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This is a series of stories of Max Bishop's early life.

Growing up in rural Michigan in the 50's & 60's was pretty good for most of us, I think... After World War II, from year to year, until maybe the late 70's, life got better for most of us. Not that life didn't continue to get better after that, it's just that the growth and change was so visible because, with the baby boom and the rapid changes in technology, things were happening so fast...

It was an era when, for the most part, Dads still worked and Moms still stayed home and raised the kids. And everybody had kids. Though there were a few in our neighborhood with 1 or 2, most families had 3 or more. We ended up with 7 but some had 8, 9 or even 10.

Most families only had one car and, though indoor plumbing was becoming the norm, some of us still had outhouses.


Memories of that time were mostly pretty good but the strongest memories were of school experiences. Summers remembrances are sparse, as they may have been with most kids, perhaps because they were too short.


Anyway, since most of these memories are of school, the chapters of Max's early life are divided up, school year by school year. If you were part of that story at Meridian High, you may be able to find "Bona Fortuna" yearbook pictures of yourself on one of the pages of the chapters titled "The Kids at Meridian High..." 


Mrs. Herner, John Gower, unknown, Leon Schneider, Lorrine Hardy, Mike Kauppi, Zoe Harris, unknown, 


Jim Wasser, Betty Ostrander, Max Bishop , unknown, Dale Laplow, Lorretta Hardy, 


Judy Fick, Don Potts, Charlene Mosher, Tom Boman, Joy Brown, George Mogg, Pat Devericks, John Rogers, 


Harriet Whitehead, Morgan Smith, Gordon Swinson, Betty Parsons, Howard Robertson, Kathy Bozer, Dave Schneider.  

School Life from 1951-1966...

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1946 was a good year.  Suddenly, I was in the arms of a beautiful women, surrounded by even more women, just waiting to hold me in their arms (Grandma was probably there and I'm sure Midland County Hospital had some very nice nurses).  Of course this is all speculation because I don't remember any of it, but perhaps the ups and downs of this life are the result of a pursuit to continue things the way they must have started.     More at the following link...

...School Life: The beginning   


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Some time between kindergarten and first grade, in 1951, my Dad bought two acres of land on the east side of north Eastman Road just about a quarter mile south of the intersection of Eastman and Baker.  Dad and Grandpa cleared away some of the trees and parked our trailer house in the middle of the south acre.  After the trailer was moved in, Dad bought a surplus barracks building from an army base and he and Grandpa tore it down, moved it and reassembled it next to the trailer house.  He and Grandpa then built a wide hallway between the barracks building and the trailer where Dad put the well pump and the washing machine. 


    ...School Life: Grades One (Mrs. Joseph) and Two, (Mrs. Herner)


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I thought I had gone through the whole third grade at Mills Center School.  At least that was what I thought until, in an email conversation, Mike Kauppi recollected that part way through the school year, some of us were transferred back to McLaren School.  Mike remembers that our class was given a scholastic aptitude test of some sort and a few kids did so well that they were going to allow us to skip the 4th grade and go right to the 5th.  Fortunately, for me at least, parents decided against it and I think we were just transferred to McLaren to have classes with older kids.  Judy Fick ( Bielby ) remembered that McLaren was K-8 at that time.  The new, multi-room school called Mills Central, was built on Baker Road somewhere around that time.  I remember riding my bicycle to the Mills Central construction site during the summer and watching them lay cement blocks and bricks. 


    ...School Life: Grade Three, Mrs. May


The baby boom must have been going strong in Michigan because there were so many new kids that our fourth grade class was held in the Mills Town Hall.  It could be because I was so small but, to me, with only one class in it, the Town Hall seemed like a pretty big building.  The entrance was on the north end and there was a long row of windows on the east side (I don't remember if there were also windows on the west side) and the large single room was pretty well lit most of the time.  It had a wood floor with a raised area one or two steps up sort of like a stage in the back of the room.  The bathrooms were way in the back down a short hall to the right and were just sort of indoor outhouses.  I think I remember that some days that fact was real noticeable.  


