When I drove past the little storefront, a brick wall building with second floor apartments, on S. Solvay St. near Fort Wayne in Detroit, what caught my eye were the plants in the window. The building sat on a block nearly empty of any life and architecture.
Next door sits one remaining home, neatly painted green with a storefront add-on. Opposite, an apartment building and the last of the residential homes, now in ruins.
It was just afternoon on a cold November Sunday. I was with photographer Janice Milhem. We had stopped to look at the sparse location, when a truck pulled up behind my parked car. Out jumped a man who entered the store, flipped the sign in the door window from closed to open and welcomed us in. Mr. Albert Green, owner, was opening Green’s Variety Store for the day.
“My wife used to run the lunch counter. She cooked breakfast and lunch daily. We had a good business”. Good enough to raise four children, three of which attended University of Michigan.
A trickle of older people come in. Each making small talk, purchasing can goods and liquor for the Sunday afternoon. “I have had a good life. My wife and I still live in the neighborhood. It is just going away, just like the good paying jobs”.