My husband swears they switched babies at my birth and Mum got someone else’s child, as I am nothing like my mum! My mum is gentle , sweet, never sees the bad in people ( sometimes a failing), can bake for Britain, loves people with a depth beyond knowing, always makes excuses for their not so nice behavior, and has a strength to her that has sustained her for 97 years.
Born after the Great War 1914-1918 – February of 1919- she realized that she was the result of a soldier’s homecoming from the trenches ( my granddad) that fact has always taken her a little aback – a product of a homecoming passion.
Mum has seen and lived through the Great Depression, lived through the bombing and times of World War Two- Korean War -the Suez Crisis- lived on two continents and three different countries but has always loved England – she is rooted in England. She is truly an English rose. She is never happier than when she is on English soil but as age creeps up and airlines get worse her dreams of another trip are probably just dreams.
I have a vague recollection of being in my pram facing my mum as she pushed me away and let the pram slide back to her smiling- then being in a push chair at a shop and a man ( presumably the shop keeper) giving me what is known as a lady finger ( biscuit).
Other memories flash in an out but the one I remember most vividly was of a panicked little girl rushing into my parents bedroom , crying after a nightmare about dogs biting me. Mum calmed me by telling me she would never let anything bad happen but I was so scared
“what happens if you aren’t here?”
“don’t worry I will be “
and then I remember making her promise she wouldn’t die for 20 years – 20 years at the time must have felt like forever to my small child thinking. She kept her promise.
Her hands – I loved and love her hands- Oh they aren’t beautiful in the accepted sense of the word. They are comforting and strong hands ( even today) cool hands that stroked my fevered brow during , mumps, measles and chicken pox. Hands that held mine as she guided me through life. Hardworking hands that helped keep a roof over our heads when times were tough and they were extremely tough from time to time. My mum has made friends all over the world – hundreds of Christmas cards come through our letter box each December. My mum is loved by all who know her and knew her for the wonderful friend , aunt and person she is. When wrongs are done to her it is not she who complains but her daughter has no such compassion for those that would hurt her.
Ah my mum , she loves pink and she loves flowers
and I am reminded of that this morning as she cooks her breakfast dressed in a fluffy pink robe and her flowery pajamas .
It was another pink robe that reminded me of her strength. A trip to England and the return journey in 2006. Ten years ago – I thought she was a marvel at 87 and NOW 97 but she still had her English backbone! An excerpt from that trip!……
Gatwick Airport – the International gateway – HA! although a wheelchair had been booked and confirmed three times, there was nary a sign of one as I loaded my and my mum’s suitcases onto the wobbly trolley. I struggled and worked our way through the mass of humanity – all with trolley’s on overload – to the North West Airlines counter.
Here I had to prop mum up with our suitcases whilst I went through the “electronic” check in. What a joke! how they expect “we of the needing reading glasses” generation to juggle passports, e-tickets, purses and keep an eye on our all important luggage is beyond me
– I think they go out of their way to make life difficult at departure so you will be thrilled to finally get on the ”flying cattle cars” that are “pond life class” – and you are reminded constantly
KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR BAGGAGE AT ALL TIMES -UNATTENDED BAGGAGE MAY BE CONFISCATED AND DESTROYED!!!!-
all this in the midst of 2,000 of people all trying to do the same thing.
Finally you get to the North West Airline’s counter – where you act as your own baggage handler – and STILL NO WHEELCHAIR for the 87 year old mother who is fading fast. I ask
where is the wheelchair?
Oh! said the “automated attendant”
you have to go through security first
and points in the direction of a line that makes the ones at Cedar Point look pathetic.
“Oh and Madam this airport’s security will only take ONE item on board you will have to combine your purses and carry-on bag into one.
Well ROBO – that is the name I decided fit the “automated robotic attendant” – best – 2 INTO 1 WON’T GO! Especially these 2 into 1’s.
“If you want to get through to the departure lounge you will have to ! Oh – and that is where you will get wheelchair assistance.” droned the automated man
ROBO – MY MOTHER NEEDS THE ASSISTANCE NOW not once I get into the departure lounge where there are seats DUH!!!
Nothing Nada just the blank robotic stare.
