Kalamazoo: Always in My Heart

I lived in Kalamazoo, Michigan for several years during and after college. Battle Creek, the home of Kellogg’s, was nearby, as was Lake Michigan. Kalamazoo was an older Midwestern city with harsh winters and great fall weather. In the late 70s, Kalamazoo was a prospering college town with businesses like Brown Paper, Fisher Body, Gibson Guitar, the last of the Checker Cabs and Upjohn pharmaceutical.

Kalamazoo was a place for concerts, like one of our favorites, Bob Seger.

Of course, Yankee hero Derek Jeter is from a suburb of Kalamazoo. It has minor league hockey and a great school system. I never ever felt unsafe anywhere in Kalamazoo, nor did anyone I ever know. Nor do my friends and family who still live there.

In recent years, Kalamazoo has not faired as well. Many businesses have left and industries began to dry up. But nothing is as shocking as what happened this past weekend.

Murder is something I do not remember happening in Kalamazoo. That’s why the shocking events of Saturday night are not only sad but incredibly hurtful. Poor, innocent lives were taken and survivors are in critical condition, including a young girl.

I think I’m a tough guy, but this brings me to tears. My closest friend from college who still lives there replied to my text after I checked to make sure he was safe. He said that the entire area, who share a strong camaraderie over our tight knit community with the funny sounding name, just feels awful about all this. This was mayhem. I wish I had answers but all I have are fond memories of Kalamazoo and prayers that it doesn’t have to experience this ever again. Ideally, nowhere would.

This would be an awful situation anywhere, but it rings especially close to my heart because of Kalamazoo.

I’m praying for everyone there today. Godspeed, Kalamazoo — I’m thinking of you today.