Cleveland Location residents gather

ISHPEMING – Happy memories of school days, sledding and saunas were among the topics discussed during the Cleveland Location Reunion at Teal Lake Lodge in Al Quaal Recreation Area Wednesday.

More than 150 people from that neighborhood gathered to reminisce, almost as many as attended the first Cleveland Location Reunion back in 2000. Some were from as far away as Illinois, Ohio and West Virginia.

What keeps the interest level so high?

“There was so much camaraderie in the neighborhood,” said Ron McGlone, one of the reunion organizers. “Everybody knew everybody. Everybody looked after everybody. We had so much in common. It was a warm, wonderful neighborhood to grow up in.”

Sandy (Erkkila) Etelamaki explained some of the streets included in the location are Zoberlein, Marquette, Jasper and Hill.

“The location was also along the road up to the Cilffs Cottage, really all the streets to Cedar Beach and over to the Brownstone building,” she said. “We all went to the Cleveland School on Zoberlein, which is now an apartment building. Mrs. Corlett was our kindergarten teacher and she was a wonderful lady.”

McGlone added with a smile: “I lived on Zoberlein and all I had to do was jump over a fence to go to school. I was still late.”

Beloved local television icon Carl Pellonpaa was another Cleveland Location kid, growing up on Jasper Street.

“We played ball a lot in the area up by the Cliffs Cottage,” Pellonpaa said. “I don’t know how many windows we broke, especially at the Piirto’s house.”

McGlone remembered the fun the neighborhood kids had.

“We spent so much time together on the ballfields, the Flats Field and the Big Plains Field,” he said. “We’d collect the Christmas trees to make ski jumps.”

“That’s right,” said Karen Champion, another Cleveland Location kid. “The boys would make the ski jumps and then my girlfriends and I would use the jumps to ride our flying saucers. We’d fly all the way down the hill, almost to the (Bell) hospital building.”

Etelamaki said it took some “detective work” to get invitations out to as many former location residents as possible.

“So many people aren’t in the phone books now what with cell phones,” she said.

The Honkavaara family was among those happy to be attending the reunion. Mother Lorraine Honkavaara, 85, brought along three of her daughters and one of her sons from various parts of the country and was one of the older attendees.

“I know I am getting old,” she said with a grin. “All my grandchildren are now graduated from high school. I am happy to be here today.”

“This is just so nice,” said her daughter Kathy Honkavaara, who recently moved back to the area after many years in California. “It’s great to see everyone again.”

Tables filled with delectable food were part of the gathering, as were old photos, passed around as stories continued to be told throughout the sunny afternoon.

Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253. Her email address is