In October, Ilene and Norm joined with 22 other University of Michigan alums and friends on a 12-day tour of the highlights of Japan. One highlight of a tour filled with many highlights was viewing the Golden Temple, with exterior walls covered with gold leaf. The tour group traveled from Tokyo to Kyoto, seeing incredible temples, shrines, and gardens. However, Ilene felt the best part of the trip was the food, and now that we are home we are now adding Japanese cooking to our everyday menu.
Norm wants to share his excitement about his new book. For years he has had had a special interest in the history of transportation, both because he likes the study of history in general and because for many years he taught a Transportation Planning course at Eastern Michigan University. The new book currently has a working title of Crossing the Continent: Pioneers of Transcontinental Travel. This story is told through the perspectives of individuals significant in each era of transportation development. Some of the protaganists of this drama are familiar, but in unfamiliar roles—George Washington as a young surveyor trekking to new western territories. Some were entrepreneurs who were ruthless in their quest—Thomas Durant, as master schemer and scammer in charge of building the Union Pacific Railroad. Others were larger-than-life figures now largely forgotten—Carl G. Fisher, an eccentric businessman who instigated and prodded construction of the country’s first coast-to-coast highway as a way to sell more of his automobile headlamps. Other biographical sketches reveal inconceivable feats—Annie Kopchovsky, who in 1894 left her husband and two children for fifteen months to successfully ride a bicycle not only across the country, but around the world. The stories of these individuals and others are marvelous, intriguing, and sometimes unbelievable. A reflection on these individuals and their roles in “Crossing the Continent” provides the focus for this history of American daring and determination during the historical, and historic, evolution of systems of transportation.
Norm is now looking for an agent and a publisher. Stay tuned and you will be the first to know when the manuscript has become a published book.