Posts filed under ‘Lorain Dude’

April 3rd – Trilogy Trigger- Chris Ritchey

Chris Ritchey- CIA

This past month has been particularly  difficult, losing my  dear friend Paula to  the obscenity  that is cancer, the  “hell is other people” neighbors with  their  form of obscenity  invading  what little space we have. It is what is called “life” for want of a description.  As another departed friend used to  say   “everyone has a story”  and yet another ” there is no  laughter in hell”, but then again you  would have to  believe in a heaven if you  believe in hell.

Easter was this past weekend , another holiday  I  hypocritically  celebrate for the sake of loved ones and friends . I have pointed out my  views and Easter/Eastre has been noted – another pagan holiday  utilized, blended, absorbed  and  morphed for convenience sake of whatever was the popular faith  at the time  https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2012/04/06/ahhhhhh-easter-eastre-resurrecting-memories-eggs-and-crabs/

To  me all religion is another man’s myth dressed up  for the masses of whatever century  of which  you  happen to  be a part.

Irony, not to  be  outdone this year,  the weekend found Gavin’s 9th  birthday  and your Dad’s and Easter  all  falling together.

 

You  Dad born on another Easter Sunday  on the top of the kitchen table ( so the story  goes) let alone being April  Fool’s Day.

Triple play in memories flooded in- other Easters with  Papa Teddy  and Auntie Gladys coming down  from Canada especially  at Easter and Thanksgiving , they really  were the closest thing to  grandparents. Such  love , such  beautiful people. Your first Easter , you  decided to   crawl and Papa Teddy  spent the whole time steering you  away  from the fireplace hearth, fascinated even then by  flames.

Memories of you  being taken to  that “terrible to  me now” church  St. Mary’s  Lorain  https://www.parishesonline.com/find/st-mary-catholic-church-44052          by  your godparents on Easter Sunday .  Well…..up  until the time you  “shot the priest” with  a pretend gun and  something religious spilled  as someone in the procession jumped and there was such  a kafuffle apparently. I know you  were never again taken to  Easter Sunday  services there.

To  think that church  would play such  havoc in our lives bringing such anger and unkindness – due to  you  walking down that same aisle   and the taking of any  closure, denying our beliefs  by  your  controlling “in law family”( Lombardi/ Vika and offspring) and the “bride” Angela Lombardi ( Ritchey) now Murphy


not to  mention “their priest” Divis –

Sharing a laugh – but on whom?

 

There should have been overload in the confessional, one  would think,  although forgiveness is far from my  heart. Ah! what meaning in this life today of  a ‘mother’s curse” in days of myth and legend  a powerful instrument met now with  the word Karma??? Karma  borrowed once more from an even older religion…. I  wait ………

Gavin’s “birthday” or day  of his birth – hoping against hope as you  lay  in that terrible  Cleveland Clinic-  the lab rat- being made to  clinically  die to  “save you”.   I had to  leave you  that night  to  be with  your sister  as a new life came into  the world……….. torn once more………

Your Dad’s birthday – the years of playing pranks not just because it was April fools day but because your loved your jokes. The time you  took out an ad in the paper  selling the house .  Yes! all memories , uninvited guests along with  the ham,  steaks,  tulips and a missing space at the table.

And yet  laughter and smiles, little boys and a girl  looking for surprises, barely  able to  sit still as the grown-ups  took forever to  eat. Tales of other memories , other traditions  , pastel eggs mixed in with  camouflage eggs, a grandfather and his grandsons  sharing a moment  to  remember.

Yes all intertwined showing the colors and also  the greyness of what we have become – I love you – we all do……..

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April 3, 2018 at 11:29 am 1 comment

Gonna Party like you’re 99 – !!!!!

 

I have been thinking about this post all week- how do  I write about my  mum and her life  experiences   and loves. I decided to   let her words tell the tale of the time before – before she was my  mum and a young child and woman in her mid twenties.  I  think she said it best in her book ( published for family  only and written to  my  daughter when she was a wee one) in  the foreword :

Cover Design Chris Ritchey

It is sometimes safer to write about other people than about oneself and easier to shape their lives into a consistent pattern. When you come to examine your subject, in this case my life, more closely the process is somewhat more complex and daunting than I originally thought. Every human life is at once so complex, yet simple, so perplexing yet clear, superficial and yet plunges to the depths that attempts to present it as a unified whole may take more talent than your Nana has but I will try.

