Once I left the Midwest for medical school, I realized that there are people on either coast that would never be able to transplant themselves to the middle of the country. I grew up in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Michigan is one of the flattest states this side of the Mississippi. I mean, we are pretty unique in that are a state in two parts, and both parts are peninsulas between four of the five Great Lakes. I remember learning all about Michigan geography in the first grade during our social studies segment, and feeling like such a big kid for learning something that wasn't phonics or basic math.
Anyway...yes, Michigan, the feelings forever. Man, I remember that commercial.
I may not have wanted to go back to Michigan right now, and I may not make it back there super soon, but after visiting Wisconsin and thinking, good Lord, this is real midwest...too many cows and beer and cheese and cornfields! Yes, my county, Superior, had plenty of cornfields when I was growing up...but there was definitely a saudade factor as I was back in my home state, flying into Detroit Wayne Metro airport, driving down 94 and 23, Michigan Ave...
This was my childhood home. I lived there for the first 22 years of my life. I've still lived nowhere else as long as I have Michigan, and I won't for another 22 years, if I never return. My drivers' license is still a Michigan license. My parents' home is still my permanent address. I still measure distances in minutes and I still call pop pop and I still like Vernors better than any other ginger ale you put in front of me. I miss Meijer and it would make my experience in any other city near perfect. I still remember the cable lineup, but that may be helped by the fact that I haven't had cable since I left. I still follow Detroit sports teams (as much as I did when I left, haha) and I bleed Blue!
But I bought a ticket to the world, and I can get over Ann Arbor, though I'll always have much love for Ypsi and much pain for Flint and Detroit.
People may see my home state as Nowheresville, USA, but I think most of us live there...most of us live a little bit in the middle of nowhere, where we have to drive to get everywhere, in small communities with generations in one failing school district until it closes. I may be Ms. Fancy Pants right now (or Dr. Fancy Pants, soon, insha'Allah) but I was born and raised in a flat state in a little town whose sightseeing potential didn't waver far from a brown, brick, phallic water tower.
I love you, Michigan, and there'll never be another you!
I close with this song, an ode to a struggling city, Detroit. "Hello, Detroit," by Sammy Davis Jr., used to be the opening to a morning show that I would occasionally listen to on the way to high school my junior and senior year. I drove along in the early morning, around 7:10am, in my car, my family's 1985 Toyota Camry named Vergil...probably listening along on Resident, my resident boom box since my car radio was unplugged due to then yet unidentified alternator problems. So I'll leave you with this rat-pack-style tribute to Detroit, the most populous city in my state!