Discover the human heart in the heartland! Curiosity & adventure guide Nancy Camden as she wanders Wisconsin to randomly record interviews with strangers for her podcast "Spotting Wisconsin." For thirty years, public radio stations were her companion as Camden traveled across the country to sell her fabric art at art fairs. She began her self-taught career in independent audio producing in 2008 and has produced for Milwaukee and Kalamazoo Public Radio. She currently produces for Wisconsin Public Radio's "Wisconsin Life" as well as her podcast.
Within a few seconds of my pressing record, Peter Laing revealed why he had taken up bicycling on the Interurban Trail in Ozaukee County—to handle his grief. This interview was recorded in August of 2015 at a picnic table on the trail in Belgium, Wisconsin.
In late August, I was biking in Harrington Beach State Park when I spotted a man with binoculars. He was looking into the woods by Lake Michigan. Turns out, Mark Sulway had flown from across the pond (Wales, United Kingdom) and was bird watching in Wisconsin. Visit with Mark who was spotting ‘lifers’ near the village of Belgium for his world-wide list.
Earl Feick’s Bluebird nesting boxes are shorter than most so he can take care of them from his mobility scooter. Photograph by Nancy Camden.
I stood next to an older man who was sitting on a mobility scooter at the Holland Festival parade in Cedar Grove, Wisconsin in late July. I learned that the mobility scooter isn’t because he is in his eighties but because at age five, in a small town in North Dakota, his legs were paralyzed from polio. “Same time next year,” he said, when we left. Meet Earl Feick and his wife, Irmgard, who live in Plymouth, Wisconsin.
Tracy, Sean and Jeff Miller on the last day of a fourteen-day family bike trip around Lake Michigan. Peter Leaders walking nearly 9,000 miles around the outer states of the U.S.A. August 2015 Photographs by Nancy Camden.
Can you hike for an hour? Can you see yourself biking for fourteen days with two twelve-year-olds? How about walking nearly 9,000 miles around the outer states of the U.S.A.? Three times in four days in late August, strangers-on-the-move through Ozaukee County were on-the-spot interviewed for Spotting Wisconsin. What is a ‘challenge’ is personal. Hearing these people meeting challenges is inspirational.
Did you know that among us are people who remember spotting teams of horses hitched in town? This episode of Spotting Wisconsin shares portions of an oral history I recorded. I have enhanced this little memory piece with audio from my sound collection. Travel back in time with John Kauffman who now lives in Cedarburg but grew up in Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin in the 1920’s and 30’s.
Check out this fun and useful website, MissPronouncer.com to hear the correct pronunciation of Wisconsin towns, cities, rivers, Native American tribes and people’s names. Watch the video for a good laugh.
Kris and Tim Fitzpatrick are being inspected by the bees (see them at Kris’ knees) at the beehives behind their house in rural Vernon County, WI. Photograph by Nancy Camden.
In early October, I knocked on the door of a hobby beekeeper in rural southwestern Wisconsin’s Vernon County. Their neighbor had pointed it out as a story for Spotting Wisconsin. Tim Fitzpatrick and his wife, Kris, led me down the hill behind the house to the honey bee hives where in the summer an estimated 600,000 bees work to maintain the colonies. What happens when the days shorten and the plants stop producing nectar? Why do the Fitzpatrick’s keep bees?
Michael Feldman of the public radio show “Whad’Ya Know” talking with Jim Falkner. Photo by Nancy Camden
Jim Falkner of Milwaukee sat next to me at a live airing of the humorous Wisconsin Public Radio show, Michael Feldman’s Whad’Ya Know? We ‘yacked’ a little before the show. It made me wonder, what does Jim know? So, a couple days later, I phoned to find out that he had been admitted to the hospital the next morning after the show. Change—it happens! I am making an intention to handle it better with Jim as a role model. (Jim and I are deeply saddened that Michael Feldman’s show of thirty-one years has been cancelled. This episode was recorded in Jim’s hospital room in spring of 2015. ) See this photo message to Feldman from Jim on the day I recorded him. ‘Like,’ comment and share at Spotting Wisconsin’s Facebook page.
Eastern Shores Library System Bookmobile. Photo by Nancy Camden.
Come ride a day in a noisy library that runs on diesel and rolls around on wheels. Even when stopped, it’s noisy, because everything inside, the lights, heat and computers are powered with a generator. It’s the Eastern Shores Library System bookmobile that is driven by two hardy librarians who serve the people in the small towns and rural areas of Sheboygan and Ozaukee Counties. To see the interior and people of the bookmobile click the following links: Inside the bookmobile.Librarian Sue Potter at her desk.Lily & Carol Fredricks & librarian Lisa Haartman. Driving down a country road.(The obviously appreciated and loved bookmobile librarian, Sue Potter will retire in July of 2016 after 29 years on the road. This story was recorded in April 2015.) Comment and share at Spotting Wisconsin’s Facebook page.
Slow down! We’re in Colby, Wisconsin. I knocked on a door to ask directions to a historical marker. Eighty-six-year-old Virginia ‘Ginny’ Brown invited me in. With her antique calendar clock ticking, she talks about the early years, the present and the uncertain future—reflections on change, the passage of time, the story of life.