ONCE UPON A PENINSULA – A children’s coloring book by Tim Carroll(Nigeria)

‘I just had to live a long time:’ Beloved Old Mission memories turned into children’s coloring book

by Jessie Williams
Special to the Record-Eagle
June 29, 2022

MAPLETON MI — As a fifth-generation Old Mission Peninsula resident, Tim Carroll (Nigeria 1963-65) has an abundance of stories about his home.

“I’ve always been interested in the history of this place, and I love my roots,” Carroll said.

Tim Carroll (Nigeria 1963-65) received the first Shriver Award for Humanitarian Service in 1986.

Carroll, 83, is sharing his perspective on the Peninsula’s history in a new coloring book, Once Upon A Peninsula, which features stories from his boyhood on the Peninsula.

The book, which includes coloring and other activities, features stories and pictures from the Old Mission Peninsula during Carroll’s youth. Once Upon A Peninsula was illustrated by local artist Yvette Haberlein, who previously illustrated “The Traverse City Coloring Book” project.

Carroll is a regular presenter at Peninsula Community Library, hosting the monthly history-focused “Talk with Tim” program.

“Tim is the sponsor of our Local History Room, and he’s beloved by all in the community,” Morgan said. “He’s a wealth of information, and he delivers history in a fun and exciting way.”

Old Mission Peninsula School music teacher Liz Hague helped to edit Carroll’s stories for a third grade reading level. “As an educator, and as a parent, I think it’s so important for your children to know history, and to know what life was like,” Hague said.

The book’s launch has been closely tied to OMPS. Carroll visited the school’s combined third grade class, answered questions, and gave them copies of the book.

“The kids were mesmerized by him, and they loved his book,” third grade teacher Tracy LaFoille said.

LaFoille added that the book has helped students’ comprehension of local history.

“A lot of the kids don’t make those connections. They don’t understand what it was like to live back in the day, before the Internet, before cell phones.”

“To have the visual and the story that goes with the coloring page — it’s hands-on, and shows them what it looked like,” LaFoille said. “It really made those connections and gave it a deeper meaning for them.”

The book is a project of Peninsula Community Library’s Johnson-Carroll Local History Room.

After working with Carroll and listening to his stories, Local History Librarian Mary Morgan got the inspiration for Once Upon A Peninsula.

“I would always get this vision of, ‘wouldn’t it be fun to turn this into a coloring book,’ because his stories are very relatable for a child,” Morgan said.

Morgan proposed the idea for the coloring book to Carroll, who was enthusiastic to share his stories. Carroll credits Morgan and Peninsula Community Library director Vicki Shurly with the production of the book.

“I’m just the guy with the memory,” Carroll said. “I loved being the star; I didn’t have to do a lot for that. I just had to live a long time.”

Carroll’s favorite story in the book eventually inspired his career.

“The globe that was in our one-room schoolhouse — you could pull it down if you got your work done. The globe was suspended from the ceiling,” Carroll said. “I was looking at it one day, and I could see the outline of our little peninsula. I thought, ‘I could go any place in the world and find my way home.’”

Inspired by that thought, Carroll embarked on an international career before returning to the Old Mission Peninsula. In the federal government, Carroll worked in eight foreign countries, including five years as the protocol officer for two attorneys general.

“I never lived in a country that I didn’t like,” Carroll said.

After receiving their copies of Once Upon A Peninsula, the third graders at Old Mission Peninsula School now have a summer challenge: visiting the locations mentioned in the book, compiled on a map by Morgan. Once they visit all locations, Peninsula Community Library will provide them with a coupon for ice cream at Buchan’s Blueberry Hill. The third graders will also give reports on the book at Carroll’s next session of Talk with Tim on June 21 at Peninsula Community Library.

Once Upon A Peninsula is available for $20 at local retailers. Carroll hosts “Talk with Tim” at Peninsula Community Library on the third Tuesday of each month.

In addition to being a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nigeria from 1963-65, Tim Carroll was also the Peace Corps Country Director in Pakistan, Poland and Russia between 1990 and 1995. For a decade of work with Eye Care, Inc. in Haiti, Tim received the first Shriver Award for Humanitarian Service in 1986. After founding the Office of Protocol for the Department of Justice, (1997-01), Tim Carroll retired to his family farm in Michigan. He continues his interest in international affairs and travels widely.

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  • I had to laugh at myself and say a big thanks to Mr. Google … nowhere in this fine article does it say where “the Peninsula” is … never would have dreamed Michigan without Google. Congrats on a job well done!!

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