Posts filed under ‘men of substance’

Sept 3rd- a day / life captured – Chris Ritchey

chrisart collage

I have some of your work from Cleveland Institute of Art http://www.cia.edu/

displayed appropriately in most rooms , even the bathroom.

crystal4

One of your first tries at glass making- the glass frosted and slightly wonky but it holds the Daffodils of spring, red Roses and Lavender of summer and the Chrysanthemums of fall , reminders the seasons and years as they continue to pass.

Your work has brought me comfort, longing, as well as tears. I went through your portfolio in those first “tearing” weeks when we all were so fragmented – one didn’t know where we began and ended, lost in a maelstrom of disbelief and pain. I found the photographs , “another assignment”A Day in the Life of a College Student. There you were in those photos brushing your teeth, making breakfast – such as it was- all the things that are so everyday- studying , taking care of the garbage ,

chrgarbres

playing X- box –

chrisadares

working on projects, having a beer – all there . These simple acts of living archived and not meaning much of anything to anyone else but to us the world.

The wall of your apartment adorned with another photography assignment , and the subject Angela- http://my.clevelandclinic.org/staff_directory/staff_display?DoctorID=16147 less the angelic person her name implies (in my opinion .)
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/12/04/dec-4th-how-cold-is-cold-lombardi/
The work showed another side to this young woman – one I came to know all too well during the dying days and afterwards. You captured in the lens of the camera something hidden to the eye. I remember saying to you

angelawall


“there is a darkness in these photos- Chris and I don’t think her mother would be pleased so I wouldn’t show them to her .

There they are on the wall frozen in the camera lens and time . A part of your day and your life but one I would so like to forget.

I have a day in your life , the simple acts of living, stopped by the camera just as your life was stopped and now we are frozen in the loss of you. In amongst all the projects , drawing, design a very special piece of your work has given to us something that is always lost when someone dies – captured in the amber and gold glass – your breath. This work is cherished above all else because it contains the breath of your body locked in beauty.

Breath of Life - Celtic Knot - Chris Ritchey

Breath of Life – Celtic Knot – Chris Ritchey

We have such a lot of YOU but not enough to take away the pain, only YOU walking through the door once more could do that …. I love you

September 3, 2016 at 11:27 am Leave a comment

Another Birthday- time stopping- Chris Ritchey

artwork Chris Ritchey

artwork Chris Ritchey

It has come around once again – your birthday- the day when I first held you outside of my heart- looked at your little screwed up face, smiled down at you in my arms and promised you the world , as much of it as I could give. Excited phone calls to the UK – a boy!!! Nana always wanted a boy – at last she had one.

Another hospital , another birthday , another invasive test – and hope and promises dissolving in our tears.

facecancer
The trouble with cancer it ignores special days, it ignores a mother’s tears, it just does what it is good at doing ……….. and on your birthday – a day remembered with such hope it took that memory and took away hope.

I will look for your face and your spirit tomorrow – try to hear your voice in my memory and try not to dissolve completely…

I loved and still love you my little boy who will not grow old …
chrisborn

August 21, 2016 at 11:22 am 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 1 comment

Windows on Lorain- The Neanderthals- a “tornado” history

before

Readers will remember that last August a cretin of caveman- like behavior decided to take out their anger against me and this blog by sneaking through the shrubbery in the dead of night and hurling a chunk of concrete through the leaded glass front living room windows and ripping down a “don spout”
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2015/02/01/ode-to-a-downspout-named-don-lorain/
window
another view
2015-08-23 08.16.03

Such lack of intelligence knows no bounds.
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2015/08/23/hurled-through-the-window-retribution-who-done-it-lorain/
Not only did they take out the front window but by venting their anger on the downspout left their calling card – in my opinion-

downspout two

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2015/08/05/outdoor-showrooms-lorain-by-don-the-downspout/
if I ever saw one , as to the sender of the concrete message !

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2015/08/24/the-case-of-the-curious-lorain-neanderthal/ However, no finger prints on the concrete so I am left to my own suppositions and opinions BUT
neanderthakl
This was not the end of the tale. After sweeping up the shattered leaded glass ( thankfully the lead in the windows had held the concrete’s forward force ) the glass shattered 20 feet into the dining room the repair had to be done . It could’ve been more dangerous with the flying glass, someone asleep in the chair – doesn’t bear thinking about – although in all honesty “thinking” wasn’t part of this particular crime .

Fast forward after the police had left ( along with my suppositions) and the installations of many cameras recording the comings and goings around the house, alley and property , it was time for the insurance.

