Dave Woldman recalls his experiences in the Heights during the 1960s through the 1970s. He grew up in a conservative Jewish home, but later embraced the counterculture movement and the alternative lifestyles particular to Coventry Village.


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Woldman, Dave (interviewee)


Nemeth, Sarah (interviewer)


Cleveland Heights



Document Type

Oral History


79 minutes


Sarah Nemeth [00:00:00] Hi, my name is Sarah Nemeth. I'm here with Dave Woldman. Today is July 3, 2018. This is for the Cleveland Regional Oral History Project. If you could please state your name for the record.

Dave Woldman [00:00:13] Sure. My name is David Woldman.

Sarah Nemeth [00:00:16] And where and when were you born?

Dave Woldman [00:00:18] I was born in 1954 in Cleveland. My parents originally lived on Grosvenor in Cleveland Heights and then moved in with my grandparents into the house in Shaker Heights, on the wrong side of the tracks on Winslow Road.

Sarah Nemeth [00:00:35] And what did they do for a living?

Dave Woldman [00:00:38] My father was court assistant for juvenile court. He also worked for the liquor department, and my mom was pretty much a homemaker and a student.

Sarah Nemeth [00:00:49] Okay, and so when did you live in Cleveland Heights, or did you guys move?

Dave Woldman [00:00:56] Well, when I was first born, apparently, till I was three and a half months, I lived on Taylor Road above the toy store that used to be there. Heights Toy and Furniture.

Sarah Nemeth [00:01:16] So by living in Shaker, how did you get, like, where did you go? What did you do?

Dave Woldman [00:01:23] All right, well, I grew up in Shaker Heights. I attended temple in Cleveland Heights, at Mayfield and Lee, so I was used to going into Cleveland Heights. My parents both grew up in Cleveland Heights, so there were a lot of places that we'd go all the time. I think what you're asking me is about the time I was 13 years old, I started breaking free of my two or three-block radius that I was allowed. And after hearing about the shooting at the C-Saw Cafe, I wanted to go to Coventry to see the blood and the guts and the police and all that good stuff. And I finally got permission. And with the visions of a 13-year-old, it was just a grimy, rundown street.

Sarah Nemeth [00:02:14] Who told you about the C-Saw?

Dave Woldman [00:02:16] It was in the news. It was in the news. I mean, the bartender blew Hell's Angels away, and it resculpted the whole face of Coventry.

Sarah Nemeth [00:02:25] Is there any more details you could remember about that? Like, just what you like? Why did you want to go and just see the blood and guts?

Dave Woldman [00:02:38] It was a destination that my 13-year-old mind chose. I mean, it wasn't far off from where I'd normally run around to, but it was a new place. It was in the news. It was like the community was all going, ehhh. It's not a good neighborhood. Stay away from there. And that's what made me want to check it out.

Sarah Nemeth [00:03:01] Did you go with your friends?

Dave Woldman [00:03:03] No, I got on my bicycle once they gave me permission to leave my area, I said, [makes a zooming sound].

Sarah Nemeth [00:03:11] So your first impression of the space that is Coventry Road?

Dave Woldman [00:03:16] It was gritty it was dirty. It was low-rent. There were drunks, there were druggies. It was different. It was new. It was exciting in the eyes of a 13-year-old. It was a whole new world.

Sarah Nemeth [00:03:29] And what, roughly, we're talking, like the late sixties?

Dave Woldman [00:03:32] Well, I was born in '54, so '67, '67, '68.

Sarah Nemeth [00:03:38] And so a typical day, you hanging out there. What did you do as a 13-year-old?

Dave Woldman [00:03:47] Just cruise from store to store, checking things out. I wasn't the greatest of kids. It was easy to pilfer things, and it was just a neat place to hang out.

Sarah Nemeth [00:04:03] What did the people look like? Like, if you were to, stereotypical, like, generalize when you're walking down or riding your bike down Coventry, what did people. What were the sights, sounds, smells?

Dave Woldman [00:04:17] They were not Shaker Heights. It was a lower income area than I grew up in. The rents were a third of what they were everybody else. So the people were a little bit more ragged to see the drunks, to see what I now know were druggies. You know, it was just different. You know, Coventry was a strange area because it was going from a heavy Jewish population and bikers, and then all of a sudden it blew up, and it opened up for people that were, like, trying to slide under the radar, I guess, is a good way to put it. It was. It was just different. You know, you go into a store and get blasted in the face with incense, and nobody had that. Or, you know, there was an early form of, I think, the Pier 1 stores. I think it was called Pier W. That opened up down there. And it was exotic because it had all these weird smells and furniture styles that you didn't see and the Indian brass and just all the other stuff that you never saw. It was just way different for me. It was not the normal schedule. It was not the normal Shaker Heights life. It was not anything I grew up accustomed to.

Sarah Nemeth [00:05:56] Well, in comparison, what was Shaker like?

Dave Woldman [00:06:00] Too much money. Way too much money. There was a lot of old-school money in Shaker at the time. A lot of people would flaunt the law. You could buy things with money that you can't without money. There were people- There was one family decided they were going to put a cover over their swimming pool, so they built a dome over their pool with no permits or anything. And then the city came down on them, and then they said, oh, here, let me pay you off. So it was stuff like that all over the place. Once again, it was a different world. I was on the wrong side of the tracks. If you were on the south side of the Van Aken rapid, you were not rich. All right? If you were on the north side, your income was quite nice in comparison. So that jaded me to a lot of things. I grew up in a strong, conservative, Jewish, protective family, so I had blinders on. So once those started coming off, it was amazing. Once I got the freedom of being able to move around on a bicycle, it got even more interesting because that gave me the freedoms to start doing, like, the rapids and going downtown and heading down to, like, 9th Street for the burlesque and Jean's Fun House, or by the square for Jean's Magic Shop or the Automat, the restaurant where you put your money and open a little door, pull the plate of food out. It was just so many cool things. Then I got into finding all the tunnels and the walkways underneath the streets downtown and how far underground you used to be able to go. You never had to surface out of the rapid station. You could go to all these different stores that were all interconnected. Yeah, it was. It was really cool.

Sarah Nemeth [00:08:06] So you mentioned that you came from a Jewish family, conservative. Did they ever tell you anything about, like, why they chose to move to Cleveland Heights? Like, maybe later?

Dave Woldman [00:08:18] They grew up in Cleveland Heights, so that was home. I don't think my dad had a lot of money. As a matter of fact, I'll rephrase that and say, I know my dad didn't have a lot of money. My grandparents were doing okay. My grandfather bought a house on Winslow Road, and that ensured that the family had a place to be. I think that did a lot for my stability in life, because my parents lived in that house up until the time that my daughter was born. I mean, so there's a lot of history at the one location.

