In a blog post the other day I wrote about how much the area I lived in during my teen years in Toledo, the Old South End, had gone downhill. That wasn’t entirely true. There are some homeowners who still have pride in their properties and work hard to maintain them, like these places. Blue collar people who are the salt of the earth.
Unfortunately, these are little islands in a sea of decay. It’s not uncommon to see three or four houses like this, sometimes even a block of them, and right next door or across the street you see this. And the bad ones far outnumber the good ones. I feel sorry for those people who work hard to keep their homes looking good and have their property values tank because of the neighborhoods they are in.
Back in the day, we didn’t have WalMarts and big grocery stores everywhere. There was one small Krogers, but every neighborhood had a couple of corner stores where you could get some grocery items, and the owners would carry you until payday if you were running short. In my neighborhood, Al’s Market was the place to go not only for bread and milk and things like that, but also to catch up on all the latest gossip.
The streets were safe back then, too. Sure, there were times when guys got cross-ways of each other and there would be a fistfight, but nobody shot anybody or any other craziness like that. And once the fight was over you shook hands and that was it. Life went on.
Occasionally we even had real crimes. I still remember the time a couple of fools from out of the area decided to rob the Home Savings and Loan on Broadway. I know you’ve all heard the term dumb crooks, and I think these two were the epitome of that. They stole a brand new Chevrolet from a car dealer, drove it to the bank and left it running at the curb while they ran inside to stick up the place. With their loot in hand, they beat feet for the door only to get outside and discover that somebody had stolen their stolen car! Meanwhile, a teller had pushed an alarm button and the two would-be desperadoes were still standing on the sidewalk trying to figure out their next move when the cops showed up and gave them a ride to their new accommodations at the Graybar Hotel.
After driving around taking more pictures and making notes for my new book series, Terry and I went to the main library downtown and spent three hours going through books on Toledo history, companies from the old days, ethnic neighborhoods, and what life was like here in the early part of the 20th century. We came away with information overload, and I am sure that once we get back home it will take me weeks to organize everything into the proper order to easily reference it when it comes time to sit down and start writing.
We also stopped at the National Museum of the Great Lakes, which tells the story of the maritime history of the Great Lakes and the role they have played in the history and development of the entire region. I will have a full blog post on the museum once we get back home and caught up.
And finally, a while back my cousin Nora Knople and her husband Chris recommended a great place to eat called Swig, which is in Perrysburg, a small town about three miles from our hotel. It’s a pub kind of place and we liked it so much that we have eaten there three times in four days.
I am not real big on hot dogs; I can take them or leave them. But I love the Cleveland Dog at Swigs. A delicious whole beef frankfurter with bacon, all beef coney sauce, shredded cheddar, and stadium mustard. It is so good one is never enough!
Thought For The Day – Some girls don’t like to walk in the rain because it puts their face back to the original factory setting.