People who live in the northern part of Michigan, called Upper Michigan, are known as Uppers—but they pronounce it “YOO-pers.” Germfask, the tiny town where Molly White (7) lives, lies in Upper Michigan between the northern end of Lake Michigan and the southern shore of Lake Superior. The town’s name was made up from the initials of the original settlers there. Molly is a sixth-generation Germfaskian. That means that ever since her great-great-great-grandparents moved to that area, her family has lived there.
About three miles from her house is the Seney Wildlife Refuge. It is a man-made place for all sorts of animals: beavers, deer, raccoons, bears, turtles, and—especially—waterfowl, such as blue herons, cranes, bitterns, osprey, and many more. There are also zillions of beautiful trees, several ponds, or pools, and fragrant, pretty water lilies. Molly and her mother call it “a little bit of heaven here on earth that Heavenly Father gave us.” They go there every evening they can and say that it gives them peace when their day has been hectic.
Molly’s uncle works at the refuge. He controls the water level for the pools according to the needs of the animals and plant life. Molly likes to tell about the time a terrible windstorm knocked down trees, trapping people in the refuge. Her uncle helped get them out.
Ernie is Molly’s closest friend (besides her parents; grandmother; and older sisters, Gerri, Linda, and Sherry, who are grown up and married and living in other towns). Molly named Ernie even before he chose her. Yes, he chose her. He was one of a litter of puppies born to her grandma’s neighbor’s dog. When the puppies were old enough to leave their mother, Molly called, “Here, Ernie,” and he was the one that came! He’s a friendly dog and loves and protects her.
Her favorite place is a field across from her house. She isn’t allowed to go there without her dad or mom because a bear lives nearby. She has allergies that keep her away in the summer, anyway, so she goes there mostly in the winter, when the bear hibernates.
The Germfask post office serves only about two hundred people, and they are spread over a large area. Molly doesn’t mind the town being so small, but she wishes that the branch of the Church there had more people in it. Sometimes in the winter only four members (including Molly) make it to church!
Her mother is the Relief Society president and the Primary president—and the only Primary teacher. Her dad, who retired from a company that makes luxury cars farther south, cuts the grass around the meetinghouse. One day the lawn mower just stopped on him and wouldn’t move. A few seconds later, a big tree crashed where he would have been mowing. Then the lawn mower started to work again! The Whites are sure that the Lord was protecting him.
Molly thinks that children “who live in wards and even larger branches should be grateful to have other children in their Primaries. I ask my friends at school to come to church with me, but school is thirty-two miles away.” She and the other Germfaskian members ask for your prayers to help their branch grow.