Happy Anniversary to Me

Today is my 24th anniversary of becoming a Greater Clevelander. Wow! That is a MAJOR chunk of my LIFE! Why I decided to move from sunny southern California to NE Ohio on the first week of December in an ice storm now eludes my memory. But on my first night in the home I’d bought—I had only a week’s worth of clothing, a sleeping bag and my computer—I looked out the window at Cain Park in Cleveland Heights, covered with snow, and thought “What in HELL convinced you to move here???” After all, I had a few acquaintances in Cleveland, and that was it. So I thought, “Well, I’m stuck here for two years—then I can sell the house and move somewhere else.”

That was 24 years ago today, and I’m still here. My love for the city began when I was in Cleveland four years earlier, creating and getting on its feet the Cash Explosion Show for the Ohio Lottery. (OMG, it’s STILL running every week!!) It impressed me so much that when I returned to Los Angeles, I began writing mystery novels set in Cleveland, featuring Slovenian-American Clevelander Milan Jacovich. But I kept returning to Cleveland for research and for promoting the early books, and finally decided to move here permanently.

It was far and away the best thing I ever did with my life. Born and raised in Chicago, living ten years in New York and 24 years in Los Angeles, I discovered that Cleveland was indeed the best-kept secret. I’ve loved every moment here—even the cancer scare 17 years ago and the open heart surgery in 2009. I’ve made dozens of VERY good friends, fallen hopelessly in love with the most beautiful, kindest, most talented and most intelligent woman I’ve EVER known (and we look forward to our FIFTEENTH anniversary in February), moved from a home that was too big to take care of into a spacious apartment overlooking a pond with Canada geese visiting every morning for me to feed them breakfast, and yet 40 minutes from Cleveland’s Public Square, a place where my heart beats a little harder and my blood moves a little faster every time I look at the skyline. It’s also a place that inspires my work every day of my life. When I leave Cleveland for good—and that’s not until I’m 104 years old, shot dead by a jealous husband—it will be in an URN.

So this IS a very happy anniversary for me, and I sincerely thank ALL the people in Greater Cleveland I’ve come to love and admire, the ones who support me and what I do,the actors and artists and writers and musicians and journalists who entertain and enlighten me and make me smile, the politicians I have come to call good friends (really!!!), the doctors who saved my life and my sight at the best hospital in America, and my neighbors and coffee pals and drinking buddies who offer so much to my everyday existence.

I wanted to thank ALL of you, too, those of you who love me, or like me, or those I occasionally piss off. A la Jerry McGuire: You complete me.

Now—this is my 24th NE Ohio anniversary. 24th is no big deal. However, next year will be my TWENTY-FIFTH Cleveland celebration. So—who’s planning the party????

With much love,

About Les Roberts

Author, Internet and Radio Personality (www.greenlightreviews.com), Teacher, Critic, not a bad jazz piano player, Cleveland lover.
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10 Responses to Happy Anniversary to Me

  1. Scott says:

    My 26th year in Cleveland via Minnesota and I love it here. You ended on east side and I am on the west side.

    • Les Roberts says:

      Originally I moved to the east side, but five years ago I came down to Stow to be nearer to the woman I love—so now I guess I’m on the SOUTHeast side—if you get to Hudson, keep driving south for about two miles and there I am. I assume you’re from someplace other than the Twin Cities. (Most people, if born in a large city, will identify the CITY. For instance, I never tell anyone I’m from Illinois—I was born and raised in CHICAGO, which is very different from “Illinois.”) In any event, I believe any of us who are NORTH of US 30 and EAST of I-71 are “Clevelanders,” including five different counties. I’m glad you love it here, too. When I relocated in 1990 I had no idea what was in store for me.
      Happy holidays.

  2. P J George says:

    Do you, perchance, run into Drew Carey?

  3. Tom says:

    Les, Happy Anniversary! Cleveland is a great place! I have lived here my whole life. This is home and I am proud that I call it home. I have always been appreciative of your “open” love for our great city. Cleveland at times is viewed as a less desirable “place”…but only to those who don’t see or know what you do…Happy holidays! Cleveland Rocks!

  4. Lou Armagno says:

    Les, congratulations on the anniversary. Maybe 24 isn’t a typical benchmark (vs 25, 50, etc.), but it ain’t chopped liver, either! Especially moving from “fun in the sun” to C-Town; quite a leap of faith! You’ve got a good idea there with a “Silver Anniversary” celebration! We don’t emphasize the literary aspects of the city enough here in Cleveland. Other than book signings, the last event I’m aware of was the Bouchercon in 2012, which was a huge success. And I was pleasantly surprised to see how many different mystery writers we have locally! You, of course, set the bar and gave us a masterpiece the city can be proud of. Is there an actual physical tour of those locations seen on google’s, “The Milan Jacovich Cleveland Tour”? That would be a great start! Count me in to celebrate, whether its at Nighttown, Vuk’s or with a cup-o-joe at a diner.

    • Les Roberts says:

      Lou – There is no “physical tour,” although a few years ago I DID lead a Lolly-the-Trolley Milan trip. The trouble is, after eighteen Milan books and twenty-four years, I can’t remember half the places I wrote about!

      Great holidays to you and yours,

  5. Margaret Maron says:

    Delightful entry, Les. One of my legal resources, a district court judge now living in NC, still roots for the Indians even though they keep breaking her heart every summer.

  6. Les, so glad you moved to Cleveland. Stow is a wonderful place, too, though I have never lived there. I was raised in Warren and lived there until the age of 29 (1985), when I moved to Kent with my two kids and went to Kent State, where I earned a bachelor’s degree in Education (English), then moved to Middlefield, then to Lakewood, then to Westlake, where I live today with my husband of almost 26 years. I taught English at Avon High School, but am retired now.

    Thank you for all your books about Cleveland. All are engrossing, exciting, and very, very good!