Copyright © 1998 by Mary Modderman
Used with permission

"The Queen of the Lakes, my dear old City of Midland will very shortly complete her experience of being recycled into a lake going barge. The great, thick hull once built to defy Lake Michigan's tantrums and fierce squalls is now only a shell to fill with rough loads of timber and stone. Powerless, stripped of her great engines, anchors, and pride; totally dependent on the skill of a tugboat. This is one ferry that sure could've used a magic wand!

Memories of girlhood trips with friends and family blend into a summer sail with a steady guy. And a honeymoon sail the following year with that guy now a beloved husband. Shortly after that, she became the harbor centerpiece. Only a poignant memory of past glory days on the great blue lake.

How sad that frail Mr. Conrad's dream could only afford to send one great old ferry out to begin new adventures. The grand old queen with her tired boilers could only watch from her mooring as her sister, Badger, began a new trade with bright-eyed tourists.

Seeing her moored at Muskegon with that huge four legged cranespider leveling our tall, beauty queen into a plain working girl has brought new meaning to bittersweet. One way of life falls before technology and frantic time schedules. Time and speed weren't such a big deal then, getting there was more important. My son, a computer wizard, can only relive history through books and conversations. We all have to live to create history. His mourning not being born 50 years earlier came as a surprise at first. This boy teetering on the brink of manhood wanting to trade his computer for a slower, more mechanical days? For him it's been a learning experience. For me as I enter my 50th. year, it seems to underscore that nothing lasts forever except cherished memories held together with friends."

Mary Modderman 3/27/98

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