Another day , week, month, year- I have learned the navigation of the path of pain- I know now most of the emotional laybys , the pitfalls that can swallow you whole . I have become aware of them as I travel this way of grief. Oh! sometimes, even knowing they are there does not save me from tripping and trembling as I go forward in this life.
Nana, she of the wonderful pastries and food of love, had made a sausage pie for friends who were visiting. We had to take the pie and accoutrements to Catawba last week. The pie needed to be kept cool on the journey but a big cooler wouldn’t do. Nana, who has pretty much taken over the kitchen since she moved here, knows where everything is and pulled out a plastic cooler bag. My heart ended up in my throat once again , I must have turned white, because Nana said
” are you alright what is wrong ?”
That silly, cheap, plastic cooler bag, I had forgotten its very existence. I never knew where it came from originally. We weren’t into Nascar – but there it was . They say your life flashes before your eyes when you drown- all I can say is your life flashes before my eyes every time I am confronted with an unexpected object , sight, sound that was you.
As I looked at that bag, Nana washing it out readying it for her pie, I remembered the orange slices and water it had kept cool for all those soccer games. I remembered grabbing it out of the cupboard on the morning you got married. I hated that day, my beautiful son dealing with chemo and the diagnosis of Hodgkin’s but still filled with false hope.
It was a record-breaking heat that June day, and I knew the ” family of the bride” would insist on the plethora of pictures being taken, driving here and there in the limo- I was so worried about how you would be able to handle the whole thing feeling ill as you were. – The Lombardi , Vyka clan were all about those pictures- still are.
I grabbed the bag threw in some of you favourite sandwiches and water , and orange slices. I knew you were feeling ill because the Chemo had been on the Thursday and its poison was killing ( supposedly) the cancer cells and your good cells- it knew no difference. I put the bag in the limo.
You hugged me at the reception and whispered in my ear –
I gave the bag to Nikki , she has it, thanks mum – couldn’t do justice to the sandwiches but the orange slices and water went down well thanks for thinking of it.
When the cancer came back and you couldn’t eat and the next round of “treatment” was prescribed I would come to sit with you in your apartment so Angela -your “bride” -could continue working- ( although I later found out that was not always the case as to her whereabouts). It didn’t matter to me then or now where she was – I know the truth of her and it is dark!
I just wanted to take care of my son, to try to keep the promises I made to you when you were born-
” I won’t let anything happen to you- I will protect you”
That cooler bag went with me every day for weeks whilst you were having your double stem cell transplant . You couldn’t bear the smell of the hospital food- the smell of the plastic covers keeping the food hot disgusted you. I would take a meal up in the cooler bag, your lunch and dinner, every single day to be heated in the hospital “family room” microwave. The orange whip, Nana would make you , so cooling ( full of calories) would slide down and not burn your mouth that was blistered by the chemo.
The last time I used that cooler bag- a phone call from Angela as I was shopping at KMart
” Chris said you were coming to spend the night should I get something for supper – she had to work that night”
– I was bewildered, as I was actually in Kmart getting new bed linens, as I believed you to be coming home for the weekend- after that disastrous and stupid idea of Angela’s stating you could drive back from Houston .
I was puzzled- she hadn’t said anything about working- You never mentioned to me in your morning phone call about needing me to come- just that you wanted to come home for the weekend . Oh! later I found out she was not scheduled to work that night- she requested to work at 4 in the afternoon WHY? . – Hindsight is 20/20
I packed the cooler with your favourite dinner and we ate together one last time in your home. You went into the clinic again the next morning – dying- never to come home.
I forgot about the cooler bag, left on the kitchen counter in that apartment of deceit as I followed the ambulance to the Cleveland Clinic ER.
I never thought of it again until we received 4 months after your death ( via the funeral home) the box of
“throw- aways”… because that was what they were- from the Lombardi Clan and Angela( now Angela Murphy DO http://my.clevelandclinic.org/staff_directory/staff_display?doctorid=16147 ) along with her disgraceful, lacking in any sort of compassionate thought, letters- to your family who were raw with grief.
