Michigan

Have you lived in or visited Michigan? Tell us about it!

Detroit

Wayne County, Michigan, USA (North America) – February 2019 —I live 20 minutes north of the heart of Detroit, Michigan. You’ve all heard of or seen Eminem’s movie 8 Mile? Yeah, I live on 10 mile (2 miles north). My neighborhood is middle class, mixed races and ethnicities. The school system is for crap so we’re looking to move this year to the more affluent suburb of Grosse Pointe that has an amazing school system and is about 2 miles east and 2 miles south of where I currently am. It makes me really sad that Detroit has the bad reputation that it does. There are certainly bad parts and there are a lot of homicides and many people living in poverty but the city and its people offer a lot of great things, too. I feel 100% safe walking around in the heart of Detroit where our football and baseball stadiums are and we have some of the best restaurants in the States. I’ve lived here my entire life with the exception of college, and while I love the small town, family oriented feel, I have a lot of differeing viewpoints compared to the majority of people here. It’s a very republican town, and there tends to be quite a bit of aversive racism. Mostly middle class and upper middle class families, and migrant farm workers. There was one black person in my high school class of 500. I do like it, but wish people were more open-minded.

Leroy

Osceola County, Michigan, USA (North America) – December 2018 — Leroy, Michigan I like that it is a small community. People are very friendly. I kinda don’t like that everyone seems to know all your business. Leroy is a small town with only a bank, a small market, a dollar general, a hardware store, a post office, and a 1 resteraunt. Leroy used to be even smaller, but has grown over the years. In the past 10 years, our little market had added gas pumps, before the nearest gas station was 5 miles away. We have aquired a dollar general about 2 years ago. I really like that it is small town, with very little crime, but I like the conveniences of the few new additions over the years.

Dearborn Heights

Wayne County, Michigan, USA (North America) – March 2018 — I live in Dearborn Heights, Michigan USA. I like that it is not too big. It has good schools. It has a large amount of Middle Eastern immigrants that are very nice. There are tons of delicious Arabic and Italian restaurants as well as bakeries. The police and the city employees are honestly very nice people. The infrastructure good. There are fairly good city services. The house values keep going up because there is a lack of houses in the areas people want to live in. There is a lower end part of Dearborn Heights as well that is okay. The water park and timber town is very nice for the kids in the summer. This city is basically a sister city and a twin of Dearborn. Dearborn offers tons of amenities and museums and restaurants and events. You can go to the Henry Ford Museum. You can go to Hamido Restaurant and get the best falafel you have ever had outside the middle east. You can go to parts of my city and parts of Dearborn and all the signs are in Arabic and you can feel like you are in the middle east. It is like being in the United States with all the amenities and then at the same time being in the middle east because of all the Arabic people and Arabic amenities which I love.

Albion

Calhoun County, Michigan, USA, 49224 – March 2018 – Albion, Michigan is located in Calhoun County. It is almost 200 years old. The first house built in Albion Michigan was built where the 2 forks of the Kalamazoo River meet called “The Fork” Every year there is a festival with a parade called the Forks Festival. Albion used to be a manufacturing town with many diverse industries. Over the last 30 years many of these businesses failed and as a result many jobs were lost. After the manufacturing industries left many retail shops left. Kmart, Sears, JC Penny, A& P and Montgomery Wards all closed down.

The populations tax base caused the high school and elementary school to close. The population of Albion at one time was over 10,000 people. As of 2018 the current population is probably around 8,000 people. Most elementary and high school students commute to the Cities of Homer and Marshall. Albion College is the cornerstone of the city now. It is a liberal arts college that is well known and is probably the city’s largest landowner and employs the most people. Albion College has a very good national reputation. Albion is also known for their botanical garden, childrens’ museum, railroad station (Amtrak) and the Bohm Theater, which is a movie theater that also holds live musical events. Albion is a small poor town in south central michigan but it is populated with good hardworking people.

Detroit

Wayne County, Michigan, USA – February 2018 — I was born & raised in Detroit, Michigan, USA. I was born in 1954 and lived there until 1972. I was in a real city neighborhood, living on Kelly Rd. We were [content moderated; information removed that might identify writer] from the Catholic Church, Guardian Angels, and its grade school. There was block after block of family homes, lots of Poles and Italians. There are many strands to my living in Detroit. My girlfriends loved to ride our bikes all over the place.

There was a small shopping plaza a couple blocks from where we resided. There was a Manufacturers Bank (still there) and some very distinctive stores. We had a Grinnells store that sold musical instruments, also LP vinyls. I think I found my first Rolling Stone magazine there and my first records. I was amused that there was an album from a group called the Fugs (I was a very naive Catholic girl and did not realize what the name was implying). Next door, was the Civic movies theater. This was before the big multiplexes and Detroit was dotted by small neighborhood movie houses. I remember some names–the Ramona, Adams, Eastwood, the Woods. There is probably many more I have forgotten. The deluxe movie places were downtown-the Quo Vadis, United Artists, the Fox. All the theaters had big noticeable marquees with movie titles and stars’ names in black letters on white marquees.

