Posts filed under ‘Uncategorized’

A ghost of remembrance – Mother’s Day

soften collage

As long time readers are aware, a small koi- a Ghost Koi- was slipped into the pond on the last Mother’s Day my son and I shared –

Oh! Chris ! why would you buy another Koi? you know they never survive the winter”
“I needed to get this one and it’s Mother’s Day so you have to accept it “

And the next Mother’s Day was one of pain and cruelty unasked for “notes” from his bride had arrived - Angela Marie (Lombardi Ritchey) Murphy) Angela Murphy Do

There is always , like anything in this life, the chance his last Mother’s Day present would not thrive and survive the winters.

Last August disaster struck the pond – fish were dying

days and nights of water changes medicine but the Ghost Koi continued.

Then came the winter of my nightmares. The extreme cold caused the waterfall, which is made from a concrete like substance, to crack causing the water to leak out of the pond. The temperature was cold enough to freeze the mighty Niagara so even with heaters and aerator the water froze.


The day the concrete falls cracked open we lost nearly half the water in the pond. My husband had to first unfreeze the spickets and hoses in order to fill the pond to a level where the pumps would work. He then had to bypass the falls with piping in order to keep the water flowing, but the pipe would freeze. The pipe then had to insulated with a sleeve like design made out of a sleeping bag. Unfortunately, Shadow took great delight in pulling this off every chance she got.

My husband spent hours trying to keep the pond open in order for the gasses to escape and keep the fish safe. There was many a day he was out there in the 10 below temperature almost willing the water to run and the ice not to form. There were days that found me lying flat on my stomach in the snow chipping away at the ice on the end of the piping so the pump would continue. All for a fish , a fish given on that last Mothers Day.

Spring has come late this year. The pond is usually up and running and the fish awake by late March but it has only been in recent days life has returned to the pond . The water is still murky but a Ghost Koi, larger now than ever before, swims under the water fall once more and reminds me of a another Mother’s Day……..


Friday, was Mother’s Day for me , my mum, Nikki and two little boys went to the “fish” restaurant of choice “Red Lobster”. The boys eagerly watched two lobsters fighting in the tank but ate macaroni and cheese.

Then on to Pandys and Lowes for plants. I am not sure there will be any rhyme or reason to the garden this year as Gavin and Braedyn loved the plant shopping and filling the carts to overflowing. Certainly not paying attention to directions of “sun – full sun – shade partial shade” . Little hands distributing love and flowers , excitement in innocent eyes as they picked up more and more . There should be some interesting plantings this year because each plant was given with love and so couldn’t be put back.

My tears falling once more, my heart in hurt as I remember when a little girl and her brother would look up with the same excitement in their eyes as they gave their Mother’s Day gifts and one Mother’s Day when a small silver fish was slipped into a pond – a ghost of remembrance and a love that grows…crop2chris

May 10, 2014 at 12:07 pm 1 comment

Cowboys of Lorain- OCCUPY – LORAIN – RENTALS Part 5


Part One

Part Two
Part Three

Part Four

Remembering when? February 2008 ( 5 years ago) Lorain County Photographers Blog did an interview with Bill Desvari ( the infamous Chief Building Inspector – now deceased) part of which touched upon “Occupancy Permits for Rentals”- the whole interview can be found here:

But in part:

At the time of this interview, Bill told me there were 10,340 rental properties in the city of Lorain. Ordinance 126.97 requires housing inspections every 5 years. It’s never be enforced, and at a charge of $50 apiece, why wasn’t it happening, since it could bring in over half a million dollars? Most of the owners live outside the city, and really don’t make too much of an effort to keep up their properties. He went to then-Mayor Craig Foltin about this, and it took 18 months for anything to happen. (Craig’s being a part of the LELA have anything to do with this?-hh)

When the ball finally got rolling, with then-Council-at-Large Tony Krasienko watching close to make sure things ran correctly, two inspectors were able to do 1700 inspections in 2006. But it wasn’t as easy as that. One inspector had health problems, another substance problems. For the most part, in 2006, there was only one inspector working at any given time. And that was made more difficult by the fact that most of the owners were hiding and not responding to inquiries.

The Landlord’s Assoc was asked to provide addresses. The Law director told him they couldn’t fine the people, as it was an infringement of 1st amendment rights. Mark Provenza reviewed it for a long time, and Desvari told him the fine is already in Ord. 1501.99, anything in Chapter 15 can be fined $1000, that it’s been there since 1978. He was not blaming Mark, but it hadn’t been used, and now they’re able to take people to court.

