Wednesday, August 31, 2011


It's amazing, what can get started over a cup of coffee, especially if the coffee is a free refill....

It's 1975, and a friend and I had just been up to the football game at George Daniel. We had a ways to walk yet, so we decided to stop at Burger Chef-they were re-modeling, and the coffee was a dime, with free refills.

We went in, there were a couple other people we know already there, so we snag a booth. A bit later, here comes some more of our crowd, then a few more; that's how it started.

For ten years, we hung out there almost every night, for at least an hour or so, sometimes more. There we were, a mixed bag of late teen-early 20's slackers, usually stoned to one degree or other, riffing off each other and the people around us.

To be sure, we weren't popular-the management felt we took up space and made the other patrons nervous (no doubt we did), and we really didn't care. It was our version of That 70's Show, actually taking place in the 70's....

Hangin' out

Down the street

Same ol' thing

We did last week....

And we were laboring under those two potent delusions of the Ever-Popular Rock-And-Roll Lifestyle:

We were free


We weren't hurting anybody.

Stupid, wasteful, and quasi-criminal as it was, we had fun.

I got thrown out in '85 by the cops for cussing out the manager....I don't recall what started it.

Others hung on, or left, to persue other interests.

From what I hear, the chain is gone now. The one we hung out in became a Hardees....according to Google, it's still there....can't vouch for the coffee, though.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


I was looking at a picture of Lorain from atop St. Joe's parking garage, and it started me thinking of all the times I've looked around the city, and had what I was seeing turned into a snapshot in my head, so potent that, even though I might not remember exactly when it occurred, I'll never forget the image....

Looking up at the winter sky, around three am, and seeing a diamond-sharp full moon, in the very center of a brilliant ice-ring, surrounded by tiny grayish-white clouds.

Flames, leaping high into the black night sky, as the B&O roundhouse burned, the flashing red of the fire trucks, tentacular hoses writhing on the asphalt.

Slag, lighting up the sky as it pours.

A three year old child, a split second before a car bumper knocks him down, me too far away to grab him. (He was okay.)

Seeing the Lakeview fountain at night for the first time, and the late, unlamented one that used to be at Oakwood.

The slow, easy, sexy smile of a pretty girl, as she asks me for the time.

My mother, in a hospital bed; I'm five minutes late to say goodbye.

Experiencing a White Night-the light reflecting between the snow and the clouds, so it never gets dark.

Me, in a mirror, stunned by how much I resemble my grandfather.

Seeing Tracy's face for real for the first time~ I'm at the bus station, Cleveland, waiting at the gate for her bus to arrive, when I hear a familiar voice....the bus debarked on the other side of the terminal, and she's behind me. I turn, and see that face, full of hope, and love, smiling at me, just me.

What's in your (mental) wallet?

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Occasionally, the world , or at least the little bit you're sitting in, is touched by the poetic, the graceful, the beautiful....for no reason but that we NEED it sometimes, I guess.

A Wednesday night, back in ' FWB Brenda and I are at Club 1504, sitting by the basement dance floor, which won't open for another hour or so. Phil, her cousin, is in the DJ booth, sorting through records. I'm nursing a 151 and Coke, and she's got a coke, no venom.

I walk over to the booth, and start naming songs to Phil, a'la "Do you have__________?"
Everytime I name a song, the answer is, "No", until I mention "We're All Alone", by Rita Coolidge-that he's got.

I sit back down, and pick up my conversation with Brenda. Phil, in the meantime, fires up the spotlights and the ball.

Then, he starts up "We're All Alone".
Without a word, Brenda gets up from the table, walks to the dance floor, and begins a slow, smoky almost-ballet, graceful, seeming to glide along the crests of the music.

Me....I'm speechless. I've never seen Brenda dance before, and this dance is speech, telling her joy, her pain, our friendship, her loneliness, so much emotion in feminine undulation.

The music ends, and without a word, she sits down. There's silence-what could be said?
I don't even remember the rest of the evening.

