GRANDMA Wenzel was born in Wheeling, which explains her selection of a house at the top of the steep hill on Hulda Avenue as her family's residence in Cleveland.
How steep was that hill?
At 9, I learned to start bicycling from the top of the hill when the light turned red at the bottom.
By the time I reached the intersection, the light would turn green and I would be traveling 35 miles per hour, according to the speedometer attached to the handlebars.
A half-century later, I realize how foolish I was.
Anything could have happened on the way down, but children believe they are indestructible, toothpick arms and all.
But there was one dangerous risk even a 9-year-old kid would never take on Hulda Avenue in Cleveland in 1962, and that was to go out after dark.
The neighborhood had changed over the 40 years since my grandparents had first moved into their house.
By the 1960s, the parents of the baby-boom generation had moved out to the suburbs seeking bigger houses with bigger yards.
People who grew up during the Depression wanted a better life for their children, far from the cities where traffic and factories fouled the air.
The children were many when my mother was growing up, but few when I was a kid.
Crime moved in as the families moved out, leaving many a widow behind.
Grandchildren would come in from the suburbs to visit grandma in the big city every Sunday.
But their parents made sure they left and were safely back in suburbia before the streetlights came on.
Now what is this nonsense about "prison overcrowding" in West Virginia?
We have fewer than 8,000 people in the state's prisons — which means more than 1.8 million Mountaineers are free to leave their homes after dark.
If the state's prisons are indeed overcrowded, build more. The Department of Corrections budget is a bargain at less than 4 percent of state spending.