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A Little Look at My World

Let me state it outright: I love my Grosse Pointes. I'm addicted to the green lawns, friendly wide sidewalks and lakeside parks. And I especially love the Grosse Pointe Moms Club.

I am a member of this so-called “elite” group of stay-at-home parents and we are featured in this week's edition of Time magazine. Please buy the edition so you can read the whole story. But there is a great pictorial online. Check it out here.

The story focuses on how the club, which supports Moms, Dads and children during the early years of parenthood, is helping folks survive and thrive in the economic downturn. I appreciate the story and its attempt to illustrate the changing financial times here and around Southeast Michigan. But it missed one thing: the feeling of love, camaraderie and genuine enjoyment we receive from one another. There is no better gaggle of guys and gals in my world, and I adore every one of them.

Yes, the Grosse Pointes are known among some people for their perceived bigotry (long ago, there was a “housing point system” that supposedly rated whether someone was good enough to move here), exclusiveness and snobbery. I have experienced some of that while living here the past six years – one woman asked me what street I lived on, and when she found out it was the “wrong” side of Mack Avenue, she turned away from me and ended the conversation. But, mostly, I have been embraced by the community here and never found anyone to treat me differently because I shop at Target and not Chanel.

I joined the Grosse Pointe Moms Club when my son was about five months old. I had been working full time and was losing some of myself as a stay-at-home parent. I was lonely and finding it hard to adjust to life with an infant (who hated to sleep – and he still does). The Club saved my life – literally and figuratively. I found friends, activities and acceptance. The Club has only 70 or so members – there aren't that many stay-at-home parents any more. (I clearly work part time, but they still allow us to be full-time members. I even serve on the board for the club.)

It costs $35 annually to join – and anyone who lives in the five Grosse Pointes or Harper Woods is eligible. We assign people to playgroups and the like to avoid cliques or favoritism. Everyone plays fair and friendships come fast and easy.

We give each other support. We provide kind but tough advice. We gossip, chit chat and kvetch over the fence. We have play dates and coffee klatches. We share babysitters and, when needed, we take care of each other's kids when there are emergency doctor's visits. Everyone cheers when a Mom announces her pregnancy. We cry when someone has a miscarriage, is unable to conceive or, even worse, loses an infant or toddler to illness. There is so much love among this club that I think sometimes we are more like sisters than friends.

Then there are the arguments. Moms “break up” when their kids fight. The male club members get accused of “undressing” moms with their eyes – HA! There are arguments over how much we should spend on parties, gifts and more. People grouse about the little stuff, but it usually smoothes over. It's like a family that way – you can't choose ‘em, so you better just like them.

I could go on and on. We may not be the most exciting organization in the world, but it is the most important part of my little life on this great green Earth.

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  • 1

    Have you taken to wearing LadyBug shirts and pleated tartan skirts with a huge safety pin and long cable stitched stockings with Bass Weejuns?

    Are you now wearing a Burberry raincoat?

    Are you living in a Colonial house and were you a member of the group that wanted to tear down Macel Breuer's magnificent library.

    Do you now have an English Sheep Dog?

    Never set foot into Lafayette Park?

    Oh my gosh Karen!



  • 2

    I am happy Karen for you so Please don't be offended by my comments.

    1..I thought this site was a Detroit Blog site?
    2. I did not observe any Black MOMS in the GPMC is that by design or circumstance?
    3. Why just admission for GP/HW MOMS only?

    Finally I hope this blog offers some value to MOMS in Detroit perhaps these same types of clubs already exist???

  • 3

    Just don't forget that it was Pete Heftler who helped get Renaissance going just as he helped save the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House getting tax abatement with the help of the old P51 driver, Coleman A. Young.

    Coleman helped make GP Sweeter.

    And I wouldn't be a bit surprised if there were some black moms in the GPMC.

    But the houses along Lakeshore are in dire need of some real, genuine, architecture. Too much builders dookie.


  • 4


    So here we have Greg from Birmingham attacking Karen from Grosse Pointe.

    Greg, do you belong to the Birmingham Father's Club?

    Or did you join and then sit around fuming, and giving everyone hard stares?

