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I Love Cleveland

Laurie Niles

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Published: August 10, 2004 at 5:14 AM [UTC]

Well, here it is, guys, my down-home, handwritten version of the children’s prayer I wrote. Please keep in mind I’m a better writer of words than I am writer of notes, but this works well if you have my kind of vocal skills. That is to say, as a singer I’m a great…violinist!

Anyway, I plan to get back to this blogging business, now that I’ve finished three different weeklong trips! My head is still spinning. In June I went to Snowmass, Colorado, for the Suzuki Institute, then in July my family visited Robert’s relatives in Orlando, Florida, then we just returned from visiting my relatives in Cincinnati and Cleveland, Ohio, the first week in August.

Snowmass was breathtakingly beautiful, Orlando was touristy but I enjoyed the Epcot giant golf ball at sunset (if you try not to look at the ridiculously tasteless Mickey arm thing projecting from it), Cincinnati gave me another great sunset from the purple people bridge over the Ohio River, but Cleveland….

I just love Cleveland!

I had to “come out” about that. I wasn’t aware that it was “un-hip” to like Cleveland until I went to Northwestern University near Chicago, when a classmate cut me off as I was saying something admiring about Cleveland: “Omigod, it is like the ARMPIT of the Midwest!”

What? Though I grew up in Denver, I was born in Cleveland. As a child I visited Cleveland every summer, and my sister and I looked forward to it with great excitement and anticipation, as though we were going to Disneyland for three weeks. Cedar Point! Geauga Lake and Sea World! The Cleveland Symphony at Blossom! Sunsets over Lake Erie from Rocky River Park! Long walks in the lush green Rocky River Valley, skipping rocks with Grandpa! Riding our bikes for miles and miles on I-90 before it was opened! So many explanation points that Robert is going to make fun of me!

The day I returned to L.A., I put on my spiffy new “Cleveland” T-shirt (California tourist buys Cleveland T-shirt!) when I went to coffee at Peet’s, a Pasadena coffee hangout. As I sat at a table outside, watching my kids run around and do everything but eat their bagels, a gorgeous woman with curly brown hair, deep brown eyes and perfect everything said, “Are you from Cleveland?” I fumbled around and said, well, sort of…”I’m from Cleveland, too! I grew up there!” I said that it’s a beautiful place. “It IS! It’s a beautiful place! But whenever I tell anyone I’m from Cleveland, they think I milk cows or something!” She then went back to chatting about her recent screenplay with her colleague.

Anyway, my most recent visit did not disappoint. We spent a day at Cedar Point, and I can let Robert tell you about that. I just love it because it’s so beautiful and isolated, and yet an awesome amusement park.

Then I had the great pleasure of meeting member Andrew Sords downtown by the ominously named Terminal Tower, once an edifice that was the second-tallest building in the world when built in 1930, now part of a shopping mall. We sat at a window by the Cuyahoga River, where I fondly remember taking a boat ride. “And the river which was so polluted that it CAUGHT ON FIRE!” Robert reminds me. Erggh! This incident is in the past, okay? It’s clean now. Though I might not drink from it.

Anyway, Andrew was just returning from a solo tour in Holland. We had such a nice chat, though I wish I could have heard him play. He told me how he found the site while bored a few years ago on New Year’s Eve. “So I spent most of the rest of the night with my champagne and!” Are you old enough to drink champagne, young man? ;) Just kidding. He has the maturity and intelligence of someone far older than him, though!

Unfortunately, nothing of interest was going on at Blossom while we were there. And, we missed John Elway being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But it was great to be in the place that is home to the Cleveland Institute of Music, the Cleveland Symphony, the place where the term “Rock ‘n’ Roll” was born…It’s my kind of place!

From Carla Leurs
Posted on August 17, 2004 at 10:40 PM
Laurie, I agree. Cleveland is not as bad as people make believe. And for string players it might well be close to heaven. So let nobody tell you anything about Cleveland. After having had a former violinist, now real estate developer boyfriend in Cleveland, I think in about 10 years it might very well be one of the coolest towns of the mid west!
A proud Cleveland immigrant
From sara a. m.
Posted on August 18, 2004 at 11:45 PM
I like Cleveland too, but just curious about the other comment, how is it heaven for string players?


From Lauren Canitia
Posted on August 24, 2004 at 1:58 AM
I live in a Cleveland suburb and I love it here! Cedar Point is one of my most favorite places to go in the summer. I was gone most of the summer, otherwise maybe I could have tried to meet up with you while you were here! Cleveland has just about everything you need. Something for everyone. :-)


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