as “Rosie the Riveter.”

Emily Sakcriska, who became involved with the “Tribute Rosies,” a group that dresses up as “Rosie the Riveter” for events, over a year ago was head chair of costumes for the event. "It was a very humbling day as we stood amongst 2,096 women. We counted. We made a difference. We were all singing patriotic songs and for a bigger cause. everything we as “Tribute Rosies” do... always is for the greater cause of the beloved bomber plant."

"Having so many women come together to accomplish one goal really did make me feel like we can do anything, it was inspiring," said Liz Fancett, of Ypsilanti, who was in attendance with her two daughters as well as her mother, aunt, two sisters and their four daughters. "I'm happy my girls got to be a part of it and will have this memory." Her mother Susan Regner agreed and added "I became involved because I think these 'Rosies' the original ones, deserve to be celebrated."

These sentiments were echoed by all who attended including Staci Aviles who was there with four generations of women in her family, "My favorite part was the amazing sense of sisterhood you felt. I don't know that I have ever had that feeling within a group of women. The history and pride within those walls was indescribable!" Linda Milliman, also of Ypsilanti, attended with friends and echoed the sentiment, "Proud to meet the original Rosies, they worked so hard."

This is not the first time Marge and other original Rosie's have gathered to break a record. She was also present at the previous record breaking gathering at the Bomber Plant in 2014 which had 776 women and children present. That record didn't last long and was soon after broken by a group in California.

Over the past few years these events have garnered much interest and directed a spotlight on the women who worked so hard during the war. Despite participating in many large gatherings, events, public question and answer sessions, and interviews Marge is still a little baffled at the fame. She commented that "We were just doing our job."

Walters particular job was one that involved working on the 55 foot center wing. She met her husband Alfred under one of those wings. Though he soon went off to fight in the war himself, he happily made it home. "He came home in October ‘45' and we got married February of ‘46,’ she tells me with a smile. It is this part of her story that I find most precious because it is the summation of what the fight was for, to come home and live a peaceful life. Marge Walters and the other Rosie's helped make that a reality.

She began as a song. The 1943 tune "Rosie the Riveter" gave a name to the women working in factories during the war.

All the day long whether rain or shine
She’s a part of the assembly line
She’s making history, working for victory
Rosie the Riveter

Then she was the subject of a Norman Rockwell painting created for the cover of The Saturday Evening Post. In blue coveralls, a white chalk 'Rosie' scrawled on her lunch pail, riveting gun resting across her lap, blue coveralls, and a polka dot scarf tied around her head, “Rosie the Riveter” came to life.

Over the years many different women have been associated with the image of Rosie the Riveter. The most recent image associated being the 'We Can Do It' poster. I try to think of this as I'm sitting at Marge Walters dining room table going through her scrapbook. All the images she is sharing are of herself as a grown woman more than 70 years removed from the job I'm asking her to recall. I'm amazed because while she easily answers questions about the job that she held for a few years in the 1940's, I can barely recall the job I held 3 years ago. Though she doesn't have any pictures of herself in the iconic 'Rosie' coveralls and head scarf I have no trouble imagining her that way. "I think people think we really wore that every day," she says smiling a small smile and shaking her head. Even though I know she didn't, somehow the image still fits.

I was there myself that day the record was broken, my four-year-old daughter Leia in tow. We attended with friends and ran into so many others. As we dressed in those same coveralls, tied the same polka dot scarves around our heads, pulled up our red socks and laced up black work boots, we felt instantly transported to a different era. We took piles of pictures, checked out the planes, listened to speakers and performances, we had our outfits approved, and then we gathered together for the official photo of the entire group and to officially break the record which required we all stand together for five minutes.

Those few minutes will live easily in my memory. As we all sang America the Beautiful, the Star Spangled Banner, God Bless America and Amazing Grace, I couldn't keep the tears from my eyes. It was a moment filled with the emotion of gratitude for an entire generation who fought so hard in so many ways to keep a peaceful life for us in this country, and sadness for the unimaginable losses experienced here and around the world. Ultimately the biggest emotion I felt was pride, for being a part of such an amazing event, for being a woman, for being an American, and for being from Ypsilanti, home of the great Willow Run Bomber Plant and the place where record breaking history was made.

(Katie Heddle is a native Ypsilantian and a proud graduate of Ypsilanti High School, Eastern Michigan University and Wayne State University. She wears many hats including wife, mother of four little ones, archivist, librarian and freelance writer. She volunteers at the Yankee Air Museum Archive and is proud to have been part of the record breaking Rosie day!)

Photo Captions:

Photo 1: Marge Walters was an original “Rosie the Riveter” during World War II.

Photo 2: A rose was pinned on all of the original “Rosie the Riveters” who attended the record breaking reunion.

Photo 3: Two young ladies from Ypsilanti that participated in breaking the Rosie Record. On the left is Emma Hasey and on the right is Emily Gruenke.

Photo 4: Emily Gruenke from Ypsilanti poses under the wing of one of the airplanes on display at the Yankee Air Museum.

Photo 5: Posing with the “We Can Do It!” position is Arya Hasey.

Photo 6: Ypsilantian Liz Fancett with her daughters Maddie and Nina.

Photo 7: Four generations of Rosie’s starting at the top with Billie Sturgill, her mother Margaret Smith, her granddaughter Charlotte Scharf and her daughter Staci Aviles.

