|Jefferson Market and Cakery|
long piece about him in the Washtenaw Voice.) I spoke with him for about two hours. He had a lot to say. He makes and sells raw honey, and used to sell to many stores, like the Mediterranean Market, Ed's Bread, and other places. Not anymore, though. Just off of his porch, since he's in his seventies now. But his honey is taken by his regulars everywhere, from Alaska to Algiers and Lebanon. He has worked all over, doing nuclear-related work, with tons of stories of working on campus over several decades.
|A photo of Lonnie Compeau taken by Jocelyn Gotlib|
Where do you live, and where are you from?
"This is the Old West Side of Ann Arbor, where many people are doing so many interesting things, where the houses are named after people that used to live here. I bought this house in 1967. I am originally from Livonia. I left high school when I was seventeen, I didn't finish, and I joined the Navy working on submarines and diesel engines. When it came to applying to college, my high school didn't want to support my application because I didn't actually finish high school, but a high school in Mississippi, where I was working, supported by application and gave me a GED. I came to the University of Michigan, flunked out of Mechanical Engineering, and went to Eastern Michigan University to study Physics. I came back to UM to get a Master's in Public Health, and then I went to work for Bechtel."
What do you love about where you live? What is unique about where you live?
"All sorts of things happen in college towns, doesn't matter if it's Madison or Ann Arbor. There are other parts of Ann Arbor, though, where uppity people live. Not here. Here you'll find students and anthropologists, social workers and architects. There is more a sense of community here and people are down to earth. On Potter St., there is an old lady that has run the Boston Marathon. I put a big zucchini out one time, and it came back in the form of zucchini bread made by her. She just left it on the porch. The houses are four feet from the sidewalk, so you have to interact with people that walk by. Not like in subdivisions, where houses are further back. Those are sterile communities."
A lot of the family homes now have just one person living in them, or are rented out. There aren't too many children on the street. As nice as it still is right now, there has been a loss of community. There was more neighbourliness. For example, the lady across the street would hem my pants, and I'd do odd jobs in her house in return...just as a neighbour. Nobody protests anymore, either. Regarding the environment, if you look at birds as an indicator organism, some species like the nighthawk don't lay here anymore. But populations seem to have gone up since we stopped using 2,4-D as a dandelion killer. We have more nut hatches, more wrens, more coopershawks and more woodpeckers. Since people don't leave food out anymore, though, animals like raccoons don't live around here anymore.