 

The times before when she was a young girl  scrumping apples with  her brother  Mark , that didn’t bode well as you  will see:

Parrot snout ( his nickname  for her) , tell me whatever you do- if you see anyone whilst I climb to the top of that tree”

“Ok, Mark, I will stand underneath whilst you throw the fruit down”.

What a wonderful bag I collected. The sunshine was brilliant and I got caught up watching the butterflies, I seemed to be lulled with the peace and tranquility of it all. “ What was that I could see? Could it be the policeman’s helmet appearing over the fence and two eyes taking in the scene!”? My voice froze, I could not warn my brother, not a sound came from my throat. I tried and tried to make the sound come “ Oh! Vi don’t muff this one” but I took to my heels, the bag of lovely fruit spilling and scattering in the orchard joining the feast for the wasps. I made for the hole in the fence and bolted without ever looking back, leaving the policeman underneath the tree waiting for an unsuspecting boy to descend.I was terrified, would I once again be shunned and ostracized by all and sundry? My  brother  angry  gave me  clip round the ear and said “ I will never take girls along again!”

 

The opportunity  for higher learning denied , although passing her exams and obtaining a scholarship, the family  could not afford the extras .

digging for victory

Her first job at the Express Dairy  when she was 15 as a window dresser  and in charge of the shop –  she too became one of the ME TOO      – this generation didn’t invent  sexual harassment…… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Me_Too_movement 

 The visits of Mr. B { a travelling Superintendent for the company } grew more frequent, I grew more apprehensive. I longed to confide my fears to someone, my sister Renee was too young, my mother would have advised and helped me but I just couldn’t bring myself to tell her…what could I tell her as nothing had yet occurred. Events came to a head one afternoon, Mr. B called in; he had a very nice shiny new car and invited me to go for a ride with him that evening. I said I was unable to do so.

”OK then some other time maybe!” Meanwhile he made some coffee, opened a tin of pineapple chunks (4 1/2 d) and a carton of cream (2d) he offered me some. I don’t really know what happened then, but I was suddenly held in a vise like grip, the small table upon which the pineapple and cream were sitting went over, juice spilling all over me! The fingers with the hairs were groping and fumbling, I was shaking with fright, and my overall was off ….my brass buttons “pinged” as they hit the floor.

Sometimes the unbelievable happens, it did a customer came in the shop door. And the bell really saved me! The lady bless her never knew what she did for me that day. I didn’t stop to lock the shop up but tore off on my bicycle, not daring to look around. I turned in my resignation and applied for a position in the G.P.O. (General Post Office)

Mum managed to  get a placement

The training school was in Holborn, with dummy switchboards. It seemed there were nothing but aged old dried up spinsters ladies were teaching us,( how unkind and thoughtless we are when we are young.) The wonder of it all when we finally finished our training and passed as “thirty six hour girls” ( you were only allowed to work for 36 hours to start with hence the expression). We were then directed to our “local” telephone exchanges. During this training time which took three months we weren’t paid. How my mother coped not only not having my wages coming in to help but to give me enough for fares and lunches must have been so very difficult for her but somehow she managed.

The meeting of the young man who would eventually  be her husband and my  father.

. After one of the dances, as was the custom then, we were standing clapping waiting for the band to start up again; a chap around 5ft 9, quite well-built with terrifically strong-looking shoulders and periwinkle blue eyes and with blonde hair, one curl of which had fallen across his forehead. He came over and whisked and danced me to the other end of the room.

 

Then War!! Mum volunteered for special duty  and ended up  at the Ministry  of Information


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 connected 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.

However all was not fun and games  my  19-year-old mum working at the Ministry  of Information you  got the  war news before most and one day:

 

HMS Southampton

her boyfriend’s ship

Damaged during air raid on warships in Forth Estuary.One bomb penetrated three decks. Casualties.

came through the ticker tape

NOTE: ” The Man who Designed the Spitfire” again little life coincidences. The Spitfire first saw action on that October 16th 1939 protecting the Royal Navy and my Dad.

On 16 October 1939, Junkers Ju-88s of 1/KG 30 led by Hauptmann Helmuth Pohle attacked British warships in the Firth of Forth. Nine of the Ju-88s were intercepted over Rosyth by three Spitfires of 603 Squadron, each of which attacked Pohle’s aircraft which was hit repeatedly and crashed into the sea

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/09/25/long-time-passing-gone-to-fighting-part-6/

However she too was in peril and felt the Nazi Blitz…


It must have been only 9: pm. There seemed to be a great deal of activity outside. We used to be able to tell by the sound of the aircraft engine whether it was one of ours or one of the Germans.

