When I was in the Army at Fort Ord, Calif., I was dating a girl who wanted me to move in with her, not to come back to Berea. She was a good girl. She was all right. But I just missed Berea, and I had to come back.
If you’re born, or raised, or grew up or have any affiliation to Berea, we say that you have a rubber band tied to your back. No matter how far you go or how long you’ve been gone, the rubber band always pulls you back.
Six generations of my family have lived in this town.
My great-grandfather, grandfather and father all worked in the stone quarries. My dad was 15 years old, worked a 60-hour week, got $5.35. He gave the $5 to his mother and kept the 35 cents. He assembled grindstone frames.
I’ve been working on Rollses here in Berea since 1980. I’ve got a Rolls in the shop that’s mine. It’s a ’73 Silver Shadow. It’s a long wheel-base, four-door sedan. I like the artistry in them. The Rolls-Royce radiator is the front of the Greek Parthenon.
In 1875, a Berea boy by the name of Billy Simpson started to build a four-wheel, two-cylinder gas car, and it ran successfully on the streets of Berea [in the late 1890s]. About four years ago it came into my shop, and we got it running. We put it in the Fourth of July parade. Now it’s in the Berea Historical Society.
Now the quarries are Baldwin and Wallace lakes in the Metroparks. You know the old Cleveland viaduct down in the Flats? That stone came from Wallace Lake.
This is one of the three best places in the United States to watch trains.
We can tell just how the economy is running by how many trains are running. I can tell you four months ahead of time what’s going to happen to the economy. The trains were dead for October, November, December. They started to pick up in January, a little better in February, more in March, and now they’re starting to roll again. This is your barometer right here. I think it’s coming along good. It’s coming along really good.