Thursday, March 31, 2011


Every once in a while, I get a taste for a good pork steak-not the ones they have here, or anywhere else, but one place....Fligner's. Big, thick, and at a price that's so low, you'd think it was still nineteen seventy-sumpin'.

I grew up going to Fligner's....heck, my family got to Lorain the year they opened, 1924, the Year of the Tornado. My grandparents shopped there, as did my mother, as did I when I moved down the street to the imfamous 1444 Broadway. Fligner's was the first store I was sent to, list in hand, to "pick up a few things" for my Ma. Mr. Morris, Kelbie, Bob, Miss Minnie, were there as I grew up, and went out on my own.

I went to school with Kel's nephew, David, who had a pet clam; he brought it to class one day, fourth grade, I think it was. My grandfather used to stop on his way home from work, and buy fruit to give us kids. Two of my aunts started their families in an apartment next to Fligner's, above the dress shop. Fligner's was very much a part of our family, and one of the few things left now.

When I went through Lorain, back in '06, Mike, Phil and I stopped in , just to see what the place was like. Kel is still in charge, his hair now white, but still greeting us with a smile and a handshake. The store is huge now, but still feels like a neighborhood grocer's, which is as it should be, I'd say.

If you can, drop by, and check out the meat counter; tell Kel Alan Hopewell said hello.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


It's spring, and the next holiday coming up is Easter (or Resurrection Sunday for us fundamentalists).
As kids, we had at least a slight understanding of the signifigance of the day, but mainly, we knew Easter as a day that was fun, in spots.
We'd get up Easter morning, have breakfast, then go to get ready for church, which meant putting on the dreaded EASTER OUTFIT- New, hard shoes, dress pants and shirt, and a tie (in my case, clip-on) then obeying the next order- SIT DOWN, AND DO NOTHING UNTIL IT'S TIME TO GO! No playing, reading comic books, wrestling, or anything, or you'll RUIN YOUR GOOD CLOTHES!
Then, after seeming hours of immobility, we're piled into the car, for the ride to Friendship Baptist Church, by the hospital. By then, my feet were already sore from the new shoes, my outfit itched as if it were made of fiberglass, and I just wanted to go home. However, we still had the Easter Service to go through.
Days later, we'd stagger to the car, and the trip home. There, we carefully stripped off the hated outfits, and put our real clothes back on, for the Easter Egg Hunt. This, in those days, was at Cromwell Park, near the City Dump. It was great fun, even if you didn't find lots of eggs, just being free after spending the day under the parental yoke.
At home, we'd sit down for the Easter meal-yams, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, corn, and of course, the HAM, all fragrant, juicy, with cloves sticking out like darts, not to mention pies, cakes, and other goodies.
This more than made up for the morning.
Today, I rejoice in the Rising of my Lord and Saviour, and the promise of salvation brought about by that blessed event. Still, I fondly look back at that eight year old me, jiggling in his seat, wishing the Grone Folx would get it in gear, already!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Life often throws us curves, and some of them, suprisingly, are pretty cool.
I have a daughter now; her name is Sarah, she's nineteen, and she's one of the best parts of being married.

At first, I was really worried about how this was gonna go-would she resent me being thrust into her life, would we get along, how would she react to suddenly having a Dad? I'd taken no part in raising her; her biodad kicked her and her mother to the curb when Sarah was eighteen months old. How would this go?

So far, it's gone the way most things fits and starts, not always smoothly, but with all involved learning to trust the other.

Sarah's a unique kid, not someone I'd compare to other kids her age, not "better", just different. FTR, I like that, having grown up different myself. We tend to play a lot, sometimes enough to irritate the other, but we both know it's not about hurting feelings or putting anyone down.

I don't have a picture as yet, but I'm posting one as soon as I get one....after all, I'm a proud father.

13 Aug 11....

There's her picture; she turns twenty in exactly two weeks.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


As I've said before, the Lone Ranger is one of my heroes, riding out of nowhere, giving a helping hand, then riding off into the sunset, leaving behind a silver bullet and a hearty "HEIGH-YO, SILVER, AWAAAAY!"
Through my life, there have been people, unnamed, never seen before or since, who've done something similar-showed up on camera with me, said or did something large or small that made my load a little bit lighter, and vanished into the fog, never to be seen again.
Here's some of them, INPO....
The man who bought me an ice-cream bar at Lakeview Park when I dropped mine after a bigger kid bumped into me. I was seven, and, though I wasn't crying or anything, I was upset; it was hot, and I'd only gotten one bite.
The manager at the Ohio Theatre who'd let Mike and me come in for free back in '68....I dunno if we ever thanked him, I can only hope we did.
The owner of the Puerto-Rican store on 14th Street who gave me and Mike the fancy cat salt and pepper shakers to give to our mother, after he'd seen us vainly trying to get the silver gumball to win them, night after night.
The guy in the white Camaro who picked up me and Dave that night back in '76, gave us a ride, and a thin joint of Maui Wowie that left us well-oiled the rest of the evening.
The cute girl who walked with me in the fog one night on Broadway, laughing, just being good company, until she turned west on 4th street, and disappeared into the mist.
The knockout Hispanic girl who kissed me on Nate's porch the night of his birthday party, '78; I never knew her name, and I'd never seen her there, before or since.
The church lady who called me by name as I was hitching back from Toledo, picked me up, her and her family, bought me lunch, and rode me all the way to Ma's doorstep.
The old gentleman who sketched me as we talked at Lakeview, 1977- I wish I still had the picture.
I'm sure everyone has had experiences like this....and aren't you glad?