Posts filed under ‘men of substance’

Jan 3rd- No Limits- the foreword- Chris Ritchey

I  start another decade, recent months have been very  hard, some of the situations I  have blogged about some may  not ever come to  light on this blog. I am waiting … I have spent most of December deciding on how to  proceed . I am definitely  going to  “try  and finish” the book NO LIMITS as it pertains to  my  son. Although 10 ish chapters have already  been written I have had to  decide how to  proceed. I have made the decision to not only  publish in paperback form  eventually  but I may start serializing  each month on this blog. Here for your edification ( readers who still bear with me ) is the foreword  of NO LIMITS!!!!!!

NO LIMITS

By Loraine Ritchey

“Nothing should be hidden or untouchable, if it is your truth and you stand behind it – no one should be able to silence you “

Foreword- NO LIMITS

Brave words from my son, Christopher, on a fall day, his 4th year at Cleveland Institute of Art. I had met him for a meal in Tremont, Ohio. He was so very angry, one of his projects had met with resistance and indeed censorship. His anger and frustration spilled out:

Why were his thoughts not being accepted in a very community that accepts so much more than the general population? Why would he be censored in the very open environment of an art college where nothing it seemed was untouchable?

After all, his fellow students went outside so many politically incorrect boundaries. Had he gone past where even those of his peers were feared to go? Had he come up against the self-imposed limits of a society of his peers?

I never did find out what the project was that caused the censorship and his anger that day. In true Christopher fashion, he changed his project to another, an “Anti-Political Correctness Campaign– complete with displays and posters He used the situation to “speak out” and “show” those who believed themselves to be followers of the out of the box thinking, they were still inside a box, even if the box they had made was larger than most, their walls maybe be transparent yet there were and are walls.

 

freedom of speech by Chris Ritchey

As I ponder the wisdom of writing the events of life ans we know it and death as we believe it to be, I know there will be questions I cannot answer, events I cannot prove.

I am opening myself, my family and my son to a world of naysayers, negativity and ridicule. I will reach the walls with this book. I will push aside and through the walls my peers in this “community”  and others have erected for themselves and for me.

Ironically although  I have always written the truth whenever I have sat at this keyboard and its predecessors I probably   won’t be believed , explanations will abound, logic ( as we perceive things to happen)will come into play .

I have hesitated for months, even years, to tell the story from my self-imposed box. I have written millions of words on my personal blog in the 10 years since my son died. https://www.thatwoman.wordpress.com . I have written his story, I have opened myself and my innermost thoughts and feelings. I have told the tale of cruelty, searing pain and thoughts of suicide. I have exposed myself in ways not many would without fear. So then, why is it I hesitate to share all of our story, a story of continuing love, strength and astonishment?

What could be so dangerous in opening up a world of hurt to my loved ones? Why would a love that continues cause such angst and trepidation in those of my society?

Society? Oh they can’t hurt me, I am beyond their pain, their laughter The sound of laughter to one who rarely laughs is just pleasant echo of what once was. There should be laughter in the world, I do not begrudge laughter or being the source of humor. The disbelief , I don’t care whether they believe or what they believe, so many believe so many different things, worship so many gods, those slings and arrows will not penetrate my being there is an armor in “knowing” The insults and negativity that will come as the story unfolds will bring the comments-

Why not my loved one? Why them? It is the grief, she wants money, she wants her five minutes of fame, and she always was strange. , needs medication, exploiting her son. They are just consumed with grief, hallucinating.

Yes! I can hear those raucous voices, tinged with the cynicism, of organized religion or lack of religious beliefs. So why martyr my family on the pyre of society? Why open this family to those who would wound?

I HAVE to document what happened to this family and my son, for the sake of my daughter, grandsons and future generations. I have be brave, as my son was brave. I need to tell this story of a mother’s nightmare, of a love that reaches through the barriers of disbelief, of hope. I have the need to document and yet there is a fear my son will once again be negated in death as he was in life by those of “beliefs”.