The whistle of the descending bombs and the following explosions was terrifying. We sighed a breath of relief when hearing that explosion didn’t have our name on it. This night I did not hear the whistle nothing suddenly a complete and utter silence. The bricks seemed to be crumbling and falling all around. I tried to hold onto something. I only grabbed at empty space. The air was filled with dust. I realized the house must have received a direct hit and the three people who had been near me had disappeared. I tried calling the silence was eerie and shocking. I had bricks and wood and plaster all around me “was I going to be buried alive?”

 

There was one sound, a hissing sound coming from somewhere beneath me. “A fractured gas pipe perhaps”. I remembered hearing accounts of people being gassed to death before they had been dug out from all the rubble. I groped all around in that black darkness and found a pipe, maneuvered myself and sat over the leakage. Bricks were still falling but I had heard human voices Maudie and her mother and sister (Barbara) everyone was at least alive. Then came the sound of faint movements. These became clearer and what seemed to be hours later a chalky white face appeared, Mr. Cushing’s. He had been on ARP duty outside and seen his own house go up!

Many hands helped me out; I was the first and escaped with hardly a scratch but was holding a very sore backside and apparently hysterically asked the first aid warden “ can you get gassed in the posterior” he obviously thought I was a little balmy. Mrs. Cushing fared the worse and Maudie and Barbara were very badly bruised and shaken, seeing the remains of what was left of the house. Just one heap of broken bricks, shattered glass and matchsticks only remains of doors and beams. The marvel is that we escaped at all.

These things happened  before I  even knew this wonderful woman who was  to  be my mum.

After the war years came family  years – chock a block full with  uncles , aunts, cousins  a lots of laughter. As always there were  some bad and terrible times   but always through it all was my  mum constant , loving and keeping the wolf from the door and being there for me.

MY mum may  not have amassed a fortune but I don’t know any  other person who  has, through the years  gathered so  many  friends and such  love, due to  her just being her . Never a day  goes by when there isn’t at least one card or letter coming through the mail from some far-flung corner of the globe. She is Aunty  Vi or Aunty  Janet, mother in law  and sometimes the “Dame”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Best of all she is my  mum, and her  grandchilden’s

and her Great grand children’s  NANA!!!


 

Happy  Birthday  Mum this one is for you !

 

February 11, 2018 at 1:45 pm 3 comments

Figgy Pudding – A celebration tale – Chris (tmas) Pudding

Traditions in this house took a 180 degree about-face when my  son Chris died. I could no  longer have Christmas  in this house- Oh! my  mum has her “Christmas Grotto” in her little living room  and Gavin and Braedyn come a decorate her little tree and hang the ornaments.

There are no  longer twinkling lights inside or outside this house in celebration of  anyone’s birth- the beliefs of my  childhood torn asunder.

I have  “visited the holidays ” at my  daughters for the sake of her and her family  and the boys. Traditions changed from my  “English  Christmas of yesteryear” – now Christmas Eve  finds lobsters in the pot – named for those that are not very  nice.. and laughter yes, but the traditions of my  daughter’s youth  and of this house have gone the way  of so many  things. Yes! I visit  the holidays – peace on earth  and good will toward men – has a sour note…….. ( too many religious  hypocrites, sadness and questions  added to  the mix of my  life)

But Christmas  is for children and like every  other grandparent last week I  smiled, laughed and cried as the kindergartners at Braedyn’s school put on their holiday  program .  As all the children wore their Santa, Reindeer, Snowflake and Frosty  hats  little faces all a glow , voices were exuberant  in their renditions  and they  joyously  proclaimed the fun that was coming . My  eyes and heart  fell on  Braedyn singing along

Oh, bring us some figgy pudding,Oh, bring us some figgy pudding,Oh, bring us some figgy pudding, And bring it right here.Good tidings we bring you and your kin;We wish you a merry Christmas And a Happy New Year!

