My life growing up in Michigan (Detroit, Lansing: how much, house, find a job)
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I am extremely home sick and just wanted to write to ease my mind.
I grew up in a blue collar family in a small S.E. Michigan town with a population of 1100. My Dad worked at the Rawsonville Ford plant (UAW Local 898) and spent 35 years there and retired at age 53. Let's keep Detroit ALIVE!
I can remember when I was growing up how much I hated the months of September and October. The reason behind this was that every Saturday and Sunday of those months it was time to go cut wood to heat the house for the winter. We would head over to my Grandpa’s wooded property of 30 acres at the butt-crack of dawn… man I hated getting up in the mornings as a kid.
My father is someone who does not like to take down standing trees if he doesn’t have to. So we would spend the first few weekends trying to find trees there were blown down from storms. So there was a lot of walking and dragging of downed trees back to the splitter or many walks back and forth with arms stacked with wood cut from the chain saw. As I write this, I can close my eyes and feel the brisk air with the scent of fresh cut wood.
We would gather, cut, split wood till it got dark and stack it in a nice pile. Once darkness fell upon us, we would load the wood up in the back of an old teal-colored Ford pickup he had bought… Man that thing was a rust bucket, but my old man loved it!!
We would make runs back and forth from the Grandpa’s house to our house to unload the cut wood. Once unloaded from the truck, we had to pop out the basement window so we could stack the wood up there. Boy that was some hard work for a kid, but the older I get, I truly miss that type of stuff. Being outdoors, being a little self sufficient. Plus I know it helped transform me into the hard-working man I am today.
Along with the house being heated by a wood stove, my parents also grew a pretty healthy garden every year. We had tomatoes, green peppers, corn, onions, carrots, cantaloupe, and watermelon. It was a nice small garden nothing fancy. But they know just how much to grow for our family. And my mom would can as much as she could along with making some home made salsa for us.
On top of that my Dad was big into fishing and we would freeze a lot of fish.. We had a freezer full of Perch, Walleye, Sunfish, and Bluegill. He also never missed the Salmon fishing season up in Oscoda, I really couldn't go as a kid because of school, but got to go as I got older. We would take the family van and sleep in the back of it for a week. We would fish in the Au Sable River by Foot Dam and off the piers of Lake Huron. We would also spend quite a few weekends ice fishing on Lake Erie.
A very common occurrence, we would spend the spring and summer weekends having campfires and inviting friends over for drinks and cook outs or going camping. The women would sit around and talk about their families and whatever women talk about. The men would play horseshoes and talk so much trash while doing it… it was great. We as kids got to just run around and be kids. As a kid I seemed to be so free. We would go for walks in the woods, play war, football, and my all time favorite hide and seek. Boy how that has changed with all these stupid video games. Kids don't even know how to entertain themselves or how to just have fun hanging out with friends.
During the winter months we would go on snowmobile trips and there would be anywhere from 20-50 sleds on our convoy.We would go around locally where we were at and 1-2 times a year we went to someones cabin up in Gaylord, Grayling, Cadillac, Mio, or Lewiston. Boy those were the good ole days…
If you needed any help on your car or house, you could just call up a buddy or a few buddies and they would help you out till the wee hours of the night. All you had to do was feed then and give them their favorite beverage. I truly feel like I grew up in one big family with all the friends that were always available for just about anything.
You truly don't know what you have till it's gone. I thought I hated where I grew up and and the state of Michigan. But hind site is 20/20. I left that little piece of Michigan heaven January 2005 vowing to never return to that town or Michigan as a whole. I lived in Tampa FL for 3 ½ years and now I live in a city with a population of over 500,000 in Atlanta, GA. I have studied basically non-stop, at my own pace, for the past 11 years to get a great paying job in the I.T./Telecommunications field. But along with the fancy job title comes tremendous stress.
Atlanta is so face paced it is actually making me depressed. Here everything is about money and not about what type of person you are or what type of values you have. It’s all about what type of car you drive and how much money you make. And southern hospitality is non existent in my experiences here in GA.
