Wednesday, May 28, 2008

This Is The Paradise



Here's another section from my memoir in progress, Second Day Reported. Thanks for all the comments and e-mails about the various sections. I have written lots of parts for the first time on this blog so thanks for being patient with any repetition. Thanks for reading!

I had never been to Michigan until my U-Haul pulled up to my new home, an upper flat on Courville, the eastside of Detroit. My then-boyfriend had lived there for six weeks before my arrival without furniture or anything except a few postcards he'd placed artfully on the fireplace mantle, a young Truman Capote, a young Allen Ginsberg. Our landlords who lived in the flat below us told my boyfriend that the neighborhood was integrated. What we did not understand is that we would be the ones integrating it. While he spent the days working at an upscale prep school ten minutes away, I spent the early days staring out the window onto the street. A crack house sat on the corner and the main three guys who sat on the stoop each had a pitbull friend. The pitbulls ran the streets with and without their owners and nobody messed with anyone. Next door a man who looked like Nat King Cole on a three day bender often went on rampages against his daughter, rampages that ended with him choking her and yelling, Bitch, this is your last chance. Our landlords had hung up a sign in our backyard that said, This is the paradise. Strangely enough, both seemed to apply to me.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Nothing that you have not given away will ever be really yours." C. S. Lewis

Cocktail Hour

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Wednesday!

7 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

That sounds like an interesting place to live. However, I'm not sure I'd have had the gumption. We heard enough fights in the apartment next door during the temporary period when I lived in an apartment

Cheri said...

I couldn't imagine growing up anywhere else.

chris said...

I had a long winded disertation, but some how, I hit the delete button.

I have allways refused to live in that kind of enviorment, even when money was tight.

I commute 25 miles one way daily, It can be quite lovely living in the East Mountains. Just South East, of Albuquerque NM. Peacefulness, serenity, and My loud ass Guitar amps and noisy bike, and there are still quite a few Hippies left in the area.

laughingwolf said...

nicely put, michelle... i'd not be happy in a noisy neighborhood, but could put up with it for a while...

Anonymous said...

I remember seeing Charles Gordone's play "No Place to Be Somebody" at the old Vest Pocket theater in Detroit. My friend and I "integrated" the audience, too.-Eugene O'neil

the walking man said...

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha Welcome to MOTOWN sugar.

I have to say the boyfriend coming first and finding work, a place to live and, then getting his woman to come and establish a household is a long time Detroit tradition. That is exactly how the immigrant population got established a century before you. That is how my mothers family started here as well as hundreds of thousand more.(My fathers family had been in the area for two century's)

They didn't have crack houses back then but there were challenges. The Purple gang of the 30's. The 1.9 million people crowded into 300 sq. miles (the race riot of the 40's) Union busting bosses (the industrial mural in the DIA immortalizes it) The sit down strikes, high unemployment with no benefits or bennies run out. Heroin of the 60's and 70's.

Courville was a good introduction to this reality and it toughened you. It was such a good introduction that they named the trash containers and the pick up system Courville.

Yeah keep your Detroit memories coming and I will establish your credibility as a Detroit Icon.

Repeat what Cheri said...Where did you really grow up TX or here?

Peace

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Hello Michelle,

Sounds like my kind of life.

BTW:

The Walking Man has just hipped me onto the fact that he took Comp l01 with you and you had used my published piece, Dumpster Diving and Dining, out of Canada's Globe& Mail-- as an example of that kind of writing. Hey!

This comes years late and I should like to say I am flattered.

You're in good company as the University of Ottawa and and York University have been using some of my work as a sampling of that kind of work.
And years back,The Reader's Digest snagged something of mine as a reprint.
Ah well. Cast your bread (broad?) upon the waters.

I am just tickled to hear all this.

We all work in the vinyards.

Cheers.