Wednesday, December 2, 2009

That's right people! The Polka Hall of Fame AND the Softball Hall of Fame SHARE a building. I had no idea.

I'm trying to use the free time I have now to do things I've been meaning to do, but never made the time to do. Like, I got my furnace inspected, got my cats to the vet for checkups, made Peachy Chicken... and today, I visited the Polka Hall of Fame.

It was pretty darned cool.

I had the place to myself, except for the lady working in the gift shop. As soon as I got there, I couldn't STOP taking pictures. Sensing I was a PHOF newbie, the Nice Lady came over and asked me if I'd been there before. Then, she played me a very informative video on the history of Cleveland style Polka. Honestly, even though not so distant relatives came over on "the boat", I had no idea about half the stuff they talked about.

I learned that Cleveland Style Polka is generally more melodic and accordion based than other styles. Which I think is good because while I'm open minded, I don't think I would like atonal Polka music, even if it were to be accordion based. Here are some more pictures:

I knew Frankie Yankovic was a big deal - In fact, I saw him when he played at a church my uncle was the pastor of. I did not know, though, that he won the first Grammy for Polka music. Rock on! This is a picture of his Pancordion. The pancordion is also played by Myron Floren, who was the house accordionist for the Lawrence Welk Show.

Once I looked around and saw everything, I went to the gift shop. The woman working in it was really nice. In order to try to get street cred, I did oh-so-casually work in how I appeared on Polka Varieties. Don't know what that is? It was a tv show that aired on Sunday afternoons. Paul Wilcox hosted it, all kinds of Polka bands would play, and people would come in all dressed up and dance to the bands. Think American Bandstand, but with Polkas, and an older crowd.

While I was looking at t-shirts, an older man came in. He was driving past and heard a song on the radio that he liked, so he came in to see what song it was and buy it. The Gift Shop Lady called polka show to see what song it was. They didn't sell it at the shop, but at least the guy had the info he needed to find it on his own.

Then the Gift Shop Lady asked me why I was there. I told her I lost my job and was catching up on things I always meant to do. She said, "Yeah. I figured you got laid off but I didn't want to ask". Then she told me that she herself lost her job earlier this year. She was at her former employer for just shy of 30 years, and there's no chance of her getting called back to work. She also talked to me about her daughter who still has a job, but has had to take on more and more work, to the point where she isn't sure it's worth it.

I wish I was a better writer and could do a better job of capturing the conversations I've had with people. This is such a surreal time for so many people. I am always surprised at how the rotten economy has touched pretty much everyone I come in contact with.


I didn't make it to the Softball Hall of Fame. Polka was enough for one day. Maybe next time :)


  1. If I ever start a band...even if it's not a Polka band...I think "Polka. Polka? Polka!" might be my debut album title.

  2. As much as Steph and I go out of our way to visit weird attractions, somehow we've never been to this one. Got to put that on the "to do" list for 2010.

  3. I learned a LOT from this visit. It is completely worth the drive and the time. I really didn't know there is a difference between "Cleveland Style" and everything else. I hate to sound hokey, but it kinda made me proud to be a Clevelander.

  4. "Cleveland Style Polka?" Who knew.

    That pancordian is wicked. It looks like the contraction that Barbarella conquered.