A Moment Remembered, A Lifetime Ago

Cleveland Poems: A Suite (1 of 3)

Cleveland, 1966

We left the pool together
after such fun with friends
that you risked being late.
My bike’s banana seat –
with room for two –
made easy what was awkward
and you climbed aboard.
I pedaled slowly,
willing the journey to last
and you had no choice,
I can see that now.

“We’ll never get there in time”
you said, and I was embarrassed
but knew you understood,
knew by your kindness
and the trusting way
you held on to my hips
when I began pedaling furiously
towards your home.

We arrived as your family
gathered at the table
and you would pay no penalty.
I set off for my own home
and my own family meal.

That was my introduction
to the true nature of love,
the moment I understood love
might be more complicated
than a pretty girl, a summer day
and a Schwinn Stingray.

– Joseph Neely, all rights reserved

My Schwinn Stingray was green, but otherwise looked just like this.

I spent my elementary school years in South Euclid, Ohio, a close-in suburb on the east side of Cleveland. It was a wonderful place to grow up. The events described in the poem happened just as described. I sometimes wonder if I should share a copy of this poem with the girl – most likely a grandmother now, of course – depicted in the poem. I don’t want her to think I’m a creep, but there’s this . . .
My wife and I ran into a gentleman we both know recently at the grocery store. She grew up in the same neighborhood as he did. He was a few years older and had been considered very cool and handsome by all the neighborhood girls. As I paid for our groceries my wife went over to him and appeared to whisper something in his ear. When she came back I jokingly asked her, “What did you do; tell him you had a crush on him back in the day?” She said, “Yes, I did.” Somewhat taken aback – jealous? – I asked her, “Why did you do that?” Her answer reminded me why I love my wife so much.
“Because now we’re old and have all sorts of problems, so sometimes it’s nice to be reminded of what things were like when we were young.”

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Joseph Neely, all rights reserved

3 thoughts on “A Moment Remembered, A Lifetime Ago

  1. Sweet memories. She was heartbroken when you moved away. Grateful to see your expressions of nostalgia. Thanks for reaching out. P


  2. Very cool…young love! We all have those stories of childhood crushes. You both admitted in your own way, it was mutual.
    Deb Savastano-Kohn


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