“Making your way in the world today
       Takes everything you got.
       Taking a break from all your worries
       It sure would help a lot
       Wouldn’t you like to get away?”

Make no mistake about it: other than nuclear family, Corky And Lenny’s has provided the most enduring relationship of my life. Fifty-some years and counting it has welcomed me, nourished me, and provided the proverbial “place to hang your hat”.

Births were celebrated there; deaths were mourned there; friends were feted there; and of course: dates were impressed there.

One half century and counting…

For twenty-two years I lived with my mother. For the next twenty-two I lived in a marriage. You want to talk hot breakfasts? More were served to me at Corky’s than from my mother and my ex combined. (Oh, and I could read the paper in peace).

It was my Dad that first took me there. Must have been the late fifties, and we each had corned beef. Restaurants were a special treat for us, and I can tell you that the day my father introduced me to Mr. Kurland, the proprietor, I thought I’d hit the mother lode!

Within a decade we were all driving. To Manners sometimes, to McDonald’s often, but to Cedar-Center Plaza, usually. Others may have surfed the web of nearby eateries from Green Road to Van Aken to Severance—-but my true love, my lasting liason was with Corky’s.

—-Even as years rolled…even as I gave up softball for fatherhood…even as neighborhoods shifted and Cedar became Cedar and/or Chagrin (but not on Mondays)… even during the years “Corky’sOnChagrin” became one single word…with all the bumps in life’s road—

Then ….

• Thanksgiving mornings, pre-football…Ted Brooker bought breakfast for the troops not on Green, not at Severance— but on Cedar.

• By then my Dad had moved to Columbus. I recall still how he’d come in on a weekend –-perhaps for a holiday — and en route to a family dinner he’d run in at Cedar, grab a corned beef on rye and gobble it in the car — even as driving — while from the passenger’s seat Harriet’d be admonishing “Oh Albert, you’re going to eat in twenty minutes.”

And now …

• Every Wednesday morning sit six of us.  Sometimes seven. Boys Of Summer we are, sharing the same conversation week after week, year after year, meal after meal.

I’m in my sixties now — reasonably healthy. The world, alas, has changed. My father’s gone; Ted Brooker’s gone.  Even the old place on Cedar’s been leveled.


The neon still lights, but on a different street. And the picture — you know that big portrait from the old venue — still it hangs, but on a different wall.  I see each daily.

And one more thing: I can’t wait ‘til my grandkids hit town. They’re older now, coming of age. Some day I’m going to introduce them to Mr. Kurland, the proprietor…

They’ll feel like they’ve hit the mother lode.

    “You want to be where everybody knows your name.”

(Titus Andronicus).


One Response to “CHEERS”

  1. bob says:

    Hope to be back on Weds. soon. When ever people move or go away to school when they return they make a stop at Corky and Lenny’s.

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