I recently moved from Brooklyn to Warren, Michigan, located in the county where I first started my journalism career as a reporter at the Macomb Daily newspaper. Because Warren is just several miles from my childhood home, my new neighborhood really feels like coming full circle in my life. I eagerly left the area in my 20s for the bright lights of New York City to pursue my career, leaving two brothers and their families behind, as well as two sets of beloved grandparents .
My father’s parents were retired Canadian farmers, and had moved to a rustic resort community called Colchester on Lake Erie, where I learned to swim in the summer and ice skate in the cold winters. My mother’s parents had a dairy farm near Vassar, Michigan and had emigrated from Czechoslovakia. I had lots of fresh milk, home-cooked Slovak recipes and learned how to plant and harvest potatoes, their main crop. When you pick potatoes with your mischievous cousins, it’s actually fun! By the time I left the area, my parents had already retired to Florida.
Now that I’ve returned, I’m looking forward to finding lots of inspiration for my blog, while chronicling the changes in my hometown community, one of the areas hardest hit by the recession, despite the revival of the auto industry. I grew up near 6 Mile and Gratiot in Detroit, my working class neighborhood sadly replaced by a vast, empty field. The Vassar family farm is now parceled out among the surviving grandchildren. I plan to extend a long goodbye to friends and colleagues in New York as I return over the next months by Greyhound bus – more on that soon! Stay tuned.