Flint. My people didn’t live there, they were too poor. Shack in farm country actually. Married up. Great Grandpa worked the Canal and invested early in Smuckers and Fischer Auto (He also bowled 300 at least twice, I have seen the scorecards and he would want me to mention that). Now, according to my relatives, you can’t even visit his last home. “Bad section of town,” they say, meaning Black. It was a Golf Course Condo!
Frankly I’m hard put to decide between the naked racism and an acknowledgement of the economic decline.
Grand Dad drove nothing but Buicks, one of which I owned. He smoked Kents and drank Canadian Club because I found it in the car after I bought it from the little old lady next door to my Grandma who picked it up to go to church after my Grandpa got poisoned from contrast agent by his Doctors. I don’t think she smoked Kents and drank Canadian Club.
Ok, so this is one of those ‘Old Ram’ stories.
Grandma grew up wrong side but was actually a descendant of Johnny Appleseed pioneers including a Michigan Governor. Her dad, my Great on that side, was a raging abusive alcoholic who was eventually driven out of the house at gunpoint by my Uncle. Life on the frontier, Laura Ingalls country. Flyover. Trailer Park. Ayuh, my people and despite my airs (and flawless collection of New England accents) I don’t really forget my roots, though I do know the difference between a salad and a dessert fork I drink Pop on the Davenport.
But it doesn’t stop. Back in the day Polio was a thing that you barely survived if you did at all and it crippled you which is why my Grandma didn’t drive. But she could dance, bone on bone and Grand Dad was enchanted and to the extent marriages ever work (look, 95% is just finding someone you can stand to be around) theirs did and my remembrances are all fond. On the other hand my branch of the family is kind of specifically written out and there’s some resentment even at that because they think Grand Dad gets favorable treatment since he’s the only boy.
What is it Faulkner said? “The past is never dead, it’s not even past.”
Fortunately most of my relatives, though they know I write publicly, are uninterested in what I have to say in that vacant “Oh, you have a Website. How interesting.”, kind of way so I’m not actually at much risk and who knows.
They may forget why they hate me, even the one who breaks into my Grand Dad’s Sister’s house and steals though he’s much more likely to inherit one of her eleventyump Corvettes than I am. Everybody else does. Forget why they hate me that is.
Oh, and Michael Moore used to deliver Newspapers for my Grandma, no kidding. And I was born there, it’s where the family plot is. People drink the water and think it’s ok and I look at them like the coastal elite I in fact belong to.
Nothing wrong with Flint, reminds me of New Haven. Yeah, gotta write a history of Frontons, Sports Haven, and the Shark Bar to go along with Auto World and “It’s foggy out.”
If you’d visited Frankenmuth or Blueberry Hill you’d understand.