Author: Helen Cox

Helen Cox is a UK author. She made her on-screen debut in The Krankies in 1990. Given the choice, her Mastermind topic would be Grease 2 and when someone asks her if she is a god she says 'yes.' Oh, you want to know about her books? Best click some of the links below.

Postcards from Detroit

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I know. You were expecting a photograph of a burnt-out building. Blackened walls. Boarded up windows. And I could’ve posted that picture. I’ve got plenty. But after just three days in Detroit, I don’t feel that’s what’s in the heart of this city.

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At its core, deep down where it really counts, the city is tender. Honest. Warm. It might have a crack or two but what heart wouldn’t after beating for 314 years? The point is, no matter what the papers and the poverty tourists want you to believe, it isn’t broken.

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People often say, as something of an insult; insinuating naivety, that I’m too quick to see the good. In places. In people. In situations. But to me, you don’t have to look too hard to see the decency in this place.

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These people call me ‘sweetheart.’ Every one of them. Even though they don’t know me at all. They confide in me at the bus stop about their dreams of becoming a hip hop sensation. Stand with me in the Amtrak parking lot and share their stories of eloping to California with handsome, U.S. Air Force men. Only to eventually return to this city. Their city.

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The cab driver who scooped me up from the Greyhound Station talked with me for fifteen minutes on the ride to the hotel. Then, he wrote his number on the back of an old receipt and told me if I wound up anywhere I didn’t want to be, I should call him. ‘I’ll find you.’ He told me. ‘Just give me thirty minutes and I’ll find you, wherever you are within the city limits.’

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I clenched that piece of paper tight in my hand a couple of times during my stay in Detroit. Particularly on my walk up Jefferson Avenue toward the Emerald City of Grosse Point. The sudden shift between the metropolitan and the suburban is unearthly.  Like stepping between dimensions. But I never did need to call that cabbie.

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Strangers are shocked I’m traveling alone. They pat my arm. Rub my back. Squeeze my shoulder. And repeat the same mantra over and over. Stay safe, they say, stay safe.

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Walking back to my hotel at dusk, the sun sets over the Detroit River. I’ve never seen a sky so rich with gold. Interrupted only by the silhouettes of the industrial Midwest. Breathing in the moist air thrown up by the choppy, grey waters I think about all the people who abandoned Detroit. How the city emptied out. And wonder how anyone could leave anything so beautiful behind, for good.

 

 

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2 comments on “Postcards from Detroit

  1. Jens Lyon
    November 21, 2015

    I’m glad you’re enjoying my fine city!

    Like

    • Helen
      November 21, 2015

      People were so kind to me. It was amazing to explore a place like Detroit. I want to return. Some day. xxx

      Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on November 21, 2015 by in Author Blog and tagged , , , .
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