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.



Pop-rocker Eric Carmen graduated a year ahead of me at Brush High in Lyndhurst, Ohio. He was the leader of The Raspberries (post-high school). Here’s why I didn’t know Eric:

  1. I was a tennis guy in high school, not a music guy.
  2. Carmen lived in Lyndhurst — super-goy land. I lived in South Euclid. I knew a handful of kids from Lyndhurst. My friend Ron, who grew up in Lyndhurst, said it was no picnic being a Jew in Lyndhurst in the 1960s.

Carmen was Jewish. Carmen, the name –vaguely Italian.  Lyndhurst was vaguely Italian, too. This, just in: carmen is Latin for song. [Thanks to Ted Stratton for the Latin lore.] Eric Carmen attended a Jesuit college, John Carroll University. Strange.

There’s a Facebook page called “I Grew Up in South Euclid/Lyndhurst Club,” which saw a lot of action when Carmen died last month. Nobody on the FB page talked about where Eric Carmen went to temple. I bet he went nowhere. Maybe Eric was “unaffiliated,” as the Jewish-continuity surveyors say. Some press obits said Carmen was the son of Russian Jewish immigrants. The New York Times wrote: “[Carmen was] from a family of Jewish immigrants from Russia.” Yeah, so am I. So is nearly every Jew in Cleveland. Enough with the Jewish stuff. Or not . . .

Carmen’s grandfather was Hector Camingkovich, according to The Cleveland Jewish News, 20 years ago, mentioned that Carmen’s father worked at Gould Ocean Systems, and his name was Elmer Carmen. Eric’s mother was Ruth (nee Berns). Do the names Elmer and Ruth sound immigrant to you? They shouldn’t. A 2007 CJN obit said Elmer “enjoyed golf and travel, and was a graduate of Glenville High School and Western Reserve University.” Elmer wound up in a gentile cemetery.

Eric Carmen played sock hops at Brush High. I didn’t cotton to sock hops. (I liked bowling and miniature golf.) Alan Douglass, from Yiddishe Cup, saw Carmen a couple times. I’ll ask Alan about that.

Several commenters on the South Euclid/Lyndhurst FB site segued into naming other well-known Brush grads. For example, there was Steve Stone, a Major League pitcher who won the Cy Young Award while playing for the White Sox, or was it the Cubs? (I gotta look that up . . . Orioles.) Stone’s sister was in my homeroom. Does that count for anything? It better, because I’m sorry I (Brush’68) have no Eric Carmen reminiscences for you. (**please see addendum, under photo)

Brush High yearbook, 1966. Carmen’s junior year. (Photo courtesy of Ken Goldberg)

** Alan Douglass, of Yiddishe Cup, ran into Carmen many times at a convenience store in Mayfield Heights in the early 1980s. Alan worked there; Carmen shopped there. Alan said, “He was a ‘has been’ at that point — pre-Top Gun.” Alan had a 45 rpm record of “All By Myself,” which he brought to work for Carmen to sign, but for some reason, the “All By Myself” record and Carmen were never in the store at the same time. Alan said, “I liked everything by The Raspberries and all his solo stuff. He was power pop before there was power pop.”

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1 Mark Schilling { 04.03.24 at 9:45 am }

I went to the HS dances though most of the time they were torture. And we had no Eric Carmen in Ellwood City PA — just 45s and, once, a guy who played “Lady of Spain” on the accordion. And I knew most of the kids a year ahead of me since the school was so small. But after I transferred to Elyria HS in my senior year — with a graduating class of 700 — I was a stranger in a strange land. But I still showed up for the occasional dance and they were still torture. I should have taken up tennis.

2 Ken Goldberg { 04.03.24 at 11:16 am }

See? I didn’t think it would take you long to drum up enough stuff to write on the guy…. Like you used to say about me, I was so anxious about some issue you were certain I’d be writing a letter soon about it (and that usually was correct).

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