Rose Martin interview, 09 August 2006

Rose Martin describes growing up in Lakewood and changes in both Lakewood and Cleveland since the 1940s.

Participants: Martin, Rose (interviewee) / Hons, Justin (interviewer)
Collection: Cuyahoga County Fair
Institutional Repository: Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection

Interview Transcript

Justin Hons [00:00:00] Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Just start counting so Emma can get the level, the sound levels here.

Rose Martin [00:00:10] Ok. One, two, three. Ok.

Justin Hons [00:00:17] Rose, if you could just state your name and the date for the record.

Rose Martin [00:00:21] OK. I'm Rose Martin. Today is August 9th, 2006. OK, you want me to keep on?

Justin Hons [00:00:32] Sure, go ahead.

Rose Martin [00:00:33] Ok. I was, we're born and bred Lakewoodites born in 1928 in Lakewood went to school in Lakewood proud graduate of Lakewood High School class of '46. I lived in Lakewood until last year when we moved to Rocky River.

Justin Hons [00:00:53] What part of Lakewood did you grow up in?

Rose Martin [00:00:55] Well, I was born on Dowd and I grew up Ridgewood and Lewis Drive, mostly Lewis Drive. Then we moved to Woodward when were married, and moved on to Dale Avenue in Rocky River.

Justin Hons [00:01:12] And what was Lakewood like whenever you were in high school in the 40s?

Rose Martin [00:01:15] Oh, God, it was wonderful. There were there were problems. I mean, we had kids that drank and we had kids that got in trouble. We had a tremendously strict dress code. The girls were not allowed to wear slacks or pants to school. They weren't allowed to wear denim jackets, which were then called garbage jackets. If it was very cold. We could wear pants under our skirts. We had to take them off when we got to school. There was a slight discipline problem is, I suppose, always was, always will be, but not to the extent it is now. And of course, it was also wartime. So there were no cars. The kids either rode their bikes or they took the bus or the streetcar, whatever. Yeah. What else? When we graduated, not many of us went on to college. Some of the guys did, but a lot of them went into the service even before they graduated. And then in '46 well they started coming back. And that was fun because there were more things to do. After graduation, I went to work for the Illuminating Company and I worked there for three or four years. I got married, had kids a stay at home, mom. Everybody was at that time. We did not lock our doors. We did not close our windows. It was really safe there at that time. Most of the families had like one code. They all did the same thing that kids were disciplined in the same way. If your neighbor caught you by the air in their garden or something, they didn't sue the neighbor. They gave that kid what for. And it just was a better and easier way to live. Then when I had my kids, the first one was born in 1950. It was not as hard as it is now. We didn't have as much. I think the kids have way too much now. They didn't have as much. They played. My son grabbed his baseball mitt and his bike and he went off to play in the summer. He went to play baseball. The girls went to summer school, took art, they went swimming, things like that. It just wasn't as complicated as it is now. Nobody owned a car. The kids did not own cars unless they had a job and bought their own. So maybe we were deprived. I'm not sure. We were sure happy and carefree. So I don't know. You got anything to add?

Unknown Male Speaker [00:04:02] No, I'll get a chance to talk later.

Rose Martin [00:04:02] Oh, you're gonna get a chance, ok.

Justin Hons [00:04:04] You mentioned how the lack of cars particularly during wartime. What was public transportation like from Lakewood to Cleveland at that time?

Rose Martin [00:04:14] Oh, it was great. I mean. There was a street car coming every five minutes. So you didn't have to wait very long. You know, and every other corner, it stopped of course. If you were prone to car sickness, you got it. Yeah. It was wonderful. That was the Cleveland rail... rail system, CTS Cleveland Transit System. At that time, the city owned it and there were only the tracklist trolley ran on Clifton. That was the only thing that wasn't a streetcar running on tracks down the middle of Detroit Madison.

Justin Hons [00:04:52] What were some of the places that you would go to in Cleveland from Lakewood?

