My entire life has been lived within two square miles. From the “Mean Streets” of South Euclid through the first life of Beachwood to the Second Coming in Lyndhurst. It’s been all Cleveland all the time, neither by accident nor with regret.

Married out of school. The wife, born and bred in Passaic, (hardly the garden spot of “The Garden State”), would have preferred returning east. New York specifically, called her name. Didn’t happen! Indeed, as I’d explained to her then, by law she’d waived that right attending OSU. The Bogarts, therefore, stayed put.

Cleveland was home. We thrived until we didn’t and stayed married until we ceased thriving. Still, she’d be the first to tell you it was a great place to raise kids and, I might note: with children gone, the lady remains. (Further, FYI, each of HER Jersey siblings has long since abandoned the Metropolitan area.).

Today’s society is mobile. People choose hometowns on MapQuest as I order from a menu. To a world half my age, when long-distance calls are free and travel is routine, home means NOT where you live, but where you sleep. Too bad.

Last week someone forwarded a well-crafted article by a national sportswriter.  It decried Cleveland, the dying city. A series of historical anecdotes and geographical references, the piece was at once entertaining, misleading, and (for the author), sad. The scribe, you see, earned his bones on Lake Erie.

His running gag had our town replete with streets and sights dubbed “Chagrin,” from the boulevard to the river to the falls. “Chagrin,” he pointed out, has a negative connotation.

Look, I enjoy a good laugh as much as anyone, perhaps more. Still, there’s a difference between laughing with someone and AT him; there’s a distinction between spinning and…oh well………

This guy grew up in Cleveland. He has friends here even today. Subsequent stops placed him in Cincinnati and Kansas City. (For now). I don’t know about him, but conscience dictates whether I tell half-truths; values mandate I not shoot my own.

Am I angry? For the moment. This too will pass. There are, after all, no such things as bad examples. Lessons can always be learned.

I stood on Chagrin Boulevard today, facing west. In a distance, heading downtown, the road’s name changed to “Kinsman.” Yes, that’s right: connoting kinship, brotherhood, family.

The writer, it seems, stood on the very same street, yet faced east—away from town. As such, he not only chose what he saw but his column became quite predictable.

He had, even before lifting his pen, turned his back on our city.

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