Photo 8: All the Rosie’s are gathered for the official record photo.

Photo 9: Katie Heddle with daughter Leia posing under the wing of the Yankee Lady.

Photo 10: Katie Heddle with daughter Leia after a long record setting day!

Photo 11: Six original “Rosie the Riveters” got a warm welcome at the Bomber Restaurant in Ypsilanti in June of 2015. From left, Marge Walters, Mallie Mellon, Lorraine Osborne, Phyllis Lenhard, Rachel Mae Perry and Mary Jane Childers are all members of the American Rosie the Riveter Association (United Service Organizations photo by Samantha L. Quigley).

Spring 2016

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings
Original Images:

Publisher: Ypsilanti Historical Society

Date: Spring 2016

Get PDF: ypsigleanings/2016-Spring.pdf

In This Issue...

*100 Years of High School Basketball Tournaments - 1916-2016, By Eric Pedersen
*Council approves Eagle Statue
*Providing for the Family During the Great Depression: An Interview with Virginia Davis-Brown, By Eric Selzer
*A Travel Through Time: Riverside Park, By Jan Anschuetz
*April Movie Nights, By James Mann
*George Ridenour - An Appreciation, By Peg Porter
*Summer and Winter Fun at Riverside Park, by Robert & Eric Anschuetz
*Sweet Memories, By Rodney Belcher
*Senator Alma Wheeler Smith, By Jacqueline Goodman
*Johnson Smith Catalogs, By Gerry Pety
*The Map Hoax, By Jacqueline Goodman
*Ypsilanti's Forgotten Hero, By Jacqueline Goodman

Society Briefs:

*From the President's Desk
*Museum Board Report

The John Pappas 1978 Sculpture

The John Pappas 1978 Sculpture

The John Pappas 1978 sculpture at the Blue Cross Blue Shield Michigan Headquarters in Detroit, Michigan. The thirteen bronze figures statuary is located in a courtyard set in a reflecting pool and ranges over a sixty foot space. Pappas won an all Michigan competition for this commission.

Rights Held By: 
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My Dad, John Nick Pappas, Sculptor

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings
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Author: Catherine Pappas

When I was a kid, people would often ask me "What's it like to have a sculptor as a father?" It wasn't until I became an adult that I realized how unique it was that my dad is a sculptor. Don't get me wrong, as a kid I thought it was pretty great too, it's just that that's all I knew - I had nothing to compare it to. I always loved the smell of the clay and watching him model a lump of nothing into something spectacular.

I remember when he bought his studio, an historic building and Ypsilanti's first City Hall located in Depot Town, for the specific purpose of creating the massive statuary he was commissioned to produce for Blue Cross Blue Shield Michigan Headquarters in Detroit. He needed a large space to create what would eventually become a seven ton bronze work. He had to completely gut the building, including removing the floor on one side, to create the larger than life-size figures.

In addition to being a sculptor, my dad also taught sculpture and drawing at Eastern Michigan University (EMU) for more than 40 years, before retiring in 2000. He still runs into former students, even though he's been retired for many years now. I've been with him on more than one occasion when this has happened and I can tell you, it is pretty special. It makes me beam with pride when I see and hear about the incredible role he has played in the lives of so many of his students. Back in the late 70’s, three of his graduate students; Ed Olson, Paul Mauren, Jeanne Flanagan and my oldest brother Nick, worked with him in his studio to help create the Blue Cross piece, which took four years to complete.

After my dad modeled the seven larger than life-size figures in clay, the pieces had to be cast in bronze in large separate sections, and then welded back together. The pieces then had to be lifted separately by a crane out of the building to be transported to the site in Detroit, where they were installed by a team. Although I was quite young at the time, I remember the excitement at the unveiling of the piece in the Blue Cross Blue Shield courtyard near Greektown. There were speeches and the mayor of Detroit was there along were several hundred others, including family and friends. Following the unveiling, there was a lovely dinner and then we stayed in the Renaissance Center, nearby. The whole evening was quite a wonderful celebration of my dad and the monumental Blue Cross sculpture, "The Procession." My dad said that the piece represented human emotions such as; sadness, joy, fear and love.

The son of Greek immigrants, my dad was born in Detroit. Greek was his first language and he was an altar boy in the Greek Church. He grew up cooking in his father's restaurant and was never that interested in the academic side of high school, he mostly enjoyed playing basketball and chasing girls. Until one day, when he went to the Detroit main library with a friend. He went into a number of different rooms before he walked into the room with a large art section. As he entered the room, he noticed that one of the tables had two big books on it. As he approached the table, his eyes opened wide and he felt an immediate connection to the images he saw. One of the books was open to Rodin's "Gates of Hell" and the other was open to Michelangelo's "Boboli Slaves." His experience in that moment made an impact that was life-changing for him. Not long after, he decided to take a class at Arts and Crafts (now College for Creative Studies.)

Although it was a good experience at Arts and Crafts, he decided he needed to further his education in other areas as well, and went on to attend Wayne State University. Mr. Andrews, his advisor, talked with him about his high school grades, which were less than stellar. It was decided to put him on academic probation and things began to fall into place for him after that. It was these events that changed the course of his life.

