I Have No Idea What I’m Doing

Detroit in all its splendor

So this is my first blog, and honestly, I don’t even know what to talk about.  I lead a pretty average Midwestern Life, where I partake in really eccentric interests for a 21-year-old woman.  This isn’t to say that I think of myself as “not belonging” or “struggling to break free from monotony” though.  On the contrary, I’ve made a lot of friends in Michigan and love my state for what it is.  I actually don’t want to move away from it at all, which comes as a shock to many people.  Detroit is not known for being the…best city, but there are a lot of people and places here that make it a great place.  We’ve got great sports teams (if you’re into that), the Detroit Institute of Arts, and a suburban sprawl unrivaled in most other cities.  I’m actually from these suburbs, and let me tell you, they’ve got a lot to offer.

You know what, I guess I’ll make this post about my family’s relationship with Michigan, because why not?  I’ll give you a little background into my life, just so you know from here on why I love the crumbling ruins I call a city.  My family immigrated to Detroit in the early 1900’s, and we have no idea why.  My great-great grandfather was a member of the Italian cavalry, and he just showed up on their doorstep one day and said, “We need to leave.” They didn’t look back.  Italians used to be notoriously secretive even among each other due to the need to keep closed lips in a poverty-stricken economy, so it’s no surprise that we never got the story of his desertion.

DeMassa Family
Don’t you just love creepy old family photos?

As was the custom, my family lived in an Italian neighborhood within Detroit.  However, when the 1950’s rolled around, our family was thoroughly Americanized.  Although it was a bit scandalizing when my grandfather married my German Protestant grandmother, the family welcomed her with open arms since my grandpa insisted on moving into an apartment nearby the family.  By the late 1960’s, however, the times were changing, and the 1960’s Race Riots of Detroit were tearing the city apart.  My grandparents were terrified to see National Guard troops with tanks and assault rifles marching down the street, so they took my toddler uncle and moved with the rest of my family in the White Flight.  Anybody who had the money to do so at the time fled the city and settled into a comfortable suburban life (in an Italian suburb of course).

So that’s how I’m here, living across the street from my grandparents in a suburb of Detroit.  Many of my friends blame our baby-boomer relatives for the mess Detroit is in right now, but honestly I don’t have it in me.  I’ve talked to my grandpa about it, and they were scared.  They had a child to think about, and they believed that they were doing what was best for the family at the time.  So that’s why even though Detroit is frickin’ mess, I want to be one of the people who directly helps in its revitalization.  A lot of great projects are happening downtown, and my generation wants to be the ones to clean up our city and make it the bustling metropolis it once was.  And we all want to do it in different ways.  My brother for instance wants to be one of the leading architects who plans the new buildings that will replace the ones burnt out and cleared away.

What most neighborhoods in city look like nowadays.  People actually live in these places.

As for myself, I want to be boring and help with books.  I want to teach people that there’s a lot of neat stuff out there, and the library can help you get that for free.  I never had the money to buy the books, movies, and CDs I wanted growing up, but the library was always a place I could depend on for access to knowledge and entertainment I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to get on my own.  So now I want to share that with others.  I want kids to read about Narnia and Hogwarts, I want angsty little young adults to relate to characters like Clary and Katniss, and I want adults to experience centuries worth of adventures, from Odysseus to Kvothe.  So this is why I want to stay.  I don’t want to run from a problem and leave the mess for others to clean up.  I want to do what I can for the city I was raised in so that maybe one day, my kids won’t be known as the children from the former murder capital of the world, but a city filled with innovation and bustling industry.

Detroit Public Library
The Detroit Public Library: Still going strong



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