The insurance company had no problem with gutter/downspout repair but did not have anyone listed who could fix 90-year-old windows. Eventually they came up with a list- none of whom were close to Lorain.

I contacted a craftsman in Hinckley Ohio –



Jim Ascherl,Ascherl Studios,1616 Center Rd. Hinckley Oh 44233 330-278-4964 shop 440-223-4111 cell


and the tale of 6 degrees of separation unfolded:
A tale of a tornado hitting Lorain in 1924- the rebuilding of a community and new housing . Yes back in 1926- this old house was brand new – as were her windows.

fronthouse

This was our “lot” the day after the tornado ,

mylotres

The lot was originally 66 ft wide with one house which was destroyed. History has it, a mother and daughter rebuilt two houses on the lot – sub dividing the lot to 33 ft each. The two homes have “all leaded glass windows ”
1131res

The time of rebuilding sent a young man to Lorain to repair the leaded and stained glass windows of the churches damaged by the tornado.
http://ascherlstudios.com/History.aspx

Michael Ascherl 1928

Michael Ascherl 1928

At age 13, Michael Ascherl began working as an apprentice glazier in southern Germany. At age 16, Michael obtained Journeyman status before confiding to his boss that he wanted to learn stained glass. His boss dismissed it stating, “You’re too old to learn a new trade.” A few months later, Michael quit and promptly obtained employment with a small stained glass studio, The J. Gross Company. Michael’s duties included walking from town to town in southern Germany repairing windows. The glass rack and tool box, called a “Kraxze,” that he carried on his back over 100 years ago is proudly displayed in our showroom.

Michael immigrated to New York in the early 1900s where he met his wife before moving to Cleveland Ohio. Michael Ascherl landed employment with a commercial glass company until 1924 when a devastating tornado wiped out the downtown area of nearby Lorain Ohio. Due to extensive damage to downtown churches, Michael’s employer immediately sent him to their Lorain Ohio branch where a stained glass division was hastily set up.

first congregational chuch

For four years Michael spent his days rebuilding all of the damaged windows in the downtown churches.

In 1928, the daunting task of repairing all of the local churches was nearing its end. Michael Ascherl decided that he needed to focus on starting his own studio. Briefly named Sunset Studio, Michael later changed the name to Ascherl Studios.

This young man was Jim’s grandfather( the very artisan I had called – not knowing the connection) for my repair ; the craftsman who also used his talents to make the windows in this old house.

I was fascinated to think 90 years ago Jim’s grandfather standing in the rooms of what is now my home crafting with care these special windows. It was these windows that reminded me of England and home when I first came here, the brick and leaded “dickens windows “, as my mother calls them, drew me to this house.

Jim duly arrived and the consensus was the windows were in all certainty the work of his grandfather!

photo Dan Brady

photo Dan Brady

Also Jim has been working on the stained glass windows damaged etc when the fire totaled First Lutheran Church on 6th Street, so he was familiar with this area . This fire has been ruled arson , another Neanderthal destroying something beautiful and reverent

http://danielebrady.blogspot.com/2015/02/first-lutheran-church-directory-1966.html

A Tornado= a craftsman= leaded glass/stained glass windows= a grandson= a neighborhood church=and this old house and sometimes even destruction can bring about a good thing………

Tornado photos courtesy of Ohio Historical Society

http://ohsweb.ohiohistory.org/swio/pages/albums/1924_LorainTornado/1924_albumPage10.html

March 10, 2016 at 4:16 pm 4 comments

Feb 3rd- the boy – the man- Chris Ritchey

NO LIMITS- Past – Present- Future – Christopher Ritchey
chriscollage snob

These days of missing pile up like so much stuff in a hoarders closet. Pull out one item and blam the rest of those days – stuffed to the back of the “closet of mind”- explode out of their confinement , knocking me off my “grief feet” , stunned , covered in the bits of days I had pushed to the dark recesses- forgotten.

There I am sitting amongst all the rubble of life, the memories, bruised by the sheer weight of it all, overwhelming and in sad recollection. This sheer weight of it all might lessen, as more things are put away again, but the “mind closet” is filled to overflowing and will always be there until end of days.

