Posts filed under ‘hell is other people’

Kicked to the curb and to the landfill of life

chrisart collagePart One

Part Two

Part Three

In my previous posts I have been talking about Lorain’s history , especially the homes and occupants forgotten and sent to the landfill, it is a subject I will continue next week. However, whilst writing the posts on Peggy and seeing her “home’s possessions” piled up each Monday night for trash pick up Tuesday morning I am reminded this will happen to each and everyone of us sooner or later.
We are only “alive in memory” as long as someone cares to remember . Our precious artifacts of our lives are usually only ( unless they are worth money of course) as important to others who share those memories.

This was brought home to me when I had to clear out and move my mother into this house. My mum thought she would live out her days in the apartment, belonging to my brother-in-law, for the rest of her days. Because he is , in my opinion, an ingrate – that did not happen.

The first day of that “moving out process” I had mum with us to sort through what was important to her . We had to fit 6 rooms into 2. I realized after the first day this was not going to work, the things she had gathered around her in the 27 years she lived there ” were ALL important”, there were the gifts and memories of her life , some of which she had had through three moves across two continents and had kept safe during the blitz . As the morning wore on, I realized this sorting through her life and what to throw away was much too stressful for her then 92 years.

I had to sort out her things alone and make the decisions for her . But even then, although I knew most of the story behind most of the objects, some that were very important to her still ended up on the tree lawn. To this day she will say:

what did you do with such and such- your Aunt Maudie gave me that?

And I thought I KNEW what would be of greatest importance . It breaks my heart that she had to see her life as trash bags on the tree lawn. And I will never forget her pain or forgive the cretin who caused such angst and sorrow.

My daughter has requested we take pictures of all the walls and things in this house we have accumulated and let her know where we want anything to go, or the story behind each possession. But inevitably, we too, will end up on the back of the garbage truck.
the lombardi collagee
My son’s possession were also given away and dumped by the then”in laws” soon after his death .

They are now someone else’s in laws and for that family they have my sincere condolences-
time will tell …….

Much to the amazement of Chris’s family, who did love and cherish him , Lombardis and co dumped him as quickly as they could apparently . After all, he seemingly wasn’t very important in their lives- he was but a nuisance, a bump in the yellow brick road , a bullet of illness to be dodged with a sigh of relief – but they kept the money and took his ashes and any closure from his grieving family!

Ahhh there it is…. money , profit and control. It is that caliber of thinking which is also reflects the historical homes of Lorain- unless there is money, grants and profit “kicked to the curb and on the back of the truck to the landfill”. The stories of “lives ” lost probably to be pondered over in some far off century as archeologists dig in the garbage dump of Lorain and wonder “what is the story behind this object ” ………..

The Restoration of Ancient Inscriptions

Oliver Goldsmith (1730-1774), The Citizen of the World, Letter V:
Naples.—”We have lately dug up here a curious Etruscan monument, broken in two in the raising. The characters are scarce visible; but Nugosi, the learned antiquary, supposes it to have been erected in honor of Picus, a Latin king, as one of the lines may be plainly distinguished to begin with a P. It is hoped this discovery will produce something valuable, as the literati of our twelve academies are deeply engaged in the disquisition.”

April 16, 2014 at 8:14 pm 1 comment…ch Changes- Herstory- Lorain-History Part 2

Part One

Peggy Gillmore has, like most of us will and those who have gone before, ended up with but a few lines in a local paper

Yet there is so much about Lorain, and the founding of Lorain then Black River, Charleston Village in those few lines

“Ms. Gillmore was a sixth generation member of the Gillmore family who came from Massachusetts to settle in Lorain in 1810. Peggy loved researching the history of her family and Lorain”

Yes, she was the last living descendent in Lorain of one of the founders of Lorain.

It is true she loved her family history , was proud of their accomplishments and fought to preserve it.

Twice she fought City Hall and developers from taking the centuries old green space donated by her family -
Gillmore Donation ( newspaper cutting 1925)

now known as Veteran’s Park” – first a parking lot in the 1970′s and then Condos for Cole and John Veard and Foltin in 2005-6.

I met Peggy when we moved into “my” “this old house” just 6 houses down the block.


We shared a love of history, neighborhood, theatre and art. I spent many hours over the years on her front porch and on the phone chatting about Lorain. Peggy, knew all the stories of these old houses , who was who and spoke of people long ago as if they still walked and lived in the neighborhood she knew so well.
403 Oberlin
Peggy wanted to do more and

“I must get to that trunk of papers in the attic” “I have to get this all down” I need to get this house on the Historical Register

but age and ill-health precluded her from accomplishing that goal . Her house has become just another old house destined for what is unknown- although Peggy wanted it maintained and kept in the family, it is now unclear if that will be the case.

So why should we , in Lorain, care about just another old house.

wilford house
We don’t care about the Wilford- Bartenfeld House,

or any of the other homes that have a history in this old neighborhood.

They , their links to heroism , contribution to country are not embraced by the majority of this community . They too, like the contents of previous owners lives are kicked to the curb.

Those items, precious to those that live with them and their memories, become just trash to be disposed of as quickly as possible. It broke Peggy’s heart to see what was happening to her beloved trees, in fact just few days after her death they came and cut down the ones she was fighting to save. Their stumps mute testament to her loss of the fight.

All was not lost, although I know there was and is probably so much more that has ended in a landfill, what is left is just a few items of Lorain’s history reverently guarded by the last of Gilmore’s of Lorain are taking up a small space in my dining room.


April 10, 2014 at 4:31 pm 4 comments

The Hat – The Recent History – Charleston Village Soc.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five


The Hat has learned the group/ organization of Charleston Village started with neighbors sitting on a front porch 25 years ago having a glass or two of wine. Twenty one years ago that same little group had grown and volunteers worked for and received a 501C3 status. They quietly tried to improve the neighborhood, Lorain’s oldest neighborhood, worked with city government and sister societies.

