I was in my very early twenties when I first arrived, a Mrs. Osmundson of the “Lorain Chapter of the Welcome Wagon” knocked on our apartment door and there followed the introduction to the Ladies of Lorain.
These ladies , some of whom have passed away , then introduced me to the “volunteer aspect” that was and is Lorain. The ladies that saved the Palace Theatre, built Lorain Community Hospital, literally ran the entertainment for Lorain International , planned the ” Hospital Follies” and fundraisers, celebrated the “anniversaries” and gently bullied administrations, newspapers and public servants to join in and refused to take No for an answer . They organized their projects and committees with a battle plan and strategy that would have made any General proud.
Ruth Calta, Jean Schaeffer, Marylou Connone, Lori Hoke, Barbara MacGregor, Corky Bruck, Charlotte Zakowski, Jane Baran, Jane Norton, Lou Kepler, Alice Weston, Phyllis Pfaff, Sally Bobel , Lilly Yuzon, Sally DeLuca , Mirium Schneider , Jean Anne King , Lee Mattei, Darlene Brown , Mrs. Robert Bostwick, Mrs. Dave Herzer , Carol Kramer, Frances Cellozzi, Marie Bonaminio,
and so many others whose names have faded with my memory . Some of these ladies are still volunteering and making a difference in Lorain everyday.
Barb had called to tell me of the 40th anniversary celebration of the Palace Theatre and of burning the mortgage
“December 10, 1977 was a landmark date. On the stage of the theater that night following a Christmas musical program, the mortgage was burned ceremoniously, thanks to the generosity of many groups and individuals.”
Oh those were the days before the mortgage could be burned though fundraising took place at 319 Broadway ( the annex)
” Forty civic groups participated in this week long street fair, Stores soon to be torn down were converted as if by magic into an old fashioned ice cream parlor, a “Second-Hand Rose” shop, a casino, a book and plant store, an open air barbecue, international shops, etc. The Saturday night “Great Gatsby Party” at the Palace climaxed the week’s activities.
Civic Center Madness – Oh and it was, the ladies served lunches , painted poppies on pianos, sold artifacts-
I still have a little chair -was left after one auction in a terrible state – it was headed for the dumpster when Ruth Calta decided I should buy it for a dollar – and you didn’t say no! – rehabbed and upholstered is still with us – a memory of can do!
I was just a young newly married transplant when Jean Schaeffer decided I needed to be introduced.
There was so much joy- energy – a pushing ahead through problems- these were the “can do ladies” and they did and they pulled each volunteer along with them in their net of enthusiasm. These ladies who saved a theatre and built a hospital. The Great Gatsby Party – what great fun – The Palace Players and Henry 8th night- not to be forgotten-
As Barb and I talked, I remembered a time of energy and of loss of those ladies no longer with us- 40 years of life tends to do that. Still the Palace is there a testament to perseverance and pride- still needed in this old town.
At first, after you died I girded myself for the arrival of the mailman – sympathy cards, notifications in your name, even the ones from the monuments people wanting us to purchase you a headstone- at least they recognized your family should have a say. As the months disappeared into years pretty much the only mail for you would be the yearly invite to a “four-wheeler” event.
Last week however, Monday , found me opening your letter calling for you to submit work created between January 2015 and December 2016 for AIGA Cleveland . My breath was only sucked out of me for just a few moments and although I was in a foul mood and very touchy for the rest of the day, causing everyone around me to tread on eggshells, I managed.
Then the mailman knocked on the door three days later with a registered letter from the Cleveland Clinic – I can’t abide that conglomerate of medical management http://my.clevelandclinic.org/ This letter was from the Andrology Laboratory and Reproductive Tissue Bank.
Apparently they were updating records and it came to their attention you had passed away “our condolences” (written as an after thought) but we need to dispose of what remains of your son’s life ( my words) hereto known as the “sample” .