He told me that he always made sculpture when he was a child, but he just thought that's what everyone did. Another pivotal moment for him in his youth was in his eighth grade Latin class. Mrs. McClure, his teacher, asked the kids in the class if any of them could make two clay heads, one of Socrates and one of Caesar. My dad shot his hand up in the air and said that he could do it. After he turned the pieces in, the teacher praised him and his work so much that he has remembered it to this day.

Although that early experience was very important, he once told me that he felt like he wasn't really born until he was a student at Wayne. A whole new world opened up to him. He met many different types of people and started learning so much more about different points of view. He had the most amazing professors that made such a huge impact on him that he can still tell you all of their names. He became involved in all aspects of art. He was a teacher's assistant in Sculpture and Art History. On average, he spent 12 hours a day on campus. Everything was new and exciting and he loved all of it.

Years later, when he won the Arts Alumni Achievement Award from Wayne State, he thanked his professors who played a key role in his becoming a successful artist. As a young Art professor at EMU, my dad won the prestigious "Prix de Rome" fellowship to live and study in Rome for a year in the late 60s. He and my mom Mary, with their four children - myself, my older sister Anna and my two older brothers Nick and Andy, traveled overseas and I'm told, (though I was a baby and don't remember it, sadly) that we all had a wonderful experience living abroad. My dad studied and learned alongside other exceptional Prix de Rome winners in the Arts.

After returning to the States, and back to teaching at EMU, my dad would go on to receive many impressive commissions over the years. Also, he has had numerous shows all over Michigan, in Chicago, Minneapolis and New York. Many times over the years he has told me "how lucky" he has been. Perhaps luck played a small role, but from what I have observed, it began with talent, which was then combined with lots of hard work over the years.

I remember when he was invited to exhibit in an international sculpture show in Chelsea Harbour, England. He was one of a handful of sculptors who were selected to meet the Queen of England. My mom was thrilled by the whole experience. In my Dad's true style, he seemed quite low-key about meeting the Queen.

He continues to go to work at his studio five to six days a week. The only thing he misses about being at EMU is teaching the students. He doesn't miss going to meetings. When talking about going to the studio to work he talks about "luck" again. He tells me how lucky he has been to do what he loves. He simply loves making sculpture.

He is also interested in so many other things and is always active. His doctor recently told him that his test results reveal that he has the health of someone twenty years younger. It's really quite astounding, since he has survived three very serious health scares over the years; bacterial meningitis, a brain aneurysm and an aortic aneurysm. All of us in his family are the lucky ones that we still have him after those life-threatening illnesses. Each time he recovered, he got right back to work.

Along with the enjoyment of researching things on his iPad and Nook, building things and gardening, he really loves cooking. He cooks for my mom, his adult kids and daughter-in-law, Lexie, as well as his and my mom's grandkids; Ethan, Emma, Drew and Cristina. He has always said "family is everything" and has instilled that in each of us.

Last week, I ran into one of my dad's former students. I had recalled meeting her many years ago and re-introduced myself. Her face lit up when she spoke of my dad. She said "There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about your dad! When I walk in to my studio each day, I think about what an incredible man he is and how much he helped me as a student. I am so grateful."

As I think about what she said to me that day and my dad's role in her life, as well as the stories he has shared with me about what his professors did for him, I am awestruck by the incredible role quality teachers play in the lives of their students. All of that said, my dad is so much more than a sculptor and teacher to me; he is the best father and friend I could have ever imagined. If you would like more information about John Nick Pappas, Sculptor, and to see more images of his work, please visit:

(Catherine Pappas has more than twenty years experience in the fundraising field. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Speech Communication from Eastern Michigan University and a Master of Science in Administration from Central Michigan University. She has worked for Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, Ronald McDonald House of Ann Arbor and Detroit Public Television. Currently, Catherine is the Major Gifts Officer for the Humane Society of Huron Valley.)

Photo Captions:

Photo 1: The John Pappas 1978 sculpture at the Blue Cross Blue Shield Michigan Headquarters in Detroit, Michigan. The thirteen bronze figures statuary is located in a courtyard set in a reflecting pool and ranges over a sixty foot space. Pappas won an all Michigan competition for this commission.

Photo 1A: A huge crane and four flat bed trucks were needed to get the thirteen bronze figures moved from the Pappas Studio to the Blue Cross Blue Shield location in Detroit.

Photo 2: John Pappas was born in Detroit, the son of Greek immigrants. Growing up Greek was his first language and he served as an altar boy in the Greek Church.

Photo 3: The “Looking Forward” statue by John Pappas in 2000 is located in BASF Waterfront Park in the City of Wyandotte. Pappas won a competition for this commission.

Photo 4: Pappas was invited to exhibit in the international sculpture exhibition in Chelsea Harbour, England and was one of a handful of sculptors who were selected to meet the Queen of England.

Photo 5: “Mother and Child” sculpture by John Pappas in 1990 is in the Mother and Child Unit at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Photo 6: “The Garden” is a 1997 sculpture by John Pappas that is located in the Dr. Dan Fall Memorial Garden at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Photo 7: “Emergence I” is a John Pappas sculpture commissioned by Ford Motor Company in 1986.

Photo 8: “Healing Hand” is a 1983 John Pappas sculpture that is on display at the Detroit Osteopathic Hospital in Detroit, Michigan.

