Up high, down low

Apr 20, 2002

We celebrated Anna’s birthday, and Erin’s, with a poolside cookout this afternoon. A group of Erin’s classmates and our friends gathered to chat about how much little Anna has grown and developed since the beginning of the school year last August. Talk of their current classes drifted in and out as well. Blaine played his guitar, Anna played with the chocolate frosting on her mini-cake and Erin looked so comfortable as a full-time student, attentive mother and loving wife.

I went out after to catch Josh Rouse perform at a small club in Carrboro. I’d heard Rouse on NPR back in February, and, wanting to catch more acts in this area, penciled in his date. He gave a nice concert tonight; I showed up at 8, thinking the club had booked him at that time, but no, he didn’t go on until 11:15. Back in college, I wanted to see the Detroit band Rhythm Corps at a downtown Cleveland bar. Without a car, I had to take the train, so I arrived at the bar at 7:30 (my grandfather Sisco taught me to be early to everything) for what I thought was to be an 8 o’clock show. By 10:15 the band hadn’t even shown up to the place, and the last train back to University Heights was soon to leave Terminal Tower, so I sulked out of there. I never did get to see Rhythm Corps, but tonight I retreated to the Silk Road Tea House and drank two glasses of strong Turkish tea before wandering back to Go Room 4 for Rouse’s performance.

The current issue of the New Yorker is the Money Issue. In it are six short essays about an author’s ”lowest ebb,” a time when he or she was the most strapped for cash. (Click on the link in the previous sentence to read those essays.) They reminded me of the time I had moved back to Cleveland from Honolulu. I’d taken an apartment at Shaker Square, and found a job up the train tracks at Booksellers Bookstore. I tried also to be a waiter at an Italian bistro, but didn’t last in that job more than two nights. Other nights, I sat in my apartment with hunger headaches only partly staved off by saltine crackers with peanut butter and jelly. Erin and her family were kind to me; I often ate at the Shaughnessy home, and did my laundry there. Once, I called a former teacher of mine at John Carroll University, a Jesuit priest, and invited myself to dinner at the Jesuit residence. As I ate, the University president, Fr. Mike Lavelle, stood up and walked over to my table and said, ”Anton, it’s good to see you back on campus.” Fr. Lavelle had given me my first professional journalism opportunity: I interviewed him about his covert shuttling between Czechoslovakia and Rome, and how he helped the church officials there keep the faith alive in that communist country. The interview ran in the national Jesuit magazine Company.

What’s been your lowest ebb? Tell us your story by clicking on the Comments link now.

Anton Zuiker

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