'We Would Have Been Safer in Macedonia,' Detroit Immigrant Recalls In Book

October 10, 2013, 11:17 AM

Dean Dimitrieski, who came to Detroit's east side as a 4-year-old in 1973 from Macedonia, describes a rough childhood and adolescence during the Young Boys Incorporated era..

In a Detroit News excerpt of his autobiography, "Tears for My City," a 272-page paperback and e-book, the immigrant from southeastern Europe recalls "nightmares . . . from all the beatings I endured and the violence I witnessed in the neighborhood."

Detroit was a place where I had to grow up extremely fast. There was no time to be a child. . . .

My parents felt lucky that they were able to free us from that experience [civil war at home]. What they didn’t realize was that the war on the streets of Detroit did not have an end in sight.

I realize now that if we had stayed in Macedonia, we would have been safer there than in Detroit, even with the civil war.

Dean Dimitrieski, who grew up on Detroit's east side in the 1970s and '80s, now lives in Shelby Township and works in ad sales.

Dimitrieski, his sister and parents lived on Moran at first and and later in a home the family bought on McDougall in the Poletown East area north of Warren Avenue.

The author, a 44-year-old advertising sales manager, now lives in Shelby Township with two sons, according to an earlier Metro Times blog post by Michael Jackman.

Here's some of what's in the book portion published Thursday:

While we were living on Moran . . .  I experienced my first violent beating. I was in front of the house while the rest of my family was in the backyard. I was playing with a ball when some older boys, about 13 years old or so, hit me over the head with a baseball bat. I remember crying so hard that, at first, no sound came out as I sprinted toward the backyard. . . .

the baseball bat incident was only the first of many violent acts toward me because of the color of my skin. We were foreigners and we were white, certainly not a good combination for establishing a life in Detroit in the ’70s and ’80s. If only we were there in the ’40s and ’50s, a time when the auto industry, and Detroit, thrived.

-- Alan Stamm

Read more:  The Detroit News

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