In the bottom of the box was the cooler bag -not good enough to keep obviously or to give to their charities . I couldn’t throw it away, it had been such a part of those months – so I stuffed it in a little used kitchen cupboard until ….. Nana’s sausage pie………….. and once more your last part of life flashed through my mind, the anguish, loss of hope, cruelty, the anger that has kept me upright and your last words .
I love you Chris- I will not forget you……..
Still stuck in 1991 –
I didn’t know whether to laugh out loud or cry when I read what I had said in 1991 . I loved living in an “urban setting” where the homes in the neighborhood were not the typical slab homes or the new cookie cutter neighborhoods of the USA.
Maybe because I had lived in a London suburb where I would daily walk to the tube station , shop on the local high street, attend functions within the community- all without that car. I was used to that way of living . How bloody naïve was I to think I was going to find that continuing in Lorain on Broadway.
BUT we, the Charleston Village idiots ( as we had been called on more that one occasion) thought we could help bring back that feeling of Broadway that had been lost .
I was told Broadway in Lorain was at one time reminiscent of the “High Streets” from whence I came.
In 1991 I could do quite a few of those errands- I can no longer do most of them – can’t go to the drug store, shopping????? Luckily I can still go to the Palace- although I have to say the last time I went, Saturday the 20th, upon exiting, we were met by a drunk slumped in a doorway- such a friendly welcoming ambiance.
By 1990 we were “INVOLVED WITH BROADWAY” The City Of Lorain recognized a healthy safe neighborhood brought foot traffic downtown- They held yet another meeting , to which the Village Idiots were invited
We went and the upshot of those meetings as featured in our May 1990 Newsletter
“Community should have a clear vision of what it wants to become”
I am not sure our “current downtown buildings” fit the vision we had.
But we tried, we got on the bandwagon – after all a bad downtown reflects negatively on the neighborhood and vice versa.
“We’re also excited over the Charleston Village’s grass roots organization which is banding homeowners together to improve the community-
Yes, even the Morning Journal got involved and would feature a home in Charleston Village every week in its real-estate section:
Oh we tried – Charleston Village reached out and we opened our homes for a the Ohio Preservation Statewide Preservation Conference ( a progressive dinner in each home). They came they saw and they were impressed.
I doubt they would have the same thoughts now a quarter of a century later. That lovely Renaissance Inn mentioned in their articles – look at it now
I could go on.
Downtown Lorain Growth Association – became Mainstreet Lorain 1995/6 ( not then affiliated with the Main Street Program- that came later). Charleston Village was one of the founding members of that new organization and had a seat on its board. Later Mainstreet Lorain did become a MAIN STEET Organization the first in Northern Ohio ( 2000)
Yours truly, ( when times got tough and we didn’t have enough in the kitty to pay for a Director) was the “volunteer” Director for 7 months of Mainstreet Lorain until we saved enough with memberships and grants to pay for another Director. It was during that time (2002) Mainstreet Lorain did not have its contract renewed with the Main Street program. We eventually changed the name to Lorain Growth Corporation http://www.loraingrowth.com/
which is still part of the downtown today.
Oh we cleaned Broadway with the Lorain Litter Council, started the Lorain Arts Council, promoted its events, decorated windows of terrible eyesores of buildings, actually charged people to join us in searching for the Black Pearl as we searched along Broadway and each merchant’s premises , had car shows on Thursday nights- ending up at Scorchers. We worked with the Port and the usage of the land given ( now known as Black River Landing), yes and so much more !
Yes! we have been around the Broadway block for decades and watched the “vision” go “dark”
“60 percent of downtown Lorain empty; hopes of rezoning as entertainment district to breathe new life”
‘It looks like a ghost town’
I admit not having given completely up on Broadway , as a blogger, I have had my say of late.
That particular post brought me into combative mode with a member of the Downtown Review Board – remember the one that was put in place to promote preservation in 1987 OH! yes we were there too.
Yes, Cathy Dye – a whole series on my blog where she was the subject matter – the mother of the owner of 418 Broadway which has its problems
It is my opinion( based upon her emails etc. ) that Mrs. Dye tried to use coercion and intimidation of City of Lorain officials in order to get what she wanted re her son’s building via her position of the Design Review Board , took vindictive action using the Design Review Board moniker and the Lorain Building Dept. It is also my opinion her son’s building, which has been well documented as to its problems, IS one of the problem buildings on Broadway.