Craig Miller called him ( Desvari) and told him that KENT SUTTON only wanted to do exterior inspections.

Note that woman : Ah HA!!! there is that name again KENT SUTTON in order to jog the readers memory:

****The system is set up to fail, and it needs revamped*** said Bill Desvari ( and coming from him that is a revelation ;)

Truer Words were never spoken!!!!!!

marshalled 2

Back to today and 5 years later: The Questions re occupancy

I have, as the property owner , caulked the leaks, done my wiring and plumbing dry walled etc. – put in new fixtures prettied up the property and now I want an occupancy permit for rental.

What is the procedure and who authorizes the occupancy permit? Do they come into the property and inspect? How many rental occupancy permits are there currently in the city of Lorain? How do you keep track of the “rentals”- is there a rental register? For example according to my research there are 10,177 occupied rentals in this city are there the same amount of occupancy permits issued ( taking into account more than one rental in a unit). How many occupancy permits have been issued?


The Building Department oversees and authorizes the occupancy permit. If the Building Department approves of the work after the final inspection, they issue an occupancy permit. As long as the property owner invites the Building Department, they can inspect the inside of the home. red flag
A property is supposed to ask for an occupancy permit as well as require a rental certificate. To try to keep track of rentals, we review the rental certificates we have issued. But, to stay on top of this, the number of employees are just not currently present to review rentals, not just the ones who have applied for a rental certificate.

Of the 3,693 vacant dwellings how does the dept. covering the “occupancy permit” know when any of these are rented?


Unless a rental certificate application is received, the City wouldn’t know if these dwellings are being rented.
Again, with the limited staff, the number of employees do not allow the Building Department to be proactive on this front. The Building Department does try to review any properties with “For Rent” signs or review the paper in order to match homes with rental certificates. red flag


Does an occupancy permit cover those who “rent to own?”


I am not entirely sure of an answer on this. As stated previously, an occupancy permit is issued for anyone who applies for a permit with approval. “Rent to Own” is not actually a rental; the “tenant” is actually in the buying process. If the Building Department comes across a property they believe to be a rental, they request the owner provide documentation to show the “rent to own” status.

How often does a landlord need to renew an occupancy permit? – Is it yearly, 5 years etc. or on the basis of new tenant occupying the building?


An occupancy permit last for 3 years, as long as ownership doesn’t change.
How much is an occupancy permit? $50 for rental; $75 for duplex

What IS inspected in order to gain an occupancy permit? For instance mold, structural safety, electrical, plumbing???In depth please.


If it is rental, the inspectors follow the International Property Maintenance Code. I am sorry I cannot provide a more detailed answer.


In the city of Lorain when and if a landlord asks for an occupancy permit – what is looked at by an inspector ( I know it has to meet the International property maintenance code) but if an inspector goes into the dwelling does he look at structure, electrical, plumbing to see if that meets the code- what do they “inspect” floor boards, roof plumbing what items on the check list are looked at to see if a dwelling meets the minimum code ?????


Not every inspector is certified in all areas. For example, our Electrical Inspector does not have the certification to inspect other types of work. However, for property maintenance code, the inspectors have a general checklist of what they inspect. I have attached the “Exterior Checklist” and the “Interior Checklist” for your review.


Interior Inspection Checklist

If a tenant calls for an inspection of the home is it accurate to say the inspector can only inspect the “complaint” for instance if it is the wiring that is an issue can they cite for rotting floor boards?


For a rental, the inspectors can cite for other concerns visible to the inspector. Typically, the tenant will point all the complaints to the inspector.

Is there a point of sale inspection in Lorain – if not why not- and is there any legal reason there cannot be a “point of deed transfer inspection” to negate the property from changing hands within a group or family to get around any point of sale inspection.

Not currently. Point of sale is used in other cities. As to my knowledge, no point of sale ordinances have been overturned.

Also re the question of blue tarps as roofs- is there any time limit as to how long a temporary roof fix is allowed? For example the one property on 329 Hamilton has had the temporary fix for 3 years-(NOTE: I wrote about this particular property in March 2011
Hurricane Sandy blew most of it away and they have now put up a new blue tarp- What are the rues if any for temporary fixes and does anyone inspect those temporary fixes as to times?

When the Building Department sees these types of homes, they send a notice to the property owner requesting the anticipated fix to the roof.

