313 is the long standing area code for Detroit. Today is March 13th (3/13) so it’s Detroit Day.
“Speramus meliora; resurget cineribus”. Translated from the Latin it reads, “We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes.” It’s the motto for the city of Detroit and a motto that I’ve adopted for myself.
I grew up in the suburbs, a mile away from the infamous 8 Mile. My dad fled the city after the 1967 riots, just one of many white dudes that participated in the “white flight” away from Detroit and into the suburbs. My parents were the ones that rarely crossed 8 Mile. We’d go no further than the Detroit side because my mom liked to shop at a thrift store located on 8 Mile. The doors were locked as soon as my dad made the turn and wouldn’t be unlocked until we were safely back in familiar territory. The only time I can remember actually leaving the border and entering into Detroit proper was when the Shrine Circus would come to the State Fair Coliseum and during Labor Day when the Michigan State Fair was happening.
My dad worked in the city of Detroit so he had his fill and avoided it during his off hours. My mom was apathetic to Detroit. It was up to my older brother, Scott, to stoke the flame I had for Detroit. He took me to the infamous Cass Corridor and the Masonic Temple in 1992 for my 16th birthday. When I graduated two years later he took me to visit the Detroit Institute of Arts for my first time, the Renaissance Center and the Heidelberg Project.
I dream of living in Detroit. One day I’ll make it happen. Until then Detroit remains my friend and lover, my protagonist and sometimes antagonist, my playground and great adventure. Detroit has and probably always will be my sanctuary.
As I go about my life and try to be the best Bradley I can be, I often channel my inner Detroit. Detroit is always getting knocked down and knocked about by everyone outside of the city. For a city that’s about to turn 316 years old, I think it looks great. The city is a survivor and I tap more and more into that survivor mentality each day.