Ghosts Are All Around Us

Ball1

Today we watched as they finally tore down the Oak Street Market. It had sat vacant and vandalized for some time, and last year it was decided that it should be torn down and replaced with a community garden. Teghan enjoyed watching the demolition.That type of chaos is right up her alley, and if it hadn’t been weird we would have hung out watching a lot longer. Few things hold her attention like watching a giant mess in the making.

It was both necessary and sad. I suspect many WMU alumni experienced this market through underage alcohol purchases, or during nights that took a very wrong turn. But like most old buildings, it had a long history in the community; and a slightly more glorious past. I always wonder about the history of old buildings. I seek out stories of origin- who built it and why. I want to know their whole story, from beginning to end. But especially the beginning. Continue reading

Touring the Motor City

Motown

I’ll admit, we seldom think of driving to Detroit. We live halfway between Chicago and Detroit, so either one is a two hour drive. Can you guess which one we have visited more? I suppose in some kind of burst of Michigan pride, I realized we were missing out. So we ditched any plans for The Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum, or The Museum of Science and Industry- and headed for the Motor City instead.

Taking Teghan to a museum is risky. But if it’s a really big one, it feels safer. The Henry Ford Museum is perfect. It was easy to get into, and on a Tuesday there were no crowds at all. We will have to go back, since we did not have time for Greenfield Village. The place is overwhelming, and includes such pieces of history as the actual Rosa Parks bus, Kennedy’s limousine, and the chair that Lincoln was shot in. It is actually multiple museums in one, so if you plan on visiting I would recommend two days. It will not disappoint.

But for all of its impressiveness, The Henry Ford was not the standout museum of our day. Believe it or not, we took Teghan to Motown.

We already know she will hate it. Hitsville USA is not a big place, and seeing the Motown Museum means an hour-long tour. It includes a fifteen minute movie, lots of standing around listening, and absolutely no touching. Not only will Teghan hate this, but no one in our tour group will enjoy her hating it. Especially not us.

So when we go in, our plan is to take turns. That way one of us can stay outside with Teghan. When I approach the counter, a woman tells us that a tour is just starting and we can go ahead since we haven’t missed anything yet. She also mentions it will be an hour and a half. Concerned about time, I explain our situation and ask if it will be convenient to step away during the tour in case Teghan acts out. She assures me it will be no issue. Okay, that might work.  Continue reading

Ghost Hunting 101

Theater

You can learn a lot by attending a slumber party with fifty strangers. Especially if that slumber party takes place in an abandoned theater, and those strangers are professional ghost hunters.

To clarify, we have never been professionals. This was over a decade ago, when we were still looking for a Halloween event that could top bags of free chocolate and youth. It doesn’t exist. Armed with sleeping bags, cameras, digital recorders, flashlights, and a couple of friends–we embarked on a journey that was entertaining for all the wrong reasons.

At first we were afraid. We had read stories about the theater, and came equipped with the knowledge of its tragedies and hauntings. There was definitely comfort in numbers. The place was as dark and creepy as promised. There was no way any of us were going anywhere alone, even if there had been electricity. It was thrilling as we aimed our cameras at random shadows and took turns making each other stand in “cold spots.” We were jealous of all the other people who had brought high-tech equipment that could actually give a reading of those temperature changes. We found ourselves coveting their EMF meters and fancy ghost-detecting kits.

Around the second hour in, I found myself alone in a basement bathroom. All alone, in a dark stall with my flashlight. Why didn’t I just use the lobby restrooms? Because by hour number two I was desperate for some ghost action, even if it was imaginary. I no longer had any fear of the building, and I felt as if every horror movie I had ever seen was a lie. I was looking for the scariest room in the place. Here I was, a girl alone in a haunted basement bathroom, separated from the group, in complete darkness, in a room with mirrors. How could it not go wrong?

Nothing.

Disappointed, I found my friends and we wandered up to the mezzanine. There we happened upon a group of professionals from Pennsylvania interviewing an actual ghost. It wasn’t clear at first, mostly because of the complete darkness and the ghost’s invisibility. We figured it out when one of them yelled at us for blocking their shot. They had a light showing up when they looked through their camera, and, assuming it was a spirit–the team got right down to the typical interview questions. So we took our seats and enjoyed the show.  Continue reading

Our Journey to the Inevitable

Into the Unknown

This is long, and some of you won’t like it- but we need to talk about American healthcare reform. I don’t want to drive people away, especially if we disagree. I am sharing my thoughts here because healthcare reform is one of the few things I am truly passionate about. If I am going to subject you to my ramblings about genealogy, modern technology, and dishonest priests- you can hardly be surprised by a healthcare post. I hope you will stick around.

I don’t want to talk about all the different parts of reform and what they mean. I don’t even want to talk about how it affects our autism world. I want to talk about the very basic concepts that we should all be able to wrap our minds around in a few short minutes. I don’t care if we agree on solutions, but right now we aren’t even solving the same problems. I want to pretend as if political sides do not matter, and this is just what one might see if we were able to remove all the clutter. If only.

The Affordable Care Act is an incomplete solution. It is, however, a solution for some of us. I don’t want a debate on this. I want the next better answer. I want a way forward; not another step backward, or a standstill. For some of us, having a real solution isn’t just a series of talking points. It is life or death. That should mean enough for all of us to stick around and try harder.  Continue reading