A Trip Down Memory Lane …
An email filled with memories of Metro Detroit goes viral.
What started off as a late afternoon email from a Metropolitan Detroit expatriate living in New York to three friends quickly snowballed into a viral sensation last month. That sensation was a website, www.originalhuskyboys.com, and its list of “76 ways to tell if you’re from Detroit.”
Poking fun at suburban life and highlighting some of the more memorable moments in their childhoods, four friends made a list and felt compelled to share it with the world. Even the name itself is an homage to Brody’s Camp Supplies and Custom Printing on Orchard Lake Road.
The four friends behind the site, the “Original Husky Boys,” are Jared Boschan, David Feldman and brothers Jordan and Dustin Sherman. The four grew up in West Bloomfield and Bloomfield Hills but today all live in New York City.
“We all went to Hillel Day School and Andover together, and now we have this common bond between us that we come back to,” said 26-year-old Boschan, an asset manager for Field Real Estate Holdings in Manhattan. “Our childhood is a source of pride, it’s something we enjoy kibitzing over, and one day I sent this email to the other three with a few memories from growing up. By the time I got home from work everyone had responded, the list kept growing, and we realized we had this gem on our hands of incredible memories.”
The four began meeting in a boardroom after work and writing ideas on a white board late into the night, analyzing their ideas, jokes and pictures until they were sure the list was perfect.
“We sent it out the Tuesday after President’s Day, and we thought maybe 5,000-6,000 people might see it, and we would have been happy,” said 26-year-old Jordan Sherman, who works in sponsorships for Major League Baseball. “The first day we had 40,000 hits from people all over the country, and all over the world, from Los Angeles and Chicago to Israel and India. We ended up with something like 80,000 hits and people were even sending it back to us because we didn’t put our names on it.”
The list poked fun at, or recalled fondly, Michigan celebrities like Eminem and Tim Allen, restaurants like Olga’s and Buddy’s, and popular hangouts like the Jewish Community Center and Marvelous Marvin’s Mechanical Museum.
“It appealed to people internationally, but also across generations. Our parents saw it, their friends saw it and even kids as young as middle school could appreciate it,” said 24-year-old Dustin Sherman, who works with startup mobile technology firm RUN DSP.
“We didn’t do any marketing; each of us just sent it out on Facebook one at a time, and almost immediately people were sharing it. It spread like wildfire,” said Sherman.
Though there are no immediate plans for the website’s future, 28-year-old David Feldman says this is just the start of something, but the four aren’t sure what.
“We did this to have fun; we wanted to leave it open ended. It’s something that resonates with a large group of people and though we don’t have anything specific planned down the line, it at least proves to the four of us we can have a good idea,” explained Feldman, the director of social media for MLB.com.
“It was just meant to be nostalgic, and the rewarding part is how it went over,” said Dustin Sherman. “Anytime you bring up Detroit, there’s a negative connotation, but if you read this and see just how good our childhood was, and that we all shared this experience, you can appreciate the innocence and it resonates. These are memories you would never trade.”
The national and international reach of the website had the four wondering what impact the site might have made on other former Metropolitan Detroiters.
“This might not cause someone to pack up their suitcase and move back to Detroit, but we hope it’s a great reminder,” said Feldman. “It’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day grind of New York or Los Angeles or Chicago and forget what it means to be from Detroit. Maybe that nostalgic feeling, that sensation you get when remembering the highlights of your childhood can resonate, that Detroit wasn’t so bad and you want to move back. Maybe it’s something to show you’re friends and say, ‘I’m proud of this place where I grew up.’”
RYAN FISHMAN | SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH NEWS