A Morning Journal article recently had some quotes as to what was needed on Broadway :
ERRRRRRRRR where have I heard this before –
Lorain also has a neighborhood of single-family houses immediately west of downtown, so incentives and training could help residents living just a few blocks from Broadway.
• Enforce property and zoning codes.
When run-down properties hurt the values of nearby properties, cities have to force property owners to act, Siegler said.
OH yes! I remember same thing they said in the LAST CENTURY and to add insult to injury Cathy Dye is quoted :
Dye said Lorain should require Broadway building owners to keep the historic and picturesque facades, but give them more freedom to modify the interiors and rear sections of buildings to create usable spaces
ED NOTE– sorry but patience has worn thin – a quarter of century of the same rhetoric becomes numbing!!!
Lorain and other cities need a shared vision and a process of gradual action to implement that, Brachman said. She called the approach “strategic incrementalism.”
Revitalization “isn’t going to happen overnight,” she said. “It’s an incremental process.”
OVERNIGHT??????? we have been waiting and working on this for decades! Same old clap trap and so much yada yada yada and regurgitated ideas. And the newspaper decided to go to the “problem people” for the solutions …..now that at least was a was a novel approach………………
So Charleston Village how did we do when it comes down to revitalizing Broadway ?
a resounding FAIL!!!!
Twenty eight years- what I could have accomplished in twenty – eight years, time energy money spent elsewhere– I could’ve moved- walked away- from this house I call home.
I could have spent my energy nagging my husband to take those other job offers out of Ohio, even out of the country. I didn’t – I loved this house, although now in hindsight, I am sure I would have found something elsewhere that I would have loved. It didn’t happen because I, and a few others, have clung onto the fact that a neighborhood could be saved – these old houses by Ohio history standards are worthy .
Looking at the early records of this Charleston Village Society – I realized we are failures! We have been flogging that dead horse to no avail. Twenty eight years and the mission statement decided upon so naively as to the doable of just a few blocks . So much talk …………
Our mission , was to preserve the neighborhood, promote the history , to make this Lorain’s oldest neighborhood one of pride, to hold landlords and out of town landlords accountable- to toughen up the accountability with regard to building inspections.
We started with committee meetings, talking to City Council and Administrations , Community Development – and Mayor Olejko:
Ah the way back machine ..
“Residents last night (10/1/91) told a committee , which is formulating a model on how to spend federal and state housing funds….” Morning Journal
and a quarter century later –
1991– Morning Journal 24 years earlier
But Several Landlords said not all landlords are out of town hustlers looking to hold onto dilapidated housing for profit….
That statement is certainly correct….some of those landlords held on to those dilapidated properties were Lorainites… and old slum lords never die their properties just fade away OR DO THEY??
Landlords, they pretty much own the housing stock in this Ward 2 of Lorain and yes they are making money what was known as Section 8 housing now known as a much more affable name – Housing Choice ( Vouchers)
“housing choice vouchers alone pump 1.4 MILLION A MONTH
into Lorain County but The City of Lorain gets 64% of that money EVERY MONTH or approximately $900,000.00 PER MONTH COMES INTO THE CITY OF LORAIN-!!!
How about that BIG Business for you – lucrative one would say and that is just the “private” landlords and LLC’s .
Vouchers Per Zip Code
Amherst 44001 1.1%
Avon 44011 4.0%
Avon Lake 44012 0.6%
Col Station 44028 0.1%
Elyria 44035 23.2%
N Ridgeville 44039 1.1%
Grafton 44044 0.2%
LaGrange 44050 0.3%
Lorain 44052 32.5%
Lorain 44053 10.4%
Lorain 44055 21.3%
Sheffield 44054 1.5%
Oberlin 44074 1.5%
Vermilion 44089 1.3%
Wellington 44090 0.9%
but The City of Lorain gets 64% of that money EVERY MONTH or approximately $900,000.00 PER MONTH COMES INTO THE CITY OF LORAIN-!!!
