(Editor’s Note: Local historian Tim Carroll teamed up with Mary Morgan and Peninsula Community Library to create a fun activity book about the Old Mission Peninsula (shown above with library director Vicki Shurly at the recent Log Cabin Day). Read on for Tim’s notes on how it all came about. -jb)
Once upon a time, in the 1940’s, I was a young lad who had the pleasure of growing up in Mapleton, on the Old Mission Peninsula. Things were different then, as you can imagine. Farming was the primary occupation, neighbors took care of neighbors in the event of a fire or barn raising, and sitting around the radio in the evening listening to “The Shadow” was high entertainment.
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I’m a bit of a storyteller, you see, and Mary Morgan, Peninsula Community Library’s (PCL) Local History Librarian, is a good listener. She believed that these stories should be captured and shared with our local youth at Old Mission Peninsula, perhaps in the form of an activity/coloring book.
Vicki Shurly, the Director of PCL, wholeheartedly agreed when Mary suggested that the library sponsor the creation of just such a book.
Mary contacted me and I was immediately on board. Next, she recruited Liz Hague, an outstanding 3rd grade teacher at Old Mission Peninsula School, and found an excellent illustrator in Yvette Haberlein and a great proof-reader in retired teacher Sue Kelly, to help complete our book entitled “Once Upon a Peninsula.”
While it took over a year to complete our endeavor, it all became worth it when we were able to gift the book to the 3rd grade students. I was able to visit them in their classroom setting and test out the merits of our book from their point of view. This was a high point of my retirement era! They were bright, eager and fearless, and asked the most amazing questions! Testing the “product” was a great pleasure.
On June 21 in the Community Room at the library, four of the students discussed their personal response to the activities book to a rapt audience at our monthly Local History Talk (which takes place the third Tuesday of each month at 2 p.m.). They each read their favorite story from the book and articulated why it caught their interest. No better History Talk had ever been delivered!
Fun was had by all, and the gifting of this book to the 3rd grade class will become an annual event. It was a great crew to work with, and the pleasure of their company was only exceeded by their dedication to the project at hand.
Parents and grandparents looking for a unique gift for their child/grandchild can purchase the book at the library. I’m told that adults like it too!
If you have any interest in what life might have looked like on the OMP in 1947 through the eyes and adventures of a then 3rd grader, be sure to pick up a copy at Peninsula Community Library. You won’t be able to put it down!
Editor’s Note: Here’s a photo of Tim Carroll and Mary Morgan at the “Harvesting History” event in 2021. -jb.