Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I grew up with Cleveland as our Big Neighbor to the East, and spent time there, visiting relatives and such...I never thought I'd live there.

As it developed, I had an opportunity to work for a man who had an apartment building on Cleveland's East Side and, as I was unemployed, took the job. I spent four depressing years living on the corner of 81st and Superior, dodging crack heads and bangers, and wondering how people lived like this.

One Sunday morning, I walked out my front door, planning to buy some coffee. As I stood there, gathering my early-morning wits, I noticed a large vehicle rounding the corner. Behold, it was nothing less than Lolly the Trolley, with a load of tourists carrying a load of cameras, as if they were in Yellowstone.


Large cities are psychotic, and seem to have a similar effect upon their residents. It'd take me days to describe all the ways that Cleveland pegs the nutso meter, but I've neither time nor inclination. Remember, it's a cool place, but repeated exposure can cause cancer in laboratory equipment.
Life here in Whitney is slower, and the people are merely eccentric, rather than psychotic...just looking at all that sky is worth the price of admission.
I DO miss some things, but they're just things; I've gained so much more here.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


As a Colorful Character myself, I deeply appreciate how much these anomalytic individuals add to the qauality of life. Sadly, I have no pictures.

MR. BAUM- He was our grade school Gym teacher, and achieved legendary status by insisting that we children perform feats of athletic skill that he couldn't do with the assistance of Industrial Light and Magic...4-X, while demonstrating a forward somersault, he got stuck halfway over.

MISS SUSIE- An enormous black lady who lived next door to us, a bottomless reserve of stories, laughter, and change for running to the store for her, generally to buy a can of Buttercup Snuff. The snuff was fifteen cents, so you could count on making a dime from the transaction.

MAW LEWIS- She and her husband lived in front of us, and had a loud, joyous voice, and Oreo cookies for days.

MRS. BULL- She told us to call her "Mrs. Bollweevil", for some reason, and was a true eccentric...her apartment looked like an archealogical dig.

CLAUDIE WILLIAMS- aka "Doc Savage", was a neighborhood drunk, universal supervisor of street repair, and raconteur; Richard Pryor's wino could've been based on him. I remember Claudie telling stories of his actions during WWII, none of which I believed...thus, I was truly suprised by the honor guard and 21-gun salute at his funeral...BTW, Claudie died on my 20th birthday, 23 Dec 75.

BROADWAY TRACY- A transexual, and unusual even for such, a real force of nature. Tracy once told me "her" real name, but I promised not to reveal it.

BROADWAY NANCY- A bag lady, but with her wits about her; I remember many long conversations with her.

I wish them well.

Monday, August 23, 2010


Right at the start, I want to assure the reader that I DON'T get plowed anymore; these are simply memories of days (and nights) when I did.
In addition to drinking, I played the jukebox a lot, and over the years, I've compiled a list of songs that really affect me when in my cups...some make me sad, some affect me in other ways.
INPO, they are....
TEARS IN HEAVEN- Eric Clapton. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngpZaECKaBM
No comment needed.
ONE SWEET DAY- Mariah Carey / Boyz 2 Men. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXxRyNvTPr8
I see so many faces, hear so many voices.
Not as well known, but wrenching.
HELL IS FOR CHILDREN- Pat Benatar. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxYsi5Y-xOQ
This one makes me angry...very angry, indeed.
Forget the particulars...he's somebody's kid.
FOREVER YOUNG- Rod Stewart. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGEe_zpddNI
Not sure why....
I AM YOUR CHILD- Barry Manilow http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQjwODzPOxo
I know why....
I'M ALREADY THERE- Lonestar http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jm5gfuT9Z4
This is what it's all about, group.
I HOPE YOU DANCE- Lee Ann Womack http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RV-Z1YwaOiw
Just beautiful.
SHAPES OF THINGS TO COME- Max Frost and the Troopers
Check out the film, "WILD IN THE STREETS".
Again, not sure why.
DON'T LET IT SHOW- Alan Parsons Project. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mY-zdEJkNU
I've lived both sides of this song.
Just something to ponder; aren't you glad you're NOT someone who isn't moved by music?

