I have been in the same path - Born and raised in Parma, Cleveland cannot be taken out of me.
Everywhere I go when I return, Cleveland has given me so many indelible memories - those you cannot imagine being given, growing up perhaps in such large cities as LA or SF.
In adulthood I moved to LA, and there's nothing like it.
But it doesn't have the soul of Cleveland. Not by a long shot.
I remember the local mini store, with Hank, the owner / manager, who gave me work to do after school when I had time, and on weekends just because I wanted to.
Skating in Hank's parking lot, where he allowed nobody else to do unless they were with me.
My best friends, Andy and Matt Comer, brothers, who had a fish tank in their basement that we all were wondered by when we weren't out front playing around the tree playing Star Wars, GI Joe or COBRA until dark.
There was no such thing as a “helicopter parent,” and we all walked to and from K-6, to Redwood Elementary, and later to Parma High.
The local theatre where when Jurassic Park came out, a friend of mine who worked there would let me in free, rather than the $2 price. I must have seen it fifteen times.
I remember mowing my lawn, and the tree lawn, with a push mower. Later, my grandfather taught me how to do electrical work as we wired up the garage with electric so we could have a light out back to watch our Golden Retrievers do their business and play around.
My Church, St Charles, on the next road, let me help wire up their annual carnival lighting.
I came out in Parma, where, rather than be “bullied” I was the talk of the high school. Even the school thug, a mexi-american kid, took to friends with me.
Parmatown mall, by the mayor’s office, such a great place and tho there was little there I got my first official job at the Radio Shack when I was eighteen.
Cleveland will never disappear from my life story. It's where my life began. My mother, Deborah; My grandparents; My friends; my experiences.