Ah that explains it : Driving Blind a probability????? Maybe the city could use some help? I know a judge that must not be seeing his handiwork as he tootles along in Lorain passing by another of George Schneider properties
a href=””&gt;Judge-Mihok<
Does the good judge ever drive past 1965 E 28th Street and wonder if the Building Dept and the City of Lorain will come before his court again with 1965 E 28th Street ?

Schneider 28th St 101213 west end

and now it seems we have inspectors “Oblivious to the BLUES”- to be continued _ LORAIN IS FEEDING UPON ITSELF
drivingblind_sm Illustration Cat Scott SOURCE

January 31, 2013 at 12:28 pm 4 comments

Birthday- Chris Ritchey- and the Chris -Miss present

In Search of my Son Part 18


Once again a week in August – a time past of celebration – the happiness of a wedding anniversary , your birthday and then mine used to cause your father such consternation ( a lot of money outgoing all in one week :).) As you grew, we started to combine the celebrations , after all, we “shared your birth” – you , I and your dad as had watched as his son was brought into the world that August day.

But that next day , whilst your Nana was being picked up from the airport and everyone was busy preparing for our homecoming, Nikki wanting to meet her little brother was all excitement – you and I had a quiet time in the hospital room – a time to bond.

I held you , propped up on my knees, looking at your little face, all red and blotchy, little finger nails so perfect and I made the promises mothers make- I talked to you of life , your big sister and how I would never let you down , I would do everything I could to keep you safe and give you happiness. I was so grateful for the gift of your life. I can remember every word I spoke to you that morning and then Dr. Shotz telling me as long as my mother would be at home with me we could leave and start our lives as mother and son and take home MY birthday gift – YOU!

Your last birthday on this planet – saw my failure – I did try but I couldn’t keep my promises made on your “birth – day.

I sat in the Cleveland Clinic waiting room, which reminded me of an airport waiting area – the big electronic sign boards telling of the status of patients and their respective surgeries – holding patterns – landed – in flight or in this case – recovery – in operating room etc. It made me feel quite ill at the cold technology announcing “status” of those under the knife in the same way planes landed at Hopkins Airport.

I sat trapped having to listening to what I considered inane comments , stupidity and selfishness of thinking by your bride’s vacuous grandmother and her brood who had decided to “surprise us” ( although I know your “bride” wasn’t surprised )

My whole being was fraught with worry that morning , my insides were shaking and sick with fear, what would they find? My son going under a surgeon’s knife – cutting into your neck to see if the obscenity of the curable cancer had once again beaten the ” treatment”.. I just wanted to go somewhere quiet away from chatter with my thoughts. I didn’t want to be polite. I just wanted peace.

They coffee clutched the time away with their frivolous discussions of fashions, cake , birthdays and celebrations seemingly without thought of how this would affect those that did truly love you ). If there ever was a time where I heard my own grandmother’s voice it was then ” Remember Loraine, breeding will out”

I wanted to scream and shake them as the grandmother decided it would be a good time for a betting game- we were all supposed to pick a time from the time your name came on the big board informing us you were now in the operating room as to how long it would take for you to be under the knife and the time of the surgery .

“Angela it isn’t fair though you can’t be part of this as being a doctor you would know the answer – giggle, giggle, giggle” Lisa what do you say? Frank? 45 minutes, 55? an hour?

and so it went.

Nikki had excused herself and I was left alone with them. I ignored the game as best I could and tried to ignore them, all the while wishing they were somewhere else – anywhere but there, but the puerile woman would not shut up –

Clowns – artwork Chris Ritchey

Come on Loraine you must have a guess, join in – otherwise you won’t win! Angela , do we have time to go to the cafeteria – Loraine isn’t it your birthday too in a couple of days – it is Chris’ today isn’t it – will you have a party, what kind of cake, will your mother be baking one or two?

I wanted to reach across the arm of the chair , as she prattled, joined by her granddaughters, and throttle her. I wanted to scream at them

Shut Up! are you all so damned insensitive you can’t see your imbecilic diatribe is ripping me apart, I don’t care about your nonsensical games , I am in torment that my son will die- can’t you see our pain you stupid,selfish people?

I kept quiet for my son’s sake. I felt like I was being swept away and immersed into a mindless black comedy. Shades of things to come, as your next birthday they placed cake and balloons on your grave.

I could stand it no longer and went outside where I vomited the choking bile into a gutter, floods of tears, held back for hours , exploded from me. Nikki came to find me and we sat away from the “prattlers” until the announcement to meet with the Dr.

