Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Couple More Christmas Photos

Above: Eddie Kleppel, with Colin on his shoulders, and Julia Coughlin Kleppel.

That's not really Colin's beer! Emily in background.

Froehliche Weihnachten von der Coughlin-Kleppel-Homan Familie!

Bob's Christmas presents, a hiking stick and a new jacket.

Euclid as a Summer Lake Resort

In today's Plain Dealer there was a story about Euclid in the late 1890s as a kind of summer getaway resort for Clevelanders [also on at this address:]. When the Shore inter-urban train came to Euclid around 1898, so did the summer tourists. Initially they would rent tent platforms in the Moss Point area of Euclid (that's near where E. 222 meets the Lake--the site of a sewage plant now as well as Euclid Park). A few years later people began to build summer cottages--many of which are still visible in Euclid. [more coming]

The Opposite of a Christmas Story in Mentor

A homeless man has been jailed by the city of Mentor over Christmas. His suitcase was found Saturday morning in front of the Barnes and Noble store. Authorities were afraid it was a bomb and it was removed by the Lake County Bomb Unit, who fired two shots into it. They blasted dirty underwear and clothing.

Kevin Striley, age 43 from Mason, Ohio, is in jail because the homeless man could not post a $102,000 cash bond--as set by Judge John Trebets. I couldn't meet a bond like that!

Two thousand years ago a young couple traveled from the region of Galilee to a village just south of Jerusalem--called Bethlehem. There was no room at the inn for them, even though the young woman was nine months pregnant. Her baby was born in a stable, a manger, a place where animals ate and took shelter. This baby, whom we Christians celebrate as the Savior of the World, knew homelessness from his first moment.

I don't know exactly what the Mentor authorities should have done. Maybe they put Kevin Striley in jail to give him a warm place to stay over Christmas and some regular meals. Maybe Mr. Striley needs psychiatric evaluation. I hope that Mentor officials didn't violate their Christian and human duty and heritage.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Few Christmas Photos

Top: Kevin Coughlin. Middle: Jim and Dillon Coughlin. Bottom: Darby, Jodi, and Quinn Coughlin.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

More Family Photos: the Bowers/Bauer side

My Grandma, Cora Bowers, on her First Communion Day--probably in 1897. She's on the left in the photo above. This was professionally taken in Youngstown, Ohio. Her father. Frank Bowers, was born Frank Bauer in Pittsburgh. Most of his family stayed in Pittsburgh and retained the German spelling of their last name (many Bauer relatives still live there). At some point, Frank moved to Youngstown and changed the spelling of his last name--why I never heard. Frank married Mary Voelker and moved to Cleveland, where he worked as a bridge engineer (he was an important engineer on the Detroit-Superior bridge crossing the Cuyahoga River valley in Cleveland. The bridge has linked the east and west sides of Cleveland for about a 100 years now. My Grandma, whom I loved very much, lived from 1889 to 1980, and is buried in All Souls Cemetery in Chardon, Ohio.

The two Bowers sisters, Cora Bowers Coughlin and Edna Bowers Rosenfelder, at Maryknoll near Ossining, New York, where their brother, Larry Bowers, was a Maryknoll missioner. Brother Larry served earlier in his career in China.

Cora Bowers Coughlin, Brother Larry Bowers MM, and Edna Bowers Rosenfelder. This photo was taken at Uncle Bill and Aunt Kay's house in Willowick, Ohio. Uncle Larry came home every August--when the wild cherries ripened on the trees (that's the association I made as a young kid). I think this photo might have been from the early to mid 1960's.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Some Older Family Photos

Top photo: Grampa Connie Coughlin (born 1891), Uncle Bill Coughlin (born 1923), with Jeannie and Jackie Coughlin. 1953, Willoughby, Ohio.

Middle photo: Al Fitzpatrick, Margaret Ann Coughlin Bernice Potter, Bob Coughlin, Nelson Potter, Linda Coughlin, Mrs. McHugh, Catherine Fitzpatrick. Circa 1980.

