Cleveland 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.
It's so nice to travel down memory lane :) it must've been very interesting to have all these colourful people visit you! :)ReplyDelete
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.ReplyDelete
Excellent C word.
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.ReplyDelete
My brother lives in Cleveland, and I went to college close to there (in Steubenville). Ohio is a beautiful state!ReplyDelete
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.ReplyDelete
Lee - this had me reminiscing about my own circumstances and the passage of time!ReplyDelete
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!
Great C... :-) Love the trip down memory lane.ReplyDelete
Memory lane can be enjoyable. Lovely C post.ReplyDelete
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.ReplyDelete
Sweet memories. I wonder why the landlord never flew his flag?ReplyDelete
Play off the Page
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!ReplyDelete
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!ReplyDelete
I am grateful I came to visit!~
Julie Jordan Scott
C is for Charlotte
I jst visit your blog in order to follow your journey.ReplyDelete
So far every post delivered something new to me.
great post. really enjoyed it.ReplyDelete
I am enjoying my A-Z walk. Great post. I think of a radio show for some reason when I think of Cleveland.ReplyDelete
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!ReplyDelete
I love weeping willows, with their sleepy sway in the winds. It makes me feel calm just to be near them.ReplyDelete
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.
What special memories...ReplyDelete
I always associate Cleveland, Ohio with the Drew Carey TV sitcom... gotta love it! And Mimi Bobeck is priceless!
Looks beautiful and I think the movie was filmed somewhere in Ohio btw.Have never been there, but had to go to Toledo once.ReplyDelete
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.ReplyDelete
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!ReplyDelete