The life and times of Elvira Moore

Picture by Sandy Powers

You might say we have the same bones, she and I.

“We Moores are made of strong stuff,” is what my father used to always say. “Same stuff made this city.”

Daddy was right. Harlan Moore lived to be 106, and he had that same flash of fire in his eye right up until the day he died in my apartment, three years after my mother. The two of them actually met when each of them happened to be out for an evening stroll, standing out front of here admiring this beautiful red brick building that was soon to become the El Moore. It must have been quite a conversation because they got married several months later. Several months after that they were among the first to secure an apartment in the El Moore, I think as much for sentimental reasons as anything else. There were only eight apartments in the entire building at the time, very large, and each of them were quite fabulous.

One year later, April 13, 1898, Elvira Moore was born. That would be me. The very first baby to be born at the El Moore, and the last for quite some time.

Today, I’m 118 years old today, and still percolating. Like I said, we have strong bones.

Occupying all these years has, as you might expect, given me the opportunity to view more than a few transformations in this neighborhood. I have seen the El Moore at its finest, I was there for the decline, and I have been witness to a rebirth I never thought I’d see. Quite a ride, if I do say so myself.

But in the meantime, as all these changes were scampering about, I wasn’t exactly the type to remain still. You can observe while keeping yourself occupied, and I kept myself more than occupied with what my mother liked to say were “odd little peculiarities.” At first my tendencies toward the unusual would worry them both, but then as I got older, I believe they began to understand, at least to some degree, the nature of me. Because I was of them, which meant that, if I was a bit strange then, well, a bit of strange must have been residing in them as well.

For example, as a child I used to love riding the dumb waiter up and down. I wasn’t supposed to do it, of course, but no one made more than a required amount of fuss, and daddy actually found it quite amusing and inventive. Plus it was a much more fun way to descend to the first level from the top floor where we lived.

When I was much older, I actually babysat for a very interesting little boy by the name of Casey Kasem. If the name does not sound familiar, you are probably too young to be reading this post.

When I reached 100 I decided I still did not want to grow up so I began to race pigeons. Not many people know this, but those little critters are quite the competitive sort. Feisty, too.

Just like me.

About Keith Owens

Keith Owens is a freelance writer, columnist, blogger and musician whose most recent work has been featured in Model D Detroit, BLAC Detroit, and the national political affairs blog PoliticusUSA. He has also published three novels through Detroit Ink Publishing (www.detroitinkpublishing.com), the eBook publishing company he co-founded with his wife, Pamela Hilliard Owens. Keith and Pam live in a 100-year-old home in the Historic Boston-Edison District a few miles north of the El Moore.

El Moore