The village of Birch Clump is in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula. It is about half way between Menominee to the west, and Escanaba east along M-35 highway. It is nestled on the shores of Green Bay and surrounded by pristine forest. It was never a large place, though the population was nearly double in the 1950s-1970s of today.
All the children are above average, just as Garrison Keillor would say of his beloved Lake Woebegone. They can run freer here than in most large cities. Crime is very low. The last murder was decades ago, a domestic thing spoken only in hushes back then. About the worst that happens is a bar knuckle fight once in a while. Tourists loved the one a couple of guys had out in the general store parking lot last summer. Wow, that was something. It lasted a couple of minutes; luckily without any debilitating injuries. Those two boys are good friends this year.
Compare BC with some of those so called ideal family value TV towns, and I’ll take Birch Clump any day. Cabot Cove of Murder She Wrote had a murder every week, fifty two per year. Little Home on the Prairie had fist-n-cuff disputes, just like you can find in my books. However, that dinky little prairie town also had a few murders, armed robberies, anti-Native American racial violence and folks shooting guns at each other.
Many residents are responsible gun owners, yet there have been no recorded gun crimes in BCV. They’ve come a long way in race relations as well, even promoting Indigenous cultural rights. It was a long hard road getting there, as noted in these books.
There was at least one robbery. That was in 1971 at the general store. Neil the stock boy can tell you about that. He was beaten up pretty bad by the intruder in the short story, Start the Day Right.
BC Village had its boom and bust days starting back in the old lumbering times and through the days of copper and iron ore mining. The marina kept the town going shipping the local timber and later the ore smelted in Fayette to industrial cities via the Great Lakes. When the old smelting process ended, so did most of jobs at the BC Marina. Fayette became a ghost town. Birch Clump just got a little sleepy (at least those passing through that didn't read these books might think so.)