We celebrate our 36th wedding Anniversary with a short trip up to Northern Michigan for a few days.  We left on Sunday, thinking that we would be going north, as all the other cars were coming south. If you grow up in Michigan, that’s the way it is from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.  Michiganders enjoy their up north experience whether it’s a cottage on a lake, a cabin in the woods, or a spot at a camp ground, it’s just a Michigan thing. We didn’t go up last year, as we had busy summer, but we usually go up for a few days every summer. As the kids were growing up, we spent a week every summer at the University of Michigan alumni camp called Camp Michigania on Walloon Lake in Boyne city. Our kids looked forward to every year. We spent a week or two packing and getting things out. On Saturday morning the week we were scheduled for camp we would get in the car that have been loaded the night before the drive up.  We even had a Camp Michigania CD and it started with Frankie Valli and The Four Season’s “Oh What a night, December 1963.”The rest of the CD is comprised of music from the 60s and 70s.  The CD started playing the minute we got in the car. We played it probably three or four times by the time we had gotten up to camp.  For all those years we went together as a family from the time our youngest was a baby, Camp was pretty much always the same. We stayed in the same cabin with some of the same people and sometimes we even saw the same people year after year. My husband grew up going to Camp Michigania and although there may have been some little changes here and there to upgrade the camp, they seem to keep that Camp feel and routine. That was one of the things we liked about it, it seemed to stand still in time. We stopped at Camp Michigania Monday to do our usual walk around and we were met by gate that had not been there before with a guard station. We push the call button to identify ourselves and to see if we could go in and walk around as we have always done every other year. We were told that since there was training going on no guests were allowed. we said thank you and politely drove away.

      Over the next few days as we travel through northern Michigan wine tasting, taking nice long walks and visiting our favorite little small towns, we noticed other changes as well.  For example, the price of housing in northern Michigan continues to rise as it seems almost every year, but it seems almost out of control. In my search to look for a hotel on a non-weekend and an early season weekend ( that’s what they call the first week or two after Memorial Day).  The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island was over $600 a night The Walloon Lake Hotel was just over $500, neither of which included resort fees and taxes and Bay Harbor was around the same. We have  stated at all of these places before at much lower rates.  It made us wonder who can afford to stay at  any of these places. We ended up staying at a nice new hotel in Charlevoix called The Earl. It had all the amenities we were looking for and even a rooftop bar, a cute lobby with a nice fireplace area, a pool and hot tub. We were at a winery one day and enjoyed couple of hours just the two of us and there was no one else there. We had the same experience at Resort Pike Cidery. The little towns are now doubted with expensive clothing and furniture stores. I noticed less of the inexpensive gift stores and restaurants.  As we ate dinner Sunday night at one of our favorite old restaurants in Charlevoix, we noticed a very quiet and small dinner crowd of people mostly older than us. The menu was overpriced for what was served and the food was good and the  restaurant was clean. No bread was served with the dinner and everything was a la cart. Our discussion during dinner was what will the future be with this type of a restaurant? Would a younger crowd be interested in this type of establishment?

     Over the few days we were in northern Michigan. We continue to ask that question with high priced hotels most likely Airbnbs as well, expensive restaurants and stores is northern Michigan still the destination for the average Michigan resident? It seems like the more things have changed up north the more things have changed, from Camp Michigania to the little towns to the new condos for sale starting at  $1,500,000, or so the billboard on the road said.  The condos aren’t even on the lake but across the street from the restaurant, hotel and stores on the lake. So no lake view for 1.5 million?  Is northern Michigan over pricing itself? I don’t know….

     Yesterday was D-Day the day that the Allied forces invaded the coast of France at Normandy. It was the 80th anniversary of this day which began the quest for freedom in Europe during World War II over the Nazis. I watched some of the coverage that took place at Normandy with a few remaining veterans. It was a beautiful day. They had a flyover. There was a video that narrated the events that took place there later that day I heard a radio program that talked about the men who fought in that war often referred to as The Greatest Generation. Ben Shapiro’s radio program covered this topic yesterday. I happen to be listening and he posed the question as to what caused those young American men to want to fight in the war? He set the stage, describing what America was like at that time. Most families attended church so there was a common thread in the population of a sense of right and wrong, and most people had that. Most people had respect for American values and strived to teach those values to their children in their home. When Americans heard and saw what was going on in Europe, having a sense of right and wrong, the young men very eagerly were willing to take on that cause it, even if it meant the ultimate sacrifice.  In another program I watched yesterday one of the commentators  talked about the fact that most every young man in this country who was of age to fight, did.  Any young man who was seen around town was often questioned, maybe not face-to-face as to “why they didn’t go?” 

Contrast that to today and in similar circumstance, would our young men and women be as eager to leave their life here to fight a war across the sea? It’s a different time now a lot has happened in 80 years of history in our culture, the more things have changed Since 1944, the more they have continued to change.

    When you look at our society as a whole, things have changed in 80 years. Look at the family to begin with 80 years ago, most families consisted of a mother and father and a few kids. A small number of families were led by single moms. As mentioned above church and organized religion was a very big part of family life, crime was at a minimum, women worked in the home, taking care of their families. Most families had one car and life seemed much simpler and divorce rate was low. Whether this was better or not, who knows there weren’t as many equal rights for minorities or opportunities for women. What we did notice as a society that the more things changed, the more things changed. Interestingly, when you look at the progression, it was changes over many years, sometimes little changes and sometimes big changes.

     We had a discussion in the car on the way home about the changes in our society over the years and my husband made the comment that life is so fast now that it would be hard to go back. Consider how fast life moves now how quickly you can get a hold of someone in a text, email or phone call and it is possible to get a quick yes or no answer for simple question and just a matter of seconds. If you need something done, technology allows it to be done quicker whether it is banking, communication or commerce.It is quicker and easier than ever to stay in touch friends friends from different times in our lives through our technology or social platforms. Yes, the more things change, the more things change. 

     There’s an expression, “the only thing constant in life is change.”  True.  I remember a line in the musical, “Bye Bye Birdie,” where teenage daughter, Kim McAfee tells her mother, Oh Mother, times are changing you’re going to have to go along with them, or get left behind with the old folks!”   Change can be a good thing, as long as you don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. If you can change, keeping what is good, that’s a good thing. We have a brain to decipher what to keep and what to let go.  Changing with the times takes wisdom to  utilize the good changes and not embracing the not so good…One wouldn’t want “to get left behind with the old folks.”  Oh, that’s me now…Wishing you a great day ❤️

Author, Mary Yana Burau