THAT was just 10 months ago!
“”Right now ( 1991) you’re giving Lorain away a house at a time , a piece at a time and no one seems to care”
well some of us did care – for all the good it seems to have done ! We have failed in our mission for owner occupied homes and landlord accountability .. these were the stats two years ago and they have changed because we know have South Carolina on the list… more about that later
** All data gathered from Lorain County Auditors site, Ohio Secretary of State June 29th 2013 “Clarification” the only LLC shown below are those that are not under known names – such as Spitzer, Veard, religious communities, funeral homes etc.
The number of LLC’s tracked totaled “197” OWNING PROPERTY IN LORAIN.
THEY OWN APPROXIMATELY 2,289 PROPERTIES / PARCELS BETWEEN THEM
” 193” TRACKED BACK TO “OWNER PLACE OF RESIDENCE”
“146” OUTSIDE LORAIN LLC. ETC OR “75.64 %” percent of ownership is outside Lorain
47 LORAIN OWNED LLC ETC. or 24.35 %
******Breakdown is as follows (OUTSIDE OWNERSHIP) PROPERTIES CAN RANGE FROM 1 PARCEL TO over 100 AT THE TOP END)
AMHERST = 30 REG. LLC = 15.5 %
ELYRIA = 12 REG. LLC = 6.2 5%
WESTLAKE = 11 REG. LLC = 5.7%
AVON = 10 REG. LLC = 5.2 %
AVON LAKE =7 REG.LLC= 3.6 %
NORTH RIDGEVILLE = 7 REG.LLC=3.6 %
SHEFFILED LAKE/VILLAGE= 6 REG.LLC= 3.1%
CLEVELAND = 5 REG.LLC= 2.5%
VERMILION = 5 REG.LLC =2.5%
COLUMBUS = 3 REG.LLC = 1.55%
CALIFORNIA= 3 REG.LLC= 1.55% NOTE AT LEAST ONE CALIFORNIA OWNER HAS 58 PROPERTIES
PENNSYLVANIA= 3 REG.LLC = 1.55%
HURON- 2 REG.LLC = 1.03 %
WELLINGTON= 2 REG.LLC = 1.03%
LAKEWOOD= 2 REG LLC. = 1.03 %
FLORIDA = 2 REG.LLC= 1.03%
BEECHWOOD= 2 REG LLC= 1.03%
NORTH OLMSTEAD = 2 REG.LLC = 1.03%
MEDINA= 2 REG.LLC = 1.03%
GRAFTON= 2 REG.LLC = 1.035
AURORA= 2 REG.LLC= 1.03%
BAYVILLAGE= 2 REG.LLC= 1.03%
CANADA = 2 REG. LLC =1.03% (NOTE: ONE IS FOR A TRAILER PARK)
BRECKSVILLE, COLORADO, TEXAS, AKRON, ARIZONA , TOLEDO, KENT, UNION TOWN, CHAGRIN FALLS, MARSHALVILLE, ROCKY RIVER, MILAN, NORTH ROYALTON, AKEMAN, CHAGRIN FALLS, NEWARK OH, LICHFIELD , STONGSVILLE, SEVEN HILLS, BRUNSWICK , ST. MARY’S, OBERLIN 1 REG LLC
To be continued……………..
This is a guest blog post by my wonderful friend – Paula Tobias- Paula has been fighting her own battle with Ovarian Cancer –
How are the Department of Defense and Ovarian Cancer connected?
When I read this yesterday I was in one of many daily Pain moments; you know, on the scale of 1 – 10 (10 being the worst) I was a 9. The weather and more importantly the surgery, chemo and subsequent meds, tests, x-rays and PET/CT scans I believe have something to do with the agony dealt with on a daily basis.
The Department of Defense has funded innovative biomedical research programs for years that impact troop readiness. The Ovarian Cancer Research Program was added in 1997 and has since been funding research primarily aimed at finding an early detection test and better treatments for ovarian cancer.
