I lived in Beachwood at the Mark IV apartments (now the Hamptons) after college. I had the extra bedroom in my parents’ apartment.
My dad said, “I’m sure you’ll be a success some day.”
At what? Whatever it was, I should do a good job of it. My father never said, “What are your plans? What do you see yourself doing in ten years?” That would have been cruel.
My post-college days were hell, but not a bad hell. My mother lined up blind dates for me. The dates were usually daughters of my mom’s friends. I took the girls to bars and restaurants and ordered 7&7s. That was my total booze repertoire: 7&7.
I got feedback about the dates from my mother, who picked up tidbits through back channels, like at bridge games. Some of the girls liked me, some didn’t. One date thought I was “a little weird.”
She was weird. She had no business dragging me before her dad’s kangaroo court (his living room was plastered with World War II medals) for interrogation. What were my plans? What did I do?
What’s an apricot sour? That’s what she ordered at the bar.
Meanwhile, my Brush High pal Frankie (not his real name) wanted to go to a Corvette rally, starting at Manner’s Big Boy, Mayfield Heights. Frankie had a brand-new 1974 ’Vette, 350 HP, headers, with all the emission controls removed.
No thanks, Frankie.
Frank said, “You think you’re too good for my ’Vette! You’d prefer a VW bus with a hippie slut. Hey, why not try real chicks and real cars. Friday night at the Strongsville Holiday Inn, it’s crawling with it. Chicks and ’Vettes.”
“You’d rather be in Cleveland Heights! Any city that has a bumper sticker like that is a losing proposition.”
When my sentence at the Mark IV was up (about six months), I moved to Cleveland Heights, into a double, which I shared with Case Western Reserve graduate students.
Cleveland Heights worked. I’ve been there ever since.
I haven’t seen Frank in more than 20 years. He doesn’t hang around klezmer concerts, for one thing.
My future wife, Alice, knocked on the door of that Cleveland Heights double, looking for a room to rent.
My mom lost her job right then. Mom’s Dating Service, RIP.
[Illustration by Ralph Solonitz.]
Yiddishe Cup’s bandleader, Bert Stratton, is Klezmer Guy. He knows about the band biz and — check this out — the real estate biz too. So maybe he’s really Klez Landlord. You may not care about the real estate biz. Hey, you may not care about the band biz. His blog Klezmer Guy (http://YiddisheCup.com/blog) has a gamy twist. It features tenants with snakes and skunks, and musicians with smoked fish in their pockets. Klezmer Guy was a reporter for Sun Newspapers. He has written for Rolling Stone, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the New York Times. He won two Hopwood Awards.