Our father used to tell us how he loved when his boys played together. I never quite understood what the big deal was.

Al Bogart was a first-generation American. Living in one house from birth through high school, he attended and married a girl from Glenville. She too saw life through one neighborhood. It was a simpler world then— less mobile, but surrounded by family.

By the 50’s our parents moved. Post-war’s boom saw whites flee east. As a result of a handshake deal made at the corner of Ninth and “Short” Vincent, the Italians head up Mayfield while the Jews took Cedar. (This created, of course, a temporary problem. Moneyed MOT, already “in the Heights”, were being displaced. As such, they fled even further, making right turns at every conceivable intersection).

This sounds like a joke, but it’s not. It was the beginning of the end of small neighborhoods and to my Dad, not necessarily progress. “It used to be I could ride the streetcar to see all my relatives,” he rued. Would he ever have imagined in June of ’55 that his grandchildren would live airfare away? Crossing Warrensville was one thing, but state lines quite another.

The apple fell not far from the tree. It never occurred to me, that fateful day I said YES to The Jersey Girl, that our kids would leave town. Ever.

Even as they did.

In an ironic twist proving once again that God indeed has a sense of humor, two of my Ohio-bred kids went east, one went west…and the EX, (with family all over the eastern seaboard), stayed put. (Are you kidding me?)

I was comforted then, when just this weekend, cousins met in Chicago. Just this weekend, for the first time ever: under one roof: Max and Lucy. Resting in Cleveland, I’d missed it for health concerns. As such, I thrilled as pictures went viral and yet, REALLY, it shouldn’t have to be this way.

“How’s everyone getting along?” I inquired by phone.
“It’s great, Dad,” said Stacy.
“Wish I was there.”
“I know, Dad.”

I’m not alone. Some have it worse. Indeed, friends have children overseas or across the Mississippi—(“Third World” to me). I don’t complain. I’ve accepted, rather, that it’s their world, not mine. I get it.

Mid-weekend, another photo hit Facebook. Captioned “Sophia and Max’s 1st Date”, it caught my eye and my heart.

…And thoughts: I know Sophia’s parents, AND grandparents. Indeed, her paternal great-grandmother was my leader in Cub Scouts. All of us, yes ALL of us: within walking distance…”in the day”.

I would give up my cell phone, my internet and even the thought of ever having another pepperoni pizza at Geraci’s if my kids lived here. I’d agree to wear my seat belt, smile at Aunt Helen and even let the ex keep my dog if it would help.

It won’t.

Streetcars are no more; the offspring—they’re all gone…and Adam: his tail wags elsewhere.

The toothpaste is out of the tube. Forever.

I went to my brother’s house Sunday. Together we sat, watching old reruns of “Sgt. Bilko,”…laughing. High above us, between hands of his gin game, our father looked down smiling. His boys were playing together, and nothing made him happier.

One Response to “THE DESCENDANTS”

  1. Aunt Helen says:

    Regardless of where your children live you should always wear a seatbelt. You need to take care of yourself.

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