Heartened

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I’m proud of my city

OK, this has nothing to do with me being adopted as a child.  It does, however, have everything to do with my having adopted a city. 

My “about me” says Northeastern Ohio because that is where I am, currently.  In a hotel in NE Ohio.  Home is Michigan, just outside Detroit.  When we’re not travelling for his job, Michigan is where hubby and I call home.

Detroit (and Michigan) are my adopted home.  I’ve lived here less than a decade.  About 1/4th of my life has been spent on the streets of this great state.  They have been, in every way, the happiest years of my life.  Much of the credit for that goes to my husband and his family, without a doubt.  Not only have they shown me love and affection and treated me not “as if I were family” rather, exactly AS family, but my mother & step-father-in-law in particular have helped show me the beauty and wonders that are Michigan.  Father-in-law (DadB) has also had a hand in this, just not as many opportunities as Mom and DadT have had.

I’m one of those weird married women who really loves her in-laws.  So much so that I hate the designation “in-law” while also loving it because it clearly differentiates these wonderful parents from the parents who raised me.  If I have a mom and dad, people worthy of the name – Mom, DadT and DadB are it.  Let me put it to you like this:  I willingly go on vacation with my in-laws.  And in so doing, I have been blessed to see “The Michigan” most people don’t even dream exists.

My husband is funny.  He was born and raised in Michigan.  He has traveled, of course, and even did a college stint in another state, but the only place he really knows well is Michigan.  In contrast, I’ve lived in a bunch of different states for long period of time.  I grew up just outside Chicago in fact.  Always loved Chicago, still love the food.  Growing up there, I was never afraid of “the city.”  We went to “the city” for everything – shopping, entertainment, dining – everything.  Weekend came, everyone headed “downtown.”  Michiganders don’t do that.  At least not if “downtown” refers to Detroit.  The whole country is afraid of us.  We’re like the nation’s ghetto.  “Anywhere” is better than Detroit.  People are murdered there!  Gangs roam the streets!  People carry guns!  -insert assorted other hysterical comments here–  My husband thought I was nuts for wanting to go “downtown” years ago.  He has since become more comfortable doing so and rarely gives me funny looks anymore. 

This weekend, Detroit showed the world the face I’ve known it has had for years.  I’m damn proud of my city, folks.  We did what everyone said couldn’t be done – we hosted a right fine party and everyone survived.  When hubby and I are home, we head to Detroit about once a week.  We have dinner, or go to a casino, or cross the border into Windsor and head to the casino/restaurants there.  I have no problem driving the streets of Detroit, or walking them for that matter.  I don’t fear downtown.  It is one of the things I love about Michigan. 

For the last few years, I’ve watched my home get a face lift.  I’ve seen the efforts thousands of people have put into making downtown beautiful again.  In truth, it has always had a special beauty – just not one most people seemed able to recognize.  Detroit has some incredible architecture, but you rarely hear about it, let alone have the chance to see it.  I hope as the fans walked Greektown that they took a moment to look up at some of the gorgeous buildings around them.  I hope they took a minute to recognize the history surrounding them. 

I’m angry at a city council and mayor who seem loathe to do what is best for our city, rather choosing what is best for their own pockets and the purses of friends.  I see them make foolish decisions which cost lives – god forbid you need the fire department.  It’s not because our fire fighters aren’t any good, they are incredible.  But they are desperately in need of equipment and instead, we’re slashing their budget.  Bad decisions all around.

I believe, however, we can change.  I think this weekend we caught a glimpse of the glory that can be Detroit.  We have this amazing river-front BORDER city!  Canada is just a short drive over (or under) the river.  And the river truly is beautiful whether it is private craft or barges traversing it.  Even those barges have a certain beauty to them.  We put on an incredible fireworks display in sisterly cooperation with Windsor, it is truly one of the best in the nation.  And now, we have successfully hosted a SuperBowl with grace and style.

The Detroit area has long been home to an enormous Middle Eastern population.  A woman in a hijab gets less notice than a man with a tattoo.  When 9/11 happened and the rest of the country seemed to be “looking for Arabs under every rock,” we were hand-in-hand with our Muslim neighbors grieving the deaths of our fellow Americans.  When we heard scary rumors and even more scary demands from political pundits and general nutcases to bring back the camps like we did to Japanese-Americans, many of us were figuring out how to hide our neighbors, or how to get them to safety if the need arose.  We knew the dark-skinned dark-haired men and women on our streets and in our stores and our schools were not the threat.  We knew they were our friends, just as much in need of protection as the rest of us.

That is the Detroit I know and love – and, I hope, the Detroit the rest of the world will come to know.  I’m proud of my city, my state, my neighbors, my friends.  I think they did one hell of a good job this weekend and in the weeks and months leading up to it.  I don’t care about the SuperBowl, I haven’t watched a football game since the Bears won in the 80’s and we all knew the words to the “SuperBowl Shuffle.”  I care about what the SuperBowl could mean for my city.

Detroit, ya done good, and this motorcity girl couldn’t be more proud to call you home.

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February 6, 2006 - Posted by | General

1 Comment »

  1. LOL..You talk about and to “your” city like I talk about and to mine!

    It is good to hear fellow ….. “?city love?” Funny how one can have an active relationship with a place…it’s not even one sided!

    High five to D-town!! Job well done!

    Comment by FauxClaud | February 7, 2006 | Reply


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