“Don’t make a fuss, keep your mouth shut Loraine or this automated muppet will deny your boarding” thought I.
So doing what any good little girl should do I followed directions!
I sat on the cold granite type floor of Gatwick airport – like some 3rd world tinker spreading my wares for sale in the middle of this throng of humanity sorting through what I could throw away to make room.
I threw away a pair of slacks and a sweater and managed to stuff, pull and push my purse into my carry-on. (it felt a bit like giving birth in reverse) My mother absolutely refused to throw anything away.
“I certainly will not throw away my pink dressing-gown – absolutely not! – that is a waste, I WILL WEAR it”.
And that is exactly what she did !
We spent another 3/4 of an hour waiting to get through security. Mum, dressed now in her bright pink dressing gown with hood, clutching her sandwiches (she knows all too well how airline food has deteriorated to that of “cuisine de dumpster”) valiantly struggled through to the departure lounge – her British stiff upper lip intact! The generation that stood against the onslaught of the fascists once again stood her ground- had to- there was still no wheelchairs.
I can picture her whenever she wears a pink dressing gown- her little face defiant as she went through security, back straight the epitome of the English spirit.
I am lucky to have my mum- she has been with me through the very worst of times and still takes care of her child when the nightmares come.
Happy 97th Birthday mum – we love you …..
These days of missing pile up like so much stuff in a hoarders closet. Pull out one item and blam the rest of those days – stuffed to the back of the “closet of mind”- explode out of their confinement , knocking me off my “grief feet” , stunned , covered in the bits of days I had pushed to the dark recesses- forgotten.
There I am sitting amongst all the rubble of life, the memories, bruised by the sheer weight of it all, overwhelming and in sad recollection. This sheer weight of it all might lessen, as more things are put away again, but the “mind closet” is filled to overflowing and will always be there until end of days.
Desperately hanging on to the memories of your face, your laugh, your voice means reliving the days you were a man.
I was so proud of you Chris- I still am- your strength – the way you tried to keep from me your fears, your pain in those days of Texas. You knew I was frightened to death of what was happening to you, even in your darkest days you sought to protect Nikki, your dad, Nana and me.
Last month, I received a sympathy card from across the world. They had only just learned you had died. They remembered , not the man, but the child – and at the same time “they” had been little more than a child when they visited us. Their words
“I will forever remember Christopher as a bright-eyed, blond-haired, cheeky, chirpy 8 year old boy”
In my pain of remembering you as the man , it had been a long time since I had pulled from my mind those childhood memories of you. You WERE cheeky, you were a handful, you were loving , boisterous and sometimes bad.
Jumping off the neighbor’s garage roof – spraining both ankles – hiding the pain so as not to feel my wrath at such behavior. Your feelings and moods were always written all over your face- open to the world.
Those last months, your eyes hidden for the most part behind those aviator glasses, trying not to share ……
I love you Chris- both the boy and the man and the strength of your spirit…………………
Charleston Village Annual Report for 2015
The in-kind donations continue to help us thrive and survive with all the projects we have taken on in this Lorain’s oldest neighborhood. For every dollar in cash we receive three times the donations with in-kind support of materials labor and equipment. We could not attempt these projects or their upkeep without the partnerships and in kind donations.
Such as the continuing sponsorship of our website https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/category/charleston-village/ a thanks to Emerge http://www.loraincounty.com/charlestonlorai/
As in previous years 100% of all money collected goes toward the project for which it is designated.
We filed our IRS form for our non- profit for 2016 and were, I am pleased to say, accepted
E-File Postmark: Filed January 19th 2016- accepted January 19th-2016
The Charleston Pioneer Cemetery
continues to be in the capable of hands of Diane Wargo Medina and she has given the cemetery a new page on Face Book https://www.facebook.com/Charleston-Cemetery-of-Lorain-Ohio-1593581127589624/
After many years of patiently waiting a new sidewalk replaces the old
and you will notice the old wooden light poles that have stood forlornly waiting for removal have finally gone! Thank you Councilman Faga! Diane has continued to support and look for support for the cemetery and has recently plotted the burials
Without Diane’s volunteers and passion this oldest cemetery would be non-existent. She has been the driving force once more re planting, clean-up, preserving the history and the headstones. You can find the listing of the names here https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2016/01/11/a-cemetery-tale-charleston-village-lorain/
Diane gratefully received a donation from Black River Genealogists to carry on her efforts in preserving history.
