Archive for April, 2017
I was in my very early twenties when I first arrived, a Mrs. Osmundson of the “Lorain Chapter of the Welcome Wagon” knocked on our apartment door and there followed the introduction to the Ladies of Lorain.
These ladies , some of whom have passed away , then introduced me to the “volunteer aspect” that was and is Lorain. The ladies that saved the Palace Theatre, built Lorain Community Hospital, literally ran the entertainment for Lorain International , planned the ” Hospital Follies” and fundraisers, celebrated the “anniversaries” and gently bullied administrations, newspapers and public servants to join in and refused to take No for an answer . They organized their projects and committees with a battle plan and strategy that would have made any General proud.
Ruth Calta, Jean Schaeffer, Marylou Connone, Lori Hoke, Barbara MacGregor, Corky Bruck, Charlotte Zakowski, Jane Baran, Jane Norton, Lou Kepler, Alice Weston, Phyllis Pfaff, Sally Bobel , Lilly Yuzon, Sally DeLuca , Mirium Schneider , Jean Anne King , Lee Mattei, Darlene Brown , Mrs. Robert Bostwick, Mrs. Dave Herzer , Carol Kramer, Frances Cellozzi, Marie Bonaminio,
and so many others whose names have faded with my memory . Some of these ladies are still volunteering and making a difference in Lorain everyday.
Barb had called to tell me of the 40th anniversary celebration of the Palace Theatre and of burning the mortgage
“December 10, 1977 was a landmark date. On the stage of the theater that night following a Christmas musical program, the mortgage was burned ceremoniously, thanks to the generosity of many groups and individuals.”
Oh those were the days before the mortgage could be burned though fundraising took place at 319 Broadway ( the annex)
” Forty civic groups participated in this week long street fair, Stores soon to be torn down were converted as if by magic into an old fashioned ice cream parlor, a “Second-Hand Rose” shop, a casino, a book and plant store, an open air barbecue, international shops, etc. The Saturday night “Great Gatsby Party” at the Palace climaxed the week’s activities.
Civic Center Madness – Oh and it was, the ladies served lunches , painted poppies on pianos, sold artifacts-
I still have a little chair -was left after one auction in a terrible state – it was headed for the dumpster when Ruth Calta decided I should buy it for a dollar – and you didn’t say no! – rehabbed and upholstered is still with us – a memory of can do!
I was just a young newly married transplant when Jean Schaeffer decided I needed to be introduced.
There was so much joy- energy – a pushing ahead through problems- these were the “can do ladies” and they did and they pulled each volunteer along with them in their net of enthusiasm. These ladies who saved a theatre and built a hospital. The Great Gatsby Party – what great fun – The Palace Players and Henry 8th night- not to be forgotten-
As Barb and I talked, I remembered a time of energy and of loss of those ladies no longer with us- 40 years of life tends to do that. Still the Palace is there a testament to perseverance and pride- still needed in this old town.
At first, after you died I girded myself for the arrival of the mailman – sympathy cards, notifications in your name, even the ones from the monuments people wanting us to purchase you a headstone- at least they recognized your family should have a say. As the months disappeared into years pretty much the only mail for you would be the yearly invite to a “four-wheeler” event.
Last week however, Monday , found me opening your letter calling for you to submit work created between January 2015 and December 2016 for AIGA Cleveland . My breath was only sucked out of me for just a few moments and although I was in a foul mood and very touchy for the rest of the day, causing everyone around me to tread on eggshells, I managed.
Then the mailman knocked on the door three days later with a registered letter from the Cleveland Clinic – I can’t abide that conglomerate of medical management http://my.clevelandclinic.org/ This letter was from the Andrology Laboratory and Reproductive Tissue Bank.
Apparently they were updating records and it came to their attention you had passed away “our condolences” (written as an after thought) but we need to dispose of what remains of your son’s life ( my words) hereto known as the “sample” .
I was confused, incredulous , not sure what I was reading – yes I remembered you, on doctor’s advice, had banked sperm before the chemo. I had wondered weeks after your death what would happen. I didn’t do anything because since the Lombardis and the then your wife – Angela Ritchey ( now Dr. Angela Murphy- http://my.clevelandclinic.org/staff/16147-angela-murphyespecially Sue Lombardi ,had made ALL the decisions as to what would be happening with you, my son and your mortal remains, with no input from his family – they would have seen to this as well. I hadn’t realized you had designated me in this instance.
And here it was -the Clinic apparently had not “disposed of ” (their term) the sample upon your death as contracted . Now, I have to make the decision to call them re maintaining the samples – should I do nothing they will commence the disposal on what would ironically be your wedding anniversary !!!!
I read and reread the letter , my gut churned, my mind ran amuck – this planet still holds your life essence and the cavalier Clinic wanted to tell me they were once again in disposal mode.
I cried ,gasped for air, memories became reality once again in the ensuing hours. Everything came rushing back – emotional incontinence, anger , disbelief, pain returned full force.
Thoughts of what could be , what should have been, pulling the plug conference in that damned hospital – stony faced Lombardis – removed from the emotions of your death – sitting at that conference table looking like they were smelling bad fish and hoping against hope I would agree to your being taken off life support. Inconvenient, if I wouldn’t agree as Sue Lombardi had already picked out the “coffin clothes”. https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/10/14/an-open-letter-mama-sue-lombardi/
I wasn’t thinking straight –
I could get legal advice about maintaining the “sample” – you see to me was more than a “sample” it was my grandchildren that would never be- the life essence of my son and yet there was hope still– surrogate mother ran through my head- what would that cost? and then the darker thoughts of what did they mean by “disposal ” did they dump your “essence of life” into medical waste, the toilet , down a sink? My mind raged , bled and remembered……
Logically I know, you had signed the contract your “sample” should be “disposed of” after your death, so I believe that is what you wanted. Even if I could find a surrogate – it would be sheer selfishness on my part to bring a child into the world when I am surely heading out of it before they would be grown and finally you had a blood cancer when the “sample of life” was taken, I couldn’t take a chance that any child born would have a chance of cancer.
I haven’t responded to the Clinic as yet- although I know I will have to but it is hard to once again have to pull that plug……….
I love you ………