View Full Version : U.P. [Yooper] culture

01-03-04, 21:22
Everybody is somewhat familiar with the upper peninsula of Michigan. Kevin and I hail from that place and so does Paul Kangas of Nightly Business Report. I came across a book of lyrics of yooper songs so I thought people would be interested in some U.P. culture:

Title: Dear Mr. Governor

There's a rebel group from Suomi [small town up there]
They got a master plan
To blow up the mighty Mackinaw [hmm, politically incorrect these days]
And take a rebel stand
Secede from the union
Call this place Yooperland
Become a third world power
Ask the U.S. for a hand
They'll give us lots of raha
We'll be rich as oil sheiks
'Cause they won't want the Russians putting missiles in Trout Creek.

Refrain: Dear Mister Governor you better turn us loose
We asked you for a rest stop instead you sent us moose
The honeymoon is over the declaration's written
We'll take what's above the bridge
You can keep the mitten.

We'll sell clean air to the west
Blueberries to Iran
Ice and snow to the Arabs
Pasties to Japan
Scorpus to the Russians [what's that?]
Smelt to Pakistan
Moose meat to McDonald's
Sisu to Uncle Sam
We'll join the world market
Control the smart pill trade
We'll become a mighty nation
You'll be asking us for aid

Refrain: Dear Mister Governor...

oh yes, copyright 1991 by You Guys Records,
490 N. Steel St., Ishpeming, Mich 49849


01-03-04, 22:09
Originally posted by granskare
Scorpus to the Russians [what's that?]

Wonder if it could be "kropsua"? Cinnamon/sugar toast. Don't know if I spelled it correctly but that's how it sounds in my mind.

There were a number of bakeries that made/sold this cinnamon toast. Probably the most famous, imo, is Trenary Toast, which was darker and harder than the others. It came from Trenary, MI.

My after school treat was Trenary Toast with Peanut Butter (June would like that!) :)

I also remember at some point in the late 70s much talk about the UP and part of Wisconsin becoming the 51st state: Superior.

02-03-04, 00:38
Trenary toast is still the best but now with a downside. Higher price and the package now is down to 10 oz. When I first bought the stuff, it was a 24 oz sack and then dropped to 18 oz and finally 10 oz so soon you will only be able to buy an empty bag for 5.00 :)

Superior is the name. Northern WI and the UP - don't know what came of it. Probably a fight over where the capital would be located. WI people likely wanted Green Bay and yooper people liked Chatham - good coop store there or they could settle on Trenary - toast place:)

Amazing, we yoopers come up with the best ideas and the cheeseheads are unable to see the genius in them!


02-03-04, 04:23
Yes, the Yoopers have another good idea: FinnFest in 2005.
Don and I will be there along with the Millers to staff the SFHS booth. This time the exhibit will be all about Swedish Finns who arrived in Michigan. Anything you want to add to the exhibit, just write me! I would love some stuff.
Judy Miller and I were sitting at February's FinnFest in Florida brainstorming, and we think that downloading every Swedish Finn we can find on the early census would be a trip!
PS Marquette really goes all out for Finns during the fest there. We saw it a few years ago and really look forward to it next summer. Could we meet up with a few of our Finlander websiters while up there?

02-03-04, 06:23
I think they hold Finnfest in Marquette at the "island" called Presque Isle. Though I was born in Ironwood, I grew up in Marquette and consider it my home. Situated on the shores of Lake Superior, it is a beautiful little city.

There are many Finns who lived there even when I was growing up. I think it was discovered by Father Jacques Marquette and I want to say it was in the 1600s. There's a little park with a statue of him.

Now I'm homesick (except for the snow)

02-03-04, 06:50
Hej Kev,
Hmm, only 249 years off so not bad at all:)
Worcester was renamed for Jacques Marquette. Here is a nice official website for the city.
The last Finnfest held there was mostly hosted by Northern Michigan University.

Yeah, I am also surprised about that Worcester name

Chuck :p

02-03-04, 15:49
Interesting...never heard of the Worcester story before....

Here's what I was referring to:
"Serving as Priests, explorers, cartographers, linguists, farmers, scientists and chroniclers, Jesuit missionaries introduced Christianity to the Great Lakes region. Among them was Father Jacques Marquette, Born in Laon, France, he came to Quebec in September 1666. In 1671 he and Chippewa Indians who had been forced east by the Sioux established St. Ignace mission at the Straits of Mackinac. From there Marquette and Louis Jolliet set out on their voyage to the Mississippi River in the spring of 1673. Ill before the journey began, Marquette died on the return trip, on May 18, 1675. Indians from St. Ignace later brought Marquette's remains to a chapel on the site where they were rediscovered in 1877 by Father Edward Jacker."