As much as I try I cannot get your last birthday out of my head as the surgeon confirmed that the cancer was back- a gift of death on your birthday I had Nikki take me home – I knew that if you saw my face as you came round in the recovery room- you would know things were bad and I couldn’t bring you that pain on your birthday and I knew I couldn’t hide the horror from you ! Guilt swept over me as I also knew that by me not being there when you woke up would also cause you concern- I only hoped the excuse Nikki had to get back to feed Gavin would be plausible.I just couldn’t let you see what I know was written on my face.

I have, since you died, tried other ways to remember the day of your birth and to give Gavin, and now Braedyn, a present – a Chris – miss present so once again there will be joy, laughter and good memories associated with your special day. I try temper the memory of your last birthday and those uninvited purveyors of self with the happy laughter and giggles of your nephews.

This year, “Transformers” is the toy of the moment” Oh! how you loved that show and the robots when you were little – drove us crazy with them- and now Gavin has discovered “Transformers” and his mum will be plagued with Optimus Prime .

But it is the packing box that has been transformed - It is now Gavin’s Boat , painted, named and launched with great happiness and pride as Braedyn looks on not quite sure of what is happening!

Nikki, will send another donation to your scholarship fund at LCCC to continue the remembering of you and your life – and I will try to make it through another
birth- day and try my very best to replace the awful memories of memories of that last birthday.


Debra L. Richter
Alumni and Scholarship Coordinator
Lorain County Community College Foundation
1005 N. Abbe Road
Elyria, OH 44035
440.366.7758 – Office
440.366.4078 – Fax

The Journey- In search of My son continues

Part One - In search of my son- In search of me
Part TwoTourjours Moi-Always Me
Part Three - Always Me – Always Chris
Part Four - In search of My Son-
Chris Ritchey – Thanks

Part Five - Dark Humour- Shedding a Light
Part Six - The Unfinished Portrait

Part Seven- The Unfinished Portrait- The Artists
(2) Part Two – Who Are We Really?
Part Eight- When Premonition Becomes Hindsight

Part Nine- When Premonition Becomes Hindsight – Part Two
Part Ten (a)There is an “I” in Death
Part Ten (b)- I didn’t know my son- Chris Ritchey
Part Eleven- Unfinished Portrait the Artistic Gene
Part Twelve- Unfinished Portrait- the Artistic Gene- Part Two
Part Thirteen- A Place of Echoes
Part FourteenAn Absence of Laughter
Part 15 - Who I am , the artist speaks
Part 16- The Lowest Ebb- I knew my son- Chris Ritchey
Part 17 - The Journey Continues- I long for Laughter- Chris Ritchey

Disclaimer : These events are as I perceived them to be and are witnesssed and documented .

August 21, 2012 at 1:50 am 10 comments

The Progress?- Then and Now- “Veterans Park” – Lorain Ohio

Official Logo BRB- design Christopher Ritchey 2007

A celebration took place on the 200th anniversary of the “first business” in this area ( the Nathan Perry Trading Post) August 2007- celebrating the settlement that became Lorain.
You can find the photos of that day here:

The White Dove Crow -2007 Veteran’s Park – 1807- 2012

A photographic history of that little green space from whence this city was born! A time caught in the lens of a camera of oh so long ago

Dan Brady has archived some of that history and in particular the War Memorial

JUNE 2011 found me once again writing about this park

“The homeless men ( one of whom apparently was groping himself – through his clothes as a female resident was walking through the park on a summer evening)settling down early in the evening so as to get the best bench- first come first served- ( what happened to the spacers so a bench could be made for sitting and not sleeping??)”

my conclusion at the end of that post 14 months ago



Fast Forward to this week and another wonderful photo that of a collage of the park

The full story can be found in the two Morning Journal articles of this week.”

But it is going to take more than foot patrols – it is going to take the City of Lorain to “clean up its property as well” including the missing lampposts, taking down the old hanging broken Christmas lights and removing graffiti and please put spacers in those benches.

The city needs to follow its own edicts what is good for the citizens with the Nuisance Sweep has to find the city not living in its own glass house
14 months of complaining falling on collective deaf ears……

Which picture do you prefer of this historic park ?
THIS ???

photo Morning Journal -NATE PARSONS


August 18, 2012 at 3:53 pm 34 comments

Lorain’s History- moved about- literally

Logo Design- Christopher Ritchey 2007

During the History Mystery of the Wurmser House we came across a few inconsistencies.