Bottom photo: Mary Finnegan Fitzpatrick, Mrs. McHugh, Bob Coughlin, Mary Zylowski. Circa 1980.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Winter Solstice Poem

Winter Solstice

The chill creeps into the bones:
December 21 and sun gone long before 5 o’clock;
Huge gray clouds roll in off Lake Erie
Riding the Witch’s gale, spitting sleet and

Fears as real and as organized as the swirl
Of pin oak leaves down Lakeshore Boulevard.
This day, shaken by nameless fears,
Seems to last forever:

I wonder how I will get through the next minute,
And the minute after that,
And the minute after that,

Wonder if I can make it
Until hope returns

Until peace-which-surpasses-understanding,
As mysterious as winter solstice’s fear--
My heart standing still, turning cold,
My spirit abandoned--

Until peace returns like grace like unexpected


                        Robert M. Coughlin

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The End of the Iraq War

Today marks the end of the Iraq War. I remember so vividly the day it began. In America it was March 19, 2003, the feast of St. Joseph [it was March 20th in Iraq]. To me at the time, it seemed such a sacrilege to begin a war on this feast day. The war began with "Shock and Awe," a bombardment never seen before in the history of the world (or so it seemed to me as I watched it on television from about 6000 miles away).

And today, after more than 4400 dead Americans, uncountable dead Iraqis (the estimates vary wildly, from over 100,000 to a million), and tens of thousands of wounded, the war is over. I guess we won.

For about 13 months my family was on pins and needles as my niece, Michelle Zaremba, served with the Ohio National Guard in Iraq and Kuwait. Michelle led truck convoys across Iraq and was often in danger. On Easter of 2004 my niece was almost killed as an RPG shot through her cab windows. She and her co-driver were wounded in this attack, and her truck was incinerated (if I remember correctly, Michelle had 2 trucks burn up during her service there). I can't imagine the heat, dust, violence, fear--and yes, the camaraderie and heroism--that Michele and her colleagues encountered.

Michele and thousands of other soldiers brought home spiritual suffering from this war, PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. She has had counseling and treatment for this and has handled it well. But not all returning soldiers have overcome PTSD. There have been suicides, many of them, and problems with alcohol and drugs. Three of my uncles were damaged by their service in World War II, when they hardly had a name for PTSD (in severe cases it was called "shell shock" back in those days). My uncles (Jack Coughlin and Dick and Don Fitzpatrick) never got treatment for their psychological pain.

So today I think of all the dead, wounded, and suffering--on all sides--and hope that a just peace comes to Iraq. 

Bring peace to this broken world, O Lord!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Coughlin/Kleppel Family Photo

Coughlin/Kleppel Family photo, taken in Fall of 2011 at the Great Lakes Brewery in Cleveland. Linda, Emily, Carolan, Bob holding Colin Jude Kleppel, Ed Kleppel, Julia Coughlin Kleppel.

Lord of All Hopefulness and Margaret Ann's Passing 8 Years Ago

Lord of All Hopefulness
Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy,
whose trust, ever childlike, no cares could destroy,
be there at our waking, and give us, we pray,
your bliss in our hearts, Lord, at the break of the day.

Lord of all eagerness, Lord of all faith,
whose strong hands were skilled at the plane and the lathe,
be there at our labours, and give us, we pray,
your strength in our hearts, Lord, at the noon of the day.

Lord of all kindliness, Lord of all grace,
your hands swift to welcome, your arms to embrace,
be there at our homing, and give us, we pray,
your love in our hearts, Lord, at the eve of the day.

Lord of all gentleness, Lord of all calm,
whose voice is contentment, whose presence is balm,
be there at our sleeping, and give us, we pray,
your peace in our hearts, Lord, at the end of the day.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Passing of Dick Kenney, Pillar of St. William's in Euclid

The Plain Dealer today posted the obituary of Dick Kenney (Richard C. Kenney, Sr.), one of the pillars of the St. William's community and the city of Euclid. I have known of Dick since my cub scout years, the mid 1950s. I attended St. William's with his daughter Anne, and I knew his son Dick a bit. When I moved back to Euclid and St. William's in 1988, we were greeted by Dick and Anne, who still lived on Oriole near E.260th.

Dick and his wife Anne had nine children, 22 grand children, and 15 great grandchildren. Anne survives Dick; they both leave a legacy of family, church, and community. What else can you ask of a legacy?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

New poem

The End of a World

More drama under the surface than we ever suspected:

She, so needy, needing him so much,
One fine fall day, so suddenly,
Yet so treacherously, meticulously planned
Down to the cute smile and wave goodbye
As he left for his three-day campout with his old buddies.

