Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Flint Expatriates survives the first year

Has anyone noticed that Flint Expatriates is a year old today? I'm sure your gifts will be arriving in the mail any day now.

A birthday calls for a celebration of some sorts. Let's start with a little music.

Damn, I think I just ruined the party with that disturbing number. Regardless of the bad music, it's been a good year. We've covered everything from Village of Wolves to a brawl at Chuck E Cheese to the saga of Gypsy Jack, a legendary Flintoid whose legendary home may finally be safe in the hands of a well-meaning Canadian. There's even been a glowing profile of the site in The Flint Journal. (I'm still not quite sure how that came to pass, but I'm not complaining.)

And while blog posts are supposed to be short, snappy and nearly instantaneous, I think the best part of Flint Expatriates has been the longer posts that required some thought and reflection. Most of those items were written by someone other than myself, which should tell me something. Here are just a few of the longer items, in no particular order, that are well worth a second look:
Gerry Godin's tales of a river rat.

Stephen Rodrick's late-night adventure with conservative icon William F. Buckley.

John Mennear's return to Homedale School.

Bernard Rosenberg's friendship with Wild Bill the greaser at Southwestern High School.

Mary's journey from Flint to San Francisco and back again.

Rich Frost on Alice Cooper, snakes and Monkees.

Randy Gearheart looks back fondly on his dad and the family Grand Prix.

Redgirl's memories of love among the shelving units at Rollerworld.

Jeff Stork on the road with the Flint Generals.

Sarah Swart's rediscovery of Hidden Park, which wasn't a long post but required a true spirit of adventure. (And I spelled her name right this time.)

Mark Brewer learns to play the harp in Flint.

Pat McFarlane Young's sentimental journey. (Speaking of my mom, she's had quite a few interesting jobs.)

My thanks and appreciation goes out to Flint Expatriate readers for all the posts, comments and generous donations. It's been a lot of fun. Okay, let's be honest, sometimes it's been really depressing, but forget about that now. Instead, let's begin year two with some Boone's Farm and that Flintoid song:



    Gordie, where is the party going to be? The Hyatt, the Sheraton, the Farm, the Light, the Copa ??

    Seriously....what a true enjoyment to relive some great memories and ponder the future.

    Also, to have met some great people along the way and get reacquainted with a few as well.

    I think the tongue in-cheek sarcastic overtones of the blog is what keeps me coming back daily.

    Keep up the great work !!!!

  2. That just totally cracked me up. I had no idea that Flintoid song had a video. So lame, but in a good way (like Kika). :D

    Ahhh, the boone's farm, the mad dog, the cough syrup... so many memories. :)

    Congrats on your first year! It's been fun reading. :)

  3. Congratulations, Gordie, and many thanks!

    Ah, Boone's Farm ... what memories you have brought back to me ...

  4. Happy Birthday to You
    Happy Birthday to You
    Happy Birthday
    Happy Birthday to You

    I for one am toasting this blog and its contributors right at this very moment. Red wine. Not Boone's Farm. Can't get any 40 ouncers here either. But the enthusiasm is there, man! Even my Catalan husband has developed a an affinity to Our Fair City with the help of this fine blog. I waited till we were already married before showing him the Hyatt video. Couldn't take any chances...

  5. Happy Birthday! Well done on your first year.

  6. Congratulations on one full year at the same job. Your mother is undoubtedly proud.
    Flintexpats is my daily coffee break, so please keep it going.
    Signed..... an Indianapolis fan.

  7. Congratulations, Gordon and thank you for the Flint Expatriates website! I feel honored that you mentioned my contribution; and I’m sure all of the people’s names that you mentioned are as grateful as I am that the Flint Expatriates website exists for all of us to read and get our “Flint fix”.

    Since I’m not a drinking man – a bottle of Boonefarm or a cold forty be appropriate for this toast – so, let me lift up a Koegel Vienna smothered in onions, mustard and Flint coney sauce (from Abbott’s Meats) and salute you, Gordon Young, a fine young Catholic lad who keeps our collective memory of Flint alive.

