Archive for December, 2010
As revelers the world over celebrate December 31st with song, laughter,food, fireworks and noise makers they will not notice a small light is no longer shining this year.
But in a home in Lorain, a mother and father dread this New Years Eve, they will not celebrate because all the fireworks, lights in the sky cannot make up for the “light they lost” – their precious moonbeam -who shone so brightly for just a little while and radiated such love and truth as to shame the dark.
Remembering a light lost- and a love that does not fade
I knew a year ago this house would not see another “Christmas” – there wouldn’t be a tree dragged in and decorated, no lights ,wrapping presents, dinners and plum puddings.
Christmas’s past were all too powerful to let in the mere thought of a Christmas present.
So this little house became the house that “Christmas didn’t happen” – no holiday baking or signing of cards, no stockings hung by the chimney with care.
Christmas happened elsewhere in a house full of warmth and joy and a darling little boy.
I “visited” Christmas this year and when the visit became too much- I was able to leave the present and find sanctuary in a log fire without stockings and decorations. I could leave Christmas and HO! Ho! Ho! , I could escape from the neon , the music and the jolly jolly .
Don’t feel too badly for me I have noticed that I felt not one bit of holiday stress with rushing here and there, parking, making sure this would be done, did I forget this person– the money, the dog’s tail knocking the ornaments across the room- clearing up the needles, worrying whether the tree was drying out too quickly.
None of that- the only shopping I had to do was for that little boy- for this year’s CHRIS -MISS- PRESENT. A present given from Chris who wanted so much to be part of Gavin’s life and to help him grow and to spoil him- from a pony to teaching him soccer – Chris, who spent such a little time with him was denied . However. Gavin knows his Uncle Chris in so many ways and will always have his Chris Miss Presents on all his holidays.
This year the Chris Miss Present was easy- as soon as I saw it I knew- there was no debate , no
“Do you think this is what Chris would’ve wanted for Gavin?”
I knew and even though it will be a couple of months until he can reach the foot controls- and mummy and daddy have lost their living room once again – The Chris Miss present brought a smile and a tear.
Struggling as I am this holiday season I have become somewhat Scrooge- like. I want to sink further into my sub surface world and wake up in 2011. That can’t be done not with a little boy who eyes dance and delight with the trappings of his first realized Christmas.
As I lay awake last night I thought of the first Christmas I could remember in any detail. The event unfolded in pieces parts as sleep and tears tried to interfere.
A pillow case was tied to my bedpost- mummy and daddy acting funny and telling me that tomorrow would bring surprise as a Father Christmas would be coming- later on giggling and rustling at the end of my bed as mummy was there with a “grandfather in red”.
I awoke to find the pillow case, full of goodies, no longer tied to the bed post- filled with expectation I hauled the loot to my parent’s bedroom. As I climbed on the bed and snuggled under the eider-down ,opening my presents- mummy got up and went to make a cup of tea- tea and hot buttered toast in bed was a special treat – I knew that.
Then came the evening- I am not sure what happened the rest of that day. I remember sitting at a big table at my father’s mother’s house, having been sat on telephone books and a cushion and tied around my waist to the chair with a pretty scarf so I could eat with the adults.
My Grandmothers were completely the opposites of one another. My Nana -Nanny Hines – ( mum’s mother) was fairly poor ,she had white, white hair . Her little house always smelled of baking and she always had time for a cuddle and a story. Her big feather bed was always the place for a lovely warm nap. English homes, especially back then, were “cold and draughty”.
My father’s mother on the other hand, was much wealthier- her large house with many rooms , 13 to 14 foot ceilings, ornate plaster work was furnished with velvets and silks and overstuffed furniture. Nanny Bunyan smelled of expensive perfume and was decked out with jewelery and coffered red hair, manicured nails and beautiful clothes. However hers was not a “lap” that was for holding a child’s sticky fingers and stories.
