February 7, 2011

Except for the first few paragraphs of each chapter, I took Dead Ginny off the net in 2005 but if you want to read and/or listen to the sucker for free, click this. Thanks. G.


Gerard Jones

Chapter Three
Royal Oak

I grew up in Michigan. Royal Oak, Michigan. Ten miles north of Detroit. That was how the main roads got their names—by how far north of Detroit they were. Ten Mile Road. Eleven Mile. Twelve Mile. Like that. Starting down by the Detroit River, Woodward Avenue cut across each of the Mile Roads clear out to the lakes we went to in the summer; Orchard Lake, Cass Lake, Walled Lake. That was what you did in Michigan. You swam in lakes in the summer and ice skated on lakes in the winter. The further away from Detroit you got, the better the neighborhoods became. I lived a block from Ten Mile, myself, not far from the Detroit Zoo.

Royal Oak was famous in the thirties and early forties as the home base of a guy named Father Coughlin. Father Coughlin was a Catholic Priest whose virulent anti-Communist, anti-Semitic tirades went out over the airwaves to every city in conservative America from the pulpit of the Shrine of the Little Flower. The Shrine of the Little Flower was on the corner of Twelve Mile and Woodward. According to my grandmother, anyone who paid any attention to Father Coughlin ought to have been stood up against a wall and shot. A week or two after I was born, Father Coughlin's superiors in the Catholic Church pulled the plug on his radio programs. Practically speaking, I doubt my birth had much to do with it, but you couldn't convince my grandmother of that. She thought me coming into the world was the cat's pajamas. She spoiled me rotten and doted on me to distraction. Not much happened in Royal Oak after that. It was known for awhile in the eighties as a hotbed of deranged postal workers. Now the only thing famous about Royal Oak is it's where Jack Kevorkian lives.

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Gerard Jones
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