The Internship Years – My First Hate Mail: Souring people’s coffee

Editor’s note: The publication of my first full-length print story to my surprise elicited a huffed-out letter to the editor, despite it being a filler story on an insipid topic (assigned to me, not by choice).

The story was about rich attention-needing assholes who put shit like theaters and boxing rings in their homes, though we framed it in a much nicer light to our delicate “high net worth” readers. I was sent in my shitty car to one of these neighborhoods in Oakland County to go see for myself, and feel just as out of place working for a business newspaper as I figured I would.

When the managing editor called me over and showed me the letter on his computer screen, I felt momentary fear-paralysis… until he congratulated me, and reaffirmed what I was taught in journalism school: Your job isn’t to make friends. If you’re not pissing some people off, you’re not doing your job.

To this day, I cherish the gaspy bourgeois tone this letter gives off. Central fucking casting.

I expected this is what would follow all my stories from now on. But 14 years later, this is one of the few angry letters I can recall receiving, at least in proper “letter to the editor” form. And yet I haven’t that many friends…

Story held developer Moceri up for ridicule


I usually enjoy Crain’s, but Gary Anglebrandt and his recent article on megahomes, (Executive Homes: “Home, sweet megahome,” Feb. 4) soured my morning coffee.

I am in the process of building my custom house with Mr. Frank Moceri in the Stonewater Development of Northville. I feel very privileged to have this incredibly talented builder, and I hold Mr. Moceri and his company in the highest regard.

While the article was at times both descriptive and insightful, it also was quite appalling to read Anglebrandt’s attempt to undermine Moceri’s professionalism. Perhaps Anglebrandt was attempting to make his article humorous, but he misses the boat. I selected Frank Moceri for his talents as a builder, not as my appliance technician.

Anglebrandt could take a lesson in professionalism from Mr. Moceri.

Pamela Ferris Ferris Properties Commerce Township

New mansions? Look below 8 Mile


The Etc. special section in the Feb. 4 issue of Crain’s Detroit Business, “Executive Homes: Home, sweet megahome,” put a smirk on my face. You see, this generation of home buyers is totally unaware of the huge mansions in the Boston-Edison district, Palmer Park, Indian Village and other areas of Detroit.

Smack-dab in the city are homes that have elegant music rooms, billiard rooms (as they were called back then), exercise areas, and some have converted their lower levels (not basements – some homes have two levels below the main floor) to recreational areas with theater capabilities. There are other homes that have ballrooms on the third floor, which current residents use for large parties, etc.

It is a shame that Detroit has lower housing values, although in recent years they have increased.

The current artisans cannot replicate these homes because it would cost over $10 million or more to do so. Homes that have marble windowsills, oak or mahogany floors, wet-plastered walls (which are great sound reducers), eight- to 10-foot vaulted ceilings, etc.

Well, they say history repeats itself; only now they are building these “mansions” across Eight Mile Road. To this current generation, nothing is ever new – just a great revelation now and then.

Vera Boyd Detroit

Related to: The Internship Years

Feb. 11, 2002 | Crain’s Detroit Business