In an essay
published on June 17 in The New Yorker, native Detroiter and writer Rollo Romig reflects back on his time growing up in North Rosedale Park on Detroit's northwest side. Throughout the essay, entitled "When You've Had Detroit," Romig waxes nostalgically about the things that made his childhood neighborhood special while acknowledging the cruel realities of living in the heart of a city during a period of rapid decline.
My parents had no idea what a paradise North Rosedale could be until they moved in. All they knew was that they could buy a gorgeous house there for only thirty thousand dollars, and that was good enough. It was a big yellow-brick colonial, built solid in 1928 and clearly designed for a family with means: a wood-burning fireplace in the living room, a leaded-glass window on the stair...
It was good enough that there was a lot we were willing to ignore. Five months after we moved to North Rosedale, three men with guns took my mother’s purse while she chatted outside a friend’s house on a perfect May evening. When a cop arrived, my dad pointed out that the muggers now had our home address and our house keys. What to do?
Despite its challenges, Romig celebrates his neighborhood as a great place to be from.
"We’ve never wished we grew up anywhere else," he ends his essay.
The essay is slated to be published in the forthcoming Wildsam Field Guid to Detroit