The life of Claes - Memories of a 5-year-old, growing up in real NEO - Summer of 2010

Claes is a little genius-

he'll be just fine.

When Brendon was turning 10, he used to haunt the local bike shop for this silver Haro invert. He begged the shop owner to let him sweep floors after school each day, take out the garbage - anything - to get this bike. Even though the guy told him no, he showed up every day offering to do chores. It cost around $350, which was way more than I, a single mom, could afford but his birthday and christmas were both coming up (he was a winter solstice baby) and he wAs turning 10, and he wanted this bike sO bad, it was all he talked about night and day.

So, I went down and bought it and asked the shop owner to put it in the back until his birthday. When Brendon came in next, it was gone : (  He was gloomy for two weeks = bUt! early on his birthday morning, he found it with a big bow in the living room. You never saw a little boy so happy!

So, spring finally came and he could ride it. WE lived in a neighborhood with a "pack" of boys his age - 8 of them - thick as thieves since kindergarten. Us moms probably let the boys venture around a little more than usual because they ran together. So one Saturday he asked to go biking over to the ballparks by the ice rink, not far from our house. He took off with 3 other boys and a warning to stay on the Heights side of the park (a regularly issued warning).

Well this Saturday they ventured over "the line" and down into a gulley to a creek (they were boys). Of course they left their bikes at the top of the gulley and they climbed out to see another group of boys oooing and awing over Brendon's new Haro invert. Brendon immediately jumped to claim his bike and the biggest kid assaulted him and rode off with it.

Brendon came running home, devastated. We immediately drove to the East Cleveland police station where they did their best to rub salt on his wounds. They did a fine job of that - really rubbed it in good and never did a thing to try to help us. So, Brendon learned why you listen to your mom and that some people can be real assholes, policemen included.

He turned out to be a real nice young man, though - always ready to help someone out and always ready to give someone the benefit of the doubt.

So, its not tragic yEt, Norm.

He spent the evening setting traps in the backyard

He spent the evening setting traps in the backyard

And grandpa is getting him a 22 for his 6th bday

Life in realNEO

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- among the polluted population here

I reminded Claes our house was broken into with a baseball bat last year so he was not being targeted and shouldn't take the matter personally - I reminded him it is dangerous here and he needs to expect crime here and be very careful - at least now he knows WE haven't been blowing smoke up his ass.

My first good bike was stolen too - in the early 1970s - from my parents' garage in Shaker.

Christmas present - red Raleigh racing bike - got to ride it once, Christmas Day (warm December)... didn't make it to Spring.

Crime is not localized, except by where there are criminals.

Pollution is localized, and creates criminals.

Most of us have probably been victimized by criminals many times living among the polluted population here.

One big difference among our generations... my bike probably got good use after it was stolen - Claes' bike probably got sold for scrap to buy crack

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The bike ordeals can be

The bike ordeals can be quite a feat.

My son had more bikes stolen that I can count.   It seems like I was forever out scaling the neighborhood looking for a bicycle.  We even tracked a $250.00 one down and out smarted the culprits and got it back.

When he was about 14, he had a show bike so I went to Walmarts and bought an $89 deal so he could have something to ride around the neighborhood.  I also paid $30 for a bicycle club to secure it with - well, it was only about a week until he got off of it, stepped inside a door to speak to a friend and WOW the thief got the bicycle and the club. 

I bought us both bicycles one year and locked them in a garage - went out one morning and - no bikes.

So, as sad as it seems, stealing bicycles is a lucrative business.  Usually it's not kids taking them, it's grown people selling them for a few bucks.  Depending on the bike they can be rather costly on the back street market.

I'm sure ours were stolen by adults

I'm sure ours were stolen by adults - mine probably by the trashmen or someone who cased my parents' property regularly.., Claes' a crime of convenience by a crackhead driving/walking by

Can't leave any metal out in my neighborhood

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Ours is getting rather

Ours is getting rather rough.  A few weeks ago, right in the middle of the afternoon downspouts disappeared.  Quite a few people went out and found their down spouts gone - just pulled right off the house.

Somebody said they saw a car in the area with a load of down spouts sticking out.  It didn't dawn on them that they were hot.

Now we have a bold bunch of thieves.  They're breaking in houses with the people asleep in the bed.  Taking their wallets, purses, money, credit cards, TVs, Computers, cameras.....and cars.  How they can carry out so much without waking the person is unbelievable.  I think it's time for everybody to get a big mean dog.

I have 11 mean dogs right now... don't come in our house

9 in training... they'll suckle you to death

9 amazing South African Boerboel Puppies on their fourth day - strong, social and active. Born to Griet July 11, 2010 on Roxbury in East Cleveland, Ohio.

For additional information, go to of email evelyn [dot] kiefer [at] gmail [dot] com

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Watch your bike and anything else around a mastiff

These dogs will probably be chewing bicycles, logs, tires, couches, etc. to pieces in a few weeks. They are the most destructive animal I have ever known.