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No Place Like Home: A short story about the Maki family of Marquette

The Maki family from Marquette is pictured from 1952, after mom, Viano Maki, passed away. In the back row, from left, are Bill (#13), Arnold (#4), Arthur (#3), Raymond (#6), Matt (Dad), Don (#11), Bob (#8), Alfred (#5). In the middle row is Lois (#9), Isabelle (#12), Gertrude (#10), Lillian (#1), Martha (#2), Helen (#7). In the front row is Mike (#15) and Edith (#14). (Photo courtesy of William P. Maki)

MARQUETTE — Being the 13th of 15 in my family (8 boys and 7 girls), I will talk or should say write about us growing up in the Marquette area. We lived up on the Hill, as we called it, which is above where Norlite Nursing Center is now.

We had three acres of land. At that time it was mostly forests on one side with the hill and a pond on the east side. We could ski from our house and slide down the hill with just cardboard.

The 1940s and 1950s were a nice time to be growing up for me. After World War II, a couple of sisters left home but most of the rest of us were still on the Hill.

Then in 1952, my mother, Viano, passed away and things began to change. Some of my other brothers got married and other sisters moved away. During the Korean War, two brothers and a sister served in the U.S. Air Force.

I went into the U.S. Air Force as well, in 1957, leaving seven brothers and two sisters in Marquette. Eventually 11 of the 15 of us served in the U.S. armed forces. As adults, eleven remained in the Marquette area.

In the early 1960s, things really changed. The highway bypass was built and six or seven of our neighbors’ houses were torn down. That was a sad time and we were lucky to still live on our place on the Hill.

My dad passed away in 1971 and I got married in 1973. My single brother was the only one left at our home. At one time we had 13 of us living there at different times. (Due to a 27-year age range, the Makis never had all 15 children at home at the same time.)

In 1974, my single brother passed away. For quite a few years, we still used our old home but then it was time to sell it. It was sold to the son of a former neighbor, Tom Dunham, from when Fisher Street still went through.

So the property still remains but it is now a vacant piece of land. I have lots of memories for many years of our beautiful home on the Hill. And as time has passed, many more homes have been built where the forests were. Of course, Norlite Nursing Center is still there, too.

This is just a story about my early years, living in such a nice place with woods around and a hill to ski and slide on. In conclusion, we’re lucky that the Upper Peninsula of Michigan still has wooded areas and places to go.

We can spend quiet time and enjoy the beauty we still have here.

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