Michigan Childhood and Life

Nancy Leads the Parade Down a Michigan Childhood Memory Lane

She led us on the field – now she’s taking us on a time-traveling trip to the past

Enjoy these amusing lists, courtesy of Nancy Theodoroff Townsend

Facts of living in MI. 

1. You've never met any celebrities.
2. "Vacation" means going to Cedar Point.
3. At least 1 member of your family disowns you the wek of the
Michigan/Michigan State game.
4. Half the change in your pocket is Canadian
5. You drive 86 mph on the highway and pass on the right.
6. Your idea of a traffic jam is 40 cars waiting to pass an orange
7. You know how to play (and pronounce) Euchre.
8. It's easy to get VERNORS Ginger Ale, Sanders Hot Fudge sauce and Faygo Pop.
9. You know how to pronounce "Mackinac."
10. You've had to switch on the "heat" and the "A/C" in the same day.
11. You bake with SODA and drink a POP.
12. The movie "Escanaba in Da Moonlight" wasn't funny. You consider it a documentary.
13. Your little league game was snowed out.
14. The word "thumb" has geographical meaning, rather than anatomical significance.
15. You show people where you grew up by pointing to a spot on the back of your left hand.
16. Traveling coast-to-coast means driving from Port Huron to Muskegon.
17. You measure distance in minutes.
18. When giving directions, you refer to "A Michigan Left."
19. You know that Kalamazoo not only exists, but it is either raining or snowing there.
20. Your year has 2 seasons: Winter and Construction.
21. Home Depot on any Saturday is busier than toy stores at Christmas.
22. You know when it has rained because of the smell of worms.
23. Owning a Japanese car was a hangin' offense in your hometown.
24. Everyone you meet out of state thinks you know Eminem personally.
25. You know what back roading and two tracking means!!
26. You actually understand everything I just said.

Michigan Trivia

Q. What Michigan community grew from 3,589 to 45,615 residents from 1910 to 1920, leading the nation in growth during that period?
A. Hamtramck

Q. During the lumber boom era, what name was given to the row of saloons that lined Water Street in Bay City?
A. Hells' Half Mile

Q. In 1936, what UP city processed 100,000 sq. feet of bird's eye maple for use in the English luxury liner, the Queen Mary?
A. Escanaba

Q. When the territory of Michigan was created on Jan. 11, 1805, what town was selected as it's capital?
A. Detroit

Q. Bloomfield Hills was first known by what name?
A. Bagley's Corners

Q. Where is the world's only marble lighthouse?
A. Belle Isle (Livingstone Lighthouse)

Q. Utica was originally known by what name?
A. Hog's Hollow

Q. Approx. how many lakes are in the state?
A. 11,000

Q. The home offices of Life Savers candy, Beech-Nut gum and Squirt soft drink are in which city?
A. Holland

Q. What coastline has been given the name "Graveyard of the Great Lakes"?
A. Whitefish Point, Lake Superior


Q. Debuting in 1936 over WWJ in Detroit, what crime fighting adventure series used "Flight of the Bumblebee" as its theme song?
A. The Green Hornet

Q. What Detroit-based male singing group was known as The Primes until 1960?
A. The Temptations

Q. The Supremes were originally known by what name?
A. The Primettes

Q. Under what name did Motown artist Stevie Wonder originally write "My Cherie Amour" in 1966?
A. "Oh My Marsha"


Q. In 1870, Detroit telephone customers became the first in the nation to have what type of reference information assigned to them?
A. Telephone numbers

Q. On Feb. 4, 1902, what internationally famous aviation pioneer was born in Detroit?
A. Charles A. Lindbergh

Q. On what date did the Star & Stripes first fly over Michigan soil?
A. July 11, 1796

Q. What ambitious automotive pioneer organized General Motors Company in Sept. of 1908?
A. William Crapo Durant

Q. What annual license fee (how much) was charged to Michigan auto owners in 1905 to operate their vehicles?
A. Fifty cents

Q. In what year was the first policewoman appointed in Detroit?
A. 1893

Q. What was the world's first urban freeway, completed in 1942?
A. The Davison Freeway, Detroit

Q. In 1879, what amount was paid to the Campau family by the city of Detroit for Belle Isle?
A. $200,000

Q. In 1866, what Detroit pharmacist introduced the world's first carbonated soft drink?
A. James Vernor (Vernor's ginger ale)

Q. At what Detroit intersection was the world's first traffic light installed in 1915?
A. Woodward Ave and Grand Ave

Q. Who in 1688 founded the first permanent settlement in What later became the state of Michigan?
A. Father Jaques Marquette

Q. In 1954 the world's first shopping mall opened in what Detroit suburb?
A. Southfield (Northland Mall)

Q. What safety and traffic flow feature was first introduced near Trenton in 1911?
A. Painted center lines


Q. Where does Michigan rank internationally in the production of dogsleds?
A. First

Q. What is the nation's largest indoor/outdoor museum complex?
A. Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village


