I fell and hit my head last night.
Nothing serious, but it did shake loose a few memories that I decided to share this afternoon.
It was 1982-83 and I was completing my studies at the once venerable Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science. Back in those days, most students lived in apartments at area funeral homes. It was a win-win as the student had a place to live to continue to apply what they were learning in school and the owners of the funeral home got cheap, yet eager labor.
I was fortunate to land one of the best places to work, spending my time at the Schaefer & Busby Funeral Home, (S&B), a “storefront” at the corner of Race St. and West 9th Street in Downtown Cincinnati. S&B’s lineage made it the oldest continuously operating funeral home in the state of Ohio. It was the funeral home of the Proctor’s, the Gambles, the Taft’s and other Cincinnati notables. Dave Danner and the late owner, Harold Wittmeyer provided a great supplement to my schooling, along with some really fun times. Unfortunately, this iconic business has been sold and the building itself has been turned into a residence.
I lived around the corner from a Skyline Chili parlor and from the best restaurant I have ever been to in my life, Scotti’s. It has been at the same location since 1912. My wife and I visited Scotti’s in 2017 and I was worried that the food would not live up to the memories of eating there in the early 1980s with my mentor, teacher, and friend, Todd VanBeck, but it was even better!
Living downtown, I was only two blocks away from the YMCA on Central Parkway and
when our class schedule allowed, I would walk over at lunchtime for pick-up basketball games. That wouldn’t have been all that big a deal, except for the fact that one of the guys who played almost every day was the legendary, Oscar Robinson. There was a wide assortment of guys playing and everyone was treated with respect and camaraderie. The only thing that kept me in the games was that for a tall, skinny, white guy, I was scrappy. Good times when I could brag that I played hoops with the “Big O.”
Down the street from where I lived was a Deli that is still famous, even though it is no longer kosher, has moved a block away and has opened several remote locations. Izzy Kadetz was a Kosher deli and a meeting place for the rich, the famous and street people alike. It was there that I first met, and over time, became acquainted with Jerry Springer. At that time, Jerry had served a year as mayor or the city and was the #1 news anchor in the city. He was a very friendly guy and we spent a few meals talking about current events, like the friendship between Larry Flint and Simon Leis.
So, in honor of the Jerry and one of my favorite bands, I give you The Springer Sing A Long, by The Good Rats.
Thanks for letting me share.