Our constant gardener Joe, has planted some wonderful new plants and shrubs. The old bed, that was running amuck with over growth behind the bench, at Eric Barnes Eagle has been revamped. The shrubs and plants were moved elsewhere on the site and replaced with a wonderfully fragrant rose garden thanks to a donation for the roses.
This summer should find honeysuckle and roses blooming together. The plans are for the overgrown plants around Eric Barnes Eagle to be thinned and more roses and a color scheme of “red white and blue” honoring the patriotism and sacrifice of the sons of Lorain reflected in the planting.
All of the carvings have now been moved from the tree lawn, where they were exposed to salt etc. and are waiting for warmer weather to be refurbished and placed on the concrete plinths( Thanks to Falbo Concrete) in and amongst Settlers’ Watch and Eric Barnes Heroes Walk.
The Captain continues to be stabilized thanks to Frank Sipkovsky and Ernest Ritchey.
Once again members of Lorain Rotary – thanks to Phil Dore– were there in force on Lorain Pride Day to weed, whack and mulch. Without the volunteers we would be in a sorry state.
Just behind the fence and grapevines , the fruit of which was literally gobbled up by the thirsty birds this year, you will see two new additions . Thanks to the Lorain Port Authority and Lorain Growth Corp the “Lighthouse Shed” was donated to the area – art work by Chris Ritchey 2002. The shed had a refurbish and will be used to not only provide a welcome but a place to store the things needed for the gardens.
Ed Cummins, local artist, donated and designed our very own hat tip to recycling (remembering that Settler’s Watch is 100% repurposed and recycled materials) and to Lorain’s maritime history. You will see the characters of the pioneers sailing into the harbor and the “trials” that would await them in the forms to the various sea monsters.
The Admiral King Tribute Site
Many, many thanks once again to the Lorain Utilities Dept. – under the direction of Ariel Vasquez and his crew.
We replaced the flags, they only last a few weeks due to the wind and weather coming off the lake. Thanks to the Veterans Council of Lorain we received enough flags to line the walk leading to the flag pole. Unfortunately, we cannot plant along the walk way as the water supply is limited. We are hoping in 2016 we will no longer need a bucket brigade. Therefore, we are having to pace our volunteer, as our constant gardener, Joe Artim, has been busy with the hundreds of new plantings along Eric Barnes Heroes Walk. Admiral King Day is being suggested by the State of Ohio and is going through the process of recognition.
Phase two of the Marine Monument garden has literally grown to be a beautiful and peaceful place, thanks to the design and co-ordinated plantings. The plants represent the red and gold of the US Marine’s flag and the red, white and blue of the United Sates flag. This year there have been nearly 200 new plantings of shrubs and perennials along the walkway. We were also pleased to get donations – in kind of trees and plants and shrubs and once again Don Mould’s have been very generous to the site. Chuck Becker for his donation of trees, Lupines and daisies. Donation of a new US Marine Flag by Mr. K. Kramer replacing the torn one earlier this year
You literally CAN walk with the butterflies along the path as there are now 26 butterfly bushes lining the walk. The gardens are maturing and the fragrances carried on the breeze are delightful, thanks to the planting design of Joe and Ariel.
The Crime Watch Program continues to quietly watch out for neighbors.
Outreach and Promotions Committee
Once more the committee decorated for the Trains and Trees at Black river Landing this year the Lilac tree was replaced with Lorain’s Industry tree. The tree designed by Renee Dore, had representation of Lorain’s industry past and present. This tree was especially thought provoking due to the loss of those recognizable industries. The Maritime Tree was also displayed this year. Thanks once again to Frank and Carolyn Sipkovsky, Renee Dore, Lisa Miller, The Weismans, Ernest Ritchey and Gavin Beres .
Renee Dore has also continue to be our “speaker’s bureau” giving talks to various organizations.
Following up on finding a home for some of the artifacts from Peggy Gillmore’s basket. I am pleased to say we donated the original hand – drawn early map of the neighborhood to the Mayor’s office, which was framed, takes pride of place on the 7th floor.
