Friday, June 14, 2019

Places To Live

When I first arrived in Detroit my husband and I stayed with his brother and family until we found an apartment on the East side. We lived just a few blocks from the Detroit River.

Our apartment was on the second floor. There was another apartment on the same floor. The first floor was occupied by a young family with several children. The husband was a veteran. The wife was from Germany.

The third floor was not much more than an attic. A strange man lived there. He drank to excess. When he was drinking he would play records of Hitler's speeches. He was sure that would attract the woman from the first floor.

The day he went out into the street and stopped traffic was the day they finally did something about him. Because the traffic was backed up the police came. He was delirious and violent. That was the last time we saw him.

Eventually we moved to another apartment. It was in the Cass Corridor near downtown Detroit.

The Cass Corridor is a bad area. Not the worst but bad.

Across the street from our building was a hotel. That was where the prostitutes took their 'clients'. Sometimes some of us who lived in the apartment building would choose a hooker and see how many men she would entertain in an afternoon. It became a game.

When the riots in 1967 happened that area was dangerous. We happened to be visiting my husband's brother and family that day. A mutual friend came into the house in the evening to watch the news to see what time the curfew started. We all thought he was crazy.

We stayed there for a week until it was safe to go home. In the meantime there was a high-speed car chase down the street as we were standing in front of the house talking to neighbors.

My parents were frantic. They had not yet come to the big city. They had no idea where I was or whether we were safe. They sent a telegram that I did not receive because I was not home. I had no idea that it was national news.

My family was relieved when I called them to let them know that we were all safe.

Later that year was when I took my baby to meet his grandparents. Then they came to the big city.

More next time.


  1. Wow! That was really a busy place!
    Yet difficult times are the most interesting part of our life history!
    Thanks for sharing yours!

  2. No fun getting caught up in riots!!! Have a good weekend Diane

  3. i am finding this story of your life very interesting dear Emma!

    the crazy drunk man was truly weird

    i am glad that your parents heard about your well being at time
    it sounds you lead an adventurous life my friend and such adventurous life bring so much learning along

    1. I have known some strange characters. You will meet some more when I continue.

  4. Detroit is a serious place. I'm looking forward to hearing more.

    1. Detroit can be bad. It can also be good. It depends on where you are.

  5. 1967+ were dangerous times for the north. Your parents must have been terrified for you.

    1. I know they were relieved when I called them. I was quite naive at that time and did not realize that the city was making National news.

    2. I visited a man who lived in a similar sounding area, but this was in Philadelphia. The Datsun truck that I owned at the time had a Mississippi tag, so the man suggested that I back my truck close enough to his car that no could see my tag (Mississippi vehicles only had rear tags), which I promptly did. Now I think about how it might be a good idea for people with Southern tags to do likewise when they're in areas as hostile toward Trump as this one. A man was assaulted here for having a pro-Trump bumper sticker.

  6. Do you have any idea why the strange man thought Hitler's speeches would attract the other resident? I also idly wondered what he would have done if she really had been turned-on but was Jewish or Communist (which would make her at least as sick as he was). I knew a fellow who dumped a few wheelbarrow loads of dirt in his yard, and created a little miniature landscape (with roads, vehicles, and people, the last two items being old and beat-up) that looked like what a child might make, his thought being that a woman (not one who actually knew) would happen by, see his creation, realize what a terrific guy he must be, and find him by knocking on the door of the house in which he rented a room. When I later learned about bower birds, I thought of him. Some men seek to impress women by buying expensive things, but he had no money--just a lot of delusions. He was nice, though.