Cuyahoga River

Cuyahoga River
Cuyahoga River in the Valley

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Amongst the Eagles

I go back to Alaska when walking in the Cuyahoga Valley because we now have eagles in common. The white head of an eagle can be easily spotted amidst the green of spruce and sycamore in Haines, Alaska, or the blue-blue sky of a surprisingly sun-shiny day on the North Coast. In Haines last summer, we listened to local lore told by our Eagle Preserve tour director-radio personality-writer, then floated up a silty river past a native village in the Eagle Preserve, always on the look out for a flying or resting eagle. Back in town after taking off our rubber boots, Haines’ mayor/artist greeted us in his Victorian house surrounded by a white picket fence and spoke grandly about any subject; he even knows the names of Cleveland's westside suburbs. His neighbor, a talented Stanford-educated architect-artist, has taken a log cabin for his gallery and filled it brimful with art he silently carves while his life mate takes care of the customers. Later we drank a Haines Brewery beer at a table in a restaurant owned by a couple from the Grand Canyon area, and try to imagine what it would be like to move from Lake Erie's southern shore to southeastern Alaska. I think we would become part of the menagerie that makes Haines lively.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

New York City in Spring

Paintings lined the sidewalks in the Village, jugglers bounced red balls in Washington Square, and a violinist serenaded me when I was seventeen, in New York for the first time. I've been to New York City many times since, but this month, our family became NYC tourists. It fascinates me how even though Manhattan's tall buildings seem endless, I know how to find Times Square and Central Park and St. Patrick's Cathedral as well as if I was in Manhattan every day. It feels like a small city grown up with its ancient cemeteries, 17th-century churches, and historic seaports. And anyone who says not to drive in Manhattan must be talking about the cost of parking, because driving is no worse than Montreal or San Francisco or Chicago--just watch out for opening car doors, double-parked taxis, and pedestrians by the dozens at every corner. It rained, but Macy's was in bloom from floor to ceiling and fruit trees were in blossom. People strolled in Central Park and street dancers performed across from The Plaza. We enjoyed the M&M store on Times Square about as much as anyone can enjoy a store--a must-see. The skyline from Brooklyn's Promenade and the thousands of lights below us at night from the Empire State Building excited us as our ancestors must have been when they landed on Ellis Island and found America.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Cleveland in 1941

I enjoyed Peter Jedick’s The West Tech Terrorist, which is a young adult novel. It takes place in 1941 at the start of World War II during the time when West Tech High was one of the largest high schools in the nation. The brink of war is the backdrop and Cleveland legend Eliot Ness gets involved in solving the mystery of the radio club’s German communications with contacts in Canada. A young Tatler reporter starts probing and looking for answers and becomes the hero of the story. What I liked about the book is the main character’s internal conversations, which told me a bit about Mr. Jedick, who I have to believe is a really good guy. He’s redeemed himself after his book Hippies, which I felt was mostly about how he could get laid during his senior year at Kent State, in 1970, on the brink of the May 4 shootings. Jedick brought in a lot of history with details about places and things that no longer exist in C-town like the cable car out to Lakewood and the bomb factory, and it didn’t feel like a history lesson, yet it was.