It was hard not to be moved by Adam Sandler’s rendition of “Hallelujah” at the Concert For Sandy. Angst of the underlying cause coupled with hometown pride struck just the right note and if you haven’t heard it yet, YouTube it now. There’s something warm and fuzzy, something pure, when people truly love their roots.

Candles lit and Margie’s latkes downed, we sat regaling common pasts. We—once of Bayard, Bexley, Wrenford & Stilmore — and the guitarist.

“Where did you live?” I asked Robbins.
“On Corwin,” he said.
“No one lived on Corwin, “ I shot back. “That was like a third world country.”
(It got a laugh—even from onlookers. But only those from our suburb really got the joke).

Two things are clear about growing up in South Euclid. First, those who weren’t there will never quite “get it”, and second: those same non-residents, (if they hang around with us), are condemned to endless recountings of what to them will be mundane tales.

Like the night Snyder got his ’66 Mustang and the competition to ride shotgun in his car that Friday…

Or the day years earlier that Masseria made Morton Cohen sit on Stuart when Fenton teased Jimmy about his aunt. There was Morton squatting on Stuart as a stubborn relentless Fenton screamed “Aaaaaagnes” and all-the-while Jimmy kept throwing grass on Stuey’s face demanding “Are you gonna say it again?” (Which of course had Stuart screaming “Aaaaaagnes” even louder). We called it, Chinese torture in the day.

You may not understand the attraction if you weren’t there, but you surely can appreciate the splendor of another’s hometown pride. I know I can. Couldn’t as I was growing up, perhaps. But now I can.

I wasn’t so “evolved” growing up. I had this—let’s call it geographical prejudice. For example, I didn’t like New Yorkers. Wasn’t supposed to. Perhaps it was the Yankee thing: They were the Indians’ nemesis then, back before The Curse Of Bobby Bragan, and always seemed to have the upper hand. (Not that I’d ever met a New Yorker). In fact, when first I had contact with live ones at the SAM House, Wieder eagerly pointed out they were Mets fans). Even before that, actually—in high school— Bobby told me the Beachwood guys were “all wusses”. It wasn’t ‘til later at State, in an epiphany, that I realized Walt, Ginis and Ellis each began at Rowland.

Over time my eyes would open.

Take Jason, for example. Perfect example. By the time I’d been summoned to meet the man who would ultimately sire Lucy, Stacy had been pretty clear he was “The One.” I did a quick read that Saturday, and while he presented as strong, silent and warm, his steadfast commitment to The Windy City also struck a chord. (Not that I was doing handstands over the Chicago thing. It meant, after all, that The Little One was out-of-town forever). Still though, there’s a substance to loyalty, and I saw that. (Not that it didn’t have a downside! That very first day, what did he have us doing? At his request, (and remember we were putting our best feet forward), we took a boat ride around his downtown. Over what seemed like hours, a beaming Jason pointed out the beauty of this
city’s architecture.  What I wanted to say was: “Really, Jason?”  I knew though, it was a good thing.

So I get the home-town bit. I really do. Whether it’s Woody Allen’s allegiance to NYC or Springsteen singing Asbury Park, it plays well. ‘Tis a sign, if nothing else, that these guys haven’t forgotten where they’ve come from.

Nor have I.

Which reminds me of a scene just weeks ago at Tuscany, the restaurant tucked in the middle of what used to be The Mark IV Apartments:

Tom Baskin’s wife sat with Dickie Baskin’s sister and Stevie Gold’s sister on a Friday evening, telling stories about Tommy’s childhood friends. “You know,” said Jan, “It’s that South Euclid thing.”

Didn’t know of whom she spoke. At all. It mattered not, though. I understood.

3 Responses to “PRIDE AND PREJUDICE”

  1. Grandpa Maisay says:

    Reminds me of Lomza in the good old days. Moshe, Schmuel, and I had some great times. Even those Cossacks in their pointed Schtetson boots couldn’t keep us down.

  2. Aunt Helen says:

    And I will always be a Tarblooder!

  3. bob says:

    Two things, totally correct it’s a south Euclid thing and I’m glad your son in law get it. Secondly, beachwood guys not originally from South Euclid are wusses.

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