    You've got to admit that the landscaping on the boulevard of Woodward is both hip and beautiful.


  • 5

    OKAY.....So Karen is a GP Mom.
    She takes her little darlings to the Mom & Pop controlled parks. She can walk up and down her clean streets with green grass and big sidewalks. Nice, real nice. A fairy tale life. Oh, she did get snubbed one time.
    What about Detroit, is correct.
    Karen "sometimes" (I use that loosely) looks through Rose Colored Glasses.
    In the city, you can take your kids for walks down sidewalks. They are filled with weeds and overgrown grass and cracks from neglect. Some of which is our own fault.
    Now onto the park. However..... beware of drug dealers and drive by shootings and purse snatchers. No Ice Cream Man will go to that park for the kids.
    You could go to the supermarket for some ice cream. OH Wait.....there are NO Krogers in Detroit. ALL chain store supermarkets have long since fled the scene. Shame on them! Detroit needs grocery stores just like Grosse Pointe or any other city.
    Karen, I like the blog and enjoy your upbeat take on most of them. I can always tell which blog you have written before I read one. However, you write about this kind of stuff and about going to resturants to enjoy the flavor of Detroit. Most of the people in Detroit can not even afford to go to the places you attend. Perhaps I wish I lived in Grosse Pointe. I know it is a nice place.

    Sorry Karen, your blog today is Suburb Fluff.

    And they all lived happily ever after.

    Detroit Kid 51

  • 6

    As a resident of Lafayette Park I must say that I really don't recognize that description of Detroit.

    With proper planning and great ideas, Detroit has and will turn around and I think the horrors are a bit overdrawn.

    Detroit Works is going to be great, no question about it.

    You are too young to remember when across the street from the Arts and Crafts building were houses with hookers.

    It ain't that way now.

    Because of Planning and Citizen's District Council efforts.

    It will take time but Detroit can become great again.


  • 7


    Sorry to disappoint my kids are adults with college and law degrees....I give back to the my community because I care about Birmingham..No I am not the angry Black male profile you have fictionized about me..No I don't live in Birmingham with angry stares on my face or defensive attitudes at whites here in Brimingham even though many of them are like you a white man who because of white privledge mindset thinks they know everything about Black people especially Black males..

    I not attacking Karen YET I am disturbed by the venue of her content..I don't blog about Birmingham on a DETROIT BLOG...

    Karen's token chatter about GP"s housing practices towards Black was very disappointing clearly it was more than just a precieved "housing point system" this is lousy journalism on Karen's part..

    I really don't understand her motivation for this zip code envy blogging....I think it is apparent Karen like you and other whites in this region regardless of class and generation simply view Black folks either as an afterthought or a obligatory racial nuisance..

    Many moons ago I really cared about the opinions of white folks like you and Karen now I don't care a part of me is sadden by my cynicism ... But this is where we are in a post racial America we still get commentaries like this from Karen and arrogant opinions about Black men from whites males like you and chatter that our president is a Muslim and hates America because of his father's country was raped by the British....yada,yada,yada,

    • 7.1

      "....I think it is apparent Karen like you and other whites in this region regardless of class and generation simply view Black folks either as an afterthought or a obligatory racial nuisance."

      What a generalization. You're angry and bitter, and you have no clue what you're talking about. I'm a "white" in this region and I "simply view" blacks as human beings, endowed with the same inalienable rights as all other human beings, including the right to pursue happiness through hard work, sweat and perseverance. Anyone who works hard and honestly and acquires enough resources to live in my neighborhood is absolutely welcome, regardless of color.

      You also write, "I can, will and do bash anyone I so desire regardless of zip code if I find the nature of the opinion backward, underdeveloped and offensive which is present in Karen's puff piece."

      Wow. Does "bashing" other people for their opinions (and, in this case, a completely innocuous opinion) make you feel important? How dare someone have an opinion which doesn't coincide with your own angry, bitter view. Karen's opinion is different than yours (thankfully) so it must be wrong and it must be your job to "bash" it. Got news for you, you're not the center of the universe.