I was confused, incredulous , not sure what I was reading – yes I remembered you, on doctor’s advice, had banked sperm before the chemo. I had wondered weeks after your death what would happen. I didn’t do anything because since the Lombardis and the then your wife – Angela Ritchey ( now Dr. Angela Murphy- http://my.clevelandclinic.org/staff/16147-angela-murphyespecially Sue Lombardi ,had made ALL the decisions as to what would be happening with you, my son and your mortal remains, with no input from his family – they would have seen to this as well. I hadn’t realized you had designated me in this instance.
And here it was -the Clinic apparently had not “disposed of ” (their term) the sample upon your death as contracted . Now, I have to make the decision to call them re maintaining the samples – should I do nothing they will commence the disposal on what would ironically be your wedding anniversary !!!!
I read and reread the letter , my gut churned, my mind ran amuck – this planet still holds your life essence and the cavalier Clinic wanted to tell me they were once again in disposal mode.
I cried ,gasped for air, memories became reality once again in the ensuing hours. Everything came rushing back – emotional incontinence, anger , disbelief, pain returned full force.
Thoughts of what could be , what should have been, pulling the plug conference in that damned hospital – stony faced Lombardis – removed from the emotions of your death – sitting at that conference table looking like they were smelling bad fish and hoping against hope I would agree to your being taken off life support. Inconvenient, if I wouldn’t agree as Sue Lombardi had already picked out the “coffin clothes”. https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/10/14/an-open-letter-mama-sue-lombardi/
I wasn’t thinking straight –
I could get legal advice about maintaining the “sample” – you see to me was more than a “sample” it was my grandchildren that would never be- the life essence of my son and yet there was hope still– surrogate mother ran through my head- what would that cost? and then the darker thoughts of what did they mean by “disposal ” did they dump your “essence of life” into medical waste, the toilet , down a sink? My mind raged , bled and remembered……
Logically I know, you had signed the contract your “sample” should be “disposed of” after your death, so I believe that is what you wanted. Even if I could find a surrogate – it would be sheer selfishness on my part to bring a child into the world when I am surely heading out of it before they would be grown and finally you had a blood cancer when the “sample of life” was taken, I couldn’t take a chance that any child born would have a chance of cancer.
I haven’t responded to the Clinic as yet- although I know I will have to but it is hard to once again have to pull that plug……….
I love you ………
Oh! I know there are others that share my thinking but could it be they are afraid of the “ducking/cucking stool ” which censors our opening of our mouths ( locally and nationally)? As if the bad mouthing, concrete crashing Neanderthals weren’t enough of a deterrent.
I have seen it too many times over the years of advocacy and I seem to have come away from those years half drowned ,soaking wet and getting more and more weary of trying – life here can do that to you. So I now find myself walking away, not raising the volunteering hand – and have left most of the “community” – I just don’t fit in .
As I “escape” from Lorain and the world into the realm Roku watching murder, mayhem and mystery I supplement with programs such as “Escape to the County” and the land of my birth where there are still pockets of the idyll and people looking to find their dream in the country.
It was during one such viewing this morning and the town of Leominister
http://www.leominster.co.uk/ and the story of Jenny Pipes (1809) the last woman to be legally ducked. She pronounced a “scold” by her community and the magistrate passed sentence
“In the common law of crime in England and Wales, a common scold was a type of public nuisance—a troublesome and angry woman who broke the public peace by habitually arguing and quarrelling with her neighbours. The Latin name for the offender, communis rixatrix, appears in the feminine gender and makes it clear that only women could commit this crime.
….. being placed in a chair and submerged in a river or pond. Although rarely prosecuted it remained on the statute books in England and Wales until 1967.
Francois Maximilian Misson, a French traveller and writer, recorded the method used in England in the early 18th century:The way of punishing scolding women is pleasant enough.(ED NOTE spoken like a true man )
They fasten an armchair to the end of two beams twelve or fifteen feet long, and parallel to each other, so that these two pieces of wood with their two ends embrace the chair, which hangs between them by a sort of axle, by which means it plays freely, and always remains in the natural horizontal position in which a chair should be, that a person may sit conveniently in it, whether you raise it or let it down. They set up a post on the bank of a pond or river, and over this post they lay, almost in equilibrio, the two pieces of wood, at one end of which the chair hangs just over the water. They place the woman in this chair and so plunge her into the water as often as the sentence directs, in order to cool her immoderate heat.
