Monday, May 18, 2009

Summer of Love...Flint Style

jbing50 remembers an encounter with Flint's finest...

I lived in an apartment which at one time was the servant's quarters above the garage of the ivy covered brick house on the corner of Detroit and Stockdale. This was fall 1969 when I was a student at Flint Jr. College (now Mott).

One of my most vivid recollections of this time is having two cops pull their guns on me at this corner. This was, to say the least, a frightening experience, intensified by the general feeling amongst my contemporaries that the police were somewhat "on edge" at the time. If anyone remembers, they sported riot helmets as part of their standard uniform of the day.

As my roommate turned off of Detroit onto Stockdale, the cops flashed their lights to pull us over. Since we were right at our usual parking spot, we pulled up to the curb and both got out of the car. This turned out to be one of the dumbest moves of the century. FREEZE!!! We suddenly look and both cops are tucked behind open doors with guns drawn and aimed at us just like on TV. My roommate dropped the bag of groceries he was holding as his hands went up and he yelled "don't shoot".

The cops ended up being somewhat apologetic about the whole thing and strongly cautioned us to never hop out of a car like that when pulled over. They interpreted this as aggressive behavior, even from a couple of long-haired youngsters holding grocery bags.


  1. Stockdale in the news!!

    Johnny's Shoe Repair is still open? To think I've been tossing my worn-out shoes in the rubbish for the past few decades when I could have just gotten'em stitched up.

  2. VVürstsydæ VVårlørdæMay 19, 2009 at 4:08 PM

    Do you think the three goofuses from the "All The Bars In Flint" blog will venture into the Street Riders Club? If so they should be very careful. Sharpened shoehorn shanking is all to common on Stockdale.

  3. Smurfs, good to hear from you.

    Man, I spent a lot of time in this area growing up. First bank account around the corner. Lots of candy purchases at Welch Blvd. Pharmacy. Ice cream at the Baskin and Robbins around the corner. There used to be a pet shop where we spent loads of time without ever buying. Schmitzers gas station on Dupont. Up the street from the Street Riders there was a place to buy candy and, later, beer with no ID, not to mention Joubran's on Welch and Chevrolet. It amazes me that Johnny's is still there!

    I know Flint has faced massive cuts at the police department, but what's up with a club being open at 5 am on a Tuesday with big crowds yelling and fighting out front? Shouldn't the place get shut down for that before the shooting even starts? How about some federal stimulus money to hire about 500 more cops for Flint?

    And the All the Bars in Flint crew should not go near this place unless they're escorted by the 500 new cops.

  4. We took all our shoes needing repair there for years, when Johnny (Capua) was still there and afterward. Johnny always liked to talk about how he'd come from Italy and started up his business. High-quality work, he did. I think he and his wife lived very close by. I remember walking around the area when skipping school once and Johnny pulled me aside about that...boy did I get a very nice but stern talking-to! They were also members of St. Luke's with grandkids who graduated from Powers. Very nice people.

  5. Old timers with an additional 25+ years on Gordon's generation can add Art's Grocery Store a little "mom and pop" place on the corner of Stockdale and Mason to the list of neighborhood kid haunts. Every school day at Cook(directly accross the street) dozens of kids lined up for candy, ice cream, popsicles, and baseball card gum. Art gave every kid at Cook School a free dixiecup icecream or popsicle on the last day of school evey year way back before school's worried about being responsible for treats given to allergic students. Art sold me my first Hostess cupcake and probably launched me on a lifetime of battling a bulging waistline. The collector value of the baseball cards in that gum bought at Art's in the mid-1950's would now probaby pay for a whole block of houses on Stockdale(but who'd want them)if my Mom wouldn't have thrown them out. I don't know how long Art's survived into the futue as I lost touch when we moved in 1960. Also, don't forget the Della Theater up the street on Welch Bld. as another great childhood hangout.

