Tag Archives: lakewood

Weldon Carpenter: A New Friend

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Weldon Carpenter: A New Friend

Hey everyone and happy Sunday! I hope all of you are having a wonderful, relaxing weekend. This past Thursday, I had to venture out to the Tri-C campus in Parma, Ohio for an extra credit lecture. Because I’m literally never in Parma since I don’t attend that campus, I decided to make a post on my Facebook to let my friends in the area know that I will be there for the afternoon in case anyone wanted to meet up afterwards. My friend, Danielle, replied and we decided to meet up at the bar that she works at in Lakewood which was about fifteen minutes away.

Because Danielle’s work didn’t open until four, we started at a bar that was down the street called The Patio. Danielle was treating me to twenty-first birthday drinks even though it’s over a year late so that’s what made me justify drinking at the bar at three in the afternoon! About halfway through our time at The Patio, an older gentleman walked into the bar and within ten minutes he came up to us and asked if we liked Playhouse Square (the beautiful theater in Cleveland).

Being an avid lover of the theater, of course I replied with an enthusiastic “YES”. This sent who I now know was Weldon Carpenter off to his car to retrieve a photo album and a surprise treat. While Weldon was at his car, the bartender explained to us that he was a historian and photographed Playhouse Square and the surrounding theaters since their openings. She also told us that he used to work as the personal chef to the one and only Miss Judy Garland.

Just as the bartender was finishing up her briefing on Weldon, he came walking in with a thick photo album and two teddy bears for me and Danielle. He told us that he has over one hundred and fifty little stuffed animals that he keeps handy just to make people smile. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught a stuffie sitting on the bar that he must have gifted to the bartender when we weren’t looking. “Aren’t they beautiful?” he asked as Danielle and I held our new bears on our laps. And they really were. The beauty lied in the gesture and the bear he picked for me couldn’t have been any more perfect considering it was sporting a black t-shirt!

After we settled in with our drinks and teddies, we began to look through Weldon’s album, page by page. With every picture of each theater, there was a story or memory that went along with it and I was just mesmerized. To watch him smile and speak enthusiastically about the memories that he loved so much was something that was really special to me. None of my grandparents are alive so I haven’t conversed with someone in that age range in quite some time. Speaking with Weldon felt good and safe. It made me want to curl up in a blanket and hear more.

With every page turned, Weldon insisted on either one of us taking whichever photo we liked. “Don’t worry, I have plenty of copies and I give them all away for free”. His gentle prodding led to both of us picking out a photo that we loved and you could tell how pleased he was that we did. This man genuinely loved sharing what he felt was beautiful – and it was.

After we finished looking at Weldon’s photo album and listened to a few stories about how he met Judy Garland at his friend Mae West’s party we unfortunately had to part ways. Danielle had to be at work so we had to head down the street to the bar for a night of serving for her and more drinking for me. But all evening, I was still enraptured by the kind stranger who we spent a half hour with in the bar. The man who bore gifts and treats for complete strangers and left them feeling like they had just met their guardian angel or long lost friend.

When I got home, I Googled Weldon and found so many articles boasting that he was one of Lakewood’s local legends. Pages full of articles telling tales of theaters, photos, and stories similar to the one that I just told you. I felt proud. I felt proud that the city that he seemed to love so much loved him back. I felt proud that he was sharing his beautiful spirit and stories with the world. I felt proud that I just met him.

Will I ever see Weldon again? Maybe, if I head up to Lakewood around three or so, I’ll find him at The Patio enjoying a glass of red wine that he will be diluting with shaved ice. Maybe I’ll see him sharing a photo or a stuffed bear with another person at the bar. But until then, I’m so happy to consider Weldon Carpenter as A New Friend.

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My Detroit Trip

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My Detroit Trip

Hi everyone and a very happy Tuesday to you! Last Friday I took a little road trip to Detroit, Michigan with my Uncle Ray as a favor to him. My uncle is a total car guy and he needed a wing girl so he could drop his car off at Monkey Wrench Racing to get some work done on his whip. I told him I was up for the journey and even though my day was filled with a lot of driving, it was still a lot of fun!

My uncle and I departed for our adventure around ten on Friday morning to begin the three and a half hour drive from Mentor, Ohio to Detroit, Michigan. The plan was to follow my uncle in the Little Red Love Machine for the trip there and then we would travel back to Ohio together. The drive to Michigan was relatively easy and we luckily had really good weather for the trip. The only snowfall we experienced was this random little flurry once we got into Michigan and that was it. I was really happy about that because the last thing I wanted to do was drive in unfamiliar territory in the snow.

I don’t really mind driving if I have things to keep me occupied so the trek wasn’t too bad thanks to my iPod, phone calls from my boyfriend, and occasionally waving to my uncle as I followed him. I was telling my boyfriend while we were chatting that the Detroit drive was an emotional rollar coaster because I had my iPod on shuffle. During the drive I was hearing everything from pop to screamo to rap and R&B so needless to say, I was an emotional wreck during some of the trip…Thanks a lot, Hawthorne Heights. -_-

Before I knew it, we finally arrived at Monkey Wrench Racing to drop Uncle Ray’s car off. We stuck around and chatted for a half hour or so and let me tell you, hearing all of the gents in the shop engaging in car talk with my uncle was like hearing an entirely different language. I didn’t understand one word of what they were saying but I’m glad my uncle had a good time with it! We also both got a free Monkey Wrench Racing t-shirt compliments of the crew so that was really nice. It’s in my color palette of black and white so I’m sure I’ll make use of it some day!

What killed me about my Detroit adventure was that once my uncle was done at the shop, we started making our journey back home. Haha, the break at Monkey Wrench Racing was much needed because I was essentially driving seven hours straight. -_- At least this time around, I was in good company because my Uncle Ray is one of my favorites! We’re very similar to each other so it was easy to fill our journey home with good conversation and laughter.

My Uncle Ray and I made a stop in Lakewood, Ohio to meet some of his friends for dinner. We went to a little Greek place called Our Friends and enjoyed a nice meal with my uncle’s comrades. It was so great to meet them and we all ended up having a really good time. My uncle ended up staying in Lakewood for a little while so I drove back to Mentor solo to have some quality time with my Aunt Mary Ellen before I made my way back to Akron.

I was so happy to spend some time with my Aunt Mary Ellen because I don’t get to see her as often as I would like. It was really nice to sit down, relax, and have a chat with her before I began my journey back home. My aunt and uncle are seriously the most perfect couple ever so any time with either of them is time well spent!

I would make the journey back to Detroit again for my uncle in a heartbeat because I’m one of the best people that I know of…But lucky for me, my uncle and his friends will be traveling back to Michigan to pick up his car once it’s done being worked on. I’m not complaining! All in all, it was definitely an adventure of a day and I’m so happy that I was in such fantastic company for it! ❤

My Detroit Trip was one of the best most random ways to spend a Friday that I can think of but I wouldn’t have it any other way! How was everyone’s weekend? Who has been on a road trip recently? I wanna hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Interested in making a road trip to Cleveland? Let these videos inspire you to take the plunge and DO IT! #werenotdetroit 😉