Sarah Nemeth [00:09:01] Did they ever tell you anything about, like, the Jewish. I mean, that was a strong Jewish enclave.

Dave Woldman [00:09:07] Yes, it was.

Sarah Nemeth [00:09:08] Before the bikers moved in and before it kind of loomed into this counterculture?

Dave Woldman [00:09:14] Tell me about it. No, I lived it.

Sarah Nemeth [00:09:17] Right. So what was it like then, with.

Dave Woldman [00:09:20] It being like, oh, cripes, before me? Yeah. Okay, well, I had to attend school, so I did public school. And at 3:00 on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, as soon as school got out, the carpool was there to pick me up and take me to Hebrew school. Hebrew school went from four till six. Then we'd have to come home, do our homework, get ready for the next day, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And then, whereas most normal people would have their weekends, I had to get up at 7:00 and get ready to go to Hebrew school and then services and, you know.

Sarah Nemeth [00:09:58] Where did you- What temple did you attend?

Dave Woldman [00:10:00] Temple on the Heights.

Sarah Nemeth [00:10:02] And is that where you went to Hebrew school as well?

Dave Woldman [00:10:04] Yes.

Sarah Nemeth [00:10:05] Were there a lot of kids that were your age that also had to go?

Dave Woldman [00:10:09] Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.

Sarah Nemeth [00:10:11] Like, how many were in your class?

Dave Woldman [00:10:13] I don't remember exactly how many in the class. You can go to B'nai Jeshurun out at Fairmount and see my picture up on the wall with the graduating class, and it was probably somewhere around 50, 70 people.

Sarah Nemeth [00:10:33] Wow.

Dave Woldman [00:10:34] And that was just the one grade, you know, so there was a number of grades going on at the same time.

Sarah Nemeth [00:10:42] So did you mostly, or did you notice that the Jewish families kind of stuck together?

Dave Woldman [00:10:48] They had to.

Sarah Nemeth [00:10:48] They had to.

Dave Woldman [00:10:49] They had to. I grew up a block and a half away from St. Dominic's. There were no other kids in my block or two. And I took so much shit from those kids at St. Dominic's that it wasn't even funny.

Sarah Nemeth [00:11:00] Because of the religious differences? [Yes.] So would you say that there was a lot of divisions in Cleveland Heights at that time?

Dave Woldman [00:11:12] I'd say there were more divisions in Shaker Heights, but, yeah, you know, there was the Jews, and I hate to put it this way, but there was us and them, and then there was the Negroes, which there were a lot more derogatory names in use for at the time. My grandmother absolutely lost her stone the first time I brought a Black friend over the house. Oh, my God. Oh, I forgot all about that. I had an Austin Healy sprite with opera glass windows on it, and I was a crazy little shit. And one of my favorite tricks was, as I was going along, I'd blast the two windows down and forward because they'd pivot. And the car was only about that. And I go ripping under semi trailers, and we're heading towards my house, and I knew this guy had never- His name was Gerald Neal. I knew he'd never experienced this before. So I calmly reached forward and knocked the two glasses down, and I started aiming for this truck trailer and said, Duck! He turned white.

Sarah Nemeth [00:12:40] Sounds terrible.

Dave Woldman [00:12:42] We got to my house. We started going up. At this point in time, my bedroom was up on the third floor, and we started heading up there, and my grandmother just absolutely lost it that I was bringing a Black person into her house. It was like, he's a person. Shut up. Go close your door. And it was off and running. It was amazing. Oh, my goodness. But, yeah, that was, that was an interesting day all around.

Sarah Nemeth [00:13:16] It sounds like it on multiple levels. So there was- So there is kind of this division between a Jewish families and kind of everybody else.

Dave Woldman [00:13:30] Yeah, but I was 13. It didn't matter.

Sarah Nemeth [00:13:32] But it didn't matter to you? Could you feel that, like.

Dave Woldman [00:13:35] Yeah, but I tried to avoid it, you know? It was like I was 13. If it was drama, if it was gonna give me headaches, I didn't want it. I was a kid. I wanted to have fun.

Sarah Nemeth [00:13:44] You're the 13-year-old guy, so.

Dave Woldman [00:13:45] Yeah.

Sarah Nemeth [00:13:46] You know, is there any places that you remember going that were more specifically Jewish other than temple, like maybe any restaurants or-?

Dave Woldman [00:14:00] Mawby's at Cedar and Lee? Best burgers in the city.

Sarah Nemeth [00:14:06] Could you describe what it looked like in Mawby's?

Dave Woldman [00:14:12] You open the door and walk into cigar smoke. One long counter running the length of the building with maybe seven or eight feet to the side of it. Griddles, you know, seats all along the counter on one side and full-length griddles and food preparation on the other. And just the madhouse.

Sarah Nemeth [00:14:35] There was a lot of people up there?

Dave Woldman [00:14:37] Yeah.

Sarah Nemeth [00:14:37] Were they mostly Jewish?

Dave Woldman [00:14:39] I couldn't tell you.

Sarah Nemeth [00:14:43] Any other, any other places that-?

Dave Woldman [00:14:47] Well, there were all the delis that were around. And mostly. Mostly my mom was a bad cook. So we either ate rotten food or we. And I mean poorly prepared food or we ate with my grandparents or, you know, we weren't rich, so we weren't going out all the time, so. Yeah.

Sarah Nemeth [00:15:14] Okay, so now you're 13 and you're running down to Coventry. We discussed that. It's kind of like completely new, completely different. What was the age range that- Do you remember? Like, how old people kind of looked to you when you were going down there?

Dave Woldman [00:15:34] All ages. A lot of- I don't know if I could really say. I just remember seeing a lot of people. There were all ages, all sorts of style of dress. So it was a very weird transition zone. Not quite a melting pot. Cleveland Heights had its areas of, whether it be nationality or religion, it had all these little pockets. You had the inner city. You had Little Italy. You had all these different war zones all around that you had to wonder, worry about. So at 13, did I notice all that? No. My recollection is it wasn't the students that I was going to school with. It was all sorts of people.

Sarah Nemeth [00:16:45] Were they friendly to you?

Dave Woldman [00:16:47] In general? No. People suck.

Sarah Nemeth [00:16:51] So everyone, you know, like, I get this picture sometimes talking to everyone and I feel that people think about the past kind of the rose colored glasses, like, oh, everyone was nice. And you walk down Coventry and-

Dave Woldman [00:17:04] Coventry? No, no, no. We're talking about the late sixties. And it was. It was like Ohio City used to be. It was like where the drunks. It was where the druggies. It was where the down-on-their-luck people ended up because rents were cheap, the area was not well off. It was rundown. It was tired. Usually, it seems in my experience, when the Jewish population starts moving, it's because it's worn out, it's done. And that's what was starting to happen in that area. Everybody was starting to migrate east.

