Marquette, MI – Nheena Weyer Ittner grew up downstate but has lived in the UP for the last few decades. She’s the ambitious and gregarious founder and director of the Upper Peninsula Childrens Museum. She always seems to be in a good mood. Is that a façade? No. It’s real.
BC: What’s your most vivid memory from your childhood?
NWI: Well, I grew up in a family where the sun rose and set on my sister and me. My parents were the best parents in the entire world. They adored us. I was cared for, nurtured, loved, never was wanting for anything.
BC: How would you describe yourself as a girl? Were you popular, studious, nerdy?
NWI: I was pretty popular, I think. I was the vice president of our school in fourth grade! My sister ran my campaign. She’d drag me up and down the hallway in a wagon and then I’d wave to people (laughs). Then in junior high school, I was a cheerleader. It wasn’t until high school that I turned. I got a little feisty, I guess. But you know what? The bad things that I did at that age, they taught me the best lessons of my life.
BC: What do you mean by “bad things?”
NWI: Well, I hung around with people who were pretty risky. They were involved with drugs, a lot of drugs going on. But my sister and I learned that my parents were always supportive of us. I mean they were almost unaware of what my sister and I were doing. They just wouldn’t believe that we’d be doing anything wrong or hanging out with people who were doing bad things. But you know what? One time my mom and dad sat down with my sister after they had discovered she had taken a bunch of alcohol…and they all sat and cried like babies. That’s when my sister and I realized that the last thing in the world we ever wanted to do was disappoint those two people.
Read the full interview here: http://www.marquettemagazine.com/straighttalk-with-nheena-weyer-ittner/