A Walk Down Memory Lane .....My Childhood Domain is More Than Just a Bunch of Foreclosure Statistics

By
Real Estate Agent with Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office

The Harvard InnToday I stopped at E. 71st and Harvard to buy gas. I could not pass it up, Gas USA was selling it for $2.54/gallon (and who would have ever thought that would be a bargain). While there, I snapped a photo of the diner at the corner. My Aunt Ann used to hold court there, serving the hungry factory workers on the way to begin their days (and occasionally a niece on her way to junior high). It's now called the Harvard Inn. I have no clue what it was called in the old days lol. A lady named Hattie beckoned me over to her car asking why I was snapping photos. Neither of us lives in the neighborhood anymore: she lives farther East and I live farther West. But she had good things to say and as we parted company I touched her shoulder and she informed me that now that I touched her, I would have good luck. She said "....honey, go play some three digit numbers!...."  Yep, that is the colorful neighborhood I remember.

Strip of local shops that still add vibrancy to the neighborhood I have a listing in Millcreek and I frequently find myself passing by my old neighborhood. I kept glancing at the intersection of East 71st and Harvard and saying to myself  I used to live here! This block was my domain, back when domain meant something entirely different. It amazed me that a beauty salon still exists on the block; has it always been there in one version or another? Karen was the salon owner when I was a kid. My Friend Since Five Connie and I walked to her shop for haircuts on a regular basis. One time she refused to cut my hair two inches from my head (a request she was sure my mother would not appreciate her fulfilling). There was a record store. My Dad and I would walk there and he would buy the latest Hank Williams or maybe a Glenn Miller album. That's how the neighborhood was. Vibrant. There are no vacant shops in my memories.

Harvard School aka Harvard Senior LivingThis was my elementary school. It's still an architectural beauty in it's present incantation as the Harvard Senior Apartments. What was true then is still true now: a city works because of sidewalk activity; a city works because of the businesses that cause people to be on those sidewalks. A city gives us a sense of place because of the neighbors visited on a sidewalk trek around the block. There may be hundreds upon hundreds of foreclosures in this neighborhood but there are still people calling it home.

So if you are in the neighborhood of East 71st and Harvard, have a look around. Strike up a conversation with friendly residents,  the shopkeepers, the others like you who are just passing through. Jim Rokakis challenged us to look beyond foreclosure statistics. I decided to enjoy the humanity. I can't really go home again, but I can enjoy the friendliness of people who work and live in what used to be my domain. All is well, it is their domain now. Peace Out - 3C

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Rainer
292,542
Diane Aurit
LKN Realty, LLC - Mooresville, NC
Lake Norman Real Estate
Carole, your  neighborhood has changed yet it still has enough remaining to bring back such wonderful memories.  Cherish them!
Oct 05, 2007 11:29 PM #23
Rainer
30,396
Geno Petro
GenoPetro.House - Chicago, IL

Carole, thank you as always for the kind words you type in my AR comment box. I enjoy reading your posts as well which I should do more often.

G

Oct 09, 2007 04:10 AM #24
Rainmaker
1,004,473
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Hi Carole:  What a wonderful article.  I found myself missing Cleveland this morning, so I came looking for you to get a small taste of "home."  I miss my "old neighborhoods."  First was 117th Street an St Clair... but that was wayyyy back in 1949.  (I'm old, you see.)  Then there was Lake Shore and 149th Street (the St Jerome Elementary School area.)  My family left there in 1957... and moved way way out into the suburbs... which means Euclid... LOL.

That was 214th Street and Lake Shore.  The Holy Cross Parish neighborhood.  Funny how I see myself relating to my childhood neighborhoods by using their Church's names.  I guess that doesn't happen much any more... at least not here. (TX).  You mentioned buying gasoline at the incredibly low price of $2.54 a gallon.  I can remember when living on 214th Street in Euclid, gettimg Mom's 1957 Ford Fairlane 500 (Woo Hoo) for the night, and then driving up to Pat's Pure Oil at 219th and Lake Shore and filling up the tank for $2.00.  The rule was I had to replace whatever gas I used... so I always put in more than I used... just to make it easier for Mom to give me her car the next time I wanted it.  Anyway... fill up the tank... $2.00... and gas was all of 33 cents a gallon.  Dubble Yikes.

Thanks for the post, Carole.  See... you just never know whose life you will brighten when you make posts like this.  Thanks for sharing...   Karen Anne < Go Tribe ! >

By the way... do you take requests ???  I would love to see an article on Shaker Square (I worked at a record store there from 1965 to 1973... first to put myself thru college, and then for extra money when I taught in the Catholic Schools.)   Then, perhaps an article on the John Carroll University area.  Mebbe even do a Restaurant Review about Geraci's Pizza... I used to totally love going there for their pizza after watching the Blue Streaks play football.

