Lakewood visit

Yesterday, in place of going sailing, I went on a bike ride down in Lakewood. I drove down and parked at Lakewood Park. I used to go there a lot, with the family on picnics (often KFC), with the summer daycare type thing I was in, and occasionally to see fireworks and bands play. While there yesterday, I saw all the kids that must have come from the summer daycare thing playing on the playground and swimming in the pool. There were certainly a lot of them. The park had changed in several ways. The playground area was totally redone, though I had seen the beginning of that remake near the end of my life there. Also, a skate park was added just recently, a few months ago evidently, and a building near the parking lot was renovated. Other than that it was very much the same. Quite amazing. I took pictures here and of other places throughout the day that brought back memories.

I took my bike from my car and rode around town. I first rode to my old street. I saw the old school, Lincoln, where I spent 6 years of my life. Lots of things happened there, and many of the people I knew I went to school with there. Riding down the street, I came to my old house. It looked very much the same, old and gray. The three neighbors house on the one side, Chris’s, the McCray’s, and Phil’s old house, looked almost the same, but changed a bit. The playhouse was gone from the back of Chris’s house, now that Katie had grown up. At Chris’s and the McCray’s, there were a lot more flowers in the front yard. At Phil’s old house, two big trees from the tree lawn were gone, making it look very empty. There was a tall fernlike plant and some other plants in the front yard. Otherwise, they were very much the same, with the same colors and the big fence in the McCray’s back yard. It didn’t look like anyone was home at the McCray’s or Chris’s, except for in the upstairs of the duplex Chris lives in (I never knew the person who lived there though). I wondered what had happened to everybody. I saw a young kid go into the garage of my old house.

I then rode on down the street. I saw the old rail road tracks, and then Ross’s Deli, where I used to go to buy Laffy Taffy, Bonkers, and other treats. I saw the Taco Bell next door. I rode around some more, and came to Woodward, where Phil had moved a year or so before I left. I wasn’t sure which house was his, but thought 1510 sounded familiar. Riding passed, it looked like it could have been it, but it would have changed a bit, getting a fence to the backyard and losing the basketball hoop on the garage. No one seemed to be home. Riding on, I went down to Edwards Park, where I had played a bit as a kid. I then rode on down the street where my friend Ian used to live. I really had no clue where his house was: I thought I remembered it being on the corner, but then I also remember walking down the street several houses to find it on the side toward my house. I also thought I remembered a big tree in the front yard, and a gray color to the house. I remembered little else about the house, as we spent our time inside. I rode up and down a couple times, but couldn’t tell at all which it was. Not many people were home at the time.

I rode down past the old middle school, Horace Mann, where I spent one year. It looked quite the same big old brick building. I then went back down to Lakeland and looked more closely at Lincoln. Both a new parking lot and playground had been added soon before I left. The playground had been changed at least a little since then, as there was no tire swing where it had been before. A gazebo and some plants had been added to where part of the parking lot had been before the new one was put in. That may have been there before I left, but I don’t remember it. I rode past the houses once more, and it still looked like no one was home at the two neighbors. I rode on down and walked along the railroad tracks to the small park nearby. I hadn’t gone there a whole lot, but did play put-put at the course that had been put in there several years before I left. Bored, I went over to the library and decided just to read for a bit. Up until this point, and especially at the library, I was checking out every person that looked to be about my age to see if they might be someone I knew. I was hoping that I may chance upon someone, though I knew my chances were extremely slim. I looked around a bit and then read a book on objects in PHP 5. I couldn’t read much of it though, as my thoughts were elsewhere.

I left to just ride around for a bit; I expected that 17:00 would potentially bring my neighbors home, so I would ride until around then. I saw the little strip-mall area that had been put in during my stay. It used to have Arabica, where I had once gotten ice cream, but it looked like some other coffee shop in its place. I rode around some more and then rode down Detroit a good ways. I didn’t plan to turn off it, but I found myself in a right turn only lane. I then turned again. I surprisingly passed one of the park entrances to the Rocky River, the place where Paul and I sail out from. I could even see the parking lot and boat ramps. I had no idea it was that close to Lakewood. I rode around a bit, taking pictures of some of the expensive houses out there. Paul and I had actually cycled around that area once not too long ago when we had ridden up to the Lake from a park near his house (sort of anyway). I rode farther than we had ridden along that route though, and saw a park that I had visited only a couple of times, with my parents and possibly my cousins the Shury’s.

I rode back to Rocky River and rode down to the dock area, as Paul had said he was sailing out at around 5, and it was in fact around 5. He wasn’t there. The lake was looking rough, it was very windy, and dark clouds were coming in, so I suspected he had checked the weather and saw it was looking too bad to go out. I walked around the marina area a bit, and checked out some of the sailboats there. Before I left, I decided to leave them a message in case they did come. I rode around the parking lot picking up sticks, then put them together to spell out my name near where Paul usually parks to step the mast and set up the boat. Riding away, I noticed it wasn’t easily visible from very far away, but I hoped they’d get close enough to see it. At this point, I could hear thunder, it was getting very windy, and the clouds were getting very dark.