Finding an early detection test for ovarian cancer is of critical importance to the military. Currently, any active duty military woman with a suspected case of ovarian cancer must receive her treatment in the United States (due to the availability of specialists here), so correctly identifying women that either do or do not have ovarian cancer is of critical importance to the military. Over the last five years alone, over 2,600 military women have had a suspected case of ovarian cancer. “
Senator John McCain will be adding an amendment to a bill in the Senate that would strip many of the research programs run by the Department of Defense, including the $20 million for the Ovarian Cancer Research Program(OCRP). The OCRP funds $20 million in innovative, high-risk, high-reward ovarian cancer research each year.
Senate staffers are calling this the biggest threat to medical research in 20 years.
I immediately called my Senators and left voice mails with my history. It took a lot to maintain composure while doing this and as soon as I was done, Frank (my loving, caring, patient husband) came in from work and surprised me. Well I surprised him with a burst of tears and language a soldier would blush hearing. At the end of that tirade I said, “Do you think the Senator would be asking this if it were his testicles at stake?”
I support all battling their cancer diagnosis, patient or family. I volunteer at my Oncologists office to empathize with those. I try to offer hope and comfort.
• Click here to send your Senator an action alert email that will tell them to oppose the McCain Amendment.http://cqrcengage.com/ovarian/app/write-a-letter?0&engagementId=108520
• Call your Senators and tell them to oppose the McCain Amendment
Please help and pass along this information and if we (Frank is still my miracle -13 yr. Pancreatic Cancer Survivor) can help anyone with their Cancer Battle, contact Loraine and she’ll connect us. Paula Tobias
ED NOTE: Whilst looking for the date of the vote I came across the following – it seems McCain’s amendment will not only effect Ovarian Cancer funding but Prostate Cancer funding as well –
Senator McCain amendment might kill Prostate Cancer research funding
Again and again and again Senator McCain (R-AZ) has attacked the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP), which for PROSTATE CANCER has been among the most productive research vehicles we have to conquer PROSTATE CANCER.
It is beyond my understanding why he has taken up this vendetta. Every year he is our biggest enemy, trying his best to stop the great progress we have made. As usual, he is at it again!
Senator McCain is a major advocate for funding of the Defense Department, but he seems not to understand that the money that flows to the CDMRP does not take one dollar away from our defense budget. The money that flows to the CDMRP is over and above any budget dollar that will go to the Defense Department. So, why the vendetta against the CDMRP, I cannot explain it.
The mast from a minesweeper ( built-in Lorain) used to hold the flags of the United States and American Ship Yards (in front of the American Ship offices on Colorado Avenue) still stands at the Admiral King Tribute Site( 1st and Hamilton) as a testament to Lorain’s ship building past.
Just a very few people knew or know of Lorain’s wonderful early ship building history and the ships that came from her port to ply trade on the Inland Seas. That is about to be changed with a new book on Augustus Jones and his shipbuilding empire . The book written by
James H. Jones, Great, Great Grandson of Augustus and Lorain Historians Paula Shorf and Matthew Weisman sheds new light on Lorain’s maritime history.
“Jones was acknowledged to be one of the best, if not the best, shipbuilder of his time. All five of his sons became shipbuilders, and all owned yards. This one family had more influence on the era of wooden ships on the Great Lakes than any other individual or family, and together they built more vessels than any other family on the chain of lakes.” Dr. Richard J. Wright wrote this in his thesis, Adz, Caulk and Rivets.
Augustus Jones settled at the Mouth of the Black River in 1818 with his family from Essex, Connecticut. This new book helps tell the fabulous story of Augustus and his five sons and the vessels they built all over the Great Lakes.
You can meet the authors , see the displays at the ” Inaugural Book Signing and Reception ”
Sunday, June 21st, Noon to 4 PM
at Jackalope Lakeside- light refreshment served by Jim Andrews- the host for the afternoon.
301 Lakeside Ave
Lorain, Ohio 44053
Source – http://www.visitloraincounty.com/directory/jackalope-lakeside/
Matt Weisman co – author stated : This new 360 page book will be a wonderful addition for all Great Lakes fans, Lorain historians and every Boatnerds bookshelf
The place to be seen and to see – the tales of the Inland Seas Sunday – June 21st 12-4 pm.