Monday, September 04, 2006

12:30 PM Public Square. Cleveland, OH
Rainy. It’s surprising the number of people who walk by with barely a glance. Even when invited, most people say no. I am really surprised. The few people who did stop and ring the bell were enthusiastic about it. I was parked next to a hot dog vendor who was in the street immediately in front of a coffee shop. When I first arrived, a woman was selling the hot dogs. She wanted to know why I was there. When I told her I was going to donate the bell to the Exploratorium at the end of the trip, she told me I should give it to her. She was going to start a small religion in Greece called Anna something. It would be named after her mother who was dead. She was very serious and insisted that I should give her the bell. It was a sign, she said, that I was there with the bell. She said that as long as I was giving it away, I should give it to her and she even offered to name the bell after me once it was in the church in Greece. I told her that it was promised to the museum and that I couldn’t break my promise. She soon left and an older man came to relieve her. He didn’t want to ring the bell either. However, eventually the man who ran the coffee shop came out after observing for a long time. He had it spinning end over end. It was incredibly loud! He rang it for a long time. I love the physicality of the sound of the bell and the sound itself is very beautiful, but it’s SO loud. It’s earplugs for me from now on.

I chose the square because of its history with bell ringing. Apparently there were special little bells made and sold for Armistice celebrations and people came and rang them in the Public Square. Today there was a small group assembled there, registering voters for the upcoming election.


jenny holland said...

ok, that's the first amazing story - the alternative path that the bell takes to greece, to be the voice of the anna something religion. you become the patron saint! saint brenda of the bell!
that's a great story.
love, jen

lucy said...

Hi Brenda,
My grandmother who lived in Cleveland had a bell that she purchased on Public Square when the end of World War I was declared. As I remember, the idea was for everyone to ring their bell in order to celebrate the day. It was a small bell, but it must have been an amazing sound to hear hundreds of these bells all ringing in unison. Perhaps the church bells were all peeling too. I don't know, I've never been able to find an account of that celebration. At any rate, her middle name was "Bell"and she collected all kinds of bells, friends gave her bells too. When she died she had many many bells. Recently I inherited her collection of bells from my Aunt. I like the feeling that when I ring the different bells, I am somehow connected to her through the vibrations, their familiar sounds and the memories that they evoke from my childhood when she was still alive.

What a great adventure this Bell Project is!

Good Luck!
love and safe travels to you and Norman,