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Issue Date: February 2006 Issue


Family Portraits


Lynne Thompson
editorial@clevelandmagazine.com

It takes more than a few tears during their toddler's first photo session to upset Paul and Joan Hine of Cuyahoga Heights. After going through 18 months of waiting and red tape to adopt daughter Michelle in her native China, they realize how lucky they are just to have her in their lives. "That little girl makes me happy every day," declares Joan, a 51-year-old stay-at-home mom. "She's going through her terrible twos right now, but she's not. She's always been a very good baby." In fact, Mom's biggest challenge at home isn't getting Michelle to smile but convincing her to eat meat. "We have a little trouble at dinnertime," concedes Paul, a 41-year-old computer consultant for a Westlake firm. "She's a vegetarian girl." With a home life like that, who cares whether the pictures are perfect" Photographer Carmela Trionfante of Target's Mayfield Heights portrait studio tried her best funny faces, but if the portraits don't turn out, "we'll do it again," Joan says.

Kevin and Lori Poindexter say life is relatively placid at their Cleveland home, despite the ruckus raised by Zahne, 11, Brianna, 4, and K-lana, 3, as they roughhoused in the studio reception area. "Every now and again, these two get into their little squabbles," allows Kevin, a 42-year-old operations agent for a Cleveland shipping company, as he nods toward K-lana and Brianna. "But that's about it." "They fight about everything," adds Lori, a 29-year-old college student. Zahne then rattles off a laundry list of common squabble-starters: "'This is mine.' "You can't have it." "Don't touch it." " When asked how he handles the stresses of raising three children, Kevin jokingly answers, "I go to work." But just seeing the girls happy makes the effort worthwhile. He remembers a moment earlier in the afternoon, while they were celebrating K-lana's birthday with a party at a nearby Toys 'R Us. "K-lana was saying, "I love you, Daddy. You're the best daddy in the world," " Kevin recalls. "That makes you feel good."

Jerry Parrino has a history of introducing holiday traditions to the women in his family. Over the years the 51-year-old Lyndhurst resident, a pipefitter for a Bedford heating and air-conditioning company, has taken sister Lisa, niece Andrea and great-niece Alyssa out for their first round of Halloween trick-or-treating. This year he and wife Maria started a new ritual: taking 15-month-old Alyssa to have her picture taken before visiting Santa at Richmond Mall. "Her mom is a single mom, so we step in and help her out," explains Maria, a 43-year-old closing team leader for a Cleveland mortgage company. "We get her for a weekend, maybe a little bit more a month," Jerry says. "We go out to eat, to relatives" houses, to the mall." Although Jerry's clan doesn't have a lot of experience in front of the camera? "We never really took family portraits," he says - Alyssa has turned out to be a natural. "She's the happiest baby you've ever seen," Maria marvels. "Her mother is blessed."

Five-year-old Samantha Sindyla was the model of daughterly obedience as she prepared to say "cheese" with her parents, Paul and Evelyn Sindyla of Mayfield Heights. According to Evelyn, the behavior was a vast improvement over what she and Paul, a 64-year-old retired science teacher, endured the previous day. "Samantha wanted a new mom," remembers Evelyn, a 46-year-old middle school English teacher. "She didn't get her way - she wanted candy, and I said 'no.' I said she had to wait until we got home." Evelyn typically handles such episodes by walking away from her only child until she settles down. "I tell her I'l be in the other room when she's ready to behave herself." In this case, all was forgiven when Samantha said she was sorry and told Evelyn she was "the best mom ever." Paul, for his part, believes there is actually one thing worse than enduring a continuing dispute between his wife and daughter: "Living with my snoring."

22% of Clevelanders admit to cheating on a partner, but men aren't really that much worse
(unless they're just big liars, too): 24% of the guys we polled copped to cheating, compared with 21% of the women.

That old adage about using it or losing it rings true: 43% of 20-somethings in committed relationships are having sex 2-3 times per week; the number drops to 33% in the 30s, 28% in the 40s and a low (but still higher than we expected) 15% in the 50s and 60s.

9% of married Clevelanders say they met their partner in the bar. Meat-market, hah! East Siders are having sex, on average, 7.3 times per month. West Siders, catch up! You guys are averaging
6.4 sessions per month. The youth of America isn't completely lost: not one 20-something was willing to give the go-ahead on sleeping together on the first date, and 13% of them think we should all keep it in our pants until after we're married.

We're a town rampant with high-school sweethearts: 32% of people who are married say they've only been in love once.


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