“I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more”

So, I had a really good blahgging idea and then I walked across the room to cut up the last of Farmer John’s AWESOME potatoes to cook up tonight and that took me maybe three minutes and now I can’t remember what I was gonna blahg about.

But then again, oh yeah. I don’t get very sentimental about the places I used to live or my grandparents’ homes, etc. Last Saturday night I randomly looked up my MacMu grandparents’ address in Detroit and for a few minutes I was kinda wondering if we could fit a drive-by into our sorta-planned Sunday activities over in Detroit. Of course it didn’t really fit and in the cold clear light of the next morning, I was kind of like, “What was I thinking?”

My Detroit grandparents had a lovely art deco kind of house on Mark Twain Street. It had actually belonged to my [beloved] step-grandmother Bolette and her first husband. I didn’t know this until much later but some of Bolette’s siblings also owned houses on that street. It was kind of a family street. Bolette didn’t hook up with my granddad until a year or so before I was born. She and my grandaddy were both widowed and I remember Bolette telling me much later that she was so confuddled about my grandaddy’s marriage proposal that she missed her streetcar stop. The answer ended up being YES and they took a trip “around the world” to celebrate it.

I loved visiting their house on Mark Twain in Detroit. It was an art deco house and there was a beautiful breakfast nook where we would sit and make toast in the morning. They left their pretty Detroit tree-lined neighborhood after the 1967 riots and moved out to the “fancier” suburb of Birmingham.

Years ago, when I first knew the GG and we weren’t married, etc., we navigated (in one of our Ford Fiesta veehickles – no GPS) to 9975 Mark Twain to check out that address. A black man* noticed us and our color and asked “Are you the paper boy?” I was kind of scared because I realized that I didn’t belong in that neighborhood anymore. I replied that we were driving by my grandparents’ old house. He immediately softened. He suggested that I must miss the place. I told him that I did. And then he told me about the single mother who was living there at that point and I was happy that he felt okay about telling me that for whatever it was worth.

Sunday Moomday was NOT the best day to re-visit that old neighborhood so we didn’t. But maybe we will try to visit again some other day.

* What can I say? I do not understand what skin color has to do with anything but it still did at that time (early 1980s.) I’m not sure we understand anything any better now.

One Response to ““I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more””

  1. Margaret Says:

    I’m not sure if we understand it at all, but there is still de facto segregation going on most places. The neighborhoods changed and “others” didn’t fit in. We haven’t come as far as we thought. 🙁