A moment to remember on 2nd street
By Loraine Ritchey firstname.lastname@example.org
My days and evenings lately have been spent over on 2nd street. Mornings, usually find people stopping by , some from the area , some from New York, Virginia and Maryland, as was the case yesterday. We have had people from many of the neighboring states stopping by but it is the people who have come back to the old neighborhood who tell the tales of childhood that fascinate me. They are this neighborhood’s living history.
Two weeks ago it was the delivery man who was delivering the truck load of plants donated by the Morning Journal who spoke with great sentiment of childhood home. He lived just behind the site , as a matter of fact he was born in a third floor apartment. He was born during The Depression. His brother had been born in the hospital the year previously but had died. His father didn’t have the money to pay the bill so worked off the debt painting at the hospital. Apparently when he was due to be born his Dad did not want to repeat the debt so he was born at home. The Dr. came to the house and delivered him.
Beryllium Plant- Lorain
He told of taking old tires and sliding down the 2nd street hill in the winter, of how the kids ( himself included) played in the outlet pipe of the Beryllium Plant and sneaking up the pipe and into the factory. He told of falling in the sludge that came out of the pipe and being chased by the guards. His mother was very angry when he came home covered in the muck and mire from the plant and he said he would get hosed off regularly .
“The Brush Beryllium plant burns on September 22, 1947 with a loss of $400,000.”
The old ice plant was also a fascinating place for the neighborhood kids. It seems that you put your nickel or dime or quarter in the slot and when the block you purchased slid out your change was embedded in the ice. It apparently didn’t take long for the kids to figure out ( especially in warmer weather) that as the ice slid down the chute some of the change came away from the block of ice so they regularly checked the chutes for candy money .
Bill, that was his name , told of the war years and the armed guards that protected the Beryillum Plant and how one of the favorities games was waiting for the guards shift change and running the gauntlet to see who could outwit and out run the guards. He had fond memories of the old neighborhood . And considering they made mud pies out of the sluidge from the plant he looked pretty healthy for someone who had his three score years and ten.
This morning I met a gentleman who lived directly across the street from the “greenspace”- his house is no longer there or his next door neighbors, it was torn down – he wasn’t sure why just that his father was forced to sell but nothing ever was put there. It is now the parking lot for the Lorain Health Dept.
His father used to garden the space that is now the 2nd street project, and he remembers fondly working on his first car under the trees. In fact he pointed out to me the tree it is now the Portside Lorain sign.
He went away to war (WW2) came home and lives now in a neighboring town but he remembers the names of the people who lived on his street, the kindness , the camaraderie and the caring.
He will be attending Saturday , even though he has an 11 o’clock appointment as he said his Dad would’ve appreciated the garden!
ED Note: I was just finishing this when I had to pop over to the site with my husband. As I approached a lady was sitting on the bench , she had tears in her eyes, I asked her if she was alright. It seems her son is in Iraq- she had stopped by the site as she had read about the tribute carving. This lady was from Serbia her son is a 2nd Lieutenant in the Airforce.