Sarah Nemeth [00:17:48] Yeah, it seemed like the JCC, like, tried to stay ahead of the curve. Like they kept, like, trying to move before, like something happened.

Dave Woldman [00:18:00] Yeah, I think it was just as people got better footing, it was more to their benefit to move a little bit further east and get away from some of the problem areas. Whether it was what kind of people or what drugs were being used or noises or- There were lots of reasons everybody wants to constantly move up and better themselves. And it's, you know.

Sarah Nemeth [00:18:35] I mean, that's not unnatural of people just in general-?

Dave Woldman [00:18:37] Right.

Sarah Nemeth [00:18:40] So what else did you do? You mentioned going downtown.

Dave Woldman [00:18:48] Yeah, that was really fun. Exploring was, like, really fun. Seeing what you could get away with was really fun. People were a lot more- There was a different honor code than there is today. And people like Abby Hoffman and the underground radicals, the one who starts saying, this is how you make changes, that really started influencing a lot of people, especially kids, because stuff like Steal This Book or the Guerrillas Handbook, it was all about worry about yourself, screw everybody else.

Sarah Nemeth [00:19:31] What were those? I never heard of that before.

Dave Woldman [00:19:38] Abby Hoffman's Steal This Book was basically about rebellion, about how not to comply with the government. Because we grew up with nuclear drills. Bend your head over, get as low as you can under your desk, and basically kiss your ass goodbye. We were afraid on a daily basis that that bomb was coming. That affected people a lot. Vietnam was definitely in everybody's mind, and it was creating, between the government and the populace, it was creating some hassles, and there were some radicals that came out and started saying, this is how you fight back against it. Rip off everything you can, let them know that you're upset. And, hey, as a kid, it was real easy to take to heart.

Sarah Nemeth [00:20:31] Did you notice, like, other kids, like, kind of-

Dave Woldman [00:20:34] We had competitions.

Sarah Nemeth [00:20:36] Competitions to do what?

Dave Woldman [00:20:38] Obtain things.

Sarah Nemeth [00:20:43] Just from, like, different parts of the, like in the city? Or was your obtaining things centralized in a spot?

Dave Woldman [00:20:50] Yeah, it was centralized to a great extent. You know, I'd like to sound like I was all over the city, but I was like, stuck in my own little areas.

Sarah Nemeth [00:21:02] So as you, like, grew up and got older, did those feelings and did that intensify, like, joining- Like, what's happening in the seventies? Like, in the early seventies? What happened to you? Where did you go?

Dave Woldman [00:21:18] In 1969, which is about the same year that I was allowed to ride down a Coventry. I got hit by a car. It was a block away from my parents' house, and it kind of wiped out my leg for the summer. So the day we got out of junior high school for the summer, I got hit by the car. And one week before high school started, they took the cast off my leg and said, good luck. [laughs] So, yeah, no, I didn't have a shriveled leg, but I got hit broadside and broke both bones right under my knee. And they gave me this whole list of stuff that I was never going to be able to do. And I said, ah, thank you very much. Now I've got a checklist of things to do. So I was out to disprove that. I got really tired of the politics. I got involved with bicycle racing. There was a place in Chagrin Boulevard in Shaker Heights called Shaker Velo Sport. It was right around the corner from my house. I met the person, I started talking with them. I started proving myself. And the next thing I knew, I was a bicycle repairman. Then the next thing I knew is I was building wheels for the Cleveland Wheelmen. Then the next thing I knew, I was a chase driver for TORSO, Tour of the Southern Ohio River Valleys. This is all bicycle-related. I was one of those early guys with the tight, shiny pants and the weird jerseys riding around. I got a speeding ticket on a bicycle out in, out past Geauga Lake Park on Route 82. I was with another buddy. His name was Steve Johnson. Yeah, Steve Johnson. And we were race training. We were on track bikes. So nowadays they call them messenger bikes. No brakes, solid chain to the wheel and pedals. If you wanted to stop, it was all leg strength. And you literally lock your feet down on the pedals. You had cleats on the bottom of your shoes and then straps and pull those suckers tight. That way you could push down and pull up at the same time. And we did our training runs where we'd be a mile on full speed and then a mile cool down, mile on, mile off, mile on, mile off. And we were out on Route 82, headed east from Route 43, and there was a section of whoopty dupes, and then there's a long downhill, and we flew through the whoopty dupes. And we hit the top of the hill, and we both piled on it. And there was a state highway patrol car, and he was apparently doing the speed limit, and we bracketed him in, just went for it, and we heard him pick up his speed. We came off of the mile on, and we started cooling down, and a mile up, we went on it again, and the cop is still behind us. And we came down off of that on, and he hit his lights, and he goes, do you know how fast you guys were going? We're like, not a clue. [laughs] He goes, I clocked you at 57 at one point. And I'm like, really? He goes, 57 in a 35. I'm like, can you give me a ticket? He did. I've still got it.

Sarah Nemeth [00:25:07] I didn't even know that you could go that place on a bike.

Dave Woldman [00:25:10] I didn't- I got up on one of the wood tracks in Chicago. It was 1971, '72. Yeah, I was still in high school, so it had been before '72, and they had a motorcycle with a sheet of plywood strapped up on the back end to form a draft, and I was able to get up over 60 miles an hour behind him.

Sarah Nemeth [00:25:41] Oh, wow.

Dave Woldman [00:25:42] Yeah.

Sarah Nemeth [00:25:44] That's really intense.

Dave Woldman [00:25:45] Yeah, well, I weighed 100. I weighed 120 pounds, and all my muscles were in my legs. It was amazing.

Sarah Nemeth [00:25:56] So you were traveling around a lot, biking and doing things related to the bikes, like, what was happening, like, in your neighborhood?

Dave Woldman [00:26:07] Don't know. I was just. I just. I just had enough of it. You got to remember, this is the last years of the draft. The first year I was pulled in the draft, I was up over 300. Second year in the draft, I was in the 200s. In 1972. I was, like, number 14. So I was all ready to go to war, and I figured if I was going to Nam, I didn't feel like walking, so I gave up everything else I was doing at the time and got involved in Navy Sea Cadets, so at least I could go on a boat instead of walking. And I go in, at least as a lieutenant, JG was there, like, local.

Sarah Nemeth [00:26:50] Places that did, like, recruitment offices that you could join for that, or, like, how did you get hooked up with that?

