Road Trip: Day 61

Posted: September 25, 2016 by timjollymore in Uncategorized

Dateline: Menomonee, Michigan by day and by night

When I wrote Observation Hill, a novel of class and murder, I immersed myself in Duluth. Yes I’d been there that summer and many times before, but I delved into archives, memories, books, and articles from the city’s previous hundred years. There had been much that haunted me about the town I knew first hand from 1955 until I left in 1981 and then beyond that. Don, my bookseller friend in Sturgeon Bay named it “post industrial” complex.

He’s right: Calumet, Michigan; Duluth, Minnesota;  Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, and on. The misnomer “Rust Belt” does not do the majesty of these places any justice at all. They are still inhabited by hope (in vain though it may be) of immigrant workers and their progeny. By day these towns express a natural and industrial beauty. At night the ghosts of by-gone times come out in the shimmers and shadows that play across the structures they built.  Both sights are haunting and fulfilling. Look hard, look close to see what comes up for you.

Day

Twilight

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Somehow, perhaps you’ll see, the night buildings reminded me of New Orleans. Of course, I’d eaten Cajun at Pearl’s in the old section of Menomonee. That helped set the mood.

Night

The buildings are not empty, not entirely. They seem to be waiting. The city will preserve them and hope people will come. For now, they seem bare inside and out, but when you listen on a soft fall night, very careful to hold a breath, you can hear the shoppers, the workers, the bankers, the shopkeepers bustling along the streets.

Below: COMIC RELIEF?
I’m not sure. You be the judge:

nite-7

Compare these signs with any in your own town. I think you’ll see the difference. Intentional?

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