Life just doesn’t get much better than being snuggled on the sofa with a new book, a crackling fire, and your feet tucked beneath a fuzzy blanket. The book I am reading … Images & Ancestors (Adventures in Local History) Written by, Wallace Hayden. (Aka Wally, a local history librarian at Bacon Memorial Library in Wyandotte, MI.) Pictures and purchasing information below.
As I immersed myself into the pages, photos and the history of Downriver’s past, some of the events I was unaware of, but others took me to more familiar places, long forgotten, and wrapped me in such delightful warm memories. Areas like, Bishop Park’s Boblo Boat docks. It was like yesterday, I remember the screeches of excitement, the unforgettable smell of the engines and the vibrations. Then, there’s the Fort George drive-in theater I had forgotten about completely. What fun fabulous times I had there with family and friends. I remember when President Clinton visited the Bacon Library in 1996. I didn’t know that Rosa Parks was there for that event or that President Theodore Roosevelt passed through the Oak Street train station many years before. There’s even an interesting tid bit about Abraham Lincoln passing our shores on the Detroit River, near Fighting Island in 1848. At this point I set the book down and closed my eyes, trying to envision the era. I’ve been on the same river in the same place, and I’ve crossed those tracks thousands of times and never have I thought about who came before me. This realization of local history and ancestry took my breath away. It’s absolutely astonishing.
This book felt like that kindred spirit so many people talk about… I had a strong sense of belonging, a unity to the area in which I was raised and proudly still live and now know so much more about.
I couldn’t stop reading. I wanted to know what was coming next and I didn’t want it to end. I’ve gained an immense appreciation of our local history or as Wally so brilliantly said on the introductory page . . .
“As we walk down the street in the ghostly footsteps of those who have gone before. The endeavors of previous generations have not completely vanished. They are folded over the present, superimposed like a map with overlaying transparencies. When we become aware of these added dimensions we are richer for it.”
There’s no doubt, I am now richer than I was yesterday. Thank you for the heartwarming journey through the historical photographs and your words. Your many hours of research and knowledge will be a treasure to anyone that reads this book.
Whenever I finish a book that I thoroughly enjoyed, it seems I always wonder about its author. After reading this book, one question I don’t have to ask is: Why do you love local history? Ah . . . I feel like I’ve been bonked on the head with a brick. I get it!
Wally agreed to answer a few other questions.
MS-When did you first become interested in history?
Wally-I remember being fascinated with my first history class in 4th grade and even writing my own made-up history of the world at that time. I think I see history as a narrative, a story of the people and so it is as interesting as any novel or thriller.
MS-Are you originally from Wyandotte or the downriver area?
Wally–I was born and grew up in Ann Arbor, but have lived in Wyandotte since 1981 when I started working at the library.
MS-How many years have you worked for the library?
Wally-32 years at the library. I have been a local history librarian the whole time.
MS-What do you enjoy most about writing, and what other published books have you written?
Wally-I enjoy the research, writing, and the feedback from each article. I learn new things with each. Also, over fifty people have contributed to those articles. The best part about writing is when the article reaches a critical mass and comes alive and mostly thereafter writes itself. That does not always happen.
I have two other books. Postcards from the Past (old Wyandotte postcards) and The History of the Public Library in Wyandotte, Michigan.
Content Page-A plethora of history
What can you tell about this picture?
The above picture was taken in 1941 where Nanna’s Kitchen is located presently. Playing at the Wyandotte Theater are two comedies Tight Shoes (starring John Howard) and Caught in the Draft (starring Bob Hope and Dorthy Lamour).
Bob-lo Boat and the Kresge Co-What great flashbacks!
It’s so nice to rediscover ones warm epic memories long forgotten. This book does an excellent job of reigniting them once again. I hope everyone enjoys traveling back in time as much as I did.
I have several family and friends that moved out-of- state, but grew up here. Looks like I may be buying a few more copies.
If you would like a copy for yourself or as a gift:
Images & Ancestors will be available at the Bacon Memorial District Library at $15.00 a copy.
If you would like your copy autographed, Wally will be signing copies at the library on Saturday, December 14, from 3 to 4 pm.
My Congratulations Wally! Great Book! Fantastic Work! I loved it!