Dave Woldman [00:27:06] I was involved with Boy Scouts. I was, like, one merit badge away from Eagle Scouts, and everybody started telling me with how I'd been behaving that I better do something quick. And it was pointed out to me, and I don't remember how. Yeah, there was recruitment offices. Did I ever go to them? No. Did I consider leaving for Canada at one point? Yeah, kind of but not really. So it was just easier for me to- Because I like to think I'm a patriot. I like to think I would have stood up and done the right thing. I figured if I was going to war, I'd rather have it be on my terms. And boats sounded a lot more interesting. There was a time period in high school which was '69 through '72, that I was the idiot that was running around in the American flag pants with the Beatles-style sergeant pepper's jacket with the patriotic top hat, you know. So I was a unique duck, even for them.

Sarah Nemeth [00:28:20] So what happens after high school?

Dave Woldman [00:28:24] Well, after high school, my best friend moved to Colorado and he said, and this is in '70, late '71. I actually would have graduated in '72, but I'll let that part go. My friend's family moved out to Denver, Colorado, and he said, oh, man, it sucks out here. There's nobody. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. You ought to come out and visit at least. And one thing led to another, and I said, sure. And I ended up in Denver, what was supposed to be a two-week vacation. I stayed out there for over a year. It was kind of slick.

Sarah Nemeth [00:29:16] So Denver before it was like the cool place, or was it still the cool place to be?

Dave Woldman [00:29:21] It was starting. It was really firing up at that point in time. I think when I moved, when I went out there, they were complaining that they were getting like 1500 people a week moving to Denver. I mean, it was growing fast.

Sarah Nemeth [00:29:38] Yeah.

Dave Woldman [00:29:44] It was a real interesting time and place. In order for me to be able to stay out there, I had to get a job. I got a job at a machine company, a machine shop. My first day there, a bunch of guys looked at me, looked at my car, looked at me, looked at my car and said, how would you like to make a fortune this summer? And I'm. I'm in. What do I got to do? And they said, you don't have to do anything. Give us your car. And I'm like, why? And they showed me the engine and drive line they had already built, and they needed a car to put it in. And I had a beat to shit Ohio Camaro. They had an amazing engine that nowadays would be called a stroker motor, but it went a lot further than that. And I think I was earning 3.29 or 3.30 an hour working in the factory. And we made $33,000 with that car in five months. Yeah, it was built to deceive. I weighed 120 pounds, had a beard down to my belly button and a ponytail to match. My favorite way to dress was a pair of overalls and a pair of overalls and a pair of sandals, and that was it. And the car, once again, was built to deceive. If you'd never heard the car run, if you'd never seen it start up, and you'd never- It was built to screw with perceptions. It looked like a beat to hell Ohio Camaro, dents and dings and mist paint and ripped vinyl roof. But it was a wolf in sheep's clothing. It was an amazing process, how we'd set up our races, because one of the guys from the machine shop would always be right somewhere around where the deal was going on. And somehow one of these five guys ended up being the ones holding the money for the street race. Because usually once that car key got turned and that engine started firing up, people knew they were had. [laughs]

Sarah Nemeth [00:32:09] Well, that's like an interesting experience.

Dave Woldman [00:32:12] Yeah, it was. It was. But then that game ran out, and I ended up moving back to Cleveland. A bunch of friends and I ended up with a house on Cedarbrook in Cleveland Heights. We were still all hanging out in Cleveland Heights and on Coventry and all around the neighborhoods. And that's when Coventry really started changing. That's when places like the Waterbed Euphorium came in. You had Marsha with High Tide Rock Bottom. You had Rumpke[?] who was doing the jewelry work in her basement. You had the Leather Shop. You had Irv's Deli. You had Heights Pet World. I mean, there were so many exotic things there to go check out that were just nowhere else in the city. It was great.

Sarah Nemeth [00:33:00] So what was the difference between from when you first started going down there to when you returned from Colorado?

Dave Woldman [00:33:08] Three years, four years.

Sarah Nemeth [00:33:11] What would you like? If you had to say one thing, like, one word to describe the change, the difference you saw, what would it be?

Dave Woldman [00:33:21] Maturity, both on my part and on the street's part. Because by this time, the bikers had pretty much lost their grip on the area. The police had moved back in. Lot of drugs floating around. It was just the whole nature of civilization seemed to be changing. I mean, you no longer had- You no longer had the fear of Vietnam hanging over your head. You know, there's just a lot of things lightened up. Politics still sucked and all that. But at least on the street, things were easier. Things were-

Sarah Nemeth [00:34:02] Were the drunks and the druggies still there?

Dave Woldman [00:34:05] Always. They still are. [laughs]

Sarah Nemeth [00:34:09] Were they? I know that there is a lot of issues of loitering. And they used to make jokes about, like, mockery.

Dave Woldman [00:34:19] Then I'm guilty of it. Coventry started off as nobody cared. And then the drugs started coming in and, yeah, people would sit around on their asses and just go, wow, man, look at the world going by. But yeah, it wasn't until after, like, the street fair started and stuff that they really had some of the problems that were going on.

Sarah Nemeth [00:34:50] So, like, at first, before the street fair, so when was the first street fair?

Dave Woldman [00:34:55] I was living on Rock Court at the time, so that had been 70- '74? '75?

Sarah Nemeth [00:35:08] So when you first moved back, it was like more, like, free?

Dave Woldman [00:35:15] It was still a rundown neighborhood and it was just cooler stores. Stores that were more to what I was looking for than this. More so than a Sears or a Macy's or, I don't know, it was just different. It was more personal.

Sarah Nemeth [00:35:35] Could you maybe describe going to, like, what's the favorite or what's the place you frequented most often?

Dave Woldman [00:35:46] At what point?

Sarah Nemeth [00:35:47] Before you- Right after you returned

Dave Woldman [00:35:50] Okay. When I got back from Colorado, probably- Probably the favorite areas down on Coventry were, like, Irv's delicatessen, Heights Pet World, Record Revolution. I don't think the Record Exchange was open by that time. And Coventry Pizza.

Sarah Nemeth [00:36:19] Okay, so could you describe Irv's? Like, what was it like there?

Dave Woldman [00:36:23] Irv's was a rundown Jewish deli. You'd walk in and the salamis and the meats would be hanging and their cases would be laid out. And it was just a lot of noise, a lot of hubbub, a lot of smells. The food was solid. You knew when you ate at a deli because it sat heavy.

Sarah Nemeth [00:36:47] What type of people went there?

Dave Woldman [00:36:49] Everybody. Everybody. I mean, there was good deli. Food is hard to find in this world. And Irv's was one of the- Irv's was those one of the better of the worst ones.

Sarah Nemeth [00:37:08] So I heard there's a lot of, like, alleged prostitution and drug trafficking and, like, mob-related activities, or did you ever see anything like that going out of Irv's?

Dave Woldman [00:37:24] Out of Irv's?

Sarah Nemeth [00:37:25] Yeah.

