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 is an occasional contributor to the New York Times, the Times of Israel, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and City Journal. He won two Hopwood Awards.


 
 

I HAVEN’T THOUGHT ABOUT
HIGH SCHOOL IN DECADES

A friend from high school, Mike, found me on the Web and emailed me questions about real estate.  Mike lives in Minnesota. He added a postscript: “I haven’t thought about high school in decades!”  He listed a few old names – high school buddies.

I haven’t thought about high school in decades!  Was he bragging?  Like, “I’ve moved on.”

I think about high school fairly often.  I also think about grade school and pre-school — which is bad, because I didn’t even go to pre-school.

News flash: “Nostalgia has been shown to counteract loneliness, boredom and anxiety” — New York Times, 7/9/13, John Tierney.

I go to reunions even when they’re not mine. I was at the 50th Cleveland Heights High reunion. I was playing a gig nearby and went into the  reunion for atmosphere. Go Tigers!

I wish teachers were invited to reunions. My 12th-grade English teacher, Mr. Hill, walked his dog by my house almost daily in the 1990s.  One day I got up the nerve to say hi.  He didn’t remember me!  He said, “I had so many students.”

Ann Wightman

I said, “I bet you remember Ann Wightman!”

Yes, he remembered Ann, the smartest woman ever and salutatorian. [See post about Ann here.]

I should call my high school buddy Dennis.  He’s around.

I should also call Howard. He’s in New York.  We occasionally vacation together to do in-depth analyses of our high school days, to talk about the Jewish “Tiger Mom” ethos of our youth — how it no longer exists (our youth and the Jewish “Tiger Mom” ethos).

Howard has constructed two main classifications for the Jews of South Euclid, circa 1965:  1. Racetrack Jews (gamblers / working class), 2. Refined Jews (sheyne, college-educated yehudim.)

My family was in between.  No New York Times, no Racing Form. We had the Cleveland Press on the doorstep.

I haven’t been back to my high school (Charles F. Brush) in decades.  It’s off my flow chart, even though it’s only 5 1/2 miles from my house.  If I entered my high school, I would probably feel very young or very old.  I think “very old” would win.  Not worth it.

I haven’t thought about high school . . . in seconds.

***

I gave the graphic novel Maus to a bat mitzvah girl as a gift.  The girl was the daughter of my high school friend Dennis.  Dennis returned Maus, saying, “She wants a gift certificate to an arts supply store.”

Dennis was the only person who could get away with that.

Dennis and I were born nine days apart at the same hospital.  We were the only Jews in our elementary school class.  (No wait, there was often a third Jew — Udelf.) Dennis and I were at Kent State the night before the shootings. I was the best man at his wedding. I went to a no-hitter with him.  We bought Playboys together. I was not Dennis’ best man the second time around.  He went on JDate and exchanged emails with a Philly woman almost immediately after his divorce. He said he was going to re-marry.  I said wait.  “You’re jumping off a cliff. ” He wouldn’t listen.

Dennis has been married to the Philly woman for about six years.  So I guess I was wrong.

Dennis and I occasionally meet at Jack’s Deli.  We are a couple middle-aged yidls trying to remember our first-grade teacher’s name.  Dennis remembers.  That’s worth a corned beef sandwich
to me.

Dennis and I haven’t been on the same wavelength since about seventh grade. (For instance, he loves sports and I’m blasé — unless the Tribe keeps winning.)

It’s my turn to call.

But maybe enough is enough.

No, I’ll call. Our second-grade teacher served chocolate milk at the Christmas concert.  She was the only teacher to ever give us a snack.  Who cares about that but Dennis?

“Nostalgia makes us a bit more human” — psychologist Constantine Sedikides (New York Times, 7/9/13).

Dialing Dennis:

NOstalgia 1-2323.

Just up at CoolCle, a Heinen’s grocery story.

Yiddishe Cup plays the West Virginia Jewish Reunion Sat. (Aug. 3) night.  All Jewish Mountaineers, be there.  Charleston, W. Va.

shareEmail this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter

2 comments

1 Mark Schilling { 07.31.13 at 10:57 am }

I remember my first grade teacher — Miss Donson. She was the first one to tell me I should be a writer — I owe her for that. She taught us square dancing for two years (she also had us in the second grade) until we were good enough to go on “Hee Haw.” I’ve probably still got a muscle memory of “allemande left” somewhere. Contacts with my former dance partners: nada.

2 Ken G. { 07.31.13 at 10:11 pm }

I too think of my high school years a great deal. Also elementary school and earlier, and my summers during school years (everything, but very frequently the camps I went to for 13 years as a camper and then four years as a counselor), and my seven years full-time in college.

Then there all the years of Sunday and Hebrew School, dance class, piano and violin lessons (particularly piano). Very, very often….

Speaking of snacks, many kids in Hebrew school used to get milk and cookies but my mother didn’t pay it so I didn’t.

Our fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Hallen, used to pass out butterscotch candy on the spur of the moment. She’d say “a piece of candy sounds good.” She read us “Tom Sawyer” and then “Huckleberry Finn.”

I’ve made a Big Deal of h. s. reunions and gave a principal address at our 30th.

In case you have any interest, there are a bunch of Shaker Heights h.s. yearbooks from ca. 1964-7 at Flower Child, on Clifton. Very much like my high school at the time except my school had only about two blacks.

Leave a Comment