Every night I see one of my son’s “projects’ from his graphic design course as it hangs framed upon the bedroom wall. It was a small project

Take three words and make the visual connection. Timid- Confidence, Aggressive- coupled with Past, Present and Future to tell a story.

 

It is the “future” graphic which nags at me, his future was not to be. The cartoon character of a snow boarder explaining his future and the word “aggressive”. I looked at the artwork through tears for weeks as it hung, along with other projects, on the wall. It wasn’t until I looked very carefully one day whilst dusting; I noticed written faintly on the bottom of the snowboard “No limits” and yet I too, have limited the truth by omitting a truth from my writings on my blog..

It is time to  tell the story  so long in waiting no matter the consequences….

To be continued … Chapter  One 

January 2, 2020 at 11:32 pm 2 comments

Nov 3rd – Museum of the Heart- Chris Ritchey

This is an old house, and I  am getting old.

I am comfortable in this house because it reminds me of the homes of my  family, the people  I loved with  whom I  shared my  early  years  growing up in England.

The fringes on lampshades , large cabbage roses in a vase on the table and on the walls and bedspreads.

Then there was always chintz in the old cottages and especially  in my  grandmothers’ abodes, the wealthy  one especially, along with  velvet winter drapes , changed to  chintz in the spring  I always thought of her living room with  silks and overstuffed furniture, brass reflecting the firelight as a bit of an Aladdin’s cave. Yes! due to  drafts and no  central heating drapes and curtain were changed out from spring and autumn. I  used to  do  that in my  younger days, slipcovers going over the couch  etc. when summer arrived.

When my  mother had to  leave her home in England , she brought with  her  the things she loved. When she finally  had to  move in with us

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2011/09/26/what-are-they-thinking-the-thought-process-stops-here/

We had to  clear away  a lot of things  – six rooms  did not go  into  the two  rooms we were able to  give her.

 

Still some of the items she could not bear to  give or throw away. Those items that didn’t fit into  her new living space had to  be introduced to  the rest of my  house.

One of the reasons I  have two  antique cocktail cabinets, one a wedding present from my  parents and one my  father made.

A couple of years ago I featured in a magazine, Pulse.

The writer/photographer came to  interview and as she went through  the house she exclaimed

OH this is like a museum!!!

To tell the truth  I  was a little taken aback.

No!.this was my  home, yes some of the things are antiques  having come down through  family, probably  not worth  a lot but you  would find them in most “cottagey type homes” in England.

 

 

 

 

 

( Horse Brasses, warming pans , brass or copper kettles and fire fenders ( very  useful)

Some things are old not antiques just remembrances of holidays, gifts through  the years. Then there are the things my  children made or purchased for my  birthdays , Mother’s Day  etc. and finally  your artwork Chris. You  work hangs along side , pride of place on the walls  with  the portrait of the old lady  –  circa 1785,

and paintings and water colours from your great – great grandfather  and great great uncle.

Fairyland painting by Jack Stokes

Oil by  Jack Henry Stringer

 

Nana’s needlework pictures . These are things I love and live with  and yes! use everyday and try  to dust at least once a week……….. .

Today , as I  was thinking about this old house and a “museum piece” I realized that although  a few years ago I  had decided to  de- clutter- out with the old…..life got in the way  and your dying – leaving me just your work ,

Breath of Life – Celtic Knot – Chris Ritchey

 

and then my  mum having to  spend her last years here and all the things she loved coming with  her,. Artwork and items made by  my  father came with  her. The little gifts from Braedyn and Gavin, Nikki I  realized in some way  it is a museum – this old housea museum of my  heart.

I love you  more each  day  that passes and I am as proud of you  as I  ever was…. you  are still in my  heart and home…………

Reaching out- art work- Christopher Ritchey

November 3, 2019 at 3:39 pm 1 comment

October 3rd- out of reach- Chris Ritchey

 

The brieftake a photo  of self  taking a photo  of self……….. and I found that classwork after you passed. I remember, I cried thinking  how at that moment in time  you  were captured on the other side of the window just out of my  reach. I feel that still that you  are just there , a shadow,  just out of my  reach ………..