2005 found the society front and center on more than one front. Our Annual Report ( with a hat tip to Queen Elizabeth the 2nd ) called Annus Horribilis ( Horrible Year)

Can it only have been a year ago, it seems so much longer for those of us that have been at the “front”? The winter of 2004-2005 was drawing to a close; it had been a long, long, snowy and cold winter. This organization was looking forward to spring.

Renee , our Portside Chairperson the head of the Lorain Litter Council was gearing up her volunteers for the “Adopt a Spot program”. Rich was involved in the fundraiser for the Lorain Arts Council, Tracy heading up the block watch program.

diane marker
Diane was busy getting the cemetery on 6th street cleaned and archived and hopefully the start of a fundraiser to at last put in the entranceway and hardscaping for the resting place of Charleston Village’s Founding Fathers.

OUTCOME = Project accomplished archways and fencing installed headstones being refurbished a flag pole installed – history uncovered and the recipient in 2009 of Lorain County Beautiful Award and also Lorain County Historic Landmark Status. Project still ongoing

We were all looking forward to pursuing our particular interests when on a cold February night the first round of body blows- “The Shawnee Shame of Lorain”,

  sign for a dealers school dates back to an abandoned plan by a Native American tribe to open a casino.   Cheri Campbell/Flickr

sign for a dealers school dates back to an abandoned plan by a Native American tribe to open a casino.
Cheri Campbell/Flickr

Pd article on the beginning of that fiasco can be found here

Cashing In Easter Shawnee article
or the giving away of our lakefront to sovereignty for slots. Months of research and becoming educated in all things to do with gaming followed.

OUTCOME= We fought long and hard knowing this was not a well thought out “Plan” but one that would get the Mayor as he stated “to the table with the big boys” .—roundtable-calls-for-investigation-of-eastern-shawnee-scam-54122737.html

Tribal casinos are tearing apart the profitability of the existing CASINO business because tribes have no obligation to share profits with local communities or the state. Any agreements made today can be easily broken by
the tribes in the future.The only people who would profit from such an enterprise are a handful of Eastern Shawnee Indians in Oklahoma, the wealthy developers backing them and a Republican consultant named Terry Casey

It also came to naught- one because of “sovereign Land and another reason being National Capital One were “guilty of Securities Fraud “

and the ‘option on the Port Land had to be renewed – thankfully Lorain City Council now aware of what “sovereign land” and all the facts denied this option.

If that wasn’t enough April when we should have been looking past the showers to the flowers found us dealing with the question of “Blight” “Eminent Domain” and all that entails with the “development “ of our neighborhood. Could we lose our homes on Portside, our history? Meetings with planners, blight study officials, attorneys, other neighborhoods, even a trip to Washington.

THE OUTCOME- THE FIGHT FOR THIS (a bit of a politicians fiasco not only thanks to the Kelo Case can you blight a neighborhood for “private development” but the URDA could not exist with a CRA area which this area had been since 1979. Also even though Foltin had them review the area twice ( at what cost) it didn’t meet the percentage of blight) But it was a struggle found here in the posts Bill of Blights
Part One and Two
Bill of Blights 1&2
Bill of Blights Part Three
Bill of Blights Part three

2th and Hamiton

May 2005. The assault of two young girls on their way to the Middle school on 6th street, found us knee-deep in crime statistics, RSO and meetings on how to make our community safer. Young people breaking into homes I broad daylight. The abandoned homes and vehicles making it “safe” for the perpetrators of such acts to do their worst. More months of research, meetings and discussions. Murders and shootings. All the while the Shawnee are planning to lead the parade!

OUTCOME: It too, like the original Charleston Village died aborning , although we had initial success well….. read for yourself in the following link and below the quotes from that link .

We partnered with various groups ( 40 individuals in a Community Safety Forum ) to focus on a target area in order to turn the tide such as the Pilot Program for Community Safety, eventually centered in South Lorain under Father Thaden .

However, that particular pilot program failed after an initial success . The approach was one that needed a five pronged approach for success , Lorain Police Dept, Lorain Building Dept ( City of Lorain) Clergy and Social Service Agencies Lorain City Schools , Community ( neighborhood) surrounding the target area at the center of which was Lincoln School.

Sub police station – Lorain City Police
Pre School – Lorain City School
Information and Referral – El Centro
Employment – El Centro
Financial Literacy/ Housing program – El Centro
Senior program – El Centro
Youth Leadership program – El Centro

OUTCOME = Once again the effort failed due to the lip service of the then City of Lorain Administration- Mayor Craig Foltin and the withdrawal of the Lorain City Schools bricks and mortar.


Then came the floods, people dying being trapped because of rising water that had nowhere to go. Basements filled with raw sewage. More research, meetings and discussions. Although it has to be said Charleston Village did not suffer the brunt of the floods, but will suffer the brunt of the “cure” should the latest plan be implemented. !

Project “Dry Basement” –



Our little historic park at risk of being bulldozed for private development started a whole new round of meetings, discussions, research, bad feelings and insults. CVSI wasn’t even aware (along with Lorain City Council) that these “plans” were being implemented. The shock and awe of “plans for progress”.
OUTCOME: We saved the Park and the process of who is who and who takes responsibility is still ongoingbench collage


The latest of course is the laying waste to our trees, 19 of them for a start on 2nd street, because First Energy is in our opinion technology challenged. A tree falls in Parma and the whole of the eastern seaboard etc is blacked out. The solution gets rid of the trees! More discussions, meetings and diatribe will be taking place on this.