There are a couple of explanations as to how an older house arrived in a neighborhood after a tornado leveled the one that was standing there.

1. The Ohio Historic Inventory people got it completely wrong and the current house was built after the tornado.

2. The possibility of building inventory being scarce after the tornado , pieces parts from an older home being used in a “new build” – as happened in my old house- thus throwing off the Ohio Historic Inventory people. Thus leading to the fact that Mr. Wurmser may have indeed designed this current home utilizing what was available ?

3. An older house was moved to the site and renovated.

Let us look at house moving in Lorain. I have already documented the moving of the “old Parsonage” on 2nd street. But that wasn’t a one-off.

1834 Plat Map for the village of “Mouth of Black River”.
The first known registered survey for what was, 40 years later, to become the City of Lorain, Ohio. After the death of pioneer John S. Reid, the remainder of his land near the little village, was plotted into additional village lots by his son Conrad Reid and his sons-in-laws Daniel T. Baldwin, Quartus Gillmore, and Barna Meeker. They renamed the village “Charleston” in 1836, although shortly later it was known as simply “Black River village” until it was finally named Lorain in 1874. [Note the names of the streets, some of which were added in at a much later date. "Lake Street" should not be confused with Lake Road, which is "Main Street"/"West Erie" on this map.]
About the time of this 1834 survey, the following businesses were recorded in operation within the village: merchants Wm. Jones, and Gates and Green, and W.E. Fitch; blacksmith A.T. Jones; shoemaker E. Miller; tailor Thomas Brown; and the “Reid House” hotel/tavern run by Barna Meeker (it may have been in the same structure built by John S. Reid which served as a blockhouse during the War of 1812).

From the “History of the First Methodist Church” 1856-1956

In 1842, a house belonging to Daniel Baldwin and his wife was moved over to lot 108 on the original village plat and made over into a church building. The house was said to have been originally the house and shoe-shop of Jacob Vedder, but more interesting than who owned or used that building would be the name of the person who actually built it , for that first move was the beginning of a long odyssey that only an exceedingly well-built structure could have survived.
Moving of a house by team of oxen- please see this website for information on “moving” the homesteads-

The first move was accomplished by the help of Ed Porter’s ox team and the brain and muscle of Cochran, Baldwin, William H Root and A.R. Fitzgerald…

This house to be church was moved from the Hollow to lot 108- and the Hollow was the place where in 1956 the Lorain City Hall parking lot was then located. ( the low spot with now City Hall location being the “Hill” .

City Hall becoming Then and Now

Demolition The Journal Photo March 27th 1974- Dan Brady

ED Note Dan Brady did a 7 part series on Lorain City Hall (s) check it out

As for the little church, apparently many repairs had to be made , parts of the floor and underpinning , belfry , windows lengthened – made to look more churchly and general straightening needed attention.
After a few years the Methodists decided they needed a new substantial Brick church

so the little travelling (presumably wooden) church was moved again

“put on the skids and moved to lot 205 ( corner of Duane (4th St) and Washington Ave which was designated on the original town plat as reserved for a “Meeting House”

The moving was described by Mr. Quartus Gilmore Jr. one of the township trustees. Among other things he said when they got the building as far as Edmund Gilmore’s house , along the west side of the town square (Washington Park) [ now Veterans Park] that they bogged down in the mud and left the building where it was until the road became passable- I wonder what the families along that row- top residential – were saying!

The next move for this little building was that of a school and it was moved to Lot 206. The apparently according to the History of the Methodist and “eccentric Englishman: ( Oh! dear another one) :)

Mr. Joseph Moysey who knew how to live on a little and save much ( something the City of Lorain could emulate) moved it south on Washington avenue and set it up on a lot between 1st and 2nd Avenue ( 8th and 9th street) with the long side facing the street. He divided it into a two family house-

ED NOTE: the birth of the duplex???? in Lorain perhaps and history repeating itself— and to think it was a Englishman SIGH!!!!

The writer can remember that house looking as though it had served its time . But five moves had done something to a rather unimportant building. It looked cold around the edges, but there must have been some warm feelings generated inside

This is not the only Moving that has gone on in this community – to be continued

ED NOTE: For information on the PORTERS- Maureen Smith wrote a three part series for this blog:
Introducing the Porters
THE PORTERS ( cont.) by Maureen Smith
More on the Porters


June 1, 2012 at 10:22 am 5 comments

Memorial Day USA- 2012

design- Christopher D. Ritchey

The origin of Memorial Day

Many cities in the North and the South claim to be the first to celebrate Memorial Day in 1866 but Congress and President Lyndon Johnson officially declared Waterloo in New York as the ‘birthplace’ of Memorial Day in 1966. It was said that on May 5, 1866, a ceremony was held here to honor local soldiers and sailors who fought in the Civil War, businesses were closed for the day and residents furled flags at half-mast. It was said to be the first formal, community-wide and regular event.

