uh, should have been EVERYDAY ...
I really should do a better job of proofreading. Part of it is arrogance. I just KNOW that I have spelled everything correctly, so I blow thru without even a spell check. I can remember the first rock band I started to listen to, Rush. Their concept album '2112' fascinated me, because it was the first time music had tapped my imagination.
Mom already was a child of the 'British Invasion'. But I always imagined it was a lot harder for her to 'break away from the herd', especially in Detroit. But somehow, I found that album, and started to listen to it.
Soul, r&b music, died that day.
Somehow I started listening to ELO, and I remember going off to see the horrible 'Sgt. Pepper' movie featuring the Bee Gees! Before long, I would take my paper route money (remember those?) to buy music, comic books, and seven layer cake from Mrs. Maddox bakery (she has moved from Deaborn, to 7 Mile Rd. between Greenfield and Southfield, to her current location in Farmington ... can you tell I like her baked goods?).
Though I have discussed it with my therapist, and for better reasons than I can share or put into words, I may have to extend my stay until June. Maybe an IPod will fall into my hands ... I had planned on just getting some CD's and burning my music off of here. I can't explain why it would make a difference to have it, but it really, really would. I have decided she can keep the ring, but to keep my music ...
THE KING OF DETROIT
Detroit is the city white folks feared would happen when you let black folks run it. Black politicans have been using race like a cudgel all of my life in the city, smashing their way to graft and corruption.
When I was growing up, Coleman Young was the mayor. He emerged as a political force after the terrible riots of the late 60's. Can't speak to his vision or his leadership, because what ever he accomplished, I was not able to see it ... not because I was too young, but what did he really do?
Thanks to him, the road made famous by the rapper Eminem, '8 mile' became the 'line of control' between the suburbs in Oakland County and the city. Though 'white flight' was well underway, the stream of people of all races became endemic in the '80's.
Will the last one to leave Detroit please turn off the light.
GROWING UP AMID THE PALL
Might be wrong, but my Mother raised me and my sibs with our eyes fixed on getting out and away from Detroit. That is one of the reasons I have 'happy feet' even here in this provencial town. Michigan connotes Detroit, and I am not ready to live with that on my epitaph. The 'straw death' of the Viking is preferrable to being buried in Motown.
When I reached high school, there was some sort of 'infection' that took hold of my Mother. I never brought it up with her, but that was when I noticed a 'turn' in our relationship. Have speculated what it could have been, but a long time ago, I let that crap go. By then, my first wife was entrenched, and if I wanted to be cool with my peeps, I had to be cool with her.
The point of that being, when our relationship initially changed, I knew then, I had to figure away out, myself.
YOU ARE IN THE ARMY NOW
Mind you, I took ROTC all 4 years, so I was walking around in Class B uniform alot during high school. Though my grades had slipped from mostly A's with a B threw in for spice, to just 'average', I was attending what was the premiere public school in the city. I had the skills to go to college, only no one was talking to me about it! My Mom was focused on Jan, and so was an Aunt that was living with us.
It may have been once, but Detroit is NOT the town for a young brother to be walking around with nothing to do, nowhere to go. It happened that I was walking by a recruiter's office, and I stopped in. Of course, when I came out, I was in the service! I mean, I still had to test and everything, but my Mom DID NOT KNOW what I was doing.
The day that he came in with the contract for her to sign (I graduated at 17, and you would have to have parental permission to join ... I was actually 16 doing this mess ..!), she was caught off guard. Her andher sister had spent so much time with Jan that I felt that I would have to do something for me. I had always thought about the service, from cousins and uncles who I talked to about their stint, to having her order those Time-Life coffee tables books about World War II. Honestly, I would have thought she noticed.
My senior year, I must have done something to get her mad, because I graduated living with my Father. I know that I left early one morning to go off and find my future.
I wish that I was into keeping momento-like stuff. Only my family members know what I have done and where I have been. Besides, I have been and seen places that I can't possibly expect to see again. Whether it was in the service or through boxing, other than Australia and Africa, I can say that I walked somewhere in 5 continents of the world. It is cool enough for me that I did that, but man. just last night Mookie was telling me of how one of her co-workers ran into Marvin Hagler ... yeah, well I have eaten dinner with Marvin Hagler! And a bunch of othe folks in boxing and entertainment period.
But I have never been impressed with that. Not that I considered it not being of note, but that I had expected to be somewhere, to go someplace. Sitting here now, I get why it is said that, 'youth is wasted on the young'.
I think I should have knew better.
AND NOW, THE BIG FINISH
I guess I am feeling a bit squirrely about going home. Not that I want to stay here, but I don't want to go THERE. But I have to, even NEED to. I have one two Aunts that when they saw me last year, treated me like their 12-year old nephew! They have missed me terribly, and it will be a pleasure to go bowling with the one (she is a TOP SHELF DON'T PLAY bowler, and always has been) and to watch boxing with the other, who is the one that shook me out of my angst and got me to realize that I am an attactive, quality person and that any girl (sic) would do good to land me.
Oh, not to mention my cousins. A couple of them like to work out ... and no, they have some more work to do to get at me! But it will be fun hanging with them ... and then there is my best cousin, Junior. He survives with his attitude intact, surviving a heart attack (I was the one that took him to the hospital for his that in what, '02?) and a mild stroke ... I've missed him.
Yeah, I am crying ... what you want to make of it?
I wonder how many people have said good bye, knowing that they may never see the people they say good bye to ever again? Between health (hey, I'M NO DAISY EITHER) and just time having its way, this move is truly intended to be the Frost poem for me ... as I take a path with 'leaves no step have trodden black', and we as a collective, won't be here long with the light of life shining in us.
It is strange to think, that their best wish for me, may be that I never again come back to Detroit.
That is why it is so important that I go home. I have never liked my hometown, and the mitigation for it isn't strong enough for me to want to stay. When I was in Carolina, it was amazing to discover that I could easily find the things that could if nothing else, subsitiute for what I left in Detroit. And what I haven't found elsewhere that I have left there, I haven't missed ...
... except from Mrs. Maddox bakery!