Photo 9: This 1994 bronze sculpture by John Pappas of “Hippocrates” is displayed on the University of Michigan Medical School Campus in the plaza between Medical Science II, Taubman Medical Library, and MSRB III.

Photo 10: John Pappas Family: (Standing L to R) Andy Pappas (son), Nick Pappas (son), Catherine Pappas (daughter), Lexie Pappas (daughter in law), Anna Geppert (daughter), Emma Geppert (granddaughter), (Sitting L to R) Drew Pappas )grandson), John Pappas, Mary Pappas, Cristina Pappas (granddaughter).

Photo 11: The bronze statue “Icarus” by John Pappas is located on the Eastern Michigan University campus in front of the Quirk Building. It was dedicated in the Fall of 2003. Pappas describes his feeling on the character as follows: “The mythical image of Icarus has always symbolized freedom, strength, imagination, science, hope, and man’s fallibility.”

Photo 12: John Pappas’s workshop in the old City Hall Building on Cross Street where his art work is created.

Photo 13: John Nick Pappas relief sculptures at the Robert H. and Judy Dow Alexander Cancer Care Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The plaque shown at the bottom was done in memory of Julie Van Haren.

Photo 14: The sculptured busts are all the work of John Pappas.

Photo 15: John Pappas in his studio in the Old City Hall on Cross Street.

Photo 16: John Pappas sculpture “Reading Together” at the Ypsilanti District Library on Whittaker Road.

The Way We Word

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings
Original Images:

Author: Richard Lederer

Back in the olden days we had a lot of moxie. We’d put on our best bib and tucker and straighten up and fly right. Hubba-hubba! We’d cut a rug in some juke joint and then go necking and petting and smooching and spooning and billing and cooing and pitch woo in (depending on when we were making all that whoopee) flivvers, tin lizzies, roadsters, hot rods, and jalopies in some passion pit or lovers’ lane. Heavens to Betsy! Gee whillikers! Jumpin’ Jehoshaphat! Holy moley! We were in like Flynn and living the life of Riley, and even a regular guy couldn’t accuse us of being a knucklehead, a nincompoop, or a pill. Not for all the tea in China!

Back in the olden days life was a real gas, a doozy, a dilly, and a pip; flipsville, endsville, the bee’s knees, the cat’s whiskers, the cat’s meow, and the cat’s pajamas; far-out, nifty, neat, groovy, ducky, beautiful, fabulous, super, terrif, sweet, and copacetic. Nowadays life is the max, ace, awesome, bad, sweet, fly, kick-ass, gnarly, rad, dank, word, and phat. Life used to be swell, but when’s the last time anything was swell? Swell has gone the way of beehives, pageboys, and the D. A. (duck’s ass), of spats, knickers, fedoras, poodle skirts, saddle shoes, and pedal pushers. Oh, my aching back. Kilroy was here, but he isn’t anymore.

Like Washington Irving’s Rip Van Winkle and Kurt Vonnegut’s Billy Pilgrim, we have become unstuck in time. We wake up from what surely has been just a short nap and before we can say. “Bob’s your uncle!” or “I’ll be a monkey’s uncle!” or “This is a fine kettle of fish!” we discover that the words we grew up with, the words that seemed omnipresent as oxygen, have vanished with scarcely a notice from our tongues and our pens and our keyboards. Poof, poof, poof go the words of our youth, the words we’ve left behind. We blink, and they’re gone, evanesced from the landscape and wordscape of our perception, like Mickey Mouse wristwatches, hula hoops, skate keys, cap guns, candy cigarettes, little wax bottles of colored sugar water, and an organ-grinder’s monkey.

Where have all those phrases gone? Long time passing. Where have all those phrases gone? Long time ago: Pshaw. The milkman did it. Think about the starving Armenians. Bigger than a bread box. Banned in Boston. The very idea! It’s your nickel. Don’t forget to pull the chain. Knee high to a grasshopper. Turn-of-the-century. Iron curtain. Domino theory. Third world. Fail safe. Civil defense. Fiddlesticks! You look like the wreck of the Hesperus. Cooties. Going like sixty. I’ll see you in the funny papers. Don’t take any wooden nickels. And awa-a-ay we go! Oh, my stars and garters! It turns out there are more of these lost words and expressions than Carter had liver pills.

The world spins faster, and the speed of technical advance can make us dizzy. It wasn’t that long ago that, in the course of a typical lifetime, only the cast of characters playing out the human drama changed. Now it seems the text of the play itself is revised every day.

Hail and farewell to rumble seats and running boards. Iceboxes and Frigidaires. Victrolas and hi-fi’s. Fountain pens and inkwells. Party lines. Test patterns. Tennis presses. Slide rules. Manual typewriters. Corrasable Bond. Ditto for Photostats and mimeographs. (Do you, like me, remember that turpentiney smell of the mimeo fluid?)

The inexorable advance of technology shapes our culture and the language that reflects it. We used to watch the tube, but televisions aren’t made of tubes anymore, so that figure of speech has disappeared. We used to dial telephone numbers and dial up people and places. Now that almost all of us have converted from rotary to push-button phones, we search for a new verb -- "Sorry, I must have pushed the wrong number"; "I think I'll punch up Doris"; "I've got to index-finger the Internal Revenue Service"; Press M for Murder -- and watch dial dying on the vine. With modern radios, can the demise of “don’t touch that dial!” be far behind?

