Hamtramck

Discussion in 'Other Reminiscences' started by Frank Sanoica, Oct 8, 2018.

  1. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Veteran Member
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    Yesterday morning while shaving (many thoughts irrelevant time), that name popped sussendly into my head. Seemed I ordered something from some company, perhaps, very long ago, either on a Hamtramck Avenue, or in Hamtramck, NJ. Asked my wife if she ever heard of it. Nope.

    Minutes later she called me over. Hamtramck is a small city in Michigan, almost completely surrounded by Detroit, population about 22,000, very high concentration of Muslim population.

    I have further cemented her belief in my dementedness!
    Frank
     
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  2. Holly Saunders

    Holly Saunders Veteran Member
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    Wonder why some places attract certain types of people...

    I mean you mention this small city, that even you've barely heard of..and certainly I would bet money that hardly anyone in the Uk will have heard of it..but somehow lots of Muslims know it and have settled there.. ... strange how that happens..
     
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  3. Shirley Martin

    Shirley Martin Veteran Member
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    Maybe you saw it mentioned on the news and didn't really pay attention. Then it popped into your mind while you were shaving.

    Your wife is a very patient woman. :)
     
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  4. Beatrice Taylor

    Beatrice Taylor Very Well-Known Member
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  5. Shirley Martin

    Shirley Martin Veteran Member
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    A rare, imponderable gift. ;):D
     
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  6. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    There's a lovely Indian lady at Curves and she has two kids...one a Dr lives in Michigan but I don't know what city...she's Muslim though.

    Don't think she's been in the US too long because she doesn't speak English very well but she tries.
     
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  7. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Veteran Member
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    @Shirley Martin

    Nah.......my wife is a Saint!
    Frank
     
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  8. Mary Robi

    Mary Robi Well-Known Member
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    That really surprises me about the Muslim population in Hamtramck. I used to go there at least every other month in the 1970's to shop and it was pert near 100% Polish. You'd hear very little English spoken in the markets. I know Dearborn is majority Muslim now but it surprises me about Hamtramck.
     
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  9. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Veteran Member
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    @Mary Robi
    I have no idea what made that name pop into my mind a month ago, nor what exposure many years ago to the name occurred. I thought it was in New Jersey! But now, hey, how about sliding a little more sizzle out here that we might chew on a bit? If you knew it was near 100% Polish, you must have known either: 1) something of the language, or, 2) something about people like me! :oops:

    I knew not that Dearborn is now largely Muslim-populated, either. Seem to recall it is (or was) a very important town to Ford Motor Co. I found the recent demise (almost) of Detroit to be stunning. 1.3 million down to 700,000?

    Not to imply I know much about Michigan, though. My folks and their immediate kin before them, Chicagoans, had deep ties to Southwest Michigan, with summer homes and vacations planned for there. Many Czech and Polish names remain visible on streets, businesses and signs there.......
    Frank
     
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  10. Mary Robi

    Mary Robi Well-Known Member
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    Well, back in the 1970's, Hamtramck was a town where you could live as if you were still in Poland. An acquaintance had an 84-year-old grandmother who came to Hamtramck as a bride and in 1975, still spoke little-to-no English. I believe she understood a fair amount more than she let on, but there wasn't any English passing her lips.

    Why should she? She could hear mass in Polish, order meat at the Polish butcher shop, buy her pastries at the Polish bakery, visit a Polish doctor, buy her shoes at Kowalski's, and never have to speak a word of English.

    There were enclaves like that all over Detroit and the surrounding areas. When we moved from Detroit to north of that great divide...the infamous Eight Mile Road.....we had Chaldean neighbors. I bought my meat at the Chaldean butcher shop, my produce from the Chaldean greengrocer.

    If you wanted Greek food, you went to Greektown. Hungry for Hungarian? Head to Little Hungary.

    That's the one and only thing I miss about living in Detroit -- the genuine "ethnicity" of it all. The wonderful ethnic festivals down on the Detroit River. The beautiful old churches mysterious with heady incense and long-bearded priests wearing veils.

    Here's a classic example of how Detroit sometimes seemed to slip into a time machine and return to the 1700's: There was a sizable Albanian population there and the latest chapter of a 300-year-old feud broke out. Somebody's goat wandered off in The.Old.Country back in 1700-something and the two families had been fighting ever since and had carried the feud to The.New.Country. Just like the Hatfields and McCoys, except it was more like the Hoxhas and the Markajs. So, there were the dead and the injured and the guilty and the innocent and nobody but nobody would talk to the cops. Nobody wanted to be seen as taking sides, so to speak. Thus, all of a sudden nobody spoke English. Not a word. The local clergy and leaders and the like KNEW NOTHING, HEARD NOTHING, SAW NOTHING. The police had to bring in an Albanian priest from "somewhere" who would only go to the hospital and talk to the various parties and translate IF he could be covered by a sheet at all times so that nobody knew who he was. A priest....and he was scared for his life if one side or the other felt he had translated "unfairly".

    Ah, Detroit.
     
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  11. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Veteran Member
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    @Mary Robi What a delightful post! Informative, for me, as well. I grew up believing the Detroit-area was specifically about cars and their making, but very little was revealed regarding the folks living there who built them.

    Ethnicity was paramount in the minds of most everyone in our community west of Chicago, as I was growing up. Very important, it seemed; why, was never discussed. My Mother tried to attach a guessed nationality to each new surname we encountered. Being Czech, she professed certainty that the new, popular comedian Ernie Kovacs, was surely Czech, pronouncing his name thusly: Ko-vach-es.

    Your post supports the reasoning by which ethnic neighborhoods came about: necessity.

    Frank
     
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  12. Mary Robi

    Mary Robi Well-Known Member
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    Some towns that you wouldn't think of as having ethnic neighborhoods do because of very interesting reasons.

    Take Portland, Maine for instance.

    There was a military facility on an island off Portland that was sitting empty. Some government office had the idea of turning it into an immigrant processing area and diverting ships there when Ellis Island became backed up and over capacity. The immigrants were processed there and "dumped" in Portland. Transportation to New York City was not provided. Even thought it was only approximately 50 cents train fare to travel there, that was 50 cents a lot of them didn't have, especially for a large family. So they'd trudge off to a local Italian or Irish or Greek family to be put up and a job found for. Most families stayed in Portland and ethnic neighborhoods were established.
     
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