“…Well, I don’t want to visit the moon
       On a rocket ship high in the air.
       No, I don’t want to visit the moon,
       And I don’t think I’d like to live there.
       I don’t want to look down at earth from above
       And miss all the places and people I love.
       So although I might like it for one afternoon,
       I don’t want to visit the moon…”

For only a short period of time did I ever consider living outside of Northeast Ohio. It was ’72 and on return from the Army, Ohio State having rejected my law school bid, content I was to reside in Columbus near my Dad and brother. Only when The Jersey Girl proposed marriage (East coast Jewish women LOVE a man out of uniform) proclaiming she refused to live “in a hick town with you for the rest of my life” that I came back to Cleveland. (Ed. Note 1: “With you for the rest of my life” was later defined as 22 ½ years). Dwelling in central Ohio would be the best move I never made.

There were a bunch of us in high school. Friends we were, in one big circle, yet even with our subsets, so often we walked as one. After college, in time, the men left town. Slowly but surely our village leaked. (Not totally, however. Al T remained. As did Fred and Art. And Bobby, in a way. I mean: Summit County? Really?)

Myers went south, and Fenton too. Ermine: mildly south.

Grafchik, of course, went south in more ways than one (reportedly telling Stuart we should each take him out of our rolodexes). Then there were Gaffin and Cohn heading east, Herman and Auerbach moving west, and the most interesting hopscotch of all: Wieder. Southwest first, then east, Wido left his tenured position at the University Of South Carolina not to wed Joanie as rumored, but only when he learned that Portland was an additional 2,500 miles from Israel.

— And then there was moi: first on our block to be the product of a “broken home”, social underachiever of the group —me.

I stayed.

Four decades later, forty some years after my friends’ Exodus, I can’t imagine having lived elsewhere. Old friends have prevailed in my heart even as new faces have joined the circus. Indeed, this town, specifically the four square miles of suburbia I’ve clung to … these metes and bounds remain not only an intangible anchor, but a sustained source of comfort.

I love it here.

This is where we raised our kids. This is where I spread my wings. This is where, even within my emotional diaspora, I have claimed some growth.

So I don’t want to live on the moon. (Or, for that matter…New York or Chicago.)

My kids would love it of course. There was a time a few years back when Michael was urging me east. Sensing my minimal material demands, he’d suggested I get a job as a doorman at a high rise apartment in Manhattan. Truth is, I would have enjoyed the gig — just talking to people all day. Heck, even the physicality of opening the door was something I could handle.
But it wasn’t Cleveland. And my heart wasn’t in it. And that was that.

Stacy too, has urged I relocate. And Yes, Chicago’s nice, truly nice. There’s even a group of guys at Max & Benny’s in Northbrook that breakfast at the same table each morning. Just eavesdropping the last time through I connected. There was a Kraut at their table, and a Walt, and a Les…

But it wouldn’t be Cleveland. And my heart wouldn’t be in it. Not really.

I breathe Cleveland no less than Jason Bohrer breathes Chitown or Matt Klein Queens.

Carrie speaks (at times) of warmer weather. Three kids here, she has —and grandkids. Who’s she kidding?

So, No, I don’t want to move. Stu Fentons of my world can post on Facebook from the Sunbelt all they want, but I’ll stay here…
Where my feet are… and where my pulse is.

(And besides, it will just be easier. After all, on Thursdays I take Helen shopping).

      “So if I should visit the moon —
       Well, I’ll dance on a moonbeam and then
       I will make a wish on a star
       And I’ll wish I was home once again.
       Though I’d like to look down at the earth from above
       I would miss all the places and people I love.
       So although I may go I’ll be coming home soon
       ‘Cause I don’t want to live on the moon.
       No, I don’t want to live on the moon….”

(Ernie and Fozzie Bear, adapted)


  1. M says:

    And your brother is here,too.

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