PULSE MAGAZINE- Treasure Town- A Blog Heartbeat
A few weeks ago, I was interviewed for Lorain County’s PULSE Magazine by Kristen Hampshire. The experience was one of sheer pleasure, the professionalism with which Kristen handled the interview, made very difficult because I tend to ramble and give the “back story” before answering the question. The fact checking by the editorial staff, the photographer- Laura Watilo Blake, who was constrained by my boundaries.
The article Buried History leads off with the General Gillmore Portrait – unwanted , and the story that led to the 12 part series on this blog.
The cover , pronounced, Lorain’s little known identity of Treasure Town. I wonder how many in the county see Lorain and her buried treasure?
Kristen asked: ( paraphrasing)
Why do I embark on the history of Lorain, why is it important to you and yet like the portrait
inconsequential to most in this community?
I had been thinking about that very fact for a few days before the interview. Why do I care along with a handful of others ( even those that should care were unimpressed , didn’t even find the portrait worthy of a 1st look)? Why do a very few people get excited when uncovering Lorain’s stories but the majority of her 64,000 residents really aren’t bothered?
I believe, in my case, my penchant for theatre and years spent acting out the written word, the stories told , the donning of the character , the “fleshing out ” of that character as you read the script- the cold reading tells you the way of portrayal is part of the reason.
Kristen wrote :
” As Ritchey passes neighbors’ homes, she thinks about the people who have lived there. She sees the original plat of Charleston Village, and when she walks through Lakeview Park
she imagines the 21,000 grape vines once planted there……….”
The article continues but the gist of the piece will tell you – I imagine the way things were when I look at one of Lorain’s falling down and abuse of historical properties, the mega rental units in what once was a beautiful family home.
I can see the life before , the characters flesh out in my mind . I can see and hear Captain Wilford , his arm around his wife that night as the huge pleasure craft the The Alberta, came at the John Osborne cutting through the fog that night and into the wooden three-masted steamer .
Fannie Wilford’s terror can only be imagined as she stood with her husband, her children asleep below decks, a cruel ending to such a lovely day as the steel-clad Alberta towering above the little freighter bore down upon the hapless couple ……
The Alberta according to The Cleveland News Leader July 30th 1884 said of the Alberta. ‘This huge steel monster, during the few months she has been afloat has become the terror of the lakes. Proud of her reputation as one of the fastest side-wheel steamers on fresh water, she (Alberta) has been run in an extraordinarily reckless manner. “
“Tom! That boats going right through us!”
Very Quietly Captain Wilford answered
“I KNOW IT”
Behind the Waterfront (Bertram B Lewis)
“ Steam rushed from the freighter’s crushed boilers, the air was filled with shouts of seaman and those screams from those who had been sprayed by scalding water.”(Lewis) ……The steward, Mr. Austin (the same man who just hours before has held Sunday school services) rescued Addie and rushed her through the scalding steam holding his arm across his face and keeping the little girls face close to him. He handed her up to the deck of the Alberta and went back through the steam for the mangled and scalded sailors below”(HFMC)
I read this and like so many other actresses and actors, I flesh them out in my mind – they become more than print on a yellowing page, they become real! I take on their fear, their pain , their story- how would I portray my part. Is that why, as I look at the portrait of General Gillmore , reading his reports during the Civil War, I see the characters, I see the times in which they lived- they become people once more not just faded photos? The letters written by the same Fanny Gillmore – ( Wilford) who stood on a deck with her husband that night- the letters of life….
I see Fannie on her front porch, waiting- for who what – everytime I pass her house
And I get angry at the lack of respect. What I do know is their stories are important to Lorain, a town that needs a buried treasure , heroes and romance.
You can access PULSE MAGAZINE on line
( unfortunately this issue- Winter 2014 is not yet uploaded to the site- but you can contact Lorain County Chamber of Commerce . It is free to subscribers.https://www.loraincountychamber.com/
Entry filed under: Charleston Village, city of lorain, history, media. Tags: buried treasure, Captain Wilford, Charleston Village, City of Lorain, Civil War, Civil War letters, Fanny Gillmore, Fanny Wilford, General Gillmore, Gillmore Portrait, Great Lake Shipwrecks, history, Kristen Hampshire, Laura Watilo Blake, Lorain, Lorain County, Lorain's history, Peggy Gillmore, Pulse Magazine, The actor, The Alberta Steam ship, Vessel John Osborne, waste not want not.