Anecdote of the Upper Peninsula's Geography

Last night I arrived in East Lansing where I’ll be giving a couple lectures this week at my alma mater, Michigan State. I crashed at my cousin Sara’s place (who is from Sutton’s Bay, north of Traverse city) for the night.

This morning, my cousin’s roommate’s boyfriend came and visited with me for a few minutes and this is how the conversation went.

Dude: So are you from the Sutton’s Bay area as well?

Me: No, I live in Marquette.

Dude: Oh, in Wisconsin.

Me: No, in the Upper Peninsula.

Dude: Where is it about?

Me: North Central Upper Peninsula.

Dude: Ok, so in the Petoskey area?

Me: No, north of the bridge.

Dude: Oh … uhhh, ok I think I know where you mean… (as conversation ends awkwardly)

Maybe I can give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he’s not from Michigan originally. Obviously he is confused if he was wearing at Michigan State University shirt and he goes to the University of Michigan. Perhaps his first thought was Marquette University, which is in Milwaukee.

It’s not the fact that I’m offended as a Yooper that bothers me. It’s the idea that this guy may have grown up in Michigan and does live here now. There is absolutely no reason he should not know where Marquette is, or what “North Central Upper Peninsula” means.

I’ve always been big on geography, especially Michigan geography and the Great Lakes region.

The irony is that tomorrow evening I’m giving a lecture to some undergrad students about hometowns and even hometown stereotypes. At least I have an anecdote to start the lecture with now.

Does anyone else have similar stories?

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