So I have been saving up for the past few years and will be heading HOME to Michigan no later than June 2010. Although I will not be heading back to my old hometown, I consider the Great State of Michigan my home. I want to try something new and head to the Western side of the state.
Funny thing is I want to go back to the type of life that had as a kid. Even though it wasn’t easy, everything seemed to be less stressful then life is today. Now I miss Michigan more than I ever have. Never thought I would say it… but there truly is no place like home, and Michigan is my ONLY home. I miss the cold weather, the brutal snowstorms, the wonderful smells of spring, the BEST summers, and the AMAZING views during the fall.
Hopefully I can find me another slice of heaven. A small 2 bedroom 1 bathroom house in the country or woods with a little garage is all I need. Give me a place where I can live like my Mom and Dad did with us. All I need is a nice little garden, a freezer full of fresh fish, and a nice wood stove or fireplace for me to warm my feet during those beautiful snow storms. And of course I would need me a nice used 4x4 Ford pickup sitting in the driveway.
I could go on and on about how great it was growing up here, too bad it took me to leaving to realize it. But I will stop... for now!!
Last edited by I_Want_Snow; 09-26-2009 at 06:42 AM..
That was a beautiful story , you could almost spread that story out into a book . Life was so simple back then in my youth as well . I wish you the best of luck in finding a suitable place on your return to this great State , there's nothing like being back home here . I'm betting you could re-create some of those memories and save money . Welcome home , let us know when your back and settled .
Thanks Wingnatic. I am definitely going to do my best to re-create those memories and try to be a little more self sufficient. After seeing how materialistic people are around here in Atlanta, along with what happened with the economy really, opened my eyes and made me appreciate the simpler things in life. I still plan on working in the same field, but maybe take a step down in job title to relieve the stress.
Same story here almost except Dad worked for DOW in Ludington. He also was a Lansing Police officer back in the mid-late 60's. We moved around the state a bit, Living in the Soo, Gaylord, Lansing, McBain (points to those who didn't have to look that one up ), Ludington area of course & as an adult I called Detroit and Battle Creek home as well. Moved out of state in 87 vowing never to return. Came back in a year for only a year and left again finished with the State and knowing it sucked as bad as anything could. Fast forward to when I have kids of my own and Michigan is looking real good again. I have traveled all over the Country and have spent a month or more in 47 of our 50 States and frankly never saw what I had as a kid growing up. My DW and I decided where we were was not the best place for us to raise out family and we started looking ALL over the place. We made a list of what we NEEDED and what we wanted. We also made a list of what was a deal breaker for each of us. Narrowed it down to places in CA, OR, AZ, MT, WY, AR, NH, TN, and MI. After spending some more time getting to know these places a bit better it came down to MT, and MI. The schools, water, people and jobs made MI the clear choice for us. So here I am back in MI with a renewed and much more grounded view of the State. I'll never leave again. I HAVE been out there and seen the best other places have/had to offer and frankly none of them match up to our little town right here where I grew up.
I live on a street I used to ride my bike down wanting a house on, my kids play baseball on the same diamonds that I did, and their grandfather did. They see roads and buildings with OUR family name on them the same as I did. They are living a great childhood in a great place to be a kid (as well as an adult). Is it easy? Not really, but it is easier than we had before. I'll never be rich, shoot I won't make it to what most people consider "comfortable" before I die of old age probably. Don't care either; bills are paid, nice house for a great price in a fantastic location, steady jobs, GREAT schools for the kids and good friends for them to be with and grow up with.
IF you have the job skills that are still in demand this is a great place to be. If not, then I can see the frustration and attitude, I can see it because I used to have those same feelings toward the State. Now with the passing of years, I see where I was selling this place way short. I can also see where changes need to be made to make it desirable to a lot of people again.
Find a job here, and welcome back! You really CAN come home again and either get back for yourself or give to somebody else, the life you grew up with. Been back in Michigan with my own kids for almost 4 years again and this is home for all of us (even the 12 year old who remembers the Northeast the best and still has friends back there.)
OP is right to abandon IT. Not sure what he'll be able to do in MI but come back if it'll make you happy. I kind of think the nostalgia of the good old days won't match the new reality in MI though. Even low paying jobs are hard to find.
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