Jenny Pipes came back from her ducking still “scolding” and her claim to fame of telling it like it was has outlasted the magistrate. http://www.jennypipes.org.uk/
“the idea of ducking was to curb the tongue of the offender; the ducking to continue until the culprit either gives up or was exhausted”
Of course where there is a pond there is also pond scum and “ducking the scold” does disrupt that “gathering and rising to the top” if only for a little while. I have noticed the pond scum usually multiplies!
I have seen the “cucking stool” happening (metaphorically speaking) locally so many times and THAT Lorain is one of the problems and the why the view we have is of this (rehabbed????) “cottage”
To those who have been ducked, and lived to walk away and tell the tale _ you will be missed by those that got wet with you
-to those that have returned to the bank of the pond to join the crowd – it is understandable-
-to those that keep trying -may it only be your feet getting wet…..
for those of you still “piping up’ like Jenny Piper and facing the wrath of the duckers and the chair I will have a towel waiting for you and a different sort of chair in front of the TV!
It is snowing – probably more snow falling in the last 24 hours than we have had all winter. I knew the 65 degree February days were just teasing us into a false sense of spring. The wind and snow have blinded the view from the den, my eyes can only see the trees and garden, dancing white swirls blocking the ugliness of reality for just a brief while. I honestly don’t know where the hours days weeks and months have gone since you died -they seem to have disappeared or not been lived. I am constantly surprised when seeing the date or year number.
After you died I spent the days “preparing” – I cleaned out closets, threw away things that wouldn’t mean anything to anyone but me. I prepared the house and my life for my death. You see, I really believed I would not be able to live with this gutting grief and yes physical pain. I was sure I would join you before 6 months was out. That didn’t happen, I am still here on yet another March the 3rd along with an aching coldness that will not pass even in summer…….
The closets have acquired more “stuff”, the house- which I had decluttered became even more cluttered when Nana came to live and I had to put 6 rooms of her “stuff” into this house. Life and clutter carried on to the point there will be more to deal with in this house than before.
Then with all the talk of “government” and “immigration” the wondering hit me-
just what did I do with my citizenship papers , passport etc
I knew I had put them safe somewhere . The strange thing about having a brain in pieces parts , divided up, one part living in 2009- the part that functions independently of my consciousness – the sleeping brain, that doesn’t -that bleeds over into mornings so another part has to decide
is that a memory , did that happen or was that the part of my brain trying to sort through the clutter?
the regular daily functions, we all experience, gets lost somewhere along with the happiness part – which sometimes does make an appearance. In all this brain clutter I couldn’t remember , for the life of me , where these very important papers ended up. The problem was neither could your father, we are both on “automatic pilot brain function” most of the time.
As we searched the probable places , I purchased a fire proof lock box for these items, your nana’s important papers and dad’s. Your dad informing me we had two lock boxes in the basement , which he couldn’t find . I had visions of us running from the upstairs to the basement and den in an emergency trying to find lock boxes and Nana’s important stuff, dads “stuff” and mine, No! I had to gather all this “stuff” together for my sake and whomever was eventually going to have to sort through them .
Finally we did find the papers and files. I started to go through them and realized I was sorting my life– my birth certificate, baptismal, marriage certificate, passport, citizenship papers ,social security, mortgage papers, Nikki’s birth certificate and then your birth certificate, baptismal, social security card, graduation … your life papers came to the top of the pile . My brain overloaded- stopped holding back the walls dividing memories, grief, happiness, laughter reality and memories, anger ,pain, loss of hope- the good and the bad and yes the ugly- lessons learned , lessons unlearned all spilling out of the “hoarding” in my mind.
I never realized how hard this “preparation” would be – it seemed so simple to transfer those items and yet I should have known, been prepared. Nana came down with her “life ” to be added to the box and I could see she also had been on a journey as she sorted through –
“Oh! Loraine don’t ask me to do that again, that was a very difficult afternoon- it was so hard as the memories wouldn’t stop coming …………….
