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Cleveland - The Beginning

Posted By Theodore, Apr 4, 2010

Date: March 22, 2010

The skies were overcast and gray. The weather was a light rain, slowly progressing to an ever heavier rain. It was in stark contrast to the day before, a bright and sunny Sunday, albeit still cold and breezy. It was our first day on the job in Cleveland and we were all headed towards the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland to offer our assistance.

The day before, five of us had taken it upon ourselves to explore other parts of Cleveland. We missed an exit, gotten lost, and eventually found our way to our destination in the Tremont neighborhood after driving through various areas of Cleveland. We drove by stately Victorian style homes converted into office buildings, many churches of different denominations, graveyards, and more recent townhouses in various states of upkeep, occupation, and decay. If Cleveland truly was the most miserable city in America, it certainly was not miserable everywhere.

We parked our van, stepped out into the evening atmosphere, and walked the streets of Tremont. We looked for a restaurant at the corner of Literary Road and Professor Ave. With such street names, any outsider would have assumed that a college or university was just a quick stroll away, but we didn't know of any. The restaurants, shops, and bars we walked by were geared towards the yuppie set: dimly, but warmly lit with candles, wood colored finishes, and one bar known as the "Treehouse" featured a large, fake tree in the center of the bar accompanied by live music. From this description, you wouldn't guess that Cleveland was one of poorest cities in America, save for one key fact: The street was nearly completely deserted, many of the establishments were already closed for the night, and the bars and restaurants that still had their lights on featured no more 10 patrons.

That was among our first sampling of the sights and sounds of Cleveland.

The rain began to pour in the frigid air. We dropped off our fellow trippers, found parking nestled between two large brick buildings, former factories converted into commercial space or new, luxury apartments. We made our way to the Legal Aid Society's offices to being our orientation.

Welcome to Cleveland.