A to Z April Challenge

During the month of April I will be doing a different spin on my memoir posts. It starts with a song. Each song will be followed by a brief essay that is evoked or inspired by that song. You might want to click on the YouTube link to hear the song as you read the piece I've written. Or you can listen to the song lyrics first and then read. Whichever way you choose, I mostly hope you'll read and leave a comment with your thoughts about my post. Thank you for visiting and please follow the blog if you are not doing so already.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland SkylineCleveland Skyline (Photo credit: digipixguy)

        If you've seen the movie A Christmas Story, that is in some ways what my first years of childhood were like.  Like in the narrator of the story I too lived in Cleveland, Ohio--the city of my birth.   I had a sister a year younger than I and my family lived in a working class neighborhood where houses were small and packed neatly together.

         My father worked as an accountant and my mother stayed at home with my sister and I and had dinner on the table every night when my father came home.  My parents rented the house where we lived.  The back yard seemed big to me then with a weeping willow tree and a flag pole in the center.  There was an American flag neatly folded in the front room closet but we never ran it up the flagpole because the flag belonged to the landlord and wasn't ours.  I didn't question much about this--I just knew that the flag was there wrapped in brown paper and that flagpole was in the middle of the yard.

         In the living room we had a television with a small screen, but in the mid-fifties I guess everyone who had television sets had sets with small screens.  There was also a framed glass covered picture of two swans floating among the lily pads in a pond.  I was intrigued by the work of house art and would often contemplate it.  It looked old, but I knew nothing about it.   None of the furniture in the house was ours and neither was the swan picture.

         We seemed to have frequent visitors at our house.  My parents welcomed relatives, neighbors, and entertainers--mostly jugglers.  Since my parents worked as a professional juggling act on weekends and occasional week nights they were often visited by other jugglers, entertainers, and one of their booking agents, Sally West and her husband Duke.  I typically enjoyed these visitors because they talked about things that seemed interesting even though much of the time I had no idea what they were talking about.

        I spent my first seven years living in and around Cleveland.  We probably lived in the house on West 143rd Street for about four years, but it seemed like a long time to me.  Of course, I had little perspective then.  Everything seemed like a long time.   And the house, the people, the city all seemed old to me then.  But I was a child and everything seemed old.

         And now from where I am and look back on those days, it seems like a  long time ago.



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22 comments:

Barbara said...

It's so nice to travel down memory lane :) it must've been very interesting to have all these colourful people visit you! :)

Sally said...

Lovely skyline.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Loved your trip down memory lane, when I found where I was born and lived for the first two years of my life I felt most emotional.
Excellent C word.

Yvonne.

Rosanna said...

It's certainly a different Cleveland from the one we see in "hot in Cleveland." Poignant post. Nice. I wish I could write in as many blogs as you do.

Faith E. Hough said...

My brother lives in Cleveland, and I went to college close to there (in Steubenville). Ohio is a beautiful state!

Guuye said...

Lovely, I'd love to visit there. I didn't know how to pronounce Ohio 15 years ago. Then again how would I know? I grew up in rural Mongolia. Thanks for sharing your lovely memory. I love memoirs, now writing mine.

Sue H said...

Lee - this had me reminiscing about my own circumstances and the passage of time!

I moved away from my home town in my early 20's - I just accepted that 'home' was where the rest of the family lived. Meanwhile, I worked and lived in London - got married, had kids....

....and ten years later I found myself back in my home town. We've been back here 24 years - the kids ended up going to the same high-school I'd attended and the OH delights in being in the centre of the country which makes the travelling part of his job so much easier.

Most days I drive past the house where I was brought up. Stopped at the traffic lights beside the property the other day, I wistfully looked up to the window that had been my bedroom and realised with surprise that it was nearly 40 years since I'd been on the other side of that window, looking out!

American in Norway said...

Great C... :-) Love the trip down memory lane.

RaShelle Workman said...

Memory lane can be enjoyable. Lovely C post.

le0pard13 said...

Great post, Arlee. BTW, I attended the one last year (in St. Louis), but the Mystery Writers Convention, Bouchercon, will be in Cleveland, OH this year.

Mary Aalgaard, Play off the Page said...

Sweet memories. I wonder why the landlord never flew his flag?

Play off the Page

Lynn Proctor said...

sounds like our childhoods were somewhat similar, in that my mom stayed home and always had dinner waiting for daddy----i have a wonderful friend named cleveland--sweet post!

Julie Jordan Scott said...

I have played the teacher, Miss Shields, in a local production of "A Christmas Story" - how I loved participating! I am also curious where you went after Cleveland... I want to know more!

I am grateful I came to visit!~

Julie Jordan Scott
twitter: @juliejordanscot
C is for Charlotte

ediFanoB said...

I jst visit your blog in order to follow your journey.

So far every post delivered something new to me.

MOV said...

great post. really enjoyed it.

best,
MOV

Crack You Whip said...

I am enjoying my A-Z walk. Great post. I think of a radio show for some reason when I think of Cleveland.

Pat Carroll Marcantel said...

Ah, a fellow memoir writer. Enjoyed your post. Thanks again for your encouragement when I was dithering over "should I or shouldn't I" participate in this challenge and the "poem-a-day" challenge. So far, so good. Have fun!

November Rain - k~ said...

I love weeping willows, with their sleepy sway in the winds. It makes me feel calm just to be near them.

Lots of family and friends sounds like fun too. When my son was younger we always had a houseful, and a guitar or three to make music for us.

Fun ride on the memory train Arlee.

michelle said...

What special memories...
I always associate Cleveland, Ohio with the Drew Carey TV sitcom... gotta love it! And Mimi Bobeck is priceless!

Gossip_Grl said...

Looks beautiful and I think the movie was filmed somewhere in Ohio btw.Have never been there, but had to go to Toledo once.

alisonamazed said...

Can't be TH~AT long ago Lee! It's cool you are doing places - I am also doing 'Places' - Places I've Lived was the original idea - though am already having to deviate.

Lisa said...

What a great beginning to the a to z. I'm still making rounds as I didn't get to all of them during April. I love this blog idea and have learned much from it. Thanks for sharing!