Essay: Anonymous

Dec 13, 2019

When I came to Traverse City from Chicago in 1970, I didn’t plan to stay. I was young andsingle and couldn’t imagine living in such a small town where everybody knew everybody. Iliked being anonymous in a big city, the sense of freedom and possibility.

I was planning to move to San Francisco with a friend—but then she got engaged and I neededanother plan. Meanwhile, I needed a job so I answered an ad for a “Girl Friday” at the TraverseCity Record-Eagle. The newspaper was still owned by the Batdorffs in those days and Bob Batdorff said to me, “This will sound corny but it’s like a family here.” It did sound corny but he was right. And it wasn’t long before I was walking around downtown saying hello to people I knew. I wasn’t anonymous and I liked it. Liked it so much I never left. That was many years ago and Traverse City has changed a lot. I appreciate the great restaurantsand brew pubs and coffee shops. But it seems strange sometimes to walk around downtown andnot know anyone. I am anonymous again. Then someone calls me by name and I’m here where I belong.