Rumbles of E. 49th: Catch us if you can

The police were always trying to catch us in our premier hang out place, Superior-Luther playground. I don’t know why. We never did anything bad. At least not anything of monumental proportions, did we?

They never tried to catch us on the corner of 55th and Superior, our secondary hang out place. Because it was too big and too open. They were always after us at the playground. They never even came close.

They would sometimes pull their cars rapidly into the playground, fly out of the doors, and try to grab us. Not even close.

Sometimes they would try to sneak up on us at night. There was an alley in the middle of the playground that started up near East 55th Street and ran through the playground. They once tried a different approach. They entered the alley at 55th and turned out their lights and sneakily drove down the alley very slow. At the playground entry, they jumped out and tried to nab at least one or two of us. Not even close. 

We would all run in different directions, and the police came up empty.

Well, they did catch one of us one time, but I don’t want to count that because it was a case of extreme dumbassedness on the part of a young fugitive. While running away, he crawled under a car in a parking lot near the factory next door to the playground. That was a bad move. You never stopped running until you were sure that you had outdistanced the police. 

Upon seeing a pair of feet from under the car the kid reached out and tugged on the pants leg above the feet and asked, “Hey! The cops gone yet?” A voice above the shoes and pants answered, “Yeah, come on out.” 

When he came out, he found that had been tugging on the navy-blue pant leg of a Cleveland cop.

The kid should have noticed that the shoes below the navy-blue pant leg were a size 12 EEE black, plain toe, double welt, neoprene soled police brogans. A very bad move, indeed!

Ralph Horner
Ralph Horner

About the Author: Ralph Horner

Ralph Horner grew up in the 1950s and 1960s on Whittier Avenue in the Central and Hough neighborhoods. In the 1960s and 1970s, at the age of 19, he managed a French Shriner shoe store on Euclid Avenue, where he got to know many of the people who hung out on Short Vincent.  A self-proclaimed juvenile delinquent living in the inner city, Horner observed the characters who were regulars in the neighborhoods he lived and worked in. Now in his 70s, Horner shares the stories of some of his more memorable experiences on Short Vincent with the FreshWater series, Rascals and Rogues I Have Known.