I grew up on the Great Lakes. The lakes were always a backdrop for work, play and history. During his teenage years, my father worked as a steward on passenger ships between Detroit and Buffalo. My hometown of Huron, Ohio is the southern most port on the Great Lakes. In the 1970s, ocean going freighters would come from the Soviet Union or Taiwan to load grain from the town's landmark Pillsbury grain silos. In next door Sandusky, the coal docks picked up rail cars and tipped trainloads of Appalachian coal into ship holds. In the summer, we would boat over to the islands of western lake Erie and take our vacation the northern shore of Lake Michigan. In junior high, I was fascinated by the fact that Oliver Hazard Perry had won a major naval battle a few miles off shore during the War of 1812. I wrote an English paper in middle school on ship wrecks on Lake Erie. In November of that year was the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald on Lake Superior. My favorite fish of all time are Lake Erie Perch. During that time, I put together a small collection books.
1. Gales of November: The Sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald, Robert J. Hemming (1997). The Fitzgerald sinking was a reminder of how deadly shipping could be on the Great Lakes. Christmas gift.
2. A Pictorial History of the Great Lakes by Harlan Hatcher (1963). Large picture book showing history and modern life on the Great Lakes. Given to my father one Christmas and later inherited.
3. Land of the Inland Seas, by William Ellis (1994). Beautiful color pictures. Christmas gift.
Dwight Boyer wrote a series of books on the great lakes. His books tell a stories of shipwrecks, storms, and mysteries. Most of these acquired during my "shipwreck" phase in junior high.
4. Great Stories of the Great Lakes, Dwight Boyer (1966).
5. Ghost Ships of the Great Lakes, Dwight Boyer (1968).