Monday, October 03, 2011

Motown Meanderings

We’re a little late this week. Fall is in full swing, and the leaves are turning yellow and orange and red all around the neighborhood. We got hit with a downpour Monday morning, so Landon got to put on his rain gear and jump in the puddles while Dad funneled water away from the side of the house. Fortunately, as quickly as things flooded, the water disappeared once it stooped raining.

Flooded much?
On Monday night, we bought Landon a “big boy” bike as an early birthday present so he could get some riding time in before the cold weather sets in. Mike put the bike together after Landon went to bed, and the following morning he took it out for a spin. He’s been riding a glide bike for over a year, so he had already mastered a lot of the skills he needed. On Tuesday morning, we took the bike out, he climbed aboard, and after a couple of minutes getting used to the idea of pedaling and braking, he took off like a natural.

We took a trip to Detroit's Motown Museum, the home of Hitsville, USA, on Wednesday. We learned how Berry Gordy, Jr. took an $800 loan from his family bank (a success story in itself) and turned it into a multimillion dollar recording empire. Our docent explained that it boiled down to a formula of taking one song and arranging it so that it appealed to listeners of different genres. So, you have a song like “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.” Gladys Knight & the Pips sing it on the Soul label, and Marvin Gaye sings it as an R&B ballad on the Tamla label. Both times, the Funk Brothers are there in the background doing the instrumentals. Same parent company, same studio, same house band, same song, different covers for different tastes. Pretty potent formula for success, eh?   
Barry Gordy, Jr. bought one house, then another, then another until Motown ran from eight houses on the block. A harsh reality of the era is that because Black folks could not rent office space in the commercial parts of town, they would buy two apartment flats, live on one floor, and run businesses (e.g., law offices, doctor's offices, music studios) from the other.  To this day, some businesses still run from these two flat houses.

Friday was a busy day for Hallie and the kiddos. They spent a lot of it with Jen and her kids shopping, lunching, and watching Jen’s kids bowl.
She's still small enough (barely) to fit in a bowling ball bag.
Prior to watching General Conference on Saturday, we went to Morley’s for their “wonderfall” celebration, which included photos, pumpkin painting, face painting, hot dogs, and (of course) samples of yummy chocolatey goodness.
Wearing a hand-knitted sweater from a family friend

He started to get a little antsy, so the boys went outside to play tag and blow off some steam.
"Hold still! We just want to paint your face."

Then we headed to church to watch the conference broadcast while we let the kids roam the gym. It’s actually easier on everyone that way rather than watching at home! ;)  

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