I love you Chris and I wish I could touch your face, hear your voice, and forget the clutter that is now me………
February– who knew there would be a window of weather where those who volunteer for the areas known as “Settlers’ Watch”,
Admiral King Tribute Site
PHOTO Lisa Miller
Eric Barnes Heroes Walk
could get out in the sunshine and do some maintenance.
This is a very large area- Three completely different “honorings” of Lorain’s heroes – military, pioneers and her history. It takes a great deal of work to maintain and if I am honest more than I thought it would take.
It is something the powers that be should remember when the come up with grandiose ideas of – this and that locally- all well and good to have the grand openings etc BUT maintenance is the key to all things – from streetscapes, potted palms, to housing and buildings.
If you haven’t walked the walk ( in more ways than one) you will see over the past few years there have been, so many rose beds, perennial flowers, shrubs, trees, and secret gardens added
May and June literally burst forth with fragrance and color. However, it takes a huge amount of love and effort to keep this area in the “oldest neighborhood” ticking over.
The additions , the repurposed the plants and trees donated
ALL take maintenance, talk and more talk and meeting just doesn’t cut it. The little lighthouse shed lost some shingles over the winds in January. The flags put out to honor were looking forlorn . Seeing a break in the weather the littlest volunteers ( who take this job very seriously) and old ( er) granddads took on a task .
whose truck is that anyway????
There is a great deal to do everyday when the weather gets warm- Will you consider spending a day “honoring” – weeding , raking ? CVSI is always looking to add to our volunteers to walk the walk not just talk the talk………
To be continued……….
Or one woman’s plumpness- one woman’s memories
Sunday found me making a Spaghetti Bolognese for myself- mum can’t abide spaghetti and my husband likes more “American” style ( bring on the Prego) so as I was cooking ground beef anyway I decided on an individual “spagbol” lunch
I was transported back through time to a little Italian Café in London’s Soho . I was in one of my first jobs ( I used to go through jobs like chickens wings at a Super Bowl party) It turned out one of my friends was also working in the area so we used to pool our Luncheon Vouchers for lunch – For those that are unaware of a Luncheon Voucher – outside the UK
“luncheon voucher is a voucher for a meal given to employees as an employee benefit, allowing them to eat at outside restaurants, typically for lunch. In many countries, meal vouchers have had favorable tax treatment. Vouchers are typically in the form of paper tickets.”
The proprietor could not help but be dismayed as to the way we ate his
“spaghetti” ( We used to use a knife and fork and cut it) One day, he could stand it no longer and promised if we tried to eat our pasta the proper way ( which he would demonstrate) until we mastered the skill he would not charge us for our meal. Needless to say it took weeks 😉 We progressed from cutting to using the fork and spoon method to finally the twist and twirl without slurping up errant strands or slavering sauce down our chins. I then changed jobs again and could no longer get my free meal .
Food always the comfort and I have realized when “cooking- ( sometimes successfully sometimes not so successfully I equate the dishes with people and memories .
My mum during the war was part of the rationing generation. Having to stock up and make things last has stayed with her and 75 years later she still stockpiles as evidenced by my cupboards “just in case”. Mum can make a roast last for three or more meals.
Roast on Sunday– http://www.telegraph.co.uk/food-and-drink/recipes/the-ultimate-sunday-roast/ followed cold meat and bubble and squeak- shepherd’s pie and Cornish pasties and then if any is left over we have mince. I will say now she will make the items to freeze so we don’t have to eat them all at once. However, she has decided at her time of life that she hates leftovers so I am left with eating all the leftovers. ( sigh)
My husband on his ranting about our cooking with butter will not eat what we eat. Unhealthy!!!!! – mind you HE is the one with the stents and cholesterol – seems according to the heart Dr. and our Dr. when I asked how could he ,with his horribly healthy diet, have blockages “food consumption only affects cholesterol 3% – 20% –
this writing is making me hungry for a sticky toffee pudding
and that reminds me of the Goring Hotel London http://www.thegoring.com/ and Cousin Pat.
