Tuesday, September 27, 2011


My colleague, Dan Brady, wrote a wonderful blog entry about Charleston Elementary the other day.

I was a Charleston student myself BITD, for a year. Most of my grade school time was spent at Boone, and most of the kids I knew from school I met there, in first grade.

I started Kindergarten there, in 1961, with a teacher named Miss Ferris, who loved kids, and drove a beige VW Bug. Thing is, I got promoted to first grade after a month.

Mrs. Hunt taught first grade-she remembered my mother from when she was a first-grader. I played hooky from her class the first three days I was there, half the day, anyway....I'd been in the morning Kindergarten class. Finally, I got caught, and went to class. Actually, I loved school full-time, once I got used to it.

Second grade was Mrs. Kretchman, who had flaming red hair, freckles, and an infectious laugh-I had a crush on her, as did a lot of the guys.

In third grade, we had three different teachers....Mrs. Rector, who took ill, Mrs. Friedman, who subbed when she wasn't helping out her husband at Eliott's Drug Store, and (TIMPANI!)

Mrs. Ross. Tall, slim, dark of skin and eye, beautiful, SERIOUS crush material. I hated her husband, although I didn't know him; he'd got there first.

I was in her class, enjoying a birthday party for Cynthia Williams, the day Thanksgiving vacation started, when Mr. Gidich, the Principal, came over the loudspeaker and told us President Kennedy had been shot.

Fourth grade was Miss Miller; there were actually two of them, one teaching fourth grade at Boone, and the other working as a school nurse at Admiral King. They lived together in a house a stone's throw from the school.

Fifth grade brought my first male teacher, Mr. Barnett, a big black man who laughed a lot, but could be strict if called for. In February of 1966, we moved to the projects, and I started school at Charleston.

Class dismissed....

Thursday, September 15, 2011


My cousin Todd got in touch with me recently; it's been thirty years since we've seen each other.

He's three years older than me, and when we were kids, he was like my big brother, letting me hang out with him, teaching me things, even getting me in trouble sometimes-I remember when he convinced me that, if I jumped off the garage roof with an umbrella, I'd float down like Jiminy Cricket....didn't exactly work out that way.

People often thought we were brothers, and I didn't mind that at all, because Todd was cool, and funny, and always had something going on; I was never bored around him.

As we got older, we drifted apart, as happens sometimes-no one's fault, just life being life, I guess. The last time I saw him was in '81, at my ma's place, Todd, his wife, and his kids stopped in to visit.

Over the years, I'd hear about him, as I'm sure he heard about me.


I'm looking forward to seeing him.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


About a week or so ago, I e-mailed pictures of my daughter, Sarah, to friends; she'd just turned twenty.

One reply, in addition to congradulating her, said, "ahh, to be twenty again...."which of course started me thinking.

Twenty, for me, was the Bicentennial, and the U.S. Navy; I spent the first six months of the year in the service, and got out on Micheal McDowell's (later, my niece Alana's) birthday, sixteen July.

I didn't see it a a defeat, just a return to Life My Own Way.

Lakeview Park was still jumping-it'd be three more years before the cops blitzkreiged the place. It seemed like the whole world was smoking pot, and I certainly smoked my share. All my friends were high, and it seemed like the straights weren't really concerned about it anymore.

Musically, we suffered through "Shannon", "Afternoon Delight", "Fifty Ways To Leave Your Lover", and "Convoy", not to mention disco. CKLW was still puttin' it out, but the handwriting was already on the wall. The local FM market was booming, with WMMS, WGCL, and WNCR in the forefront.

The Tivoli was still in operation, but would be gone in a year....the Palace closed its doors in '76, to be reborn as the Lorain Palace Civic Center-the las movie I saw at the Palace Theatre was "Carrie".

TV-what was good about it had already been on for a while.

That was being twenty then, for me....I dunno if I'd want to be twenty now. The world's not as forgiving of youthful ignorance as it was then.

Friday, September 2, 2011


Right off the bat, I'm sure there's folks who'd disagree with me, and they're more than welcome.

Here it is....


Now, I went to Clearview for most of my high school time, and I STILL thought that AKHS was the coolest.

I guess it's just a "me" thing.


Most of the kids I went to grade school and junior high with ended up at King, so that's gotta be part of it. I was a King student myself, from November of '71 to May of '72, when the fine folks at Children's Services decided I needed some more time away from home, and sent me to Hawthorne Hills School, mentioned previously.

King, at the time, was THE place to be-if you were into all the things the youth movement was going to bring about, if you were tired of kowtowing to the Man, if you were a young, ignorant, selfish, arrogant, overaged brat who wanted to eat, sleep, drink, smoke, and f___his way through life, King was where it was at.

Don't get me wrong....there were hard-working , level-headed students there, too-we just didn't notice them....at least, I didn't.

The food was good, too....they had a speedline, that always had burgers and fries, which made perfect sense to me. Most everyone I knew there were kids I'd known since first grade, and they thought I was okay, rather than the attitude I got from other students at Clearview.

I loved the place, perhaps for the wrong reasons, but I felt at home there....a rarity for me.