The house dog left to sh** all over the place,
The two outside hounds left without water or food for three days.
Money withdrawn from their joint bank account,
Letters sent to his brothers and sisters cataloging
All his sins, peculiarities, flaws.

But she didn’t mention her own peculiar sins.
That came out later:

The screaming rages,
Chasing him around the house with a huge wooden spoon,
Pummeling him on the head.

Physically ill, mentally ill
Or damaged by abuse from her own father
We don’t know cause and effect . . .
            But we see the bodies on the battlefield,
            The wounds, the injury,
            The desolation.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Watching a Friend Struggle with Psychological Suffering

Someone I know well is in the middle of terrible psychological suffering. It's a mix of suffering over the loss of a marriage mixed up with terrible anxiety and insomnia. He is frantic, calling family members constantly, and calling his doctor to the point where the doctor is angry. In the past week or so he has been prescribed some medicines to help him through this crisis, but they don't seem to be working--at least not yet.

We have given him the best advice that we can think of (and much of this advice comes from people who themselves have gone through anxiety, sleeplessness, or depression). We are at the point where we don't know what else to do.

It seems that helping others in pain we must walk a fine balance between helping too much and not enough. If we help too much, we abet the weakness of the sufferer and don't allow him to grow through the experience; if we don't help enough, we risk terrible tragedy.

Hard as it is to say, it seems we sometimes need to allow people to suffer some. They need to see that they have the strength within to overcome troubles and to handle pain. What is the balance? When do we help? And when do we stand by to encourage them to help themselves?

What my friend doesn't seem to know is that this suffering will end; he will overcome and become stronger; he will be happy again, find new love again.

Monday, November 28, 2011

New Translation of the Roman Missal for Catholic Masses

Yesterday marked the first use of the new English translation of the Roman Missal in Catholic masses. My initial impression is less than positive, even though I loved the pre-Vatican II Catholic mass as said in Latin. I was an altar boy and knew the Latin responses by heart. I also studied Latin in high school, so you might expect me to love this somewhat literal translation of the new missal.


As a translation, the new missal seems to be way off the mark. It does not translate Latin into idiomatic American English--by any reasonable standard. It uses words, idioms, and phrasings that we simply don't use. A great example is the use of the word "consubstantial," which is substituted for "one in substance" in the Nicene Creed. I've never heard anyone use that word, but now some friends, family, and I throw it around like a two-bit word just as a joke.

Also in the creed they repeatedly use the word "I" instead of the word "we." Now this may be a more exact translation of the original Nicene Creed, but to me it's a kind of loss since the creed is a community prayer and Catholicism is a community religion, not, as in some forms of Protestantism, a religion of isolated individuals seeking salvation. We Catholics are like Jews--we are in this business together! "We believe in one God . . . ."

Any good poet can tell you that you can make the most beautiful and memorable and holy music with the simplest words, the language that the people speak every day. We don't need obscure words and syntax to elevate and mystify our belief in the Lord.

Monday, November 21, 2011

An Example of a Famous Macaronic Song: "Siuil a Run"

A long time ago I learned a macaronic song, consisting of English, Irish, and nonsense words, called "Siuil a Run." I remember singing it at Notre Dame parties (1966-1970) with Mike Gerrity and maybe Brian Wilson. At the time I had no idea there were Irish-Gaelic words in the song (the very title means, "Walk, My Love!" in Irish). The title is pronounced /SHOOL ah ROON/.

Macaronic songs and poems incorporate at least 2 languages, and sometimes more (see my attempt at a macaronic poem in the previous blog posting). Wikipedia give the following as the lyric to "Siuil a Run." In fact, there is no definite lyric but many variations:

I wish I was on yonder hill
'Tis there I'd sit and cry my fill
And every tear would turn a mill
Is go dté tú mo mhuirnín slán
Siúil, siúil, siúil a rúin
Siúil go socair agus siúil go ciúin
Siúil go doras agus éalaigh liom
Is go dté tú mo mhúirnín slán
I'll sell my rock, I'll sell my reel
I'll sell my only spinning wheel
To buy my love a sword of steel
Is go dté tú mo mhúirnín slán
I'll dye my petticoats, I'll dye them red
And round the world I'll beg my bread
Until my parents shall wish me dead
Is go dté tú mo mhúirnín slán
I wish, I wish, I wish in vain
I wish I had my heart again
And vainly think I'd not complain
Is go dté tú mo mhúirnín slán
But now my love has gone to France
to try his fortune to advance
If he e'er comes back 'tis but a chance
Is go dté tú mo mhúirnín slán
One translation of the Irish chorus is
Go, go, go my love
Go quietly and peacefully
Go to the door and flee with me
And may you go safely my dear.
A youtube performance by Clannad":

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Experimental Macaronic Poem

My Own Vida Loca 

Macaronic Poem (German, English, Irish, Latin, Spanish)

Mein verrueckt, wahnsinniges Leben
Ein Durcheinander of joys, Leiden, and chaos,
Unexpected, surprising Einsamkeit,
And even more surprising moments of Einigkeit und . . . sogar,

Liebe, Grá, Amor.