How do you memorialize the American dead in her 237 year old history?

Wikipediia does it by listing all the wars since 1775 to the present day

Grand Total 2,489,335 dead or wounded ……. so for every year of the United States existence approximately 10, 504 young people died or were wounded in her name .

The community of the United States of America honors and memorialized those who have died, lost limbs and continue to serve .

ARLINGTON, Va., May 25, 2012 – More than 1,200 soldiers with the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, The Old Guard, gathered at Arlington National Cemetery here yesterday to place miniature American flags on each of its gravesites and niches for the annual “Flags In” ritual that’s been performed just before each Memorial Day for 64 years.

Army Pvt. Aaron Johnson places a small American flag in front of a gravesite headstone during the annual “Flags In” event at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., May 24, 2012. Johnson, assigned to the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, the Army’s “Old Guard,” and his comrades placed flags in front of more than 260,000 gravesite headstones and about 7,300 niches at the cemetery’s columbarium.

The Old Guard, at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, is the Army’s ceremonial unit and has honored Americans buried at the cemetery with the Flags In commemoration every year since 1948.

The regiment’s troops placed the flags on nearly 260,000 gravesites and 22,000 niches, in addition to more than 14,000 graves at the U.S. Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery in Washington, D.C., an Army cemetery for residents of the Armed Forces Retirement Home-Washington

Artwork Christopher D. Ritchey

Freedom Is Not Free- Kelly Strong

I watched the flag pass by one day.
It fluttered in the breeze.
A young Marine saluted it,
and then he stood at ease.
I looked at him in uniform
So young, so tall, so proud,
He’d stand out in any crowd.
I thought how many men like him
Had fallen through the years.
How many died on foreign soil?
How many mothers’ tears?
How many pilots’ planes shot down?
How many died at sea?
How many foxholes were soldiers’ graves?
No, freedom isn’t free.

I heard the sound of TAPS one night,
When everything was still
I listened to the bugler play
And felt a sudden chill.
I wondered just how many times
That TAPS had meant “Amen,”
When a flag had draped a coffin
Of a brother or a friend.
I thought of all the children,
Of the mothers and the wives,
Of fathers, sons and husbands
With interrupted lives.
I thought about a graveyard
At the bottom of the sea
Of unmarked graves in Arlington.
No, freedom isn’t free.

So as we enjoy the day of freedom on this Memorial Day think of young smiling faces whose hearts were afire with patriotism as they gave all they could give!

May 27, 2012 at 10:49 am 1 comment

Lorain Dude(s)- Lorain Pride- Settlers’ Watch 2012

The “two Lorain Dudes” request your presence at Settlers’ Watch 9:00 am 2nd and Oberlin Saturday May 19th -2012 – bring your gloves and tools and water bottles-

I have been very busy- I have learned how to take off storm windows

Preparing for the clean up and Pride Day in Lorain

I have done this clean- up on Pride Day all of my life!

May 21st 2011

Time to show your pride again 2012- May 19th

Of course the “other Lorain Dude” is just chillin’ this year!

Come on over to Settlers’ Watch – see the under construction Eric Barnes’-Heroes Walk and have a look at the Admiral King Tribute site- I hear the will be roses! Call 440-246-6046 for more information

May 18, 2012 at 2:03 pm 5 comments

Past- Passed- Forgotten by most – Remember for just a while- Chris Ritchey

I was speaking to a mother, who too, was bearing the grief of losing her son. She related a conversation with her husband. ( I am paraphrasing) Apparently he needed a password , she told him the password- he said

Oh I thought you would use XXXXXXXX birthdate.

her thinking was

People might associate it with me so it wouldn’t be secure.

Her husband said :

we would be the only ones apart from (immediate family) who would remember that – we are the only ones that remember him now

People move on- as the months pass- anyone who has “passed over” – no matter who- friend, father, husband , mother, wife, uncle and aunt are forgotten more and more in the hours/ days/ weeks that pass after a death. Life takes over death.

Oh! we may bring them out during conversation at gatherings-

remember ‘Bill” and the time he …. or Mi Ma made the best lasagna ….

but as the months go by so do those that have died.