      I know people, good people, who happen not to be black, who sold their comfortable suburban homes and moved their families into the heart of Detroit because they wanted to help improve the city. Guess what finally chased them away? Not the crime and the grime, but rather the anger and bitterness directed against them because of the color of their skin that they encountered everywhere they went. Detroit will never change for the better unless and until the residents of Detroit stop displaying such bitterness against every person they see who happens not to be black (I understand, this is somewhat of a generalization. But all too sadly, it is an apt generalization for the city of Detroit). Apparently you're not a resident of Detroit, but you display this same sense of anger. And your comments here only further incite such anger among others. Your whole attitude is destructive, not constructive. If you want a better Detroit, I suggest you work first and foremost on on your own attitude.

      Sometimes, things are as simple as what they seem. Karen likes her mom's club and that's ok. To take this simple blog and somehow glean from it a greater statement that Karen (and all "other whites in this region") is a bigot is foolish nonsense.

      And why shouldn't Karen like her green grass and wide sidewalks and great parks? Just because Detroit has the problems it has doesn't mean everyone else in Michigan should have to stop taking pride in their own communities. We should be working on raising the bar in Detroit, not lowering the bar everywhere else until the entire state is just as bad as Detroit. And I believe Karen understands that. I believe that she truly would love to see all of Detroit looking as beautiful as the Pointes. And her constructive blog is doing a lot more to help realize that goal than are your destructive ranting and ravings.

      Shame on you.

  • 8

    Community parents clubs are for, um, parents in the community... So, I imagine anyone living in the Pointes (or HW - interesting) it allowed and it is hardly a racial (ok, sure economic definitely but the real estate market is helping that) issue.

    Karen, your observation that you experienced snobbery about being from the "wrong" side of Mack is interesting - I have heard it before (OSM - Other side of Mack) and didn't get it but in GP as anywhere it is location, location, location. I constantly hear from other "Pointers" about the proximity of my In-Laws house to Mack ave and just shrug some need to feel better about themselves somehow.

    One commenter above pointed out the lack of Krogers in the City of Detroit - Karen can you do an "through the eyes of a suburbanite" piece on what the grocery options really are in the city? Urban Farms, Eastern Market, Busy Bee, other ethnic non-chain outlets... It goes on and on. I wish my city (Chicago) didn't have Jewel or Dominick's the small producers and organic markets would do so much better. Also, our farmers markets accept Link (food stamps -err card) so there is you rebuttal to affordable/available. It's kind of annoying to hear that there is a food desert out there only because there is no chain representation. Do you know how hard it is to have a small business presence once chains come in?

    And, pointing out that this is a suburban story not a city story isn't all that additive to the whole "let's think regionally" idea now is it?

  • 9

    Since when has residency been a bar to racism for Black Americans in Suburbia....... Folks in denial and making excuses is so tiring ..yawn......

    BTW this is a Detroit Blog not a "let's think regionally blog....

  • 10

    Prove to me that the city is not impacted by its surroundings then we can ban anything that does not happen in the confines of the city.

    You think in hard and fast boundaries, cities, colors, walls you build in your own mind this code and an "Us" vs "them" mentality. What is the goal of your commentary? Who are you helping? What do you want to create for the city? How can you bash another suburbanite when the city isn't good enough for you to reside there?

    This forum wouldn't exist if Detroit really wanted to be an island. Somewhere Southeast Michigan wants a better/bigger global presence and Detroit can lead it only if the city can step up and be a leader. Like it or not the boats are tied together and the more you attack those ties the less time you spend patching the holes and the faster you sink. good luck.

  • 11

    For what its worth It would have nice if the editors would have shared that insight with the readers....

    Of course that is a deflection and a cop out your reason to publish this apparently has nothing to do with geography..

    IMO this narrative is an accurate and honest perspective of where you are Karen and it is quite apparent you have a cultural blindspot with regard to Black folks as I noted earlier we are either afterthoughts or obligatory inserts at best..

    Of course I think a lot of white privledge when it comes to inclusion and diversity is unconscious that is progress from my optics given our nation's legacy and this region including the GP deliberate racist housing practices..