Lieber Gott, Mo Chara,
Shelter me under the shadow of your wings,
Hold me i mbos a láimhe thú

Nunc et in hora mortis nostrae
por favor!

Bob Coughlin 
November 22, 2011

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Another Irish Version of My Poem, "Northern Lights"

An Chaor Aduaidh

(translation of Bob Coughlin’s poem “Northern Lights” by Una Kimbrell)

Fógraigh an nuachtán gur tháinig said i láthair aréir.
Mar sprid i mo codladh sámh,
Ag lasadh an spéir thoir thuaidh timpeall Chardon,
Bileog daite ag dahmsa san oíche dubh,
An bhfeicfeadh mé na soilse seo choíche?
Tá Cuma aghaidh Dé orthu.
An splanc uaine ag luí na gréine,
Cat fíain sna coillte oíche,
Braithim mar Tomás,
“Lig dom mo lámha a chuir sna créachtaí no ní chreadfeadh mé é!”
Ó, a Chaor Aduaidh,
Aurorea Borealis,
Lig dom a dahmsa leat san oíche uaigneach geimhridh.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans' Day

On this Veterans' Day I want to remember my Dad, Robert P. Coughlin, and his brothers, Bill, Jack, and Fran, all World War II vets (all survived the war, all now deceased, two of them very damaged in spirit by their service).

Also, my Uncles Dick and Don Fitzpatrick, also World War II vets, also damaged in spirit by the war.

And Tommy Fitzpatrick, my cousin, who died in Vietnam in 1969; my Notre Dame and Innsbruck classmate, Steve Shields, who died in Vietnam in 1972.

And Michelle Zaremba, my niece, who fought in Iraq, and has fought (successfully) some PTSD demons.

"Dear Lord, bring just and lasting peace to the World!"

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Pictures of Mom, from 1940 to about 2000

Today would be my Mom's 88th birthday. My brother Kevin sent me these photos of Mom spanning almost 60 years. At the top, Mom and Kevin's visit to Ireland in the late 1990s; then Mom with Mary Ellen and Jimmy in the early 1960s in Euclid; next is Mom and Dad on their wedding day, August of 1947, in Willoughby; and finally, Mom with her brothers Skip (Fenton) and Don Fitzpatrick, circa 1940 in Cleveland (probably at Tarrymore Drive, off of Neff Road, near Lake Erie).

My Mother at Age 33 (May 5, 1957)

Here's a beautiful photo of my mother, Margaret Ann, probably taken at Susie Brock's First Communion party on May 5, 1957. Mom would have been 33 years old. No comment on the two bottles of beer in front of her! We'll say those belonged to Dick and Don Fitzpatrick!

The above blog entry was first published in March of 2011. I'll republish it today to honor my mother on what would be her 88th birthday.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

"Northern Lights" Poem in Irish-Gaelic: "Fainne ó Thuaidh"

“Northern Lights” -- Fainne ó Thuaidh
by Bob Coughlin, translated into Irish by Paul Curran

Dúradh san nuachtán gur thaibhsigh siad aréir
Mar taibhse i mo chodlata sámh.
Las siad suas spéir na hoíche Baile Chardon
Le taipéisí damhsach datha san oíche dhubh

An mbeidh mé na soilse sin a fheiceáil riamh?
Tá sé mar a fhéachtar an aghaidh Dé
An splanc ghlas le luí na gréine
Cat fiáin san choill oíche

Is Tómas mé --
"Cuirim mo lámha isteach san creachta nó ní chréidim é!"

A Fhainne ó Thuaidh
Aurora Borealis
Lig dom rince leat a dheanamh
Oíche uaigneach éigin geimhridh

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Grady Sizemore--Thanks!

