* This text is a sample of writing from my postgraduate thesis project. My project was a reader in which I selected five original essays from the post-war American travel magazine, Holiday, introducing and contextualizing writing from the 1940s – 1960s. In this instance, an excerpt of my introduction to an essay about memories and Michigan by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Bruce Catton entitled ‘The Real Michigan,’ from Holiday’s August 1957 issue.
In his introductory text to the anthology, Ten Years of Holiday (1956), Clifton Fadiman wrote: “… see how in the hands of a skillful writer seemingly familiar material can be transformed into something rich and strange.”  For those who know the state well, Bruce Catton’s evocation of Michigan is just that – rich, strange, replete with the beauty of nature and solitude. Charles Bruce Catton was born at the peak of the lower peninsula of Michigan, in a town called Petoskey, at the turn of the century. Much like Catton wonders in “The Real Michigan,” his essay from the August 1957 issue of Holiday: “This part of the state must have been quite a sight, a hundred years ago […] there was a magnificent forest – great pines, mostly, with a healthy sprinkling of hardwoods like maples and beeches – like nothing you can find in America today. From lake to lake […] there was an eternal green twilight, with open spaces where the lakes and rivers were: twilight, with the wind forever making an unobtrusive noise in the branches overhead, brown matted needles and leaves underfoot,”  I, too, wonder what the Petoskey of his day might have looked like.
 Fadiman, C. (1956). Introduction. In Ten Years of Holiday. New York: Simon and Schuster.  Catton, B. (1957). The Real Michigan. Holiday, Vol. 21 No. 8, Pg. 26