I moved to Houston in 1996. I was in need of adventure and a change of scenery. I was not having good luck in business or finding a lasting career after I left my family business so I decided I needed to head for a warmer place. I had friends and an opportunity in Houston; I have always had some wanderlust and a strong sense of adventure; I came to Texas. And I love living here. I have found almost everything that I was looking for here. The missing piece is commercial success with my creative ventures, stand up comedy and poetry.
Have I became a Texan? Interesting question. I would not call myself a Texan. I like the people here. They are friendly. They are resilient. Because they live and die with oil and gas and energy, they ride an economic roller coaster and many have gone from rags to riches to rags and back to riches a few times. They are definitely dust off their butts and get back on the horse people. And there is plenty of opportunity here to find a way to ride off into the sunset with a happy ending. I am working on one right now. I love the weather here and for that reason alone, I would not move back to Cleveland. I hate snow. Too many winters working outside in it.
I still have a sister and some family in Cleveland. I have a lot of friends in Cleveland. My daughter is a die hard Cavs fan and I still follow them. I had season tickets up until the season before they landed LeBron. I am still an Indians fan. I have had a hard time trying to follow the Browns though when I lived in Cleveland, I loved them and went to every game. Now I am a fan of the Astros, Rockets and Texans but they are what is on TV so you follow them by default. My daughter went to Ohio State, so after my loyalty to my Alma Mater, Clemson, the Buckeyes are next. I would never root for any Texas college team.
My personality and Midwest values are from living in Cleveland. I was raised on the East Side and worked most of my life in Cleveland on the West Side. I knew Northeast Ohio very well as I went every where from Lorain County to Lake County and Geauga and Summit counties too. I met people and did business with people from every walk of life. Many were first or second generation immigrants who came mostly from Europe to find a better life in Cleveland. I had many Afro-American friends (they were Black, when I knew them). I knew the rich and poor alike. I ate every kind of food and enjoyed the ethnic cultures and diversity, not that there is any shortage of that in Houston. But it is different. It is not European like Cleveland is. There is no Little Italy here.
There is a small Jewish population here relative to the size of Houston. Cleveland has a Jewish population double the size of Houston’s Jewish population. Needless to say, the deli’s are lacking. I am very proud to be a Beachwood High School graduate. My daughter was born and raised in Cleveland. Most of my best adventures were in Cleveland and my best stories are about them.
So I guess that makes me a Clevelander for life. I have enjoyed spending time on the Facebook page I Know You’re From Cleveland If… It has sure brought back the memories for me, especially because I had such a unique East Side West Side experience and so many friends on both sides of the river.
And it led to this:
Because sunny days are the exception,
Cleveland suffers a misconception.
Despite the cold and the snow,
People there give you a warm reception.