Rating the Suburbs - Parma

Roberta DePiero, 60s
Real estate broker and mayor's mother

We lived in three neighborhoods in Parma. The young people that live here — especially on the streets where the houses are close together — they help the older people. They'll shovel their driveways and check on them.

One of our favorite restaurants is Anthony's. He makes the best white pizza I've ever had. You know what the owner's name is? Tony Anthony. Can you imagine your parents naming you Anthony Anthony?

White socks. Pink flamingos. A lot of people perceive it that way to this day.

Especially on the East Side, people look down on Parma. They don't think we're as good as them. I have a feeling that the Realtors I work with in Westlake, Bay, Rocky River, they feel the same way — that they're better than Parma. The only thing they're better at is they're higher priced.

When Dean gave Big Chuck a key to the city, I thought it was wonderful. Because Big Chuck made Parma famous.

We had a sales girl here who wanted to open a pierogi shop. It was called Parma Pierogies. She needed financing, and Big Chuck was one of her biggest contributors. When Bill Clinton was doing his bus tour, they brought his motorcade right here, to Parma Pierogies across the street. She fed 50 people. The Secret Service was here, on our roof.

Speaking of pierogi, we have ethnic churches where old ladies make pierogi on Thursdays and Fridays. The men help roll the dough. There's two of them: St. Vladimir Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral and Pokrova Ukrainian Parish.

I have a good friend who works at Beachwood Place who'd never been here!

Then she went to a wedding in Parma, and she got a bad feeling about Parma because of the wedding. Did you ever see that wedding that's a play, Tony 'n' Tina's? That's what she thought it was like: Sit down wherever you want, the buffet line, the church hall, with a band. But that's what they can afford. And long ago, that's the kind of wedding I had.

One thing Jerry and I think about at night: Did we ever think our son would grow up to be the mayor of the city he played baseball in? But as a child, it was always a natural thing for Dean. When he would meet my friends, he always kissed the ladies and shook hands with the men. Always a politician. I've always said he's the nicest guy I know.
Share this story: