Jason Carr: Grosse Ile, fact or fiction?

Grosse Ile on a Google Map, we think. (Google Maps)

I’m not convinced Grosse Ile actually exists.

In 1981 I watched the Bengals beat the Chargers in the AFC Championship Game on WDIV in my post-divorce father’s house on Grosse Ile. And I’m not sure it wasn’t a fever dream from the flu. It seems unlikely. But I did play Atari in the living room. Which is not up for debate.

See, my parents divorced and my mom and stepfather got me an Intellivision and in the great video game console arms race of 1982 my dad countered with Atari. So after watching Hot Fudge and Abbott and Costello on a Sunday morning…

I digress.

So hear me out. There’s an island on the river that’s not Belle Isle or Boblo. It’s called Grosse EEL. It has connections to French fur traders and the Irish potato famine. I think. And it’s just...there. Home to 10,778 residents. I think. Jimmy Hoffa might be there. I think I just made that up. From what I’ve seen online it has some of the most expensive homes in the state of Michigan. But again, being that I read that online I don’t think you should trust me at face value.

I’ve been doing TV news for almost 29 years in this state. In that time I’ve probably said the words “Detroit” or “Royal Oak” about a thousand times each. Even Wyandotte is in the dozens to hundreds of mentions. Plymouth. Lansing. Alpena, even.

Do you know how many times I’ve mentioned a giant island in the middle of the river that is home to 10,778 people (approximate number)?

Perhaps three.

Why do we ignore Grosse Ile? I almost feel like it is its own ecosystem. Grosse Ile could have its own newspaper, radio and TV station and tell the rest of us to take a long walk off a short pier.

I mean if you really think about it, the residents there are all Tom Hanks in Castaway. They’re on an island! Cut off from civilization! There’s like two bridges. I think. Don’t quote me. I’m building a raft.

Wilson! Wil-SONNNNNN!

Anyway, my dad once lived there and I watched playoff football. So I know it’s not a made up place. But still.

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