  6. BJ - did Art happen to live in a house either on the corner of Mason St. and one of the nearby crossstreets - or on the crossstreet maybe one house away from Mason? I remember going somewhere with my dad in the very early 70's and we stopped by to see someone named Art who at that time was fairly up in years (or so it seemed to me as a kid). He had owned some sort of business in the area but had retired. My dad said he knew him from delivering papers to that very same house when he was in school (late 30's/early 40's). It was right in that area - maybe it was him ...

  7. Redgirl. I was around 8-yrs old at the time. Too many cobwebs in the memory banks to be sure, but I vaguely remember a ground level living area over the basement entry way to the store. Art seemed to be there 24/7. Whenever my mom needed bread, milk, etc. I would walk over from Paterson. I have no idea if it was Art who lived there or if he continued to live there after the store became history. Sadly, Cook School finally followed the same path to oblivion as Art's Grocery. I miss the "Ozzie and Harriet" lifestyle both places represented.

  8. I can relate to jbing50's takedown/shakedown story. Flint Police were "on edge" in the days immediately following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.--and one could hardly blame them. Riots had broken out at area high schools, and racial tensions were well beyond "strained."

    It was right there on West Dayton at Bassett Place (by the tennis courts near your house, Gordie) that I got pulled over--me driving that shiny, turquoise '65 Grand Prix, loaded with a carload of friends. I was scared stiff when two of Flint's finest ran up on both sides of the car with guns drawn and pointed directly at us. Just a "traffic check", I guess. Tense days, they were, in the fair city...

  9. I would like to comment on theChurchGuy saying that the FlintPolice were "on edge" in the days immediately following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. and continuing up through JBings summer of 1969. The start of these tense times predated 1968 by one year earlier when Flint came very close to joining Detroit in the July '67 riots. I worked that summer at Beecher, Peck, and Lewis Paperers. They recently hired their first African- American employee just before I got there. A nicer man and better employee you will never meet. We got out of work at 6:00 PM on the night Detroit was already burning. Flint was on the brink of the same. Rumors were out that the Dupont Paint Factory had been taken over and would be used as a giant chemical bomb by the rioters. The Mayor was on the radio downplaying all rumors. My African American co-worker was a health freak and decided to go for a run before going home. It was the wrong time and the wrong place. He was not at work the next morning. It turned out Flint Police saw a person of color running at full speed down the side streets near Coldwater Road at night and held him as a suspect of "who knows what" for a full day before admitting he was just out jogging and releasing him. Another example of tense times in the late 60's in Flint.

  10. Ah, nostalgia. I remember Johnny well. A little man who knew everything about leather uppers and leather soles. He kept a really great pair of wing-tips going for me well past their expected lifetime. Molded soles were his bane. While in the reminicent mood, I want to ask if anyone else out there remembers Mr & Mrs Frost from Mt Elliot, between Dayton & Hamilton. They had a bleach, starch and window cleaner business. It was operated out of their garage and basement during the 40's, 50's & 60's. Many a young man worked for them after school, mixing and bottling his different products. Mr Frost used a pickup truck for deliveries. I almost forgot the egg candling in his garage. If a fellow worked past the normal after-school hours, Mrs Frost made sure there was a small plate of food to tide him over. They were great people.

  11. As I peruse through some of the older posts and comments, and being a newbee, I reopen the many gifts of nostalgic times passed, and have to add my two cents worth. I would ride the Fenton and Dupont bus from the south end and disembark at Dayton. My cousin lived near Mt. Elliot and Jackson.I would stay over sometimes and we would go to the Della on Sunday then get an ice cream at Rainbow across the street,maybe it was called Bouquets. Many flavors anyway. My other cousin owned the drugstore across from the A@P. Lameoux(sp) I think the name was. He was working one night in the late sixties(?) and robbers came in. He told them to take money and anything they wanted, but don't hurt anyone. Upon exiting the front door, they threw a shot at him and blew a gal jug out of his hand. He closed up for good and started operating in Flushing at Sunset drugs and retired from there. Bernard Leveque...R.I.P.


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