7/16/2017 0 Comments
Recently, because I am growing older, I realized that the house I am living in (renting) and other "old" houses nearby (meaning at the least a hundred years old) are older and more meaningful than they would have been to me twenty years ago. Things are getting "older", and they are slightly taking on the cast of being truly vintage as an ever growing distance is emerging between myself and my extreme youth (and the time period of that youth).
The city I live in has always fascinated me, but recently I find that it, and surrounding small towns and areas ( one being where I actually grew up) have taken on a more mournful and morbid meaning, and I realize that all the inhabitants of these spaces are living ghosts....
(You can travel to Geneva-on-the-Lake and be transported back thirty years from the current time and see teenagers dressed in the exact same uniform of grunge and alternateens from the nineties. I spotted a young couple like this when I went there for Fourth of July and I was disturbed; I could swear they were ghosts.)
And people here are ghosts too. They are trapped literally DECADES behind European countries in relation to style and politics and food and anything else of importance or interest in the world. And they are trapped in a strange ahistorical moment that is literally history as-it-is-happening (does that make any sense?)
BUT I AM DIGRESSING, LIKE MAJOR-LEAGUE DIGRESSING. So even though people in the United States are constantly tearing down historical buildings and monuments to make way for crazy ugly new fangled contraptions that serve only vacant commerce and mangle the souls of human beings, there are still a lot of dilapidated places and weird funky spooky vibes in the city if you're open to them.
I've always been fascinated with the Torso Murders which took place in Cleveland in the 1930's. I liked learning about Elliot Ness because he seemed ( and still does ) to be one of the only people I've ever heard of who became a public servant and actually made an impact on corruption and crime in this country. (I think the information is vague and misleading surrounding the killings and it seems incredible that police were so incompetent in that time and couldn't figure anything out. I don't believe there was a specific serial killer; I believe these were just mob killings that for some reason got lumped together into a chain. )
It's been the vehicle to transport me into the Cleveland of this time period because i wanted to be taken there somehow - it was considered "the most dangerous city in America" and its' streets were full of life: trolley cars and downtown shopping and red light districts, immigrants and people dressing up and going about on foot (instead of enslaved to highways in their anti-social cars). It was more dynamic than it is now. People thought differently and saw the world differently and were ensconced in a different medium and this such a relatively short time ago; it's just too thrilling! As John Stark Bellamy puts it in his book "The Maniac in the Bushes: More Tales of Cleveland Woe": "The past is a foreign country, and its inhabitants do things very differently there."
Every year I mean to go on the Haunted Cleveland tour of the Torso Murders. (They only do one tour a year, usually in June, and every year I always fucking forget and never sign up for it, so I miss out on the chance to go to the places where the bodies were found and other important locales; I want to go because as much as I read about the murders, I don't understand where all the bodies were actually found, and I don't know if I can access them on my own (like I don't think I could access Kingsbury Run except via a ride on the RTA Blue Line)).
But through the years I am always coming back to it and the books I've read have told me about some points of interest located nearby to where I live: the grave of one of the first torso victims ( I live near the cemetery but I still have never found his grave, I don't know why!?!?!?!?!) and now recently I have found out that the house he lived in is nearby, so I decided to take a look: take a look at a house I have passed by hundreds of times without taking any interest in it. (Well, I also live close to the house on Seymour Avenue where Amanda Berry and two other women were held captive for ten years).
So now as I'm reading "The Maniac" again and am finally paying attention to the street addresses that YES, he had been putting into the book the entire time, I have been entering them into the GPS of my phone and creating an interesting map (which has my neighborhood smack dab in the heart of it all), which is creepy and thrilling at the same time.
And finally has me thinking and believing that I live in a historically important place. No, not on a par with Europe, but it's there on the threshold. The place where I live is not devoid of history, and I don't live in a place where history doesn't exist...
American cities (with some exceptions) really want you to feel like they were just created yesterday and they are all about the present and devoid of any historical significance whatsoever; it's like they've sucked all past historical events out with a vacuum cleaner, and left you with soulless centers of barely-there commerce. They're all cities of an ahistorical present dedicated to wealth creation, and you feel like nothing ever happened there before you or I existed, growing up in a suburban playground or an urban housing project; we just showed up one day in some strange way and have only existed since about the seventies.
But now I look at buildings that are clearly from the nineteen fifties and sixties in a new light. Because now I am so much further removed in time, these have more historical significance and they're just way cooler than they were before.
It's almost like seeing the Eiffel Tower in your own town (it has almost that much significance for me). It's old. It's culture. It's something. It's far enough away in time to be OLD.
(And I know Native Americans lived here WAY before we did but all their history was obviously the first to be obliterated from the psyche of this land).
Something holds this country hostage, and it's not allowed to access the richness of its inner soul. I search for morbid little capillaries and back alley ways to enter into this.
Melinda Radosavljovic is a "life-long Clevelander" and fucking hates the Cavs and the Browns THANK GOD sick-and-tired-of-this-bullshit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!