And THAT WAS JUST 2005!!!!!!!
BRL trees Frank 01 WHEW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
you can find the rest of the report of 2005 here


March 10, 2014 at 11:36 pm 2 comments

The Chair of WoM- Pass the Hat – Part One

WoM Logo  by  Scott Bakalar

WoM Logo by Scott Bakalar

Back in the days before the “division” there was a blog of note that dealt specifically with Lorain – the old Wom Blog ( Word of Mouth) . I often think of the song Those Were the Days

Nothing seemed the way it used to be
In the glass I saw a strange reflection
Was that woman really me

Those were the days my friend
We thought they’d never end

when thinking of WoM- it could have been and should have been but ended up “Not“. WoM collapsed in and of itself . Our “salary” – those that gave of their time thoughts and energy to that blog of note – was the camaraderie, the fun and the making a difference. I can’t link back to that blog because the owner has secreted it into the annuals of cyberspace. The Lost World of Wom.

Even so, there are some remnants left floating around after the implosion. There was such a fondness for one of the characters of WoM- “He” didn’t need a voice or a keyboard – his mere presence told the tale…

Chair Collage

His birth came about from sitting on a bucket ( rather uncomfortably )in 2007 – Brian Hazelett a contributor of WoM- Brian was fighting the fight in 2007 for a better Lorain City Schools and to organize a rally! :
chair schools

The idea of the rally came from Brian Hazelett, Lorain resident and contributing author to The Word of Mouth Blog. In a blog entry Hazelett stated that he was going to “take my lawn chair and a big ol sign” and sit outside of the Board meeting and waive his sign. Hazelett said he would not go back into a Board meeting until he is told a real plan. “I have made the effort to support public education and the educational process in the past, it is time someone shows that same effort in return.”

all aboard chair
The Chair was born but it was not a “lawn chair but a “directors chair”. The Chair took on a fan base of its own thanks to Brian Hazelett and writer/ photographer Mark Teleha- from a rally for Lorain ‘s teachers and students to taking over the government -

chair duo

the Chair lived fully and reputably in its short life – it actually accomplished more than most with two legs .
Mark Teleha:
“(Brian and I have been using this Chair to highlight and promo various events and goings-on throughout our downtown area. We’ve done a few already at Scott’s website that we have the privilege of being a part of: The WoM Blog. The Chair debuted here, did Movie Night, Farmer’s Market, the second Rally, became Mayor,

Breaking News: The Chair Takes the Mayor’s Seat

taking the mayors seat

In a brash display of arrogance and disdain, the likes of which haven’t been seen in this city in years, the Chair barged into Council’s chambers Thursday, hog-tied former Mayor Foltin’s leather chair, and set itself up as acting Mayor. Thumbing its theoretical nose at the posturing and political maneuvering taking place in the halls of power downtown, the Chair one-upped the Party Chairs that were to meet last night, to determine how they would proceed with David Arredondo’s desire to play Mayor, against John Romoser’s actual candidacy on the November ballot.

Chair Takes Mayor’s Seat

An act that should only have left Lorain Mayor-less for a mere 5 days, has developed into a situation where it could be up to as much as 45 days before this City has an actual body to call a leader. Though Romoser was endorsed by early-bailing-on-the-City-for-a-job-paying-twice-as-much former Mayor Foltin, David Arredondo expressed interest in the Mayor’s seat in roughly June-ish.

The Chair stepped in, it was leaked, because without a Mayor, the City is helpless to progress with everyday business. Union negotiations have stopped, travel and conference vouchers can’t be approved, and legislation must sit idle for 10 days without a mayor’s John Hancock to be enacted. Municipal bonds cannot even be issued without that required signature. (Could the City actually save some money here?)

Word from Chambers was that the Chair was tired of all the sitting around everyone else was doing, and felt action needed to be taken.

More updates to come. Please stay tuned…..

Out of time and no  light at the end of the "tower" Photo Lorain 365

Out of time and no light at the end of the “tower”
Photo Lorain 365

The Morning Journal even wrote an apology to the Chair

You see I am not alone in my worries about the quality of the Morning Journal ;)
there were “issues” even back then


Retraction/Correction Demanded for Error in Local Rag

In the continuation of a reputation of not being worth much more than something to put down underneath the litter box, or something to wrap fish guts in, The Morning Journal (how it pains me to have to mention that name here) once again erred in such magnitude, that it baffles the mind.

The Chair is beyond livid. After reading an opinion piece by the MJ’s liberal hack Richard Osborne, the Chair would not stand still, waving its arms and pacing to and fro.

Osborne said:

a local blogger..wrote a funny piece..about Foltin’s EMPTY chair taking charge.
The Chair had this to say:

I categorically deny ever having even come in contact with Foltin’s backside. His ass would have been lucky to have been swaddled by me. Personally, in his last few months, had I the opportunity, I’d have administered a good swift kick. And with four legs, that would’ve been a helluva kick. I hereby demand a retraction, correction, AND an apology by the Morning Journal for their lack of research, and the negative state of their integrity.

Clearly stated in the mentioned ‘piece‘, the Chair “hog-tied former Mayor Foltin’s leather chair”. Can one hog-tie oneself? Hardly.

Holding the Mayors Chair Hostage- Foltin's Fiasco

Holding the Mayors Chair Hostage- Foltin’s Fiasco

I happened to mention the dearth of coverage by the (you know) concerning the Black River Bicentennial,
ED NOTE: The Morning Journal under John Cole refused coverage of Lorain’s Bicentennial Celebration due to the fact that it was being spearheaded by yours truly( Loraine Ritchey) – shame but the event was extremely successful and photos can be found here-

no Morning Journal coverage of course is available ;)

and the Chair stomped out of the room, waving its arms, muttering about the daily not being fit for (rhyming expletive).

So, we will wait and see if a retraction is forthcoming. The onus is on the Morning Journal, and Richard Osborne is clearly in the hot seat.