Matt Weisman graciously donated framed prints of the maps of early Lorain , now on the walls of city council
We also were able to give to the Office of the Mayor and the citizens of Lorain the United States Flag that flew over the Nation’s Capital, (boxed for display) along with the proclamation honoring the young men from Lorain who gave their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan.
We returned the old pulpit Bible from the latter 1800’s (damaged when the church was hit by the 1924 tornado)’s to Rev. Donahue and Christian Temple Disciples of Christ (5th Street). Gary Fischer (CVSI Executive Board member) an architect was given the old blue prints for Mayor Braun’s house on 5th and Oberlin. .
Our financials for the year end as follows. However once again for every dollar donated 100% of the donation went toward the project for which it was donated. This is an “ALL” Volunteer organization
CHARLESTON VILLAGE SOC. End of year financial report 2015
Main Account/ Captain’s Hat
Starting Balance carry-over 2014 = $101.01
Donations 2015 = $764.10
Expenses 2015 = 0
Ending Balance $865.11
Starting balance carry-over from 2014 =$ 290.97
Donations 2015 = $327.00
Expenses 2015= $59.64
ENDING BALANCE 2015 = $558.33
Starting balance carry -over from 2014= $43.35
Donations 2015 = 0
Expenses 2015 = 0
ENDING BALANCE 2014= $43.35
Starting balance carry-over 2014 =$ 307.02
Donations 2015 (Cash/Checks) = $ 260.00
Expenses 2015 = $481.50
ENDING BALANCE 2015= $85.52
Admiral King Tribute Site
Starting Balance carry- over 2014 = $221.71-
Donations Cash 2015 = $35.00
Expenses 2015= $ 172.88
Ending Balance 2015= $83.83
Eric Barnes Heroes-Walk-
Starting balance carry over 2014 = $139.71
Donations for 2015= $160.00
Expenses for 2015= $200.00
Ending Balance 2015= $99.71
We had a total of cash donations in 2015 of $1,546.10 and our cash expenses came to $913.92for all projects. A full accounting is available upon request.
As you can see our volunteers, partnerships and in kind donors are the power that keeps the projects running. Without the donations of plants, rope, trees, aggregate, concrete, paint, sealer, publicity, photographs and “at cost” and manpower none of these projects could be accomplished and maintained. Our biggest expense is the cost of solar lighting and batteries every year.
Our wish list includes WATER and ELECTRICITY. The in-kind donations from our supporters are, by my estimation, 3 times the monetary value and are priceless. However all cash donations are gratefully accepted and CVSI is a 501c3 – Thank You
Respectfully submitted January 24th 2016 by Co- Chair CVSI Loraine Ritchey
I admit it I have become lethargic, apathetic, and more so than ever of late. This is due to finally realizing I am on the other side of the fence to the majority in my tilting of windmills. The court system ( locally) is sadly lacking. I can’t stomach the judicial posturing on face book and elsewhere of those judges that want re-election and those that want to be elected. I have been in too many courtrooms of late- locally – followed too many cases and in some cases insulting to the taxpayer results . We will ( the taxpayer) eventually end up paying for those judgments. ( too many articles to list search Housing Court/ Judges etc. on this blog)
A great number of local politicians paying lip service for too many years and the realization that pointing out issues ( that no one really wants to deal with anyway ) gets a flurry of activity until it is “received and filed”. Oh! I am not complaining as such – it is was it is but the end result I no longer care to get involved with Lorain’s posturing .
Even her history has been sliced, diced , ignored and compartmentalized.
Lorain- history- Changes – kicked to the landfill
BUT once in a while something happens to peak my interest once again and send me to the keyboard. I received a lovely book written by Hartley J. Smith Jr. Paula Shorf and Mathew Weisman .
The book centers on Black River, Charleston, Lorain and some of her early families . As I leafed through, re- reading some of the history we had already known and some we didn’t concerning “Charleston Village” -I felt guilty. I still hadn’t sorted into some sort of order Peggy Gillmore’s cuttings , letters etc. https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/04/28/history-mystery-lives-of-lorain-gillmore/ So yesterday I started.
