Lori Wenzel looks back on the Flint she remembers:
I feel as nostalgic as you do about this city. I’m 49 years-old and went to Pierson Elementary and Zimmerman Junior High before graduating from Southwestern in 1976. I grew up on Lyndon Avenue off Harvard & Pierson Roads. I now live in Grand Blanc Township. The older I get, the sadder I feel about “what used to be.”
My mom worked at Federal's Department store. I still have my nametag from working at Monkey Wards when downtown was bustling and fun. I later worked at AC Spark Plug and just retired two years ago. Even that was sad. When I hired in, there were about 7,000 people there. When I retired, just 1,500.
There was a real innocence when I was growing up in Flint. We hitchhiked; rode our bikes to Flushing Park; weren't scared to walk to our friends’ houses after dark; went to Mary's Sunshine Food Stores for cigarettes that were 50 cents a pack; hung out at the fountain at Genesee Valley; drank M & S red pop with New Era potato chips; and went to concerts at the old IMA and at Richfield Park for their Super Sundays. I even have my ticket stub from my first concert at IMA. It was Deep Purple in 1972.
I went down to the Hot Dog Stand in Grand Blanc the other night for the Back To The Bricks Cruise. I was looking for someone with my first car — a 1969 Grand Prix. I found one parked along the route. The guy let me take pictures and sit in it. I was 16 when I got that car. It was a huge thrill!
I hung around with four other girls through junior and high school. After graduation, we all went our separate ways. Luckily, I reconnected with them a few years ago, and now we go on a trip every summer together. It's great how we all still get along when our lives are so different. We still talk about what we did in the good old days. We had lots of fun.
I'm thrilled that I grew up when and where I did, so I can remember when people were good and we weren't scared for our safety like it is now. I can't even visit my childhood home because it's a drive-by neighborhood now.