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10 Commandments Of Growing Up In Michigan

If you grew up in Michigan, there are certain experiences we all shared, regardless of what city or town you grew up in.

See how many things you did on our list.

1. You took a school field trip in the spring, usually to Greenfield Village.

It was the highlight of the spring for eighth graders, you got the day off of school so they could bus you down to the birthplace of the automobile in Dearborn. I don’t remember much of my trip, seeing how I was trying to get some quality time with a girl named Donna, who wanted nothing to do with me. Other popular Michigan field trips included the GRAM, a dairy farm or a car plant.

Henry Ford Museum
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2. You probably should have drowned on at least three different occasions.

With access to so many bodies of water, you and your friends would inevitably put yourself into harm’s way semi-regularly. Maybe it was falling off a makeshift raft into a deep river, getting sucked out into a rip current or getting a faceful of water while trying to water ski, at some point you owed your life to either a friendly hand up or just pure luck.

High Winds Bring Rough Surf And Waves To Lake Michigan
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3. You begged your Dad to take you to the Mystery Spot.

He never did, because he knew it was a rip off, but that didn’t stop you from asking. From the first billboard you saw around Gaylord, you started to beg, not stopping until your tent was set up at Straits State Park.

4. When it snowed, you sat by the radio waiting for the school closings.

Whether it was Bruce Grant on WOOD here in Grand Rapids, Steve Smith on WSAM in Saginaw or J.P. McCarthy on WJR in Detroit, they all held a free day off from school in their hands, and you waited with intense anticipation. And your favorite snow day fun: playing king of the hill on the parking lot snow hills.

Temperatures In New York City Stay Below Freezing
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5. You got the day off of school on the opening day of deer hunting season.

It was a right of passage for many boys and girls every November, the day you were finally old enough to hit the woods with dad to bag a buck. I never got to do this one, but half my school did. I was jealous.

Olympic Hopefuls Johnny Spillane and Todd Lodwick
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6. You went to Cedar Point with your friends or family.

Sure, it’s in Ohio, but you made that long drive at least one summer day to experience the ‘world’s highest roller coaster’. It never disappointed. And you would be high off the experience for a week.

Golfplan Insurance PGA Pro-Captain Challenge - Day One
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7. You bit it hard falling off a mini bike or an ATV.

If you grew up in the city like me, there was always a friend of a friend who would let you ride his mini-bike, and you lost it cornering too sharp and wound up pulling gravel out of your skin for the next week. If you were more rural, this probably happened on an ATV. Either way, you learned speed is not always your friend.

8. You were forced to publicly make a choice: Michigan or Michigan State.

For me, this was easy, as my old man went to UM, but for many of you, you didn’t even have a dog in that fight or you didn’t even care, but still someone made you make a choice, and you had to stick with that choice through December.

Michigan State v Michigan
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9. You went to a combination go-kart track/putt putt golf course/batting cage.

It was the best way to blow off a day up north or while visiting an aunt or uncle who had no idea how to deal with kids. They would cart you off to some place out that had some combination of the Holy Trinity of summer. Later, this could have been a water park, but I grew up pre-water slides.

10. You marveled at how big a sand dune could be.

Sure it looked easy on the way down, but once at the bottom, the long climb to the top began, and you thought it would never end. It was hard for you to believe this was not like being lost in the Sahara Desert.

Jojo Girard/TSM
Jojo Girard/TSM

 

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