The truth about life in Cascade, MI

It was a bubble, but it’s our bubble

Cascade, Michigan, a suburb of Grand Rapids, was a quiet township full of life.

Cascade was a perfect place to grow up, to learn and to shape that I have become today. I will always have the luxury of going back when I need to and immersing myself into the charm that it holds. It’s a place that holds a spot in my heart that will never go away. I don’t always miss the negative parts but I will always miss the familiar faces and friendly atmosphere.

They may call it the bubble, but the bubble is and forever will be home.

Traditions, both old and new, are our everything

In this small town, you don’t have to venture far to find traditions. Going to watch Woodland Mall put up the skyscraper-sized Christmas tree for the holidays, going apple-picking at Robinettes with a cup of hot cider or ice skating on the frozen baseball field by the river. The town is filled with traditions. Many families make new traditions, while some stick with the old.

It’s the small details that make Cascade so special. The horror of driving down 28th Street at the high points of the day, going exactly 35 mph on Spaulding because you know a cop will be sitting over the hill, taking pictures at the covered bridge just because everyone else does it and shoveling your buried car out of the snow just to make it before first period. Everyone makes their own memories in this town, but it’s nice to know that so many of us have memories in common.

“Winter is coming” is our main motto

The season that most people dread, yet some people still seem to love. Michigan is known for its cold weather season. After all ,we experience it for almost six months. Mornings were spent in front of the T.V., watching the scrolling screen of school closings and delays. On those rare snow days, you could find most people sleeping or, for the younger bunch, sledding behind cars and down the hills at Cascade Park.

Subzero temperatures mean the heat is always on and you didn’t “fit in” with the cool kids until you owned a knee-length puffy Northface coat. If you weren’t sledding or sleeping, Cannonsburg Ski Area was the hangout for dedicated skiers and snowboarders.

Potholes are our worst enemies

Almost everyone that lives in Cascade knows this word all too well. It makes most cringe. After a long and grueling winter season, the thawing of snow is the best sight to see. The problem? It leaves potholes. Even though the snow is a beautiful sight, the distress on car tires is tiresome. The expanding of the roads creates holes up to your chin. Most of the drives to and from work and school require constant dodging of holes — and avoiding purchasing a new set of tires.

Meijer is life

No, it’s not Costco or Sam’s Club — it’s a midwest thing. Meijer was a community supermarket. Not being from “the midwest,” many people did not know of this retail giant. The superstore is Michigan-based and was a go-to for many families in the community. It’s a place to shop in a friendly and giving environment. It can be compared to a Target, although it had aisles full of food. Not to mention they made the best birthday cakes in the area.

A quick trip to the Lake is anything but

When things get to be too much in this small town, just jump in the car for a short 45-minute drive west and the beach is there to greet you. It’s no tropical oasis, but it is many people’s getaway. Lake Michigan is a weekend home for many people in Cascade. Whether you go for the day or stay for a while, you can always see a familiar place. From Pronto Pups to jumping off the pier, it changes the scenery from our small, bustling town to a relaxing, waterfront setting.

There’s a familiar face on every corner

If you want to go grab some food, — or go basically anywhere — make sure you are prepared to see at least one person you know. Although this town may not seem very small, it’s small enough. Forest Hills Foods should be avoided at all costs, especially if you don’t want to deal with bad drivers in the parking lot.

The term “Cascade Cupcakes” is thrown around more often than not. Long story short, these women are never seen without makeup, are first in the drop-off line and can usually be spotted in a Range Rover or Escalade. Cascade boasts very affluent and wealthy families and most neighborhoods would feel like a Beverly Hills suburb to some.

To whom do you pledge your allegiance?

Michigan or Michigan State. There is no in between in this battle. Almost 90 percent of people in Cascade have a connection to one or the other. It’s your typical in state rivalry that will never disappear. Green and white are the colors that have run through my family for generations. I broke that streak to move to the SEC, but my parents forgive me for it. No one in our family dates to utters the words “blue and yellow.” You’re either for one or against one, you can never be both. The Michigan-Michigan State game is treated like a holiday. Growing up going to MSU games, it’s an atmosphere like no other. Diehard fans covered in head-to-toe colors fill up almost every bar the town has to offer. The result is one happy group and one sour group, but it’s always fun.

The Homecoming Parade was the year’s best event

Friday night games are nothing without tradition. Homecoming Friday is a day filled with events and pep rallies, and the week leading up to homecoming includes “senior sister” week. Each senior girl chooses a freshman girl and dresses her up in fun and wacky outfits on the days leading up to Friday. Fridays included shortened classes, lots of face paint and fierce competition. The pep rally was be followed by the homecoming parade that winds through the streets and neighborhoods surrounding the school. The band would lead and the cars would follow. The streets would shut down and be filled with children and families waving fanatically. This week includes everything but paying attention to academics, which was just fine.

Thornapple River was the spot come summertime

Summertime was spent on the river. If you were lucky enough to have a house on the river (or a friend that did), you could spend all day floating under the sun. Crossing the bridge, you can see the boats and jet skis racing down the narrow stretch of water. Whether you’re sitting or jumping, you feel like you’re on top of the world. The Thornapple Bridge is a notorious landmark for jumping into the river. The high drop could be seen covered with dare devil kids splashing into the water on a hot summer day.

Okay, maybe we are yankees. Maybe.

It’s a term that this town is all too familiar with. Although us “Michiganders” don’t see where it comes from, but to others we do things a lot differently. In the past years of not living in the “bubble” it is much more prevalent than before. No, it is not “soda” —  it’s “pop.” We love our pop, especially a Big Gulp at Speedway in Ada.

Our pronunciation is what gets people the most. Although we boarder Canada, we are not Canadian though it may sound that way sometimes. The “Yuppers” have that covered, also known as those who live in the Upper Peninsula (which many people don’t even know exists). Anything that has the letter “A” in it sounds a lot different in our neck of the woods. Almost sounds nasaly as some would describe it.

It may be a bubble, but it’s our bubble. Cascade, thank you for everything.

Ole Miss: University of Mississippi