Breaking News: MJ Buckles – Apologizes For ‘Chair’ Error

On August 27th,(2007) the Chair took Richard Osborne to task for a gross misstatement. Mr. Osborne, Op/Ed columnist for the local paper (Yes, THAT one!) wrote that “Foltin’s empty chair” took over as the Mayor.

In a released statement, the Chair demanded an apology from the MJ and Mr. Osborne, saying “I categorically deny ever having even come in contact with Foltin’s backside.” Also, that Foltin’s “ass would have been lucky to have been swaddled by me.”

Obviously succumbing to what was plainly a huge public outcry, Richard Osborne printed the requested apology in September 9th’s edition. It is as follows:

Chair Apology

mj apologizes

The Chair, when reached for comment, hadn’t seen the apology, due to the fact that it unsubscribed long ago to ‘that rag.’

Obviously, when you insult the Mayor, there are consequences. Mr. Osborne’s employment status was plainly on the line, and he did the only thing he could do. His apology is accepted, and I wish him well. Though I would recommend he do his homework a little more thoroughly in the future, and he would do well to read this blog, instead of just scanning it.
Having stepped aside as Mayor, after being replaced by John Romoser, the Republican candidate for Mayor, the Chair has taken a vacation of sorts.

It’s been a long summer, and I’ve been busy. I’m working on some things right now that I’d rather not comment on, but they are for the betterment of the City.
I left the Chair, lying under a tree, with its legs stretched out. All four of them.

I wish I could share with you the many links to the Chair’s adventures but WoM is blocked for the most part and with it the adventures of the Chair- But pictures ( thanks to Mark Teleha) can still be found

After months of being missing the Chair did make a brief reappearance

I miss the Chair, the Chair had character, integrity, humour, a curiosity – you could trust the chair but it has gone the way of so many “left us ” collapsed in and of itself, homeless missing ….

  Missing- Photo altered to show age progression.)

Missing- Photo altered to show age progression.)

NOTE Chair portraits Mark Teleha


February 5, 2014 at 7:26 pm 5 comments

When Death becomes Divorce- Chris Ritchey

The Parents ( memorial) Kathe Kollwitz 1932

The Parents ( memorial) Kathe Kollwitz 1932

I have in my lifetime , of course like all of us, experienced death of a loved one, a grandmother, grandfather, father , cousins, uncles and friends. I have cried tears reached out, tried to comfort. Any hurts and bad memories pushed away as one says goodbye and tried to ease the heart hurt of those who had loved who were left to grieve.

I couldn’t begin to imagine the pain borne by mothers and fathers of those who had lost a child. It was something foreign to me and I never wanted to know such pain.

Unfortunately, I know now how torturous, overwhelming and unending such anguish follows one day after day hour after hour as you are trapped in a surreal world.

The only experience I had, up until the point we lost Chris, with death was compassionate, a coming together of those that loved and grieved for the deceased. Honouring their final journey was paramount, in my personal experience, understanding the needs of those of the family- who were of paramount importance.

The worst thing in the world is the loss of a son or daughter. There is no greater loss- I defy anyone to disagree. Less than a year after Chris died I started to write a post- which I didn’t publish but I have now copied here.

My thoughts have not changed, my pain has not lessened. I wondered, as I wrote the draft those three ago, whether my feelings changed. They haven’t There is still the bewilderment of the cruelty faced in a parents worst of worst, the unfeeling inhumanity from those pious sycophants to religion and their church. No! they live their lives unscathed and unscarred ….



I have lived through November once again and have come to the conclusion date of a life I so nurtured and loved – my son. I unwillingly replay those last weeks, days, minutes and hours over and over again .

I question WHY? with so many things that happened- Why him, why a curable cancer that wasn’t curable- and Why didn’t I? I have had time to reflect and try to find answers for all of what happened- there aren’t any.

I knew that last day of his life how dreadful “living” was going to be without my son, I prayed I would die too. I was in such a state of confusion , the lack of reality of not fully comprehending this horror – but somehow I also knew his in-law family were not of the passionate feeling kind but they had a remarkable coolness as to the situation in which we all found ourselves fated together Little did I realize that coolness was a coldness of heart and soul that would shrivel compassion into nothingness.


I kept trying to put myself in Angela’s ( his bride of 549 days- )place – what must she be going through, I tried to understand –

I really did – BUT try as I might try to put myself in her shoes wasn’t happening- her reactions and that of her family ( especially her mother) to situations were totally foreign to me. I have said – she must have really disliked Chris family from the very outset- that has now become painfully obvious in the aftermath.

I have experienced death and when a loved one dies there was a “gathering of comfort, a support system, people understood the loss one was feeling” and when a parent loses the most precious thing in their lives their son or daughter- the gathering of comfort was intensified- because every parent dreads outliving their child. It is understood universally by everyone on the planet and yet…………

artwork Chris Ritchey

artwork Chris Ritchey

And yet this certainly wasn’t the case from my perspective with Angela Ritchey DO her parents Tim and Sue Lombardi and their clan.

They compounded the pain, anguish and grief , the most torturous time of a mother and fathers life and seemingly , at least in Sue’s case relished the power, she had by default- the power of punishment. I have written hundreds of thousands of words on what they did and the effect-

They like some plaintiffs in a divorce “grabbed ” what they were legally owed – without regard to the utter misery they caused in the day my son died and beyond. We were not a thought in their greedy self righteous thinking. Well I certainly don’t expect well wishes now of course but I can attest to the sheer anguish, pain and disgust they left with us.

In a divorce there is the dividing of assets, hurts and he said/ she said – nastiness, gossips and the trying to get the friends to take sides- this has happened as my son died and they did their worst. All this over the body of Christopher to whom I gave those days of life from my body and whom I would have traded places if it meant he could live. .