Mayor Conrad Reid was a name most familiar- he was Lorain’s first Mayor and I had seen amongst Peggy’s newspaper cutting an article from 1953 and the Lorain Journal
I pulled out the newspaper cuttings Peggy had clipped and saved through the years – pieces parts falling away into yellowing dust as I carefully read through them. There it was, the connection I remembered, from those many months ago when we first received a box of stuff!
The son of Conrad Reid- Lorain’s s first Mayor –George Croghan Reidnamed after his uncle – He had a varied military history
Reid was born in Lorain, Ohio and was the son of Conrad Cornelius Reid and his wife Helen Charlotte Crandall. George was named after his father’s brother George Croghan Reid, a Marine Corps veteran of the American Civil War. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps on May 20, 1898. His early assignments included duty with the China Relief Expedition and in the Philippines. In 1912 he was sent to Nicaragua during the insurrection in that country. He took part in the assault and capture of Coyotepe and Barranca on November 19, 1912, for which he received a letter of commendation for gallantry and conspicuous service in action.
In April 1914 he took part in the occupation of Vera Cruz, Mexico and was awarded the Medal of Honor for gallantry in action.
From 1919 to 1921 he was assigned to the Dominican Republic and commanded the Dominican National Guard. In 1921 to 1922 he attended the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island and then served as commander of the Marine Barracks at the Brooklyn Navy Yard from 1922 to 1924. He then attended the Army War College, then at Washington Barracks (now Fort McNair) in the District of Columbia, and graduated in 1925.
His last overseas assignment was in command of Marines at Guam. His last posting was Officer in Charge, USMC Recruiting Division, Chicago. He retired from the Marine Corps September 1, 1930 and was advanced to the rank of brigadier general from the retired list in February 1942 in recognition of having been commended for heroism in combat.
He died February 19, 1961 at the U.S. Air Force hospital, Harlingen Air Force Base, Texas and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia. His grave can be found in section 2, lot 1096-A LH. His wife, Mary Louise Calhoun, is buried with him.
He was a hereditary member of the District of Columbia Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS).
Lorain was a close-knit community and many of her sons went onto military fame including The Reids along with the Gillmores , Admirals- King and Braun – maybe they came from tough stock – the sons of Lorain certainly played an important role in this new nation .
There isn’t a bridge, or a school named after Brigadier General George Croghan Reid– Medal of Honor recipient- in fact, but for a few, I would think his very existence has been forgotten.
Tucked away with the Medal Of Honor information was a photo of a “sloop of war” USS Marion , his ship
The sons of Lorain linked once more through a walkway of heroes – not to be forgotten.
A Walk of Heroes- Settlers’ Watch- Admiral King Tribute Site
Through very long years this little cemetery had gone unnoticed and unappreciated , except for a few. If it wasn’t for the tenacity , hard work, research and passion of Diane Wargo Medina , this piece of Lorain’s history, like so much of Lorain’s early history , would have also been lost.
Diane and the cemetery recently appeared in PULSE Magazine
“The cemetery owes its restoration to Diane Wargo Medina and the Charleston Village Society, a nonprofit devoted to preserving the area that works with the city. The property wasn’t even recognizable as a graveyard when Medina, a society co-captain, stopped to check it out on her way home from the library on a February 1984 day. The Lorain native, then a 19-year-old cleaning company employee, was aware of its sad history.
The burial ground, established in September 1828 by the village of Black River, had fallen into disuse by the 1880s. It subsequently became part of a residential neighborhood — houses literally were built on top of it. (Although graves supposedly were relocated to Elmwood Cemetery as development progressed, Medina says there are no records of it.) After a 1924 tornado devastated the area, a large portion was turned into a public park. Any remaining headstones were unceremoniously buried. Medina saw evidence of that during her first visit. By that time the park was nothing more than an abandoned lot.”
You can find Charleston Cemetery Face Book page here:
Recently, in order to look into funding Diane put together an approximation of known burials.
