Mark Twain

I was writing my stoopid blahg last night and, in doing so, I tried again to get the Google street cam on my grandparents’ old house in the once beautiful but now decaying city of Detroit. When I was a little kid, I had grandparents a few blocks away from me in Sault Ste. Siberia and they doted on me and I loved them. I also had grandparents down in Detroit and they also doted on me and I loved them too. In fact, my “grandmother” was not really my grandmother. She was Bolette. My real grandmother died when The Commander was 15. She died in a car accident. My grandfather married Bolette a year or so before I was born. I didn’t know Emily, the grandmother whom I was named for (my middle name), but Bolette took care of me like a grandmother should. When we visited their house and my mom’s siblings were there and everybody was drinking and talking and laughing, Bolette would take me out to the kitchen to do dishes. She would ask me questions about my school and she would actually listen to the answers. I loved Bolette.

The house is hard to see through the branches in this pic. The last time I tried to find this house, the street cams hadn’t been there yet. This house? It was beautiful. It wasn’t a large house. But it had a beautiful galley kitchen and a breakfast nook, where we always made toast, and there was a staircase to the upper floor that curved around in a beautiful way. And Grandaddy and Bolette had traveled around the world and so their basement had all kinds of interesting stuff. It was a beautiful house and I loved visiting them. Er, yeah. How many times can you write the word “beautiful” in one paragraph, eh?

Then the Detroit riots happened. My grandparents were not racially prejudiced. But I think that they joined the “white flight” because they knew that they couldn’t deal with whatever came along next. They moved out to the northern Detroit suburbs.

Back in the early 80s, the GG and I made an exploratory trip down to 9975 Mark Twain. The neighborhood was now black, and a guy was watching us checking out that house. All of the beautiful elm trees that were there when I was a kid were gone. The guy yelled out, “Are you the paper boy or what?” I said, “My grandparents used to own this house.” He chilled.

Now? I don’t know what this neighborhood is like. It looks like it has survived, somewhat. Not all of Detroit has…

One Response to “Mark Twain”

  1. Margaret Says:

    I wouldn’t want to live in Detroit these days. The house looks charming though. I still like to drive by the small house where my family used to live. It brings back all kinds of memories.