[meteorite-list] METEOR - RIDGE -FARM

SSachs9056 at aol.com SSachs9056 at aol.com
Sat Jan 13 15:37:32 EST 2001
Hi list,
Hope all is well with everyone. Here is a mystery that has baffled me for 
some time. An author claims that a cemetary headstone for her grandmother is 
from a meteorite.

To begin with....Some years ago I bought a children's story book by author 
Patricia Polacco,  entitled METEOR!  It's about an alleged meteor which fell 
on her grandmother's farm near Union City Michigan many years ago and the 
town reception celebrating it's arival. Cute story. I personally was born and 
raised in Kalamazoo Michigan, some 40 miles away. In the book the author 
describes how the meteorite which fell had been studied by scientists from 
University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and Battle Creek College. 
But looking further into this, I could not find any listing in any calalog 
about this meteorite or event. The children's story ends with the meteorite 
being used as a tombstone marker for the author's grandmother. All of the 
landmarks and towns the author uses, is familiar to me being a former 

What makes this even more interesting is when I looked up the author's name 
on the internet and she now lives at her grandmother's home and has called it 
METEOR RIDGE FARM. With the following address, anyone on the internet can 
look at this headstone: http://www.patriciapolacco.com/htour.html  There 
you'll see the author kneeling next to the headstone. Looks a bit like a 
pallasite from a distance. 

Does anyone on this list know more about this??? I still have relatives near 
Kalamazoo, but only go once a year for a day, and have not had a chance to go 
to the actual cemetary (it does exist) and look at the tombstone first hand. 

Would appreciate imput from any list member who knows more about this mystery.

Thanks all 

Steven L. Sachs

[meteorite-list] METEOR - RIDGE -FARM

MeteorHntr at aol.com MeteorHntr at aol.com
Sat Jan 13 23:56:24 EST 2001
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Hello Steven,

Years ago, (maybe 7??) I read that story and a few months later happened to 
be up in the North, so I scheduled a trip to the cemetery you mentioned.  My 
mind is a little fuzzy on the details, but I remember that it was very cold 
and snowy.  I do remember asking myself on the out of the way trip I was 
taking, that if the rock really was a genuine meteorite, who would have legal 
title to it?  So when I got to the cemetery and I located the tombstone and 
it turned out not to be a meteorite, but just any ordinary big bolder, I was 
actually kind of relieved.

Hey, but it made a cute story for a children's book.  Nice artwork as I 

Steve Arnold

[meteorite-list] METEOR - RIDGE -FARM

Treiman, Allan Treiman at lpi.usra.edu
Sun Jan 14 16:08:45 EST 2001
Hi, List -- 

   I really enjoyed Polacco's book - we read it to our kids many 
times. About 7 or 8 years ago, she was on a book tour in Houston,
and we went to hear her read from Meteor! She had brought a piece
of the 'meteor' along, and showed it off. To me, it appeared to be a
piece of granite. Its been a while, but I seem to remeber it was pink 
and gray.

    Allan Treiman

Allan H. Treiman
Lunar and Planetary Institute
3600 Bay Area Boulevard
Houston, TX 77058-1113

281-486-2162 FAX

[meteorite-list] Falling Into Reading

[meteorite-list] Falling Into Reading

Ron Baalke baalke at zagami.jpl.nasa.gov
Wed May 7 17:40:31 EDT 2003

Falling Into Reading
Amy Soper 
The Midland Daily News (Michigan) 
April 10, 2003

Wednesday morning's visitor to Adams Elementary School left some students 
with tingling hands.

After hearing stories from author Patricia Polacco, students were given the 
chance to touch a small piece of a meteorite which she wrote about in her 
first book, "Meteor!" Polacco told students they could make wishes while
touching the piece of fallen star.

"It felt tingly in my hand," said first-grader Nicole Meeks. Meeks said her 
favorite Polacco book is about a principal who helps a student quit bullying.

"I like the book about her rotten redheaded older brother," classmate Megan 
Bausch said.

