As I sit here the day before Thanksgiving, that sense of gratefulness of the season comes over me for many things. As I ponder what to write about, I turn my thoughts to the appreciation for the very organization I work for and have come to embrace. I recall the hikes of discovery as I prepared for various programs over the years. The discovery of some place new that held deep historical meaning thrilled me as I got to later share it with the many guests on my hikes. I can still recall many of the names and faces of people just like you who shared some memory or tidbit of their own past that peaked my curiosity and caused me to explore the pages of nature, as well as the scores of written history.
I can still remember hearing about a guy named Joe Jesensky. “You have to meet Joe!” is something that rang in my ears often. And finally one day, a few decades ago, I did. The pages of Joe’s book, “Pages from a Tinker’s Creek Valley , Sketch Book 1923-33” jumped to life through his stories that he loved to share. For years, I would take his book and maps out to Bedford to explore and soak in all that was hidden in the landscape, and then occasionally meet with Joe to hear more stories.
Then there was the man on my program who asked if I had ever been through the Arch to what is now Viaduct Park in Bedford. I replied that I hadn’t, but thanks to the enthusiasm in his story, I ventured through the Arch upstream one day during low water levels, along Tinker’s Creek around some large sandstone boulders at creek level and came face-to-face with the magnificent view of The Great Falls of Tinker’s Creek. Talk about a WOW- moment!!! (Today, you can safely view the Falls from the deck at Viaduct Park.)
Others like Benny Pasternak who shared about Brecksville, the many employees of the past who have shared their discoveries, the folks at Euclid Beach Days who shared their stories about their grandparents meeting on the roller coaster, Volunteer Lee Smith who shared about Mill Stream Run, and so many others have brought me to many exciting discoveries and a deeper appreciation of Cleveland Metroparks that goes much deeper than leaf level. The landscape holds many natural and human stories just waiting to be discovered. I’m not through with my discoveries either. As we prepare for Cleveland Metroparks 100th Anniversary Celebration in 2017, I’m like a kid in a candy store with all the “new” things popping up.
Thank you for your stories. Please keep them coming. They are extremely valuable, and let me assure you that each story is a piece of a bigger puzzle…yours may be just the right one we’ve needed to complete another amazing tapestry.
Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your story and I’ll make sure it gets recorded in my memory. Better yet, contact Foster Brown, historical interpreter at 440-786-8530 or email@example.com to be a part of our Your Parks, Your Stories project of collecting more of Cleveland Metroparks history, which includes your story.