Thursday, August 19, 2010


I was reflecting on being fifty-four, and the downsides thereof, when I hit upon a wonderful truth....I've legally been a curmudgeon for nearly four years.
Off the books, I've been one for much longer, but curmudgeon-ness really doesn't ripen, or get the respect it deserves, until fifty. Before that, you often get branded as simply being "snarky", or somesuch, especially by folks with lazy vocabularies, or the culturally sensitive.
I'm here, and I've been around long enough to have a slightly jaundiced eye about the State of Just About Everything, particularly Everything New. It's not a simple matter of being "behind the curve", or whatever diagnosis the current crop of pundits might spew; things REALLY suck.
I mean, teenage girls palpitating over fag vampires? Obama and Oprah as co-God? America being the catcher in a game of BOHICA* with the U.N.?
I love being a curmudgeon, especially as my Cause is Right.....take that, Prop 8 denyers!
* Bend Over, Here It Comes Again!

Monday, August 16, 2010


It just occurred to me that it's been ten years since Clayton Moore died, Mr. Moore, of course, being the Lone Ranger.

I never got to meet him, although he was on my Very Short List Of Famous People I'd Actually Cross The Street To Meet, along with Captain Cousteau, Robert Duvall,Vincent Price, and Stan Lee.

Clayton Moore WAS the Lone Ranger, not just because of his portrayal of the role, or his longevity in it, but because he believed in it, and he saw the role as a gift, and as a responsibility. I'll spare the reader the usual maunderings about the lack of heroes in todays society, if for no other reason than it isn't true; there are still people out there who believe in working for a cause larger than their own appetites...you just don't hear about them as much.

The Lone Ranger taught a whole bunch of us what it means to stand for something, that there is Something bigger than us that calls us to serve, and to sacrifice.

I dunno if Mr. Moore was a Christian or not, but I wouldn't be suprised to see him when I get There.

Friday, August 13, 2010


I now live in Whitney, Texas, a town of about two thousand people, give or take. It's a real change from Lorain, or certainly Cleveland.

The paper comes out once a week...it's called The Lakelander(or, as I refer to it in my mind, The Lackluster), there's not really that much to do around here, and no jobs; I've been looking since I got here, Valentine's Day of '09.

It's quiet, as you'd expect, and hot...we hit 105 today. There's fire ants, a beastie I've run into once, and would rather not again. The flies bite, and there are scorpions, although I've yet to see one. For some reason, radio, digital tv, and cellphone reception are really wonky around these parts...personally, I consider digital tv a Communist plot anyway, but that's me.

I love this town, and this state, what I've seen of it so far, for very simple reasons....

People hang the flag, everyday.

Kids say, "sir", "ma'am", and do it without THAT TONE in their voices.

Folks speak to you, and ask after your people.

Honor, honesty, decency, and respect are an everyday thing here.

It ain't heaven....it ain't even Mayberry, but it's home, and I feel at home here, heat, bugs, and all.

The one thing I've yet to figure out is, why so many big people in such a big state go for such little dogs?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


This blog will be expanded, in future, covering generally whatever is atop my flat head at the moment. I'll refer to Lorain and my personal history there at times, but I'm steppin'out, and spreading my wings.
I now live in Texas, and I've been away from Lorain for a long time. The town I live in is about one thirtieth the size of Lorain, and a lot quieter.
See ya soon.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Once a month, we'd do what was called our "big" shopping, where we'd load up on staples and such. Back then, you had national chains like A&P, Kroger's, and such, but we usually went to the regional or local stores.

Pick-N-Pay was a state-wide chain; we shopped there a lot, especially when we lived in the projects, because it was the first store at Westgate Shopping Center, which was just across the street. Sometimes, we'd patronize Meyer Goldberg, although my mother didn't like their meat.
Quite often, we'd go to Fligner's, which is still possibly the best supermarket in the county.
Great products, reasonable prices, and it was tradition; the Fligners got to Lorain just about the time the Hopewells did, just after the '24 tornado, and our family bought from their family for years.
Short blog...going outside to play.

