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  • Summer, early 80's. Suburban Detroit. TV, no cable, limited supply of games on the Atari 800. The concept of day camp virtually unknown.

    Didn't matter. I had a bike, a twin sister, and a best friend.

    We rode our bikes everyday.

    We'd head down Coolidge Highway, to the shopping center at 15 mile Rd. We'd hit Perry Drug's, clinking quarters on the counter to pay for Faygo and chips, then head back outside to eat, drink, and loiter. We kept ourselves entertained with jokes of the 'you-had-to-be-there' variety.

    After our curbside siesta, we'd weave our way back home via side roads, avoiding hills, trying to look cool coasting with no hands. We didn't discuss routes; we didn't have to: Whoever led knew to ride past Adam's Castle. I loved Adam's Castle. It was the only house I'd ever seen with a bona fide turret.

    The house, styled like a French castle, is located near Birmingham, MI on Adams Road. Technically, it's a mansion: 32 rooms, 10,438 Sq Ft, 2.24 Acres.

    It's less than a mile as the crow flies from my childhood home in Troy, MI but felt a world away. Birmingham was old money. The homes were bigger and the grass greener. They drove BMWs, Jaguars, and Mercedes, exotic animals in a herd full of American-made cattle. Birmingham residents shopped at Saks, Bonwit Teller, and Jacobsons department store; I was outfitted at Sears.

    Beyond its dollar-sign imbued beauty, I also loved Adams Castle for its lore: That 13 bachelors used to live there throwing lavish parties night after night; that the grounds behind the iron gates were protected by a gangly crew of Doberman Pinschers; and that someday, I could earn enough money to buy a house just like it.

    My first-generation dad loved Adam's Castle too. Before I was old enough to bike, he'd drove me by. To show me a symbol of the American Dream? Maybe. Just as likely, a landmark to help me find my way home.
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