I realized not one of them, including my  own grandson, probably  had any  idea  what figgy  pudding was . For the cooks among you  there are two  versions – Figgy  Pudding and Christmas Pudding – http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/warm-sticky-figgy-pudding-recipe-1918585

Traditionally  we and my  family, through the generations,   used the  Christmas Pudding   and this is the recipe  that is close to  what we  always served.( although instead of glace fruit – which  I  hate -we add dried apricots , shredded carrot and a shredded Granny  Smith  apple .)   http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/33519/delicious-christmas-pudding.aspx

Every  year my  mum and I  faithfully  made the “real” fruitcake -( not that terrible American facsimile  that is tossed like rotten pumpkins) and Christmas Pud.  It was tradition and Christopher’s job from about  the age of 7 was to  bring in the lighted pudding  to  the table – he loved lighting the pudding  but never ate any. The only  ones eating it were my  mother and I  and my  husband would “force a little down”.  Christopher was the last to  light a pudding in this house.

However, as I  looked at all those little faces – I  said to  Nikki:

Gavin and Braedyn have no  idea what they   sing about with  this song . They  have never seen a Christmas pudding !

I  decided then it was time to  hand the tradition over to  my  daughter and grandsons. We had missed out on  “Stir Up Sunday”  but better late than never  http://metro.co.uk/2017/11/26/stir-up-sunday-what-is-this-christmas-pudding-tradition-all-about-7109142/

All the members of the family, especially the kids, need to take a turn to stir the mixture and everyone should make a secret wish while they stir.

Gavin had gone hunting with  his Dad  but Braedyn and his mum were game –  so  over the river and through the snowy streets they  came today . Ingredients all measured out  and we have a new pudding maker in the family  under the watchful eye of his Nana .

We all made our wishes , there were smiles and a few opinions as to  how much  brandy  went into  the pudding and now they – the puddings ( we made too much  mixture so  now we have two)  bubble and sing on the stove for the next few hours.  I am not sure about the traditional pudding  boiling away  on Christmas Eve this year with  the lobsters in the pot – but to  each  his own………..

December 16, 2017 at 10:18 pm 5 comments

Lorain Dudes- Maintenance-The Watch- The Walk -The Site

February– who knew there would be a window of weather where those who volunteer for the areas known as “Settlers’ Watch”,

Photo Lisa Miller

Photo Lisa Miller


Admiral King Tribute Site
AK 2 without tower
PHOTO Lisa Miller
Photo - Lisa Miller

Photo – Lisa Miller

Eric Barnes Heroes Walk

could get out in the sunshine and do some maintenance.

This is a very large area- Three completely different “honorings” of Lorain’s heroes – military, pioneers and her history. It takes a great deal of work to maintain and if I am honest more than I thought it would take.

It is something the powers that be should remember when the come up with grandiose ideas of – this and that locally- all well and good to have the grand openings etc BUT maintenance is the key to all things – from streetscapes, potted palms, to housing and buildings.

If you haven’t walked the walk ( in more ways than one) you will see over the past few years there have been, so many rose beds, perennial flowers, shrubs, trees, and secret gardens added
allyssas-rose
May and June literally burst forth with fragrance and color. However, it takes a huge amount of love and effort to keep this area in the “oldest neighborhood” ticking over. shed collage
The additions , the repurposed the plants and trees donated
beckers

ALL take maintenance, talk and more talk and meeting just doesn’t cut it. The little lighthouse shed lost some shingles over the winds in January. The flags put out to honor were looking forlorn . Seeing a break in the weather the littlest volunteers ( who take this job very seriously) and old ( er) granddads took on a task .
2ladres

chanflagresThe morning’s work went well , although I did mention to Gavin he didn’t have to say the pledge of allegiance for every flag he took out and replaced. (PHOTOS Lisa Miller)

Braedyn took his “military policing” of trash pick just as seriously
braelit
And after all was done a sit down to reflect the job ahead this spring and summer-

whose truck is that anyway????

btruck
Meanwhile Gavin decided to check the work of the “big boys” – seems it passed muster.

gavroofPHOTO- Lisa Miller
At the end of a couple of hours the policing of the areas, the flags changed out and a seagull back on its perch.

seagullres

There is a great deal to do everyday when the weather gets warm- Will you consider spending a day “honoring” – weeding , raking ? CVSI is always looking to add to our volunteers to walk the walk not just talk the talk………

Call 440-246-6046 or Email cvsilor@yahoo.com http://www.loraincounty.com/charlestonlorai/

To be continued……….

