Archive for February, 2014

What Happens when you hit Publish instead of Preview

Half way through the previous post on the Hat and I hit Publish instead of Preview icon – so those that follow this blog by email got the draft version- Sorry here is the somewhat NOW hastily completed Part 4 Loraine

February 28, 2014 at 4:00 pm Leave a comment

Catching up with the Hat- CVSI Lorain

photo Mark Teleha

photo Mark Teleha

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part 4.

Not wanting to be the receptacle for Gull guano the hat followed Frank Sipkovsky from the Settlers’ Watch site –
Captains hatcoll

1st stop was the CVSI – Out reach and Promotions Committee
On Saturday, October 19th The Lorain County Preservation hosted Preservation Exhibition at the Black River Landing, 421 Black River Lane, Lorain, OH This is an opportunity to showcasing and learning about preservation activities that are occurring around the County.

The Hat was glued to Frank at this event in the mix of meet and greet :

Frank w hat and artist

2nd stop October 24th -2013
Neil ZurcherThe Spitzer Conference Center at Lorain County Community College and “Lorain County Reads” with 14 other Historical Societies and guest speaker Neil Zurcher promoting his new book Tales from the Road


The Hat still attached to Frank, decided to take a closer look at Neil’s Traveling companion

Although Frank tried to hide the Hat was quicker
Photos Renee Dore

Frank was still hiding out in November once again at Black River Landing and this time the International trees display for Light Up Lorain under the auspices of the Lorain Tourism Council ( Lorain Growth Corp) The Hat tries many heads

International trees
BRL Photos Lisa Miller

but Frank ( no matter where he tried to hide)
BRL trees Frank 02

it seems was the “go to guy” ( as we all know )
BRL trees Frank 01

The Hat soon learned a lot about what had been happening in this neighborhood over the quarter of century Charleston Village Society has been trying to preserve the history and quality of life of this Lorain’s oldest neighborhood
To Be Continued

February 28, 2014 at 3:49 pm 4 comments

The Captain and the Hat ! CVSI Lorain

WoM Logo  by  Scott Baklar

WoM Logo by Scott Baklar

Part One

Photo  Mark Teleha

Photo Mark Teleha

Part Two

photo Mark Teleha

photo Mark Teleha

A now the tale of The Captain
He took his place at Settlers’ Watch along with the carvings of the Lorain Lighthouse, The Anchor, The Lorain Portside Sign , The Heron and Eric Barnes’ Eagle
long shotres

It was rough, very rough we had a lot to deal with in those first months but the carving and the work continued: The full pictorial can be found here from start to the dedication.

( photos Mark Teleha)

The volunteers and those that donated so much time, effort, plants and hardscape got the area ready for the dedication August 1st 2009.
The summers and winters passed and The Captain suffered:
Captain age col
Capatian suffereing
October 2013 found us up a ladder again

The Captain was being eaten alive from the inside out and losing the battle of the seagull guano.

Catain rot

Unfortunately, just last week I noticed the stanchion on the ground -the wood had rotted, in fact his whole ship’s wheel, was hanging on by a thread he was sounding decidedly hollow. We checked the other carvings they seem to be fine except the root bases of the ones on the tree lawns which is to be expected.

After searching on the internet we found Paul of Conservepoxy spent a great deal of time with me on how the process works and what we need to do. Also Andy from Sherwin Williams came to the site and is also looking for ways to help us for which I am eternally grateful


The “crew” filled him with chemicals and had to plug the holes with corks until spring arrives. The chemicals have definitely changed his complexion –

Captains hatcoll

we added a hat to try to keep the sea birds and their bathroom habits away- but the hat decided it liked travelling a little better than being a guano inhibitor- felt it might have a worthier purpose…..


The Then and Now

a Captain waits….. and the hat travels where?????
Photo Lisa Miller
to be continued

February 24, 2014 at 5:05 pm 4 comments

The Chair and the Captain – CVSI- Lorain

Yes as Chairs go …. the Chair went …. one last look and he was gone…….

photo Mark Teleha

photo Mark Teleha

BUT before he went he met up with The Captain -The Chair was a little worse for wear at this time – he had traversed the world of politics , been involved in erroneous media reporting and no one comes out unscathed even “The Chair”.

photo Mark Teleha

photo Mark Teleha

The Captain was just starting his journey primed and ready to take his place- only the place was not ready.

