When I started at Cleveland Magazine as an intern in fall 2004, I didn’t consider myself much of a Clevelander. I had lived a pretty normal life growing up in the suburbs, but I was oblivious to what makes Cleveland so great.Sure, I loved the Browns (sharing a birthday with Bernie Kosar makes you an automatic fan, whether your teenage self wants to be or not), worshipped Kenny Lofton (I cried every time he switched teams) and had a vague sense of where downtown was (even though I was born at Deaconess Hospital in Old Brooklyn).
But it wasn’t until the editors put together the December 2005 “How Cleveland Are You?” issue, with a cover featuring Dick Feagler dressed up as Santa sporting a Red Ryder BB gun in his sack, that I really began to realize how much I didn’t know about being a Clevelander.
I took the issue home to my parents, where we sat together tallying up our scores. Of course, my mom and dad — both longtime West Siders — outscored me and then regaled me with tales of hanging out in the Flats, working downtown in the Huntington Building and tailgating in the Muni Lot. The things I didn’t know then — everyone’s love for A Christmas Story, who Big Chuck and Lil’ John were or how to not get lost in Tremont — I gradually learned thanks to Cleveland Magazine.
Working here has been an education for me in all things CLE — where to score the best tacos, what art show to see this weekend and how to pick the best suburb to live in.
That’s why we wanted to revisit “How Cleveland Are You?” this month. So many exciting and positive things have happened since 2005. We hosted the Republican National Convention, won an NBA Championship, saw local chefs create some top-notch restaurants and now could potentially have a winning Browns team (too soon??!).
While there are many ways to define what Cleveland is to you and what makes you a true Clevelander, we tried to take a stab at it with fun games, quizzes and tests starting on page 72. Our hope is, like that 2005 issue, it will spark memories and create new ones. You’ll learn a few new things or just reaffirm what you already know: You’re a Clevelander through and through.
I may not be the ultimate Clevelander (yet!), but I know my pride for this city grows with each day and each issue. And that’s a win in my book.