How many more years do hot off the press, hung out to dry, put through the wringer, and carbon copy have, now that we no longer print with hot lead, hang wet clothes on clotheslines, operate wringer washing machines, and copy with carbon? Do any young folks still say, This is where we came in? The statement means the action or situation is starting to repeat itself, and it comes from the movies. Today there are so many ways of finding out exactly when a movie begins, but back in the olden days we’d get to the theater at pretty much any time and walk in at random. We might watch the last half of a movie and then some trailers, a newsreel, and cartoons (which the multiplexes don’t show anymore) and then the second movie in the double feature and then the beginning of the first movie until the point where we could say, “This is where we came in.”

Do I sound like a broken record? Do you think I must have been vaccinated with a phonograph needle? In our high-tech times, these metaphors fade away, like sepia photographs in a family album.

Technology has altered our sense of the size of the world and the things in it. Remember the thrill your family felt owning that six-inch black-and-white rabbit-eared television set (soon to be known as the boob tube and idiot box)? Keep the lights off. No talking, please!

Today more and more TV screens are upwards of forty inches. We drive bigger cars, live in bigger homes, eat bigger meals, and inhabit bigger bodies. I am 6’3” and I used to be called a six-footer. Now the NBA is studded with at least a dozen seven-footers, and outstanding female athletes, such as Lisa Leslie, Lindsay Davenport, and Venus Williams, regularly and majestically top six feet, so six-footer has lost its magic.

How to respond to the supersizing of America? That’s the $64 question. The $64 question was the highest award in the 1940s radio quiz show Take It or Leave It. By the 1950s, inflation had set in, and $64 no longer seemed wondrous. Then in 1955 came The $64,000 Question. The popularity of the show helped the $64,000 question become a metaphor for a question whose answer could solve all our problems, but the expression has faded from our lives because that once sumptuous figure no longer impresses us. Neither does millionaire command our awe anymore, now that there are more than two million millionaires in the United States.

While our bodies and our possessions have expanded, our world has grown smaller, and the language of distance has changed. Remember that admonition Shhh. I’m on long distance!? Phrases like long distance and coast to coast and even worldwide used to hold such excitement for us. Now we take them for granted, so we hardly ever use them. Nor do we use the likes of mailman, fireman, waiter, and workman’s compensation. As a culture we have fashioned letter carrier, firefighter, server, and worker’s compensation, genderless terms that avoid setting males as the norm and females as aberrations from that norm.

When’s the last time you heard or uttered the word stewardess? Now those women and (increasingly) men who try to make us comfortable as we hurtle through the air packed in a winged sardine can have transmogrified into flight attendants. Isn’t is wonderful to live in an age when a flight attendant can make a pilot pregnant?

This de-gendering of our language reflects the new realities of our lives and a growing respect for the humanity of women. Remember housewife and homemaker? Now we call such a woman a stay-at-home mom, respecting her choice to fill such a crucial role. Remember how we used to taunt other kids with “Your mother wears combat [or army] boots!”? These days, your mother could very well be wearing combat boots!

And we’ve grown more sensitive about other areas of life. Whither spinsters and old maids, divorcees, illegitimate children, juvenile delinquents, cripples, midgets, and the deaf-and-dumb? Gone, too, are Bowery bums and tramps and hobos riding the rails. They’ve left the neighborhood and been replaced by transients and the homeless -- kinder, gentler, less judgmental words that recognize that people living on the street and in the woods usually haven’t made some sort of lazy choice to be there.

At the same time, we’re more blunt about a lot of things. Did women get pregnant when I was a lad? Not that I recall. Pregnant was a little too graphic for polite company. Women, instead, were in a family way or expecting. What they were expecting was a visit from the stork.

At the high risk of being labeled a geezer, fogy, and curmudgeon, I’ll say right here that along with the bluntness of modern parlance has arisen a certain impoliteness. Has that simple first-person pronoun I been banished? What we’re hearing these days is “Me and Chip like to go to parties that blow out our eardrums.” To those of us who remember the days when teachers thought it important to pass the torch of correct English to the next generation “Me and Chip” squeaks like chalk scraping across the blackboard of our grammatical sensibility. But “Me and Chip” is also a social atrocity because it reverses the order of words that we were taught back in the olden days: always to put ourselves last in a string of nouns and pronouns. “Me and Chip” literally reflects a me-first culture. I’ll stick with “Chip and I.”

As long as I’ve left the rant-control district, a certain polite acknowledgment from our youth has gone far south. That statement is “You’re welcome.” I’m sitting at a table in a restaurant, and I ask the server for extra lemon with my tea. He or she returns with those slices and I say “thank you.” How does the server respond? You know, don’t you? Not with “you’re welcome,” but with “no problem.” No problem? I’m sure I’m not the only one who wants to grab the server by the collar and hiss, “You’re darned right it’s no problem. It’s your job!”

During the past century, the English language has added an average of 900 new words a year. As newly minted words have added to the currency of our language, the meanings of the words we grew up with have changed under our eyes and ears. A hunk no longer means simply a large lump of something, and rap isn’t just ‘60s talk. Crack means more than just a small opening, ice more than frozen water, and pot more than a cooking utensil. A pocket isn't just for pants, and a bar code is no longer ethics for lawyers or the etiquette of behavior in a café. A pound is no longer just a unit of currency or measurement but that tipsy tic-tac-toe game that sits above the 3 on your keyboard or below the 9 on your telephone.