So ,instead of a few weeks, it was nearly a year. The Captain sat bleaching on the hot concrete in full sun and “exposed” to all of the elements , until finally his home on the shores of Lake Erie – Settlers’ Watch was ready

Photo Paula Tobias

Photo Paula Tobias

The volunteers and the City of Lorain spent countless hours undoing the damage done to the site by the need for storage space for the new sewers and water lines.
Emerson collection


One last look at the Lighthouse and a Lake Erie Sunset – memories of what once was and The Chair is hopefully at peace………

Photo  Mark Teleha

Photo Mark Teleha

But The Captain’s troubles were just beginning .


To Be Continued……….

February 20, 2014 at 2:18 pm 3 comments

Lorain Dudes – Disney and YOU Nana!!!

boys awake

There isn’t a great deal of an age difference between us- 90 and 93 years…. but we know what you like and how to make you smile !

We have decided to give you a preview of the part of your Disney Musical Night and how we got ready for it –.


You see we have been practicing- we checked out the best of Disney and previewed it for you and decided a Mickey Mouse Birthday present and tea would be the bestus present for you- of course we like it too!

We practiced our table manners- ready for our big night out- with a High Tea and some like it hot and some don’t

whoa hot tea

We practiced the art of kisses and hugs

kissing boys

Gavin took up dancing – so he can lead you around the dance floor


We checked out a couple of “male dates” for you- Nog said Great Granddad was a sailor so we settled on Pirate Jake for your date:


Make NO BONES about it

We spent a lot of time and effort in getting prepared for your big night – we partied hearty and are well rehearsed

We will be all rested up for our big date …. Love you NANA – the Lorain Dudes!!!!


February 15, 2014 at 1:06 pm Leave a comment

HAPPY HAPPY 95th Birthday Mum!!!

Update : a few flowers 🙂
flowers 95

Nanaresbo Nine and a half decades- what a great deal of life – my mother- truly a living history. Her 90th was to be celebrated by us all but life, the stem cell transplants and the resulting loss of Chris negated that celebration of life lived well.
And now 5 years later another milestone.


The loss of her only grandson
was as she said the worst part of her life even losing just about every family member – brothers, sisters, mother, father, nieces and nephew could not compare. But through all these years my mum has kept her optimism, she forgives easily harms done to her and is a kind and gentle soul, never wishes ill of anyone.Her sense of family is to be envied!

What a remarkable story she has lived, the hundreds and hundreds of people all over the world that have been touched by knowing her , eaten her special cakes, pies and shared her home when they had none.

She says it is lonely getting to this age as all your peers ( bar one Uncle John who is 102)

Unclejohn100are no longer around to share the memories of youth, of weddings, births, war and peace. My mum still makes me smile, holds my hand when I am crippled with my own grief, makes a brilliant cup of tea and knows when a smile and a touch of compassion is needed.
She wrote memories of her life for her granddaughter when she was just a wee bairn and more when Christopher was born-

My Book

Cover Design Chris Ritchey

Cover Design Chris Ritchey

What indeed is the truth about any of us? A question most difficult to answer. The world will never know our innermost life and thoughts even if someone were to write and read one hundred biographies. The main facts of our lives are known and are likely only to be known to ourselves alone. Not only are there facts we do not tell but some that we ourselves do not know.

At best some small facet of the truth will catch the light and that I suppose, is what we must seize for there is much virtue in truth. Truth has almost a mystical power, like radium, it seems to give off its own energy and light that goes on forever

The memories of life, people and times of her years of “living history” there for the generations to come:


So where is the Beginning of it all? Upon reflection and trying to summon up the very first picture, there is a faint imprint there in my mind. Can a child of three really retain, retell the event so many years on? Could I really see six or seven human forms lying on a mattress of black and white ticking strung between wooden frames? The box like shapes, the harsh sound of human retching the pungent smell of oil and vomit that unpleasant fragrance still is in my nostrils.

Some photo of that time with its sights and smells must have embedded itself forever in my mind. I can feel still the roll and the steady beat of a noise below. I was huddled, warmed and comforted by another little body next to mine. I can see my mother lying stretched out a short distance away from us; her long dark hair was damp and lying untidily on the pillow. I knew somehow that she was ill too. My father was on his feet; I see his arms with dark shapes and lines on them holding a cup to my mouth. He was telling me “drink this, you will feel better” then oblivion and I remember no more.

Many years afterwards I made the discovery that my first recollection was that I was in a cabin of a troop ship traveling home to England. The ship was bringing soldiers and their families, who had been serving in southern Ireland where the troubles had broken out after the close of the Great War.