Dave Woldman [00:37:28] I can't say that I saw anything out of Irv's other than food and attitudes. I wasn't looking for anything else at the time.

Sarah Nemeth [00:37:38] Okay. But I'm just, after reading the Coventry Village News or the newsletter. This happened more in the eighties, though. Like, they started to almost, like. I wouldn't say attack him, but it seems like it's almost witch hunting.

Dave Woldman [00:37:56] Well, it changed.

Sarah Nemeth [00:37:59] Oh. So, I won't jump then. I won't jump- [crosstalk] Let's keep going with the seventies. So what about Record Revolution? What was it like in there?

Dave Woldman [00:38:08] Record Revolution was, like, there was always music playing. There were all these records, you know? And no matter how hard you try, you can never listen to all the records. [thunder in background] And believe me, my friends and I, we tried between the upstairs with all the records and downstairs with all the used records and then the paraphernalia and the clothes and just finding people, like, with the same attitude as you. It was. It was an amazing place to be. You know, you could go in there and start talking music and just get lost for hours. It was- It was right what I needed at the time.

Sarah Nemeth [00:38:59] How were the records displayed? Like, did they have, like-

Dave Woldman [00:39:02] Yeah, paw-through bins. It's all it was. They had some glass cases, but it was all paw-through bins. And they had it styled out. You know, they had, like, blues, they had classical. You know, they had it arranged like most record stores.

Sarah Nemeth [00:39:19] What kind of- So they sold drug paraphernalia there?

Dave Woldman [00:39:24] Yeah. Rolling papers, basic pipes.

Sarah Nemeth [00:39:28] Okay, did they have those in a separate section, or were they, like, out in the open?

Dave Woldman [00:39:37] At first, yeah, it was pretty well-hidden. And then as time went by, it got bigger and bigger. Sunshine opened up, and it became more prevalent. No, those aren't drug pipes. Those are tobacco pipes made out of.

Sarah Nemeth [00:39:53] Yeah, yeah. And what other. What about- What else did you mention that you went to all the time? Coventry Pizza. What was that like? What was the pizza like? People mention it, but I don't even know what it was like.

Dave Woldman [00:40:07] Well, you got to understand, in Cleveland, the sidewalks rolled up at 6:00, so to have a place that was open all night long, it's awesome. If you were out partying late at night and you needed something to sober up off of, you only had a couple of choices, and Coventry Pizza was one of them. And for, like, dirt cheap, you could get a big wedge of cheese pizza. Or they had a, oh, man, I don't remember what they called it, but I called it a gut destroyer. I think it was a polish dog, but it was like a hot- Call it a bratwurst on a bun or a [kielbasa]. It was some kind of sausage on a bun with a barbecue sauce that would pull paint off. Then they'd load it with coleslaw in french fries. And just at 2:00 in the morning when you were absolutely- It was the bomb. It was great. It was a great place for late at night, I think. Manners, the big boys. I think you had more potential of getting drugs and girls at than you did at Coventry Pizza.

Sarah Nemeth [00:41:26] Did you build any of the bars around there, or did you travel outside of Coventry or stay at home?

Dave Woldman [00:41:36] I hung out at the Flip Side, which was a bar up on Mayfield by Noble. That was a pretty cool place. Did I hang at the bars down on Coventry? No, not really. It wasn't what I was into. I never really hung out at bars. It just wasn't me.

Sarah Nemeth [00:42:01] Like, just observing other people, did you ever notice where did people frequent when they were on Coventry at that time?

Dave Woldman [00:42:14] Same places. [more thunder] I think the reason that some of these stores were so popular is they had a one-of-a-kind service. Bill at the Leather Shop, would make anything. The deli, that was pretty specific. They had a florist, they had an eyewear shop, they had- You know, there were a lot of common stores, but you had up at the top end of the street, you had the theater. And they started doing the midnight movie somewhere around 1972, because we, yeah, we got in trouble the first night that Reefer Madness was supposed to play the midnight at Coventry. Yeah, the Solon jail is no place to be. [laughs] Side trip. We're not going there. But there was next to that, Tommy's had just opened up and it was more of a wine bar with chess tables. That was kind of unique. That was a nice place to go. Just sit and talk and either have tea or wine or whatever. Like I said, I didn't really hang at the bars. We used to go to a place on Euclid Avenue called Genesis to get our food because it was more of a- I don't know what you call it, but it was. They'd make their own bread. They knew where the lettuce, the tomatoes and everything they were serving, they knew where it all came from. It was all locally sourced. It was-

Sarah Nemeth [00:43:59] Before its time?

Dave Woldman [00:44:00] Yeah, way before its time. [crosstalk] And it fit our lifestyle better because we were trying to make it with the non-established ways.

Sarah Nemeth [00:44:13] It seems like a lot of the places right in that, like, area were catering towards this, like. Like, non-establishment, like, doing it our own way.

Dave Woldman [00:44:24] Well, it was- It was what our generation wanted. It was what we were starting to demand. You know, they tried to kill us. You know, might as well cater to us now.

Sarah Nemeth [00:44:36] So did most of the people that lived in the vicinity go to the Coventry or was it a destination for, like, outside?

Dave Woldman [00:44:45] I'd say it was a destination. Well, when I first started going there, it was not a destination. It was a community. It was a neighborhood. You know, I don't even think you could call it a community. It was a place. It wasn't till, whew, probably '74, '75 that it really started becoming a community. [thunder] It was when people like Marsha and, what's his name, Daffy Dan, and the owner of the theater and the guy who owns Tommy's, and they tried to make it more of a community. They tried getting it to be a destination. They started cleaning up the streets. They started stuff like the street fairs to pull people down. And you started having people investing money in the place. You started having places like the loft apartments that they build to draw more people in. They were doing all sorts of stuff like this. They started touting the library. It was becoming a community of people who cared more for each other to try and grow together, strong.

Sarah Nemeth [00:46:21] Were the residents around Coventry, were they receptive of that new image that they were trying to promote?

