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Wednesday October 26, 2016
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The Willow



Shady Lane may feel out of place as well as out of time in Ann Arbor, and, technically, it really isn't in Ann Arbor. According to a 2010 city map, it is a "township island," one of a number of "parcels which have not been annexed to the City in the course of its growth." Island residents pay taxes, and vote, in Pittsfield Township.

My own neighborhood, Kimberly Hills, was also once part of Pittsfield. It still has bits and pieces of those days, including dusty unpaved streets, rundown brick homes, and mailboxes perched on poles at some distance from the houses. But Shady Lane is not a relic but a viable neighborhood, within Ann Arbor geographically, yet not in spirit.

Thinking of Shady Lane as an island has reinforced my sense that the line between Ann Arbor and Pittsfield, and the present and the past, can be blurry. When I look at Shady Lane, I think of my own neighborhood's pre-Ann Arbor years. The place where my house now stands was probably a cornfield.

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