Then as she grew memories of childhood
Grandad kids

We used to walk or skip our way from Devonshire Road, it was quite a distance, and no bus passes in those days. If for any reason we were fortunate enough to ride on the little red single-decker bus Renee and I used to try to sit behind the Nuns from St. Vincent’s. St Vincent’s was a Catholic school further down the road. We were fascinated with their dark somber garments, topped with this huge white-starched headgear, domed in the middle with great wide bat like wings framing their faces. Bus tickets, bits of string, chewed up pieces of rubber, paper clips, anything that could be found in a child’s pockets found their way into the folds of these hats. I have a suspicion that these paragons of virtue from the convent used to know exactly what we were up to. They never ever chastised us or even by the slightest flicker of their eyes acquainted us with the knowledge that they knew what we were doing.

Love and War –

mumand dad

On that dreadful Sunday Sept 3rd, 1939 when war was declared and we heard at 11:00 a.m. the first air raid siren, the whole road seemed to appear at their doorways quivering with the unreality and fear of the unknown. We had been told at the exchange to report to the nearest exchange in the event of an air raid warning. I recall running all the way up Hendon Lane to Finchley thinking I was going to have to help out the war, only to be told I wasn’t required!

digging for victory

digging for victory

We were at war and ahead of us we knew not “what! The first few months were unbelievably quiet. We were waiting with uncertainty and a touch of excitement as well. Everyone was holding his or her breath, I volunteered for a situation, not knowing what it would mean. In a few days I found out. I was to go to the Ministry of Information, which was temporarily housed at Senate House, University of London, near Goodge St. We had triple forms to fill out, swearing us to secrecy, never to divulge or talk about anything we might hear there. We reported to an ordinary looking switchboard. but what a difference when the sirens were sounded . Three of us would be required to man the emergency switchboard, which was housed in the basement of the building; this was called the war room. A big square room, around the walls were telephone boxes which were connect with a direct line to all the important ministries for example, the Admiralty, War Office, Air Ministry, Foreign Office, Ministry of Supply etc. etc. In each telephone box sat a high-ranking official who would be in communication with his respective Ministry. The censors and press officials were they’re sorting and sifting through thousands of reports coming in from all areas of Britain and the world. These people were tremendous and treated the operators extremely well.

Lord Reith had taken on the job of Minister of Information; he had been head of the BBC. Winston Churchill, who was then 1st Lord of the Admiralty, used to come through on his direct line “ Good Morning, give me the Minister please” short polite and always to the point. The town clerks and mayors of today in local council could well take a lesson from those gentlemen of yesteryear. Sir Walter Monkton was there; he was a good friend of the Duke of Windsor who was in France at the time. The Duke would call quite frequently to have a chat with his friend. I enjoyed my work immensely it was extremely busy especially if any kind of action, naval air or army was taking place.

A few years after the war along came me and her troubles ( according to some really started) As our lives unfolded moving to Canada – the friends an relatives grew- back to England and more and more people my mum gathered to her heart. Finally retirement and back across the pond to Lorain, Ohio. These years have seen some of her happiest and saddest.

She has seen the abdication of a King, experienced the Blitz and the rebuild, the death of another King and the crowning of a Queen. Mum watched a wall go up and a wall come down- results of the atomic bomb, gone from only having a battery operated radio to having the first television on the street, private telephones, airplanes and jets, computers and Ipads – governments that come and go, countries whose names have changed, the rise and fall of Russia/ Soviet Union. More than one war

and she has kept true to herself and to her family through it all. My mother has written “birthday poems” for special birthdays for all her family- she doesn’t forget –

I wish I could do her justice – no poem -just a blog post wanting her to know how proud and thankful I am to have her as MY MUM!!!!nanaboysres



February 11, 2014 at 10:03 pm 14 comments

The Chair of WoM- Pass the Hat – Part One

WoM Logo  by  Scott Bakalar

WoM Logo by Scott Bakalar

Back in the days before the “division” there was a blog of note that dealt specifically with Lorain – the old Wom Blog ( Word of Mouth) . I often think of the song Those Were the Days

Nothing seemed the way it used to be
In the glass I saw a strange reflection
Was that woman really me

Those were the days my friend
We thought they’d never end

when thinking of WoM- it could have been and should have been but ended up “Not“. WoM collapsed in and of itself . Our “salary” – those that gave of their time thoughts and energy to that blog of note – was the camaraderie, the fun and the making a difference. I can’t link back to that blog because the owner has secreted it into the annuals of cyberspace. The Lost World of Wom.