    ...School Life: Grade Four, Mrs. Curtis


When I went there, Mills Central was a new red brick school and was located on the north side of Baker Road half way between Eastman and Jefferson.  I rode the bus most of the time but, if I missed the bus or when the weather was good, it was an easy half mile walk if I took the road or a little shorter if I took a beeline through the woods.  I'm pretty sure, at the time, Mills Central had four rooms although there could have been more or it may have been expanded later.  I think we had more than one teacher because we moved between classrooms but the only one I remember is Mrs. Smith, Blanche Smith. 


    ...School Life: Grade Five, Mrs. Smith


The 6th grade was pretty memorable because of the long bus ride and because that's where I met most of the Sanford kids that I would meet again in high school.


Puberty was starting to kick in and that bus ride gave the boys plenty of time to be raucous, rowdy and bawdy.  It seems that that was the year we learned to swear and tell dirty jokes and some of us would use the occasion of the bus ride to use our newfound vocabulary as often and as intrusively as we could.  For some reason, too often I'm afraid, one of us would start to sing and several others would join in to sing songs like 99 bottles of beer (all the way down to 1 bottle sometimes) as loud and as long as we could .


    ...School Life: Grade Six, Sanford Elementary


...my time at Cady school turned into a year full of life changing experiences for me.  Again, as in the 4th grade, the baby boom effect must have caused a shortage of classroom space and the 1958 6th and 7th grade kids from Larkin and the 7th grade kids from Mills got mixed together in a three room school on Sturgeon Road called Cady.  The school had three rooms but only two were used for classes. The third was always empty.  There were girls and boys bathrooms, of course and at least one cloakroom where coats and lunches were kept.


    ...School Life: Grade Seven, Cady School


My memory of 8th grade at Northeast blurs together with 9th grade and I canít separate them in time.  I remember what seems like long, and often cold, bus rides to school where we were dropped off to spend the first several minutes in the morning waiting in the cafeteria for classes to start. I think we had enough time to read or do homework but I think I mostly spent my time just looking around.  There was always a teacher there to monitor our behavior and I donít think we were able to get away with much screwing around.   More at the following link...


    ...School Life: Grades Eight and Nine


About a month before school started in 1961, I came down with hepatitis.  Iíve never been so sick before or since and it took me about six weeks to recover. That meant that I didnít start school at Midland High until about two weeks after everyone else did.  I didnít take the bus the day that I started.  My mother drove me because I had to go to the Dr.ís office first to get some sort of OK to go back to school. I donít know why I remember that. More at the following link...


    ...School Life: Grade Ten


In the summer of 1962, about 9 weeks after a diagnosis of stomach cancer and an unsuccessful surgery, my Grandpa Bishop died. I went to live with Grandma for several months so she wouldnít have to be alone until she was able to move to a new house near my Aunt June in Coleman. More at the following link...


    ...School Life: Grades Eleven and Twelve


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School Life: The Kids at Meridian High, A-F (Music may play, have volume control ready...   ;-) 

School Life: The Kids at Meridian High, G-L  (Music may play, have volume control ready...   ;-)

School Life: The Kids at Meridian High, M-R  (Music may play, have volume control ready...   ;-)

School Life: The Kids at Meridian High, S-Z  (Music may play, have volume control ready...   ;-)


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1964 Bona Fortuna   School Yearbook

1965 Bona Fortuna   School Yearbook

1966 Bona Fortuna   School Yearbook


School Reunions:    max_sue_bob_linda_roy_ken_05b.jpg (143923 bytes)

School Life: Off to College  (Music will play, have volume control ready...   ;-)


The following link will take you to the first couple of chapters of...


Life's School


More to come???


If you have anything to say or ask about what you see or read here (or find mistakes that need correcting), 

send Max an email at mbishop5@cox.net ...