Bricks and boxes

Don’t close the door!

During our trip to Cleveland, Ohio, Ed and I had time time to visit with cousins and friends where they work. The most memorable, and very outside of our normal experience, was getting a tour of a city jail. Ed’s cousin has been a correctional officer long enough to know many of the “regulars” and sadly has “booked” some of their sons. Personally, I can’t imagine how anyone who’s had the opportunity to spend time in a jail would not make every effort to never go there again. It stinks, it’s cold and square, and so – yuck! Yet, to the inmates being inside a brick box is – just what it is.

The female block has been closed for a few years and is now used for storage so it really wasn’t a big deal for me to see a real cell. The sink and toilet are a single unit and the “desk” is two pieces of metal attached to the bricks at the right height. The cell I am in has two bunks (you can see the flaps from boxes stacked on the bunks)  so that’s shared space. Posing for a picture in that space, with the door open, was long enough for me!

Imagine two women, with attitude, coexisting in that confinement? Our girls had bigger bedrooms all to themselves.

This trip was also the first time in thirty years Ed and I took the time to drive around our home town, and even tour the high school where he attended. Most of my best high school memories are also grounded in that school as I was active in their musical performances, attended all the football games, and dated a few of his classmates.

What we didn’t remember, and only noticed on this tour down memory lane, is there are a lot of square brick buildings and houses. 4×6 red bricks must have been the most available building material and the most reliable for the harsh winters around the shores of Lake Erie.

The most fascinating thing to me was the realization that so many people with whom I’ve had slim, to none, personal contact with during these past 30 years talked to me as if we have known each other forever. While it’s nice to feel a family bond with so many, the reality for me is these people were only tangibly connected with my life for four years.

Ed and I met in college in 1978, we were married in 1980, and had two baby girls before we moved to New Jersey in 1982. Yet on the basis of activities and family events during those four years, I’m still one of their tribe. It’s a cozy feeling as they are all, at heart, good people. But I realized that there were a lot of stories, histories, and relationship issues, that I didn’t really have a clue about thirty years ago. And now I have even less of a clue.

Memories are fascinating. We got to chat with three of Ed’s aunts. I never had a private conversation with any of them, nor had I ever been in their homes. All three of them presented entirely different views and stories of what could easily be referred to as the same event. That was a stellar lesson about point-of-view.

As I’ve been mulling over this rather illuminating trip into my family past, the most amusing tidbit,that keeps popping up every time I try to contemplate all I’ve experienced this month, is this:

Ed’s cousins, who I spent the most time with during those four years, thirty years ago, had a debate about whether I was a redhead in college. That’s not what they remembered about me.

About Terri Patrick
Writer of Romance and Memoir. Life is an adventure, take that journey.

3 Responses to Bricks and boxes

  1. Trish says:

    Memories can be so tricky! I love the photo of you peeking out the door of the female block!


  2. Anonymous says:

    How interesting that you felt trapped in jail AND in the past during your trip. It is hard to let go of people who existed dynamically, even for a few short years, in one’s life. I think you have an interesting perspective from the other side of the country.


  3. Rose L says:

    I know whenever our family would get together and discuss some event that had happened, every one had a different view. One would tell a story and another would pipe up, ” no, no, that’s not how it happened”…and they would relate it how they remember and someone else would pipe up and it continued like this and you had several versions. Funny!


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