A Transplanted Yooper
A Transplanted Yooper
A Transplanted Yooper
A Transplanted Yooper

What's a Yooper?

What exactly is a Yooper? Well, if you're a native of Michigan, you already know it's the name for folks who are from the Upper Peninsula, the U.P.


The origin of the word "Yooper" is a mystery. The word may have come from people who said they were from "the Upper" or "the U-per." Eventually, some writer, somewhere, spelled it phonetically: Yooper. Today, everyone from Michigan knows what a Yooper is!


Yoopers are defensive about their nickname and just who gets to be called a Yooper. You could spend every summer in the U.P., but in the eyes of many Yoopers, you'd have to live there year-round. Some die-hard Yoopers say you've got to be born in the U.P. to call yourself a Yooper.

Michigan's Upper Peninsula, the northern of two land masss that make up the state, is home to about 325,000 people, about 3 percent of the state's population who live in about one-third of the state's land area. The U.P. is a rugged and wild peninsula, and people who live in the U.P. are generally rugged, hardy folks.


The two peninsulas are connected by the Mackinac Bridge at the Straits of Mackinac, the spot were Lakes Huron and Michigan meet. It was inevitable that Michigan folks who live below the bridge, "under" the bridge, would be  called "trolls." You remember the childhood story about the troll under the bridge, right?


So, if you're a Yooper:

* You hold up your LEFT hand sideways and point to your palm to show where your Yooper roots are. (Trolls do this using their right hand).

*  Your co-workers look at you funny when you say “eh?”, turning any comment into a question.

* You root for the Green Bay Packers in football but support the Detroit Red Wings in hockey.

* You often crave pickled eggs and blackberry brandy, two Yooper delicacies..

* You not only have a strong opinion on where to find the best pasties (pronounced PAS-tees), but you can discuss for hours the unique variations of different recipes.

* You know how to get to Phoenix (not the city in Arizona) and Christmas.

* You've experienced a Hilltop cinnamon roll and likely took a picture of it to show troll friends.

* You recognize 1962, 1965, 1975, 1988, 1991, 1992, 1994 as great years in college ice hockey.

* Swimming in any lake warmer than 54 degrees is no big deal.

* You know the history of "Anatomy of a Murder".
* You know where Hiawatha National Forest is.



A Transplanted Yooper: tina@transplantedyooper.com


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©2008-2016 Lonski Publishing. A Transplanted Yooper, Barn Raising and The Bootleg Buggy are books with original stories by Tina Lonski and celebrate the culture and history of Michigan.