I remembered that Christmas night- there were aunts and uncles and lots of people. There were no other children and there wasn’t a tree, even a tiny one decked out with paper chains. However there were silver serving dishes , tea services , brass, silks ,satins, curtains and door hangings with plush velvets and large floor lamps whose fringed shades moved and swayed – the firelight reflected off the crystal. It was all very Aladdin’s cave- like, there weren’t any of the thick slices of homemade bread with lemon curd, or slices of cream cake but dates, and figs and turkish delight, dainty little cakes and sandwiches.
I suppose I must have fallen asleep as I remember being carried out of the room , the cold air of the draughty hallway stirring me from sleep.
I was laid on the big bed in her room, it was, I knew, a room filled with wonderful objects I was not allowed to touch. The hues were dusky rose and golds, the big bed was covered in a rosy pink satin coverlet, long dark wine velvet drapes covered the very large windows. This night at the bottom of the bed had been piled the coats of my grandmother’s guests. I awoke as my little warm body was laid onto the coldness of the satin coverlet-
“Be a good girl and go to sleep”
said my father as he closed the door , I was cold but I dare not touch anything- I curled up into myself trying to stay warm in my own little part of the coverlet, to move would find another place where my little body would experience the touch of cold satin once again sending a shiver of cold.
How long I lay like that I don’t know, it was probably just a matter of minutes but it seemed so long when the door opened and light came into my little dark world . Her name was Grace, she was the wife of the CFO of my grandmother’s business.
She came into the bedroom and laid her husband’s coat, still cold from the outside, at the foot of the bed.
I suppose what met her eyes was a tiny little golden headed child curled into a fetal position half awake and half asleep. The next thing I remember was being cradled in warmth- she had taken her fur coat off and still warm from her own body wrapped it over and around me- I remember that warmth, the smell of her perfume, the feel of the softness of the fur as I buried myself in its comfort, the sounds of Christmas from the drawing-room became my lullabye
I slept , until my world of contentment and warmth was once more rudely awakened, mummy putting me into my coat , being carried to the car , the car blanket ( the heaters in cars then weren’t so good either) being put over me for the journey home but the cold leather back seat brought me once again to reality.
So to those who join me this “holiday season” watching, shivering in our grief from our parallel world “the other world” of silver bells, laughter, decking the halls , parties sweet things to eat, songs and merriment
I wish you the comfort, warmth and respite from the coldness that grief brings ( if just for a little while) I wish you the gift of Grace’s fur coat.
Apparently I was around for this last year – but I don’t remember much- This year though I have been introduced to the goings on in an around my little place on the planet.
I know Nag Nog and mummy have decided to break with old traditions they used to have and start some new ones for me- ( they say I am special)
I did get to go to this park at the end of Nag Nog’s street- the Christmas Council people had hot chocolate, stories , lights and fireworks and Mayor Krasienko of Lorain got to have his picture taken with mummy and I-
I can’t figure out this tree thing though. The grown-ups bring in this tree into the house- and its OK but whenever “I” try to bring in this stuff called snow- (haven’t made up my mind about snow yet) or logs or dirt or branches the dog chewed off the tree,or that lovely pile of wet leaves – it is a
No! No! Gavin!!!
I decided to go along with this decorating business
Whew!!!! well at last – now I can take a break
Now I did get to Lakeview to see the lights and I did go to Carlisle Visitor Center but Nag Nog is not to be trusted with the camera- nothing came out- soooooooo you will have to check out those lights here
Photo Lorain County Metro Parks
As I wrote and pondered and tried to tell the “rest of the story” with what was happening with the CRA(p) – ( P standing for political)- I noticed something that worried me and should have worried anyone who holds a public office. “
“How many lawyers do you need to advise you when making legislative decisions when holding a public office “
The Auditor in question – Mark Stewart- had claimed “politics” as a concern with the County’s Law Dept. when wishing to hire his own outside counsel- Subodh Chanda- as he didn’t like the opinion he was given by the county’s legal dept( although the Supreme Court did agree with that opinion eventually).
