This message is for Monica Conyers, Kwame Kilpatrick, members of the Detroit City Council, the Detroit Board of Education, mayoral candidates Freman Hendrix and Kenneth Cockrel. The ancestors are watching, listening and shaking their heads. They taught us better than what we are seeing today. I know, because they taught me as well.
My grandma taught us to respect our elders — not just those in our family, but all of the elders in the community. Grandma taught us to be polite in public, not to disparage or "act up," because in public is where you display your home training. Grandma taught us to think before we speak, to be gracious even with those with whom we disagree. Grandma taught us to always be on our best behavior because you never know who's watching. Grandma taught us that things done under the table will always come to the light of day. Grandma taught us that it's never right to do wrong.
I'm a boomer who grew up on Detroit's North End, and all of the grandmas taught these lessons. I know the North End didn't have a monopoly on grandmas, so it's difficult to believe that you all don't know these lessons. Your behavior in public, regardless of the righteousness of your claims, is horrible, and flies in the face of grandmas everywhere. What in the world will you teach your grandchildren? —Ivory D. Williams, former president, Detroit Association of Black Storytellers, Detroit
Thanks for the great review of Working on a Dream (Spun, Feb. 4). You've gotten it right, of course. Some folks just don't have the ears or perspective to get it when an older artist (or even a younger one) makes changes to his sound, style or subject matter. With Springsteen, Dylan and a handful of others, it's always worth listening, sometimes over and over for a period of years or decades, in order to "hear" what's really there (the beauty of Nebraska is a personal example).
It's lovely to hear Bruce able to offer little moments of tribute and acknowledgment to his many favorites and influences; lovely, too, that some of us hear them and aren't put off. There's not a bad song on this album. Thanks for noticing and saying so. —Michael Paul Goldenberg, Ann Arbor
Cheered by essay
I want to congratulate Metro Times for publishing Tim Kreider's essay "When books could change your life" (Feb. 4). This splendid article stirred many a memory for an 83-year-old bookworm (now a retired academic), who had half-forgotten reading, at age 10, Struwel Pater — a work in German my immigrant parents brough from their homeland — and then, 10 years later, The Little Prince, de Saint-Exupéry's gem, which I read in French while enrolled at Wayne State University after World War II.
I could comment on much more. Suffice it to say that while we age, books still move us. Trust you'll publish more articles comparable to this one. —John H. Matle, Livonia
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