Where did YOU go to high school?

When the bride’s father, Mel, asked about Yiddishe Cup’s fees, he mentioned his grandmother had baby-sat Joel Grey (Mickey Katz’s son).  Mel asked if Yiddishe Cup knew any Mickey Katz tunes.

I said, “We play more Mickey Katz songs than anybody in the world! You’ve heard us, right?”

No, he hadn’t.

I said, “Have you been under a rock for twenty-one years!”

Mel was from Cleveland.  Where had he been hiding?  Mel said he didn’t get around much.  He used to get around.  He said, “Where did you go to high school?”

I told him Brush High.

Mel had graduated from Heights High, but he  was OK with my going to Brush.   He had played softball with Brush boys in a JCC league.  Mel was six years old than me; I didn’t know any of his Brush buddies.

Mel’s daughter — the bride — was 31 and living in Brooklyn — Yiddishe Cup’s target demographic.  I said, “Has your daughter checked out Yiddishe Cup’s Web site? It doesn’t matter if you like Mickey Katz.  She’s calling the shots. ”

“Do you know Joel Schackne?” Mel said.  (Schackne had been a champion tennis player at Heights High.)

“I know of him.  Whose idea is the Jewish music?”

“Schackne is in Florida.  He’s still playing tennis.”

“What does your daughter think about Jewish music?”

“What AZA were you in?”  (AZA: a B’nai B’rith boys’ club.)

“I was in a JCC club.”


I met Bob, a cleaning supply man, also a Heights High grad.  I met him at an AIPAC meeting.   Bob wasn’t OK with Brush.  He said, “Brush was a bunch of greasers!”

The AIPAC  speaker, a  former Clevelander (and Brush grad, rah, rah!), had left Cleveland to attain multiple Ivy League degrees and become a weapons analyst with the government.

Ron, a Brush graduate now living in Connecticut, phoned me to say he was in Cleveland at a nursing home, visiting his dying mother.   Ron asked if anybody was still in town.  (“Anybody” meant “Our Crowd.” )

I said, ”Nobody is here.” Nearly every egghead had left years ago.  The Jewish guys left in town were, for the most part, entrepreneurial and family-business owners.  A couple local guys had even made serious money.  One , who built cell phone towers, was a playboy with femme fatales poolside.


Howard, a Brush grad in New York, called.   He was coming through Cleveland.  His aged parents were selling their house and moving to assisted living.  He and I should get together.


Did I have a post–high school life?

I think so.  I’m not stuck on high school.  But the subject does come up.  I live in my hometown.  What can I say?

Go Arcs.


Footnotes and links:
Mel didn’t hire Yiddishe Cup for his daughter’s wedding. And sorry I didn’t go to Shaker High; that would have made for a better story here.

Links:Yiddishe Cup, Klezmer Guy: Real Music & Real Estate. Ralph Solonitz, who did the illustrations above, also illustrates the Klezmer Guy blog and has a terrific Web site, Ralphstuff.com