Detroit is the first and last stop on my Midwest tour. That's a joke, sort-of ... but there's a part of me that wants to have a t-shirt made with the places I've lived in the Midwest silk-screened on the back. It would look something like this
A friend I met while I lived in Minneapolis insists I must have gypsy blood in my veins, the way I have moved from Midwestern city to Midwestern city, only to end up in exactly the same place I started. In part that's true-being a seeker of greener pastures is a characteristic of my Type A personality. But I have left Detroit only to come back because I wanted to. I moved back to Detroit because I believe in its potential.
I am the child of Italian immigrants. My grandparents left homes and families to immigrate to Detroit because this city had opportunities. Potential. My grandmother, barely able to speak a word of English when she first arrived in Detroit, took a job as a cook at Hudson's on Woodward. It made her feel like part of something, she would say, to take the bus from her house in Lincoln Park to the city to prepare Maurice salads for the people who came through the restaurant every day. My parents, both born in small towns in rural Italy, are graduates of Wayne State University, and my mother is a graduate...