I felt so  strongly  about the photo I  had it made into  blank cards. I used them to  thank  people for all they  had done after you died and I sent one , pouring out my  heart to  the Vatican . I  was so  confused as to  why  these “strong  faith based Catholics” (Lombardis) and their priest – Father Divas decided to  take from your family  any  semblance of  closure and peace…… I  wanted  clarification on how this was part of a faith  based on love and kindness not retribution and selfishness!

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/01/27/when-death-becomes-divorce-chris-ritchey/

Well I  did receive a letter back which  was published on my  blog. Telling me to  forgive , well not likely  to  happen then or now , not “Catholic”  just “Celtic ”

BUT I remember thinking that somewhere in the archives and files of the Vatican is a letter of heartbreak  with  your artwork  – Just out of Reach– amongst all the millions of papers and prints and works of art.

I love you  my  son that has never gone away  and neither have the tears I cry and won’t  until you  are no  longer out of my  reach………..

October 2, 2019 at 10:10 pm 1 comment

April 3rd- FORGOTTEN- Chris Ritchey

In the days and weeks I  have been in this latest medical situation I  managed to  watch a movie – Hunters Lodge– not a wonderful movie but entertaining enough  to  take my  mind off of things. However, the opening lines  resonated with me:

“They  say  you  die three times – once when your body  fails you – again when you  are buried ( funeral) and again when you  are forgotten”

Those were the lines that  set me watching the rest of the movie… I agree with them.   I believe   you  have died twice and in some cases  three times. There are those that  forgot and dismissed you  from memory  in the very beginning of our loss but there are those who  truly  love you  from whose memory  and life you  will not be forgotten.

 

 

Gavin, just a few months old when you  passed  and Braedyn  born 3 years later KNOW you,  talk of you  and “remember” not in the usual way of remembering a life  but who  you  are now! You  are still very  much  a part of their lives.

Very  few of my  family  left remember my  Grandmother  “Nanny  Bunyan” and her sons, my  mum’s mother , Nanny  Hines – such  a different person from my  Dad’s mother  not the exotic sophisticated wealthy  red- haired fashion conscious , jewel wearing and Channel  No  5   for her. Nanny  Hines  a nurse/ midwife  mother to  6 – 3 boys and 3 girls and all that entailed, no,  she was warm and loving and gentle .

 

Soon, those of us that still remember each  of them as they  were when they  were alive and part of our living memory  will also  have passed  and apart from the little bits of information  left in  my  mothers” ” MY BOOK” ( hopefully  passed down to  the younger family  members) we too will die our third death.

Cover Design Chris Ritchey

I  have tried to  hold (in the present )  the “man that time forgets” – you- by  keeping your life, your art, your thoughts and our love for you  alive on this blog- archived (hopefully  for  all time)   – and  with  my  own book, when it is completed

and our own  contributions to  the great – what happens after you  die  theories ……

 

Love doesn’t forget……. and neither do  we

April 3, 2019 at 10:31 am 4 comments

May 3rd- Words are all I have- Chris Ritchey

Words- text- communication through  a written language. Reading was always difficult for you  as a little boy you were at the beginning of a local failing school system. A system that had to  show progress, so  although  you  had the extra classes , they  passed you  through as completing their  grant driven reading programs. It wasn’t until the 5th  grade we found out , when I  had you  privately  tested, just how bad the problem was. Three years of catch-up and a change to  private education.

Those years were hard for you , you  thought you  must be “stupid”.  However, you  also  developed a skill of  communicating “visually” . Eventually  reading caught up  with  your ability  to  use your art to  communicate.  You  found a niche for your talent at Lorain County  Community  College https://www.lorainccc.edu/

and on the advice of the college you transferred to  Cleveland Institute of Art

http://www.cia.edu/

artwork Chris Ritchey

It was at the students art show at Cleveland Institute of Art , I  was looking at some of your designs etc. I noticed a couple of mistakes in the text. I spoke to  the your instructor that evening about the  mistakes in the text.  He looked at me and said :

“that is not a problem , we can teach  and correct  spelling  etc. what I  can’t teach  is what your son has, his ability  , creativity  and talent. I will give a an assignment  to  the group – “come   up  with  three different  advertising concepts  on a given product/ client  within a week” – Chris, will come back  within two  days with  10  entirely  different takes.  I can’t teach  that……

 

Eventually  you  gained a  position as Art Director for  Wyse Advertising .

http://www.wyseadv.com/

Apparently , according to  your boss at the time, you were poised to do  great things in advertising … we will never know…. but Wyse  were wonderful to  you during that terrible time of your illness.