    I think I am right nevertheless in making the inference that Karen's Club does not have one Black mom ..Maybe since Karen is a board member perhaps one day that will change even beyond even a token Black mom...Maybe that will be the outcome of her work here on this Blog...Maybe something good will emerge in our post racial America even in this region...

  • 12


    Please spare me your lecture on how I should define issues of race in this region..I am not obligated to react to race like you and simply because I don't comport to your myopic kum ba ya paradigms that is not my problem..

    I can, will and do bash anyone I so desire regardless of zip code if I find the nature of the opinion backward, underdeveloped and offensive which is present in Karen's puff piece..

    I am not compelled to validate my body of work in this city to you or anyone..Excuse me who made you my arbiter of good deeds in the city...I do have to pass your subjective litmus tests on anything..

    People like you are intellectual cowards you hide behind a pc and just chatter ...I have and do more for Detroit in an hour that empty vessels like you have done in your entire life..

    What you need to do right here and right now is stop defending Karen's shallow efforts here..She deserves better...

    • 12.1

      My line of questioning was to understand, an admitted outsider who does not know you, what your vision is. I don't think it is wrong to ask for perspective nor have I attacked your works in the community. They are unknown to me, this is different from presumed to be nonexistent.

      We are entitled to express our opinions and ask others for clarification. You are within your right to declare "This is my opinion and I do not have to justify it." I just wonder why that is, why you wouldn't want a discussion and if you feel it is productive. I demand nothing of you. I don't know who you are nor do you know who I am we could both do research and get info on each other we would still be unknown in any real sense.


  • 13


    "People of color" in the post racial era is often a pc term and journalistic term of art it is used to deflect data on the question of how many BLACK people are employed, etc.. Karen's reply to my question with the pc term "people of color" is telling..

    Again given the legendary racist housing practices of GP ( not the impotent little terms Karen invoked)I think my inference is correct I doubt if any BLACK MOMS are in Karen's club clearly none were mentioned in the TIME article nor were any photos of Black MOMS displayed as well...

  • 14


    So in other words I was on point about your shallow and worthless comments about me..Clearly I was right about you hiding under an alias to indict me with your selective and subjective opinions about me and my views on race and Detroit..

    Fact is my comments were and are about Karen's margainal commentary today that not only was offensive and out of order but her comments about GP housing history was truly lacking in basic historical data and truth..

    Your willingness to indict me and make it personal with regard to my intentions and objective reveals your lack of integrity and myopic agenda not mine..

    Of course I understand this reaction from whites in this region like you and Karen..Your predictible pedestrian comments simply confirm my views on the sad lack of evolution within white communities in this region whenever the issue of race is on the radar or discussed..Truth is just because you have not advance and matured on this issue does not mean I have to tolerate your shortcomings nor Karen's either and I am a Black man living not in Detroit but a white suburban venue..

    I will continue to have an opinion on anything I so desire whenever/wherever/ 24/7 because I can..

  • 15

    This is to gthrasher:

    You are a complete blow-hole. You must flip the record, I think it is stuck.

    I am a member of the Mom's Club and it is an amazing club. I love what the club is. Like Karen, it saved me too. I was tired and bored at home with my 2 kids. It was exactly what I needed.

    To say that Karen is zip code bragging is just not true. She is simply proud of her community.

    So give me a break!!! The club is diverse in its own right. We ARE open to everyone. And yes, we do have some African-Americans in the club, and who knows, we might even have a democrat or two.

  • 16

    This is for tinathetoad another intellectual coward who hides behind an alias and a pc to post nothingness. and calls me names simply because I don't comport with your views...Real White and Gross Pointe of ya..

    I could care less why you joined any club , church video club, chat group whatever..

    I am not interested nor your need to report to me how many Black moms in your club is sick and sad..

    Now do me favor go take care of your kids instead of wasting your time making excuses for Karen's lousy journalism and offensive spin on GP's racist housing legacy...She is really suffering living on the wrong side of Mack in the Pointes...Whoa better call homeland security and report me to the Tea Party ..Hell you could tell them my parents were from Africa like Obama's father..

  • 17

    I would not feel the need to report how many blacks there are in our club if you would not keep using that as your platform.

