Saturday, June 16, 2012
I first heard of Head Rest when I was a student at Admiral King; a couple I baby-sat for told me about the place, a "drop-in center" for teens. Not long after that, I got sent to Hawthorne Hills (see "THE SUMMER OF '72"), and I didn't get to the place until September of '72. It was really cool, a house on 22nd Street that had been converted into a haven for troubled youth. If you wanted , there were counselors to talk to, although most people just hung out, and talked to each other, when they weren't watching tv, playing cards, or listening to music. There were three fine sisters,the Catalanos, who lived right across the street, who were there almost every night, plus others from the area. The counselors ranged in age from the early twenties to a lady in her fifties. Head Rest opened at four every afternoon, and stayed open until midnight. Sometimes, they'd pop popcorn in the kitchen, and there was a Pepsi machine just inside the back door. I met my second-ever girlfriend there, a girl from Elyria named Betty, although everyone called her Mickie. History took place there-we saw the King-Riggs tennis match there, a well as the Trickster's resignation. Mainly, the place was about not being hassled by anyone. Their funding ran out in August of '75, and the place closed; I was the actual last person out of the door. Someone needs to open a place like that in Lorain, now....really.
Monday, June 4, 2012
It's been years since I walked or rode along its length, I dunno if there's even any stores left open; the picture I have posted looks like a derelict. It's hard to imagine Westgate as a bustling shopping center, but that's exactly what it was in my childhood. We shopped for groceries at Pick-N-Pay, bought our school clothes at W.T. Grant, did laundry at the all night Laundromat. For about a year, we lived across the street from Westgate, and it became, among other things, our playground- I learned to ride a bike in its parking lot, ate cookies and candy pilfered from Lawson's and Fisher Foods, and had my first-ever employment carrying bags of groceries for Pick-N-Pay patrons, or gathering carts for the store manager-I still carry a scar on my right thumb from where I smashed it between two carts one afternoon. My Ma would collect "LET'S GO TO THE RACES" cards from Pick-N-Pay, and tune into the program on Wednesday nights to see if she had a winning race.....she never did. I loved going grocery shopping with her, especially as we only had to cross the street to get home. The last time I was there was about '81 or so....a friend wanted to stop at the Westgate Grille, so we did, and had a couple beers. To Pick-N-Pay, Marshall Drug (site of my first sundae), Hough Bakeries, Nobil Shoes, W.T. Grant, Lawsons, Fisher Foods, and all the other stores and shops of Westgate, SALUTE!