Marilyn Green is a former teacher, advocate, journalist, and author, with more than a dozen books to her credit, including one produced in partnership with New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.
You can only have one: Rose’s caramel corn, an ice cream cone from Jersey Junction, or a Yesterdog. Which do you choose?
Rose’s caramel corn. I loved that copper pan, too!
What was your path from East Grand Rapids to where you are now in life?
After graduating from Michigan State in 1970, I taught art at a reform school near Detroit…grades K-12. After that I moved to Washington, D.C. where I was Information Officer for The Conservation Foundation. In 1974, I moved to Palo Alto, California. I worked as a reference librarian for the city of Palo Alto, ran a federally-funded project to involve senior citizens and kids in libraries in three Bay Area counties, was editor of a weekly Palo Alto newspaper and then quit to write a book about buttons.. “The Button Lover’s Book” was published by Chilton in 1991. I then went to work as Senior Editor and Cool Hunter for Klutz Press. I wrote about a dozen books for them, including one with the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I also traveled all over the world looking for ideas for books. I retired in 2007. I am married to Drew McCalley and now live at The Sea Ranch, California.
What specific thing did you learn in East that has enabled you to be successful?
Exceptional teachers and a close group of friends.
What were you like in school?
Quiet but feisty.
Did you have a favorite teacher or class?
Mr. Frosyland, English. (I think I am spelling his name wrong.)
If you had to choose one moment in one location to serve as the signature moment of your East school experience, what would it be?
Attending football and basketball games with my friends. Working on the yearbook.
What do you know now that you wish you’d known then?
Make friends with people with whom you don’t agree. There is always some common ground and the friendship will make life richer for you both.
Do you stay in touch with many people from East Grand Rapids?
Yes! My group of high school friends have stayed in touch and our friendship has deeped. We often meet on Zoom. My dear high school friends are Pat Johnston, Tina Norton Norris, Mary Kuhn Kraii, Ruth Hesselschwerdt Harris, and Nancy MacNaughton. A fellow classmate once referred to us as “the conscience of our class.”
What advice do you have for young East alums who are just starting out?
Follow the beat of your own drum and don’t take “no” for an answer.
Who else would you like us to have a virtual cup of coffee with?
Bonus question: What are you glad we didn’t ask you about?
What did you get away with?