Thursday, January 27, 2011


Seventh of September, 1991.... I've been evicted from my apartment, my mother has had a stroke, and is in Oak Hills Nursing Home, I'm out of work, but I'm due to start a custodial job the next Cleveland.
It's been dark for several hours, and I've been wandering around town, saying goodbye to a place I barely know anymore. I'm downtown, thinking of how many footprints I've left on Broadway, Reid, and Washington, not to mention West Erie. My trusty GPX AM-FM Radio Cassette Player is in my vest pocket, phones draped around my neck, in my backpack is a pack of Hygrades Hot Dogs and two 40 oz. of Old English 800.
As I walk across the drawbridge, on the south side, I glance down at the rear of what had been the Broadway Building, but was now a hotel...there's a guy carving a dolphin out of a block of ice, another omen that home ain't home no more.
I cross the river, and make my way to the Yacht Club, which is closed. There's a kind of porch in the back, and I'm sitting there, looking out at the lake, eating hot dogs, washing them down with malt liquor, as I listen to J.R. Nelson's Saturday Night Oldies on WMJI. Old songs, old memories, Old English starting to tiptoe its friendly way into my psyche, keeping the future at bay for a while.

Friday, January 21, 2011


My colleague, Dan Brady, has written of Bob's a number of times, but I felt there was still room for my personal reminiscences.
When I was very little, Bob's was where Kennedy Plaza is now, a small storefront place loaded with the most wonderful aromas, and source of heavenly treats. I wasn't much for donuts then, but I fondly remember the chocolate chip cookies, big, firm, with a hint of nut to them.
When they moved to the east side of Broadway in 1963, my mother would allow me to walk the block or so from our house to Bob's to buy donuts (and cookies) on Friday nights, to be eaten while watching Ghoulardi. On cold winter mornings, a steaming cup of Bob's hot chocolate, for a dime, kept us going on the way to school.
In later years, I'd dine on Bob's chicken dinners, sometimes ordering one in the evening, and sitting at the picnic table out front to watch the blue - and - whites go through the drive through as the LPD changed shifts. I've eaten more chocolate chip cookies, glazed, lemon, chocolate, creme, and powdered donuts from there than I could ever count.
As I once remarked about my mother's cooking, I've eaten better, but these were special, part of my history, my life....part of my home.
I'd hoped to get back to Lorain in time to visit Bob's, but it was not to be; I came home four years too late.
So it goes.

Monday, January 10, 2011


Everyone has them...those events that just can't be explained, at least with the tools we have at hand. I've mentioned some of them before, and here are a few more....

My mother once got a phone call from an aunt of hers a month after the woman died.

My friend Dave and I once watched a man, in broad daylight, come down a woodland trail towards us, and vanish before our eyes.

My brother Mike had a 500 pound motor stolen from him, while it sat in the middle of a dusty yard, without making any noise, or leaving any tracks.

I once passed a man I knew on Broadway, walking, and as I came abreast of him, I got the strong scent of burned hair and flesh...I found out when I got home he'd been killed in a fire that morning.

I got a very enigmatic letter from a girl I'd known a couple of years previous...the strange thing was, the letter wasn't delivered to me, but to a friend I didn't even know when I knew her.
My cousin Pat and I once sat out on the breakwall at Lakeview Park, about three in the morning, and watched a glowing fogbank glide past us....against the wind.
I was at Library Park one afternoon with my nephew, Mike Jr., who was two at the time. I had climbed up the monkey bars with him holding onto my back, and was just going to slide down one of the bars in the middle when I felt him let go....the next thing I knew, I'd somehow managed to flip myself upside down, with my knees wrapped around the top of the bars, and I caught him before he hit the ground.
I'm sure there are explanations for things such as these....but what are they?