Posts Tagged ‘Home


The 12 Ways of Christmas: the tree

[Part 3]

Somehow the threat of danger seemed to make our Christmas tree more worthwhile.

Our family room tree, in contrast with the more austere “nice tree” in the living room, was a garish, hulking thing. A hodgepodge of lights and garland and ornaments of every shape size and color, its beauty derived mainly from its randomness. Our Christmas tree didn’t give it a shit, because all other trees cold suck it. Continue reading ‘The 12 Ways of Christmas: the tree’


The 12 Ways of Christmas: The decorating

[Part 2]

My mom had a couple of great friends who went nuts every year with Christmas decorations in their house.

Auntie Cel and Auntie Mary had so much stuff, they had to start decorating the day after Halloween to get it all up in time for Christmas. Every room had a different theme; some rooms had more than one. There were the religious icons, the secular icons, nativities, santas and elves, snowmen and snowladies, stars, snowflakes, trees, holly, wreaths, lights, lights, and lights. Continue reading ‘The 12 Ways of Christmas: The decorating’


The 12 Ways of Christmas: the records

[Part 1]

Not long into December every year, when I was a kid, my mom and I would start digging out the Christmas albums. We’d play them on the quadraphonic sound system in the living room. (What suburban house furnished in the ’70s was complete without quadraphonic sound?)

You could set up two or three records at a time, resting on an arm that held them above the turntable. When one side ended, the tone arm would lift up and swing back to home position, a notch in the spindle would click, and the next record would drop into place. The tone arm would swing back, drop the needle into place, and new music would begin to play. It was like magic. Continue reading ‘The 12 Ways of Christmas: the records’


Rock and Rubble in the Motor City

There is a fantastic little site that everyone with an interest in urban decay should check out. It is called The Fabulous Ruins of Detroit.

It is a particularly delicious oxymoron, because they are in fact fabulous — in their grandness and in their sadness, documenting the “agonizing path” of the city through the ’90s.

As the site itself asks: “What went wrong?” and “Where to do we go from Here?” An entire online community has risen out of this site to debate these questions — the DetroitYES project, a discussion forum about the city’s problems and its future.

I am from the suburbs, but I call Detroit my home. I am not a baseball fan, but I wear a Tigers ball cap, because it is a piece of home, and it connects me in a real way to a place I have not lived for more than 13 years.

My home town has seen some rough times. Anyone with family there has heard stories of the fabulous 50s, the riots of the 60s, white flight and the decay of the following decades. Detroit city government is a mess and has been for decades, with one bright spot: the term of my last great hope, Dennis Archer. It is rife with cronyism, loyalism and blind racism, all at the cost of the citizens, who number fewer and fewer year by year. And the latest exploits of its current mayor, effectively stopping the course of local government, are not helping matters much.

But it’s a tough old town. Down, but not out, as they say. What fueled this site’s inception, and the community that has grown around it, is a clear love for the city. Not just the city of Detroit, but “the city” as a concept. It is worth saving and it is worth remembering. And in looking back at the former grandeur and pride of Detroit, we can begin to draw inspiration, and we can begin to hope that a phoenix will one day rise from the rubble.

the untallied hours