The Cleveland Indians have decided not to pick up their option for Grady Sizemore ($9 million/ year), thus ending his career in Cleveland.

Grady Sizemore played full-tilt boogie since coming to the club in 2004, and that has been his undoing. Can you say that an athlete played too hard, too intensely? That's what Grady did, and his magnificent defense, characterized by diving for balls and crashing into outfield walls, led to many injuries and five surgeries the past few years. Grady went from playing nearly every game from 2005 to 2008, to playing 106 games, 33 games, and 71 games in the past three years. Despite his injuries, Grady Sizemore didn't change the way he played.

The only other baseball player that I have seen to match Sizemore's intensity was Pete Rose. I got to watch him during the Big Red Machine years, one of baseball's greatest eras. Somehow Rose managed to stay healthy during his long career, despite the head-first slides and crashes into players and fences (I remember the crash at home plate into Ray Fosse in the 1970 All Star Game--Holy Toledo!).

I admire both of these athletes, Grady Sizemore and Pete Rose. That's how I played baseball and football. I gave it my all. Football seems more a game that fits this intense style. Baseball demands a level of relaxation--for hitting especially. It's amazing that Sizemore and Rose could be both intense and relaxed when necessary.

We will miss the likes of Grady Sizemore. A player of this talent and intensity comes along very rarely.

Here is a video clip of Pete Rose crashing into Ray Fosse:

An example of Grady Sizemore's defense:

Monday, October 31, 2011

Babushkas, Davenports, Ice Boxes, and Tree Lawns

Growing up in Euclid, Ohio, we spoke an exotic dialect of English--though we didn't know it. My dialect (which was a mixture of family "idiolect" and our socio-regional dialect) might be described as an inland Northern variety of American English, flavored by our lower middle class socio-econmic status and our Irish-Catholic religion--with a dash of family peculiarities! Now that is a mouthful, I know.

There was a Euclid twist on our language because outside of Ljubljana, Slovenia, Euclid probably had the largest concentration of Slovenians in the world. We had Slovenians, Polish, Irish, Germans, Italians, English, and other ethnic groups in our town. We had many Jews and a Jewish temple, Ner Tamid, at E. 250th and Lakeshore Boulevard. As far as I knew, we had no Blacks in Euclid of the 1950's and 1960's. I've since heard that there were a few African American families around Babbitt Road and the railroad tracks (Nickel Plate and New York Central). This might seem astonishing in the year 2011 because Euclid is now around 40% African American (the Euclid public schools are much higher than that).

One possible linguistic contribution of the Slovenians and Polish Euclidians might be the word "babushka." I know the word in Russian means "grandmother," but to us it meant a scarf head covering that women wore. It probably was the most common head covering in St. William's when I was growing up (at the time women were required to wear head coverings in Catholic churches). My very Irish mother always wore a babushka in church. The word was as ordinary and common to us as the word "hat." When my wife moved to Euclid in 1982, she encountered this word for the first time--and I discovered it was not a commonly known word outside of Euclid and Cleveland.

Another common word in Euclid was "tree lawn." A tree lawn is the strip of land between the sidewalk and the street. I found out as a graduate student at Ohio State (1979-1982) that this was also not a universally understood word. In fact, there are interesting regional variations of this. Some people have no word at all for "tree lawn"; in Barberton, Ohio they call a "tree lawn" a "devil's strip." In fact, if you ever hear that term, you can bet the ranch the speaker is from Barberton.

In our family, the long overstuffed chair in the living room was called a "davenport." Now I get a blank look or a giggle when I use the term. I have a feeling we davenport-speakers are losing ground! This is probably also true for the Canadian chesterfield-sitters.

Another term used in our family was "ice box." That's where we kept the milk, the beer, and the Cheez Whiz.

I feel like a dinosaur these days, mowing my tree lawn, wearing a babushka (well, not really), sitting on my davenport, and grabbing a Great Lakes "Edmund Fitzgerald Porter" out of the ice box. Some days I like to eat my pirogi and potica as I drink my beer.

First Attempt to Translate My "Northern Lights" Poem into German

Das Nordlicht

Die Nachrichten sagen: Es trat auf der Buehne letzte Nacht.
So wie ein Geist in meinem tiefen Schlaf,
Erleuchtet den noerdlichen Himmel um Chardon Stadt--
Tanzende Farbenvorhaenge in der schwarzen Nacht.

