PPNA Happenings

Happenings, history and news of the Prospect Park Neighborhood and Ypsilanti

Description of Ypsilanti you might enjoy

Posted by ppna on June 17, 2009

Description of Ypsilanti from:
IGGY – Open Up and Bleed
By Paul Trynka
Copyright 2007 by Paul Trynka
Published by Broadway Books
Pages 72,73

Coachville Gardens Trailer Park sits in green surroundings on Carpenter Road, just outside the city of Ann Arbor, officially in the town of Ypsilanti, Michigan. Although it’s gained the inevitable gaggle of sprawling big-box stores, Ypsilanti is still mostly a lush, quiet place where nothing much happens. There are plenty of isolated wooden houses where you can live undisturbed, watching out for cranes and squirrels in the summer and taking your dog for long, reflective walks through the crisp virginal snow in the winter. It’s a beautiful setting, although, like many small country towns, there’s occasionally a feeling of claustrophobia, and it’s easy to bump into slightly odd characters who watch TV late into the night on jerry-rigged cable hookups, haunt Internet chat rooms, or get loaded on illegal drugs to numb their boredom.

Although these days Ypsilanti rather grandly terms itself a city , in reality it’s overshadowed by its much bigger neighbor, Ann Arbor, which since 1837 has been defined by the presence of the University of Michigan. The university was celebrated for its diverse curriculum and liberal ethos and, together with the presence of General Motors and Ford in nearby Detroit, it would attract a constant influx of new residents to the city and stimulate thriving local industries in engineering, pharmaceuticals, and electronics.

The influence of the university ensured that Ann Arbor was a classy town. People who lived there drank espresso, formed arts groups, and took dancing lessons. In contrast, people from Ypsilanti were often regarded as Midwestern hillbillies. The two towns weren’t totally uneasy bedfellows: plenty of academics might dispense intellectual wisdom at the university and then return home to a sprawling isolated farmhouse in Ypsi’s beautiful countryside, but the divide was perceptible for anyone who crossed the city limits: the gap between people whose salaries were generated by their intellects and those whose weekly paychecks were earned with the rude labor of their hands on the farm or in the factory; between people of culture and rural rubes. It was on that divide that Jim Osterberg and Iggy Pop grew up.

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