October 04, 2010
I am sitting in the Detroit Metro Airport waiting for my non-stop flight back to San Diego. Since returning home for my high school reunion (40th) last Tuesday night, everyday has been filled with family, friends, and memories of spending the first 28 years of my life in the Motor City.
Along the way, someone observed "you have spent more than half your life in San Diego."
What always amazes me is how you can return home and in many ways it's like you never left. Now, I will be the first to admit, I would be lost trying to get around without my Droid GPS and things have definitely changed. The house where I spent the first eleven years of my youth at 14830 Prairie is still standing, but there is not much more. I know it was a long time ago, but there must have been over twenty homes on our side of the block between Chalfonte and Eaton. Today, only six are standing - and three of those have been trashed and need to be demolished (GO HERE FOR PICTURES). Innelli's Grocery Store would be a good prop for Detroit 187.
The public grade school (Clinton) where I went to kindergarten is closed and shuttered. The Catholic elementary school I attended from grades 1-5 closed many years ago and was converted to a charter school. The high school I graduated from closed the year after I graduated in 1970 and later became a charter school. Now, it sits empty.
Driving anywhere south of 8 Mile is an amazing revelation of Detroit's unwelcome realities that my friend Mayor Dave Bing is facing head on every day. How this once great American city reached this condition is filling volumes. Not far behind is the can-do spirit that has even the worst of skeptics believing Detroit will rebound.
But, it not just Detroit that is looking for a boost.
I have never seen so many suburban restaurants, strip malls, office buildings, factories, etc. sitting vacant with For Sale signs out in front. So many people I talked to have lost their jobs after 20-30 years. One classmate/teammate talked about his current part-time $8.00 job. We are both 58 years old.
The plane is getting ready to board and I will continue this later. My message this morning is simple: home is where the heart is. Today, take a moment to reach out and touch someone near and far.
Thanks to all who touched me this past week for the 40th Reunion Tour!