February 26, 2017 at 4:05 pm 1 comment

A Tall- tree- Tale ends- Lorain ( dudes)

the neighborhood  after tornado

the neighborhood after tornado

The Tornado of Lorain
http://ohsweb.ohiohistory.org/swio/pages/content/1924_tornado.htm
took down homes, and with it lives as well as beauty . The people living in Lorain in the early 1900’s cared- they cared about quality of life of beautification, they were proud of their homes , we don’t see a lot of that in Lorain’s old neighborhoods nowadays.
Admiral King Home back in the day-

Post Card Admiral King's home

Post Card Admiral King’s home


The Gillmore’s https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2016/03/20/general-gillmore-a-portrait-of-a-man-a-home-at-last/
at the end of my street, their home, now well over 100 years old , planted a tree . That particular tree grew through the decades, spared by the tornado, but age took its toll just as it does with all of us. The tree became a hazard and one day after a particularly bad storm in the early 2000 ‘s the tree fell across Oberlin avenue. Peggy Gillmore, was extremely upset about the loss of that tree planted by members of her family long passed.
403 Oberlinres
403 Oberlin
When the little park at the end of the street, now known as Veterans Park
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2013/08/02/veterans-memorial-park-fini/
was cleaned after the tornado. The community planted trees to once again add ambiance and to honor those lives lost in the tornado.

On the right side of my property ( next door) to the west was a huge Maple tree- actually tied with iron rods at some time in its history)You can see it in the photo from the Lorain County Auditors site –
1131

I believe that tree must have been young at the time of the tornado. The circumference of the trunk took up over a third of the small back yard- 33 feet . The property to the east side of my own 33 foot lot stood another very large maple – not as big as the one to the west – but gigantic in its own way.

This tree was probably planted after the tornado or perhaps grew from one of the maple seeds. Nevertheless , I could literally see it up close and personal from my den window, as it stood no more than 8 foot away. There have been times as I have watched “life ” in that tree. It hid a lot of “less than pleasant” sights through the decades as the properties on that lot and the one next to it deteriorated.”

Finally , the very large “pre tornado” tree to the right gave up and split where the crown met the trunk – sent one third of its branches crashing down.

IMG_0105
This one “branch”- bigger than most trees- fell across our property and landing with a bang onto the house next door, which was luckily vacant and abandoned . The huge maple, on the lot to the east , just feet away from my home took the force and redirected the fallen limb away from my home leaving the tree damaged and lopsided.

treeres
That was January 2008falling-tree
11254th
A great deal has happened since then, not of all of it good. We put up with a lot of issues from the lot next door. The little historic house was killed by “pimping landlords” https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2012/07/08/for-rent-one-city-who-dictates-the-health-of-your-neighborhood/ who saw that little house as only a way to make money for the least possible outlay –
grass
and the tree from two doors down finished the job. The house, after a few years, was finally torn down. A sigh of relief , no more vagrants and critters of the 4 and two legged kind hiding out.

Then it began -the parking lot from hell- lack of respect for another’s property- dump trucks, overflow parking and then the shortcut route from the alley to 4th- a cut through for traffic.

red truick

11226061_10205137488018048_8352066394168332905_n

overflow
How many times did I watch the lot become a road way ( even as recently as last week) ? Luckily , the Maple tree, dangerous as it was, as it too suffered over the years, was large enough to stop two-way traffic and large vehicles from making it an even more convenient roadway.

That did mean however the reversing into the alley by the dump trucks etc. We would be woken by the sound of backing up construction vehicles – no bird song here. NOTE: it seems to me if you are running a business from a residence then you should have legal parking for your construction vehicles .This block is R 3.

Fortunately we were , at last , able to purchase the lot. This meant the tree which I had complained about to the powers that be and insurance company as a hazard had to come down.

Down it came yesterday to the delight of my two little boys( Lorain Dudes) – loving every minute of watching the cranes, the “axe men ” in real life and all that taking down that tree involved.
dudesres

two dudeslunch
The view from the window has changed – the Maple tree , by the very size of its trunk blocked a less than perfect view. I will have to do some creative landscaping so I see green once more and appease the birds and squirrels who are definitely NOT happy with the humans here on 4th!

I am extremely happy with the difficult job Tree Pro of Lorain ( 440-288-tree) did in taking down the tree. I would recommend them highly and you know readers coming from me that is not given lightly!
2016-03-29 16.04.14

treres

tree collage

March 30, 2016 at 6:17 pm 2 comments

Chris- Miss – Past -present – the time has come 2015

gavbres I knew the day would come when children with eyes all aglow, would ask-

Nog, ( that is me) why don’t you have a Christmas tree?

