Age does have its merits.
I have been a witness to more than a century of Detroit growth, although, I concede, from a rather limited vantage point. As a very old building, mobility is not something I do well. But as I believe I have pointed out before, during my grander days (why does grander always seem to mean younger?) before I was forced to shutter my doors and make do with the pigeons for company, I relied on my tenants to bring me news of the outside world. It was through them that I learned of all that was happening elsewhere in Detroit beyond the Cass Corridor, and even beyond Detroit and outside of Michigan. The people who have taken up residence here over the years have arrived traveling a very broad path of life experiences, and that always contributed what I considered a wealth of perspectives. Those years when there were no residents? I count them as some of the most painful.
But next week that is all about to change in dramatic fashion. Many thanks to the builders that have put in so many hours in my reconstruction (who knew a facelift could take more than a year?), I am now a new and improved El Moore, overhauled in numerous ways to not only be up to date with a more modern Detroit, but in fact to be noticeably ahead of my time. Because tell me, how many ‘green,’ environmentally sustainable (note my new vocabulary!) 100-year-old brick buildings do you know? Or have you even heard of?
I really do have to say that in many ways I feel as if I have undergone major surgery for an extended period of time. Extended as in months and years, not mere hours. There were so many pieces broken and worn within the confines of these old red brick ribs, that it required a near superhuman amount of patience and dedication on the part of the ‘doctors’ (you may be more familiar with them as construction workers) to put Humpty El Moore together again. But put me together they did, and so much more. I’m brand new all over again.
Just the other day I saw Mr. Jackson strolling by as I have seen him strolling by for any number of years now. But I do believe this was the first time I saw him take such pause to pay me any attention as he stood there, slowly taking me in from top to bottom, then back up again as he stared at the new rooftop cabins. Then he walked a few more paces down Alexandrine and took his time enjoying the greenhouse, looking at it from all sides. It was nearly 20 minutes before he went along his way, a smile creasing his face. Then he began to whistle.
It’s so good to be back. I can’t wait to greet my new friends.