Going back to the shopping plaza close to where I grew up–one of their distinctive stores was Sanders Bakery. They had an old fashioned soda fountain and many baked goods. Their best cake was their bumpy cake-delicious and decadent. It was known then as chocolate devils food cake. Chocolate cake, chocolate frosting, buttercream on top of the cake in small rows. The combination of chocolate cake, buttercream, and chocolate frosting was heaven to eat. (I saw a form of it in a local grocery store these past few weeks selling under the Sanders brand identified as chocolate bumpy cake). Another store in this area was Alcamo’s which specialized in Italian food. They had salamis on hooks hanging from the ceiling and you knew this because the smell would you slap you in the face as soon as you walked in the front door. There were other stores–Winkelmans and Marianne’s for womens clothing, supermarkets like Chatham and A&P, household furniture store like Papes, drugs stores like Cunningham drug store. My mom who did not drive would walk down there with a small shopping cart and come back with all kinds of food.

While I am on the topic of special places in Detroit, there was the Detroit Zoo and Belle Isle park. The park had music on summer nights (not the rock and roll that was popular but what we called “old people’s music). Other attractions that were downtown were boats taking you places like the Boblo Boats which took families out to an island with an amusement park on it. (it was very popular in the summer). There was another large boat called the Aquanet (or Aquanetta) that took people for cruises on the Detroit river.

With all the fun, there was an undercurrent of explosive change. Many black families were segregated in the downtown neighborhoods. Those families were starting to move in outlying neighbors and I wish I could say that they were welcomed with open arms but they were not. There was a lot of racial suspicion and tension then. It exploded in the riots of 1967. My dad was a police officer who served during that time. I was only 12 or 13 at the time, so my understanding was limited. The clearest memory I had was of my dad and brother bringing the guns that were stored in the basement up to the first floor. It was like an episode of Bonanza-protecting the old homestead. Sometimes he would have gatherings at the house of police officers he knew. Their presence was both comfortable and disquieting. The officers had an air of familiarity of being hard-working men from the neighborhood. On the other hand, the n word got thrown about quite a bit and I remember a young officer saying he did not understand why blacks were not grateful to whites because we gave them “culture”.

In contrast to this, there was plenty of black culture that was celeberated-it was the time of Motown, Aretha Franklin, the Supremes, Al Green, Otis Redding and Smokey Robinson and a lot of people I just don’t have the space to write about. It was also a time of black influenced popular music-the Beatles, the Stones and on and on. A popular local show at the time was hosted by deejay Robin Seymour. I remember the music the best and I liked to end this on a positive note-the music was unforgettable.

Perrinton

Gratiot County, Michigan, USA — January 2018 — My hometown is very small and cute. The name of my hometown is Perrinton. It is in the state of Michigan, almost in the center of the state to be exact. The zip code is 48871. It is actually called a village and not a town. Everyone knows everyone in my hometown. If your parents grew up there and so did you, then everyone knows you as well. Our school is comprised of 3 smaller villages together and is in the middle of a corn field. The average graduating class size is 65 students. My hometown is very safe and quaint. Since everyone knows everyone, it is hard to get away with doing something bad or wrong, because you will be found out by a friend or neighbor. My hometown has a party store, a post office, a bingo hall, a bar, a fire department and a church. To me my hometown literally means home. It is story book like and picture perfect. There are tree lined streets and quaint houses. No one was “rich” that lived there but mostly middle class. I grew up in Perrinton in the 1980’s thru the 1990’s. My parents both grew up there in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

Grand Rapids

Kent County, Michigan, 49503 USA — January 2018 — This place has always been my home, and I hope it always will be.  It’s absolutely perfect for me. There are about one million people living here, which means it’s pretty big, but not bad to drive in, and the streets aren’t crowded.  The City is based on Grand River, which is where the downtown is located. There are a few skyscrapers downtown, and that’s also where the bar scene is located.  I was born here in 1996, and since then, it hasn’t changed much. A few new buildings have cropped up, and there have been many successful attempts to gentrify and beautify the town. The streets are made of cobblestone, which is terrible to drive, bike, walk, or skate on, but it looks nice. The river is stunning, and great for fishing. Both sides of it are lined with nature paths, and bike trail, and parks. The surrounding areas are teeming with people. There are many community organized events. If you can’t find something in the downtown area, there are several smaller cities within a 20 minute drive that will have anything you need. The wide variety of restaurants, headshops, bars and boutiques ensure that you won’t ever be bored, if you have a few bucks to spend.

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