Dave Woldman [00:46:29] There were a bunch of us that were trying to build it. I can't put it any better than that. It didn't matter. It wasn't an us and them. It was, this is what we're doing. It was the only way- How do you put this? How do you put this? It was the only way that outcasts could make this difference. To start showing people, this is- This is what we do. And, hey, look, we're doing all right. You know, to the parents that said we could never live like that, you know. We did. You know, to the groups that get together four, five, six people into a house and form a commune and communal living, it became more and more a reality in that area. It started being called Commie City because it was so radically different from the isolationism. You had groups of people working together to try and make it better. One of the coolest things that hit me was Marsha out at High Tide Rock bottom. Found out that my group of friends, we liked going out and doing things. And she found out a couple places that we were going and said, hey, while you're there, try to find this for me. So we started looking and we ended up in places like Flint Ridge, Ohio. And we'd ask farmers, can we come onto your land? We're looking for flint matrix with the quartz crystals in it. And they'd say, sure, come on in. He walk, kick the ground. Here come a nice rock with the. Shove it in the bushel basket. Shove it in the car, bring it back to Marsha. We ended up in Herkimer, New York, going after Herkimer diamonds, up into Sandusky after tufa rock, just all over the place, finding these things. And it was neat because in our scavenger ways, we were forming a living. We were providing for ourselves. We were providing raw materials that somebody else was making into goods to sell. Absolutely fine. You know? Stuff like that was gorgeous. It was a neat time. It was a really neat time. Then I had a chance to go to California. Same buddy that moved to Colorado moved out to L.A., and. But this was on his own. And, you know, he's saying, hey, look, three of us got an apartment. There's room. Come on out, visit for a while. And once again, I went out for a couple weeks, and it turned into a yearlong process, you know, over a year. And it was great. Got to find out more of who I was and missed the fact that I didn't have a community- My core group wasn't there supporting me anymore. So that was interesting. Interesting in its own. But I picked up new skills out there. I learned how to do squash blossom jewelry, which was great. I lived in Huntington Beach. We had an apartment that if you went out on the patio, opened up the little gate, you were on the beach. We had a pool table and a picnic table out on the patio. All right? And you can't believe the amount of partying we did know. And we'd see pretty lady like you come around, and we'd be working on the jewelry, and it's like, come here, come here. Can you just put this on so I can see how it hangs? [laughs]

Sarah Nemeth [00:50:04] You know, did you ever go to, like, how do you say, like, Haight-Ashbury when you were in California? Or was that kind of over by then?

Dave Woldman [00:50:17] It was- Well, I was in L.A. Haight-Ashbury was up in San Francisco. So you're talking, what, three, four hours distance?

Sarah Nemeth [00:50:26] If you're making jewelry. Yeah, that's kind of the long ways away.

Dave Woldman [00:50:30] Yeah, kind of a real long way away. And I bought myself a gas guzzler for my 21st birthday that I kept for the longest time, you know, so it's-

Sarah Nemeth [00:50:41] Okay. I mean, people make that comparison, like Coventry was Cleveland's Haight-Ashbury.

Dave Woldman [00:50:48] It was. There's no doubt about it. It was the hippie central. [crosstalk] But it wasn't that way at first. It had to change once. Once the bikers got out, once the heavy Orthodox Jewish population started shifting, then it allowed other things to happen. And the whole mindset of people was changing, which allowed Coventry to start existing to the form that was till the eighties.

Sarah Nemeth [00:51:21] All right, well, unless you have anything else to say about the seventies, like, any cool memories?

Dave Woldman [00:51:27] Well, there was. There was a jeweler named Rumpke who worked in the basement at High Tide Rock Bottom. That was a blessing for people in the neighborhood who had skills but didn't necessarily have equipment. It's like I came back knowing how to do squash blossom jewelry. I had most of the stuff I need. But I had none of the ways to finish it out, which he provided. There were all sorts of people on the street that were starting to work as a community. That were offering these things. All right. Yeah, it was. It was really cool. It was our own underground neighborhood. I mean, there were supporters of what was going on. It was. And it was all our own doing. It's not like somebody had set this all up for us. It's like we were working it out. It was pretty neat. Then my grandmother died. I came back from California. And this buddy of mine said, hey, my dad said we could rent the house. And we were like, really? All right. So the house was on Rock Court. And if you started from the Euclid Heights Boulevard side and came up the hill, it was the second house, the gray house. It still exists.

Sarah Nemeth [00:52:53] Is that one of the ones that still exist?

Dave Woldman [00:52:55] Yes. And it was neat because there was a guy who was a jeweler and a watchmaker who used to live. So we found some of the coolest stuff in that house. But it gave us a central repository for where we were working around the Coventry area, which was great. It was the craziest area because down at the bottom of the hill, on Rock Court, we had the Clown Ministry. It was a Catholic organization that literally- It was a Christian organization that wanted to bring the word of God out. And they did it by dressing as clowns. [laughs] It was so strange to be all screwed up and to see these clowns walking around preaching. [laughs] I mean-

Sarah Nemeth [00:53:47] And they were legitimate?

Dave Woldman [00:53:49] Yes, yes.

Sarah Nemeth [00:53:50] They were very serious?

Dave Woldman [00:53:51] They were extremely serious. Then we had- Coming back a little bit on the other side, [more thunder] there were three clapboard houses. That were pretty rundown and pretty decrepit. That had the artist colony in it. And this was probably about 15, 18 people living in these three houses. They lived as a group. And they were in all sorts of really weird things. I got into synthesizers while I was out in California. I went to Golden West Community College who does all the- They were getting into this weird electronic music for tying into the film industry and graphics, and I was right there, and it was, like, really cool. And I got to learn on one of the first ARP 2600s, which was one of the first performance synthesizers. And one thing led to another. One of the guys in the art colony was making a little noisemaker. That went basically beep, beep, beep. And we started talking about things and we came up with about 25, 30 different noisemakers that you could change pitches or frequencies or. And it was really kind of neat to put these things all over and then move around and see how the sounds changed. It was kind of like progressive jazz in its own way because it was constantly building on itself. If I remember right, it was originally a Pick and Pay grocery store that had the parking lot. And they decided that they were going to clean up the neighborhood and they wanted to expand their parking lot. So they started trying to obtain those three clapboard houses, which were on the back corner. And they threatened all this different stuff, including eminent domain. All these different people came to bat and tried to save the houses, and they started building all these ironwork sculptures, and they were all over the place. And then the city started getting really involved, so they came up with a big old fat lady's hind end board, so it looked like they were mooning the parking lot. Then the city came down really heavy about, so they made a German machine gunner and have him overlooking the parking lot. And, oh my God.

Sarah Nemeth [00:56:31] What did they do at the commune other than make art? They just lived together?

Dave Woldman [00:56:35] Yes. Yeah, they were probably. Probably. Some were probably Case students. Others were just hangers on, you know? It was just like I said, we all tried to get along. We were always down there. They were always up at our place, you know, so it was like there was a blending, you know, we were all friends. That's all that mattered. You know, we all knew each other. We all tried to make sure that we were all eating and not starving to death and had clothes, and, and, and, and.

Sarah Nemeth [00:57:07] When did they finally tear those down, the three? Because Pick and Pay didn't get their way at first. It took a while.

Dave Woldman [00:57:17] Oh, yeah, it took a year, couple years. That had to have been- I came back from- Yeah, I came back from California because I had the Riviera. So let's see, it had to have been, like '76 that they finally tore those down.

