We've spent the last two days hanging around Detroit. Both of our parents were born and raised in southwest Detroit. Scott and I were born here too (him in Detroit, me in Southfield). We moved away before I started kindergarten. We spent a lot of summers and holidays here when we were growing up. I really didn't like Detroit when I was a kid. My friends went to camp or on vacations in the summer. We went to Detroit where there was no air conditioning and nothing to do (at least that's what I remember telling my friends all the time). What I probably never told them was all the fun I did have playing with my cousins - making mud pies in my grandpa's backyard, going to Tigers games, and getting to go to Dairy Queen on Michigan Avenue (this is back when most DQs were only open in the summers).
I complained about these trips but secretly I loved them. I particularly liked sitting at the kitchen table at either of my grandparents' houses (or late my aunt's) and listening to the adults talk. They'd tell fun stories about our family or gossip about relatives that weren't around. We'd stock up on Vernor's and Faygo and Better Made potato chips. Good times.
Detroit has changed a lot since those summers. I know most people don't know or don't want to know Detroit. It's easier to make fun of the city and to overlook it's colorful history or its contributions to industry, agriculture, art, and music. I'm not going to spend time trying to convince anyone that Detroit is awesome - I know it is, my family knows it is, and people who love Detroit get it. If you don't, that's cool. We can't all like everything all the time.
My aunt took Scott and I on a little tour of places of our past. I feel like my aunt is the keeper of Detroit. She and her family live in one of the oldest neighborhoods in Detroit and really live for the city. She doesn't want us to forget these great places. So we drove to the Detroit River and walked part of the Dequindre Cut. The Riverfront is beautiful; a lot of work has been done to make it bike and walker/jogger friendly and support local art.
|Wave to Canada!|
We also took Scott by the Heidelberg Project. I had been here before and thought it was amazing. It's an outdoor art project started in 1986. The artist, Tyree Guyton, started the project as a partial political protest to the decline in the neighborhood. The city has razed it twice but he keeps going. If you make it to Detroit, you should check it out.
Parts of the city are definitely undergoing revitalization. The hipsters have moved in and hopefully, the allure of living in edgy neighborhoods doesn't wear off before they do some good. Neighborhoods change and some look like they're changing for the better.
Visiting family was great and we did the Detroit errands we always do: Dearborn Music, hockey store, and grocery trip. Dearborn Music is one of my favorite places. You can find good used music and they have a huge selection of indie bands. They're moving to a bigger location soon so it was good to go to the old store one more time. Scott also got to go to the hockey store (like a toy store for hockey players).
No trip would be complete without a grocery run to get our favorites. Buying potato chips and pop (yeah, I said pop-I'm still in Michigan you know) is the best. We don't eat them in the car on the way home; these are saved for later. It's like a reward - you've driven over 2300 miles and you have about 600 more to go, so you deserve some chips and a pop when you get there (despite the fact that you've eaten fast food for days). That first Rock & Rye is going to be epic.
The great relocation of 2012 is drawing to a close. Haul and Oates have had a few days rest in Detroit and should be ready for the open road. Hopefully, Scott and I can get the car back on the tow dolly without an accident. We have written instructions and we watched the guy do it the first time. If all else fails, there's a U-Haul location up the road and they can do it for us.
One more mountain range to go.