friends of the freighthouse

My parents watched the baby last night while Linette and I headed out to attend a fundraiser for the historic Ypsilanti Freighthouse, a local community space used for such things as farmers’ markets, concerts, and public meetings.

1. Linette won one hour of tattooing in the silent auction for $25. (If she’ll let me, we’ll hold a contest here at to design it for her.)

2. A few people pulled me aside and told me that they read this site, which was a little odd, but very nice. One of them, gesturing wildly, came close to throwing a drink in my face. Another told me that she was so upset by the recent troll comments that she was forced to retreat into the archives.

3. We didn’t bid on it, but there, amid all the local artifacts up for auction, was some kind of Asian disemboweling knife in a bamboo sheath. Someone won it for $10. (So, be careful who you offend on the streets of Ypsi.)

4. Someone told me a great story about his mom traveling around the country with a mannequin companion. I can’t recall, but I think she called him Quinn. He was an antique. His carved face was swarthy and his limbs were filled with sawdust and rags. His mother dressed him in a captain’s cap, mirrored sunglasses, and an ascot, and he would ride beside her wherever she went, scaring off would-be attackers. (I would have thought that a captain’s hat and an ascot would have attracted criminal types like a limping calf attracts wolves, but apparently that wasn’t the case.)

5. We were able to stay for two hours before my parents called and asked for help. The baby got tired of playing with the empty Coke bottle that they’d given her about halfway through the Chevy Chase movie “Foul Play” and they needed the crying to stop.

6. Linette had volunteered to make all of the explanatory cards for the items in the silent auction, and stayed up late the night before laying them out. The best sales pitch we came up with was for a brass key-ring that had been donated by one of Michigan’s senators… “Loose keys gotcha down? Connect ’em with brass!” Either Linette didn’t hand that one in, or someone chose not to use it, but it wasn’t there. I checked.

7. Our Mayor made the mistake of smiling at me, and I took it as an invitation to begin questioning her about the possibility of Ypsi’s Visteon plant closing (rumor has it that one of the four local facilities they operate will be closing this week), and what that would mean to the city in terms of lost tax revenue.

I’m sure other noteworthy things took place, but they aren’t coming to me right now… So here are some photos. (I didn’t mention it earlier, but the event took place in Ypsilanti’s Fire Engine Museum… hence all the fire engines in the photos.)

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  1. kez
    Posted February 20, 2005 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Mark, I like the way you numbered each entry. I probably wouldn’t have read them otherwise. Seeing each one separated made me HAVE TO read it. I read the entire post and wondered why this post wasn’t added into the OCD file category, which you rarely add to anyway. I’m going onto ebay now…. I am fascinated by that “disemboweling knife in a bamboo sheath”. Maybe the winner will list it there.

  2. Brian
    Posted February 20, 2005 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    The firehouse is the location of the scariest thing to happen to me in the last few years.

    I was walking home from a friends house, drunk, at 3AM. When I got to the firehouse I looked up and saw these two gentlemen staring at me from the entryway. I stared at them, they stared back. Finally I ran away, convinced that they were going to give chase and kill me.
    The next day I walked by again, and realized that they were dummies. I was never more relieved in my life.

    It’s funny that you bring this up, because I went by there last night, and was wondering what was going on. I almost wandered in, but everyone was dressed so formal, and I was in Sex Pistols tee-shirt.

  3. john galt
    Posted February 20, 2005 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    Tell us more about the train. Is that a permanent display? Or was there some rail enthusiast there? How complicated was it? (and no this is not a troll post, I like trains). They are however about the biggest money pit hobby you can take up.

  4. brett
    Posted February 20, 2005 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    John Galt, you are a troll. Please tell me where mark mentioned a train in this thread.

    and mark, thanks for the memories. I can now include ‘hand model’ on my resume.

  5. brett
    Posted February 20, 2005 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    John Galt- you are still a troll, but i did just realize one of the photos had a model train in it. My bad. It still had nothing to do with the event, though.

    The mannequins pictured, however, WERE the event.

    Especially the one in the last photo.

  6. chris
    Posted February 20, 2005 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

    Brett, you are feeding the troll as I am wont to do at times. Call it a perverse interest. However, I like your response, “you are a troll”. I think I will riff on this, watch and see. You might like it.

    Also, whose that dude at the end? Questions aside though, you give good hand! No, I’m serious, I saw the hand and thought…”Gee, I didn’t think Mark’s hands would look that nice.”. Now I realize, they don’t.

  7. brett
    Posted February 21, 2005 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    chris- i started typing stupid jokes about ten times in response, but as you pointed out my troll-feeding transgression, i figured i should just atone for my sins and say- that’s me.

    The strange thing is, that the picture is actually in perfect focus, but I was very blurry that evening.

    So, although i haven’t yet been ‘exhibited’ here dressed as i did in the 1980’s, I figure I’m even with mike insofar as personal exposure goes.

    Maybe we can all come clean and eventually load up mark’s bandwidth with little self-glorifying avatars next to each of our comments.

  8. Ken
    Posted February 21, 2005 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Mr. Galt, I say indulge in the train hobby. It will be good for you. It probably isn’t any more expensive than boat or SUV ownership. Also, it may even replace your current hobby of trolling the web.

  9. Anonymatt
    Posted February 21, 2005 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    John Galt-
    I take it you got your love of trains from Dagny. :P

  10. john gallt
    Posted February 21, 2005 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    well at least someone got the reference… The other’s just hurl insults without thinking.

  11. Suzie
    Posted February 21, 2005 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    Mark- I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who wondered about the disemboweling knife…

  12. Kristi Coulter
    Posted February 22, 2005 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Hey Mark–that was my husband John whose mom traveled around with the swarthy fake man. He actually didn’t have a name per se; she just called him The Other. To distinguish him from my father-in-law, I guess. Nice meeting you at the benefit! I won a ride-along with the Ypsi police, though I was hoping to win the dulcimer.

  13. mark
    Posted February 22, 2005 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    Kristi, I saw that the cops had put a “ride along” in the silent auction and it struck me as odd, as I think that anyone can do that for free. (I was thinking that it would have been better if they had put in a “get out of jail free in Ypsi” card or something…. “One free homicide in Washtenaw County.”) Still, it’s cool that you’re going along for a ride. If you get a chance, snap some photos and write up a little story, and I’ll post it here at… Good luck.

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