Friday, August 6, 2010


I thought of a number of places after I posted the previous entry, so here they are....
LOOP NEWS- A busy little newsstand, with a unique electric cigar lighter just inside the front door.
CANE'S- I bought so many things there, everything from sweatshirts to a sword cane; my favorite army surplus store.
FAROH'S- Heaven for chocolate lovers...I remember a chess set they had in the window one Christmas, about '68, I think....it had dark and white chocloate pieces, and the board was made of white and milk chocolate.
HEILMAN'S RANCH HOUSE- I had my thirteenth birthday dinner there, 23 December, 1968....a double cheeseburger, rare, fries, a thick chocolste shake, and a fudge sundae, all to die for.
THE BROADWAY BUILDING- We loved the bowling alley in the basement, with its greasy grilled hot dogs, and horse-race pinball machine.
D&K STORE- The forerunner of the dollar stores, D&K sold all kinds of cool stuff. I remember a hammer I bought there in '75, that I had for almost twenty years; it was made of cheap brass, was light, but drove nails beautifully, and had a series of ever-smaller screwdrivers in the handle, all the way down to one for repairing glasses.
PICOLO'S PIZZA- A must on those late 70's Friday nights-they stayed open until 4 am, and had slammin' pizza and subs.
A busy day...I must go.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


No, that's not a mistake; the last time I went down Broadway, it resembled Geoff Peterson. I know there are still businesses downtown, but so many wonderful places are gone, never to return....
RUSINE'S- I first walked in there when I was twelve, and came through that door a thousand times and more, over the years. I bought comics, paperbacks, magazines, candy, and cigarettes from that cranky old guy, and I had the privilege of helping inventory the place out in '88-'89, an adventure in itself.
THE NUT HUT- Best hot cashews in town.
STONE'S BAR AND GRILL- I started off shining shoes there, and became a sometime customer in later years...always decent tunes on the jukebox, and Killians Irish Red on tap.
THE TIVOLI AND OHIO THEATRES- The looms on which many a childhood fantasy were woven; I worked at the Ohio during its last waltz, in the summer of '73.
WOOLWORTH'S- What more need be said? The same goes for NEISNER'S, and KRESGEE'S.
TWIN CITY CAB COMPANY- Alice, Cleon, and all the others were always prompt, curteous, the ride was safe, the fare never expensive, and Alice kept a white mouse in a tennis shoe on her dashboard.
THE POOL PALACE- For sheer atmosphere, I loved this place.
1504 CLUB- Yes, I knew what it was...I never got bothered there, and I knew a lot of the regulars. Besides, if I didn't want to be bothered by anyone, I'd go in, and no one would come in after me.
There are so many more, and I'm sure you have your faves.
Oh, lest we forget....
BOB'S DONUTS (1958-2005)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


This is kinda breaking format, as I didn't meet Tracy until years after I left Lorain. However, as this IS our first anniversary, I wanted to commemorate the day.

I have to admit, I always thought I'd wind up one of those old geezers who lives above a bar with six cats, and whose demise is discovered because of a terrible odor...never mind what the cats have been living on. What woman in her right mind would want someone like me? I'd been in relationships, but they were, in the main, perhaps best described by this exchange between myself, and a co-worker....

CO-WORKER: :"Hopewell, what do you look for in a woman?"
ME: "Black clothing, and bandaged wrists."

I met Tracy online, about four years ago, on a discussion board we both frequented. I can't say exactly when I knew I was attracted to her, but I knew there was something there, and not just on my part. Talking online became letters, phone calls (Iwas in Cleveland, she where we are now, Whitney, Texas), and eventually, a visit north, to spend two days with me; that's when the picture was taken, outside the Greyhound station in Cleveland, just before she went back.

After several months of more letters, phonecalls, and online romance, we decided we couldn't be apart any longer...I left Cleveland on 13 February of '09, arriving in Texas on Valentine's Day.

Trace and I both believe that marriage is for a lifetime, and we both realized that this was what we both were looking for. We have a grown daughter, from a previous marriage of hers, and I count Sarah as one of the blessings of this union-she called me "Dad" for the first time last night.

I think the picture says it all, don't you?