Depending on the usage of the word “politics” – there was a lot of “politics” involved in the CRA(p) .
So here I was the non “political” observer worrying about a situation that really didn’t affect me. All the wordsmithying, innuendo and casting aspersions as to the integrity of the “accused” was leaving the accusers and anyone else holding office in a vulnerable position.eg ( should you always get a 2nd legal opinion ?)
In every article written , every discussion the “accused “ maintained there was no wrong doing or intent . In fact this public servant sat with these other public servants week in and week out in Lorain City Council chambers – they followed the same legislative procedures -voting on the same issues- chairing council committees and the “process” of sending legislation to full council and all that entails- they knew full well the legislative procedures , they were not “on lookers”. The “accused” HAD in fact followed the direction of the City of Lorain’s LAW DIRECTOR- in all things and decisions made. .
Craig Snodgrass J’Accuse
The fact that there was even a letter from that Law Director on the City of Lorain letter head apparently didn’t matter.
That letter was never published ( apart from on my blog) – just an aside once in a while in newspaper articles that it existed as a man was pilloried in the press and in “politics”
Greg Holcomb J’Accuse
Whoa thought I – these same individuals who are casting the aspersions use “every day” opinions from their respective Law Directors- ask for advice and follow that advice-
I wondered what they were letting themselves in for-
How can someone who followed the advice of the city’s chief legal counsel still be held to censure?
Does this mean that a public official should then get another legal opinion in everything they do “just in case “- It didn’t make sense to me The public servants who follow the advice of county and city legal opinions everyday day they seemingly picked and chose which opinions suited them. The accusers had, in my opinion, based their accusations on supposition, hypothesis and self-serving interpretation of the law.
Phil Betleski J’Accuse
And yet a man’s integrity , his intent and reputation had been tarnished. For three years this carried on- until finally another letter from a another Law Director .
LD Riley letter CRA
I wonder if those that cast the aspersions and claims of wrong doing and who put “character” on trial in the court of public opinion have apologised – In my opinion they damned well should!
As I looked at the photos of the “politico accusers” I noticed they all had “flags” adorning the background behind their smiling faces even Subodh Chandra is in full swing with “the American way”
It seems to me those that espouse the virtues of the “American Way” should now be stepping up and rectifying the actions of their accusations.
You don’t get to throw the mud and walk away ( in my world) leaving the stain of politics on one’s character.
The accusers , for me at least, have lost respect, not only personally but professionally and definitely politically- I for one look upon them with a certain degree of skepticism…….. J’Accuse………..
As for the Plain Dealer – well if it was mentioned it certainly wasn’t mentioned on their front page as the “aspersions” cast that October day of “THREE YEARS” ago merited.
It seems to me that you may be innocent in a court of law until “proven” guilty but in the world of politics, media and the court of public opinion you can be guilty until you prove yourself innocent!
Is this to be the new “justice” around here lately – throw aspersions and half-truths around enough and maybe something will hit a target and if not
Oh well we will just walk away and find another “target”-
In the meantime those of us who have been “accused” – no matter our proven innocence will always have the muddying of our reputations
” oh you know who that is he / she / they were involved with??????????”
It was many months after your callous acts perpetrated upon those that loved Chris- HIS family– that you Angela stated to Chris’s friend-
“Oh there was an issue with the burial”
So our wonderful Chris was now relegated to an “issue” – like what to wear and where to park? As you and yours worried about parking , colour coordinated flowers,and funeral fashion – you and yours denied a grandmother her goodbye:
December 19th-2009 you took from this gentle woman “everything” -and have since “disgraced” a memory of “who Chris was”with your balloons and cake and tacky decoration and acts of “self” –
December 19th-2009 the day was wet, dreary and cold, as I remember, when in the evening we were told a burial had taken place. A grandmother’s heart already broken was shattered even further and she wrote that day:
Goodbye – My “luverlyful” grandson – Chris Ritchey
Someone said that you were interred today – I wasn’t told when – your family wasn’t told- I couldn’t say goodbye to what was left of you on this earth as you went back to the earth-surrounded by whom? Another culture – “apart” – from those that have loved you for so long and since the day were born. A goodbye denied to me ! I could not shed a tear at your side or throw you one last kiss – we have been denied but my thoughts of goodbye are for you my “luvleyful boy” are not to be denied
My grandson has died, he slipped out of his flesh and bones into a new frame.
