The Brat Patrol | A Long Time Ago, In a Neighborhood Far, Far Away…

You Know You’re From Detroit If…

Updated! Eileen let me know that this content is actually from her (rather excellent) site: Rather than duplicate some of the content, check it out and share your Detroit memories with her visitors! ( is regularly updated, so be sure to check back often!)

Add comment September 5th, 2009 by duane

Detroit TV Flashback!

YouTube is a great way to go back in time find commercials and TV shows from the past (though I still can’t find any episodes of Kid Bits!). Here are a few for your viewing enjoyment:

If you can find a few more Detroit favorites from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s post a link in the comments!

2 comments March 30th, 2009 by duane

Made in Michigan (Food)

I grew up with a lot of great products made right here in Michigan… in fact many of them were made right in Detroit! Sadly, some of them are no longer native to our great state, but I’d like to share them anyway:

Available in a variety of flavors, Faygo is part of Michigan culture!

Available in a variety of flavors, Faygo is part of Michigan culture!

  • Faygo Pop – A delicious variety of flavored pop (or soda if you’re from other states). While some consider it to be a value brand, I still think Rock and Rye, Cola, and Frosh are some of the best tasting soft drinks on the planet.
  • Vernor’s Ginger Ale – I can’t believe I forgot this Detroit icon! (Thanks to “Mom” reminding me about it in the comments!) When my friend (Joey Ford) visited his grandparents each summer, his mom made sure he brought some Vernor’s Ginger Ale home to California with him. These days, Vernor’s is owned by the Dr. Pepper/Snapple folks and can be found in most states, but it’s real home is Detroit.
  • Better Made Snacks – Driving by the Better Made factory is torture. The smell of fresh potato chips is enough to drive you mad. During Halloween, it wasn’t uncommon to get a small bag of Better Made potato chips from many of the houses in or neighborhood. You can still get cases of chips from nearby distributors and even directly from Better Made themselves. Some people may think that fresh chips aren’t better than those shipped across the country… they’re wrong.
  • Stroh’s Beer – In 1999 Stroh Brewery was sold to the same folks as Miller/Pabst. Though they’re still an American beer brewer (unlike some more “regal” brands), Stroh’s is no longer made in Michigan. Stroh’s was definitely the brand of choice for the adults in my neighborhood during the 80’s. Block parties looked like television commercials for the stuff…
  • Stroh’s Ice Cream – Why would a brewery make ice cream?! One word – prohibition. When other breweries were going under, the Stroh family changed with the times and made some of the most creamy delicious ice cream on the planet… but they did have competition:
  • Sanders Confections – My grandmother worked for Grandpa Sanders (pronounced San-Ders, not Saun-ders… that always drove my grandma nuts) and there was nothing quite as close to heaven as a Sanders Hot Fudge Cream Puff Sundae. Today they’re still known for hot fudge and carmel ice cream toppings, but they’re chocolate is darn fine, too. Speaking of chocolate:
  • Morley Candy – The Morley Candy Company has since taken over the Sanders line of confections using the family’s original recipies. Once local rivals, Sanders and Morley are now one in the same. Our parents always filled our Easter baskets and Christmas stockings with goodies from Morley and Sanders.
  • Honeybaked Ham and Dearborn Brand – I love a great sandwich. Part of that is because my dad always made legendary sandwiches. Post-holiday leftovers often included ham sandwiches… man, I’m salivating just thinking about them. Honebaked became famous for their pre-applied glazing while Dearborn Brand has been making great sausage and seli products since the 1940’s.
  • Kellog’s – Battle Creek’s own Kellogg’s company defines cereal and wholesome breakfast options.

I’ll continue to collect more lists of other famous Michigan brands, foods, products, and celebrities. If you have suggestions or contributions, please leave a comment (below)!

4 comments March 9th, 2009 by duane

Devil’s Night

If you lived in (or near) the city of Detroit in the 80’s, you knew that the day before Halloween was a scary time. Though Devil’s Night was most notorious for setting abandoned homes on fire, it was a much more innocent event for the kids in our neighborhood. We weren’t allowed to stay out much past dusk, but we tried to squeeze in a game or two of “witch” (see the block party article for a description), followed by a few harmless pranks.

Usually, we would ring a neighbor’s doorbell, then run and hide in the bushes. Never the same house more than once and we were always called home for the evening before it was late. One time a rogue faction of kids decided to toss eggs at cars despite our protest. Those that chose not to participate watched the action with a mixture of fear and excitement from a safe distance. One driver pulled his car over, got out, and yelled at the rebels. They threw a few more eggs in his direction, but, luckily, none of them had good aim. The usual running and dodging through alleys and secret paths ensued and we all regrouped in Joe’s tree fort to trade stories. Though most of us didn’t throw any eggs, we enjoyed sharing in the excitement.

I remember a few years when (presumably) the “big kids” on the block soaped a few windows and egged cars in driveways, but this is all still pretty minor in retrospect. The next year we stood on guard with walkie-talkies linking our guard posts… theoretically… the models most of us purchased from Radio Shack really didn’t have enough range to cover the block. We walked up and down the block in groups of three of four in our denim jackets wielding flashlights. We really thought that we were the reason no more eggings happened… it was likely pure coincidence.

What’s not a coincidence is that Devil’s Night is gone. Former Mayor Dennis Archer started the Angel’s Night initiative in 1995 that organized community patrols and enforced a curfew for minors. The first year, incidences of arson plummeted… in fact, I can’t recall a single reported Devil’s Night-related fire.

Add comment November 4th, 2008 by duane


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