All The Way To Yesterday…

One of my all-time favorite songs is “Rhythm of the Rain” by the Cascades.  The lead singer, who also wrote this marvelous tune is John Claude Gummoe, and like me, he grew up in Cleveland.  I got to interview him many years ago, when I still had a show on a commercial radio station in Cleveland.  We kept in touch over the years, and a few years back he recorded a new CD with some of the songs from the original Cascades album and a new song that just completely blew me away.

As soon as I heard “All The Way To Yesterday” I knew I was listening to a hit… unfortunately, the times have changed, radio has changed and for the most part, the world has been deprived because they haven’t heard this song.  I’ve done my part, as it’s been on the play list (in high rotation) on TUNEDEX MEMORIES for the past three years.

John left Cleveland for the Navy and never came back.  His tour took him to California and he never left.  In fact, he had never performed in his home town.  I am happy to say that I provided some assistance in getting him here, and he took the stage 2 years ago at Solon High School.  He gave a marvelous performance and when he sang his “new” song, I was one of the people in the audience who could sing along.  Before the concert, I got the opportunity to hear him rehearse and sing the song acappella.  Afterwards, my wife Sue and I had dinner with John and his music director (and guitar player extraordinare) Chuck Crews.  All in all, quite an experience…

The song is about going back home… recalling old friends… daily life… schoolboy crushes… in general, a wonderful excursion to recalling your childhood.  My daughter Jill turned a “special” birthday recently, and we surprised her with a birthday breakfast.  On the way to the restaurant in Cleveland, I stopped by the house that my Grandfather built, the place I spent many years and the street where I got to play so much wiffle ball.

His house is still there, but the surrounding area was like visiting Iraq.  Sporadic empty fields dotted the street where houses used to be.  The building that I “pitched to” from the curb for so many years was completely gone, a massive fenced in area of high grass in it’s place.  The garage which provided the backdrop for those wiffle ball games was gone as well, and while I can’t remember the address, I’m not so sure my friend’s house remained either.

As I turned down Madison Avenue, making my way down to Detroit Road, I saw  empty building after empty building.  The Royal Castle where I discovered Birch Beer, Rose Drugs, all the little stores where I bought baseball cards and comics, the bakeries, the dry cleaners – even the gas stations were gone.   When I got down to Detroit, it didn’t get any better.

We had a wonderful breakfast in a restaurant which was converted from an older home.  This once vibrant area and big part of my youth is now “rebuilding”…

I’m in the twilight of my life, so I didn’t expect that things wouldn’t change, but I had no idea how devastated the area has become.  Thanks to John’s song and my own memories (at least for now)… I can listen to the words and see the neighborhood through the eyes of a 12 year old.

I learned to play hearts and canasta in that neighborhood.  Played a LOT of baseball, swapped oh so many baseball cards, and purchased (with the help of my Grandmother) my very first 45… “Oh, Oh, I’m Falling In Love Again” by Jimmie Rodgers…

If you can’t make it back to your old neighborhood… please listen to John’s song… preferably on TUNEDEX MEMORIES, but you’ll also find it on YouTube.

Don’t EVER forget where you came from…

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