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.



Mike, a high school buddy, found me on the internet and emailed me. He added a postscript: “I haven’t thought about high school in decades!” He recollected a few old high school names.

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

News: “Nostalgia has been shown to counteract loneliness, boredom and anxiety” — New York Times, 7/9/13, John Tierney. I sometimes go to reunions that aren’t mine (though I’m not going to my wife’s next reunion. Can’t take it.) I was at the 50th Cleveland Heights High reunion about ten years ago. I was playing a gig in the same building and went to the reunion to see what I had to look forward to.

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

Bert Stratton, 1967. (My wife's favorite photo of me.) Brush High.

Bert Stratton, 1967. Brush High tennis team

I should call my old friend Dennis. Just called.

He said he’s not coming in from Philly for the 50th reunion. I should call Howard, who is in New York. We occasionally vacation together and analyze our high school days . We talk about the Jewish “Tiger Mom” ethos of our youth, and how it no longer exists —  both our youth and the Jewish “Tiger Mom” ethos. Howard has concocted two classifications for the Jews of Cleveland, circa 1965: 1.) Racetrack Jews (gamblers /working class) 2.) Refined Jews (sheyne, college-educated Jews). My family was a bit of both. We read the Cleveland Press. Howard’s dad bought the Sunday Times.

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

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1 David Korn { 01.24.18 at 10:15 am }

You really should go to your lovely wife’s 50th high school class reunion. Hang out with me and ’68 friends. You’ll survive.

2 Ken Goldberg { 01.24.18 at 4:21 pm }

I think of high school very frequently – also elementary school, my many years of summer camp, and certainly the college years. I’ve followed certain teachers and professors as well, and have even corresponded with several. But most of mine – at least public school after 51+ years – are gone.

I also get a great deal out of – and contribute to – high school reunions, and have participated in all five (last with the mandatory high school tour).

3 Alice Stratton { 01.24.18 at 7:26 pm }

Nice legs and shorts!

4 Dave Rowe { 01.24.18 at 8:30 pm }

On the west side Lakewood High has a Hall of Fame. I’ve yet to be inducted.

5 Don Edwards { 01.25.18 at 9:51 am }

Thank you! Great piece – really hit home. My 50th reunion was a few years ago and I was afraid to attend. The memories are so sweet – reality bound to be a letdown.

6 Mark Schilling { 01.30.18 at 2:08 am }

My HS graduating class in Ellwood City, PA has never held a reunion. The class before ours, ’66, held a “group reunion” a while back including classes before and after theirs. Maybe thirty people showed up. Reunion’s ain’t what they used to be, at least in rural Western Pennsylvania.

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