I can’t remember when I first met Bryan Fenster but I know that it was on Twitter! Obviously the Detroit connection helped and as we continued talk it was great to hear about his passion for Detroit and his desire to come back home from Chicago. Well guess who is moving back to Royal Oak, MI at the end of the month? Yup! Bryan and his wife, Cara, will be back in the D! Make sure to give them a warm welcome and maybe help unpack a box! You can find Bryan on Twitter at @bryanfenster. You can also check him out at Detroit Nation and his blog.
Here is getting to know…Bryan Fenster!
Who is the most influential person in your life and why?
Without a doubt, my Bubby (my Dad’s Mom), who happens to be my lasting grandparent. Her name is Lily Fenster. She personifies the passion, loyalty, and essence of family I strive to hold and pass on. However, this came at the ultimate price for her.
She came from a town outside of Warsaw, Poland, born in 1926 (or so we think). She escaped the ghetto she was held in with her parents and five sisters, and sought refuge on a farm. She lived and worked with a family who took her in under secrecy. She ended up losing her whole family, who perished during the holocaust. Thankfully, she was able to survive and met my Grandpa (who was the only survivor from his family) after Poland was liberated.
Given the atrocities she’s weathered and coming to this country with literally nothing, supporting my Grandpa with the family business he started and raising three children in Detroit and ultimately, Oak Park, it’s a miracle to me. She is the strongest, most courageous and resilient person I know. Not only all of this, but she is still able to smile, laugh, love, and dance! Yes, dance! She listens to music from her day and dances in her condo, which I think is fantastic. She still has vigor and wants to live to the fullest. I am quite awestruck by her. I could write a novel, really. Ha. I love her dearly, and her life lessons have definitely shaped me. Without a doubt, she is the most influential person in my life.
Guilty dessert pleasure?
This is a great question. The mood needed to be lightened! Wow. So much great desserts out there. I’d have to say an M&M Flurry from Dairy Deluxe (best ice-cream in Michigan…hands DOWN) or a good ol’ fashioned bumpy cake. Sorry, that seems kind of boring.
What is one piece of advice you’d give someone?
Stay true to your roots, be active in your community, listening is sometimes more important than anything else, and be your authentic self. There you go…FOUR pieces of advice 😉
Favorite childhood memory?
This could be very lengthy! I was blessed with an incredible childhood, a very privileged one. Summer’s growing up in Huntington Woods were pure magic. I have a few favorites: The ice cream social at Burton Elementary (Go Blue Jays!) was a highlight for us kids. Concerts in the park before 4th of July fireworks was THE social event of the year for every 4th and 5th grader. Rolling blading up to Val Jones park for pick-up roller hockey was a favorite, and block parties on York Street between Hendrie and Harrison. Were. EPIC.