Sarah Nemeth [00:57:42] And the commune just, like, got up-

Dave Woodman [00:57:44] Just disappeared. It all broke up. By the time they broke that up, the clown ministry was gone. The artist colony had to leave. They tore down a couple of the houses at the lower part of Rock Court. By this time, the lofts had already had their insurance from. They had their insurance claim for the lofts burning down. Tommy's had moved. A lot of changes had happened on the street. It was definitely changing. Drugs were becoming a lot easier to score. They were all over the place. LSD was all over the place. I think people were moving away from quaaludes and soapers and downers and moving towards more speed and LSD. So the general attitude was, hell, just being off at quaaludes and stuff, it was brighter, you know, everybody wasn't all tranquilized. It was neat. I ended up working the front counter at Carroll Drug.

Sarah Nemeth [00:58:53] What was Carroll Drug like? What did they sell?

Dave Woldman [00:58:56] Everything.

Sarah Nemeth [00:58:56] What did it look like in there?

Dave Woldman [00:58:58] Well, my realm, the front counter, they must have sold 200 different kinds of cigarettes and rolling papers from all over the world. They had a magazine selection that was outrageous. They had newspapers from all over the country and then they had all sorts of stuff, you know? Down in the basement was amazing because we found stuff, like from the twenties and the thirties. We were finding the pharmacist agar plates. Just, I mean, it's stuff that you won't see anymore, you know, all the various tinctures of what we now know are class A narcotics. And it was just laying around. Due to the fact, the way I had been a couple years earlier, it made me an asset to Carroll Drug, because I could spot the people who were doing what I used to do. And I was known for telling people, take those magazines out of the newspaper so I can charge you for them. Or one guy I asked on a Sunday to put the beer back in the cooler. And he said, what beer? I don't have no beer. You're always accuse me of this. I walked around the counter and I kicked him in the ankle and the beer can exploded. You know, it was stupid stuff. You never knew who you were gonna see, whether it was going to be a major politician or like Murray Saul from WMMS or somebody. You just never knew. It was an amazing place to watch what was going on on Coventry at the time.

Sarah Nemeth [01:00:50] So when do things start changing?

Dave Woldman [01:00:54] It was always in flux. But it seems to be that after there were a couple businesses that did some really snarky things. They seemed to be trying to get one over on various other companies' people. And it started getting people upset. And there were certain people started complaining more, and police presence stepped up and it started changing, and it became more of a business area instead of a playground. And that was okay. It was needed. It was getting pretty wild, wild west at that time. And that was about the same time, like, the street fair started to come into being and you'd be bringing in people from other neighborhoods that heard the rumors of what we'd done in the past and they'd try to think it was still that way. And we'd have to, by numbers, enlighten them.

Sarah Nemeth [01:02:04] So in the late seventies, that's when you first see, like, a different change start to happen. Like, it was always in flux, but-

Dave Woldman [01:02:13] It started going very commercial. It started- Money started- The gentrification process started in the neighborhood. Money started coming in. They wanted to turn it into a destination instead of a neighborhood.

Sarah Nemeth [01:02:27] So do you know anything about Lou Zipkin?

Dave Woldman [01:02:33] Other than he was a nasty little fuck? Sorry. He stood about four and a half foot tall, and he smoked Parodies, and they absolutely stunk up wherever he went. And he smelled like them, and he was a nasty piece of work. He had more money than God. And that's all anybody needed to know about that man.

Sarah Nemeth [01:02:57] Was the- So the neighborhood did not- Was not receptive of him.

Dave Woldman [01:03:03] Of his money? Yeah, but of him. Most of the people in the know, I don't know. I, I knew too much about him. I wanted nothing to do with him or his cohorts.

Sarah Nemeth [01:03:16] When did he first start making just, like, a presence in the area? Like, he wasn't always interested in that spot, was he? That you, I mean, that you just saw?

Dave Woldman [01:03:27] It had to have been after I came back from California. He may have had designs that way earlier on, but I wasn't aware of him. I didn't know it wasn't with him. My blinders, you know, just didn't care about the politics of what was going on to the most extent.

Sarah Nemeth [01:03:44] So it definitely gets kind of political and more, I guess, maybe not more political, because politics are everywhere, but maybe-

Dave Woldman [01:03:57] More forceful. There were some people that did not like the area, and they wanted to see it change. They didn't like hippies. They didn't like counterculture. They didn't like people smiling. You know, it was just weird times, you know, and I tried not letting that bother me. You know, I was- Hell, I was busy chasing young women and worried about getting out to the various quarries we used to be able to go out east to go swimming in.

Sarah Nemeth [01:04:32] Okay. Do you know anything about any of the fires that took place, like, all that time? I mean-

Dave Woldman [01:04:40] Well, I know there was a fire at the Waterbed Euphorium that I- Yeah, it was pretty much insurance fraud. I know they built the artist lofts and such, and that mysteriously burned down. And that paid off rather largely than, I think, if numbers are checked. It paid off a hell of a lot more than was invested in it. So whether that was legit or not, I don't know. I'm not a cop. I'm not a lawyer. I don't want to be responsible for naming things.

Sarah Nemeth [01:05:11] Where was the artists' lofts.

Dave Woldman [01:05:16] The artists' lofts are in the north- What would that be? The southern part of the Coventry district. What the hell is the bar that's in there now? You can see the change in the buildings. It goes from brownstone, and then there's a more modern building, I think Mongolian, the Mongolian restaurant and everything is in that newer building, but that's where the lofts and everything were.

Sarah Nemeth [01:05:45] Okay. Like, right by the garage? [crosstalk]

Dave Woldman [01:05:55] Okay, so if the brownstone building is the Grog Shop, it was a wing store for a while. I don't remember. Winking Lizard maybe was there for a while, and then there's an alley, and then the building right next to it is where the lofts were. But that, you know, that just seemed to be a whole push play. Anyway.

Sarah Nemeth [01:06:19] It just seems like there is so many fires, like, out of any other place. Like, other than, like, back in the day when everything was built of wood and fires were every other week, but it just seems like there were so many fires.

Dave Woldman [01:06:32] It just seemed convenient that a new store would open up and they'd have a fire. I don't know who to blame for that. I know that there were a couple people hired to make things look even worse than they were. Materials brought out of basements and materials brought in from fireplaces to make it look worse than it was. Yeah.

Sarah Nemeth [01:07:04] So in the 1980s, what was the mood other than, like, things are getting commercial, but everybody else around, how are they responding to that? How are you guys responding to-?

