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He shared it with his brother, another bachelor who died in 2005. His old school friends want to know why he never followed them to the suburbs.To them, Slavic Village is the Old Neighborhood, but no longer the neighborhood they grew up in. That’s Cleveland code for, “the element moved in,” which in turn is code for “black.” Michols stayed because Slavic Village is Polish—unlike many urban neighborhoods, where integration is the period between the arrival of the first black and the departure of the last white, Slavic Village only changed halfway.By the 1990s, Slavic Village, which had never actually been a village, was no longer entirely Slavic either. After the slumlords came the speculators, the house-flippers.

They sold out to absentee landlords, who rented to Section 8 tenants.

Eventually, a corner of the foundation collapsed, causing the floor to sink four inches.

The tenant moved out, and the house was demolished, leaving in the grass only the outline of its basement.

But Classen Avenue became such a magnet for thieves they even broke into occupied houses.

A kid from down the street tried to burgle Michols, but Michols chased him off.Unto the third generation, children grew up speaking Slavic languages at home, hearing them during Mass at St. John Nepomucene (Czech) and arguing in them at the Alliance of Poles, the Czech Sokol Center or the Bohemian National Hall.