A Single Yesterday

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Chapter 20

The following morning, Zach and Charlie decided to eat breakfast downstairs in their hotel’s restaurant near the lobby. It was busy with guests. They figured most of the people there were probably going to the exposition. They were eager to go there and finally see it. When they finished eating they sat patiently while they waited for their waitress to bring their check.

“I was thinking,” Zach said as he finished his coffee. “We should probably get passports while we’re here. This way we don’t run into the same problem in New York as we did here when we checked in. We should probably open bank accounts with a national bank too since we’ll be traveling a lot. We also need to talk to an accountant about our investments. Maybe we should start looking for a lawyer and an accountant that could handle these things quickly for us.”

“How long ya think it’ll take?”

“The passports, I imagine, would definitely take a few weeks longer than we planned to stay here. But the bank accounts shouldn’t take that long, I reckon.”

Charlie liked the idea of staying in Cleveland longer than they had originally planned. Except for the hotel clerk, he thought the people were friendly, and it also wasn’t as hot and humid as Mississippi and Tennessee were, although it was still quite warm there that time of year.

They decided that when they were ready to go to the exposition, they would walk there. It was only a few blocks. Now all they needed was the check.

Zach inspected his new camera to pass some time. It was loaded with a fresh roll of film and ready to go. Charlie began to crack his knuckles as he scanned the restaurant for their waitress. Finally, she appeared with the check.


The main entrance of the exposition was like a sea of people. Lines of men, women, and children waited to pay and enter. There were banners reading WELCOME TO THE 1936 GREAT LAKES EXPOSITION. The expo was still thriving since its opening two months earlier in June. People were continuing to arrive from the Midwest and beyond.

While in line to enter the expo, Zach asked a gentleman to take his picture with Charlie. The gentleman agreed as long as Zach would return the favor and take one of him and his wife. He agreed and posed with Charlie, both smiling ear-to-ear for the camera. Then the man handed his camera to Zach and posed with his wife. Zach steadied the camera and took their photograph with the grand entrance in the background. After he took their picture, they shook hands and thanked each other before they went on their way. Zach was happy that he had his photograph taken with Charlie at the World’s Fair entrance. Now he was ready to see what the exposition had to offer.

The expo’s main entrance was on Mall B, marked by seven impressive 70-foot pylons just north of St. Clair Avenue. Zach and Charlie followed the crowd to an area marked Sherwin-Williams Plaza. It was dominated by a huge music shell called Symphony Shell that seated 4,000 people. There were bands and symphonic programs composed largely of Cleveland orchestra members.

Throughout the exposition, one fleet of trailer buses, built by White Truck and operated by Greyhound, shuttled sightseers. There was so much to see, and though they could cover more ground faster by a trailer bus, Zach and Charlie preferred to walk. They didn’t want to miss a thing being whisked away from exhibition to exhibition. They were going to be there a few weeks and figured they had plenty of time to see everything.

Zach and Charlie finally managed to cross a pedestrian bridge called the Court of the Presidents. It was lined on both sides with 16-foot sculptured eagles. They’ve never seen anything like it before and were astonished. The bridge leaped over the railroad tracks to a broad plaza extending past the Cleveland Municipal Stadium directly to Lake Erie. Zach was excited and wanted to see the stadium. It was the home of the Cleveland Indians of Major League Baseball and the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League.

After checking out the stadium, they decided to stroll down the Court of Presidents to the souvenir stands. Zach bought two postcards. One postcard was an aerial photo of the Cleveland Municipal Stadium. The other was a photo of the main entrance that read 1936 GREAT LAKES EXPOSITION CLEVELAND CENTENNIAL across the top of the card. He slipped them both carefully into his vest pocket. He wanted to send one to Mr. Graziano and Smitty and keep the other as a souvenir.

They walked a little further, and reached an area called Midway and Streets of the World. It was a 10-acre compound that offered the exotic sights and sounds of three dozen foreign nations, with al fresco continental dining right on the lake. They decided they would have lunch and dinner there.

The Streets of the World attraction featured shopping and much more. It was an impressive display of scenery representing various countries, paying tribute to Cleveland’s immigrant heritage and enabled visitors to experience a variety of cultures. It also featured a booth labeled FLORIDA ORANGE SHERBET, which the state of Florida provided for the exposition. It was something they had to try. Charlie remembered what happened the last time he ate an ice cream cone too fast, so he decided to take it slow with the sherbet, but it was so delicious. Oh darn, brain freeze again!

After they had eaten their sherbets, they followed the court that led to Lake Erie and to the Marine Theater. From there, they could see the Goodyear blimp that steadily climbed above them. Zach wanted to investigate it while Charlie wasn’t so keen on the idea.

Zach found out that anyone could board the blimp for three dollars, and was able to talk Charlie into going along with him. Zach was excited and had his camera ready. Charlie, on the other hand, was beginning to feel a little ill. The thought of being that high up in the air didn’t sit well in his stomach. However, he knew how much Zach was looking forward to riding in the blimp, so he didn’t say anything. After they boarded the blimp and floated high above the exposition, Charlie glanced out the window. He thought the view was unbelievable and finally started to relax and enjoy the ride.

“What do ya think?” Zach asked.

“This must be what it looks like when you die and go to heaven,” Charlie said. “It’s remarkable.”

Thirty minutes later, the blimp landed, and all the passengers departed.

“Thanks,” Charlie said.

“For what?”

“For talkin’ me into it.”

Zach thought Charlie looked like he just had a spiritual experience. He was glad Charlie enjoyed the ride and was willing to take a few risks. He wanted Charlie to enjoy everything that life had to offer.

They continued to walk until they came to a sleek, Art Deco-style building with the name The Hall of Progress. They viewed the world’s largest light bulb and a glimpse at a new medium called television. They were both amazed with the technology and how it will change the future.

When it became dark, lights beamed across the sky. The Aurora Borealis light show had started. Zach and Charlie couldn’t believe their eyes. They stood and watched the lights up in the night sky. It was spectacular.


It was around nine-thirty that evening, when Zach and Charlie returned to their suite. Zach removed his shoes and stretched across the sofa. “Man, my dogs hurt.” He rubbed his feet and wiggled his toes trying to work out the soreness.

Charlie was exhausted too, and went to the bathroom to splash cold water on his face. When he returned, he removed two glasses from the wet bar and filled them with water. He brought one over for Zach before guzzling his. He sat in the chair across from Zach and removed his shoes. He wiggled his toes and let out a deep sigh.

“So, what part of the expo did ya like the best?” Zach asked.

“I liked the blimp ride. What part did ya like?”

“I liked the Hall of Progress,” Zach said. “I liked that thing ... what’d they call it ... a television? I think that was amazing. It’s like a movie theater in a box. Fascinating, simply fascinating.” He stretched out his arms and yawned. “Tomorrow we can go to the expo again if ya want, but Monday we need to find a lawyer and an accountant to get our credentials in order.”

“Sure,” Charlie said. “How we doing money-wise anyway?”

“Good, but we really need to talk to someone soon though.”

Although they made a large amount of money from their initial copper stock, they were smart with their money and were looking to invest in Homestake Mining and other mining companies that were located throughout the United States.

Zach thought that the price of their copper stock eventually would drop, so he suggested to Charlie, and he agreed, to invest in mining companies across the country that produced gold, silver, platinum, and other precious metals including coal.

Charlie yawned deeply. He rose from the chair and headed for his bedroom. “I’m beat, see ya in the morning.”

“Me too, night Charlie,” Zach said. Then he rose from the sofa and staggered into his bedroom. His eyes were half closed as he flopped onto his bed.

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