He made his way through Marquette back in the 1600s and a park was established in his honor containing both a statue and plaque.

A-M Löfdahl
02-03-04, 21:27
This is a swedish Finn in Gladstone, Michigan. Unfortunately I don´t know who...... could someone on the basis of his clothing and the photograph "guess" when it´s taken?
(I hope there will be a photo here......)

Karen Norwillo
02-03-04, 21:42
Whenever I get "home" to Crystal Falls, I visit the local bakery in town to buy a bag of cinnamon toast. I still make pasties for my Polish husband. You can move, but you can't take the Yooper out of the soul. Karen

02-03-04, 21:49
Originally posted by syrene
Judy Miller and I were sitting at February's FinnFest in Florida brainstorming, and we think that downloading every Swedish Finn we can find on the early census would be a trip!

Maybe I should give this some more thought before I offer.... :rolleyes:

What specifically are you interested in, Syrene? People appearing in the census born in Finland but speaking Swedish? I could take Marquette (city) for example and go through that and extract all who meet that criteria. I think there were at least 5 wards and maybe a few townships so it would take a while but since there's almost a year to do it, I could. Not sure I'd want to commit to greater than that area. But who knows.

Let me know your thoughts/ideas/desires

02-03-04, 21:52
There's writing on the bottom of the photo. Is that the name of the individual? Emil Nelson? It looks handwritten with "Gladstone Mich" being printed.

02-03-04, 22:32
My Fin/Swede family in Vancouver B.C. used to go to the Hastings Bakery every week to buy "Scorpon" ( not sure of the spelling) from Abbos, the baker. This was Thick toasted braided Swedish Cardomon Bread, sprinkled with cinammon and crystal sugar on top....It is like a boscotti.

A-M Löfdahl
03-03-04, 19:26
Emil Nelson is printed as well. I assume that´s the name of the photographer.

03-03-04, 19:31
Hi Anne-Marie,
If it's printed, then it probably is the photographer. From the photographs that I've seen from that time period, the studio/photographer's name was printed in more of a block style rather than a style that resembles handwriting.

Oh well, it was worth a shot! :(

A-M Löfdahl
03-03-04, 19:34
Could someone say more specific from which time-period this photo is??

04-03-04, 01:13
I would think the timeframe would be 1880s give or take 20 years.

Here is a website that will help you with more exact information.


11-03-04, 09:19
"Speaking of those steam baths, did you hear that story they tell of the Finnish G.I. who was captured by some cannibals in the Phillipines? They put him in a big pot to boil and left him there for about six hours. ; The the cannibal chief lifts up the cover, and the Finn sticks out his head and says, 'What blace is de switches and towel?'"

I just read this in "Bloodstoppers and Bear Walkers, folk tales of Immigrants, Lumberjacks & Indians" by Richard M. Dorson.

Hope you are able to crack a smile as I did

M. Waters
21-03-04, 21:07
Hej and Hei! I just had to jump into the food discussion....and the correct Swedish spelling of one of the items (Trenary product) is skorpor, in the plural, of course. And the term for the cardamom coffee braid is Vetebröd or Pulla (Swedish and Finnish), according to my collection of Swedish and Finnish cookbooks, one by Beatrice Ojakangas.

I enter this discussion a bit late because we just returned from a little drive to California from the U.P. (three weeks and 6,000+ miles). Great trip (missed most of their nasty weather except for a hailstorm), and wonderful visits with "new" cousins: a third cousin and a second cousin in the Kock/Hoppa tree, and another on my Johnson side. It's taking a while to catch up now, but I'm enjoying the archives. Hej då, Midge.

23-03-04, 05:24
Thanks Midge for the correct name of the cardamom Coffee Braid. My family and friends always referred to the Coffee Braid as Mama's Bread. Had no idea that it was called Vetebrod. My mother called it Mama's bread too. Have you any idea where this term might have come from? It was a mainstay item in our home while growing up and was always served with coffee, infact I think coffee was part of the glaze.

M. Waters
23-03-04, 15:10
Hej igen........I got out my swedish dictionary and found the meaning of vetebröd....wheat bread! It seems that cardamom(kardemumma in my old Swedish book) bread should have a more fitting name, doesn't it! Looking a little further, I see that variations of that recipe can be used for making rolls (bullar), buttercake, saffron buns, or Fat Tuesday buns (semlor). Another book used the basic vetebröd recipe to make a cinnamon ring, too. Now I'm in the mood for baking, but alas..no time. Midge.