That was twenty-three years ago. Brenda lives far away, and the last time I tried to get in touch with her, she ignored fault.

Still, I can't hear that song without seeing her, sinuously ghosting through my memory.
Slainte, Brenda.

Monday, August 15, 2011


This is in no way an endorsement of TR&RL, particularly as practiced by myself and my many peers; rather, it's just personal history, yes?

A FRIDAY IN AUGUST, 1977, A BIT AFTER SIX PM- The back door at 312 1/2 West 12th Street flies open, and out hurtles me, the sound of "Born to Run" ringing in my ears, long hair streaming behind me. I'm headed to the local Mecca for heads, Lakeview Park, to wallow in the fun, the buzzes, and maybe even (GASP!) some'a that funky stuff.

Through the hole in the back fence, across the tracks, across Tenth, through Library Park, stopping to say what's up to a friend....he's got somethin' por la cabeza, but no papers. No prob, MY papers are always in order. Since children frequent the park, I help him cremate the noxious weed before any show up. Then, suitably medicated, I saunter onward.

As usual, Lakeview is full, welconming any one who comes. Most of us grew up here, dug in its sand, raced in its surf, paddled and swum its water. Tonight, it's the place to consummate a thousand and one social transactions, anything goes.

The park is a sea of youth, people, pot, tunes all

swirled together into a cosmic melange of sight, sound and energy illuminating the soul.

You hadda be there.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


The shadows are getting longer, and any moment, the streetlights are gonna come on, as always, and the Grone Folx will make us come in....

Everyone hid real good; haven't found anyone for a while.

A LONG while.

It's probably time to call them in....


C'mon, guys, come in-

Kent Wallace, Marva Blakely, Shirley Sanchez, Ivan Harrell, Phillip Camera, the Catalanos, Julian Mykita, Nellie Pyatt, Jose Lopez, Mark Schultz, Debbie Hartman and her brothers, Barbara Carter, Terry Ross, Terry Smith, Terry Rivers, Tim Trigillio, Brad Fabrisio, Pam Hunt, Levi Springer, Tommy Harris, Marlene Velez, Kathy Box, Ronald Stavesky, Dean Tressel, Raymond Santiago, Hope Moon, Anna Gilbert, The Charltons, Theodore Graham, Willie Miller, Arlene Hagen, Marnina Burnett, The Reeses, Gloria Cyprian, Alan Ceol, Marty Buckosh, Raymond Jackson, Zeno Inchauregi, Nadine Victoria Jackson, Connie Clark, Lois Kringle, Billy Wallace, The Stevenses, the Epifanos, Karen Patrowski, Micheal McDowell....


Monday, August 1, 2011


There were people who knew me, BITD, who thought that "Funwell" was my surname, because they heard me called that so often.

Actually, the nickname was bestowed on me back in '76 by Mark Leach, during a get-high session attended ny myself, Mark, McDowell, and Nate, at Nate's apartment.

The discussion centered, at that point, on my proclivity for doing strange things to trip people out....I certainly wasn't the only one in the group to do so; 4-X, Terry did Curly-spins in a crowded restaurant one evening, complete with "Wub-wub-wub" sound effects. However, I was the one to do such things the most.

One of my favorites was "Judo for one":....I'd grasp my left wrist with my right hand, and with a mighty "HAI!" seem to flip myself to a crashing finish on the floor. I'd do all kinds of things, sing off-key, throw non-sequitur statements at people, hadda be there.


I guess because I was lonely, uncomfortable in social settings, and this behavior afforded me a measure of control. Also, I was accepted as a "trip" sorta person, easy to get along with, non-threatening, fun to have around.

No one calls me "Funwell" these days, and I'm glad. Y'see, no one expects a Funwell to have any depth, signifigance,or even feelings, just to be "on" constantly, and entertain. In reality, I was unraveling like a cheap sweater, and nobody knew it, not even me.