Demetrish "Trish" Parham has lived in the Detroit Shoreway community for the past four years. Owing to both her outgoing personality and the influence of the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization, Parham has thoroughly explored her surroundings. She describes shops, restaurants, events, celebrations, and other happenings that take place on Detroit Avenue. Her hope is that as the neighborhood welcomes new faces, and that the essence of Detroit Shoreway does not diminish.
Parham, Demetrish (interviewee)
Nemeth, Sarah (interviewer)
Sarah Nemeth [00:00:00] Hi, my name is Sarah Nemeth. I'm here with Demetrish Parham. Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization offices today is, July 18, 2017 and this is for the Cleveland regional oral history project. Could you please state your name for the record?
Demetrish Parham [00:00:18] My name is Demetrish Parham.
Sarah Nemeth [00:00:19] Thank you for being here today.
Demetrish Parham [00:00:21] You're welcome. Thank you for having me.
Sarah Nemeth [00:00:24] And where were you born?
Demetrish Parham [00:00:24] Cleveland, Ohio.
Sarah Nemeth [00:00:27] What side of town did you live on?
Demetrish Parham [00:00:28] The East Side.
Sarah Nemeth [00:00:31] Whereabouts?
Demetrish Parham [00:00:32] Maybe at 96th and 107th and St. Clair. I went to East High and then my last residence was 79th and Wade Park in high school.
Sarah Nemeth [00:00:43] OK.
Demetrish Parham [00:00:43] So I went to East High. I went to Martin Luther King and my last school I graduated from was Max S. Hayes.
Sarah Nemeth [00:00:51] OK. And when were you born?
Demetrish Parham [00:00:57] 1972.
Sarah Nemeth [00:00:58] You look very young.
Demetrish Parham [00:00:59] Oh yeah. Forty-five. Two seventeen. Seventy two.
Sarah Nemeth [00:01:03] I did not think you were forty-five. I had no idea.
Demetrish Parham [00:01:06] Forty-five.
Sarah Nemeth [00:01:09] You age very well.
Demetrish Parham [00:01:10] Thank you.
Sarah Nemeth [00:01:12] And so can you tell me maybe a little bit about your neighborhood growing up what it was like.
Demetrish Parham [00:01:19] When I was younger, before kids?
Sarah Nemeth [00:01:22] Yeah. When you were a kid.
Demetrish Parham [00:01:24] Oh, God. Back and back in the day. It was pretty cool. It was, you know, you could ride the bus for free. You can go to the playgrounds. We used to call them "top lots." Rollerskate and hold somebody's bike and go down the hill. That's kind of fun we had. When we wanted to make some money, we would shovel snow. It was strict in my house, it was Baptist. And we always had to go to church every Sunday or have rehearsal in our house because my mom was a gospel singer. So it was either in our town or in town doing some concert. And yet at 17, she passed away; she had breast cancer.
Sarah Nemeth [00:02:11] I am sorry.
Demetrish Parham [00:02:12] So 17, almost turning 18. I got in my first place. It was Garden Valley in the projects. Yeah. Stayed down there for five years. I was twenty-five when I had my first child. That was my son, Hassan Bradley. And then. I had another one. Sheri Williams. That's my daughter, the youngest. She's 19 now. He's 20. And after that, I got my tubes tied. I was like that's it.
Sarah Nemeth [00:02:41] No more for you.
Demetrish Parham [00:02:42] That's it. So, then, I went to Morris Black. Always on the East Side. Got in. No, no better. We didn't grow up in the projects, but that's where they threw me because it was an emergency. They called it emergency housing because of my father was in prison and my mother had just died. I was staying with my grandmother. Me and my sister. So when I left, I took my sister, her baby with me. I didn't have kids, so they had it gave me a two bedroom. Wherever we went, she went with me. So then, I stayed at Morris Black for five years, just messing around, being grown. Thought I knew everything and had good jobs. I started with CMHA. Well, before CMHA. I started work cleaning at a bank downtown Cleveland. You did know I had it good. You know, didn't want to listen to the lady that was training me that owned, you know, owned the cleaning company. I just wasn't ready yet, even though I had two kids in the car seat. My kid's father worked at Farm House Foods in the daytime and at nighttime, he would drop me off at the bank and keep the kids and then they would come back and pick me up. So that's how we kind of did it. So then I moved out, now moved to Rocky River that's the West Side. I was like, oh, my God, this big out here. It's nice. They was three, three and four. So they went to daycare, to preschool and junior high and all of that. So I stayed out there for nine years. It was like a compound. So I always kept me a car so I can kind of take them down to the zoo. Anything free.
Sarah Nemeth [00:04:28] Right.
Demetrish Parham [00:04:29] Down to the Metroparks where they had the horses, the, you know, the fishing. And we can get, you know, always saying let's take a friend and you can only take a friend and each one of you can take a friend. Always barbecued always had sleepovers for the kids and then my son started acting out. So then he went to PEP Education. So that was a thing in itself. We ain't going too far in that. But so then I say, well, he is doing his thing and it will be her last year. I'm moving. I stayed on 130th. I had a house. My first house ever so nice and pretty, but my landlords moved back to Puerto Rico and they sold the house. So I said, well, you know what? My son is really acting up here. You know, where 130th is right?
Sarah Nemeth [00:05:17] Uh huh.
Demetrish Parham [00:05:18] Oh, OK. You know? OK. So, yeah, I had to say. Well, you know what? When they leave, do I want to be up here by myself or do I want to be somewhere where it is secured and is guarded?
