Rest Rooms at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
So, I’m writing to you from Cleveland, where last weekend when I was there I celebrated my last birthday in my 40s. Mom, sister Debbie and her husband Mitchell were all there with Herman, of course. My sister Debbie’s birthday was the week before on the 5th.
Mom surprised us with a birthday cake for us both.
Cleveland, as I’m sure you all know, is the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which is an amazing place. A few years back we all went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame when Debbie and Mitchell were also visiting at the same time we were.
The real fun began when I had to use the rest room. First I went to the ladies room where there was a line wrapped around the hall way. Then Herman checked out the men’s room and came out with his thumbs up saying, “All clear.”
Being in a wheelchair, the significance of “all clear” means a lot seeing as how I can be pulled in or out without impediment by Herman or my aide Terry.
Also, there were no men at the urinals I would have to pass. I was wearing my usual jeans, baseball cap and Carhart jacket with sneakers. Along with my short hair, I could easily pass as a boy as long as I was quiet and didn’t laugh.
So, while we were in there, in a stall with Herman assisting, of course the place filled up with guys using the urinals.
Herman warned me in a very hushed tone, “Whatever you do, DO NOT LAUGH.”
At this point, he rolled me out of the stall and I saw all the guys lined up at the urinals and completely lost it, squealing with laughter.
All the guys stood up straight at the urinals and looked back over their shoulders, but by this time Herman had me safely out.
I, of course, couldn’t be my usual chatty self in that there were all guys in the rest room and Herman was furious at what he considered an embarrassing situation.
Hey, for me it was another “day in the life.”
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame wasn’t here when I was growing up in Cleveland, so I was as much a tourist as anyone else visiting there.
According to its Web site, the Hall of Fame was started when a foundation was formed in April 1983 with the first inductees in 1986 being the likes of Ray Charles, Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley among others.
Elvis’ home Memphis, Tenn. Was the other main contender for the location of the hall, but Cleveland beat it out supposedly due to disk jockey Alan Freed promoting the music and term “rock and roll” on Cleveland radio. But since Cleveland was willing to put up $65 million in public funds for the building, that may have swung the vote their way. There was also a USA Today poll at the time that gave Cleveland 100,000 more votes than Memphis.
In 1993 ground was broken for the I. M. Pei designed building by Pete Townshend of The Who and Chuck Berry. It opened in 1995 with a ribbon cutting by Yoko Ono and Little Richard and looks like a glass pyramid.
There are plenty of rock memorabilia as well as audio visual displays at the hall that will entertain. But for me, I most remember the bathrooms.
Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in NYC and Los Angeles, now pursues free lance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns may be accessed at her web site www.kathrynskorner.com