Charleston Cemetery- 1139 West 6th Street- Lorain –Ohio 1833-1887
Burial plots (1) thru (40) – names of the buried :
(1) George Matson
(2) William M. Root
(3) Lucinda Root ( infant)
(4) Edwin Root
(5) George Root
(6) Lucinda Root ( adult)
(7) Alvin Walker
(8) Jonathon P Sinnott
(9) Celia E Sinnott
(10) James O Sinnott
(11) Elizabeth Smith
(12) Graham P. Lamb
(13) Seneca Benjamin
(14) Joseph W. Benjamin
(15) Nathan Cummings
(16) Mary Rice
(17) Augusta Tillack
(18) Michael F. G
(19) Charles Baldwin
(20) Henry C Baldwin
(21) Ann P Baldwin
(22) Glover C. Baldwin
(23) Henry C Baldwin
(24) Daniel T. Baldwin- founding father
(25) John R Baldwin
(26) Augustus Silverthorne – Civil War-http://www.morningjournal.com/article/MJ/20110424/NEWS/304249978
(27) Philinda R Strong
(28) Clarrisa Porter
(29) Ann Childs
(30) Lucy Barrett
(31) John C. Gill
(32) Edwin L. Gill
(33) Rebecca Wells
(34) Marion V. Meeker
(35) Barna Kline
(36) Barna Meeker – founding father
(37) Alice Watkins
(38) Enos Cozzens
(39) Almira Cozzens
(40) Peter Grimes – (unmarked Civil War)
Names of others buried not marked:
1. William Sinnott
2. Clara Cozzens
3. Martha Adams
4. John Benjamin
5. (unconfirmed ) Sgt. Eleazer Crawford – Revolutionary War
If you wish to donate to the Cemetery and its preservation please send your donation to Charleston Village Society, 1127 W. 4th Street, Lorain Ohio 44052
Mark you check cemetery- All donations are tax-deductible and 100% of every donation goes toward the project.
“Cool as the other side of the pillow” http://www.cheatsheet.com/sports/remembering-stuart-scott-as-cool-as-the-other-side-of-the-pillow.html/
For the past 7 days I have been fighting the gift given to me by my grandsons- they apparently got it from school – however this is turning out to be the gift that keeps on giving . Maybe it is my age or weakened immune system but they managed to get over their gift a lot easier than I am getting over mine.
This means I have had a lot of time to lay in bed , think, dream and ponder life, it also means my guard and “filtering out the bad” is down. As I lay between fitful sleep and coughing, I have taken advantage of the other side of the pillow. Thankfully colder temperatures have prevailed – hopefully that will kill off some of the “bugs” but I have opened my bedroom window to the cold air- which of course makes the pillows even colder. The cool pillows give respite to the fevered brow and bring some relief if only for a little while.
I was reminded , as the years have gone by, since your passing there has been very little relief from the missing , grieving and memories lost. I take relief from grief where I can find it- constantly looking for the other side of the pillow for some relief in my journey.
Unless they have had a similar journey, people cannot possibly understand what this means and how difficult the journey . I know before this happened I , who was usually empathetic ,never fully grasped the devastation losing one’s son , watching the process of dying – by inches- every day causes to one’s life and psyche and I wish I had been able to remain ignorant.
I don’t like being this half person, this wanderer through a world I cannot fathom. Choices are not given, anger and hurt lay just beneath the surface. You do not choose to visit pain and anger but they are intertwined with the memories of you.
But there are people who don’t need the coolness of the other side of the pillow, they carry their coldness with them – That first January
The coldness of control visited upon this family just days before set me off on a journey of life, death, hypocrisy and love. I watched another mother ” Sue Lombardi”
as you died and the relief on her face knowing her daughter wouldn’t be burdened with an invalid.
This same woman, who complained two days after you were diagnosed with the return of the cancer, phoning me to get the “fundraiser” organized – I remember telling her I couldn’t talk about that – you were in a bad way emotionally that Sunday only to be told ” Well now you know what Angela has had to put up with The Dr. of note at South Pointe Hospital who told Angela – “You have dodged a bullet -( with Chris dying)… and the classic Lombardi quote on the return of the cancer-
I hope this won’t put Angela in debt….
True coldness – immune to human compassion……..”cold cash”
No ! I wouldn’t have wanted to keep you alive with such a terrible diminished quality of life- being blind- bedridden- having to face yet another return of the Refactory Hodgkin’s – you would’ve hated that – I know that your words to me “Don’t let me be pathetic mum” told me more than I wanted to hear – your hope had gone
Still I hear your voice and wish that I didn’t also hear theirs …..