Rating the Suburbs - Willowick

Bernie Kronik, 62
retired bus driver
It’s hard being a mom, I don’t care where you live. We walked these streets a lot. Me, I’m footin’ it and them on their bikes. Now I have a granddaughter who I am doing that with.

We moved from Cleveland. It was a nice shock: cozy, comfortable neighborhoods and a lot of good stores. It’s close, driving to get to places when you have kids.

All of my kids went to North High School, and they all played sports. They liked the school as much as any kid likes school, but you know, they took care of our kids. If there were any problems, there was no hesitation to go to them and talk to them. They wanted a lot out of the kids, but they were very good with them.

If you think a bus driver just drives, no way. We are baby sitters. We are pastors. We are kinda like parents. We are all of the above.

These kids are so loving and so understanding, but yet some of them can be so bad. But the badder the kids the better I liked them, because I knew where they came from. You tend to coddle them.

I remember one kid I had, a gorgeous boy but rotten to the bone. He could be so rotten. And him and I just clicked.

One time, I had to have surgery, and he was convinced I had cancer. My bus aide couldn’t tell him otherwise. So finally, I wrote him a letter to tell him that everything would be fine and I would be back. You know, he wrote me a card or sent me a letter or present every day of the six weeks I was gone.

My dad passed away 12 years ago. I had half the neighbors on this street rallying around me with cards and money for my mom. They would just do anything. The same thing: My neighbor across the street? Her husband had a stroke. People brought food for her every day so that she wouldn’t have to bother with cooking or eating fast food. See, this is the way this neighborhood is. I am not one that goes to everyone’s door and says, “Hi, I’m Bernie, be my friend.” But if somebody’s in need, we are there to help.

When I moved here, I was one of the youngest ones here. Now all the young ones are starting to move in again, and we are the oldest ones here ... almost.

My daughter lives a street away, my one son lives a street away in the opposite direction, and my other son lives down the road. They like being close to Mom so that I can cook for them and watch their dogs.

We do have a park, but it’s just picnic benches that overlook the lake. My girlfriend and I will go there to drink coffee and watch the sunset. But we need parks for little kids.
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