Even so, there are some remnants left floating around after the implosion. There was such a fondness for one of the characters of WoM- “He” didn’t need a voice or a keyboard – his mere presence told the tale…

Chair Collage

His birth came about from sitting on a bucket ( rather uncomfortably )in 2007 – Brian Hazelett a contributor of WoM- Brian was fighting the fight in 2007 for a better Lorain City Schools and to organize a rally! :
chair schools

The idea of the rally came from Brian Hazelett, Lorain resident and contributing author to The Word of Mouth Blog. In a blog entry Hazelett stated that he was going to “take my lawn chair and a big ol sign” and sit outside of the Board meeting and waive his sign. Hazelett said he would not go back into a Board meeting until he is told a real plan. “I have made the effort to support public education and the educational process in the past, it is time someone shows that same effort in return.”

all aboard chair
The Chair was born but it was not a “lawn chair but a “directors chair”. The Chair took on a fan base of its own thanks to Brian Hazelett and writer/ photographer Mark Teleha- from a rally for Lorain ‘s teachers and students to taking over the government –

chair duo

the Chair lived fully and reputably in its short life – it actually accomplished more than most with two legs .
Mark Teleha:
“(Brian and I have been using this Chair to highlight and promo various events and goings-on throughout our downtown area. We’ve done a few already at Scott’s website that we have the privilege of being a part of: The WoM Blog. The Chair debuted here, did Movie Night, Farmer’s Market, the second Rally, became Mayor,

Breaking News: The Chair Takes the Mayor’s Seat

taking the mayors seat

In a brash display of arrogance and disdain, the likes of which haven’t been seen in this city in years, the Chair barged into Council’s chambers Thursday, hog-tied former Mayor Foltin’s leather chair, and set itself up as acting Mayor. Thumbing its theoretical nose at the posturing and political maneuvering taking place in the halls of power downtown, the Chair one-upped the Party Chairs that were to meet last night, to determine how they would proceed with David Arredondo’s desire to play Mayor, against John Romoser’s actual candidacy on the November ballot.

Chair Takes Mayor’s Seat

An act that should only have left Lorain Mayor-less for a mere 5 days, has developed into a situation where it could be up to as much as 45 days before this City has an actual body to call a leader. Though Romoser was endorsed by early-bailing-on-the-City-for-a-job-paying-twice-as-much former Mayor Foltin, David Arredondo expressed interest in the Mayor’s seat in roughly June-ish.

The Chair stepped in, it was leaked, because without a Mayor, the City is helpless to progress with everyday business. Union negotiations have stopped, travel and conference vouchers can’t be approved, and legislation must sit idle for 10 days without a mayor’s John Hancock to be enacted. Municipal bonds cannot even be issued without that required signature. (Could the City actually save some money here?)

Word from Chambers was that the Chair was tired of all the sitting around everyone else was doing, and felt action needed to be taken.

More updates to come. Please stay tuned…..

Out of time and no  light at the end of the "tower" Photo Lorain 365

Out of time and no light at the end of the “tower”
Photo Lorain 365

The Morning Journal even wrote an apology to the Chair

You see I am not alone in my worries about the quality of the Morning Journal 😉
there were “issues” even back then


Retraction/Correction Demanded for Error in Local Rag

In the continuation of a reputation of not being worth much more than something to put down underneath the litter box, or something to wrap fish guts in, The Morning Journal (how it pains me to have to mention that name here) once again erred in such magnitude, that it baffles the mind.

The Chair is beyond livid. After reading an opinion piece by the MJ’s liberal hack Richard Osborne, the Chair would not stand still, waving its arms and pacing to and fro.

Osborne said:

a local blogger..wrote a funny piece..about Foltin’s EMPTY chair taking charge.
The Chair had this to say:

I categorically deny ever having even come in contact with Foltin’s backside. His ass would have been lucky to have been swaddled by me. Personally, in his last few months, had I the opportunity, I’d have administered a good swift kick. And with four legs, that would’ve been a helluva kick. I hereby demand a retraction, correction, AND an apology by the Morning Journal for their lack of research, and the negative state of their integrity.

Clearly stated in the mentioned ‘piece‘, the Chair “hog-tied former Mayor Foltin’s leather chair”. Can one hog-tie oneself? Hardly.

Holding the Mayors Chair Hostage- Foltin's Fiasco

Holding the Mayors Chair Hostage- Foltin’s Fiasco

I happened to mention the dearth of coverage by the (you know) concerning the Black River Bicentennial,
ED NOTE: The Morning Journal under John Cole refused coverage of Lorain’s Bicentennial Celebration due to the fact that it was being spearheaded by yours truly( Loraine Ritchey) – shame but the event was extremely successful and photos can be found here-

no Morning Journal coverage of course is available 😉

and the Chair stomped out of the room, waving its arms, muttering about the daily not being fit for (rhyming expletive).