Desperately hanging on to the memories of your face, your laugh, your voice means reliving the days you were a man.

chrisart collage

I was so proud of you Chris- I still am- your strength – the way you tried to keep from me your fears, your pain in those days of Texas. You knew I was frightened to death of what was happening to you, even in your darkest days you sought to protect Nikki, your dad, Nana and me.
chriswd
Last month, I received a sympathy card from across the world. They had only just learned you had died. They remembered , not the man, but the child – and at the same time “they” had been little more than a child when they visited us. Their words

“I will forever remember Christopher as a bright-eyed, blond-haired, cheeky, chirpy 8 year old boy”

ChriLonres
In my pain of remembering you as the man , it had been a long time since I had pulled from my mind those childhood memories of you. You WERE cheeky, you were a handful, you were loving , boisterous and sometimes bad.
soften collage

Jumping off the neighbor’s garage roof – spraining both ankles – hiding the pain so as not to feel my wrath at such behavior. Your feelings and moods were always written all over your face- open to the world.

Those last months, your eyes hidden for the most part behind those aviator glasses, trying not to share ……

bwgun-1
Those happy memories of you -the boy -gave a smile amongst all the clutter of grief-

I love you Chris- both the boy and the man and the strength of your spirit…………………

croppedbreathes
Breath of Life- Chris Ritchey

February 2, 2016 at 10:49 pm 1 comment

Medal of Honor – George C. Reid- The Gillmore Papers

I admit it I have become lethargic, apathetic, and more so than ever of late. This is due to finally realizing I am on the other side of the fence to the majority in my tilting of windmills. The court system ( locally) is sadly lacking. I can’t stomach the judicial posturing on face book and elsewhere of those judges that want re-election and those that want to be elected. I have been in too many courtrooms of late- locally – followed too many cases and in some cases insulting to the taxpayer results . We will ( the taxpayer) eventually end up paying for those judgments. ( too many articles to list search Housing Court/ Judges etc. on this blog)

A great number of local politicians paying lip service for too many years and the realization that pointing out issues ( that no one really wants to deal with anyway ) gets a flurry of activity until it is “received and filed”. Oh! I am not complaining as such – it is was it is but the end result I no longer care to get involved with Lorain’s posturing .

Even her history has been sliced, diced , ignored and compartmentalized.
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/04/13/lorain-history-changes-kicked-to-the-landfill/

BUT once in a while something happens to peak my interest once again and send me to the keyboard. I received a lovely book written by Hartley J. Smith Jr. Paula Shorf and Mathew Weisman .
Hartsres
The book centers on Black River, Charleston, Lorain and some of her early families . As I leafed through, re- reading some of the history we had already known and some we didn’t concerning “Charleston Village” -I felt guilty. I still hadn’t sorted into some sort of order Peggy Gillmore’s cuttings , letters etc. https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/04/28/history-mystery-lives-of-lorain-gillmore/ So yesterday I started.

Conrad_Reid
Mayor Conrad Reid was a name most familiar- he was Lorain’s first Mayor and I had seen amongst Peggy’s newspaper cutting an article from 1953 and the Lorain Journal
untitled
I pulled out the newspaper cuttings Peggy had clipped and saved through the years – pieces parts falling away into yellowing dust as I carefully read through them. There it was, the connection I remembered, from those many months ago when we first received a box of stuff!
The son of Conrad Reid- Lorain’s s first Mayor –George Croghan Reidnamed after his uncle – He had a varied military history

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Croghan_Reid

Reid was born in Lorain, Ohio and was the son of Conrad Cornelius Reid and his wife Helen Charlotte Crandall. George was named after his father’s brother George Croghan Reid, a Marine Corps veteran of the American Civil War. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps on May 20, 1898. His early assignments included duty with the China Relief Expedition and in the Philippines. In 1912 he was sent to Nicaragua during the insurrection in that country. He took part in the assault and capture of Coyotepe and Barranca on November 19, 1912, for which he received a letter of commendation for gallantry and conspicuous service in action.

In April 1914 he took part in the occupation of Vera Cruz, Mexico and was awarded the Medal of Honor for gallantry in action.

From 1919 to 1921 he was assigned to the Dominican Republic and commanded the Dominican National Guard. In 1921 to 1922 he attended the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island and then served as commander of the Marine Barracks at the Brooklyn Navy Yard from 1922 to 1924. He then attended the Army War College, then at Washington Barracks (now Fort McNair) in the District of Columbia, and graduated in 1925.

His last overseas assignment was in command of Marines at Guam. His last posting was Officer in Charge, USMC Recruiting Division, Chicago. He retired from the Marine Corps September 1, 1930 and was advanced to the rank of brigadier general from the retired list in February 1942 in recognition of having been commended for heroism in combat.