Sarah Nemeth [00:05:28] Right.
Demetrish Parham [00:05:28] So I found this place was to Sylvia Building. First place, I had just started looking. The first place I found was that building. I'm like an apartment building, but it's so nice, so pretty. Then, I went inside of it. Oh, my God. It was brand spanking new. It was looking like a hotel. So, I moved in. And I'm like, I'm almost downtown. Like, I feel like a downtowner. You know, I have came up. So I start a pitty pattering around here trying to see what was going on because, you know, I started, you know. Getting a little. So you know how people get when they empty nest. When I. That's all I know is raising my kids and working. So I said, I better find something to do, so I don't get in no trouble. Let me see. what's over here. You know, I'm nosy. Let me see what's happening. So I have went to like the theater and trying to find something for Ri to do when we first moved over here. I've been over here four years and so trying to find her something to do. Cause she ain't used to it. She like, she got me down here. So I had her going to the school off Franklin back there because I was like, you can't go back to Marshall. I don't want you on that bus by yourself. I'm scared for you, it's a long way. So we tried it for a couple months and I said look you can go back to your old school, but if you don't answer that cell phone, when I call you at this this this point in time. Then, but she she was a good girl. She never got suspended from school. She never got a whooping. She never got in trouble. She just was a good girl and Hassan was the opposite. So, I didn't have to pay too much attention to her and I think that's what happened. And he went away and then me and her started our relationship starting to get to know her.
Sarah Nemeth [00:07:26] Right.
Demetrish Parham [00:07:27] She was so quiet. I don't have to bother with her.
Sarah Nemeth [00:07:30] Right.
Demetrish Parham [00:07:30] You know, she asked me for nothing. She just was doing her own thing. So then me and her started pitty patterning around here, going to the lake and Sweet Moses and just going into... I like the smell of leather. So we go into the leather shop every time they opened the gate. I know exactly the day he opened the leather shop right there where he makes things for the motorcycles. I know you ever.
Sarah Nemeth [00:07:55] Do you know what it's called?
Demetrish Parham [00:07:56] I should know what it's called we went there every year. But it's right next door to the to the where they perform. Cleveland perform at.
Sarah Nemeth [00:08:10] Is it the Cleveland Public Theater?
Demetrish Parham [00:08:12] Yes, it's right next door to there.
Sarah Nemeth [00:08:14] OK.
Demetrish Parham [00:08:15] So I have been in there. I have been to the antique shop down the street. I have been over across the street to where they sell sinks and and cabinets. Talking to them. They they is just so nice. You know, just talking, sitting out, talking and looking around and that. And so. Something that happened in my building. Something was going on? And I was like, I can't stand this building. It means to. They started moving different people in and I'm like a really quiet anxiety type person. So a lot of noise, I can't stand it. So I was I need to talk to somebody and I'm a go across that street. So I met Jeremy. He was like the mediator, I guess. So he came over and I'm like, who is this guy? So who is he? OK, well, let me tell you what's going on here. And I'm telling you this and that. So we. He said Trish, would you not that day or not like that next week. But then if I had an issue, I always will come find him. So then he said, Trish, we got a committee like a camera committee thing going or we getting together. I wonder if you would like to come to one of our big meetings? So I am like, Oh my God, what am I going do in there? I mean, do those folks even know where I came from? If they even going to want me, you know, in here, you know. So I went. It was so much fun. It was everybody they all type of cops in there that, you know, and I'm looking like this chill I never been in no trouble, but I still don't bother the law. I wouldn't prefer to be around them, you know, but that was that then. This this is now a new new game after this would be the second year. So we started working together. Do I start a volunteer and whatever they needed and that was my way because I was like, what can I do when they leave? I don't like gambling. I can't do no puzzles because it's too consuming. I even tried to give me a puzzle book. That didn't work. So this was perfect. And then I met Evan and Evan was one of the guys that was on the committee, too. He is a grad student and he is so smart. God, he is real smart. So I'm like they are pairing both of us up together. Then, me I don't hardly know nothing and this smart guy probably got me saying, well, what? But it worked out so perfect. Like we did fundraising and we did. We walked and we talked to different people in the area. I've been to Block Club some things that they don't even wouldn't even know they had over here on the East Side. So that's why I it's I'm excited every time I talk about Detroit Shoreway. And there's something always opening up new. And I have been saying come on Ri let's just walk past him peak in and a see was happening. She was like Ma, you are just so nosy. But how I just wanted to see what's going on. So all my down days like Sunday, I went down to a barbecue. I had my own grill, but I put it on top of one of the grills there, because I don't like to use, you know, I like to use it with my top over it. So, it was just me had my radio on. So that's the purpose of walking through, well I drove. But usually, I walk and listen. I bought workout clothes in on the East Side. You I don't even know. They know what workout clothes look like. I bought like workout clothes, the pants, the shirt. And I walk through the tunnel. I walked up 73rd. Like I feel like I'm part of this community. I love it. Yeah, I like it. I just like it. So lot of stuff that I would never do, probably never think I would be around these kinds of people. Like here, I can just pop in. They they don't and I don't do it often. But when I do, it's always a smile on their face.
Sarah Nemeth [00:12:17] Right.
Demetrish Parham [00:12:17] Because I know they are glad to see me anyway. I can say well I think they are. I think they. They do.
