As has become our tradition, E and I spent much of this Marin Luther King, Jr. Day volunteering. She has always had a special affinity for this holiday since she was born on MLK day in 1999, but more than that, she has embraced both the history and the message of day.
After many years of her asking, I finally signed us up to work with Motor City Blight Busters this year. I was reluctant to take a kid to tear down crack houses, but now that she is the ripe old age of 10 (read: I was late in signing us up and this was all that was left!), I thought we would give it a try. MCBB is located in Old Redford, where every 6th or so house seems to be abandoned -- there is plenty of work to do. Our job today (probably to E's great disappointment) was to not tear down a house, but rather to clear out a small warehouse a block off Grand River so that it could be renovated and used as a childcare center.
We started out inside, shoveling up the debris left behind when the last folks -- people who the neighbors said only came and went in the middle of the night -- decamped. We found lots of evidence of a business (invoices and such) but also plenty of evidence that folks had been living in the basement (shoes, exercise videos, school books, underwear, etc). Lots of volunteers with axes and shovels made for too much dust and too many heavy tools being flung about, so E and I shifted to outside work... hauling out load after load of debris, clearing the junk after others smashed up old furniture/building materials. E eyed the sledgehammer but didn't ask. When the other smashers had wandered off and the flow of debris cans had slowed, I encouraged her to do her best at destroying an old rocking chair. She loved it. Later she had me carry a sledgehammer over to an old shed so she could do some work on that.
2 months ago