Oh their great- grandmother still has Christmas in her little lounge full of dancing Santa Clauses .

Nanacol2012

This fact not lost on them as they decorate it for her every year!

My home has been decidedly bare since my son died- I don’t feel joy in this house at this time of year- it brings the missing so much to the surface and with it the inevitable pain that can cripple.
PicMonkey Collage

No ! I visit Christmas at my daughter and son- in- law’s. I enjoy their wonderful tree, the laughter of children and family, all the lovely food , but I can leave Christmas when it all becomes too much.

Since the dreadful December when my son died , there hasn’t been any Christmas lights adorning the house, not even a hat tip to the season. However, anger stirred me this year. Almost every post on facebook,the posturing, the Christmas wars , the share if you believe groups, the anti this religion , the anti that in politics , the media , every holier than thou my religion is better than the other’s religion , the tirade and yes the killings against those that do not share a belief ( all in the name of “human – KIND” and whose god is on whose side) really, as the saying goes It got right up my nose …. talk about “lack of ” goodwill toward men –

I decided to decorate for the Winter Solstice and add another “holiday” to the bunch. , why not part of my ancient heritage and my own way of making a stand against hypocrisy . It took no more than an hour to gather the materials from the tree branches, the holly and the ivy found around the garden – heck there was even a version of a jolly old elf for the wreath on the front door .
61jYibPOJNL__AA160_

A can of white spray paint , some weeds, a bunch of mistletoe and a green spotlight, a couple of deer antlers and there it was. My ode to air ( the garden wind ornament) ,
air postres

water ( my fountain bathed in a green light)- earth
lamp postres
fire – ( Chris’ lantern to be fueled with a candle).
fire

My mother, at first was pleased –

“Has my daughter finally got the Christmas spirit once more- you so loved Christmas , Loraine?”

was horrified when I said

No! I decided to celebrate a pagan holiday of the Winter Solstice outside.

Realizing I was having a sarcastic pop of my own at the holier than thous with the decorations she said:

Oh Loraine , you can’t do that what will the neighbors think?

They won’t even notice mum, because every single thing used ( including a jolly old elf) is used in today’s Christmas celebrations

http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/yuletraditions/tp/Ten-Christmas-Customs-with-Pagan-Roots.htm

However, when a little six-year-old asked why I didn’t have a tree, I told him my Christmas story :

How every year his Uncle Chris would insist on a real tree and he and I and sometimes mummy would go and have some lunch and pick out the real tree, drag it home needles falling everywhere , the grumbling from Pooh Bah! The decorating with all the ornaments that were special to his mummy and Uncle Chris.

And NOW it makes me sad to hang all the ornaments that were from happy times on the tree. Instead, I had given all those ornaments from Christmas past so he and Braedyn could hang them on their tree, which makes me happy. I told him it is time for his mummy and daddy, Braedyn and himself to make their own Christmas traditions.

I will come and visit Christmas at their house. This seemed to satisfy him until

Oh Nog! if you don’t have a tree do you put up stockings?

chrispast

No! I said ,

Oh! then Santa won’t come and you won’t get any presents.

And as I looked at his little concerned face I said

He, Braedyn and his mum were the best presents ever!


sawmillres
What ever you celebrate, whatever your chosen belief, whatever path you choose or not to choose to follow- I wish you health and happiness……

December 22, 2015 at 6:44 pm 4 comments

Aug 3rd- The Lighthouse Shed- Chris Ritchey

chrisart collage

2002- You had just completed the 1st year of foundation courses at Cleveland Institute of Art. That Summer- a time of excitement in this family – getting ready for Nikki’s Christmas wedding. Once again I volunteered you for one of my community projects – your words still ring in my memory.

-” Mum if I was a mechanic would you volunteer me- Yes, I replied if you were a good mechanic”

MainstreetLorain( Now Lorain Growth Corp) had purchased a shed- it was going to sit on the ‘ mile long pier” welcoming the boaters, tourists and fisher folk, to be filled with welcoming information of what to do and where to do it in Lorain. John Houser, the MainstreetLorain Director, wanted a mural on both sides of he shed so it could be seen coming and going and a “free hand cursive “Welcome” .
chrispaintlight
Oh how you grumbled and I believe swore more than once at me – the surface was rough, hard to paint, there were grooves galore the heat didn’t help , the conditions lacking .

