Home Sweet Home

Posted by dean balog on Oct 2, 2010 in Uncategorized |

I’ve lived in the same place for the last 30 years now.  It’s on the west side of Cleveland.  In general, it’s called West Park, but that usually refers to the better parts of a very general area.

Oddly enough, I’m within a few miles of where my parents grew up.  They were both 1950 graduates of John Marshall High School, which is still the “local” high school.

I’d have to say that the neighborhood isn’t considered one of the better ones.  I’m not quite sure it qualifies as the “Hood”, but I’m pretty sure others might.  My street’s okay.

I tend to focus my attention on the houses right around me.  Lets see:

  • Just to the east of us are Becky and her son, Eric.  When we first moved here, Becky’s grandparents lived there.  Her grandfather was quite a character.  When I used to work third shift, I’d get home about 7:30 in the morning and Wilbur would offer me his home brewed beer.
  • Directly across the street used to be an open lot.  There was a grape arbor there.  At one point the old guy that owned it offered to sell it to us for 5 grand.  I really wish we would’ve had 5 grand then.  There’s a house there now.  I can’t remember, I think the guy’s grandson built the place.  Mary knows the woman that lives there now.  I don’t play much attention to her.  Her niece, I think, has a number of children that she ends up watching a lot.
  • To the west of me is Howard, Cheryl, and their son Richard (aka “Fo’ X”).  I could write a whole entry devoted to Howard.  When we first moved here, the McDaniels lived there.  Again, I could write a lot about them as well.  They moved out just before Y2K, as they believed that was going to be the end of civilization as we know it.  It must have been quite disappointing when that didn’t happen.
  • Across the street from Howard and Cheryl is Joe.  I really don’t know Joe.  He’s a single dad, a single deaf dad.  I think his daughter is partially deaf and his son completely deaf.  Mom left about a year, year and half ago.  I’ve purposely avoiding learning too much about all that.  And I honestly don’t remember who all lived there before them.  Otis and Rose?
  • To the east of Joe is Tex Ritter.  It’s not THE Tex Ritter, the old country star.  Tex and Katy have lived there 50+ years.  Tex is, I think, 86 years old.  Tex is a great guy.  We’ve had some interesting conversations.
  • Across the street from Tex, to the east of Howard and Cheryl, are the Bears.  This is actually the second generation of Bears to live there.  Clarence and Dorthy were the Dad and Mom when we moved in.  their son, Mike lives there now with his wife Roberta (whose family lives further down the street, west of us), sons Jesse and Corey and daughter Hailey.  Mike was 13 when we moved here.  The Bears definitely deserve an entry unto themselves.  If not for the Bears, I would have never driven in the Demolition Derby.
  • To the east of the Bears are the Birds, Frankie and David.  They inherited the house from their parents.  David was 4 or 5 when we moved here, Frankie was like 7.  The Birds too deserve their own entry.  David and Frankie would be considered our criminal element.  Both have done time for various and sundry crimes, mostly some form of theft.  Oddly enough, they’re both okay enough.  We get along.  Like I said, they deserve more time than I’m going to give them now.
  • Across the street from the Birds is an apartment building.  Jeff owns the building.  Jeff is an electrician/biker/Vietnam Vet.  Mike Bear Jr. lives in the front. first floor apartment.  His buddy, Kevin, who grew up on the street just to the south of us, lived in the building with his girlfriend, Jen.  I believe Jeff is in the top, back apartment.  There’s another apartment as well.  It meet the woman that lives there.  I can’t remember her name, but she seemed quite well informed about the criminal justice system here in northern Ohio.

There have been a few memorable characters that have come and gone.  We tend to attract a lot of drama at times as well, especially when Frankie and David are both out of jail.

I have plenty of stories of parties and Fourth of July gatherings and other “incidents of amusement”.

The thing is though, it’s my neighborhood.  And we’re all pretty close.  For instance, we never have to worry about anyone messing with Zach.  Frankie and David would take care of that with extreme prejudice. As would any of the Bears.

Everyone keeps an eye out for him.  Mary and I are always there, but sometimes Zach gets bored sitting on the front porch.  When that happens, he goes straight for the Bears house.

I like my neighborhood.  My coworker are generally afraid to come here, but I like it.

I’ll let you know more about it as time goes on.

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