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.

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 Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Washington Post.



I spent my entire childhood in the same house. Nothing moved. I certainly didn’t. I knew where everything was. In 1951 I think my dad told a builder something like “build me a house.” That simple. A three-bedroom colonial in South Euclid.

I bounced a basketball in the driveway at all hours. That really annoyed the old man next door who was ill. I blared clarinet. That was also annoying. Everything was new and grand. The car wasn’t new, but it was grand. A used Ford.

My mother had a second phone line installed in the kitchen for my parents’ door-to-door cosmetics company, Ovation of California. The phone was a Princess. It was sleek and rarely rang. That business went under. In the basement, my dad had a lab where he made foot powder. I could go on (like I did in a recent Wall Street Journal article about my dad). Here’s a new one on Toby: my dad wanted to collaborate with Case profs/scientists to make a toaster that would take the calories out of bread. No takers from Case.

My friends and neighbors never moved. John, across the street, died of alcoholism and mental illness in 1992. He lived in the same house his whole life — 41 years.

I think of going back there, to my old house. I drive near there. I decide against it. Best to go by bike and get the full flavor.

My dad worked for a key company, which almost transferred him. Here are the three “almost transferred” cities: Edison, New Jersey; Richmond, California; and Toronto.

I often meet people who moved so frequently as children they don’t have a hometown. That’s not me.

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1 Mark Schilling { 11.10.21 at 10:22 am }

I’m one of those people: By age 19 I had lived in Zanesville, Columbus, Muncie (two houses), Barberton, Ellwood City, Elyria and Troy. You know the story…

2 Bert Stratton { 11.10.21 at 2:01 pm }

To Mark Schilling:

Downright quaint (OH/Indiana/PA) by jet-set standards. Too bad you didn’t also live in Clyde, Ohio — Sherwood Anderson’s hometown.

3 marc adler { 11.10.21 at 2:28 pm }

I blared clarinet in my house. One of my neighbors commented to me that she enjoyed hearing my musicianship improve over the years. I think I started in 4th grade and played through high school.

4 Kenneth Goldberg { 11.10.21 at 3:32 pm }

I think “Indiana, Pennsylvania” was mockingly mentioned by a Brit in “From the Terrace” – wonderful Paul Newman – Joanne Woodward film. PN responded making fun of “Piccadilly Circus,” where he hadn’t seen any elephants….

5 Mark Schilling { 11.10.21 at 10:54 pm }

Anderson lived in Elyria 1907-1912, where he ran a paint company and suffered his famous nervous breakdown. The place kind of drove me crazy too, so we had that in common…

6 Dave Rowe { 11.16.21 at 7:25 pm }

I grew up on the west side; papa was a rolling stone.

7 Jim McKee { 12.01.21 at 9:53 am }

Ok theWSJ link piqued my interest enough to sign up for the “Black Friday” four dollars per month for one year special subscription. Great advice there about the clip-on tie, I’ll be sure to do that!

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