I’m on my annual trek to my home town, Flint, MI. It started six or seven years ago when my mother wanted to take a trip but we couldn’t think of any place where she’d be able to get around well. She still had friends in the area and I convinced her that she’d be glad she got to see people and that the trip would be easier for me than many because I wouldn’t have to negotiate a completely unfamiliar place.
Since General Motors all but abandoned it Flint is a very different place from the prosperous town of my youth. I feel a little sick when I see what the loss of one industry can do. Imagine if all the banks and mortgage companies and car companies had all gone down at once. I don’t want to.
Mom really enjoyed seeing her friends. I’m old enough that I enjoyed spending time with so many folks I’d known all or most of my life. [Most people my age left with General Motors…] Surprisingly we found that some of our old favorite restaurants still existed and were just as good as ever. We also discovered a few new favorites.
Suddenly it became an annual event. Amazingly almost all of her friends are still alive and in their homes and getting around (Mom is 87) . We stay in a place with a kitchen and haul in extras of our favorite foods to freeze and carry home. I’ve never found a place that knows donuts like this area — home made fresh every day, they’re amazing. Not that I’m supposed to eat donuts… Donna’s Donuts are guaranteed every time. Luigi’s Pizza is so great people call from all over the country asking to have one shipped because you can’t find thin crust pizza this good anywhere.
I couldn’t wait to get out of here when it was time for college and I offered to make the first visit with some reluctance. But I’m not as snotty as I was when I was younger and I see people who are warm and friendly and don’t deserve to have had it as hard as it has been. I see the familiar landscape of my childhood and after all my wandering it feels good to be “home” again. There may not be a beach or a destination hotel or a giant amusement park but there are friends and good food and I enjoy it every time.