I went on this fabulous tour of Detroit yesterday with my daughters Sunday School class. It was beautiful. The history, amazing. We learned about the Jewish presence in Detroit. How we’ve been here, in some way, for 300 years. I was impressed at our hand in the Underground Railroad. Some of our prominent Jewish Detroit families gave clothes and supplies to the slaves for their new start.
I wasn’t aware of the Jewish influence all over the city of Detroit. Some of our famous landmark buildings were designed by local Jewish architects. It was just a wonderful way to spend a Sunday morning. With my daughter. On a historical tour of our city.
Here’s my whrrl story, in case you missed it on Twitter:
Another thing I found out. Holy crap. Villages really did step in and raise children. It’s not just a little saying coined by Hilary Clinton and repeated ad nauseum by me, here on my blog.
Back in “the day”. When people mostly lived in cities. There were REAL neighborhoods instead of these psuedo ones we live in called subdivisions. With these neighborhoods there came a true sense of fellowship. They were all in this together.
Unity. A community. People looking out for and truly caring for each other.
Times were so different. Kids could hop on their bikes and ride for miles, stopping at various homes to bed fed, use bathrooms, play. No one worried.
Violent and petty crimes weren’t as rampant. Stay at home Mommies were staring out their windows, watching with those hawk eyes. Checking to see that all bodies were present and accounted for. Making sure everyone was acting appropriately. Kids were forced to behave. And when they didn’t, the whole neighborhood found out.
Oy, the embarrassment.
There was always a group of kids to play with and the Mom’s didn’t have to schlep anyone anywhere. Not the way we do today.
Life was simpler. Quieter. More peaceful. Happier.
In Detroit, the riots of 1967 changed the entire city. On so many levels. There was a mass exodus into the suburbs. Those riots caused a downward spiral of, what was once, a wonderful place to raise a family. Change had started happening, as it always does, prior to the catastrophic event. But change doesn’t necessarily have to be negative.
In Detroit’s case. It was.
All the families left. The insecurity of the city became overbearing.
And with their flight, they unintentionally left behind an entire way of life.
They left behind that village. That true sense of community. The unity.
Life became a little more chaotic. Louder. Not as peaceful. Less care-free.
Suburbs replaced neighborhoods.
Families NEEDED to have two cars because destinations were further away than walking distance.
Scheduled play-dates replaced just showing up at a friends house for lunch.
Things changed. Lifestyle changed.
Moms and Dads both work.
Kids are being raised by Nannies.
Latchkey kids became common.
Divorce, more prevalent.
Crime rate grew.
Community looking out for community?
That became a thing of the past.
The good old days were really just that. The good old days.
Smiling memories lovingly shared with us by our parents.
Burnt out ghosts of beautiful buildings, shadows of their former glory. Yet, still able to give hints of what used to be. Begging us to not turn away at today’s ugliness but to look for yesterdays allure.
Echoes of children playing still linger, swirling through the treetops. Laughter lost behind the obscurity of boarded windows. Memories playing tag-you’re-it in alleyways.
It left me wanting, wishing…
for those good old days.