This is the second of a two-part series. Read part 1 here.
Things started to go downhill at the El Moore for Lynne when the new manager moved in. Described as someone who looked like a Hell’s Angel, he took over the managerial duties after Steve Bauer had left. She had even tried to convince the previous owner to give her a chance to be the new manager even though, by her own admission, she wasn’t the best equipped to handle the job. Still, she figured it was worth a try. This was, after all, one of her favorite places in the world.
“I don’t know where I got the nerve, but the owner of the building was an attorney named Bruce Miller. And I called Bruce and asked if I could be the manager, which, at that point…I mean, this skinny, 100-pound person who looked more like 19 than someone in her 20s..? and I wouldn’t know how to unclog a drain. So he decided that I was probably kind of unfit for the responsibilities of that building. Very nice man, though. So I got somebody named Steve Bauer, who was somebody I knew from the neighborhood who has disappeared. I think I heard he may have gotten married and was living in Kentucky or Tennessee. So Steve was the son of a vice president of Chrysler, but Steve had not really found his calling so he had decided to be the manager of the El Moore. And at a certain point Steve had disappeared, as was Steve’s way, and then somebody who reminded me of a Hell’s Angel moved in, and at that point a very scary thing happened. Somebody broke in through the glass doors of the apartment building. I heard him moving around, but he didn’t break into my apartment. And after that I left. He was the manager after Steve Bauer and I don’t remember his name.”
Even now, from her home in New York, she still regrets she had to leave the place she loved so much.
“The Cass Corridor and Paris have been my two spiritual homes in life. And the El Moore was the first place I found a home. When I found the Corridor I found my first home. I needed to find someplace where I could be free, and that’s how I found the Corridor.”
At the El Moore, “I hung out with my neighbors. I got to know them, it was an ethnically diverse group. The two people I was closest with were a Lebanese guy and an African American guy, my next door neighbor. They were both absolutely delightful, and really smart. Warm hearted. I’ve fallen out of touch with them.”
What she remembers as residents were artists, graduate students and professors. “That’s what I primarily remember. And they were all educated.” Her recollection is that the tenants were screened, and educational level was a part of that screening process.
“I lived on the fourth floor, on the east side in the back. In my apartment, the dining room had a pewabic tile fireplace, and it was gaslit. So on a cold, Detroit winter nights night, I had a fire. It was beautiful. And there was really high quality furniture, and built-in bookshelves, which were gorgeous. I don’t remember what kind of wood they used, but it was a very fine wood. The bathroom was either a dumbwaiter or the maid’s bathroom. I could never figure it out. When I had it, there was a large gorgeous living room, a nice bathroom, a nice kitchen and a lovely balcony (although a bit dangerous because one of her boyfriends almost fell off due to a weak railing), and a smallish bedroom.”
“I love the Cass Corridor, and whenever I’m in Detroit I visit it, and whenever I find a building that is no longer there my heart bleeds, because it really was my first home. My first real spiritual home. I still have the white porcelain plates that I bought at Tomboy Market for 5 cents apiece. Whenever I didn’t have enough money for food they would let me owe them a few cents.”