He died February 19, 1961 at the U.S. Air Force hospital, Harlingen Air Force Base, Texas and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia. His grave can be found in section 2, lot 1096-A LH. His wife, Mary Louise Calhoun, is buried with him.

He was a hereditary member of the District of Columbia Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS).

Lorain was a close-knit community and many of her sons went onto military fame including The Reids along with the Gillmores , Admirals- King and Braun – maybe they came from tough stock – the sons of Lorain certainly played an important role in this new nation .

There isn’t a bridge, or a school named after Brigadier General George Croghan Reid– Medal of Honor recipient- in fact, but for a few, I would think his very existence has been forgotten.

G C Reidmedal

Tucked away with the Medal Of Honor information was a photo of a “sloop of war” USS Marion , his ship
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Marion_(1839)

USS Marionres
Marion Reid info

Chronicle Telegram

Chronicle Telegram

Brig. General G C Reid was first and foremost a Marine and since The United States Marine Corp has now honored Eric Barnes Heroes Walk with a garden and flag pole in the honor of the Marines , I will make sure at least a commemorative planting honors another of Lorain’s Generals and Medal of Honor recipients.
the site today

the site today


The sons of Lorain linked once more through a walkway of heroes – not to be forgotten.
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2012/03/30/a-walk-of-heroes-settlers-watch-admiral-king-tribute-site/

Photo  Lisa Miller

Photo Lisa Miller

January 17, 2016 at 5:15 pm Leave a comment

January 3rd – cool as- Chris Ritchey

chriswin1

“Cool as the other side of the pillow” http://www.cheatsheet.com/sports/remembering-stuart-scott-as-cool-as-the-other-side-of-the-pillow.html/

For the past 7 days I have been fighting the gift given to me by my grandsons- they apparently got it from school – however this is turning out to be the gift that keeps on giving . Maybe it is my age or weakened immune system but they managed to get over their gift a lot easier than I am getting over mine.

This means I have had a lot of time to lay in bed , think, dream and ponder life, it also means my guard and “filtering out the bad” is down. As I lay between fitful sleep and coughing, I have taken advantage of the other side of the pillow. Thankfully colder temperatures have prevailed – hopefully that will kill off some of the “bugs” but I have opened my bedroom window to the cold air- which of course makes the pillows even colder. The cool pillows give respite to the fevered brow and bring some relief if only for a little while.

I was reminded , as the years have gone by, since your passing there has been very little relief from the missing , grieving and memories lost. I take relief from grief where I can find it- constantly looking for the other side of the pillow for some relief in my journey.

Unless they have had a similar journey, people cannot possibly understand what this means and how difficult the journey . I know before this happened I , who was usually empathetic ,never fully grasped the devastation losing one’s son , watching the process of dying – by inches- every day causes to one’s life and psyche and I wish I had been able to remain ignorant.

I don’t like being this half person, this wanderer through a world I cannot fathom. Choices are not given, anger and hurt lay just beneath the surface. You do not choose to visit pain and anger but they are intertwined with the memories of you.

artwork Chris Ritchey

artwork Chris Ritchey


But there are people who don’t need the coolness of the other side of the pillow, they carry their coldness with them – That first January
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/01/03/in-search-of-my-son-and-in-search-of-me/
The coldness of control visited upon this family just days before set me off on a journey of life, death, hypocrisy and love. I watched another mother ” Sue Lombardi”
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/10/14/an-open-letter-mama-sue-lombardi/
as you died and the relief on her face knowing her daughter wouldn’t be burdened with an invalid.

Sue Lombardi Lorain
This same woman, who complained two days after you were diagnosed with the return of the cancer, phoning me to get the “fundraiser” organized – I remember telling her I couldn’t talk about that – you were in a bad way emotionally that Sunday only to be told ” Well now you know what Angela has had to put up with The Dr. of note at South Pointe Hospital who told Angela – “You have dodged a bullet -( with Chris dying)… and the classic Lombardi quote on the return of the cancer-

I hope this won’t put Angela in debt….

True coldness – immune to human compassion……..”cold cash”

No ! I wouldn’t have wanted to keep you alive with such a terrible diminished quality of life- being blind- bedridden- having to face yet another return of the Refactory Hodgkin’s – you would’ve hated that – I know that your words to me “Don’t let me be pathetic mum” told me more than I wanted to hear – your hope had gone

Still I hear your voice and wish that I didn’t also hear theirs …..

Other self  by Chris Ritchey

Other self by Chris Ritchey

January 3, 2016 at 3:18 pm Leave a comment

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