Thanks again... sorry to take up so much space with my silly comments.   Karen Anne

Oct 11, 2007 11:13 PM #25
Rainer
14,979
Scot Thrapp
Coastal Palmetto Realty - Conway, SC
wow I cannot believe that many foreclosures on the market!  Great pics!
Oct 12, 2007 02:48 AM #26
Ambassador
417,604
Jo-Anne Smith
Oakville, ON

Carole, I really enjoyed your wonderful writing and story about your old neighbourhood. Your elementary school looks very similar to the one I used to attend for grades 7 & 8. There was  a boys entrance and a girls entrance and the names 'Boys' and 'Girls' were carved in stone above the doorways.

((-:

Jo 

Oct 12, 2007 11:24 AM #27
Rainer
111,655
Carole Cohen
Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office - Cleveland, OH
Realtor, ePRO

Diane: yes lots of memories; and truly we don't need 'things' to exist for those!

Geno: Hi Mr. Chicago and thanks for stopping by!

Karen Anne: OMG I love Geraci's!  I appreciate the requests! Shaker Square and Geraci's will be good posts I will let you know......gas in the 35 cent range; it was still that price in the 50's.  I remember a station on Harvard when I was growing up; it is where my Dad always 'filled up' the car.  You were smarter about the car use than I was; I would drive it Friday night to almost empty and then my Dad would try to go golfing on Saturday morning and run out of gas.  Hmmmmm.

Scott, thanks for the kind words about the photos! And homes are selling in spite of (and in some cases because of) the foreclosures.

Jo-Anne: Separate entrances!  Well, we had them too but it was k-three and four through six.  No gender separation. Of course Henry Przybylski was always trying to beat us up in the cloak room so I wish there had been gender separation there! lol 

Sorry for the delay in answering the five of you, I was out of town - your comments meant a lot ty!

Oct 13, 2007 05:54 PM #28
Rainmaker
1,004,473
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Yes Carol:  Shaker Square.  Do you remember the record store?  John Wade Record Shop.  It was to the immediate left of Stouffers On The Square... just before Helen Milners on the corner.  Every day at noon we would watch the parade of the "big cars" slowwwwwwly drive up to Stouffers... then stop... right in he middle of the street... and out they would come.  Canes, walkers, some practically being carried... but, by gosh... nothing was going to stop them all from having lunch at Stouffers.  Ahhh... memories.

And then there was the day Mayor Ralph Perk's hair caught fire.  Ahhh... memories.

Oct 13, 2007 06:00 PM #29
Rainer
111,655
Carole Cohen
Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office - Cleveland, OH
Realtor, ePRO
LOL I remember the hair incident. I was living either in Boston or St. Louis when The Perks refused a dinner invitation at the White House because of...a bowling tournament? LOL Stouffers I remember. I'll have to ask my friend David about the record store. Your description of the people at Stouffer's reminds me of two things; wonder how many people realize Stouffer's is an Ohio company and 2) we had Sholl's Cafeteria in Washington DC.  We ate there unless there was a boat load of silver tourist buses in front of it. Then we knew we would never get served LOL.  Good stuff.
Oct 13, 2007 06:20 PM #30
Rainmaker
1,004,473
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Carol:  I lived in Cleveland when Dennis Kucinich was Mayor.  They called him the Boy Wonder.  He took so much abuse when he refused to give in when all the major Cleveland city banks ganged up on him and tried to get him to sell the Municipal Light Plant (Muny Light).  But... he held fast, and they really ripped him for it.  But... he was right to do what he did... and the city benefits greatly today.

Kucinicn is extremely bright.  Anyone who tries to debate him does so at their own peril.  And... his young wife is also very sharp.  Have you ever heard her speak.  Very sharp indeed.  What a sale that was that he made.  Obviously... he is a great "closer."  <g>

Oct 13, 2007 06:33 PM #31
Rainmaker
147,071
Kaye Thomas
Real Estate West - Manhattan Beach, CA
e-PRO, Manhattan Beach CA
Carole.. this is a wonderful post.. every now and then i drive through where I grew up in orange County.. so much has changed over the years and many places have been torn down.. but my Dad built the two homes we lived in and the neighborhood still looks the same.  last year  last of the original residents died and it was truly the end of an era..
Oct 19, 2007 06:55 PM #32
Rainer
111,655
Carole Cohen
Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office - Cleveland, OH
Realtor, ePRO
The homes  your Dad built Kay, sounds like they are still there? That must make you feel good when you head to the old neighborhood. I have to say my 'growing up' house was in pretty good shape when I visited a week or so ago. Thanks for stopping by!
Oct 20, 2007 03:00 PM #33
Rainmaker
91,326
Sue Gabriel
Cleveland, OH