I do  remember that first year  you worked for Wyse  you  were asked to  do  the ad for them in the annual “Torchlight” Membership  Directory

The monthly AAF-Cleveland Portfolio features the latest in industry development and trends, association insights and updates, and achievements of local members. “Torchlight,” our annual membership directory, is an invaluable “Who’s Who” reference manual of members, agencies, and services in Cleveland advertising.

The directory  was in your portfolio   and the ad………. text, words …….. “scan of the full-page ad that appeared in the Torchlight”

Artwork Christopher Ritchey

 

But there aren’t any  words  that were  so  important as the last words you  wrote to  me – even with  the spelling mistake…….I carry  them with  me every  day

 

Mother’s Day  is coming, once again tinged with  tears and bitter-sweet  ———– I love you…………I need to  finish writing  the book  if I can find the words

 

May 3, 2018 at 11:19 am Leave a comment

Dec 3rd- The waiting – Chris Ritchey

The dark days are here – night-time draws ever closer- I am as a child  frightened of the coming bleak hours/ days –  cuddled down in the bed that is life -looking for warmth- a place to  escape  the dreading –  a window has a glimmer of a lighter shade of night illuminating the place where I  lay.

Still my  eyes are drawn to  the corners , where darkness has gathered  and I know that as the dying days draw ever nearer I will have to  face that darkness that has accumulated  and grown over the days , months and years .  As hard as I try to  keep back the darkness of those days of death  , they are ever-present waiting  to  be released by  the memories of your dying   and those terrible days.

The hope – massacred  by  cancer  causing the onslaught of a pain so deep , a scream that never ends  just becomes silent – to  all but a few.  Every  year I dread these days , the holidays  that hold so  much  more to  me now than pumpkin pies, turkey, lighted trees , singing – they  are tinged with  a blight  that dulls happiness to  that of a  shadow  of holidays past.

 

You  are with  us , I  know.. more so than any other … and for that I  am grateful.. but I  long to  see your face.. hear your  voice…… and laugh at your irreverence instead  I have to  pull over my  face  the  covers of protection-   muffle my  sobs into  the bosom of my  family   and wait…………….

I love and miss you  more with  each  passing day

 

December 3, 2017 at 12:15 am 3 comments

Feb 3rd – The Toilet Bowl – Chris Ritchey-

chrisart collage

There are over 1,500 posts on this site now. Some are more popular than others. Searches are driven by information on particular subjects and some by images that have been uploaded to the internet. There is one post that ranks above all the rest everyday, it is the first in ranking bringing in thousands of hits in any month since it’s inclusion in 2010 . It is the photos included in the post that drives the traffic .

I am not sure how you would feel about this “still life” for classwork (?)2003 as having been interesting to so many every day since I first uploaded it . The work was not included in my collage of you or even in the “art show” . I am not sure what the message was if any – just a classwork assignment????? – but it has a following every single day and seemingly the most popular of any of the jpgs I use of yours with nearly every post.

Les toilettes comédie by Chris Ritchey

Les toilettes comédie by Chris Ritchey

I watched a commercial for Poo- pourri and thought well maybe you were before your time

Sweet Toilet by  Chris Ritchey

Sweet Toilet by Chris Ritchey

So many times I have wished I could ask you why or what when looking at your work and so many time each day I miss your humor as I watch this world spinning into chaos and justice fleeting. I wonder what you would say about the current political situation, how you would express visually all that I cannot put into words………..I love and miss you more each day………

 the Dancing man - Chris Ritchey

the Dancing man – Chris Ritchey

February 3, 2017 at 1:21 pm Leave a comment

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