Sarah Nemeth [00:12:22] I am sure they are.
Demetrish Parham [00:12:22] Yeah. And so that's a, if I'm having a bad day, that's a smile on my face because this is like part of my family. I'm always trying to make somebody my family. So I have a family with the centers because I work with them down. I don't know if you know what that is? The centers are families and children that help you with.
Sarah Nemeth [00:12:41] Oh, OK.
Demetrish Parham [00:12:42] Yeah. Like when I was going through some stuff I needed to talk to some people and they have a lot of stuff down there. I'll put it like that.
Sarah Nemeth [00:12:51] OK.
Demetrish Parham [00:12:51] So then and I have them on that end and then I have them on this end. So, I couldn't probably see myself leaving Detroit Shoreway. Now one new move out of that apartment and get me in another house because now I am missing my back porch in my backyard.
Sarah Nemeth [00:13:07] Yeah, and you had everything that's just yours.
Demetrish Parham [00:13:09] Yeah, and I don't have to deal with the slamming the doors and the babies and weird people running through it because it wasn't like that at first. It's a new building. It's pretty. It's rehabbed. If my phone was dead, that's why I couldn't call you back. It just went dead. It just. I had a day, a long day. So, yeah, that's what I was looking for. But I'm I'm looking with my. My case manager trying to find something. It's got to be around here because I'm not moving. I wouldn't want to move downtown because too much hustle and bustle. This is just perfect for me because I'll some days you can see even though I'll go in Happy Dog. They take the kids in there every Sunday. It's like a brunch. They got the place across the walk from Spices, it's always a brunch and, like, stuff they wouldn't have had there. So it's a privilege still for me and people probably be saying, She's just lying. No I ain't. Because if you if I had known this was here way back in, you know, day. I probably, would have been over here a long time ago.
Sarah Nemeth [00:14:21] That was one of my questions. So you never heard about. What did you know of the West Side when you were living on the East Side.
Demetrish Parham [00:14:28] Nothing.
Sarah Nemeth [00:14:29] Nothing. Two separate worlds.
Demetrish Parham [00:14:35] I what I knew about what I thought I knew about the West Side is I'd know I wouldn't fit in, you know, because I just say stuff, you know, I'm like, open. You ask me something, I'm open. What you see is what you get. And I just figured, I ain't going over there.I don't like those folks. What the hell am I going to do over there? I hope you ain't get that part, but it's true. But. And the one I got over here was still tense. Like what are they going to think about me, you know, because I'm loud and always bubbly and, you know, wanting to see what's going on and being nosy. Trying new foods and just. I've been down the Battery Park. I've met friends down there, you know, there's a new brewery down there. The new pizza place down there and one of our fundraiser guys that gave us one of those gift cards, one of the biggest gift cards we got for our fundraiser. Was not not right where the brewery was, but where the food where they sell the the good food? Like on TV, they make it like look like, you know, just the prettiest plates. Well, now I'm surprised. I don't know that name. Jeremy going to kill me and Evan. Every now and again I go down there just because they gave us the gift card and they took time to listen, to see what I what we wanted, and they offered us some space if we ever wanted to do another fundraiser. So it was just nice. It was just me and Evan walking, you know, putting our tennis shoes on. Walking here and there. Seeing stuff. I didn't even know that was back there. I didn't even know it was back there, and then let's not talk about Edgewater. Have you been to the new Edgewater?
Sarah Nemeth [00:16:23] No, I still plan on going on Saturday though for the one-hundredth anniversary.
Demetrish Parham [00:16:28] You've got to go down there, especially at night time when they got the fire pit lit up in the new. It's nice I mean it's. A lot of little treats and little and these little crannies around here that you wouldn't know if you didn't go walking and exploring. So that's what I like about it.
Sarah Nemeth [00:16:45] Is there a lot of diversity here?
Demetrish Parham [00:16:47] Yes, that's what I like about it, too.
Sarah Nemeth [00:16:51] OK. Is there a largely Hispanic population?
Demetrish Parham [00:16:53] Yes.
Sarah Nemeth [00:16:55] Has that always been here since you moved to [inaudible]?
Demetrish Parham [00:16:56] Yes. Four years.
Sarah Nemeth [00:16:59] And what's the name of your apartment building?
Demetrish Parham [00:17:01] The Sylvia Building.
Sarah Nemeth [00:17:03] What's it look like inside?
Demetrish Parham [00:17:05] Oh, I wish I could show you pictures. It looked like a hotel, brand new hotel big dark windows. Big it's so lit up in there, I didn't even put curtains in there, yet. You'll need to. It just takes the the prettiness away from it and if your a cleaner and the housekeeper like me always, it will always look like a hotel. I love it. Yeah.
Sarah Nemeth [00:17:32] And do the people that frequent the restaurants, the shops around here are they, community residents, mostly?
Demetrish Parham [00:17:41] Yes.
Sarah Nemeth [00:17:42] Or are they from out?
Demetrish Parham [00:17:45] I see a lot of people that frequent the frequent around here as community people or people that come from other places like, you know, with the brand new cars and they families on Sundays. And then you have the people coming from Our Lady. The church here coming on Sundays is like is people's well, which is a routine to come on these door, these places on Sundays just to hang out and have a nice cold iced tea or a beer with the kids and just sit under the umbrellas. A lot of places have patios and stuff like that.
Sarah Nemeth [00:18:26] In the front?
Demetrish Parham [00:18:29] Uh Huh.