Rose Martin [00:04:57] Everywhere. To the arena, to the stadium to let's see... And when I was in high school, we had football games and oh, what was that? Yeah, we played Shaker and all of those. We just took streetcars transferred wherever we had to. Course there were groups of us. None of us traveled alone because we would get lost, not because we were afraid, but it was easier. The gas was rationed in those days. You know, you really, really and they put a sticker on your car. So to tell you how much gas you were allowed to get and you had to give in stamps, was it? A stamp every time you got gas. So we weren't... Nobody drove. What for? We couldn't use a car anyhow, so we just took the street car and we went downtown shopping, which was a treat. You got dressed up, you wore gloves, you wore heels. I mean, this was an outing. We went to the Silver Grill for lunch. That was really topped off... a draw. You know, it was fun. We had a lot of places to shop. There was Higbee's, there was the May Company. There was Bailey's, there was Taylor's. There were Sterling-Lindner, lot of department stores. And you got off your streetcar in the Public Square and you just hit all of them all the way down the line. Then there were the dime stores and it was a lot of reasons to go downtown. Then we had the pop concerts at Music Hall in the evening, which I loved. And we'd take a streetcar there too.

Justin Hons [00:06:42] Tell me about what would be an example or what might one of those pop concerts be like.

Rose Martin [00:06:47] Well, it was like George Szell conducting and it was not the whole Cleveland Orchestra, just a section of them. And the music was absolutely wonderful. And it wasn't really long hair. It was... wasn't the popular either, but it was kind of the intermediate. The different serenades. And it was nice, you know.

Justin Hons [00:07:14] What was it like eating at a place like the Silver Grill when you were younger?

Rose Martin [00:07:19] Well, you put your best manners on, you know that. We used to take our kids there after I was married and they would get the kids luncheon and it came on a little wooden stove with little dishes and little, you know, child portions of food in there and was really nice. And for Christmas, they gave you a cardboard stove and the kids could take it home. What did the guys get? Trucks? I believe it was. Yeah, but it was a lot of fun. It really was... It was more carefree than it is now. And nobody was in a hurry. Nobody rushed the way they do now. Of course, when my kid went to college, he went to the University of Dayton. Seventeen hundred dollars was the tuition. Now my grandson goes to college and God. She had to go to work to help put him through. So times are a lot different, you know. I mean, I suppose it's all relative, but I don't know. I think it's almost gotten too expensive to have fun now.

Justin Hons [00:08:25] What is something that stands out to you as being a significant change in downtown Cleveland or Cleveland in general from the '40s and '50s when you were younger to now?

Rose Martin [00:08:38] You know, that's a hard question, because I don't go downtown anymore. The malls have taken over. And it's so much easier for me to shop. Well, it used to be Westgate before they tore it down. But to go to Great Northern or to South Park, then it is to go downtown, there's nothing there anymore. I think people are afraid to go downtown because of a fear for their own safety. It didn't used to be that way. I really don't know. I miss the old downtown. I really do. But I don't go. I really don't go. I don't find anything attractive to me in Tower City. They took the bus that went from the terminal to the Galleria away because we used to go to the Galleria every now and then. And I understand the Galleria is kind of struggling, too. So they're really... for me, there's no reason to go down.

Justin Hons [00:09:41] Did any of the photos that you were looking at in the exhibit strike a chord at all with you?

Rose Martin [00:09:48] Oh, yeah. Those darn Indians. We were in Florida several years ago and we were at an Indians game spring training game. And whoever was the announcer, he asked where we were from and all or who we were rooting for? And we said, the Indians. And we got to talking. And we said, do you think there's a chance they'll ever win the World Series? And he says, not your lifetime. And darn, he was right. Makes me so mad. But I didn't see all of your pictures yet. But there's yeah, there are some that. From what I just walked by. They bring back memories.

Justin Hons [00:10:36] Do you have anything else you want to share with us Rose?

Rose Martin [00:10:38] I don't think so. Maybe he does, because he was more of a man of the world, you know.

Justin Hons [00:10:44] Do you have any questions [inaudible]? OK, great. Thank you very much. That was excellent.