Remember when IBM was something a two-year-old might say to a parent? The computer, the most deeply striking technology of our lifetimes, has powerfully challenged our sense of so many hitherto uncomplicated words -- back up, bit, boot, cookie, crash, disk, hacker, icon, mail, memory, menu, mouse, pop-up, scroll, spam, virus, and window. Of all the words that have undergone a semantic shift this past half century the one that rattles the most cages and yanks the most chains is gay. We grew up with gay as an adjective that meant “exuberant, high spirited,” as in the Gay Nineties and gay divorcee.

In the second half of the 20th century gay began traveling the linguistic path of specialization, making the same journey as words such as chauvinism, segregation, comrade, and colored. Shortly after World War II, activists popularized the concept of Gay Liberation -- and many heterosexuals have lamented that a perfectly wonderful word has been lost to general usage, wordnapped by the homosexual community.

But as much as heteros believe they need gay, the English language needs it more -- as a more fulfilling word for the gay community than homosexual because it communicates a culture rather than concentrating on sexual orientation. For those who lament the loss of gay to general discourse, I recommend that henceforth they be merry.

This can be disturbing stuff, this winking out of the words of our youth, these words that lodge in our heart’s deep core. But just as one never steps into the same river twice, one cannot step into the same language twice. Even as one enters, words are swept downstream into the past, forever making a different river. We of a certain age have been blessed to live in changeful times. For a child each new word is like a shiny toy, a toy that has no age. We at the other end of the chronological and language arc have the advantage of remembering that there are words that once did not exist and that there were words that once strutted their hour upon the earthly stage and now are heard no more, except in our collective memory. It’s one of the greatest advantages of aging. We can have archaic and eat it too.

(Published with permission from Richard Lederer, an American author, speaker, and teacher. He is best known for his books on the English language and on wordplay such as puns, oxymorons, and anagrams. He refers to himself as "the Wizard of Idiom," "Attila the Pun," and "Conan the Grammarian." His weekly column, "Looking at Language", is syndicated in newspapers and magazines throughout the United States.)

Photo Captions:

Photo 1: Photo of Richard Lederer by Hoffman Photographic.

Photo 2: One of many books published by Richard Lederer on words and language.

Return of Education Movie Night

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings
Original Images:

Author: Hosted By James Mann

Education Movie Night in the Archives will return this fall, beginning on Friday, September 11, 2015. Movies will begin at 7:00 pm, in the Archives of the Museum. The educational program provides free admission and free popcorn. Entrance to the Archives is on the north side of the Museum, on the side opposite from the parking lot.

Friday, September 11, 2015
Moby Dick 1956, Running Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
Film adaptation of the novel by Herman Melville. Consumed by rage, Captain Ahab (Gregory Peck) seeks revenge on the great white whale, Moby Dick, who maimed and disfigured him.

Friday, September 18, 2015
The Long Voyage Home 1940, Running Time: 105 minutes
Adapted from four one act plays by Eugene O'Neill, and set in the early days of the Second World War. The crew of the cargo ship SS Glencairn set sail for England with a cargo of high-explosives. Members of the crew begin to suspect that one of their number is a spy. John Wayne plays Swedish sailor Ole Olsen.

Friday, September 25, 2015
The Informer 1935, Running Time: 91 minutes
Based on the novel by Liam O'Flaherty. In Dublin of 1922, wracked by Civil War, Gypo Nolan, a brute of a man, turns informer and sells out his friend Frankie McPhillip to the Black and Tan for money. Now Gypo must try to keep suspicion from him, as others search for the informer. Victor McLaglen received the Academy Award for best actor, and John Ford for best director.

Friday, October 2, 2015
Submarine 1928, Running Time: 93 minutes
Two career Navy men (Jack Holt and Ralph Graves), are the best of men, until both fall in love with the same woman. The two have a falling out, and vow never to speak to each other again. One of the two is transferred to a submarine, which, while on maneuvers, collides with a ship. The other, a deep sea diver, is called on to save the men trapped in the submarine.

Holy Trinity and the Anniversary That Will Not Be

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings
Original Images:

Author: James Mann

Friday, September 18, 2015 should have been a special day for the community of Holy Trinity Student Parish, as it was on that date, 50 years ago, the building was dedicated as a place of worship. This should have been a weekend of special events, a gala party for the members of the community, for example, a mass with the Bishop of the Diocese of Lansing presiding. Instead, nothing will happen. Holy Trinity is no more. Those who were the community of Holy Trinity have joined the St. Johns parish or scattered throughout the region in other Catholic parishes.

The story of Holy Trinity begins in June of 1961, when Fr. Leo Broderick was named assistant pastor at St. John's the Baptist Catholic Church at Ypsilanti. His duties included supervising the Newman Club at Eastern Michigan University. The University had just begun a period of expansion and growth, new buildings were planned and student enrollment was increasing at a record pace. The religious needs of the Catholic students at Eastern could no longer be met by Tuesday night meetings in Starkweather Hall, a Communion Breakfast once a month and other social events. The style of ministry had to change.

