The life and times of Elvira Moore

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 … [Read more...]

The Dragon of the El Moore

If you know anything at all about castles, then you know you can't have a castle without a dragon. That's just the way it works. Ask around, and you'll see I'm right. Or you can just take a trip to England and ask someone over there. Whole lotta castles in England, and those castles have been there for eons. No such thing as a brand new castle. A real castle has some serious history attached. Which, of course, would explain why there aren't many castles over here on this side of the pond. America ain't old. It's what you might call a kiddy country, and castles ain't for kids. Most castles reach back to a time when history was a lot more fun than it is now. Way back when everything was once-upon-a-time and certain things may or may not have happened as reported, but whatever was reported … [Read more...]

El Moore phone home…

"Tell me more about this ...Detroit..." Deputy Supreme Commander and Captain Vixra 5!, seated in the command navigation module next to Vixra 5?, who had asked the question, waved his five arms back and forth in the commonly understood demonstration of joy and exultation. His three sets of eyes, located at the ends of long branch-like stalks that extended from what appeared to be a forehead glowed a comforting green, then purple. "Seriously?" asked Vixra5?, a look commonly recognized as perplexed amongst the Vixren muddling his otherwise smooth face. That is, the face located on the front of his third head, most commonly used for intra-species communication. The other faces appeared non-committal and somewhat bored. Vixra5! began waving his arms about even more furiously, this time … [Read more...]

A.C. Varney and the Varney Room

I must say they have done quite well with the old girl. Quite well indeed. And I must also say that I am not one who tends to be easily impressed. I did not make my name by being accommodating to mediocrity, and I simply will not tolerate its presence. There is no excuse for it. When I designed the El Moore over a century ago (for the sake of time we will skip the admittedly remarkable details of how I came to be a guest in my cherished building so long after my death, but believe me, this is a story you will want to hear at a later date), my desire was to create a luxury accommodation for only the finest of Detroit’s residents in one of the city’s most fashionable areas. I recall the neighborhood surrounding the El Moore as a wonderfully busy thoroughfare, a perfect residential … [Read more...]

Nighty night, St. Benedict

"Saint Benedict of Nursia, Nursia also spelled Norcia    (born c. 480, Nursia [Italy]—died c. 547, Monte Cassino; feast day July 11, formerly March 21), founder of the Benedictine monastery at Monte Cassino and father of Western monasticism; the rule that he established became the norm for monastic living throughout Europe. In 1964, in view of the work of monks following the Benedictine Rule in the evangelization and civilization of so many European countries in the Middle Ages, Pope Paul VI proclaimed him the patron saint of all Europe." He was a small man, strangely dressed (for wintertime Detroit, anyway) with a long grayish robe made of a very coarse material, sandals, and a staff that nearly equalled his own height.  But more than the relative strangeness of his clothing and … [Read more...]

The first and last dance

“Try not to be seen. But if, in a particular circumstance, such a thing cannot be helped, do all you can to keep the duration brief. The same as you do at the residence. To be asked to serve at the formal opening of the parlor is quite an honor, and you should know I put in quite a few good words on your behalf with the hosts. If you do a good job, there will be something extra in it for you at the end of the evening. Of that you may be certain.” Susan smiled stiffly, then nodded, acknowledging that she understood Mr. Chambers’ directions and what was expected of her. The parlor event was expected to be quite the affair, attracting not only the esteemed residents of the El Moore, but also well-monied guests from throughout Detroit, the type who expected nothing but the best. Susan … [Read more...]

Sam the turnkey

Neither fish nor foul, October has always been like a stepping stone into the jaws of winter. And so it was on that dreary Friday afternoon as the El Moore stood silently against the gray sky, an echo of a much grander once-upon-a-time buried out of sight and out of mind in the memories of those who had come and gone through its doors for more than a century. Like a dead relative, the El Moore now lived in the dreams, smiles, and frowns of others, seemingly destined to fade one shade at a time as their memories of a grand red brick building began to be replaced by more recent experiences and events. None of which meant anything to Sam, who sat outside in a dusty red pickup truck wearing a gray hoodie beneath a thick red and black plaid work coat and jeans as he checked a small pile … [Read more...]

Why I mark the date

The beginning and the end... I am sleeping when it begins. The hard scratching, like the sound of a heavy nail against an unforgiving surface. And there is breathing, although I am uncertain of the source. At first, as I become slowly aware, I think possibly it is a small child. But then I remember I am alone and have always been so. My move to the El Moore was to seek lodging in a kind space of others who would cause me to forget the inescapability of my haunted circumstances. And ever since that warm spring day in 1905 when I took up residency here in Detroit at this somewhat unusual but strangely charming establishment, I am pleased to say the community here has more than measured up to my rather desperate hopes. I am reminded that it is neither a warm nor a pleasant day as … [Read more...]