His spirit has passed from here to where? Leaving us full of despair and loneliness.
I look up to the sky , he is there in the twinkling of the stars, he is in every floating cloud in every ray of sunlight.
He is there in the whispering stir of the leaves, the grass under our feet, in the birds dawn chorus and every flower that buds in the spring.
He is there in Misty’s joyful bark and in every breath of air we breathe.
We mourn and long for you Chris – you left us too soon but we thank you for every memory you gave us – locked safely in our shattered hearts – so that none can take them away –
Here we are coming full circle – In J’accuse ( found here )
Everyday you have to prove innocence because someone made an accusation, that on the face of it, was believable. You spend your days “explaining” and your nights waiting for the next phone call or knock on the door wanting to know what you are doing and where you have been .
It is only when you look into the “rest of the story” that you realize that as ridiculous as these accusations really were the suffering, expense and the toll on a family -wasn’t funny.
So I will continue to “make it my business”-having lived through “J’accuse”- to make sure that no one else (no matter who) doesn’t have to go through the same thing-
I will take accusations with skepticism , especially by ”nom de plumes” in the same context as a
“man in a tree in a dress, shooting a ray gun that makes steel doors disappear, whilst waggling through a slit in the fence.”
Accusations: I first wrote about the CRA situation in Lorain on November 24th 2006– long before anyone else was interested- and I attended meetings when there was not one “real media” person there at all
Whether you agree with the program or not is NOT the point of this post.
I have probably written more posts, read more documents, know the players better than anyone- when it comes to this situation I WAS NOT a surface dweller .
I wrote in January 2008 the following post on this blog:
CRA or Confusion Runs Amuck https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2008/01/28/cra-or-confusion-runs-amuck/
Now don’t bother to follow any of the links in that article because the PD article is “no longer available”- the links to the articles on WoM are no longer available – SIGH and even the Supreme Court Case and Attorney Chandra’s diatribe as to his accusations has been moved.
BUT as a gentle reminder of what was printed and who said what in the Plain Dealer article October 28 th 2007 written by Leila Atassi you can access word documents ( yeah I saved it) of that article
Page 2pd page2
So after you have played catchup I will continue with “the rest of the story” as this Plain Dealer article was the most damaging to the reputation( in my opinion) to the “accused” and was “used in the legalese” sent to the Ohio Supreme Court by Mark Stewart’s Attorney- Subodh Chandra.
The ONLY article used in the argument for dismissal (page 55 of 84 (Motion to Dismiss) the Ohio Supreme Court Case Is that Plain Dealer article
Although in April and May of 2007 ( a year after the legislation was approved) at least three council people (all whom worked for the county) and two for the auditor, Mark Stewart, at the time Councilman Snodgrass – Greg Holcomb (now in Congresswoman Sutton’s office) – Phil Beltleski (pot calling the kettle black)
They all had their accusations documented as well- they accused and interpreted the law to their own spin : Remember as you read the accusations – the “accused” maintained NO wrong doing right from the very beginning- but his voice was not heard –
Time after time in print and in the public arena the man was maligned in the press and in public– but the conspiracy theorists and the finger pointers had found a “scape goat”- rather than – in my opinion – admit to their own “professional failings”. For three years this continued- a reputation besmirched why? how? Because of J’Accuse
NOTE:You can access all the CRA posts on this blog here
TO BE CONTINUED……….