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Entry date: 6-20-2022 - Trip Part three (Cleveland pt 1) - Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

Quick note: I worked a bit ahead, as you probably surmised, so I wouldn’t have to write a ton during our trip. I’m going to finish up the trip story today and probably tomorrow (maybe even a third day, we shall see), and then get into a few things. I’m going to be using my vacation to really concentrate on writing more fiction, so that will be coming, too.

Okay…back to the trip:

When we left off yesterday, the kids and I were in Chardon, Ohio at our cousin’s house and it was a nice respite from the road. Cousin Cindy was very kind and got us tickets to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, so how could we say no. I was concerned about leaving Bailey alone for an afternoon, but she seemed to be comfortable at their house.

After a leisurely morning, we headed into Cleveland proper to the Hall of Fame to meet Cousins Mary Kay and Lynn. It was so good to see Cleveland again after 41 years. People talk a lot of smack about the city, but for my money, it is one of the coolest places in the country. I don’t know if it is the gaggle of family we have there or what, but it has felt very much like home on both occasions I have spent time there in my life.

In fact, during the two pass throughs last year, I felt like I was really missing out by not stopping there. I have to feel like it is something on the nature side, but I’m guessing someone with lots of psychological background could explain it to me and tell me why it is all nurture. This isn’t the day to discuss nature vs. nurture, though.

The weird thing is that even though it has been so long, the main streets and skyline were so familiar and welcoming to me. I think Liam and Teresa felt a little bit of that, too, and both seemed to be very comfortable. We found our way to the R&R HOF and got a killer parking place right by the museum.

While we waited for Lynn and Mary Kay, Liam and I hit the restroom and we watched a bit of a ceremony outside. It was Flag Day and the birthday of the US Army, so there was a celebration for that which included inducting four young people into the Army. A guy read a poem about the US flag and a woman who had been part of an early incarnation of some famous band sang “America The Beautiful.” It was so hot and humid out there I had a hard time paying close attention, but it was awesome just to be there.

When Liam and I went inside to find a bathroom, I got extremely excited about the day just from the few things exhibited in the main area. There was a flying hot dog from a Phish tour that was fun to look at although I could care less about Phish. I was hoping it was from something cooler than that, but the real cool thing was seeing an awning from CBGB.

Some of you know another story about CBGB awnings that I won’t share here, but it made me smile a lot. The little description of the awning on the wall said that it had been the awning since the mid-1980s up until the time CBGB’s closed their doors. That made me smile, too. I had walked under the awning before when I was in New York in 2005 and saw Battalion of Saints there.

Anyway, Lynn and Mary Kay arrived, and we went inside.

They had a huge cake inside for the Flag Day thing and we had a fun conversation with the guy who had brought it there. We learned it there were over 15,000 sprinkles on the cake, which was a giant US Flag. Later that day, they cousins went down and had a piece while the kids and I messed around in the Garage area of the museum.

There was so much to see in the museum that I made the decision to just see as much as I could and not spend a lot of time reading the many descriptions of each exhibit. One of the first things we saw was one of Bob Marley’s hats. I could feel energy coming from the hat. Again, I’m sure a psychologist would explain it in a way that I would hate, but I felt the cool vibes from Marley’s hat and I was stoked to be so close to it.

The first room was all stuff from musicians of color, and we were off to a great start. James Brown was represented by one of his cool outfits, and various rappers and people like Marvin Gaye and Gil Scott Heron. One of the great things throughout the museum was handwritten lyrics from people. I could have just seen those and been stoked.

The second room was a bunch of pictures that had been featured in Rolling Stone magazine. These were super powerful. One was of Joan Baez, and I got to brag about interviewing her and talk about how she had laughed when I told her that Teresa and Liam had come up with the idea of calling taking a dump, “Taking a Trump.” I’m not sure if this was appreciated by my cousins, but I got a kick out of it and so did Joan Baez. She told me she was going to share it with her audience that night. I hope she did.

I got moved to almost tears in that room. The pictures captured rock and roll heroes at the height of their power, and it was overwhelming to see them and take it in. I kept it together, but I couldn’t help but go into teacher mode and tried to explain the significance of the pictures to the kids. What a killer job it would be to work there and talk about these people and their influence on our world.

Throughout the museum, there are tons of listening stations for people to check out the music, which I thought was great. I see that I am at 1046 words so I will continue tomorrow. There is so much more to write about the Hall of Fame and our day in Cleveland.

See you tomorrow.

This can be found right before you either go take a leak or head into the museum. I had to chuckle. Those who know don't tell and those who tell don't know. June 14, 2022 is when it was taken by me. You can see the tip of the hot dog, too. There were lights in the bun.

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