A couple of TV stars showed up in Kalamazoo last week, and of course there had to be some questions about the uniquely named city.
Jonathan and Drew Scott, the “Property Brothers” on HGTV’s home remodeling show, came to town for weekend appearances at the Home Expo, an annual event featuring local builders and various products offered to homemakers. In a newspaper interview, Jonathan said one of the most frequent questions posed by their fans lately was, “Is Kalamazoo a real place?”
|A view of downtown Kazoo. It's real.|
Oh, yeah. Only fully mature adults are likely to remember those things. So we can forgive a few youngsters in the 13 countries where “Property Brothers” is broadcast if they aren’t convinced of the reality of Kalamazoo.
The question caused the Geezer to reflect on advice in the old Associated Press Style Manual on how to present names of cities in news stories. The manual said use both the city and state names in the first mention of the community in a story. After that, drop the state name. But for a major metropolis, omit the state identifier altogether. Write or say only “Los Angeles” or “Chicago,” not “Los Angeles, CA” or “Chicago, IL.”
Kalamazoo is no major metropolis, but its one-of-a-kind status ought to qualify it for the metropolis rule. Anybody who knows about it knows it’s in Michigan. When you've said Kalamazoo, you've said it all.
A precise location is a bit more difficult. But, if you lay a ruler on a map on a line between Chicago and Detroit, measure the distance, and divide by two, you will hit pretty close to Kalamazoo.
Kalamazoo also is about 15 miles south of our home, but we’re not a landmark. We welcome visitors, however. Just turn on your GPS, set it on Plainwell, Michigan (yes, Plainwell needs a little extra identification) and let one of the marvels of the electronic age guide you to within five miles of us. We then can direct you here for a rest stop and a little visit and then precisely tell you the way to Kalamazoo. It is a real place, and a rather nice one at that.