Michigan Will Never Leave You
Even When You Leave Michigan
I begin every morning looking through the San Jose Mercury News, the sister paper to the Detroit Free Press, and it seems that Michigan has followed me west to California.
It’s especially true when I find a story or two on my old “home town.” Perhaps it’s because I still have a connection with Southeastern Michigan through family and friends who still live there, either full time or who evacuate during the cold and cruel days of winter.
It also might be because my wife and I have been paying $100 every month to Chesed Shel Emes — Hebrew Memorial — for adjoining plots 12-D-2 and 12-D-4. Since neither of us want to spend the hereafter in a frigid clime, the plots are a safety valve factor since they cost about one-third of what a similar plot costs here where the weather is a bit better. However, it will cost about $2,400 to ship a body back, and we won’t be able to use any of our hundreds of thousands of American Airline Frequent Flyer miles to do so in First Class. We were told that we would be relegated to cargo, with no amenities.
However, that’s another story, and recent stories about Michigan in the San Jose paper, are even more obtuse and diverse.
I’m Not Lion to You
A small, 2-inch story in the sports section told readers that the Silverdome is coming down next year. The Detroit Lions played there until 2002, and the team’s owners believe that the 127-acre site will be attractive to developers.
The Silverdome was the site of the 1982 Super Bowl, and the 2016 Super Bowl will be played at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, the home of the San Francisco 49ers. None of the 49ers, whose team record is at 2-6, or the Lions at 1-7, will be at that game unless they work as vendors or park cars.
I have never been at a football game at the Silverdome nor at Ford Field, but on December 29, 1957, I, and several fraternity brothers, attended the Championship Game between the Lions and the Cleveland Browns at Briggs Stadium, home of the Detroit Tigers. We could only afford seats in the windy, open upper deck, and when the game began, the temperature was hovering at thirty-two degrees. The starting backfield usually consisted of John Henry Johnson, Hopalong Cassady, and Gene Gedman, with Bobby Layne at quarterback. Layne was injured and was replaced by back-up Tobin Rote who tossed four touchdowns passes, and led the Lions to a 59-14 win in front of 55,283 shivering fans. Here’s a pre-instant replay, motion picture look at that game played fifty-eight years ago.
It’s Not Just A Game
Jim Harbaugh, the fired San Francisco 49er coach, was on the October 30th “Stoney and Bill” show on WXYT-FM (97.1), and as Michigan’s leader, was still upset about the last second loss to Michigan State. Although he told his players to move on, he said on air, “There are people who can leave the game, and the game is over, and they don’t think about it. I’m not one of those people.” Keep your khakis well creased, Jim. We may learn even more about the little things that make you and your team unique during this football revival time in Ann Arbor, but only if we read the San Jose newspaper.
“Natives wary of Detroit’s revival”
That Mercury News headline was under a photograph of Tommy Bedway, owner of Ronnie’s Quality Meats in Detroit’s Eastern Market District. Tommy, who is a middle-aged white man, stands next to Luron McCrary, a black man, who is weighing meat. Bedway said that his property’s value has increased 30 percent since he bought it in 2013.
The story tells of how both property values and rents have recently risen in some places, and developers are moving in with money to spend. It was also noted “suburbanites are flocking downtown, and this is boosting business.”
Will this mean that many suburban dwellers will finally venture below Fifteen Mile Road, and visit Greek Town once again? Will they do so without taking a guided tour bus to get there?
It’s amazing what you can learn about Detroit, when you live elsewhere, but don’t know if South Florida’s Sun Sentinel newspapers carry such stories. Doubt if they carried the story about Mike Ilitch’s generous gift of $40 million, to build the new Wayne University Business School on Woodward and Temple that will bear his name.