In the heart of Cleveland, OH, sits a non-descript house in an equally non-descript working-class neighborhood.
It’s a home with a famous past and a legendary leg lamp lighting the front window.
It’s the house where the movie “A Christmas Story” was filmed.
The Christmas Story House
After years of disrepair it’s been restored to its previous glory and is now open for tours year ‘round.
A few years ago, I was delighted to be summoned to Cleveland for a week long series of business meetings even though it was in the dead of winter.
Upon my arrival at Cleveland Hopkins Internation Airport, I was greeted with a windchill of –25 degrees.
Not to be deterred by the type of cold that turns humans into icicles, I arrived at 3159 W. 11th Street in the early afternoon.
And there it was.
Sitting just to the right of a “T” intersection with a backyard that overlooks a Cleveland steel mill, and with a neighborhood bar sitting catty-cornered.
”You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out!”
It was the unmistakable house – home to a working class 1940’s family with a pudgy-cheeked, spectacled little boy, “Ralphie” who desires the ultimate Christmas gift – a Daisy Red Ryder BB gun.
I paid my $5 and at the appointed time the house was unlocked and I (being the only person on the 2:30 pm tour) entered.
Instantly I felt a kinship with Ralphie who was overjoyed upon receiving his Little Orphan Annie Decoder Pin. And then utterly disappointed after feverishly decoding his very important message from Annie, “Drink More Ovaltine!”.
The inside of the house did not reflect what I remembered from the movie.
My tour guide explained that only the outside house shots were filmed at this location. A movie soundstage was used for the inside scenes.
This subtle detail was not explained anywhere on the website nor prior to paying for the tour.
But all was not lost.
The house had been remodeled to reflect the 1940’s style and the leg lamp (“It’s a major award!”) was proudly displayed in the front window.
So in honor of a delightful fictional family, a little boy’s dream, an illustrious leg lamp, and Ralphie’s little brother, Randy, who hates meatloaf (“Meatloaf beetloaf!”), today I’m sharing my favorite meatloaf recipe.
Sometimes little kids just don’t know what’s good for them.
This is comfort food — at its best!
Serve it with a big bowl of smashed potatoes.