Archive for March 3, 2011

Gaddafi- flying the flag- Chris Ritchey

Who I Am - Chris Ritchey

Gaddafi , Dictator of Libya and his actions had a direct impact on the “making” of my son.

23 February 2011 Colonel Gaddafi ‘ordered Lockerbie bombing’
The justice minister claimed Muammar Gaddafi ordered the bombing that killed 270 in 1988
Mustafa Abdel-Jalil told Expressen he had proof the Libyan leader was behind the bombing of Pan AM flight 103, which killed 270 people in 1988.

I have written in the past 15 months as I journey in search of my son various “happenings in his life and ours”- I draw your attention to the following :

Chris’s wife of a little over a year ( Angela Lombardi ritchey) wrote to my daughter after Chris’s death about the penchant for Chris to sew patches, flags on his hats . As she spewed forth about how my daughter didn’t know her brother and I didn’t know my son– I smiled- as she expounded on this particular proclivity of Chris’s – you see I knew what she didn’t the beginning The Libyan situation as it now plays out draws me back to another time when Gaddafi caused pain and terror and patriotism .

Chris, from a very little boy, was very patriotic and very “American” – maybe it was the hours spent with Papa Teddy, his Nana and his grandfather who told him stories of World War Two – listening to his Dad and his USAF talk- seeing pictures of his Uncle in Vietnam.

Chris loved all things to do with flags and badges and the USA.

We held Christmas a couple of days early that year of 1988 as we were flying to England for Christmas and then onto Morocco for New Years.

I had seen a pseudo leather bomber jacket as I shopped with various decals etc. I thought Chris might like it.

I was surprised how much he loved it

Chris never took it off the whole day and I as I checked on him that night when he was asleep he was still wearing it.

And then as we came in from a last-minute trips to the store buying the things for the trip the news of the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 and the destruction of Lockerbie.

It was a scary time those next couple of days however we were going to London first so we had time to change plans if the situation got worse . I did think however that Chris’s jacket was a little overtly American it may be a good idea for him to leave it at home.

He was having none of it and his father and uncle (both veterans and proud of it) supported him.

And anyway we were going to London first and he was a little boy

We were booked into a French Hotel, since I spoke a little French I did all the talking. The Americans in our party were told to shut up and look German ( the Arab population had an affinity for the Germans). Being an American that week was not a popular thing to be , as evidenced by the conversations at the surrounding dinner tables, being English was only slightly better. Luckily my two blonde children were thought to be German. I think the fact my husband had a sort of tweed Tyrol hat on most days and was carrying around the book he was reading that had to do with Germany in World War Two and had a swastika on the front endeared him to the staff. All I know was that he never paid for a beer the whole time he had that book.

We did not go out of the hotel unless escorted by our private guides. It was the most awful tense and stressful time as far as traveling I have ever been through. And I have been through some Vacations from Hell that could fill the pages of Horror Tales of Travel Abroad.

Chris ,however was “loved” by the hotel staff- he could get anything his heart desired from them they called him “Monsieur Le Presidente” . I had packed away his “jacket” but he found it and as I looked down the next morning from the hotel balcony I could see him down by the pool making his rounds in his favourite jacket.

“Where was his father – Oh dear “

His father, like Chris, was actually taking in the fact that this French Hotel in the middle of Marrakesh allowed topless sunbathing and the bottoms on the french women left very little to the imagination no pun intended 😉 . Chris was fascinated ( as was his father) and that could explain another of Chris’s proclivities .

There was no getting Chris to remove his jacket and so for the next few days I “stressed” as we went on the various touristy adventures as Chris proudly proclaimed his nationality literally wearing his pride on his sleeves. Luckily once in a while I got my way and the jacket was left in the hotel

Eventually the jacket became too small, smelly and ragged- I purchased a new one and had Nana sew on patches but he was furious that I had thrown his jacket away.

I am not sure he ever forgave me for getting rid of that jacket . He didn’t like the new one and hats took the place of the jacket something that continued to be his trademark.

So as the Who I Am slide at Chris’s graduation from CIA showed on the screen behind him as he graduated I smiled because I KNEW where that had come from and the beginnings- I knew my son………….

I think it then most fitting that Chris’s last design work before he died was actually in honoring a young man from Lorain who gave his life for “freedom and the flag”- Chris was honoured to design the brochure and pay tribute to Eric Barnes ,Lorain Ohio
Another young man who also loved his country and his flag.

Part One In search of my son- In search of me
Part TwoTourjours Moi-Always Me
Part Three Always Me – Always Chris
Part Four In search of My Son-
Chris Ritchey – Thanks

Part Five Dark Humour- Shedding a Light
Part Six – The Unfinished Portrait

Part Seven– The Unfinished Portrait- The Artists
(2) Part Two – Who Are We Really?
Part Eight– When Premonition Becomes Hindsight

Part Nine– When Premonition Becomes Hindsight – Part Two
Part Ten (a)There is an “I” in Death
Part Ten (b)- I didn’t know my son- Chris Ritchey
Part Eleven- Unfinished Portrait the Artistic Gene
Part Twelve- Unfinished Portrait- the Artistic Gene- Part Two
Part ThirteenA Place of Echoes
Part FourteenAn Absence of Laughter
Part 15 Who I am , the artist speaks

March 3, 2011 at 12:06 am 2 comments



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March 2011