Life, I have had too many hours to ponder – I saw a television commercial the other day where it stated we live for 25,000 DAYS – it struck home – not a lot of time is it – especially to those of us who count the days wanting them to end the anguish I carry.
I decided to do some research and Chris only had 10,259. Then, as this brain that drives me, started going through those days I realized that we were lucky enough to have spent
over 9,509 of those days – every day with our son.

The days we didn’t spend with him whilst he was at CIA, we talked at 9:00 p.m. every night, when the free cell phone rate kicked in :) ( he would check in) – my Chris Fix Wednesdays would see his father and I meeting him at indoor soccer games at 11:00 pm at night to give him clean laundry, money and food for the week.

Even the days after his wedding- I was there at his apartment during the roughest Chemo, I cooked for him, made him comfortable, did what I could.

I was there every day of the weeks in hospital for the stem cell transplants , taking his food, changing the sheets, getting him water, orange slices anything to give him strength and hope.

We saw him at Nikki’s every weekend and I was with him everyday during his forced stay in Texas for the “SGN 35 Trial”” in Texas -bar 6.

I didn’t question at the time WHY I was with my son and not his “wife” I was just grateful I could be with him and take care of him- I didn’t question her “absence….. or the nagging thought

why does a woman who knows her husband is dying not want to spend whatever time she can with him?

counting days
I have plenty of time to add and subtract in my research and I came up with the fact although they dated – Angela Marie Lombardi was away at college, and then at medical school, it wasn’t an everyday romance- lives were being lived elsewhere hers and his. The high school relationship in the obituary (didn’t start til his senior year and yes there were other girls ( I have the homecoming and prom pictures). In fact, they broke up at one point during his college time and a girl named Kate was in the picture. The worst decision I now realize was the talking to my son about getting back together with Angela- how many times during this horror have I wished I hadn’t interfered. His story of the “cancer may not have changed BUT ours with this “family of misfortune” would not have happened.

I added up the days and added a few more just incase the fog of memory clouded the research and I may have missed a few.

The days with Angela totaled less than a thousand - Even Anne Boleyn had a thousand days but Anne Boleyn felt the sharp edge of the axe of a “ruling family” and we have felt the weight of the sharp edge of control of the Lombardi Clan.

As for Angela’s family I never met them until Angela graduated for Lorain Catholic High School we went to her graduation- quite frankly I said to Chris – well they certainly are rude are you supposed to be dating her after all they never even said hello- I didn’t see them again for 2 years when Nikki got married and they were invited to the wedding ( Angela was a bridesmaid) and then we went to a couple of their “Christmas Eves”.

I don’t suppose in the total time Chris dated and was engaged to Angela we spent a full 24 hours ( combined) in conversation with these people. And yet, these same people took our son remains, our closure , and grace in his final days and any comfort our faith could give us . They took away with it my faith in people, in priests, in religion, in family in healing and

And now these many , many months later, the pain still writhes ,slithers and encircles and the property of control was divided as they carry on with their lives , their plans and new romances but humanity and the milk of human kindness remains lost among the perpetrators of self……….

You don’t need a bible, a priest or a social book to tell one what is right and kind unless you are amongst the hypocrites of self

January 27, 2014 at 8:47 pm 2 comments

The Memorial Project-Results- Chris Ritchey Pt 5

chrisart collage

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

December 19th- As I type this morning, once again watching the sunrise over the twinkling lights of the neighbors Christmas decorations lighting the now bare branches of the cherry tree, I am reminded of another December 19th. The day the Lombardis , your bride Angela , the Vykas , Gonzales, Zaworskis and Gotts and Father Divas took you my son, to their “family plot” without your kith or kin .

It was an act ( in my view) of pure selfishness,vindictiveness and without pity.
Your name was RITCHEY , NOT – Lombardi , Vyka , Gonzales, Gott or Zaworski . You were taken to their faith and their closure, denying your family even the “time of your interment in their selfishness.”

As someone said

“it is like Chris’ family didn’t exist”

That day, just a week before the celebration of Christmas, a day of celebration, where they dress in their finest, attend a church and profess to their God they are worthy of taking Him and His Son into their hearts. They celebrate the “Mother of their Church but have taken- seemingly without a thought to the consequences of such an act, of inflicting further pain to another mother.

The poster accompanying the project

The poster accompanying the project

The Memorialization by Bereaved Parents Project- gave me a chance not only to share my son, his story and to realize I was not alone – there were others who walked the path who needed……….

Memorialization by Bereaved Parents
Kara Thieleman
The death of a child is a devastating loss that has a profound impact on parents and a families . Prior research has found that maintaining /continuing bonds with deceased children is common and can be very beneficial.

This project sought to understand how bereaved parents maintain such bonds through memorializing their children as well as the meaning they find in doing so. Participants were asked to provide photographs that depict how they memorialize and remember their children thus allowing participants to provide the visual images of their choosing that capture unique aspects of their experience……….

Their children died from a variety of causes , including illness, accident , murder and unknown causes. All of the participants are female and are diverse in terms of age ethnicity, religious/spiritual beliefs and sexual orientation.

These mothers , including myself , all have the need to remember “out loud” in their own way; whether it is leaving tokens of love at the last tangible place on this earth that holds their child, a special place to go and reflect or call out to the silence “WHY” ?

The need to have their son or daughter remembered for a life that was lived, no matter how brief . The need to have a repository , if you will, of the love that was for that son or daughter that was theirs alone. A love that still flows from a mothers heart , seeking the child for which it was meant.

When the Lombardis, your bride and the “creatures of control” took you away into that place of deceit and cowardice – for not one had the strength to speak of “pity” for your family. The death of human kindness on that day led to the birth of my own memorial. A place where I revisit your life, your story and I can cry my tears and shout WHY? to the morning sunrise. I can remember you and let your art speak ….