We may pop up to the cemetery ( if it is close) and put something ( hopefully appropriate) on their “grave” on special occasions- the hat tip to memory . It is the way of life, except when you outlive your child- as a mother I can tell you this is a different type of grief – the memories are with you and you struggle with the memory and missing.

Maybe it is because there is another aspect to our grief – something else that tugs- maybe it is the fact your child did not get to live out a “life” – maybe because they were so loved and important to you that when you realize they are being forgotten in the grand scheme of life although their impact on your life is so monumental- the rest of the world has moved on-
That realization is harder to bear somehow as your child didn’t have their “chance” and it is now seemingly, as if they never existed, the pain is compounded .

Your child of your heart will never find the cure for cancer, paint a masterpiece, leave a legacy of any importance( especially if they didn’t have the chance for children of their own) – their lives too short to make even a nominal impact on this our civilization. They are gone – a momentary blip on the radar of living.

When they were born- you have such hope for their life -what they will be who they will be – and then nothing – it is taken .

I have mentioned how my grandson “knows ” my son but only because his own mother talks about Chris everyday, -Chris is part of his daily life . If that were not the case the little boy, would only know of his Uncle Chris when someone would mention -

Oh! Gavin has Chris’s temper or Chris’s hands

but even that, as the years go by, people will “forget”- Chris has already started to fade – become distant, the ripple of memory dissipating until it is no more in the living of their life. It will happen to all of us eventually, we will become probably a search term maybe in future decades as someone looks for the ancestors.

Our lives boxed into - born – married- died and few census reports- our everyday existence limited to a few notes in newspapers or public records. Even if we achieve some nominal fame that too will fade – Who invented the gun – or how about more recently “Super Glue ” – or the assembly line ?( bet you thought it was Henry Ford – you would be wrong – Ransome Eli Olds )

Yes, we all pass into oblivion eventually-

all those young warriors whose headstones fill the countryside in Europe but all those other nameless mother’s children who died on so many battlefields through the centuries forgotten now -

and yet another mother, in another time , just like me looked at her child on the first day of their lives and dreamed a dream for them.

My son left a legacy of his work- his paintings ( although to me are priceless), I admit aren’t very good – they will never be classified as a masterpiece, his real talent lay in another aspect of his work and although his peers at the advertising agency stated

:”he was poised for great success”

– it is probably only Nikki and I and his dad that know which commercials were his clients and whose heart-strings tug as they are played or are still in print- soon though they will be replaced.

Tonight I will attend the dinner at Lorain County Community College and meet the recipient of last years “Christopher Ritchey Leadership Award” – that and the Cleveland Institute of Art scholarships help me – knowing that his legacy is not just a designer headstone and a cursory glance by those passing by on their way of “memory”


Debra L. Richter
Alumni and Scholarship Coordinator
Lorain County Community College Foundation
1005 N. Abbe Road
Elyria, OH 44035
440.366.7758 – Office
440.366.4078 – Fax

If you would like to contribute to the Christopher Ritchey Memorial Scholarship at CIA please do so by sending the check to :

Attn M. Kinsella
Cleveland Institute of Art,
11141 East Boulevard,
Cleveland, OH 44106
mark Chris Ritchey Memorial Scholarship

April 11, 2012 at 3:59 pm 8 comments

Ahhhhhh!!! Easter /Eastre – resurrecting memories, eggs and crabs

UPDATE: Lisa has taken her comments about the “hare- brained idea” and posted- check it out

ED. Note This years Easter Egg hunt in Lorain Lakeview Park – April 7th 2012 – 10-11 am- The Easter Bunny is coming to Lakeview! Bring your own basket, a camera and be sure to dress for the weather. Egg hunt for children ages 2-11yrs.

Easter was always a great time growing up- the Easter holiday in England lasted for days and days – I don’t remember much about church though – although I am a pretty good organizer I don’t like to be “organized” as stated in my series here:
organized religion left me “wondering and questioning”. But that isn’t to say I didn’t take full advantage of the “holidays -no matter the culture or the origin!

