Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Cleveland 2012, #5

Although we spent most of our time lounging around Jeanette and Steve’s house, we did venture out on a few excursions.

Watergate Apartments
26241 Lake Shore Blvd, Apt # 2152
Euclid, OH 44132

When we lived on the 21st floor of this apartment building in 1986 it was almost exclusively occupied by white people. Now it is almost exclusively occupied by black people. It looks no better or worse except for normal wear and tear. Why did the tenant demographic change so dramatically? When did this happen? How did this happen? There might be enough material here for a sociologist’s doctoral thesis.

Hartstown Apartments
7155 Hart Street, Apt# E38
Mentor, OH 44060

After having lived in a skyscraper for our first year of marriage, we decided to come back to earth for our second year. But on our recent excursion down memory lane we found that this apartment complex had aged poorly. I don’t think we would have lived there in 1987 if it had looked like this. That’s the bad news. The good news is that our favorite bar, walking distance from these apartments, still looks as inviting as ever. It was called Gatsby’s back in the day. It had a typical indoor bar, but what really distinguished it from other establishments was its outdoor beach volleyball courts. You could enjoy pickup games of volleyball and have drinks delivered to the sideline. How can you beat that?

After we had driven by our old apartment complex and Gatsby’s, Kim pulled up to the intersection of Hart Street and Route 615, came to a complete stop, checked traffic in both directions, and turned left onto this busy road. In doing so, she drove straight through a red light. The traffic light had not been there 25 years ago; it was a stop sign only. This obscure and obsolete piece of information from 1987 was still imprinted in Kim’s brain to the extent that she ignored what her eyes told her in 2012. Crazy, right?

After we merged onto Route 615 (without getting a traffic ticket) we obeyed our GPS and tried to get back on I-90 to return to Jeanette and Steve’s house, but the ramp was closed for repairs. As we considered our options, long dormant maps in our heads started reformulating. We began to remember how to get to the next on-ramp, and the GPS confirmed it for us. We could never have conjured up these mental maps if not for the visual reminders we saw out of our van windows. Once the memories started coming back, they flowed. “I think the Great Lakes Mall is up ahead on the right.” This phenomenon, and the similar stop light phenomena from Route 615, would make for a solid doctoral thesis in neurobiology.

Dave and Dawn’s House
Mantua, OH

Back in January when we started to toss around the idea of getting together this summer, Dave and Dawn’s oldest daughter Jessica wrote the first of many secret emails to the rest of us indicating that she would like to have a surprise 25th wedding anniversary party for her parents. She thought it would be wonderful if we could coordinate the party with our visit, and we did just that.

It took a lot of planning to pull off such an elaborate surprise party. On Saturday, all the kids mysteriously decided they wanted to go to a shopping mall near Dave and Dawn’s house. But what they actually did was set up for the party. The job of us old folks was to keep Dave and Dawn occupied in downtown Cleveland and then deliver them home as close to 3:30 in the afternoon is possible.

This was not a straightforward assignment. Each time we suggested to Dave and Dawn that we stop over at their house for visit later in the afternoon (none of us had been there all week) they begged off by saying that the house was not ready for company, and that the house was too far away, etc., etc. Finally, we concocted the idea of visiting a winery near them, after which we would just stop at their house to pick up the kids.

Resigned to this plan, Dave started pecking away on his smart phone to find out if his favorite musician was playing anywhere near Mantua that evening. Maybe we could all go see him. Dave was disappointed when this musician’s website indicated that he was playing a private party in the area, and therefore would not be at any local clubs. Private party indeed!

We delivered Dave and Dawn to their home at 4:00, and they were completely surprised. The kids had rented a huge tent and hired a certain musician- you can guess who. There was an abundance of catered food and drink, and many guests. Speeches were given. Toasts were made. Corn-filled bags were tossed at holes in plywood targets. Friendship, family, and love were celebrated. The party was an unmitigated success.

2012 07 355

This was the last gathering that everyone attended. It was a fitting end to a brilliant vacation. Mark and Carrie and their two daughters flew back to Maine on Sunday. We lingered for one more day and then began the drive home early on Monday.

In my next post I’ll share my final thoughts about our Cleveland vacation.

Click for next post:       Cleveland 2012, #6
Click for previous post:  Cleveland 2012, #4

1 comment:

  1. Isn't it funny how we see things in our mind as never changing. Then we're shocked to see that elapsed time has totally altered that image!

    Glad you had such a nice time!