“The greatest need I think,” wrote Fr. Broderick to John Dearden, Archbishop of Detroit, of which Ypsilanti was then a part, in March of 1962, “is for an altar and chapel that would be specifically the students own. St. John's is close; but the students still come as visitors, not as really belonging. It is separated from their lives as students, just as religion is carefully kept separated in everything else they do at school.”

That same year Fr. Broderick arranged with the University to say mass in Strong Auditorium each Sunday of the school year. By January of 1964 attendance had increased to 150 to 260 students each week. The students called Strong Auditorium, “St. Strong.”

Fr. Broderick was named to the position of full-time campus minister in 1964. That same year plans for a chapel were made. Land for a chapel had already been purchased at the corner of Forest and Perrin. Construction on the Chapel began during the summer of 1965.

Holy Trinity Chapel was the first Catholic Church in Washtenaw County to be built in accordance with the decrees of the Second Vatican Council. The interior of the Chapel was designed to emphasize the shape of a triangle, symbolizing the Trinity. The pinnacle of one triangle is the skylight over the altar space, 70 feet above the floor. The base of a second triangle was formed by placing the pews around the altar. “This style,” said Fr. Broderick, “allows the priest to be a living part of the congregation.” New for the time, was the placement of the tabernacle apart from the altar. Gold sanctuary carpeting accented the black pews. The baptistery was located at the main entrance, “to remind the congregation of the holy sacrament.” The stations of the cross and the crucifix were designed and made by John E. Van Haren, then associate professor of art at Eastern. A lower level with a small kitchen provided space for social events and rooms for offices.

Holy Trinity Chapel was dedicated at 10:00 am on Saturday, September 18, 1965 by the Most Rev. Henry E. Donnelly, D. D., auxiliary bishop of Detroit. Attending the ceremony was Dr. Eugene B. Elliott, former President of Eastern Michigan University. The main address was delivered by the national Newman Chaplain. The theme of his homily was: “How Wonderful is the House of God.” Msgr. Bradley called upon Eastern President Harold E. Sponberg “and the whole university to see Holy Trinity as a sanctuary of prayer and a house of study.” He said he saw three challenges for those who would manage the Chapel: “To overcome complacency, to keep the church from becoming a “ghetto”, a mere refuge from atheism, and to avoid becoming an egocentric center.”

Bishop Donnelly, in a brief address on the new humanism of the church, said students “must learn to understand the positions of their separated brethren,” and said the church was “rectifying mistakes of the past in this regard.” He expressed the hope that dialogues would reach a better understanding.

Holy Trinity was blessed with an all-wood, mechanical tracker-action organ, one of only a handful in North American. The organ was hand made by Fritz Noack, a New England organ builder.

The story of how Holy Trinity managed to acquire such a gem is this. Not long after the Chapel had opened, Erich Goldschmidt of the Department of Music at Eastern came to Holy Trinity to give a talk on Gregorian chant. Goldschmidt was a native of Europe, and is said to have been a very cosmopolitan man. He believed there had been no composer of note since Bach. He had been a professional organ builder, and had personally installed every pipe to the organ in Pease Auditorium a few years before. Impressed by the acoustics of the building, he decided this was the perfect place for a tracker-action organ. The type of organ used by Bach. Until then, music had been performed on portable electric organs.

The organ was installed in December of 1966, over the Christmas break. The dedication was held on the Feast of the Epiphany, January 6, 1967. Goldschmidt performed “Toccata in D” by Wackman. The University Choir, under the direction of Blaine Ballard, participated. Their selections included “We Christians Now Rejoice” and “The Old Year Has Passed Away” by Bach. The organ has classic toning, making it excellent for 18th century music.

“Students,” wrote Broderick to Dearden in January of 1968, “seem to be questioning more than they ever did; they seem less bound by tradition than they ever were. I have to spend much time listening and counseling; I spend 8 to 10 hours per week in the confessional.”

For Broderick, as for every member of the staff who came after, the greatest frustration was the rapid turnover of students. Every September he began the work of building a community, which would end when the students dispersed. Over the years the community at Holy Trinity changed, as some of those who graduated stayed in the area, and continued to attend the Chapel as their place of worship.

By the early 1970's people from the general population began coming to Holy Trinity, as many were dissatisfied with services elsewhere. “Traditionally,” explained Fr. Bob Kerr, who was pastor in the 1970's, “the haven of refuge for the dispossessed has always been a university chapel. Holy Trinity is no exception.” The newcomers provided Holy Trinity with a permanent population and on-going financial and volunteer resources. They also provided a sense of continuity and tradition.

As the population of Holy Trinity changed, the ministry changed as well. Free dinners were held on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day for years. Food for the weekly free dinner at Emmanuel Lutheran Church on River Street was prepared every Tuesday in the kitchen of Holy Trinity. Holy Trinity took part in the Rotating Shelter program for many years. For two weeks every winter for several years, homeless men were conveyed from the shelter in Ann Arbor by members of the Holy Trinity community to the Chapel. Here the men spent the night, were fed, and were returned to Ann Arbor by members of the parish the next morning.

Still, Holy Trinity never lost sight of its main mission to the students of Eastern. “Students need to be affirmed and loved and petted and told that they are O.K.” explained Fr. Kerr, “and that they're worth something. No matter what posture they assume, whether a flaming radical liberal, or the most consequential looking conservative, their needs are the same; they're on a new plane, of spreading their wings, testing new things. Their needs are the same. They just express it differently.”

