Betty had a fun day in Cleveland today - maybe TOO much fun, as all she did was visit the Rock n' Roll hall of fame (a sweet but random, cluttered, and overwhelming relic of the nineties, much too worried about pleasing everybody) (while paradoxically overexposing two-hit blah bands like the Jefferson Airplane and the Mamas and the Papas) (and offering zero musicological or social analysis) (but I used to be way more into outfits and iconography, it's still fun) and eat at a delicious Italian restaurant overlooking three or more beautiful old bridges. This is a handsome city, with tons of leafy trees, industrial beauty, unobtrusive flat geology yielding a giant dome of sky, and barely any people.
Cleveland has the infrastructure of a city three times its size, publicly owned utilities, great public art and music and libraries and transportation, and pretty bi-racial neighborhoods.
Still, the population - especially the white population - continues to shrink, with no immigrant population stepping in with new energy and politics. "Detroit is bombed-out; Cleveland is in decline. It's a small but significant difference," Betty was told by someone who's lived here 38 years.
People in Cleveland are exceptionally loyal to their non-corporate stadiums (including "Cleveland Browns Stadium" and Jacobs Field) and the teams that still fill them. Who will come and make this city bustle more? Not long ago, Cleveland was the sixth biggest city in the U.S.A. And did you know that large parts of Southern Ohio are true Appalachia?
The people Betty did see were a wonderful, veteren interracial couple who organize for social movements and a progressive political voice in the Ohio state senate. They met while peacefully desegregating the Ohio public schools in 1978! Sometimes Betty believes she really has the best job in the world. It's also a job that makes other peoples' jobs seem like the best jobs in the world.
Tomorrow she is an an American, Chicago (and Bimbo) bound...