I rode back to Lakeland for one last visit. This time, a car was in the drive at the McCray’s. I slowly rode past, not seeing anybody. I rode down to Lincoln, deciding if I should knock on the door or not. When I came back, a woman sat out on the porch that looked very much like I remembered Mrs. McCray looking. But it had been so long, that I wasn’t sure. I rode past and thought a bit about what I should do, what I should say. I’m still, after all, very shy. A car pulled out that was parked across from the McCray’s and drove by. It looked like it could have been Rena, and I soon found out it was. I then got the strength to go up to Mrs. McCray. I rode up, and asked if she was Mrs. McCray. She said she was. I approached the porch and told her I had lived down the road a bit years ago. She then began to recognize me. I couldn’t think of much to say, and it was a bit awkward for a moment, but then I asked how Rena and David had been. David was down in Columbus going to school. He didn’t like school much, and wasn’t sure what he wanted to do. Rena had gone to school for both nursing and psychology, and also wasn’t sure what she wanted to do. She was doing something related to nursing now, and was planning on getting into lab work for a while. Mrs. McCray called out her husband, Dave. He was surprised to see me. We talked for a bit and I gave him my parents’ phone number, as he had lost it. He said they had talked about my dad just recently.

Dave took me over to show me to Chris, who also still lived in the same place. Chris didn’t recognize me at first, but soon after realized who I was without even having to be told. His wife came out as well. She didn’t recognize me right away, and I actually didn’t recognize her either; I didn’t remember her very well. We all sat out on the porch and talked for a bit. Eileen (Mrs. McCray) soon came over as well. Chris’s wife (I believe her name was Jeanne) went and picked up little Katie, who wasn’t quite so little anymore, and was going on 17. She looked much older, of course, but I could still see the same facial features from before. She didn’t really remember me, though she did remember my brother a bit. She sat on the porch with us for a bit, but went inside when someone called on the phone.

They told me of what had happened since I was gone. It was mostly the same. The had recently had a block party, and had had two others since we left. Dave was one of the people setting the recent one up, and Chris had been on the one before that. They had put up a volleyball net accross the street, had games for the kids, a raffle, and free pizza. Evidently, some residents had gotten mad about the whole thing and tried to drive their cars on through. One had called the police, who told him that the block had gotten a permit for the party and so was allowed to block off the street. Flyers had been handed out to warn everybody to move their cars to parking lots at either end, but some still found that too inconvenient for a day. Chris and Dave had been working on their houses, especially Chris. He had sanded off all the old paint and repainted. The McCray residence still had the same old paint, though it will need to be redone soon. My old house had seen several crazy residents come and go before settling on the quiet mom with her child that lived there now. The residents beforehand had been loud, and one had stolen a package. One had been renting the house out, though it’s not supposed to be. Other neighbors, who I hadn’t known too well, had moved out.

I told them about what had happened on my end as well, how I had graduated from Kent for restaurant management and planned to possibly open a restaurant with my brother, how I had moved into a trailer near my parents and needed to do work on it, how my brother had also moved out, and how my dad had had a heart attack but was doing fine now.

I was offered and ate tortilla chips, some tasty amish cheese, some iced tea, and then two tacos. They said they were going to invite my parents over for some kind of party soon. I hope they do. I really miss the old neighborhood and the sense of community we had there. I’d like to know what my life would have been like had I not moved. I guess that’s quite impossible though. I then said bye and rode off to my car. It was a little bit wet from the short rain we had gotten while on the porch.

I realized I left there much later than I had wanted to. It was almost 21:00 when I got to my car, and I had to be in Kent for my show. Normally I try to make it there by 22:00, though we don’t play till 22:30. I looked at the map, but saw no quick easy way apparent to get to Kent. I drove by the Lakewood Winking Lizard while going to the highway. I drove on, unsure of exactly where I was going to go. I looked at the map as I approached several of the exits, trying to decide which I should take. I eventually decided I should take the long route that was all highway driving, down into Akron, then over and back up a good bit along 76. Somewhere along the way, my exhaust got extremely loud. It was somewhat painful to the ears. I was quite worried a cop would pull me over about it. None did though, even riding home. It was definately loud enough that people were looking at me though. When I parked near the ECC, I looked under the car. I saw that there was a clean crack right through the exhaust at one point, and the front part was hangin down so that it was shooting the exhaust straight out from there. Later, with aid of a flashlight, I found out that the crack was through the one end of the catalytic converter, right next to the flange used to bolt it to the front part of the exhaust. This means I will need a new cat. They are a bit expensive. I’ll also have to figure out how to get to the store to get one, as I’m not sure I want to drive it around much. Another difficulty is that today I was going to get the car transferred to my name, so I was going to get it e-checked, then go get the title transferred, then get the plates. I certainly won’t pass e-check bypassing entirely the cat. That may have to wait till tomorrow.