Sarah Nemeth [00:18:29] OK. What do the people all the people you have met walking around, where do they work at? Like, what are their jobs nearby or are they traveling?
Demetrish Parham [00:18:44] You, during this season where we got stuff jumping off downtown, you'll see a lot of people coming up here. But most of the time it's people that stay around here, like leaving for lunch. Going to one of the places. A lot of these business, they have relationships to all businesses. So you might see somebody popping out for lunch and they are all over at Gypsy Beans having coffee somewhere or Sweet Moses sitting out there having ice cream and then going back to lunch or what have you. Sometimes you'll see them later in the evening down at the Banter. Well, what I usually see is just the people that work around here with their nice suits on and shirts and that they don't bother you. And my first impression when I got down here, am I going to fit in? Is they going to like me. Is there somebody down there like me? So I fit in pretty well, I think. Yeah, I think so. I don't bother nobody. They don't bother me.
Sarah Nemeth [00:19:47] So in your apartment complex. Are you friends with the people in there?
Demetrish Parham [00:19:54] Well, thank God for that, because everybody works and do different stuff. Different shifts and different times in the day. So in our build, it is a unique building because you may be in that building for a week and don't see nobody. That's how I like it. Yes. It's a couple of older people there that sit on a stoop. Oh, you know, older ladies have to say it real nice and want to know who is this person and where they going. And that's all I'm going in that apartment. So you just don't associate yourself with that. And my thing is, I brought everything that I learned from up there, down here, what not to do. So I don't bother them. I don't barely see them.
Sarah Nemeth [00:20:38] OK. Have you ever heard that? Have you explored like further down like by Madison? Have you gone that far?
Demetrish Parham [00:20:44] I've been down to Madison.
Sarah Nemeth [00:20:46] Do you see like that. Do you think there's a difference, between this section and then possibly that section?
Demetrish Parham [00:20:54] Oh, shit, you notice a big difference. But they are trying because I see they put their new Hispanic restaurant on the corner of I believe it's 83rd or 73rd and Madison. And it has a lot of folks. I think I'm going to go in and see what's happening. Something is happening in there because it's crowded all the time so far as I think they clean it up over there but is not Detroit Shoreway.
Sarah Nemeth [00:21:25] I was just there last Friday for an interview and it's quite different. There is quite a difference.
Demetrish Parham [00:21:34] Yeah. And Lorain is, too. And that's just on the other side. There you got to hold your pocketbook. You know, hold your pocketbook, and whatever else you got, you'll want. You know, but they are trying to clean it up. Matter of fact, we are putting up some cameras up there now.
Sarah Nemeth [00:21:51] OK.
Demetrish Parham [00:21:53] In certain areas. I'll just say.
Sarah Nemeth [00:21:56] Well, that's, you know, that's positive. Have you made friends with anybody over there? Do you know if. Can they come down and do they feel comfortable coming down here? Has anyone expressed that to you?
Demetrish Parham [00:22:11] At Lorain?
Sarah Nemeth [00:22:13] The other section of the Detroit Shoreway area.
Demetrish Parham [00:22:15] The other section like Madison?
Sarah Nemeth [00:22:18] Yeah.
Demetrish Parham [00:22:20] My thing is what I'm just gonna say, and maybe I'm part of this, too. They think we too boujee over here.
Sarah Nemeth [00:22:28] OK.
Demetrish Parham [00:22:29] So, hey. I mean, we like to go over there and share what I had to what was shared to me. Yeah, but with the right people, because I don't want to be messing around with somebody and meet somebody. And they come over here and they see what we got and try to ruin it. So, you know, I'm just careful about it. Because who am I to judge? I, I'm not judging. No. Who and me? But I'm just saying I wouldn't want to bring in the wrong people into my neighborhood where I lay my head at.
Sarah Nemeth [00:23:00] Right, and it is your. I mean you definitely claimed it as your own. So, this is yours. Your space. Definitely playing it as your own. So, let's see. I guess, what's your favorite restaurant down here?
Demetrish Parham [00:23:22] Well, even though me and XYZ sometimes don't get along because sometimes they can be a little crowded. And I like a lot of attention when I'm going towards spending my coins, especially if I work for it now, put it aside to get it. It's XYZ.
Sarah Nemeth [00:23:37] OK, and what do they serve there?
Demetrish Parham [00:23:39] Oh, God. Let me tell you something. My apartment is right behind there. They sell pulled pork it's there special? So what they do is they have a big old pulled pork thing outside. And every Sunday, you know, it's it's going because that's the new pulled pork for the week coming up. So what I do is I go out and sit in the back and I'll wait for the guys that be like it's ready Trish. So, they always give me a little sample in a bowl. But on Mondays they have pizza. Ten dollars. Ten toppings. So when we first moved over here, me and my daughter would go in there and sit at the front. You know they had that front. If you ever been in there. Oh God. You sit, it's like bar stools and you sit right in a big old window or watch people walk by. So that way, when we first moved over here that will be a place where I would take Riri to go and talk to her about how do you like that new school down there or what can we do? How would how would I feel with you being on the bus? Just stuff. Just stuff that I would. I want to talk to her about. And that will be our spot every Monday and then pulled pork on the weekends. They sell other stuff, too, but. Yeah.
Sarah Nemeth [00:24:59] OK, cool. And maybe did you go to any of the .
Demetrish Parham [00:25:05] Local West is good.