    You said it first, so I feel the need to defend it.

    I guess I am like Karen; I too live on the Wrong Side of Mack in The Pointes.

  • 18

    Hey Bloggers.......TIME OUT !!!

    Enough is enough.
    I think Karen has gotten the message. No need to continue to beat her down. She already said Time Magazine said they could use the surrounding areas.

    It sounds like Karen has a good grasp on her life.She is a working mom. I do not know her. However, she seems to have a real concern for Detroit. That means she is on our side. That must count for something.
    Growing up, I not only lived on the wrong side of Mack
    but lived on the wrong side of Alter Road.

    She may live in GP but that is one of Detroits' closest neighbors. She is not in the direct line of fire of the biggest problems but is trying to do something.
    Yes, I said this Blog for today was Suburb Fluff. We
    have all downed her for that. Now leave her alone.
    We don't want to run her off.

    Karen is really on our or white. We need
    people like her to help our city.She is an upbeat person and Detroit needs uplifting.

    Karen.......Take all these comments into consideration and move on for Detroit.

    Detroit Kid 51

  • 19

    Detroit Kid,

    Excuse me you don't speak for me nor did I give you my consent or permission to do anything on my behalf..I will stop dealing with Karen's marginal commentary and fictional reporting on the GP racist housing legacy when I feel like it..

    You need more Black people like me living in the suburbs being an advocate for the city than some phony paper thin weak journalist like Karen who peddled some fiction about GP housing practices..

    Detroit can do without phony white folks hiding behind costumes and masks claiming to care when Black folks are in the room..Unlike you I don't genuflect or beg for white folks attention or affirmation..There are more sincere and honorable ones than the Karen's of the world..You need to learn how to pick em better...

    What you fail to understand is that people like Karen and others have failed the city for decades when venues like the GP engaged in racist housing practices I never recalled white MOMS clubs of the Pointes filing law suits aginst city officials or racist real estate agents...Most white people in our nation act just like the "good germans" they did nothing while our country treated its own citizens like Sh*t.. simply becuase they don't live even on the wrong side of MACK ave

    Sorry but I would never let someone like you speak for me ...BTW I alone reserve the right to do whatever I want to do whenever/wherever 24/7... I don't need an agent or mouthpiece for me..You wanna go play house with Karen and sing kum ba ya ..go for it..

    • 19.1

      To gthrasher......

      You may have misunderstood my comment. I am not speaking for you and never said that.

      I am not telling or asking you to stop voicing your opinions. I did not say I was your mouthpiece. I am not an agent nor did I say you need my permission to do anything.
      I am not telling you how to feel or think.
      Yes, you have a right to do what you want 24/7.
      Read my comments and see for yourself. I just said that in all of us, may have been a bit hard on Karen.

      The way we (all) have reacted to Karens' blog has gone a bit overboard. It almost seems as though we have started to attack her personally. (MY OPINION)
      I don't believe it started that way but it seems to have headed in that direction.

      I don't want to play house with Karen and I don't want to sing Kum Ba Ya with her. I just did not want her to feel like she was being attacked personally.

      You, gthrasher, are a regular blogger and I like to read your comments. I believe you want what is best for the city. Don't get offensive on me. Take a deep breath and regroup. I know I plan to.
      I love Detroit and want My (our) city to recover.

      Detroit Kid 51

  • 20


    You are out of your element here ..Now run along and be a good moma....I have little tolerance for people who are intellectual cowards who attack me simply because they cannot measure up or resent my ability to have an opinon...

  • 21

    shut up thrasher!

  • 22

    @Detroit Kid,

    I have not attacked Karen personally on any level..I have been critical of her objectivity, accuracy and journalism skills..I have level complaints against the content of her commentaries and motivation for writing this plastic puff piece...

    I have not posted about the size of her lips, the texture of her hair, the orgins of parents, her birthright, her dna, etc..

    I alone reserve the right as to how I seek to deal with ignorance and white privledge..Please refrain from issuing any rules of engagement on my behalf..I don't care what your opinions of me are nor do I need to regroup or exhale or whatever..