Katie Smith, another first grader, said she liked the book Polacco wrote 
about how she was taught to read.  A fourth student said he liked the breaks 
spent clapping and stomping feet between stories Wednesday. 

"The rock felt kind of cold when I touched it," said Nathan Fisher.

Polacco began writing children's books when she was 41 years old and has 
written 50 in 17 years. She said she grew up around a family of story tellers.

"My mother's people are from Russia and the Ukraine and my dad was from 
Ireland," she told the students. "All my life I've been used to hearing 
stories, not seeing them. At my house we didn't have a television. We 
watched my grandmother. It was better than any TV I ever watched."

Polacco shared that oral tradition with students by telling three stories - 
one about a girl whose grandmother gave her a doll to play with and the doll 
comes alive, a second about the meteor and a third about a quilt that's been
in her family for years.

The meteor story is based on an event Polacco's mother told her about. 

"My mother saw it happen. I do know it was during the month of August at 
11:30 p.m. All of a sudden it looked like the sun came out. They ran to the 
windows of the house to see what was making noise and it crashed in the
yard," she said. "My mother said the house shook and they saw something 
gleaming in the front yard."

The meteorite has become a piece of family and local history in Union City, 
where it crashed. People come in bus loads to touch it at the cemetery 
where Polacco`s grandmother is buried. The meteorite now has the family name
carved on it, but Polacco carries a piece with her. 

"With every legend there's a warning to be careful what you wish for because 
it may come true," she told students. "There are three wishes you can't wish 
for. You may not wish for money, you can't change other people
and you can't wish for toys or possessions you can purchase with money."

[meteorite-list] Re: Falling Into Reading

[meteorite-list] Re: Falling Into Reading

Bob Martino martino.6 at osu.edu
Wed May 7 23:28:49 EDT 2003

Ron's posting of an article about Ms. Polacco is of interest, and not just
because it's about a "meteorite."

I wrote an article for "Planetarian" magazine about a year ago discussing
how to tell when a rock is not a meteorite. I mentioned the "meteorite as a
headstone" story as a probable urban legend. I mentioned Ms. Polacco's book
because in the end of her story the "meteorite" becomes her grandmother's
headstone. I contacted Ms. Polacco to try and ascertain how much of her book
was true and how much was poetic license.

She responded by making legal threats against me.

Her basis for this threat was (1) I didn't have her "permission" to mention
her book. (2) Since I'd never seen her talks to school children, I couldn't
write about them. (I pointed out to her that there is a huge difference
between a _talk_, which I hadn't even mentioned in the article, and a
_book_, which was what I was asking about. Very oddly, she just couldn't
seem to grasp the difference between the two.) (3) She makes a lot of money
with her public talks and I wasn't allowed _by_law_ to say anything that
might hurt her income.

It's been reported here that the "meteorite headstone" is in fact a piece of
pink granite. One individual who has seen her speak in public also told me
that the "piece of meteorite" she passes around is also pink granite.

Of course, I gave her blowing of hot air all the attention it rightly
deserved and the article was published. While I couldn't say how much of her
story was true, I could (and did) mention her attempt at censorship. The
greatest irony of all this is the last few lines from the article reprinted
below, which is a quote from Ms. Polacco. She passes her piece of pink rock
around and encourages the children to make a wish, but with restrictions:

>"There are three wishes you can't wish
> for. You may not wish for money, you can't change
> other people and you can't wish for toys or possessions
> you can purchase with money."

Bob Martino, Tucson, AZ

[meteorite-list] Re: Falling Into Reading

[meteorite-list] Re: Falling Into Reading

Kerns, John Space Systems John.Kerns at NorthropGrumman.com
Fri May 9 00:04:25 EDT 2003
She IS selling it as a TRUE story.  At $2500 a pop (plus traveling
She also most likely knows that it isn't a real meteorite - that is why she
threatens to sue when anyone confronts here.
She will never have it tested because then she can no longer claim that the
story is true.  "Ignorance is bliss (and financially rewording?)."
If she was willing to sell it as just a "story", then I would have no
argument with that.
For more information, try this link


John Kerns
OSU/PO '85