Sarah Nemeth [00:25:06] Local West?
Demetrish Parham [00:25:07] Yes.
Sarah Nemeth [00:25:08] And can you describe that please?
Demetrish Parham [00:25:10] Oh, God. Is this. Oh, they sell the best, salmon in their grilled salmon. You can watch them make it. But then they have these sandwiches, like all different types of names that you can make up your own sandwich. And they have a patio outside it's so cute. It's right next door to the Banter. Yeah.
Sarah Nemeth [00:25:28] And what do you get there?
Demetrish Parham [00:25:30] I get the salmon.
Sarah Nemeth [00:25:34] OK. Excellent. And what are what is the landmark of your community? Like, if you were to say like that, Detroit Shoreway is known for the place that you could pin point.
Demetrish Parham [00:25:48] Oh, that's easy. The. Not so easy. It's the tunnel.
Sarah Nemeth [00:25:59] The tunnels?
Demetrish Parham [00:25:59] The tunnel, because it takes you from the beach up to Detroit Shoreway. For me, I think it is because that tunnel has been there since I was a little girl and my father was taking me to the beach.
Sarah Nemeth [00:26:13] Oh, so you used to go to the Edgewater?
Demetrish Parham [00:26:16] But we never stayed on the West Side. But they will come all the way over here to go to to the beach. To, yeah, the tunnel for me.
Sarah Nemeth [00:26:27] Is there? I always went to Edgewater. I live in Elyria, so I never went to Lorain because I mean I always [inaudible]. So, is there any place on the East Side to be by the lake in? Or no?
Demetrish Parham [00:26:45] Maybe you shouldn't ask me that question. You probably don't want to ask me that or don't want to hear the answer.
Sarah Nemeth [00:26:53] I definitely want to hear the answer.
Demetrish Parham [00:26:54] Well, they say 55th, but I wouldn't go because they have big rats over there.
Sarah Nemeth [00:26:57] Really?
Demetrish Parham [00:26:59] Yeah. And they had them big rats as I used to fish as a little girl. I wouldn't go there if there was no beach in Cleveland, period. I was just get in the tub. I'm so sorry to say that.
Sarah Nemeth [00:27:10] No, I'm just asking. This is what this is all about.
Demetrish Parham [00:27:13] Oh, yeah.
Sarah Nemeth [00:27:14] Tell me what you think. So there like really there is rats?
Demetrish Parham [00:27:19] Yeah. Yeah. Like biggest bunnies, bunny rabbits.
Demetrish Parham [00:27:25] Like what I like about this beach over here. I guess because people come here all the time. They probably do get rats down there, but you don't see them because it's always being frequent. They probably scared of us. But my thing is I've been on there. I had such a fear of sitting on rocks cause of 55th. I go down the stairs, sit on a rock, take some pictures, you know? I ain't, I haven't even thought about nothing like that until you asked me about. Yeah.
Sarah Nemeth [00:27:56] And would you. You would sit on the rocks down there?
Demetrish Parham [00:27:58] No, not on 55th. No. You will see him running past your feet brush brush brush your tennis shoes. To say you down it's summer and you have flip flops on. You don't want to get bit. So I had an experience. I ain't never got bit by some and, you know, running and chasing and I could of fell. And, you know, I had my kids down there, could have fell in the water. This ain't for me, it wasn't comfortable. And then now they don't really have nothing down there. They had a few picnic tables from what I can remember, and that's it. I mean, you can walk. I guess. I mean, but they are in Edgewater.
Sarah Nemeth [00:28:37] Right, what does the new complex look like at Edgewater? Could you describe what it looks like?
Demetrish Parham [00:28:42] The brand new one you want to know? You've seen a picture.
Sarah Nemeth [00:28:46] I saw the picture but I wanted you to tell me.
Demetrish Parham [00:28:47] Did you see the picture with the water spout in the middle? So we are talking about the same one?
Sarah Nemeth [00:28:54] Yes.
Demetrish Parham [00:28:54] Even though I didn't like it when it was first coming up, because now when I'm at the top, it's so tall because I'm short, it blocks my view from the water. But I guess they got to do what they got to do. But it's beautiful. I mean, that I think they put it up too fast here. Who am I? I'm not staying in it because I don't got the money to stay in there. I think if I did, I still wouldn't.
Sarah Nemeth [00:29:20] Why?
Demetrish Parham [00:29:26] I just. It looks like it's gonna be beautiful, but. I don't know. And I just I'm wondering what kind of people they putting in there.
Sarah Nemeth [00:29:35] What do you mean?
Demetrish Parham [00:29:37] Like where are they coming from? That's a good question, right? I ain't supposed to be asking you questions, but you.
Sarah Nemeth [00:29:46] I mean.
Demetrish Parham [00:29:47] We are like out of town people. Rich folks, you just never know. So I got to keep my eye down, there of what's happening. I'm going to be keeping my eye.
Sarah Nemeth [00:29:59] Does that make you at all nervous that this since this is an up and coming neighborhood that prices might get too high, but the housing stock will escalate further than it already has?
Demetrish Parham [00:30:17] Well, I had an and I don't want to I want to say because that's what I think I was told. But as far as where I'm staying and the people that's in Detroit Shoreway area. I heard they wasn't going to go up on no rent on our rent because they wanted the old people, the family people, the people that was the core of Detroit Shoreway to stay here. So they are not going to run this out. So I don't care what they put down here. I ain't going nowhere. I mean, so it was, I believe, almost a promise to me. And I don't want to say who said it, but somebody's in here.