Mum this isn’t easy to paint this thing- why don’t you just stain it and put up a sign , I am sure there are plenty of photos of the lighthouse”

and so it went our back and forth.

The “Lighthouse Shed” eventually moved from the mile long pier to Black River Landing – It had weathered and a window added
sign2
sign 3
The shed sat there season after season , becoming even more weathered and worn

photo Mark Teleha

photo Mark Teleha

I would get photos from time to time – people standing by the shed at festivals – boats passing by

Source not known

Source not known

but you weren’t interested when I would send them to you –

” Not my best work mum!- I don’t know why I let you talk me into doing these things for you”

Graphics Chris Ritchey

Graphics Chris Ritchey


The shed faded from memory, especially when we received the dreaded “cancer” news.

It was just a few weeks after your death- I didn’t go anywhere , withdrew from the world, the grief too much to deal with , let alone meet up with “people”. However , I was expressly asked by a dear friend to attend a meeting at the Port Authority. I sat in back of the meeting looking everywhere but at those faces- so full of compassion for me- I dare not meet their eyes….. and there my gaze fell, as I looked out the window, on that damned shed – still there! The snow circled danced with her partner, the all prevailing wind,blurring the little painted lighthouse, and yet bringing those summer days to the fore.

– how is it possible ?I thought – the shed still there facing the elements but you – you were gone. Why???

I fled the meeting in tears , hopefully without causing alarm to others knowing I would not find any answer.

I stayed away – from festivals- from life and the shed went back into memory. Then, once more I had to attend an event at the “landings”. The poor old shed looked worn and dull but Gavin and Braedyn were impressed when they saw the lighthouse was painted by Uncle Chris. And so another opportunity for you to become tangible in their little lives, to share another story of Chris told to little bright faces. .
Braedyn Gavin Chris sign
Two years later a phone call-

Would Charleston Village Society like the donation of the “Lighthouse Shed ” for Settler’s Watch- great for keeping stuff in it?

I said yes, knowing I couldn’t bear to think of it ending up on a dump somewhere . And so the shed arrived to be placed behind the grapevines- my romantic notion – from a distance and if you squint your eyes this old weather-beaten shed looked eerily like an old settler’s cabin.

The shed certainly doesn’t look out-of-place. BUT the murals , well the rocks and lake were gone on the one side, the seagulls had lost their wings and the lighthouse itself faded into a mere shadow of itself all details gone -just an outline of what was once. –faded.
I knew I could call upon artists I know to redo the murals but I just couldn’t do that- I couldn’t bear your work and those memories to be painted over by anyone else. I had to do it but as my old art teacher informed me time and time again in school –

“Loraine you couldn’t even draw unemployment”

I decided I would “paint” not by numbers but by colours – fill in the lines, do what I could with your work to guide me . How bloody hard was that?

Tears streaming down my cheeks, blotting out the picture before me, trying to hold back the sobs that wanted to escape the confines of my heart. The wood had become even rougher in those 13 years of seasons, I would apply the paint only to have only half of each stroke adhere. I cursed the surface wondering if you were laughing at getting your own back. It took many mornings – it wasn’t the heat or the job itself which took so long it was the dealing with the raw emotions that attacked me as I worked. I could only stand up to that emotional maelstrom for so long.

Then came the bigger problem- the lake and rocks which had disappeared totally from the one side. How the hell was I going to paint rocks, waves , spray and the changing colours of the lake? I am not an artist, as I said . I went to the internet, pulled up “how to paint rocks and water”. I took a deep breath and began terrified I would mess the whole thing up. It doesn’t look too bad although I am sure you would be shaking your head at my endeavours .
The shed had turned for the most part a deep grey, rather than trying to power wash and bring it back we have decided to stain. And so two little boys were drafted to help stain “Uncle Chris’ Lighthouse Shed”
shedoneres
It became a “family affair” with your dad staining the “higher up” sections.
shed collage
We ran out of paint- the old wood soaked up the stain- more was going to have to be applied, another day-
A trip over to Nog’s, where Nana had some chocolates and a chance to feed your fish. We love you Chris – not forgotten as life continues to weather us.

feeding fish

August 3, 2015 at 12:31 pm 2 comments

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