I have only words to describe , it is a terrible thing to live out your life without the laughter of your son , incommunicable to those who have not felt this grief’s slashing ferocity. Words are inadequate………

Dr. Joanne Cacciatore and of the MISS Foundation

spoke recently of a woman Käthe Kollwitz (July 8, 1867 – April 22, 1945)

“I will never forget the first moment I saw her work. I felt something inside me stir. It was a connection to the abyss, to the darkness of grief- I knew Kollwitz had seen something that I had also seen. I felt she, too, was a keeper of the dark secrets.

Kollwitz birthed art of the soul, from the depths of traumatic grief so frightening that few dare allow themselves to really see it. During WWII, her art (perceived accurately as anti-war) was banned by Hitler. She witnessed, first hand, the horrors of war and lost far too much because of it: Her grandson, named Peter after her dead son, lost his life in war too.

Look at her work. I mean, really look at it. “

Woman with  dead child  1903 Kathe Kollwitz

Woman with dead child 1903 Kathe Kollwitz

ED NOTE: Kollwitz’s work can be raw and full of truths it can scream the most primordial scream and does

She wrote of her son:

darkness of grief  Kathe Kollwitz

darkness of grief Kathe Kollwitz

[I] made a drawing: the mother letting her dead son
slide into her arms.

I might make a hundred such drawings
and yet I do not get any closer to him.

I am seeking him.
As if I had to find him in my work.

And yet everything I do is so childishly foolish and inadequate…

I am shattered, weakened, drained by tears…
Yet new flowers have grown up which would not have grown
without the tears shed this year.

The Parents ( memorial) Kathe Kollwitz 1932

The Parents ( memorial) Kathe Kollwitz 1932

Men do not know the souls of one another.
Only the galley slaves know one another,
who side by side are chained, and gasp for breath

December 19, 2013 at 4:31 pm Leave a comment

The Memorial Project- the Interview- Chris Ritchey Pt 3

chrisart collage
Part One

Part Two


If your photograph includes decorations at a child’s grave or special place in your home/nature, how long have the objects shown in the photograph been there? Are they still there?


My collage as stated is just a few of the pieces that I love and hang on the walls of our house and that of his sisters. The one black and white window piece -he standing on the outside of the window- I have had printed into card form and use them as a thank you to the people who donate to the yearly Cleveland Institute of Art Scholarship we have in Christopher’s memory.

The memorial on my blog is ongoing


Do you frequently make changes to this space (such as by adding or changing objects placed there)?

Since the space is my blog and the internet the changes are frequent


Has anything ever happened to your memorial/remembrance space (such as object disappearing or being damaged)? If so, what was this like for you? What were your emotions and reactions?

The most terrifying aspect was not my personal memorial for Chris , but the fact he was buried in a place not of our faith or cultural heritage. We [his immediate family] had no say as to that aspect or his headstone and no control over the “decorations ” of balloons and garden wind ornaments ,pumpkin lights and cake offerings ( which drew vermin and ants) put there by the in-laws.

They were not of our culture and Chris hated what they used to do to the graves of their deceased family members and stated as such many times. To have what was left of my son subjected to this absolutely wounded us to the core. To us as “HIS” family it was a desecration
Fortunately, the bride – Angela (Lombardi) Ritchey DO- has moved on to another romantic liaison and apparently she and her kind no longer visits the grave with any frequency.

Chris, was not a child to have balloons and holiday decorations, which I could understand if he were, but a grown man. We never go to that place of deceit but many friends , who visit their own loved ones, make sure to remove anything they know would hurt us or minimize the loss of Chris with childish knickknacks and for them we are most grateful.


How often do you visit this space? Are there times of year when you visit this space more frequently? Are there times in your life when you have stopped visiting this space? Why and for how long?


We don’t visit the place they buried his cremains- it has become a place of insult and control- Chris’s family visit him in our thoughts every day . Our grandchildren, only one of whom was born at the time of his death- know their Uncle Chris There is always a “Chris-miss” present from him every birthday and Christmas.

collage signs art
My daughter, has a wall of his artwork in her house and the children know who he is , she keeps her brother alive for them .His artwork appears on the street signs in this neighborhood and just yesterday [ AT THE TIME OF THE INTERVIEW] we were at an event and there was a mural he had painted as a summer job- a mural on a storage shed at a park. The mural is still there and my daughter took the photo of the children in front of that mural- saying Uncle Chris painted this…… and the questions started and the discussion once more turned to Chris.


December 13, 2013 at 12:32 am 1 comment

The Memorial Project – Why ? Chris Ritchey Pt 2


A few days ago, on December 3rd, I published another “remembering” of my son Chris.
I have, as long- time readers know, used the 3rd of every month to write about Chris, his life, the story of our journey, our pain and yes, anger .

I mentioned in the December 3rd post how I had been contacted to be part of a project on how grieving parent memorialize their children. I am now, since the project has been presented, going to share some of the interview questions put to me and the answers as to ‘WHY “THIS WAY” TO MEMORIALIZE’?

The project asked for a photo of how we, as parents “memorialized ” our son or daughter. I submitted a collage I put together of Chris and some of his work that has special meaning to me.
chrisart collage
Question :

Please describe the photograph and any special meaning the objects in it may have (such as a headstone inscription, meaning of items placed in a space dedicated to a child, or anything else you feel is important).

The photograph is of my son and some of his art work. I have made a collage of a few that have meanings for him and me.

For example, the baseball hat with the flag and the word freedom was the slide that appeared behind him as he crossed the stage at his graduation from Cleveland Institute of Art. Each graduate was required to put together a slide which told who they were- this was who Chris decided he was.

