Last Monday, I saw Sufjan Stevens play his new album Carrie and Lowell at the Masonic Temple in Detroit. As not only a Michigan native, but Michigan enthusiast, he had a lot to share about his home state. After almost an hour of just playing and no banter with the audience, Stevens suddenly broke into a twenty minute trip down memory lane, citing off notable moments from his childhood all around the Great Lakes State. Every statement would start with "I remember" and end in some sort of well-timed, dead pan joke.
In preparation of moving to Chicago in two weeks, I've found myself thinking a lot recently about my own relationship to this complicated city. I've spent more time in Detroit this year than any other period of my life--attending concerts, working part-time at the most wonderful pie shop, and checking new/old restaurants off my ever growing list. This city has become a big part of me and is a place I've grown to love sharing and experiencing with others. Since Sufjan executed his list so seamlessly, I thought I'd try to implement a similar style in recounting my own Detroit memories. I can't guarantee it will be nearly as funny or poetic, but we'll see what happens.
I remember stepping into Eastern Market for the first time and realizing I had officially found my grown-up Toys R'Us.
I remember doing a side by side tasting of coney dogs with my friend Katie at both Lafayette and American Coney Island (sort of like the Pat's/Geno's Philly Cheese Steak rivalry but Midwest hotdog edition). I'm a Lafayette girl. Katie is an American girl. We agree to disagree.
I remember driving through the Heidelberg Project and imagining the crazy ways I could paint my future home.
I remember discovering Sister Pie on a friend's Instagram account, emailing Lisa the owner about interning, getting the gig!, working my way up to pastry chef, and learning everything there is to know about pie. And dancing...all...the...time.
I remember making the trek to the city with my cousin when we were seniors in college for special dinners at Slow's BBQ and ordering heaping plates of bbq brisket, cornbread, mac & cheese, and collards.
I remember seeing the Diego Rivera Detroit Industry Murals for the first time and feeling my heart physically skip a beat.
I remember going to one of the first Spring games at Tiger's Stadium and paying no mind to any actual baseball as I was busy reabsorbing all the Vitamin D I'd been denied all winter.
I remember cornily singing "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" with my Dad in the original Hitsville USA studio at the Motown Museum and not being able to grasp that Marvin Gaye/Stevie Wonder/Diana Ross/(insert favorite Motown star) actually stood in the same room.
I remember attempting to divide up a two foot long receipt from Green Dot Stables where my Zingerman's co-workers and I satisfied a major craving for sliders. Lets just say we did some serious work.
I remember finding the only vodka I've ever actually enjoyed drinking straight up at Two James Distillery.
I remember eating a Hot Mess Bon Bon (dark chocolate shell with a melted chocolate filling piped right in front of you) at Bon Bon Bon in Hamtramack and experiencing euphoria in chocolate form.
I remember the intense pride I felt finally mastering the drive to downtown Detroit without a GPS. Those of you that know me will understand the significance of this accomplishment.
These are the moments that paint my picture of Detroit and are what will keep me coming back upon return visits to Michigan. I think Sufjan said it best when he described Detroit using the famous Dungeons and Dragons line--"the land of fierce imagination where anything is possible." A fitting line for a constantly inspiring city.