In July of 1971 the boundaries of the Archdiocese of Detroit were redrawn, and Holy Trinity became part of the Diocese of Lansing. The Most Reverend Carl Mengeling was Bishop of the Diocese of Lansing from 1996 to 2008. On a visit to Holy Trinity, Bishop Mengeling said he found the place dark and unwelcoming. He instructed that changes be made to the building.

Plans were made and members of the community pledged sufficient funds to cover the cost of the improvements. The plans were submitted to the proper offices of the Diocese for approval. Instead, the Diocese said, more had to be done.

Following approval by the Diocese new plans were drawn up, and the addition to the building would double the space of the Chapel. Construction was begun and work was to be completed by Easter of 2007. Everything that was done, was done with the knowledge and approval of the Diocese.

The new space included meeting rooms, a dining room with a larger kitchen and an atrium. The expanded lower level now had computers for the use of students and space for study. On a table in the atrium were snacks for hungry students, donated by some of the resident parishioners. One Sunday a month, during the school year, the parish council of the Knights of Columbus would host a pancake breakfast in the dining area, cost of admission was a free will offering. No one was ever turned away.

Holy Trinity now had a debt of almost one million dollars, to be paid over the coming years to the Diocese of Lansing. The Diocese granted Holy Trinity a two year grace period, before annual payments were to be made. Holy Trinity was now staffed by priests from the PIME missionary order, but still under the authority of the Diocese of Lansing. The order had a contract with the Diocese, renewed every five years. The contract was up for renewal in 2012. The pastor of Holy Trinity, Fr. Philip Mayfield, wanted to remain at Holy Trinity for another five years. The PIME Missionary order wished for the contract to be renewed for another five years. On August 10, 2012, The Most Reverend Earl Boyea, who had succeeded Bishop Mengeling, announced the merger of Holy Trinity with St. John the Baptist. The merger was effective at the end of Monday, September 3, 2012.

“This decision,” announced Bishop Boyea in the decree, “is based upon a number of factors, among which are the reasonable proximity of the worship communities and the churches, the desire to avoid duplication of services, the spiritual welfare of the parish communities, the spread of the Gospel, the promotion of unity among the People of God, the enhancement of collaborative ministry and the better utilization of available priest personnel.”

In time, services at Holy Trinity were ended and the building stood empty and unused. Then in June of 2015, the Board of Regents of Eastern Michigan University approved the purchase of the building for $940,000 as the new home of the Honors College.

(James Mann is a local historian and author, a volunteer in the YHS Archives, and a regular contributor to the Gleanings. Also, he was a member of the Holy Trinity parish community.)

Photo Captions:

Photo 1: Fr. Broderick was named to the position of full-time Campus Minister at Eastern Michigan University in 1964.

Photo 2: Holy Trinity Chapel was dedicated on Saturday, September 18, 1965.

Big Sister Is Watching

Published In:
Ypsilanti Gleanings
Original Images:

Author: Fred Thomas

I had the pleasure of being a public school teacher in Michigan for 32 years. A parent shared the following letter that they received in 1956 from the Office of the Dean of Women at Western Michigan College in Kalamazoo, Michigan. I think you will find it is one more example of how the world has changed. Her name and address have been changed to protect the innocent. Enjoy!


Dear Parent or Guardian:

In order that you may have a clear understanding of some of the policies of Western Michigan College, we are writing parents or guardians of all women students who are here in 1956-57.

Because the campus is extensive, students have tended to hitchhike from one area to another. The college is definitely opposed to hitchhiking at any time, and hopes students will ride the college bus or accept rides from specially designated areas only with a person known by the student.

You will find enclosed, if your daughter is a new student and not living at home, a card which you may, if you wish, fill out and return to my office. This will permit your daughter to spend weekends away from her residence, at places other than home. If it should be necessary for her to be out of her residence overnight during the week, she will be expected to have in my office or in the office of the dormitory director, a written note from you giving such a permission. If the time element makes this impossible, the permission may be given by a telephone call from you, to me or to the residence hall director.

It is our policy to send a postcard to parents, specifying the dates when a girl has been out of her residence overnight, and her destination. You need not reply to the card, unless the information on it does not agree with your knowledge. Perhaps it should be pointed out that there have been occasions, such as after some of the big dances, when students have signed out for a certain destination, and then gone elsewhere. When we do not hear from you, we assume you know of your daughter’s plans.

We also want you to know that Western Michigan College is opposed to liquor, including beer, being introduced into any college building, and that students entering their rooming places under the influence of liquor may be subject to dismissal from the college. However, since many colleges are faced with the fact that sometimes liquor is served at non-college affairs, and that students, including girls who are minors, might possibly attend such affairs, in order to better understand the student and perhaps be of help to her we would like to know whether your attitude on the use of liquor agrees with ours.

This office is anxious to be of service to you and your daughter in every way possible. We are always happy to hear from, or meet parents, and hope you will feel free to communicate with us at any time.

Sincerely yours,
Elizabeth E. Lichty
Dean of Women


(Fred Thomas moved to Ypsilanti in 1948, graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1958, and then from Eastern Michigan University in 1965. He currently lives in Phoenix, Arizona. He is a regular contributor to the Gleanings.)

Photo Captions:

Photo 1: The card sent to parents by Western Michigan University in 1956 when their daughter was off campus overnight.

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