As it turns out, the Easter bunny has a long history as a pagan symbol that predates the Christian holiday. In fact, sources suggest that early Christians purposefully co-opted the pagan hare to popularize their own holiday. In the second century A.D., Christian missionaries tried to convert northern European tribes. To help make Christianity attractive, the missionaries turned pagan festivals into Christian holidays. The pagan Eastre festival occurred around the same time as the Christian celebration marking Christ’s resurrection so the two celebrations blended into one, rabbit and all.
Photo Source

Quite a few pagan cultures hold celebrations in the spring. It’s the time of year when plants return to life after being dormant all winter and when animals mate and procreate. These festivities celebrate the renewal of life and promote the fertility of crops, animals, and even people, which was important in these agrarian communities. The Saxons believed in a maiden goddess of fertility named Eastre or Eostre (Oestre in Latin) and honored her with a spring festival. Hares and rabbits were considered sacred to Eastre because they are notoriously fertile animals.

NOTE: AHHHHHHHHH Explains a lot!

Over time, Eastre became Easter, and the symbolism changed as well. Instead of the Easter rabbit symbolizing fertility, the rabbit may symbolize an innocent, vulnerable creature that can be sacrificed, similar to the lamb. To Christians, these innocents are tokens of Christ and the sacrifice he made.

The Easter bunny we know today was influenced by German traditions dating back to the 1500s. German children believed that the Oschter Haws (a magical rabbit) would leave them a nest of colored eggs at Eastertime if they were good. Pennsylvania Dutch settlers brought this tradition to America in the 1700s.

On a related note, eggs have long been a symbol of rebirth and thus associated with spring celebrations. In the 600s, Pope Gregory the Great forbade the eating of eggs during Lent (the 40 days proceeding Easter), and this helped make eggs a special treat at Easter. Many European cultures also have old customs of decorating eggs and giving them as gifts.

Well Pagan/ Christian Holiday or not – I used to love Easter.

There was the Easter of George the Crab. Easter Holidays meant a trip to the seaside to Auntie Pat and Uncle Frank. They lived in Margate on the coast. Some Easters we froze as winds whipped the town and we huddled in front of a coal fire enjoying hot cross buns but if Easter was late and you were really lucky weather would be warm . Although the sea was still much too cold even for paddling, rock pools left by the out going tide held all sorts of wonders.

It was on such a delightful Easter Saturday I acquired George- a rock pool crab- I refused to leave him and smuggled him in my little sand bucket aboard the bus to take him home. I was found out by a disgruntled Bus Conductor who made my embarrassed mother and Auntie Pat leave the bus and I had to put poor old George ( who I admit was looking a bit green and smelling quite a bit ( no doubt tipping off the Bus Conductor) back into the nearest rock pool.

Easter Eggs- were such fun, and NO I am not talking about those waxy chocolate ones stuffed with syrupy sugary yukky cream I have experienced here in the USA – ( I am sorry I dislike American Chocolate, it always tastes like eating candle wax) but beautiful sugary concoctions and real chocolate <sans wax) that when you break them open more chocolates appear.


Even the “don’t eat the sugar eggs”
were appreciated because they always contained sugared almonds which were allowed.

It takes some doing but I have managed “English Easter Eggs” through the years for my children and Gavin too has always had his English Eggs and so too will Braedyn ( when he gets teeth). I hope you enjoy your traditions this holiday – maybe we will have crab for lunch hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

In the meantime Happy Easter /Eastre to all……….

From Gavin

And from Braedyn

April 6, 2012 at 11:27 am 17 comments

Grief – Depression- Listening???- American Pyschiatric Association Responds-somewhat

and Joanne Cacciatore, PhD responds to them – hopefully they will do what they are trained to do and “really listen”!

There are thousands of us trying to speak through our tears- we are not mentally ill- we are those that loved those who are now denied to us through death . To classify us as having a ” mental illness/defect” because we aren’t over it in your prescribed “normal time frame ” is demeaning, insulting and totally without human understanding. Take a pill !- your dead son or daughter, loved one just a symptom of your illness not of your love so say the “talking heads’! They are an emotional virus attacking your mental stability – because that in essence is what they are saying- the love you have- the loss you feel has a time frame – who knew??? – I never thought love needed classification and thought of as a sympton of illness..

Grief versus Depression: The American Psychiatric Association Responds

The full response can be found here×600-normal-0-false-false-false.html

We want to address your assertion that some grieving individuals do need treatment. We agree that sensitive and compassionate support and professional help should be available to anyone who needs and desires it. However, we are not comfortable assigning a label of a mental disorder simply to allow someone to obtain insurance reimbursement for such help. The DSM fails to recognize that there are legitimate forms of suffering that are not caused by a mental disorder and instead seems intent on labeling normal, if intense and enduring, distress as pathological.

April 4, 2012 at 3:39 pm Leave a comment

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