So, we will wait and see if a retraction is forthcoming. The onus is on the Morning Journal, and Richard Osborne is clearly in the hot seat.

Breaking News: MJ Buckles – Apologizes For ‘Chair’ Error

On August 27th,(2007) the Chair took Richard Osborne to task for a gross misstatement. Mr. Osborne, Op/Ed columnist for the local paper (Yes, THAT one!) wrote that “Foltin’s empty chair” took over as the Mayor.

In a released statement, the Chair demanded an apology from the MJ and Mr. Osborne, saying “I categorically deny ever having even come in contact with Foltin’s backside.” Also, that Foltin’s “ass would have been lucky to have been swaddled by me.”

Obviously succumbing to what was plainly a huge public outcry, Richard Osborne printed the requested apology in September 9th’s edition. It is as follows:

Chair Apology

mj apologizes

The Chair, when reached for comment, hadn’t seen the apology, due to the fact that it unsubscribed long ago to ‘that rag.’

Obviously, when you insult the Mayor, there are consequences. Mr. Osborne’s employment status was plainly on the line, and he did the only thing he could do. His apology is accepted, and I wish him well. Though I would recommend he do his homework a little more thoroughly in the future, and he would do well to read this blog, instead of just scanning it.
Having stepped aside as Mayor, after being replaced by John Romoser, the Republican candidate for Mayor, the Chair has taken a vacation of sorts.

It’s been a long summer, and I’ve been busy. I’m working on some things right now that I’d rather not comment on, but they are for the betterment of the City.
I left the Chair, lying under a tree, with its legs stretched out. All four of them.

I wish I could share with you the many links to the Chair’s adventures but WoM is blocked for the most part and with it the adventures of the Chair- But pictures ( thanks to Mark Teleha) can still be found

After months of being missing the Chair did make a brief reappearance
I miss the Chair, the Chair had character, integrity, humour, a curiosity – you could trust the chair but it has gone the way of so many “left us ” collapsed in and of itself, homeless missing ….

  Missing- Photo altered to show age progression.)

Missing- Photo altered to show age progression.)

NOTE Chair portraits Mark Teleha


February 5, 2014 at 7:26 pm 5 comments

Feb 3rd- living after we die- Chris Ritchey


When your sister, dad, Jim , Gavin and I gathered to honour the memory of you that cold December day the 17th in the place you loved, music filled the forest, the voice and talent of Susan Boyle expressed the thoughts I could not speak:

There was not a sound in that cathedral of trees but Susan’s pure voice.

Childhood living is easy to do
The things you wanted I bought them for you
Graceless lady you know who I am
You know I can’t let you slide through my hands

Wild horses couldn’t drag me away
Wild, wild horses, couldn’t drag me away

I watched you suffer a dull aching pain
Now you decided to show me the same
No sweeping exits or offstage lines
Could make me feel bitter or treat you unkind

Wild horses couldn’t drag me away
Wild horses couldn’t drag me away

I know I dreamed you a sin and a lie
I have my freedom but I don’t have much time
Faith has been broken, tears have been cried
Let’s do some living after we die

Wild horses couldn’t drag me away
Wild horses couldn’t drag me away

Wild horses we will ride them someday
Wild horses, wild horses

Uncle Chris

Chris you still live, you are still contributing to this life and family – that little baby boy Gavin who was just 9 months old , in his little red snow suit cuddled in your dad’s arms on that cold day could not have been expected to remember you – BUT he knows you!

Braedyn, who was not even born until many months after your death- wouldn’t be expected to know you . But he does, your sister has made you part of their every day – real and full of life and mischief to them , they recognize you in so many ways.
gav and bro

They know each piece of art work , they know you,they trust in you and love you. You are as real to them as their cousin Tony who lives far away….
Your art has graced the pages of periodicals, the web and continues to be shown .

Your humour reaches out through the “vale” , love keeps on growing and living .You won’t be forgotten, a slab of granite in a place not of “you”- because thanks to Nikki, and two little boys you are here- you are still part of this family and life.

I love you and my love for you continues and grows each day … you continue to be part of us and our lives even more so than some who still live in the “literal” sense of the word. You continue as long as love continues………….

February 3, 2014 at 1:34 pm Leave a comment



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February 2014