If you don’t know where you’ve been, then you are going to have a rought time getting where you are going. I don’t collect mail in Detroit or vote in there, but regardless of where I lay my head, Detroit will always be home. Still it is apart of me and it’s apart of my foundation. There is a lot of good in Detroit and there is a lot that can be learned from the mistakes and pitfalls the city has fallen prey to recently. No matter where I go or where I live I will always have a little piece of Detroit in me. For that reason and many more what happens in Detroit will always matter to me. Hope you enjoy my 9th favorite post of 2013 as much as I did traveling back down memory lane.
This is the Detroit I remember. Glittering, sparkling, beautiful, a place where anything was possible. I know they say if you can make it in New York you can make it anywhere. I never believed the hype. If you can survive Dexter, 8 mile, 7 mile and Cortland and make something of yourself well you can make it even bigger in New York. Ask Madonna she was from Detroit before she started using her English accent. :-). Lol – no shade.
Detroit used to be a place where people didn’t just work hard, they dreamed, then they made the impossible happen. I could tell you a little story about a guy named Berry Gordy, but I don’t have all night.
Detroit has had some bad press lately. High crime rates, bankruptcy, the auto bailout still it is where I started this journey. I know that for most when they think of Detroit the image they see is this. A city that can’t keep it’s street lights on, a city struggling on life support, ready to be unhooked and put out of its misery at any moment.
This will never be my Detroit. I’m a little bias. I still think the Renaissance Building is one of the most beautiful buildings ever built. I remember all the circuses my mom took us to in Cobbo Hall or Joe Louis Arena,. The best thing about Christmas was seeing the Nutcracker and then going to Hudson’s Magical Wonderland. You can grow up, but a little of your childhood will always be right there under the surface. You can move thousands of miles away , but all it takes is one chord from a song and your right back home again cleaning your room singing in a hairbrush and practicing the new Temptations or Gladys Knight and the Pips moves. You can leave, but magic of Motown never leaves you. BTW, I never sang into a hairbrush, but I know people who might have.
I know many people think I’m too young to have a Motown soundtrack to my life but I’m not. Motown made music that still tells a story that is timeless today.
As a little kid I used to love to peep around the corner when my mom and aunts had parties. They had the best food. My Uncle Peyton would start jamming.Then the show would begin. I know I make a lot of references to my mama being all that and a bag chips but honey chile (in my old lady on the porch stoop voice), you should watch her and the rest of those women in our family put it down. You’d be saying the same. They are the entree, the appetizer and that Crown Royal straight no chaser. My cousins and I would wait till the party really started popping and then watch as they did the electric slide. My Mom and my older cousin would take the floor when Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give UP” started playing. That song is so long people would start dropping like flies half way through. But my mom and cousin were still stepping and smiling at the end. I’ve only seen one person who could touch my Mama on that song and that is her big sister. Now you wanna see somebody stepping watch my Auntie Lois work it out. We could be dead asleep in the back and as soon as that song started playing we’d get up and watch. They took stepping and hand dancing to another level. Then we’d practice our moves after checking theirs out and add our own. Don’t let them leave us in the house and go out. It was SHOWTIME AT THE APPOLLO. We’d have comedy acts and we’d practice in secret all week once we found out they were
Don’t let them mess around and leave us in the house and go out. It was SHOWTIME AT THE APPOLLO. We’d have comedy routines. We’d practice in secret all week once we found out they were going out so we could have the best routines and skits. You would’ve thought we went through the Motown school of showmanship. It must have paid off.
I wasn’t one of those kids with an imaginary friend. What did I need an imaginary friend for? I had a constant Motown Soundtrack running through my head. My Uncle Al always had a Caddie. It was usually red with the white rag top. To this very day when I see one I think of Curtis Mayfield‘s Diamonds in the Back and my Uncle Al rolling on those white walls he kept so clean they looked like snow. It seemed like every Temptations song was telling my truth. Aretha knew my very soul. And then when I went to school with one of the Four Tops son and fell in love. I thought how could life get better? He was fine as wine as a kid. But he was slightly cocky and well I was me so clearly not a match made in heaven. 🙂
Okay, all my Motown school days weren’t perfect. Allegedly I may have gotten into a small skirmish because my dad told me he wrote Stevie Wonder‘s “Isn’t She Lovely” about me when I was born. I might have gotten a tad bit upset when the girl on the playground told everyone he didn’t write the song. I’m not admitting anything, I’m just telling you the crazy rumors that went around. Yep, I had haters even then. I thought it was all about me. No matter what you say nobody has every put it down as long or as hard as old school Motown.
I may have left Detroit but my soul will always be Motown. In fact, I think I’ll do a little stepping before I lay it down tonight. Gotta keep my skills sharp. You never know when someone might think they want to challenge us. Love my family Love the Motown in me.