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More info from, and about
Mike Neiswonger (Now deceased)
Addendum to his memories of Pat Halley

For some reason, it really hit me hard that Pat had taken his life.  I haven't seen him more than a handful of times in the last 35 years as I came in and out of Detroit.  I guess thinking about him and his despair just brought back old memories, good ones of a good friend and quite a character during what were some interesting and good days. 

I may have mentioned that I got your original note from Dennis Rosenblum.  I've been in pretty good touch with him since I came back to Michigan from Alaska in 1995 (more about that below).  It was through Dennis that I last saw Pat.  We played poker over at Dennis' home one night with some other guys and Pat visited me a few times while I was adjusting to life in Michigan again and trying to re-establish old ties. 

I've also been forwarding everything I get to Lenny Schafer out in Sacramento.  I don't know if you knew Lenny.  He's had a rough time of his own, but things have turned around quite a bit for him in the last year or so.  He has an autistic child and has been very active in the effort to deal with that disease.  Lenny hasn't changed that much in many ways. 

Let me give you a brief bio and maybe some of this will fall into place: 

I came to the FE in 1971.  I was an English teacher at Cass high school and I wanted to write.  The staff was changing at the time, Peter and Marilyn pretty much left and well as several others who had been with the paper while it grew, after Harvey O.  The staff got smaller and smaller and pretty soon it was just me, Ken Fireman and Lenny.  I forget who was setting type then, maybe Cathy Coughlin (?), and of course Bill Rowe doing the books.  Then the staff grew again and Dennis and Pat and others began contributing or being there every day. 

My political background had been with a little grass roots group in Southwest Detroit, known as the Resistance.  We were getting movies from the Detroit film group run by DOC, the Detroit Organizing Committee, to show to bikers in our basements.  Doc at that time was Jim Jacobs, Hamish Sinclair, Jeff whose last name I can't remember and another guy, the film guy, (Renee?) whose name I also can't remember.  They introduced us (and recruited the hell out us) to Lenin and Co., which was a little too much of the same old thing for me (I was a veteran and the US military was pretty much a communist system) and I ended up getting myself bent toward anarchism (anarcho-syndicalism, if you will).  During this time I also worked at the Print Co-op, learning darkrooms and offset printing under Freddy and Loraine Perlman. 

In addition to bringing back word of the child-god from Denver, Lenny and I also learned about coin boxes, which set up a little stand off with Jim Kennedy over how much we were getting for the paper from the truckers.  They tried to strike us and we bought boxes and about tripled revenue of street sales.  Then there was a peace and Kennedy and I both developed a little more respect for each other and friendship.   

About 1974 my marriage was falling apart from lack of money and city stress so my wife and daughter and I moved up to Big Rapids and started a publishing company, which did a conventional little newspaper and a shopper's guide.  That failed but I managed to get into mainstream newspapers and did that for a while until my marriage collapsed and I headed back to Detroit. 

One of the first things I did was look up the Truckers.  They had grown by leaps and bounds and were just moving into their new warehouse.  They had gone from panel trucks to delivery trucks.  I moved into one of the houses, (John Joyce's) and lived there for several months, working on several things.  You might have been there then, I don't recall.  I was driving with Pete Quant (Gaffney) and David Katz (mostly) and of course, spending half my time in a bar somewhere.  This is when I meet Pat's wife Linda. 

From there I went to Oregon (woman thing) was there about a year as editor of a daily business newspaper, of all things.  When that ran its course I came back to Detroit again, knocked around and eventually landed a job downtown at the gas company as a darkroom technician (thanks, Freddy Perlman).  Then they found out I could also write and I shot up the organization and became a PR person for the gas company, media relations.  If they blew up a house, I was one who gave a quote to the press.  Best money I ever made in my life and I hated it. 

Got married and divorced again and in 1985 said the hell with it, sold my home, put everything I had in the back of a rebuilt laundry truck and drove up the AlCan highway to Alaska where I spent the next ten years, publishing a city magazine and doing stuff (writing, PR) for the pipeline company and the governor's office. 

I came back to Michigan again in 1995 and I've been here since.  My daughter was about to have her first child and Alaska was just too far away (and too dark all winter). 

That's when I looked up Rosenblum.  I held various contract jobs, including at Ford where I did PR for product launches and at some small independent PR firms and then had my own for a few years.  Got married again, this one's lasted 11 years, new record, and when my wife retired from Circuit Court (she was a clerical person) we bought property up here and built a house in the woods, 20 miles from the closet town...middle of nowhere and we love it. 

I'm in Missaukee County, about 20 miles northeast of Lake City and about 20 miles northwest of Houghton Lake.  The community is called Moorestown and it is on the map although it's just a general store, a fire department, a grass runway and a church. 

Dennis has a friend who owns some hunting/fishing property about 3 miles from my house and so I see Dennis a couple times a year and we e-mail all the time. 

Over the years, my politics never changed very much although I got a lot quieter about them, mostly in order to make a living and survive but also it came to seem like "What's the point?"  I remember when I got promoted up at the gas company another friend, whom you might know, High Carey, asked me "How are you going to hide your friends?" 

These days, we live in a part of the state that is about 105% Christian Fundamentalist with a little Michigan Militia, so I just keep to myself and enjoy the forest. 

Mike Neiswonger