Back to Work
A lot had changed in the interim. Michigan Radio's format had shifted from classical music to news, its staff had doubled, and it had moved from the LS&A Building to the Argus Building on the west side. But Jackson had stayed a fan and enjoys again being part of what she describes as a creative and friendly group. And the benefits include health insurance--that, she says, is "phenomenal."
A builder since age twenty-three, Joe Grammatico Jr., had weathered dips in the economy before. It wasn't easy to grasp that this time was different. "I feel I got caught in a tsunami," says Grammatico, now fifty-two. "Not on high ground--nothing you can do!"
Home building was in his blood. His Italian immigrant grandfather was a mason, and Joe learned construction from his dad. During his long career, Grammatico says, he "literally built hundreds of homes." But during the recession, credit dried up, prices plunged, and new home sales fell more than 90 percent. Grammatico says that 2005 was a good year, but 2006 was much slower, and "2007 was pretty much the end of it." Though he stayed busy remodeling and maintaining his properties, "Months go by, and you realize you're not making any money."