My Father, the Browns and Me
Updated: Jan 22, 2021
By James W. Wade III
Monday, January 19, 2021
I want to wish everyone a Happy Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. day. While watching my home team yesterday, The Cleveland Browns football team, I was pleased with them. Even with us losing to Kansas City, I am still very proud of them and what they accomplished this season.
Suppose you are a true fan and not a fair-weather one; you have to give them credit. It's been a very long time since we had this excitement and even made it to a playoff game.
I can't help but reflect on losing my father last month, a huge Browns fan. I am so sorry he was not alive to see them play. While watching the game, my thoughts went to 1964, when my father first started taking me to the Browns game. I had no concern about football, I just wanted a stadium hot dog and a pennant to hang on my wall. My bedroom wall was full of every team's flag because I thought that was cool.
I would come home and tell my mother about all the drinking that went on when it was the bleachers, way before they renamed the Dawg Pound. No net was set up to catch the football, and when it went in the stands, the police had a hard time trying to get that football back.
After the game, I would get treated to either Captain Franks seafood on the pier or The Mark restaurant over Burke Airport. Man, those were the days that I will always cherish about me spending time with my father. I did not have the silver spoon, but I did have a relationship with him that lasted until his death in December 2020, and to me, that's priceless.
I loved football, which always got me in trouble as a kid. My mother had me taking piano lessons at a young age. I think she wanted me to play like my father, but I wanted to play football instead. My first piano teacher was a lady by the name of Thelma Dorsey.
I would walk to her house once a week; little did I know until later in life that Thelma Dorsey was legendary and was an excellent musician. Many knew her throughout the city and at William's Temple Church of God In Christ.
If you knew my father, you learned how close me and my father was. We could laugh and play jokes on people because our voices sound alike on the phone. Around the 7th grade, when my voice matured (smile), it was around the time we pranked many.
Going into the 7th grade, I remember Jr. High School was scary for me; I did not want to be called a flat. That was the name for 7th graders, which was threatening to me. It a good thing they open a walk away from our street to the next street, and we named it the shortcut. Now you didn't have to walk around a long block to get to the next street, and it was right on time for my walk to Jr. High.
I made some new friends because now Garfield Heights and some people from Corlett School were at Jr. High. I remember meeting Gina Hoye, Yvonne Peak, Yvonne Roach, Tonia Poindexter, and Nancy Petitt; they all hung tight together and were the ones men would eyeball.
We all became good friends; me and Gina's birthdays are a day apart, and from time to time, we would hang out and celebrate together. We had big-time singers Earl Gaye and the Imaginations, Ponderosa Twins, who both had recorded records in the school. Most of the girls were crazy about them because of their stardom. A lot of talent was in that school; Cliff Colson, Jack Whitsitt, Ray Ruffin; all played instruments and could jam.
So many memories of my childhood, for some reason, is playing in my mind lately. In my last blog, Lou Clark and Jeff Davis reminded me of how close our neighborhood was. Thanks to all who help mold me and even tell on me while my mother was at work. It made me a better person, glad I didn't end up robbing or shooting anyone.
I had a pleasant childhood, but most of all, I am thankful for a set of parents who loved me and took an interest in my life. If your parents are still alive, love them; yes, they may get on your nerves from time to time. But I am sure as kids, and we got on their nerves too.
My mother would often say that being a parent is hard; it does not come with a book of instructions on raising a child; you do the best you can do. Again I say family is essential; one of my best friends, Howard Drake Sr., I love the way their family is connected and how they love and support each other.
So in the familiar words we have said for many years after every football season, wait till next year, but this time we mean it. The Browns have proved they are not a joke no more and we will return, so be ready.