The “Hands” artwork in the background was homework, sketches of different hands – my son was throwing it out after his first year and I loved it so much I wanted to frame it – it didn’t fit in the frame so he folded the one edge. After he died I had it professionally framed they informed me they could take out the crease but, he had put in the fold and I wanted it left. It was significant to leave it for me.

photo Angela  by  Chris Ritchey

photo Angela by Chris Ritchey

The reason for the collage of his artwork[ as our memorial] is due to the fact his bride[ Angela (Lombardi) Ritchey] took from us his cremains and buried them without our knowledge or input.
Therefore we haven’t a place or memorial in the traditional sense.

I have had a blog for many years which covers many, many subjects. After Chris’s death and the terrible cruelty that followed including the statement[ a letter sent 4 months after Chris death by Angela Ritchey DO ] “I didn’t know my son”

I then started writing about what we were going through and going on a journey “In search of my son”
Part 19 of the series and links to the other posts are part of our journey.

using his work to illustrate my thoughts.
I, then wrote to “him”[Chris} my thoughts on the 3rd of every month for a year, and have continued to do so for the past 3 years and 10 months [the time when I was contacted for the project] although my blog covers other subjects, I continue to use his art work to illustrate my thoughts and reporting on various subjects

a self-portrait Chris Ritchey

a self-portrait Chris Ritchey


When did you first begin memorializing/remembering your child in this way?

The day I read his obituary in the local paper written by his “in-laws” – my son was so much more than the paltry self-serving piece written in the paper.
I could not let those words be the last words written about my son.
So I used my blog (which is well read) not only for him but it has become cathartic for me.

It doesn’t matter if thousands read about his life or just one – his story is there and in some sense his art still speaks for him.

to be continued……………

NOTE: all my posts, the reactions to what happened to this family is backed up with written documentation by the parties involved as well as witnesses to the events of what I consider to be despicable, cruel and selfish behaviours by ” those that controlled” – they are in fact the “enablers’ of this memorial for without the decisions made by The Lombardis, Vykas , Gotts, Zaworski and Gonzales

If things had been handled by them -with humanity, kindness, respect and thought for Chris’s family at the lowest point in any parents life instead of putting us in a realm where we “didn’t exist” – this aspect of my blog would not exist.……..

They have themselves to thank their behaviours are here!

December 9, 2013 at 3:44 pm 2 comments

Meddlesome Matty and I Should’ve listened to Nanna

Nanny  HinesThe recent post about my Granddad Hines and World War 1
brought to the surface other memories , of my Nanny Hines ( his wife and my Nanna) tucking me into her lovely feather bed as she told me stories of my mum as a little girl, spoke of poems and sang the songs of my childhood. .

One particular poem, she would say was just for me – Meddlesome Matty. I was the “curious grandchild” the one who seemed to always be in the thick of any event from apple scrumping, climbing over the high walls that were covered in broken glass- set into the top to keep out the villians, in the middle of any altercation-

a lonely little petunia in a onion patch

my dad used to say. The trouble was I always wanted to see why I was being kept out! or what was going on. This little girl was always with her boy cousins getting into mischief, being the one who would be first to crawl through the boarded up doors of bombed out buildings – and the excuse

” I just wanted to see”

I have a strong feeling Braedyn has inherited the trait.

No! I didn’t get into Mummy’s lipstick!! WHO ME????
braedyn makeupres

Meddlesome Matty was recited often as a “lesson” to me as was

The Little Mother Goose (1912), illustrated by Jessie Willcox Smith.

The Little Mother Goose (1912), illustrated by Jessie Willcox Smith.

There was a little girl
By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 1807–1882 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
There was a little girl,
Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good,
She was very good indeed,
But when she was bad she was horrid.

Meddlesome Matty_NEW

One ugly trick has often spoil’d
The sweetest and the best;
Matilda, though a pleasant child,
One ugly trick possess’d,
Which, like a cloud before the skies,
Hid all her better qualities.

Sometimes she’d lift the tea-pot lid,
To peep at what was in it,
Or tilt the kettle, if you did
But turn your back a minute.
In vain you told her not to touch,
Her trick of meddling grew so much.

Her grandmamma went out one day,
And by mistake she laid
Her spectacles and snuff-box gay
Too near the little maid;
“Ah! well,” thought she, “I’ll try them on,
As soon as grandmamma is gone. ”

Forthwith she placed upon her nose
The glasses large and wide;
And looking round, as I suppose,
The snuff-box too she spied:
“Oh! what a pretty box is that;
I’ll open it,” said little Matt.

“I know that grandmamma would say,
‘Don’t meddle with it, dear;’
But then, she’s far enough away,
And no one else is near:
Besides, what can there be amiss
In opening such a box as this? “

So thumb and finger went to work
To move the stubborn lid,
And presently a mighty jerk
The mighty mischief did;
For all at once, ah! woful case,
The snuff came puffing in her face.
( If you wonder what ‘snuff’ is, it is ground up tobacco leaves flavoured with fruit or flowers or spices. People put it up their noses )

Poor eyes, and nose, and mouth, beside
A dismal sight presented;
In vain, as bitterly she cried,
Her folly she repented.
In vain she ran about for ease;
She could do nothing now but sneeze.

She dash’d the spectacles away,
To wipe her tingling eyes,
And as in twenty bits they lay,
Her grandmamma she spies.
“Heyday! and what’s the matter now?”
Says grandmamma, with lifted brow.

Matilda, smarting with the pain,
And tingling still, and sore,
Made many a promise to refrain
From meddling evermore.
And ’tis a fact, as I have heard,
She ever since has kept her word.