Sarah Nemeth [00:30:58] OK. Well Detroit Shoreway owns your apartment. This place owns your apartment. So they are putting a freeze on your rent.
Demetrish Parham [00:31:06] No. No. What? Whatever. What it is now is what it's going to be.
Sarah Nemeth [00:31:10] OK.
Demetrish Parham [00:31:10] And that's what I like about it. Because now we don't gotta be scrambling around like, oh, my God. That's why I'm not really I really don't have an issue with the new complex, because that's not the only one that's coming up. You see other ones coming up, through, here to all you do is ride a little towards downtown too often late. So I'm not really worried right now because I trust that person that said it. So I'm OK with it.
Sarah Nemeth [00:31:38] If do you think if you weren't in that situation though that.
Demetrish Parham [00:31:43] Would I be sad to leave. Would it be unfair? Yea.
Sarah Nemeth [00:31:47] Has anyone expressed anything to you that maybe that you started talking to that you have come to know?
Demetrish Parham [00:31:56] And, I talk to everybody.
Sarah Nemeth [00:31:57] Well, that's positive. I mean, as long as no one else is nervous about it like Tremont Fairview. I was just asking because like Tremont for example, I mean that was all projects and then.
Demetrish Parham [00:32:11] They love it down there and we're not trying to mimic Tremont or down there on 25th. We just trying to be a vibrant. It's so vibrant down there. I've been down to Momocho's down there. I at The Black Pig. You know that days because I like the fried chicken. You know, I would have been everywhere. But I think that Dave's is a little too high. It caters to the people around there. But that's just my thinking, and I know that's the truth because you can go on paying honey and get a piece of fried chicken of a dollar. If I'm coming in rushing somewhere and I want a wing or a leg that's two dollars and a roll for free. Well, you get you a chicken breast it's ten dollars and a roll at that one. So.
Sarah Nemeth [00:32:58] Wow!
Demetrish Parham [00:33:01] No, but, you know, it's cute down there. I love it. So, you can, you can go anywhere you want. People are so friendly down there at night. I like the movie theater ice cream parlor. You know, that's always jumping.
Sarah Nemeth [00:33:15] Right.
Demetrish Parham [00:33:15] If you know, if you go back there, it's a line. I have ain't seen a line in a couple years. This is the first year, every time I go by, I see a line. And they get good ice cream. It's just expensive. Now I go in there if I want to give me a good treat. Mm hmm. Yeah.
Sarah Nemeth [00:33:33] OK. And what about, I mean, the festivals that come around?
Demetrish Parham [00:33:38] Girl! I go to Dyngus Day.
Sarah Nemeth [00:33:40] OK.
Demetrish Parham [00:33:41] Because I'm right on 58th, so I know when it's about to start. Even if I forget the day, if I see that RTA bus coming down my street in front of my building, I know what it is. And it's warm, it's Dyngus Day. And so I like to go up under the tent. I want to hear the music. I want to hear the accordion. I want some of the food. I want me a pussy willow. I want to be. I want to be in it. And so, like, they have the trolley coming up, taking you from here to 25th and back. Oh God, it is so fun. And then Friday, I was a guest with Miss Spencer and Jeremy are now my first year down to the Italian festival. Oh my God. The food was so good. I couldn't.
Sarah Nemeth [00:34:27] I saw the sign.
Demetrish Parham [00:34:28] No. On Friday it was meat, meatballs and homemade sauce. You could tell there was no sauce out the jar. There's no sauce that I've tasted. And so it was fried chicken in the sauce or fried chicken, spaghetti, and corn. It was so good. I think I was so full and then they had cannolis for dessert. And then I had another dessert. But it was my first experience. So then, my daughter bought some raffle tickets and then we couldn't resist. We had nothing, but a few quarters. But we had five dollars left, so we was out there on the games. It was it was fun. It was just fun just to be around, you know, the people. And it was so nice. I was drinking, too, you know. But it was nice to me. It was my first time out of the hole. So now I'm going every year.
Sarah Nemeth [00:35:19] It looks like a good time. I can remember going.
Demetrish Parham [00:35:19] Oh, my God. So fun. And Saturday, they have fish and something else. But I didn't go, but that was the menu for the next day. And the young kids that was down there serving, some of them from St. Ignatius, one of the guys that was serving us. His name was Josh. He was just the sweetest thing a teenager. You know you can't get teenagers to do too much of nothing. And I was just looking and missing my son because my son is out of commission for a minute. And I was just thinking, God, if I had a hold of this a long time ago, he probably wouldn't be where he is now. Because if you give kids something to do and they know that they doing it for somebody. Especially my child, you know, he all excited about he getting in it. And I wish he could have. But he'll be home a couple more months and so I got something set up for him. This whole new thing here.
Sarah Nemeth [00:36:14] That's really great.
Demetrish Parham [00:36:16] Yeah.
Sarah Nemeth [00:36:17] I am glad that you found your place.
Demetrish Parham [00:36:18] Oh, I ain't going nowhere.
Sarah Nemeth [00:36:22] It took some time, but.
