Back in the late 70's, and 80's I'd be hanging around downtown after an event. Usually one of my 'city cousins' would have organized a concert or ballgame and then inevitably we would make our way into Greektown. Quite possibly we would have had cocktails at the RenCen where the "Summit" bar rotated around giving you a gorgeous 360 degree view of our glorious city. We sipped those $7.50 cocktail s-l-o-w-l-y to make it one full circle. How very glamorous! I have a few old pics somewhere depicting the events with smiling happy girls, holding a fancy drink with the backdrop of Detroit thru the window. Then it was off to Greektown. I loved the smell, music, food and lights these restaurants and shops that were so alive and always seemed open.
In that time, before Greektown Casino, there was Trappers Alley. You could watch those darling boys making fudge and singing harmonies. I loved the boutiques that were also housed in that very unique, old building.
But the real sight to watch for was Stella. My cousins had warned me that she would probably be somewhere around and hopefully having a good day. The first time I spotted her, she was sleeping in a corner. I was alarmed because up north, that is something you would not see. I innocently fretted about her and wondered where she would go when stores closed. I was assured that she was just fine and that is just how she lived.
The next time, I got a better look. Stella was so tiny and she must have had about 20 colored barrettes in her gray hair. I offered her my take out but she waved it away with a tiny hand, mumbling something in Greek. Seems the local restaurateurs kept her in food. So from then on, I gave her a few bucks and hoped she would be okay. Surely she was SOMEONES gramma!
Then years went by and I never again saw her. Her health failed and life on the streets was impossible for her. I've read she was given a full Greek funeral and burial.
So, rest in peace, Stella. Like so many good things about Detroit--you will be missed. xoxo