Ann Taylor
(30 January 1782 – 20 December 1866 / Colchester, England)

Unfortunately, I made no such promises -

I have been burned by reputation,
sneezed at by the powers that be
on so many occasions,
plowed in where angels feared to tread

I have smarted with the pain of “people”

become dizzy with the spin of government and legalese

And still it seems I haven’t learned the lesson my Nanna tried to teach me – time for Meddlesome Mattie to grow up me thinks before I “snuff” it

For more poems by Ann Taylor

November 20, 2013 at 1:20 pm Leave a comment

Welcome to Fairyland – aka In the Pink Lorain, Ohio

cityhall castle

As a follow-up : Rick Payerchin and the Morning Journal expanded coverage of Tuesday nights meeting ( you know the one where I threw a wobbly)

The Morning Journal coverage Wednesday morning

had more to say today

Lorain housing study draws praise, but citizens frustrated

In the article I am quoted “
fairy  wings

The study included a photograph of “my icon house” at 1034 W. 4th St, said Loraine Ritchey of the Charleston Village Society, which seeks to preserve the city’s oldest neighborhood in central Lorain.
The house has been vacant and falling apart for 40 years, said Ritchey, who moved into her Lorain home in 1973. She added she has bugged eight administrations and the building department about it for decades, and credited former mayor Joe Koziura, who at least made the owner repair the roof.
“It’s a disgrace,” she said about the structure.
“You have let this city deteriorate, all of you, all of us, because we talk,” Ritchey said. “I’m not saying you’re doing that now. I think you’re trying to use the tools in order to get money to help.”
Stronger building codes are needed, she said, not just standing on the sidewalk making inspections.
Ritchey also disagreed with the “niceness” of the report and said she believed the city’s housing stock is in worse shape than the report stated.”

do nothing
I have to agree with myself :

What I didn’t say was that I have been complaining ( in this complaint driven process – AT LEAST THREE YEARS , IF NOT LONGER, THAN THE CURRENT MAYOR HAS BEEN ALIVE AND WHEN DAN GIVEN( mentioned in the article) WAS STILL IN GRADE SCHOOL.

How these “departments’ etc, because administrations come and go but the “departments such as Building Depts and inspections as well as Community Development or whatever name it now has are constant with each administration, can sit there – faces blank – the first we have heard of it glaze- knowing that since 1975 complaints have been made….


Mr. Husky the neighbor of the “Icon House” also has been complaining for decades his frustration showing .
2th and Hamiton

“It’s time to take the house down,” Husky said. “That’s like one of the worst houses in the city. I’ve seen a lot of other nicer houses that could have been fixed up that you tore down. I don’t understand why this house is still standing”

fairy  wings

WHAT DOES IT TAKE? I suppose my latest frustration with this city is the fact that we as citizens have done what we were supposed to do, followed protocol and procedure – this house is not a one-off……. it is the icon of what is wrong with Lorain- citizens ignored through Republican and Democratic Administrations and the “allowing” of deterioration by those that are PAID a very decent salary to carry out the will of the people when it comes to their quality of life.fairy  wings

AND THE THERE SHE WAS IN ALL HER GLORY ON THAT BIG SCREEN – with the warning that houses like this “F” House will impact the A and B and C housing in Lorain-

Fairy  Folk

January 31ST 2008 I WROTE:

THERE IS A SURPRISE – ( after we had spent $90,000.00 on yet another study and report:

There was nothing really new in the report from Staubauch except “time lines”. Basically the developers will know we have a mess but that we intend to take care of it, and how and when will be needed to be part of the package that is sent out with the RFP.

Get rid of the Urban Decay -
Clean up the entranceways and gateways to downtown
Fix the existing commercial and building facades on Broadway
Uniform signage
Get rid of the Transmission Lines
Move the sewer plant
City Hall is taking up valuable real estate
Take advantage of your “history”
Bring in the Arts
Get rid of the eyesores
Camouflage the existing industry on the river and lake front
HAVE A TIME LINE for completion, a plan and how it will be financed

The faces in the room told it all

“ We have been saying the same things for years”,

However, maybe now, a $90,000 opinion will be listened to by our leaders

Oh and just incase you think well maybe the powers that “B” (make that an F) don’t read this blog I will share one of the many emails about the Icon House


From: Loraine Ritchey
Subject: Gow House 4th and Hamilton 1034 4th Street
To: “tony krasienko” ,, “phil dore” , “Richard Klinar”
Cc: “Cathy Deangelis” , “Date: Wednesday, February 4, 2009, 3:35 PM

For 34 years I have looked at this home deteriorating because for 34 years this house which was one of Charleston Villages oldest homes has sat empty I have attached a photo taken in 2002 by the County Auditor and another one taken in 2006 –

However windows have been broken out and it sits falling into further decay rapidly . This property is now open to the elements and to anyone who wishes to “use ” the property for nefarious means.

When Mr. Miller was the Safety Service Director he had it secured as undesirable activities were taking place – people using the property for criminal activities. This property is across the street from Irving Elementary School. Whilst we had great hopes last spring that the property was being purchased and rehabbed that deal apparently fell through and “nothing” has happened with that house for months except being open to the elements and becoming even a further eyesore.

Ideally we would like to see this property which was known as “The Bluffs” in its heyday rehabbed but something HAS to be done now- I believe a house that has been vacant for 34 years is rather a long time for us in this neighborhood to be patient Every day I look out my window at this picture of sadness and decay and I am not alone . I have written more than one article on this home . It is now 2009 and it is time for the owner Mr. Gow of Amherst to do something . Thank you Loraine Ritchey

construction TP
And Dan Given , who as of Tuesday night had finished grade school, high school, college and beyond since I first started my “complaints “ and has had to put up with those complaints ,as he as part of the “legislative branch, sent them on the to “right” departments – along with others of his ilk stated :

“I’m still going to spin this thing back; the way we’re doing it now is broken,” Given said. “Issuing citations to property owners now, we might as well be writing them on toilet paper.”

November 16, 2013 at 1:50 am 3 comments

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