In 1954, my parents moved our family from our Kentucky homeplace of three generations to Detroit’s Yacama Street. My sisters and I had never seen such crowded houses on both sides of a “block,” as city people named where they lived. Every house had a number. Our house’s number was 19346.
Nobody’s house had numbers on Peter Creek where we came from. Everybody knew everybody and where they lived.
The new neighbors on our block, we lived next door to Italians, and across the street from Germans and Polish folk. They all spoke languages we didn’t know.
Alarmed by the trucks and cars that drove fast on Seven Mile Road, my mother forbid my sisters and me to skip rope past our neighbor’s house. We spent most our playtime in the backyard.
Five years old then, my saving grace was Brown’s Creamery, my landmark on Seven Mile Road. I dreamt about spinning on the stool and scooping ice cream from a tall, frosted glass as other children did.
Sometime later, Mom and Dad moved our belongings to 18960 Joann Street, also south of Seven Mile Road where Dad barbered in a shop on the corner.
On a Saturday while Dad worked, my two sisters and I walked hand-in-hand with Mom on the sidewalk along Seven Mile Road. To our surprise, she turned the corner facing Gratiot Avenue. She opened the glass and brass door to the Sander’s store. My sisters and I spun on our stools and scooped ice cream from a frosted glass.
I developed a fondness for Sander’s Confectionary which sold chocolates packaged in gold boxes, tied with ribbon. Mom never bought a box of chocolates.
One day, my Joann Street playmate, Camille, invited me into the “foyer” of her house. “Stay here,” she said and disappeared within her beautiful home.
Meanwhile, I spied something sparkly upon a small table against a wall. A sunbeam shone through the tiny window of the front door onto a crystal dish filled with chocolates. Unawares, that moment of resisted temptation granted me permission to enjoy fine sweetness whenever I could afford the expense. Alas, as Brown’s Creamery, the Sander’s stores on Gratiot and Woodward Avenues are long gone with many remarkable establishments that proclaimed a healthy community. Even so, a discerning palate will not forget due honor to Brown’s Creamery and Sander’s sweet legacy.
Nowadays, I frequent my most local Sander’s downtown Rochester store, and Give Thanks Bakery. Give Thanks’ almond croissant happens to be my present favorite pastry.
Last Saturday, I paid ten bucks to park for a table in Canelle patisserie, 45 Grand River Avenue, Detroit. Facing the corner of Grand River and Griswold, a friend and I observed diehard Red Wings fans sporting team jerseys, braving the cold and wind.
Dear Reader, I ordered a chocolate pistachio croissant and cappuccino. My friend chose their scrambled egg croissant. I pass on our recommendations to you. Time will tell if Canelle Detroit makes my list of sweet landmarks and legacies.
Contact Iris at firstname.lastname@example.org.