Saturday, May 29, 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010
I was athsmatic as a child, and prone to pneumonia, which meant I spent at least a week as an inpatient every year, from the time I was three until I was eleven. Dr. Mattey took great care of me, and the nurses spoiled me rotten...the stack of comic books didn't hurt, either.
Like most kids, we got our share of cuts, scrapes, and the like, so my brothers and I were regular guests of the ER-the aftermath of the Imfamous Rock Fight of '64 comes to mind, with five of us neighborhood kids getting stitches in our heads from rocks (or, in my case, a big stick) inflicted during the melee. WE were cool, but our mothers didn't speak to each other for weeks!
I spent two weeks in after a drug overdose in '78, and was in and out of the ESP for depression. Even so, it was comforting to see the faces of those who'd cared for me from childhood.
To Drs Mattey, Myers, Lee, etc, to Kay, Mrs. Paine, Nurses Sextella and Moon, I raise a glass...of slightly warm 7-Up, of course.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Back in the summer of '68, things were hard. Ma was struggling to take care of us three boys, and I have to admit I wasn't helping, already in trouble at school and with the Juvenile Court at twelve.
Perhaps it wasn't the smartest of ideas, all things considered, but Mike and I decided we needed to do something to help, so we found ourselves an old shoeshine box, begged, borrowed, and stole supplies for it, and took up shining shoes in the bars downtown.
We'd start with the B&B Grill, which was two blocks north of us on Washington Avenue, walk down 17th Street from there to Bonk's, at 17th and Long, from Bonk's to the B&M, on 14th, and from there, north on Broadway, visiting every bar that would let us in. We charged a quarter a shine, and often got tips from the patrons. There were other shoeshine boys out there, the Palos brothers, two of them, our friend Gerald, and another guy we knew, named Donald, who wasn't out every night, as we were.
Sometimes, the cops would send us home for being out so late...we'd generally get home around midnight, which is late for a twelve year old and his ten year old brother. The thing was, those few dollars we earned shining shoes often went right on the dinner table the next day. My ma hated us going out, but she couldn't stop us, and she eventually stopped trying.
To this day, the scent of shoe polish is pleasant to me, although I generally wear cross trainers; it reminds me of a strange, exciting time in my life, when I first learned how to earn my way.
Whenever I've seen a shoeshine boy, and had it to spare, I've given him ten or twenty, and asked him to go home, to that mother who's waiting up,l wondering.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Monday, May 24, 2010
Friday, May 21, 2010
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
His family knew mine, and when I could, I spent a lot of time at Mike's house. His dad was one of those men who treated every child in his home as one of his own, his ma was kind, and a great cook. Mike had three older sisters living at home, they were fun to be around, and could cook like their ma.
By high school, I was living just a few blocks away from Mike and his family, spending almost every day there. Mike's ma passed in '71, and Mike joined a band around the same time, as a drummer. We spent hours down in the basement, Mike playing, or listening to music. He introduced me to all kinds of great music beyond the AM pop that I generally listened to, and he also introduced me to pot, which kinda went with the music and the times.
The years went by, we all of us got older. I'd met other friends through Mike, through the music, and we had many, many good (and bad) times through the 70's and 80's.
Mike had a weak heart, and he had an aneurysm that put him in a wheelchair, but really didn't slow him down. I didn't see him as much as I had, but I tried to keep up with him as we lived our lives.
The fourteenth of April, 1988... I'd gone to the library, just to browse, when a guy I knew walked up to me, and solemnly shook my hand, which was odd, to say the least.
Eddie said to me, "It's a shame about Mike, ain't it?" I said, "What're you talking about, man?" "Didn't you hear? Mike died two days ago...the funeral's tomorrow."
Thirty-two years old...I wish I had the words to express how it felt to grab that brass handle, and help carry him to his final rest, but I don't. Mike will pop up in this blog from time to time, but he deserved this space all his own. I still ponder, when I hear a new piece of music, or just encounter something (or someone) really trippy, what Mike would have to say.
(this added 18 Jun 10)
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Monday, May 17, 2010
There were wild strawberries growing along the tracks behind our house, peach and plum trees in several yards, and cherry trees, as well. We didn't concern ourselves with issues of private property and ownership; if no one yelled at us, we figured the stuff was there for us, anyway.
Somewhere, some kid is halfway up some old lady's peach tree, preparing himself for a free, God- given feast ...at least, I hope so.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
It's been nearly twenty years since I moved from Lorain, but a lot of it remains in me...that, I guess, is what this blog is about, the Lorain that once was, some of the people, events, facts, and even fictions.
Todd Rundgren spoke of every man having a "home in his head"...Lorain, c.1960-1990 is mine, I guess.
Meet me at my office, the second pay-phone outside the Lorain Telephone Company, and let's talk stuff.