My memories are everywhere in this kitchen making strong tea and thick toast and butter with chunky marmalade – My Auntie Ethel and a little cottage in Lincolnshire .
Baked potatoes – my childhood ( and I have never had baked potatoes since that were so good ) and cocoa coming in from Guy Fawkes Night and the chill in the air to Mrs. Cushing’s lovely warm kitchen( London England) – ( my cousin’s paternal grandmother) She of the white hair and cherubic face – she should have been a model for the ultimate Mrs. Clause .
Chocolate Chip Cookies ( the best) and Lemon Meringue Pie http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/marys_lemon_meringue_pie_02330 will take me back to the 7th grade and New Brunswick Canada when a young teacher ” Miss Calder” came to live with us.
Pavlova – http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/711658/strawberry-pavlova I can’t say I, or even my mum, have been successful in making the perfect Pavlova but as we try memories of Susan’s Pavlovas , Sunday afternoon tea time complete with her spread of new potatoes sliced ham and salad spread before us Ipswich, Suffolk England .
http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/beef-recipes/steak-and-kidney-pudding/ Steak and Kidney Pudding -well that would be my own Nana ( on my mum’s side) when she lived with us in South Harrow Middlesex England – she had long white hair she used to pull up in a bun and the brightest blue eyes- she had a hard life and was nearly killed being strafed by a German flyer during WW2 as she was collecting wood.
But figs, dates, pomegranates,
chocolates and wonderful fresh cream cakes and éclairs from the bakery – cheese and watercress sandwiches was my more wealthy grandmother on my father’s side – It as all very exotic in her home silks and fringes an Aladdin’s cave to my eyes. The home of “children should be seen but not heard in Hendon England
Cooking egg and chips http://www.deliciousmagazine.co.uk/recipes/the-ultimate-egg-and-chips/ takes me back once again to being a little girl and sharing Saturday night tea time with the Braynes in South Harrow, Aunt Lilly’s lovely fairy cakes which I have never managed to make successfully bring such happy innocent times.
Cooking the “English Breakfast”- Dusseldorf Germany and my Uncle Austin running along the Rhine embankment with pennies in my hand to buy sweeties from Frau Bloomers sweet shop.
Chocolate Gateaux http://allrecipes.com/recipe/8095/black-forest-cake-i/ I make a fairly decent Chocolate Gateaux – memories of Nikki as a two – year old and the Mohne Dam of Dambusters fame Germany https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%B6hne_Reservoir
and her insistence she be allowed ‘gatoes” before she would eat a sandwich! and my cousin John
From Germany back to England and Devon Cheese and Onion pie http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/cheeseandonionpie_89625 gracing cousin Dawn’s table at the farm. The table used to fair creak under the weight of all the dishes – How much fun I had riding the tractor over the fields to the pub- my husband playing darts in the Cider Shed getting blotto.
Not all food brings back pleasant memories – the smell of creamed corn turns me into a puddle of nerves and tears. Hopefully none who read this ever have to go through a stem cell transplant the smell of the preservative used in the gathered stem cells stinks like creamed corn. The odor permeates everything including my brain and takes me to a time of hope and hell with my son Chris. You won’t find creamed corn here in this house.
Another banned from memory and kitchen food is Christmas Pudding http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/christmas_pudding I make a mean Christmas Pud but no longer – because the memory of Chris ‘s job of always lighting the pudding can’t be replicated and only mum and I ate it anyway – the memory still too raw……..In fact our previous traditions when it comes to celebrating have been exchanged for new ones .
Chris – whose love of lobster and shrimp is always celebrated on special occasions – the lobsters in the pot bearing the names of those evil and wicked individuals who have added nothing but terrible negatives to our lives.( Good job I am not Elizabeth the 1st). He and Jim wiping out the buffet of seafood at the Bomber Squadron Cleveland Ohio.
Yes food for thought and cooking the food of comfort – as the memories come flooding in so do the calories. Yes! you can gain weight just by going down memory lane and find yourself all over the world. ……….