Posts filed under ‘men of substance’
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.
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…
The Tornado of Lorain
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-
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.
When the little park at the end of the street, now known as Veterans Park
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 –
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.
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.
That was January 2008–
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 –
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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”
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.
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 ……
I love you Chris- both the boy and the man and the strength of your spirit…………………
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.
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 .
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.
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
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
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.
Tucked away with the Medal Of Honor information was a photo of a “sloop of war” USS Marion , his ship
The sons of Lorain linked once more through a walkway of heroes – not to be forgotten.
“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.
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
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”
as you died and the relief on her face knowing her daughter wouldn’t be burdened with an invalid.
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 …..
I have always tried to Remember those who fought on November the 11th – from granddads, uncles and my father- to my generation, my husband USAF, my cousins and to those friends who have lost their sons to war.
I was pleased and touched the last piece of art work produced by my son was in honor for another young man who gave his life for his country ( in remembrance)- Eric Barnes .
I was reminded on Remembrance Sunday, as I walked through the dining room, of my father . I hadn’t looked at his medals in a very long time as they hung over the sword he bought me ( The Sword of Charlemagne ) incase I ever did Camelot again. He was coerced into polishing up a sword for the theatrical production in which I was involved -a lousy job and one he decided he wouldn’t do again – hence the purchase of the sword !
There was a lot of dust, the ribbons had lost their sharp colours over the decades and they decidedly needed a clean . I knew some of his medals were gone – RN Long Service and Good conduct Medal, The Arctic Star and the Oak cluster – I had used them to pin my dolly’s clothes when I was just a little one.
Although I had written about his Royal Navy Career in the series along with my mother’s remembrances of those days of world war two –
I can’t really remember having ever “looked ” closely at the medals.
I was surprised at the number of theatres of war in which he had been involved. And then, I remembered this man , my father who had been in the Royal Navy before war broke out and had seen so much in those terrible years was only 28 years old when Victory was declared – my mother 26-. War is for the young they say ……
THE AFRICA STAR******
Naval personnel anywhere at sea in the Mediterranean or in harbour in North Africa, Malta or Egypt between the above dates will qualify. Those serving in direct support of the Eritrean and Abyssinian campaigns between certain other specified dates will also qualify.
THE ARCTIC STAR**** The Arctic Star is granted for operational service of any length north of the Arctic Circle (66 degrees, 32’N) from the 3rd September, 1939, to the 8th May, 1945, inclusive. The Arctic Star is intended to commemorate the Arctic Convoys and is designed primarily for the ships of the convoys to North Russia and their Escorts. •Royal Navy and Merchant Navy: naval and Merchant Navy service anywhere at sea north of the Arctic Circle to include, but not limited exclusively to, those ships participating in, and in support of, Convoys to North Russia
THE ATLANTIC STAR******
The Battle of the Atlantic took place between 3 September 1939 and 8 May 1945 as German U boats, aircraft and surface vessels attacked the convoys transporting valuable supplies from America and the colonies to Britain.
Warships of the RN and aircraft of the RAF escorted the convoys, hunted the U boats, fought German ships and, despite some notable German successes, the allies won a comprehensive victory in the Atlantic
THE ITALY STAR Naval personnel must qualify first for the 1939 to 1945 Star before the Italy Star can be awarded. It is then awarded for service at sea in the Mediterranean between the above dates provided that it was directly connected with active operations in the Mediterranean theatre.
George VI Medal *****The duration of the Second World War in Europe was from 3 September 1939 to 8 May 1945, while in the Pacific Theatre it continued until 2 September 1945. The War Medal 1939–1945 was instituted by the United Kingdom on 16 August 1945 and was awarded to all full-time personnel of the armed forces and merchant marines
Oak Leaf awarded to personnel who have been mentioned in despatches in action with the enemy (all environments) in war.
I believe ,in researching my dad’s history, a mention of the incident for which he was mentioned in despatches
1400 – Explosion in our ship don’t know whether we hit or what it is yet someone gave a scream.
1445 – Explosion was heater drain observation tank in boiler room exploding. 2 stokers seriously scalded and 1 fractured elbow.
We left Harmatris to two Russian tugs and proceeded to Polyarnoe (Russia) at all speed.
I should like Commanding Officers of all Minesweepers to know that I fully appreciate the good work in the difficult conditions in the past few days searching, escorting, and hunting under the nose of the enemy sea and air forces. It does everyone, but especially the Engine room department, great credit that all ships have been ready for service whenever called upon and I am sure that valuable lives and ships have been saved by the good work performed.
CommanderSenior Officer, Sixth Minesweeping Flotilla “
The HMS Speedwell was a minesweeper and now a segue back to Lorain
and another naval man Admiral Ernest J King–
His tribute space has the flags flying – not on a flag pole but a ship’s mast and a “minesweeper mast” at that rescued from the from the old American Ship yard.
Old Mast at American Shipyard
( Now in place at the Admiral King Tribute Site 1st and Hamilton)
PLEASE TAKE A WALK THROUGH THE ERIC BARNES HEROES WALK THIS WEEK AND AS YOU REMEMBER THOSE THAT FOUGHT AND CONTINUE TO FIGHT – REMEMBER THEIR YOUTH -LOST – SOME WILL NOT GROW OLD AND DID NOT GROW OLD- AND THOSE THAT SURVIVED NEVER FORGOT – CHANGED FOREVER.