Q. Compared to Chicago, "The Windy City," how does Detroit rank in average wind velocity?
A. The same (10.4 mph)

Q. Arnold F. Willot, born in Detroit in 1886, revolutionized the cosmetology industry by developing what process?
A. The cold permanent wave

Q. The Michigan state capitol is constructed of what material?
A. Ohio sandstone

Q. What is Michigan's largest fresh-market vegetable crop?
A. Onions

Q. Opened in 1904, what is the oldest freshwater aquarium in the nation?
A. Belle Isle Aquarium

Q. What revolutionary dental tool was patented by G.F. Green of Kalamazoo in 1875?
A. The electric dental drill


All the girls had ugly gym uniforms?

It took five minutes for the TV warm up?

Nearly everyone's Mom was at home when the kids got home from school?

Nobody owned a purebred dog?

When a quarter was a decent allowance?

You'd reach into a muddy gutter for a penny?

Your Mom wore nylons that came in two pieces?

All your male teachers wore neckties and female teachers had their hair done every day and wore high heels?

You got your windshield cleaned, oil checked, and gas pumped, without asking, all for free, every time?

And you didn't pay for air?

And, you got trading stamps to boot? (and be offered Flintstone-themed tumblers?)

Laundry detergent had free glasses, dishes or towels hidden inside the box?

(And Crackerjack had real toys inside?)

It was considered a great privilege to be taken out to dinner at a real restaurant with your parents?

They threatened to keep kids back a grade if they failed. . .and they did?

When a 57 Chevy was everyone's dream car...to cruise, peel out, lay rubber or watch submarine races, and people went steady?

No one ever asked where the car keys were because they were always in the car, in the ignition, and the doors were never locked?

Lying on your back in the grass with your friends and saying things like, "That cloud looks like a ." and playing baseball with no adults to help kids with the rules of the game?

Stuff from the store came without safety caps and hermetic seals because no one had yet tried to poison a perfect stranger?

And with all our progress, don't you just wish, just once, you could slip back in time and savor the slower pace, and share it with the children of today?

When being sent to the principal's office was nothing compared to the fate that awaited the student at home? Our parents and grandparents were a much bigger threat! But we survived because their love was greater than the threat.

Who can still remember Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, Laurel and Hardy, Howdy Dowdy and the Peanut Gallery, the Lone Ranger, The Shadow Knows, Nellie Bell, Roy and Dale, Trigger and Buttermilk.

As well as summers filled with bike rides, baseball games, Hula Hoops, bowling and visits to the pool, and eating Kool-Aid powder with sugar.

Didn't that feel good, just to go back and say, "Yeah, I remember that"?

I only forwarded this on because it ended with a double dog dare to pass it on. To remember what a double dog dare is, read on.

And remember that the perfect age is somewhere between old enough to know better and too young to care.

How many of these do you remember?

Candy cigarettes

Wax Coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water inside

Soda pop machines that dispensed glass bottles

Coffee shops with tableside jukeboxes (Try the Waffle House – they have a great jukeboxes!)

Blackjack, Clove and Teaberry chewing gum (Hey, you can still get those!)

Home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers

Newsreels before the movie

P.F. Fliers

Telephone numbers with a word prefix....(MIdwest 4-6019).

Party lines


Howdy Dowdy

45 RPM records

Green Stamps


Metal ice cubes trays with levers

Mimeograph paper

Beanie and Cecil

Roller-skate keys

Cork pop guns

Drive ins


Washtub wringers

The Fuller Brush Man

Reel-To-Reel tape recorders


Erector Sets

The Fort Apache Play Set

Lincoln Logs

15 cent McDonald hamburgers

5 cent packs of baseball cards - with that awful pink slab of bubble gum

Penny candy

35 cent a gallon gasoline

Jiffy Pop popcorn (They’ve still got it at Kroger!)

Do you remember a time when...

Decisions were made by going "eeny-meeny-miney-moe"?

Mistakes were corrected by simply exclaiming, "Do Over!"?

Catching the fireflies could happily occupy an entire evening?

It wasn't odd to have two or three "Best Friends"?

The worst thing you could catch from the opposite sex was "cooties"?

Having a weapon in school meant being caught with a slingshot?

A foot of snow was a dream come true?

Saturday morning cartoons weren't 30-minute commercials for action figures?

"Oly-oly-oxen-free" made perfect sense?

Spinning around, getting dizzy, and falling down was cause for giggles?

The worst embarrassment was being picked last for a team?

War was a card game?

Baseball cards in the spokes transformed any bike into a motorcycle?

Taking drugs meant orange-flavored chewable aspirin?

Water balloons were the ultimate weapon?

If you can remember most or all of these, then you have lived!!!!!!! Pass this on to anyone who may need a break from their "grown-up" life . . .I double-dog-dare-ya!