Home is where you make it

Saturday, June 6, 2009

There's a history of a great divide between Eastsiders vs. Westsiders in Cleveland. The joke is that if you want culture, you head east. If you're looking for a pink flamingo for your front lawn, west it is. I was raised east and admittedly, was a stereotypical eastside snob.

I moved west in 1991 when a 50+ hour work week and a 50 minute commute became too much to deal with. I started out by moving to the Southwest part of town where the whole east vs. west thing didn't really exist. I rented a luxury apartment with a swimming pool, fitness center and Cleveland Browns players living across the hall. That was the life.

Then another job change came along and I moved to a city just west of downtown Cleveland. It was in an old brownstone walkup, no air conditioning, radiator heat that clanked in the middle of the night and high rises that bounced the sound of nearby trains right into your living room. I cried the first night I moved in but grew to love my unique neighbors and the colorful people I would meet at the grocery store.

I lived about a mile from the Cleveland border. Our city had a different power company than they did and the electricity was constantly going out. When it did, my neighbor would come knocking on my door and we would grope our way along the walls and down three flights of blackened stairs to the street. Off in the distance, we would see the light of a bar over the border that would be our haven for the next few hours.

My last move out there was to a quiet little township that was similar to where my first apartment was but not quite as pretentious. I lived there for 7 years before I decided to move back "home" to the eastside. My parents were getting older and had numerous health issues, the job around the corner from my home was gone and most of my friends had married and moved away. I loved it there but there wasn't a whole lot left for me. However, moving out to that side of town had chipped away my preconceived notions of who people are and made me value the things that mattered instead of valuing "stuff".

Now I live in a suburb with access to my friends and family within a 5 mile radius and life is good. Here are some scenes from around town:

This ice cream truck drives by ten times a day. Everytime I hear that music, I cringe.

We have an amazing park system and I'm lucky enough to live right down the street from this one.

Here's the War Memorial. It honors those who lost their lives in battle from WWII through the Gulf War. If you look closely enough, you can see that damn ice cream truck on the left. I can't get away from him!

We have world class dining and entertainment.

My travel companion

There's nothing like the wind through your ears

Home Sweet Home


  1. I'm assuming you put the flock of pink flamingos and giant plastic sunflowers on eBay before moving back to the eastside? In any case, I enjoyed the romp through Cleveland, as I've never been.

    Off topic, but ... was the silhouette humping the pole so vigorously before you re-uploaded the artwork? It seems much more aggressive this time around.

  2. MVD,
    How did you know about the sunflowers, too?

    She was humping that vigorously but I think the colors were different so you didn't get the same effect. I couldn't find the original.

  3. You cringe when you hear the ice cream truck? I'm like Pavlov's dog every time I hear "The Entertainer."

  4. Carlos,
    I don't mind it the first time but when you hear it over and over and over..

  5. I've always pictured Cleveland as being a dump full of old buildings, smoke and grime. Thanks for sharing the better side.

    But the Browns still suck.

  6. What a wonderful post, Chissy!

    I LOVE your house - it looks cozy. And of course need I say how much I LOVE Bernie too?

    It's funny, because I know a guy here in Philly who is orginally from Cleveland and he says that it's a really nice place to live - the people are friendly and the customer service is excellent. I keep forgetting how close Ohio is to Pennsylvania. One of these I need to make a trip out there.

  7. This was a great post for me. I am also from the east side (although probably further east, closer to the Amish). My mother in-law is in a snobby east suburb, and her sister is one of those "west side people". So true and so sad, but all around a good town.

    Hey Chris,
    They don't suck... it's a rebuilding year. Just remember that.

  8. The ice cream truck keeps following you around? Are you sure your neighbor Jim isn't secretly driving it around to follow you?

  9. Oh Chris,
    That's so Cleveland in the 70's. We have a lot to offer now.
    I'm not a Browns fan but as D-Jake says, "It's a rebuilding year." Aren't they always?

  10. Ron,
    You really should come some time. There's so much to do. And thanks, I love my little house. It's everything I wanted.

  11. D-Jake,
    Small world. Yep, no one ever came to see me when I lived on the west side. "you come and see us." Divide aside, it is a great city.

  12. Judge,
    Oh my gosh, that's so funny. I never thought that it might be Jim! Come to think of it, I never do see him outside when it's driving by..

  13. the house looks very cozy, but is that a Christmas wreath?

  14. Thank you. No, if you click on it, you can see they are small roses. I made it myself.:-)


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