My name is Daniel Obradovich and I am what they call a Yooper (U.P. of Michigan i.e. Upper Peninsula). This place was given to our state in the 1830s when Ohio called us a “bunch of Wolverines” and we got this 300 mile-long peninsula while Ohio got the eight-mile wide Toledo strip so now you know who won that deal.
It would have made more sense to have this peninsula become part of Wisconsin. If you look at a map and ignore the border stripe from Hurley to Marinette, we extend nicely below Lake Superior. That said I like the Wolverines, Spartans, and Badgers too! Now, a Yooper is sort of a hillbilly-type character at times, but really a woodsman or hunter or outdoorsman and that’s where I am. I live in the country and love to garden, mow my little acres, pick apples, go to camp, and make plum jelly. Our daughter Rachel left us with a rambunctious yellow lab named Paczki James (yes, after the Polish jellyroll) when she left for Colorado State University. He loves to roam our property chasing rabbits and playing in the abundant snow we get each year.
Paczki James also loves to see our older boys, Shane and Nick. Shane is a science teacher in northern Wisconsin and Nick just finished college at Northern Michigan University. Both guys loved this land and bonfires in the backyard and hiking the forest and ore stocks next to us. Fort building was job one when they were kids and a passion for everything Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. Paczki also is very kind to our granddaughter Everly when she visits as she walks now and his kisses are perfect height for her when she toddles along.
Well, we live on the western edge of this peninsula where it attaches to Wisconsin just belong that largest and deepest of great lakes. My wife, Susan, loves it here in the house my immigrant grandpa built in the 1930s and my late dad was one of ten kids who roamed it before our kids. I have a brother and sister nearby and both retired recently from Michigan like me where I taught for 33 years as a high school and college teacher plus quiz bowl and basketball coach in Wakefield. My wife is our 5th grade teacher and I have been on the school board since 2011. I love learning and am a student of the First World War; as I write this I am listening to Christmas choral music online and thinking of our Doughboys a century ago when WW1 ended exactly last fall. Well, it’s snowing a bit and I have to fire up my ’74 Chevy ¾ ton to plow, but I hope it starts in this cold and that the red squirrels haven’t stored pine cones on the dash again. I am excited to meet all my new students and continue our education journey together at iForward! It is an honor for me to be with you….