Countries We Write In: Briana Michelle Meyer

After 6 years away living and working in South Korea, I’m back home to my roots for a year as I prepare for graduate school. I am a very proud Wisconsinite. I love Wisconsin. We’ve been a state since 1848 and while our motto is “Forward,” we Wisconsinites have a new motto: Out drinking your state since 1848. That’s because we have more bars than churches here.

I’m going in with this as people don’t really know Wisconsin. They know about the fact that we love sports (the Packers are considered god like for some people), beer (one of Milwaukee’s nicknames is Brew City because so many brewing companies started here due to German immigrants), cheese, and how cold it is in winter. But what people don’t know about Wisconsin is how it’s like a time capsule and also a place for the future and everything in between.

A map of Wisconsin

Wisconsin’s history is rich and deep. Just looking at this map you can see that. The western side of the state has more French influence (shout out to Prairie du Chien, which we pronounce sheen, Eau Claire, and La Crosse) compared to the eastern southern portion that sometimes gets clunked together as part of the Greater Chicagoland Area. My hometown is in an area known as the Fox River Valley. We affectionately call it the Valley or the 920, which is our area code. My hometown is right on the Fox River, divided by the River like so many communities over here. It was named in honor of the founder of the local university’s father in law. (And then we have Oshkosh, named after Chief Oshkosh.)

To the north and the side, there’s beautiful Door County where right now the fall colors on the trees are beautiful. Brown County is home to Green Bay, the home of the Green Bay Packers. The Packers are our bloodline here. It is the only NFL team in a small market town still and the only one owned by fans. And let me tell you, the wait for season tickets is so long that kids get put on the list when they are babies in hopes of them getting tickets when they are older. Also, people will their season tickets away when they pass.

Hortonville

So many communities look like Hortonville. They have a small town feel that takes you away into a peaceful life. Wisconsin’s biggest areas still have areas where you can relax and feel calm and at ease.

Culver’s

I would be remiss to not mention Culver’s. Its a fast food place that began in Wisconsin, famous for their butter burgers and custard. Each location is independently owned but they have to follow the Culver’s way. The store has been spreading across the US so it is no longer a Midwest secret. There are locations in Texas and Florida now, and they most likely were opened by people who lived in Wisconsin for a time. My area of the state also has Tom’s Drive In. They have the best cheese curds and it’s a shame I can no longer eat them.

A very blurry picture of me holding a Turtle Arctic Blast

By now you are probably wondering “okay but Briana, where do you write?” Well, it’s my kitchen table. The office has a computer on the desk already but it’s old and doesn’t work well. So I just write in the kitchen when I feel like it. Otherwise, I just write on my phone.

Anyway, back to some pictures. There are two communities in my area known as Kaukauna and Little Chute (we joke that Little Chute is Dutch central since so many people there have the word “van” in their last name. Also they have a working windmill. Both communities are located on the river and have trails that were connected a few years back.

The sign explaining the crossing
The Fox River in all her glory
This waterway leads to the lock system on the other side of this walking bridge you have to take from the park
The lock system (we just call it the Locks) helps boats get across and access the Fox River safely from different waterways
This weekend I headed down to visit my dear friends and their children for the first time in 6 years. We went to the Milwaukee Zoo and had a fun time and I was thankful to finally meet my nieces and nephew.

Fun Wisconsin Facts:

  • Artist Bon Iver (Justin Vernon) is from Eau Claire.
  • Milwaukee and Madison both share the distinction of being the state capital. Madison is now the capital.
  • We can tell if you aren’t from around here easily and it’s because of how you discuss our state university. Madison refers to BOTH the city and university. People from outside of the state call it University of Wisconsin. But no one says that here.
  • Edna Ferber is from my home town. She has an elementary school named after her. My hometown is also the same hometown as Willem Defoe and Senator Joseph McCarthy.
  • A lot of TV shows have been set in Wisconsin. They include Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, That 70’s Show, Step by Step, and Liv & Maddie. Apparently Supernatural was also based in Wisconsin. Also, Sonny Monroe from Sonny with a Chance is from my hometown. Criminal Minds also had 3 episodes based in my state (Milwaukee and Madison respectively).
  • The former commissioner of the MLB, Bud Selig, is from Milwaukee. He helped keep baseball in Milwaukee. The Milwaukee Braves moved to Atlanta in the 1960s and that left the city without a major league team for years. But between Bud and many others, they worked hard to make the MLB remember that Milwaukee deserved a team again.
  • Speaking of Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Bucks are big once again. When former owner Herb Kohl sold the team, one of the requirements was that the owners had to keep the team in Milwaukee. The new owners have kept their promise, we have a new arena (since the NBA was threatening us with relocation to a different state), and we even won a NBA title for the first time since the 1970s. Brewers, better luck next year.
  • Maureen Daly’s book Seventeenth Summer is considered to be one of the first YA novels. The setting of the book? Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder was born in Pepin, WI. I’ve been to her log house. It was small.
  • I have to explain New Glarus. The area is very Swiss like (and for good reason). But it is also home to New Glarus Brewery. You can only buy their beer in Wisconsin. If a bar is selling it out of state, they can get fined.
  • Wisconsin’s cultural heritage is large and vast. We joke about Milwaukee being festival season every summer but it’s true. There are so many different cultural events happening over the summer downtown or at the Summerfest grounds.

If my post about Wisconsin has you wanting to know more about this wonderful state, you can look no further than Another Life, a blog by Laura Biskupic, who I have known since high school (I went to school with her kids). She has stories upon stories about what makes Wisconsin unique, cozy, and a great place to live.

I hope reading this gave you all a taste of Wisconsin. I always tell people to visit (except during winter because it is too cold) and when they do, they can’t believe what they are seeing.

Briana Michelle Meyer is an aspiring author who spent 6 years living and working in South Korea. Right now she’s trying to finish her current WIP before the year is out. It’s not going well. You can find her on Twitter.

Published by Bri

30 year old Wisconsinite and aspiring author.

8 thoughts on “Countries We Write In: Briana Michelle Meyer

  1. Lovely photos and so many interesting facts i never knew about Wisconsin✨ Your love for your hometown shines!

    Like

  2. First of all I loveee Bon Iver! Wow your pictures are so lovely The waterway and river is so serene and beautiful
    Amazing Bri ✨

    Like

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