2003.12.03 Get me out of storage

Written by David Green.


I felt as though I was part of a movie Friday morning, but it was the sort of movie you would want to watch from the comfort of your living room.

We were in Brooklyn, N.Y., last weekend for a brief visit to the big city. My wife really wanted to spend Thanksgiving with one of her sisters, so we headed east Wednesday.

We reached the George Washington Bridge in 10 hours, then skirted along the edge of Manhattan, dove under the East River through the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, and made our way on to Linda’s apartment near Coney Island.

Thanksgiving Day was good. We shopped in a Chinese supermarket that included several tanks of live fish. We stopped in a Russian grocery and walked out with “raisin sausage” and kefir. 86th Street was busy with shoppers. Thanksgiving probably wasn’t a traditional holiday for most of them.

The next morning, while the others showered and dressed, I agreed to drive Linda to her storage unit so she could bring her Christmas tree home.

Linda directed me across town a few blocks to a large building with a sign that read “Stop and Stor.” OK, but where are the storage units?

We turned in the drive and faced a pair of iron gates and a crossing arm like at a railroad intersection. Linda gave me the code to punch into a keypad and the gates began to part. The arm rose and we proceeded past an enormous multi-story building on the right and a smaller two-story structure to the left. This was just the beginning.

We drove on and on alongside rows of two-story buildings with roads turning off to the side every so often toward other buildings. Finally I was told to turn left down a road that led between rows of buildings. Occasionally a drive would appear that led back into the guts of the place for 30 or 40 feet.

We turned right, then left, then right, to where I backed up into a drive that led to Linda’s building. There were roll-down doors everywhere—some were vehicle size, others were just big enough for a person could walk through, if the roll-down metal door were open. Hmmm, the door to Linda’s unit was already open. There were no other cars around, but her building was ready for visitors.

We walked in and climbed the stairs to the second floor. Here we entered a labyrinth of cold, metal clad hallways. Floors, walls, doors—everything was shiny metal and we echoed as we walked. We made a left, then another and another and finally a right to Linda’s door.

I looked around while she got out her key and worked the lock. It was simple enough. Iron beams were exposed along the ceiling. Dozens of small rooms had been constructed inside. It looked plenty secure, but it also looked a little ominous.

I've probably watched too many movies. The door was already opened. There was somebody already in this building, somewhere down one of these cold, lonely hallways. What were they waiting for—some sucker from the Midwest whose decomposing body would be found days later in one of these dozens and dozens of little metal rooms?

So there wasn’t really anybody else up there, at least no one we ever saw. Linda wasn’t bothered by the open door. In fact, she saw it as a gift—one less lock to mess with.

We removed the plastic bin containing the body of her...containing her artificial Christmas tree. We carried it down the stairs to the car and drove back out through the alleyways and through another pair of iron gates.

Brooklyn, with its 2.3 million people, is just a part of New York City. If it were a city on its own, it would rank as the country’s fourth largest. It’s said that one out of seven American citizens can trace their family history through the streets of Brooklyn, and it’s likely my ancestors walked around here when they first reached the United States.

Now, a century and a half later, all of Morenci could store its belongings in the Stop and Stor on Shore Parkway, the one overlooking Gravesend Bay. Once Morenci moved in, there would still be room for Fayette and Lyons and Seneca....and even that missing shipment of the letter "e."

    – Dec. 3, 2003 
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
  • Front.chat
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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