Dave Woldman [01:07:18] Well, by 1970-, late 1978 is when I met my wife. Late 1978 is when the Rock Court house blew up. And it's not that the building blew up. It's just all the people involved in it got really upset with each other. There was just a lot of personal issues with ladies, with pregnancies, with money, with this, with that. You know, just life. And it broke up. I ended up back at my parents' house, and a couple months later, I met the lady who is now my wife. So at that point in time, we figured out that I met her at Rock Court once before. You know, just as a- This is how small the circles are. And we were off and running from there, and shortly after that, we ended up in Dayton and then in Niagara Falls. So I- By that time, I was done with. Excuse me. I was pretty much done with Coventry. [crosstalk] Oh, yeah, I still go down there. I was there the other day for dinner at Tommy's. As an interesting note, when my son, who was born in 1990, I think he was three years old, so it'd be '93, we were walking south on Coventry, heading towards the theater, and couple of young men with mohawks that were dyed various colors came out just in front of them. And like, a three-year-old in their prime, he goes, Mom, look, clowns! And these two young men turned around and were ready to jump down our throats. And I kind of persuaded them to turn around and keep moving. By that time, Coventry had changed so much because the cameras were visible all over the spot. Oh, yeah, there was a time period that there must have been 20 cameras visible monitoring the street.

Sarah Nemeth [01:09:45] Like, just like in the Coventry newsletters that I'm reading, I just got into, like, in '85, like, there's this crime watch, and everyone's really freaking out about every, like, we need to watch out for each other and there's all these steps you need to take. So is that.

Dave Woldman [01:10:01] I mean, that's probably part of it.

Sarah Nemeth [01:10:03] Probably.

Dave Woldman [01:10:04] It's probably part of it because it. As far as I'm concerned, it changed Coventry. It said, the gentrification is here. The seventies are over.

Sarah Nemeth [01:10:17] And then in the nineties, is like progressive punk happening?

Dave Woldman [01:10:24] Yeah, it's way different than it used to be. [laughs] It's so way different than it used to be. You know, you just look at- I don't know when the gentrification- When they really started pumping all the money in there. I think it's after they got rid of Bill, the leather maker, and Irv's Delicatessen left, and there were a- Carroll Drug closed down. There were a few real old businesses that were, like, the mainstays. They all closed, and it changed. You know, everything became restaurants or hip clothing or kitty cats or- Heights Pet World moved. They were up at Mayfield on [Warrensville], so it had just changed. The things that pulled me down as a kid were all gone.

Sarah Nemeth [01:11:20] So do you have any other remembrances of the 1990s or did you ever go, like, other than that one experience of seeing the mohawks, all the different-

Dave Woldman [01:11:31] Oh, yeah, yeah, I live-

Sarah Nemeth [01:11:33] Was that-

Dave Woldman [01:11:34] I live a mile or so away from Coventry.

Sarah Nemeth [01:11:37] So was that usual, to see that in the '90s?

Dave Woldman [01:11:39] The kids? [Yeah.] Yeah. Hell yeah. They were all over. They built that little courtyard plaza in front of the building that had the artist flats, and they built these concrete seats and everything, and then they complained that people were hanging out. Yeah, there was a lot of strange stuff going on. And the face of everything changed. All the shops started moving around and swapping what building they were in. All these new stores opened up that were, like, just not what- We all grew older. The street grew older. We grew older, our needs, our mental processes changed.

Sarah Nemeth [01:12:28] Yeah, I think that's a natural thing that happens with any place, but it is- I need to find someone that was there, like, in the nineties that was part of that progressive, punk, like, kind of underground thing that's happening because it kind of sounds to me that it was similar, not in the values and what it represented, but that underground-

Dave Woldman [01:12:51] The underground transition.

Sarah Nemeth [01:12:53] Yeah, happened again, like, after that eighties commercialization and gentrification. Something else is brewing-

Dave Woldman [01:13:01] I think a lot of it comes from the fact that you've got a lot of open-minded people that have gotten a half step past race and color and monetary levels, and they start working as community, and how do we better the neighborhood? How do we start getting stuff done that would please us? And if you want to call that an underground where more people are banding together to get things done, then hell yeah, that's what Coventry was about from the get go. It used to be called Commie City because we had these radical thoughts that blacks and whites and reds and yellows can all get along. You could get a Christian, a Muslim, a Hindu, and Jehovah Witness. You could get them all together, and you could have conversation. You could- And then that divide wedge got put back in. And I don't- I don't know whether to blame it on the political thoughts of youth or of an aging neighborhood, but, yeah, it changed. And the mores that everybody had - what they needed, what they wanted - started changing. And the skateboarders had a different idea than the rollerbladers, who had a different idea than the bicyclers, who had a different idea than the public transport people, who had a different- It was- But it used to be you could have these conversations, talks, arguments that were just that. It was not worried about a baseball bat or a gun being pulled out, because there were other points of view that may be just as correct, if not more so. And I think that's a lot of what Coventry had to do in my mind state was it gave a generation a place to not only conceive of ideas, but start working them out.

Sarah Nemeth [01:15:18] My final question for you is, you only live a mile from Coventry, you said?

Dave Woldman [01:15:23] Yes.

Sarah Nemeth [01:15:23] So what is your like? How would you describe Coventry today?

Dave Woldman [01:15:30] For me, it's a nostalgic commercial area. It's changed. The buildings, the stores, the people I remember are gone. The attitudes, the style of life is gone. The fears of the sixties and early seventies are gone, have been replaced with bigger, badder fears. Still, to me, it's home. You know, I- You know, people ask me where I'm from and I say the heights. I'm not from Cleveland Heights. I'm not from Shaker Heights. I'm not from University Heights. I'm from the Heights, because it represents a whole freaking attitude. My daughter went to college, and a bunch of her classmates were sitting around describing how she grew up or how they grew up, and she mentioned how they, how she grew up. And everybody looked at her and goes, did you grow up on a commune? And she goes, no, I grew up in a neighborhood that this was people's thoughts. You know, my kids should be able to get along with yours. Kids, the statement is misplaced. It's not children should be seen and heard. It should be children should be seen in herds. All right? And the other thing we had going is, you know, when you start having seven, eight families with kids, everybody's got different rules or slightly different rules. So there was an agreement between the parents whose ever house they were at at that time, that's whose set of rules they had to obey. So my daughter didn't have one set of parents. [laughs] You know, and everybody was truly amazed at that, you know, that she grew up with all these different styles of people. And it's pretty amazing. My son got beat up once, and a cop asked him, who did this? And my son gave him a full description, and the cop goes, was he black or white? And the cop told me, you know, this is disturbing. And I go, no, it's disturbing that you think it's disturbing. I think it's great that he didn't see color. And I think that's, to me, with the Heights, what Coventry tried to do for people was try to make it a melting pot. Cleveland was a melting pot, but Coventry was the melt.

Sarah Nemeth [01:18:18] Well, thank you so much.

Dave Woldman [01:18:20] You're welcome.

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