    Keep up the good work!!

  8. Gordie-

    Happy blogiversary! Wish we could all meet at the Million Dollar Mikatam for a tribute, but instead we'll have to do it virtual. Here, let me wave my Autoworld flag...

  9. Congratulations on such a great article!!! I along with many others still have hope for what will always be home for me. Graduated from Flint Southwestern in 86 and still love to come back to Flint, I always seem to breathe easier there. I miss the smell of Fisher Body and growing up in it's shadow....Gosh I miss the Flint of old but somehow your blog makes it okay.

  10. I'm so glad you listed the contributors - I saw the Alice Cooper concert story for the first time as a result. Thank you!

    - Sarah Swart

  11. I still have a Beta copy of our 1980 WWCK TV Commercial in which we synchronized part of the "Flintoid Song" with the actual Rolling Stones "Miss You" video and, thanks to Channel 12 Director Chris Frye, it was PERFECT and sure looked like Mick was singing about US!
    What a great site!
    Happy Birthday, Gordon!
    With best wishes,

    Peter C. Cavanaugh

  12. Wooooo Hooooo! it's the only blog I read.

    It makes feel sorry we ever wrote 'Powers Queers' in the winter steam of the school bus windows when we had joint bus stops.

    You turned out all right for an elitist private school kid.


  13. Mere words could ne'er express my profound appreciation for your tireless efforts. Thanks for the myriad of memories of what once was, and for the possibilities of what could be. Be it ever so challenged, there's no place like Flint.

    Job well done, Mr. Young. And heartfelt thanks for allowing us the privilege of sharing the adventure with you.

    "The Future Lives in Flint!"

  14. I wondered when all of this began. Congratulations and thanks for helping to reconnect with some of the important pieces of my life together again.

    by the way...Michael Moore said on Larry King last night that you could probably buy Flint for the amount of money Sarah Palin spent on her campaign wardrobe...

  15. My brother who was stuck on the East Side of Flint this past year told me about this blog a couple of months ago. He just told me about the AC Spark Plug (Delco) building. It no longer stands except for the outer walls along Dort Hwy and Davison Road. He does not know what happened to the clock, but it is gone. As an Eastsider who attended St. Leo the Great grade school, St. Mary's high school until it closed and two public high schools due to boundary changes, I appreciate the memories. Happy Birthday to you. My old stopping grounds included a stretch of railroad track that ran between Richfield Road and Davison Road, amoung the junk yards, welding shops and AC Spark Plugs. Oh Yeah.. I grew up fast. Keep up the good memories - may they live on.

  16. Congratulations, Gordie! It's great that you have such a soft spot for the old hometown. I've enjoyed getting to know you and also have appreciated the incisive comments from your readers. It's funny--you're more on top of the current Flint news than I am--and I live here! Thanks for keeping me informed.
    If King's Armor was still in existence, I'd toast Flint Expatriates with a Stroh's (or 3).

  17. I think this is a better song about Flint.

  18. Belated Happy Anniversary there GY! Many, many Happy Returns and Long Life! I suggest the party be held at Ali Baba's...

  19. Happy Birthday to your blog.

    I am a ex Flint person who moved north allright just to the Bay City area when I am asked where I am from all ways say Flint's west side. If they know Flint I then tell them near Longfellow.

    I enjoy the blog and when folks write about the hidden park. Had my first beer there. Guiness of all things. Don't like beer to this day. And the flash back to King Armour and more. What about Rubes when it was on Flushing Road and Ambassador with them clowns and the coldest ladies room in the winter.

    Enjoy the memories of Flint. Keep blogging on Flint there are more Flint folks that need to find you.

    Keep up the good work

  20. yay gordie! i hope one day oakland will be like flint. i'll be like, the oakland tribune building was *demolished*? holy shit.
    you are funny. that flint hyatt video was so so crushing.

  21. Thanks for the Flint Expatriates site. It really brings back memories. (Central High class of '75)


Thanks for commenting. I moderate comments, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at