Blogs > News-Herald Food and Travel

Food and travel captivate Janet Podolak, who chronicles both for The News-Herald. Get the back story of her three decades of stories here. Guest bloggers and fellow News-Herald staffers also periodically share details of their trips.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

trip to Cleveland's past

Nostalgia reigned on a recent day spent touring Cleveland with a group of seniors from Breckenridge Village — many of whom had spent a half century or more living in Northeast Ohio before moving to the Willoughby retirement community.

We learned about the rich history of the Flats, when it was home for Irish immigrants coming to hand dig the Ohio-Erie Canal. We saw the bell that called people to Public Square when Lincoln's funeral entourage passed through. We shared Euclid Beach stories and reminisced over lunch about favorite long-gone restaurants of the past. We learned that former mayor Ralph Perk's family once delivered ice during the summer and we tasted cupcakes made from original Hough Bakery recipes. That's one of our stops - the West Side Market - shown above.

I'll tell you more about it in my News-Herald Sunday Community story for Aug. 24. I hope you'll enjoy reading it half as much I enjoyed writing it.

I'd forgotten how seniors can be so much fun.

A few weeks back I was surprised at the answer when I asked an 80-something friend about the technology that had made the biggest change in her life.

"The garage door opener," she replied. "I'd been driving for years but until the 1970s when we got a garage door opener I always had to ask my husband or neighbor to open the garage before I could get out."

So I asked the same question to the 33 seniors aboard the Lakefront Lines bus taking us around Cleveland. Here are some of the answers I got:

"Super highways," said Arline Reemsnyder. "I live in Lyndhurst when I was a girl and my mother's sisters lived on the west side. Traveling there on the streetcars took forever." That's Arline, shown above.

"Refrigeration," said Jayne Crawford. "It seemed that everyone else had an electric refrigerator when the ice man was still delivering to us. It was very exciting when we got a second hand G.E. refrigerator in about 1954."

"The keypad," said Joan Phillips. "It allows children to access their house after school without a key to lose."

"The GPS satellite locating system," replied Jack Phillips. "As a geologist working in many countries without suitable maps, locating what might be important was crucial."

Merle Pender remembers listening to the radio show "One Man's Family" with the entire family. "In the late 1920s my family purchased our first cabinet radio — a Philco — and every Sunday night the family would sit around and listen. "

"Power windows and trunk openers," said Jean Slagle. "I can walk up to my car and not need to fiddle with keys."


Anonymous Joan Stewart, The Publicity Hound said...

Janet, I love the question you asked the seniors, and I've turned it into a story idea to share with my readers who are looking for ways to promote nursing homes, retirement communities, long-term care facilities and senior citizen centers. You can read it at my blog at

Thanks for the tip!

August 18, 2008 at 8:49 AM 

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