    Enjoy the weekend..I intend to..

  • 23


    Go yell those words to your children it is apparent you don't know how to deal with adults..Pottymouth immature mother..

    Get lost adults post here..

  • 24

    I think a post like this is useful to point out how idyllic this region is.
    The Pointes were built at the same time as Detroit. The supposed racism in housing was not supposed, but actual. The line between the two areas is so clear and ugly that today's blog is painful for the true freedom fighter.
    It doesn't matter how many brown people move to the suburbs and mix in seamlessly today, because the racism that still exists, no matter how random, is still too accepted -- it's subtle and most people don't dare to point it out. And furthermore, even if everyone here hates racism, people like Karen have never felt it before, not once and certainly not for years and years. If it still exists today, it just presses upon the bruises and scars from before, and it can't go away. There are simply some people who will never experience that, and those people are white.
    Detroit is still old-fashioned in the exact sense explored in today's blog, where places like Chicago, Houston, New York and even Portland OR are not.

    • 24.1

      Chicago and New York are not racist, huh? Chicago and New York are two of the most segregated areas in the country. Racism is abundant in both of those areas.

      And gthrasher, it cracks me up that you don't see the irony in attacking GP when you live in Birmingham! I have co-workers tell me they live in Oakland County, rather than GP, because they don't want to be reminded of Detroit, and that they'd "rather not have to think about it." How is that any better? I don't know any community that has been more supportive of the Detroit than GP. Maybe it's proximity, though I truly believe it's a matter of self-selection. We chose to live here because we don't want to pretend Detroit doesn't exist, we want to make it a better place for the benefit of the whole region. I'm not saying that you can't live in Oakland County if you care abou the city. Clearly, that's not the case. But I do think your views of Grosse Pointers are like are not in line with the present thinking of most of the people who live here now.

  • 25


    I wish I have the ability and skill to articulate this narrative as well as you have just done....Thanks for expressing a perspective I have labored with on this site for to long...

    Really appreciate it

  • 26


    I think my views are mild to be candid and certainly right on point given the nasty kneejerk responses from Karen's cheerleaders..

    What is troubling about Karen's post was her deliberate historical revisonist posture towards GP's housing legacy..

    I also find it interesting how the mom's club can make a case for allowing HP moms to join the club but not DETROIT moms...No I think I am right on the money about the racial attitudes of current GP folks..

    BTW I don't find anything ironic nor incongruent with me a Black suburbanite being critical of another suburbanite's views on Detroit..I don't post about Birmingham plus I am the most prominent Black activist in Birmingham on a number of issues from employment to school racial issues..

    No the more I revisit this post and read Karen's over the top bragging and bravado and then her excuses..I should have perhaps been even more harsh in my comments...BTW I chose to live in the suburbs because I can ..Living out here reminds me how racist we still are in America..even after 9-11 and Obama ..UNITED WE STAND..yeah sure...

    • 26.1


      Re-reading the post I get what mean in your comments toward her direct wording of "Supposed" bigotry. It happened and we know for a fact that there has been a long history of tension between the "Pointes" and Detroit.

      Today there is a legacy of what that has wrought and sure, I'm a white guy and will never know or feel life on the other side of this divide. I stand by asking of you where your goal lies. This is because I don't understand. I assume we all have agendas here my questions were to figure out what yours are. I read from your comments that every organization, photo etc should include a person of your race but if they are included it is derided as a token status. If someone uses a "PC" term they are derided by you. There is really no opportunity for discussion or openness but I think you want good things for Detroit and surrounding areas so I am at a loss to understand if a white person can do something positive in your mind.

      I can tell you that I don't actively think of race and you will disregard it. But it is hard for me to swallow the idea of you being a racial crusader while belittling others for their own race and that is what I cannot understand. I would be happy to engage with you in lengthier discussions. I do want to understand and I do think there is something to having a discussion.

  • 27

    I don't understand this post or your statements?? I am not trashing anyone nor have I stated I am a racial crusader..

    I am a Black guy and I could never understand or feel life from the other side either..So wht is your goal..

    Please feel free to send me an email or call me 248.752.2805

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