Demetrish Parham [00:36:22] It took me a little journey because I guess if I didn't go through what I went through or get the help that I needed. I've been having conversations like this. I have even been on the news just right off. I don't even know what's going on on-air, but I don't know how to talk like back then cursing and just didn't know how to talk to people. Was always angry, always mad. You know, growing up without parents, and everybody. It's a lot of people that grew up without parents. But my mom, I was her best. She was my best friend. She was the nicest lady and she got her G.E.D. She got her driver's license. When she left my father, she was just the sweetest hands-on lady. But then she got that cancer. So my thing is growing up without structure and your least her sisters didn't even come in to help us. My her mother just died that maybe last week I didn't even go to the funeral. You know, that you know. But I just felt like I was by myself and I'm gonna do things my way. But thank God, I never got in trouble with the law. Other than that, I just wouldn't know how to talk, and maybe I ain't talking good now today. But I think I am talking way better than I would be talking to you like maybe 10 years ago. So I'm OK with that.
Sarah Nemeth [00:37:41] Well, I am glad you had your life journey. You said that your mother was a gospel singer. What church did she go to?
Demetrish Parham [00:37:43] We went to a Day Star Evening Star on 70? Well, it was on a off a 105.
Sarah Nemeth [00:38:01] OK.
Demetrish Parham [00:38:01] And we started there because they had a youth program. We were. Remember back in the day, they used to go on retreats. They would take the little kids, you know, like the teenagers to retreats and stuff like that. So, I mean, we was two churches. I remember us going to. One on Wade Park and one Evening Star and those were of churches that we stayed at.
Sarah Nemeth [00:38:23] OK. and those were Baptist?
Demetrish Parham [00:38:25] Baptist churches.
Sarah Nemeth [00:38:25] OK. But doing the Cleveland Walks Story on the East Side, that's usually where I focus most of my research. So this so I'm interested in this stuff.
Demetrish Parham [00:38:37] Oh, yeah. Where are you going to go over there?
Sarah Nemeth [00:38:40] Well, I am doing a Cleveland Walks Tour and I go.
Demetrish Parham [00:38:44] Oh God, did I miss the walk today? It's at seven. Oh, I gotta walk today. We're doing a walk today. Sorry about that.
Sarah Nemeth [00:38:52] Oh, for what?
Demetrish Parham [00:38:55] Oh. The walk is for Gordon Square. I'm having get, though. I've been missing it. We have it out there on the shore. Show it to you. I missed the one at 7:00 in the morning. So today is Tuesday. I think I'm supposed to go to one 7:00 this evening.
Sarah Nemeth [00:39:11] 7:00 in the morning?
Demetrish Parham [00:39:14] Yeah, they went. I didn't go I was sleeping.
Sarah Nemeth [00:39:16] That's way too early.
Demetrish Parham [00:39:17] Yeah. But they went. I think I'm gonna go today.
Sarah Nemeth [00:39:20] You just. Where do you walk to?
Demetrish Parham [00:39:22] They. I won't know until I see when I. When I walk out the door and see Jeremy or see somebody. But we just had a wellness fair at Michael J. Zone.
Sarah Nemeth [00:39:32] OK.
Demetrish Parham [00:39:33] A couple weeks ago. It was so I got pictures in there. My phone is dead and it was so fun and they had the smoke truck up there. They let the kids come in there and climb it. It is so dark because I did it. I didn't want to do it because I get anxiety so bad, but I said well shit if the kids and do it, I can do it. You get in there it's so dark. All it is the smoke like real smoke and you got to get down on the ground, find your way to the door, and then somebody there will let you out. They had the horses, they had the ambulance. They let the kids talk on the microphones in the police car and they had free hot dogs. And just stuff like, they had the nutritionist lady there to show you she had a bag of sugar in a small sandwich little Ziploc bag and we'll see all the sugars in the pop that you drink in a 16 ounce pop or she was just showing us this butter and the cheese is like really looking like real food. And then they had the ambulance given away. Emergency Kids and dolls blow up dolls that you can do your CPR on. So a lot of stuff going on up there.
Sarah Nemeth [00:40:43] And where normally are you?
Demetrish Parham [00:40:44] Michael J. Zone.
Sarah Nemeth [00:40:45] OK.
Demetrish Parham [00:40:46] [On] Lorain on 65th and Lorain.
Sarah Nemeth [00:40:49] Is that a place where a lot of community events are held?
Demetrish Parham [00:40:52] I believe so.
Sarah Nemeth [00:40:54] Are things held here at Gordon Square Arcade?
Demetrish Parham [00:40:58] Like. I haven't seen anything like private stuff, like they just had a little get together for one of the one one of our one of my good friends, Austin. He left to go to school and he had, his going-away party here. But it was just for us, you know.
Sarah Nemeth [00:41:17] OK.
Demetrish Parham [00:41:17] But I don't think they ever had nothing up here. I don't know I may be wrong.
Sarah Nemeth [00:41:23] Well, What's your perspective in how you've. What you have seen? So it is not wrong. And do you see maybe a new group of people coming into the neighborhood? Is there. Is there more. I don't know. Is the neighborhood changing? In the past four years, has the neighborhood changed?
Demetrish Parham [00:41:44] I think the last couple of years it's changing. I think they bringing in. They are not screening well. As far as, these. Maybe I shouldn't say. I don't think they are screening well, you know, from what I'm seeing in my building in front of what I'm seeing and a couple other buildings. You know, these people come in like this one person in my building. You know, all this music in this reefer, no smoking. And maybe I should say that. Oh, shit. I shouldn't say that. You know, I had a nerve. I said listen here, you know, you can't, your not going to come in our building and just turn up this, not that type of building. Well, he turned around and told me honey I have been kicked out of more places than this. This won't be my first eviction. So I said to myself, where do they give these people? What the hell are you on my floor? I got to hear this crap like what was going on? So, you know, hey, I don't think they screening well other than that. Who am I?
