Real Music & Real Estate . . .

Yiddishe Cup’s bandleader, Bert Stratton, is Klezmer Guy.

He knows about the band biz and – check this out – the real estate biz too. So maybe he’s really Klezmer Landlord.

You may not care about the real estate biz. Hey, you may not care about the band biz. (See you.)

This is a blog with a gamy twist. It features tenants with snakes and skunks, and musicians with smoked fish in their pockets.

Stratton has written op-eds for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post.



Ann Wightman got all As and one B in high school.  I think she purposefully got the B to let a boy be valedictorian.  That’s how it worked back then; some smart girls didn’t want to stick out academically.

In 1991, my wife, Alice, called me from the Okefenokee Swamp, Georgia.  She was on a canoe trip.  She said, “You’re not going to believe who I’m with.”

Ann Wightman

“Ann Wightman?” I said.


I often  guessed “Ann Wightman.”  I had a case of Ann-on-the-brain, even though I hadn’t seen her in 23 years — since high school graduation.

When my kids were very young, I told them: “There was this girl, Ann, in my second-grade class who read so many books, the teacher had to put up extra sheets of paper on the wall to track her book reports.”

I probably ran into Ann after graduation, but didn’t recognize her.  Maybe we were at Disney World or O’Hare airport together.  I’ve seen everybody at least twice.  That’s my theory.

The Georgia sighting: Ann was in an alligator-infested swamp with my wife.  Alice, via the park pay phone,  said, “Ann says your crowd at Brush High was so full of itself  — particularly after they went up to Boston and saw Harvard their senior year — that they clapped when Larry Klein was named valedictorian instead of her.  That bothered her.”

I could see why.  Klein was smart, but not as smart as Wightman.

I met Ann at the swamp when I picked up Alice.  (I had been at my cousins’ in Jacksonville.)

Ann was blasè.  She didn’t want to reminisce with me about high school.  She said, “I’ve probably mentioned high school twice to my husband.”

Ann, what about about our Spanish teacher, Mrs. Worth?  I knew Ann was a professor of Latin American history at Wesleyan University.   Ann wasn’t interested in recordando a Mrs. Worth.

Was high school that bad, Ann?

I haven’t seen Ann since.  And she’s not coming to any high school reunions.

It’s over.

Three days left to Jack Stratton’s Kickstarter campaign.  Something about synth and banjo.  He needs a couple more backers.  Check it out and contribute here.

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1 Mark Schilling { 05.30.12 at 10:59 am }

My 45th HS reunion is coming up this summer. I attended Elyria High only my senior year and spent much of my time there grinding away to get off the U of Michigan wait list. I do remember the smartest girl, though. She sat behind me in English and economics class, and I ended up taking her to the prom. I had tricked her into thinking I was as smart as she was. After graduation I became a pool lifeguard and spent my evenings flopped in front of the TV, watching old “Benny Hill” shows. No chance encounters with her since, in the swamp or anywhere else.

2 marc { 05.30.12 at 2:18 pm }

I briefly dated two very bright girls in high school. One had no personality and the date was very difficult. The other was very nice and later married a guy with a PhD from MIT who shares the same name that I do.

3 Bert Stratton { 05.30.12 at 3:15 pm }

To Mark Schilling:

My thesis is you have had a chance encounter with your prom date but aren’t aware of it.

My best guesses: 1) She and you were both in Kmart, Elyria, on June 7, 1974. You were visiting. 2) She was in back of you in line for a Rome-to London flight, spring 2009. Alitalia.

4 Jack V. { 05.30.12 at 4:51 pm }

She’s looking into my eyes, she’s holding my hand
She’s looking into my eyes, she’s holding my hand
She says, “You can’t repeat the past.” I say, “You can’t? What do you mean, you can’t? Of course you can.”
– – Bob Dylan, Summer Days

5 Mark Schilling { 05.31.12 at 6:44 am }

You may be right about the chance encounter, but then again, I’ve probably milled around with half the population of Tokyo in my time here. Doesn’t mean much. BTW, the prom date married a doctor and raised kids in a Northern Ohio town — so it’s more likely she would have encountered you than me.

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