Skokie, Lakewood and All That Marching Band Jazz

Rock Hall Cleveland Exhibit: Madonna Greets Us!

The weekend of May 21, 2011, Anita came to visit me in Lakewood, Ohio, a beautiful suburb with Cleveland proper bordering on the east, Lake Erie on the north.

While Anita’s visit was brief, it was still memorable. By hitting the wrong turn on the highway drive from the airport we ended up downtown, on a gorgeous day, where we saw and heard numerous marching bands doing their thing at the Rock Hall. Music is what first brought us together, all those years ago, and ending up in the middle of all those students playing all those instruments brought us back to every Mr. Stahlberg band rehearsal and every Mr. Eisele band trip we ever experienced.

Collinwood High School Marching Band, performing next to Cleveland's Rock Hall Museum

After enjoying some outdoor hotdogs and posing in front of the Rock Hall, we headed west towards my place, where we unloaded the luggage and Anita first saw Chez Alex. Right after, we had to make a stop at the Entrepreneurs’ HQ: Starbuck’s. We summoned my friend Todd, who shared some in-depth perspective on dating and relationships. Men care more than we think and Todd’s honesty was riveting.

Skokie Converges in Lakewood

After a few hours of fresh air, caffeine, chocolate and conversation, we headed home. Given that this was just a few weeks after Anita’s birthday, I decided to host a little dinner party just for the Skokie crew. Art, with who we grew up and who has worked on various creative projects with us, shares his birthday with Anita and it was certainly time for cake and celebration.  Art’s wife Kristine, who is currently running for Lakewood Board of Education – yep, we all now live just 5 minutes from each other, exactly the same distance as when we did in Skokie, all those years ago – and their two kids, Justin and Emma, came over for an evening of friends, food and fun.

Anita opens her birthday gift, as Kristine and Betsy look on.

Betsy Voinovich stopped by and, late into the “Rapture” evening, her friend and Cleveland native Drew Carey chimed in via text. It was an incredible night and reminded all of us that we were all the same age as Justin and Emma when we first met. Who knew, all these years later, that we’d still be friends, as well as neighbors and biz partners?

When in the City of Rock 'n Roll, do as the locals.

On Sunday, Anita and I went back to Starbuck’s. We got our drinks, sat outside and Anita, in her own special way, attracted the attention of the entire Middle East contingency, including that of Matthew, a middle-aged Jordanian man who vows never to get married. We also talked to a 20 something Jordanian and a divorced Somalian. While more traditional in their POV, the truth zone prevailed: men and women are no longer seeing eye to eye.

Anita and I felt reconfirmed that we’re on track.

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