What a nice post!!  Two weeks ago, my son and I went to visit my Mom in Parma Heights.  I had to make a stop in Lakewood before going home to North Olmsted...so we took the long way.  As you know, there isn't a quick way from PH to Lakewood.  I decided to drive past my old elementary school on W. 140th, to show my son where I went to school.  It was GONE!  Bulldozers and mounds of rock and rubble took it's place.  After I got over my initial shock, we continuted driving up the street towards my high school, John Marshall.  Whew!!!  IT was still standing, at least.  But Artemus Ward Elementary is where I spent the first 7 years of my school life...and it was so sad to see it gone.

Like they say, the only thing that's constant is change.

 

 

Oct 21, 2007 10:34 PM #34
Rainer
111,655
Carole Cohen
Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office - Cleveland, OH
Realtor, ePRO
Sue: Oh my yes the school came down! That must have been quite a shock! They ARE building a new one, not that this fact would have lessened the shock value! The plus side is that once all the construction is finished all the elementary schools will be new. The school system thinks this is a plus.  I hope so! They are planning repairs and upgrades to John Marshall but the last word I heard was, that beautiful piece of architecture is not in danger of coming down. If I had known I would have warned you! lol 
Oct 22, 2007 03:06 AM #35
Anonymous
Casey
So...what numbers did you play?
Nov 01, 2007 12:51 AM #36
Rainer
111,655
Carole Cohen
Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office - Cleveland, OH
Realtor, ePRO
LOL@Casey.  She told me 678 (I can't remember what I need to know but I remember that!)  I didn't play them that day but I will this week :-)
Nov 03, 2007 06:13 PM #37
Rainmaker
153,835
Nancy Lohman
Highlands Ranch, CO

Hi Carole,

I haven't been around for awhile, I love your post.  You have a great writing style.

Nancy from Toledo, Ohio

Nov 04, 2007 01:41 AM #38
Rainer
111,655
Carole Cohen
Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office - Cleveland, OH
Realtor, ePRO
Hi fellow Ohioan Nancy, and thank you. Very glad to see you around here again!
Nov 04, 2007 01:33 AM #39
Anonymous
patt gliha

The diner on the corner usedto be called the Harvard Lunch, I also worked there as a teen. I grew up in that are in the good old 60s. First on Krakow ave, going to Sacred Heart of Jesus school, then to 93rd and Harvard, while attending A.B.Hart, and being in the first class at the new South High. Times sure were different then. People took pride in their neighborhood, something you don't see in that area anymore.Gone are the days when you could take the bus to 55th. and Broadway to shop, get a hot chocolate at the dimestore, and see a movie at the Olympia theater......not only are those days gone, so are all those places, and half the houses. Until last year I would regularly go through my old neighborhood on 93rd, and Harvard, entire streets of houses are gone, houses that stood there for decades, my house was there for 100 years when my Mother raised 7 children there, She taught us to respect that house, no slamming the doors, no painting the beautiful woodwork, no breaking the leaded glass windows. I'm glad my Mom passed away before she could see what became of that big house that sheltered her children. I saw that house boarded up, the front wrap around porch missing, windows broken, shrubery gone, awaiting it's turn for the wrecking ball that finally came in August. I stood on the site of many wonderful memories in the rain and cried , How was this allowed to happen? Who was responsible for the devestation that overtook that area? When will people learn that being poor doesn't mean you shouldn't care about how you live, you still need to maintain the property you live in, cut the grass, sweep the walk, wash the windows, and remember that you are not poor if you can afford 100.00 sneakers, 200.00 starter jackets and 1500.00 "spinners.

Jan 23, 2008 12:46 AM #40
Rainer
111,655
Carole Cohen
Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office - Cleveland, OH
Realtor, ePRO

Patt while I read your 'walk down memory lane' I was right back on that East 55th bus. Who knows we might have been on it at the same time. I remember we had to wear gloves to go downtown or even E. 55th. Personally I think when people stop feeling like they matter they stop caring and when they stop caring they stop taking care of their property.

I remember attending a few masses, in Polish, at Sacred Heart, as a very young gal.

I loved AB Heart, and Harvard School. We had so many class choices. And because of your comment I just remembered Mr, Kearns (David) my violin teacher.  Thank you for doing such a good job painting the flavor of our neighborhood!

Jan 23, 2008 01:59 AM #41
Rainer
111,655
Carole Cohen
Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office - Cleveland, OH
Realtor, ePRO
Oh and btw my Aunt's name was Ann Anick(the one who worked at Harvard Lunch) and thank you for the name of the diner I did not remember that!
Jan 23, 2008 02:07 AM #42
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