Friday, December 31, 2010

Starting At Birth

Thought I should put one last post on my blog before 2011 starts.  I have less than 2 hours to think of something to write about.  Talk about pressure.

How about a little personal history?  I was born in the same hospital where my mother had a bed.  Being born was quite stressful.  I couldn't walk or talk for about a year or so.  I also had lousy bladder control in the beginning.  That may be why the hospital booted me and Ma out.  Luckily, Dad was in the parking lot and he offered us a ride.  So we hopped on his back and off to Goulburn Street we went.  Goulburn was on the north-east side of Detroit.  This is back when Detroit prospered; decades before the war zone atmosphere of today.  But Goulburn did not house our little family for long.  Dad's dream of being a landlord was realized when he and Ma bought an income house in Center Line; a city named after the white stripe found in the middle of the road.  We were a mere two miles from Detroit yet we were in the country.  People riding horses roamed the dirt roads.  The roads were sprayed regularly with oil.  Sidewalks had not been invented yet.  Most homes had no fences to alienate the neighbors.  But all was not a bowl of cherries, although cherries were abundant from our back yard tree.  The sewer system was amateurish which resulted in turning our basement into a swimming pool several times a year.  The electricity failed on a regular basis.  We had to keep a lit candle in the refrigerator.  Air conditioning consisted of my waving an opened newspaper towards my parents. And in the winter, turning up the heat meant putting on a fourth sweater.  It was not unusual to find rabbits, frogs, snakes and other varmints in the neighborhood.  The local high school had a pet alligator which one of the students had found in the nearby swampy ditch that defined the Center Line-Warren boundary.

A side note about Center Line.  In the 1700s, what today is Ten Mile and Sherwood, was the first trading post in Macomb County.  At the time, Macomb County was mostly swamp that the French and Indians used for trapping.  With the trading post came farmers who dredged the land and planted crops.  On Saturdays they would gather at the trading post and indulge in liquid spirits.  The wives did not approve of this, so they got together and sent for a priest.  A priest named Father Hendricks arrived and built the first church in the area.  The congregation for the church covered close to sixty square miles; from Eight Mile and Jefferson to Fourteen Mile and Woodward.    Today that church is Saint Clemens.

This Church was located on Van Dyke and Engleman.

This is Van Dyke looking towards Ten Mile. 
The first St. Clemens Church can be seen center left.

I am always fascinated by old photos of familiar grounds.  If you are reading this from Russia or Japan (and I know some of you are) then this is meaningless and can be boring to you.  So I will limit this time spent on my  history to what I have already written.  I will change the subject and talk about foreign readers.  I recently discovered a stats page for my blog and I see since I started this, 54 of you readers reside in Russia and 37 hail from Japan.  I am curious on how you found me and if you can translate my words into your native tongue.  I would appreciate any input.  That goes for anyone from anywhere.  I know of only one follower (and thank you Ms California) and am eager to have others join.  I promise, I will not reject a single soul.  All are welcome.  I get tired of complimenting myself and would relish having another stroke my ego for a change.

Well, its drawing close to 2011.  I have to put on my flak jacket and hide in the basement to avoid all the gunfire at midnight.  I don't know when New Years Celebration changed from whistling noisemakers to Smith & Wesson widow-makers.  Something seems wrong when to express happiness endangers other peoples lives.  

Speak of the devil.  I just heard a shotgun blast.  Good night.  

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