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Pork chop pride: Woman creates gifts celebrating Grand Island's odd shape

If you grew up on the pork chop, you are probably nodding your head.

But most of us who grew up on "the mainland" never gave a second thought to Grand Island's unique shape and its quirky nickname.

Saundra Marcel, a former Grand Island resident and New York City graphic designer, is selling a series of gift items she designed, from hats to tote bags, postcards and more that highlight the odd connection between Grand Island and the other white meat. She's hoping the product sales will help her pay to self-publish a book called, "Life on a Pork Chop."

"You grew up (on Grand Island) and it felt so small. We all talked about getting away to somewhere more exciting, but once you move away and look back you realize — I had a really cool experience there that I appreciate much more after I left,'" said Marcel.

Saundra Marcel

She said the book will be told from her perspective, a series of essays about growing up in an idyllic place. In between these personal essays will be information about other people's "life on the pork chop."

"I love history and there's all of these little nuggets that people may not know about, like 'Did you know at one time someone proposed a Jewish homeland on Grand Island? Did you know the U.N. building was proposed for Navy Island?' " said Marcel.

Marcel, 37, a graduate of Grand Island High School, said she grew up close to the water and has her own memories to share about growing up in a small town — from the boating culture to Fantasy Island to sitting on Santa's lap in Kelly's Country Store.

She said she is about 70 percent done with the book and is inviting others to embrace "life on a pork chop" whether they live in Grand Island or just pass through.

The money she raises by selling the pork chop gifts support the printing and production of her book.

Coasters celebrating Grand Island's shape as a pork chop are among the items designed by Saundra Marcel.

"My whole goal is to get people as excited as I am," she said of the book. "I've been working on this for a very long time and I want other people to love it."

Gift items may be purchased online at and wholesale and custom pricing are available for stores who would like to stock "pork chop" products.

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