I’m sitting in the middle of the block on Touraine Avenue at 4:16 pm on a weekday. It is intersected by W Grand River Avenue and Cowley Avenue and resides just south of W Saginaw Street. I’m under one of many trees and ahead of me is an A-frame brick house with two shiny cars tucked deep in the driveway. Bordering the house is a neat garden with ornamental bushes and flowers with a blanket of wood chips under them. The mostly green lawn is an even and low height and has a sign for O’Keefe democrat Ingham County Prosecutor in the front and center, matching the sign in front of the house diagonal to it. On either side of this house is two more two-story houses with a similar brick façade and front gardens. They are split by a wooden fence on one side and tall bushes on the other. The one on the right has a toddler swing hanging from a tree near the sidewalk that separates the housed from the road. The presentation of the houses and yard, along with the cars make it seem like a middle or upper-middle class neighborhood. There were no people outside, but the toddler swing and the size and quality of the houses may indicate that families live there. The democrat signs lead us to believe it may be a liberal neighborhood and the fencing and shrubbery between houses show that money was put forth to maintain privacy in this suburb while staying close to busy roads and restaurants and shopping. The roads are curbed and have filled in potholes, indicating that it is central and wealthy enough to gain attention for road maintenance.
All around me are trees that provide shade for most of the block. Behind me is a few square feet of naturally grown plants like trees and groundcover, perhaps an empty lot or extra yard belonging to the neighboring house. Next to this lot is another brick house, slightly smaller, but still with a similar look, along with the house next to it. This house has the other O’Keefe sign, next to a “For Sale” sign. In front of the house is an older looking parked car.
The block is quiet and fairly secluded, given just north is a mini strip mall near Frandor Shopping Center. The absence of people outside may indicate that people were at work, doing errands, on vacation, or perhaps staying inside away from the humid heat of the outdoors or avoiding the pending storm.