The featured picture shows the Cleveland skyline from the East Side. As a view of Cleveland today, it makes a bold statement about growth and new prosperity for a city that used to be called “the mistake on the lake”. Yet, in a way, this picture obscures the past, making it more difficult to understand. Where we now see the Key Tower as the most prominent feature, we cannot see what is hidden behind – the Terminal Tower and what it meant to Cleveland in its time. And that, Dear Reader, is why we have grandfathers.
Before I move any further into this tale of the Three Grand Time Travelers, let me confess, there would be no grandfathers, if there were not children and grandchildren. Therefore, you must understand this story belongs as much to them as to me. Consequently, it was my honor to serve as guide during this journey in time – yes, a distinct honor and a great joy.
The journey began at 4:00 AM with the call to reveille. Two grandsons, now both adults, rose to the call, wiping sleep from their eyes. My beautiful Spouse had made ready scrambled eggs, ham, and coffee, all in great quantities. Plates were emptied rapidly, packing was completed, and all took their seats in the family car. Then, we prayed for safety along our way.
The very first stop, the visit that would set the tone for discussion of bygone times, was at All Souls Cemetery in Chardon, Ohio. There lie my Dad, my Mom, and my Sister. There we enjoyed the opportunity to think and speak of important things.
The central point for one growing up in northeastern Ohio during the 1950s was Lake Erie. It was fitting and proper to stop at Headlands Beach State Park and view some scenery that has not yet been ravaged by all that is “new”. It was a perfect day for enjoying the breeze off the Lake and taking pictures of seagulls and the Fairport Harbor West Breakwater Lighthouse. Being two young men who have only seen the ocean, they thought that like most other lakes they would see the other side of Lake Erie. They were wrong – and, in that error, there was a lesson to be learned.
Day One continued with many other stops, including a visit to Crown Hill Cemetery to visit my brother Tim. We spoke of him. When you are the last in your family, there is a responsibility to pass on the family lore and legends.
That evening, there was a family gathering. Grandsons #1 & #2 had the opportunity to meet family they had never known and family whom I love and cherish. The discussion was of travel, food, baseball and football. Who could ask for better topics to enrich the bonds of family?
There has been an ugly rumor in the family that Granddad tells tall tales and embellishes on his stories. The second day of travel for the Three Grand Time Travelers tended to show that perhaps Granddad’s tales were not quite so tall nor quite so embellished. As we visited my grade school, we had the good fortune to be allowed to view halls and rooms not often seen by the public.
It was there that I could confirm there really was a hallway with a down ramp. Milk really was delivered on a cart from room-to-room. But, most of all, it was confirmed that there really was a likelihood that a young student, after delivering milk, went cruising down the hallway at high speed down the ramp and ran into Sister at the bottom.
The world could have ended that day for the young student – but, it didn’t. Though it is only speculation, one might suspect that Sister secretly wished that she too could speed down the hallway on that milk cart.
We visited many, many other places on Day Two of our journey and much more was done than there is space or time to relate. It is essential to understand that, as they saw old baseball fields, high schools, and even electric power plants, Grandsons #1 and #2 were not mere spectators. For them, this was a grand adventure and there were questions about everything. They not only saw that there had been change over time, they also saw what might have been lost or gained through that change.
The evening ended with another visit with family. Thank you, Caroline and all, for taking the time to spend with us. Be assured it was greatly appreciated and will be a topic of stories for years to come.
So, Day Three arrived and we had to put Cleveland in our rear view mirror. Our destination was the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, PA. Though the Grandsons knew that this memorial spoke of a defining moment during their early lives, they never had the opportunity to encounter that moment so closely and personally as they stepped back to September 11, 2001. – Here is some of what they saw.
Yet, even during their solemn reflection, they did not lose their sense of humor, their love for life, or their sense of imagination. That is why we took time to speak of the future, to speak of a project we are working on together for this Christmas. And though the next two pictures will mean nothing to those outside the family, one can see that our DD&D Christmas story is now on the story board.
The day ended with the world’s best chicken wings made by Granny in the soon to be famous Serendipity Farmhouse Test Kitchen. There was no shortage of wings, conversation, or humor.
Thank you to my adorable Spouse, my family in Ohio, to Grandson #1 and Grandson #2, and to all who made this story possible.
We all journey through time. That journey is more meaningful, if we understand it for what it is. – “… seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you…”