Sarah Nemeth [00:42:41] Are there a lot of children in the neighborhood?
Demetrish Parham [00:42:44] Not a lot of little children. No. I haven't seen them unless they coming from school.
Sarah Nemeth [00:42:53] OK.
Demetrish Parham [00:42:55] You will see a few preteens or teenagers going. Mostly they have a couple of churches up here. You'll see them going for the youth programs or whatever they have there. But I hardly ever see any kids.
Sarah Nemeth [00:43:07] What age range is the neighborhood made up of mostly?
Demetrish Parham [00:43:12] Us adults, grown adults.
Sarah Nemeth [00:43:13] OK.
Demetrish Parham [00:43:16] And now they bringing these kids in here in these apartment buildings. That's why I am saying they not screening well. Because just say I'll say this and we can go. If they were my buildings and if we were in the upcoming area, that's going to be booming once those things come up. I wouldn't. Who am I to say what's riff-raff or not? I'm just seeing what will work for my building and wouldn't work for my building. Now people that just experiencing being on their own. In a house coming into one of our buildings, that's a no no. For one half of them don't know how to clean up. For one half of them got two or three babies on the hips. You know, this lady got kids in there? I can hear her baby running into the wall. Doing flips off her bed. I don't want to hear that. My shift sometimes changes. Sometimes I come in, I want to take a nap or my TV, my big TV rocking off my thing. So I feel like, if you have 16 buildings, these are the buildings where we going to let the people come in and learn how to be adults in apartments and let them work it out. But we're not going to put them in these buildings because these people are really seasoned already.
Sarah Nemeth [00:44:36] That makes sense.
Demetrish Parham [00:44:38] And they know how to keep this going. So if I have any building, that's going to be going down. It's least going to be just two not the whole sixteen. I'm not saying this a whole sixteen, but I'm just saying if it was me, that's how I would do it. But who am I?
Sarah Nemeth [00:44:49] That's interesting. That's a good thing to think about.
Demetrish Parham [00:44:53] Do you see what I'm saying?
Sarah Nemeth [00:44:54] Yeah.
Demetrish Parham [00:44:54] Let's not just exclude them because somebody had to show me too.
Sarah Nemeth [00:44:59] Right, I had to learn.
Demetrish Parham [00:44:59] You get you'll get what I'm saying. So but let's not just put them all l everywhere what people that's already season and then been through life. And my kids are grown. I don't have. My kids are 20 and 21, so I don't want to hear nobody else's kid cause see my kids would never do that. See, I wouldn't allow that. But that's just me because I was raised old school and I raised mine old school. No matter how you raise them, they still turn out the way they want to turn now. And that's my son went down his road and hopefully it's a lesson in everything, because like I tell him when I write him letters, I'm still learning lessons every day too. So don't think it's just for you. And I'm just telling you and in your ear, somebody's always got to be in my ear to to keep me on point.
Sarah Nemeth [00:45:45] Right.
Demetrish Parham [00:45:45] To keep me from swaying, because you can always go back to, you know.
Sarah Nemeth [00:45:50] Doing whatever you want.
Demetrish Parham [00:45:51] Because anything can trigger anything can happen. And I don't never want to go back. So what I'm saying is when they get these kids in here, these teenagers or these young adults put them have two builders that you set aside and make sure you monitor these buildings. Good. Not like no jail. They in jail, but just show them what's needed to be. Because when I was out and CMHA a somebody had to show me and I had like the best teachers and they liked me. So they sent me to school for free. I went to Tri-C for basic construction. After I left there, we had hands-on in the dawn doing work, you know, rehabbing houses in the actual cedar buildings down there, on 30th with Kid Mr. Kid. It was down there. So we've been getting ready to go. God I know you got to go. But then I had six months, six weeks in school too and I wind up graduating with my certificate. OK. Big deal. It was a big deal to me.
Sarah Nemeth [00:46:55] Right.
Demetrish Parham [00:46:55] As somebody showed me a better way than just to be sitting in the projects, sitting on my stool, watching and being nosy. Seeing who doing what and that and that. And just having kids. I had two got my tubes tied and that was it. If somebody like a big family, that's fine. But they should have two buildings for that. And the rest of his buildings because he's spends a lot of money in these buildings. No, it's a lot of money that go in these buildings. And if they were my buildings, you know, who am I? But.
Sarah Nemeth [00:47:26] Well, I guess we can end with what is your hope for the community?
Demetrish Parham [00:47:35] Oh, God, my hope for this community is when they do move, these people in or whoever or wherever they come from. It still be as friendly as it is now. We still have our Block Clubs. It's just gonna be even bigger. We can still have, you know, meetings because we have resident meetings, too. If people want to come in and know what's going on in the neighborhood. So I just hope nothing don't change and people don't come in and think they'd bigger and better than everybody else and then make the people that was here feel less than and leave. That's my hope.
Sarah Nemeth [00:48:15] OK. Well, it was very nice talking with you.
Demetrish Parham [00:48:17] You, too. Thank you. Thank you for allowing me.
Sarah Nemeth [00:48:20] It was great. Thank you so much.
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"Demetrish Parham interview, 18 July 2017" (2017). Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection. Interview 955037.