Und sehe ich das Licht jemals?
Die Erscheinung des Gesichts Gottes,
Der gruene Blitz bei Sonnenuntergang
Der Rotluchs im Urwald.

Es ist mir wie Thomas,
"Wenn ich nur die Wunden tasten . . .'
Dann wuerde ich es glauben.

O wunderschoenes Nordlicht,
Aurora borealis,
Lass mich mit dir tanzen
Eine einsame Winternacht!

(Uebersetzung von Bob Coughlin, 31 Oktober 2011)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Northern Lights Visible Last Night

Northern Lights

The newspaper said they made an appearance last night,
Like a ghost in my deep sleep,
Lit up the northeast skies around Chardon
A dancing sheet of color in the black night.

Will I ever see these lights?
It’s like seeing the face of God
The green flash at sunset
A bobcat in the night woods . . . .

I feel like Thomas—
“Let me put my hands in the wounds
Or I will not believe!”

O Northern Lights
Aurora Borealis,
Let me dance with you
Some lonely winter night.

                                                Bob Coughlin

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Mary Ann Ratchko-Gamez: Premier Whistle and Flute Player!

I attended mass today at St. Mary's in Painesville, Ohio. I was struck by the beautiful flute playing, and then blown away by the spectacular whistle playing I heard at mass. I looked toward the choir loft and saw Mary Ann Ratchko, the new music director of St. Mary's. This was the person who played the beautiful Irish airs on whistle and flute at my mother's funeral in 2003.

The whistle music was so sweet and poignant I actually began to weep softly in church. After mass, I climbed up to the choir loft and talked to Mary Ann. She told me that she plays a Copeland sterling silver whistle, which accounts for the pure, sweet tone. Well it accounts for some of the sweetness; but it's Mary Ann's artistry that makes this music transcendental, reaching right for the heart.

One of the beautiful tunes Mary Ann played was "The Hills of New Zealand." I located a youtube version of this--played by Joannie Madden and Cherish the Ladies:

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Largest Baseball Crowd Ever--It Happened in Cleveland

Telling Strollers vs. Hanna Cleaners, September 1914
I located this photo at this site: Click on the image to see the full panorama.

I think this is the game my Grampa played in--the largest crowd ever to see a baseball game. And it happened in Cleveland, September 1914, at Brookside Park (near the zoo). This was a semi-pro game, not major league. Hard to imagine from our perspective a hundred years later.

Grampa Connie Coughlin and Telling-Belle Vernon Baseball Team

Telling-Belle Vernon Baseball Team, around 1914 or 1915
My Grampa, Connie Coughlin, played shortstop for a great Cleveland semi-pro team around 1914-15, the Telling-Belle Vernon Strollers. The Belle Vernon Dairy Farms. Co was a Cleveland dairy, and they merged with the Telling Co., makers of ice cream, on the 29th of January 1915. They played a baseball game in September of 1914 or 15 at Brookside Park, a natural amphitheatre near the Cleveland Zoo-- before an audience of over 100,000 fans. There are photos of this crowd available, the largest gathering to ever witness a baseball game (and an amateur game at that!).

The photo above is not clear enough for me to identify my grandfather. I think he is in the upper right corner.

The Great City of Cleveland

You laugh?

Last evening we went to supper in Cleveland's Little Italy neighborhood, right where Mayfield Road meets Murray Hill, at Presti's. They sell some simple Italian foods, as well as some not-so-simple (spectacular, really) Italian pastries. What a wonderful place to sit, chat, and eat with your family and friends. Presti's is as good as any place, anywhere!

Then we drove a half mile or less north to Severance Hall, and heard the world-famous Cleveland Orchestra, led by Franz Welser-Moest, as they played a ballet by Stravinsky (Agon); a violin concerto by Tchaikovsky; and Bolero by Ravel.

I especially liked the Tchaikovsky piece (Violin Concerto in D Minor), featuring the spectacular violin playing of Nikolaj Znaider. And the wonderful Bolero. When Bolero ended, I spontaneously let out a war-whoop, embarrassing myself a bit.

Cleveland might have its problems, but it has Little Italy, Presti's, and the Cleveland Orchestra!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Bobby, Denny, and Mary Ellen, circa 1954

The Coughlin kids, circa 1954: Bobby at age 6, Denny age 4, Mary Ellen, age 1. Euclid, Ohio. Thanks to Kevin for the photo.