Posts filed under ‘men of substance’
These days of winter still linger outside the den window- snow still falling in March. The ground frozen- unyielding and yet below a small little bulb struggles to break through the hard coldness surrounding it. The energy within fights the blackness to reach the surface. Soon the snows will melt in a warming sun turning ice to life, giving moisture, warming the dormant earth until at last the bulb senses a release from the prison. Tentatively, it will send out a small shoot to search for the sunlight- pushing through undaunted and finally celebrating its freedom with a glory of fragrance, colours reflective of passion and hope.
I wish my life was like that – it isn’t- the bulb has more of a chance than I. My world is still dark and frozen. The questions rage on in my mind- WHY? Why is my beautiful son locked in that terrible place- thanks to others.
He had no chance to see the coming spring.
Why?? rings through the bleakness – why if there is as supreme being , whatever the beliefs does he/she allow the horrors perpetrated in their names and yet daily those of light and laughter die? Why???
I don’t know of any answer! I have been reminded of those things this week and your last days. The mask, I had to wear when in your ICU room, caused an allergic reaction under my nose and around my mouth. It took many days for it to heal properly after you died. The scar is there, unseen for the most-part but every so often with a cold virus it will flair. It did this week, from a distance it could be mistaken for a “Hitler moustache. Another subhuman- Roman Catholic altar boy who visited such horror upon mankind.
And yet there is a beauty in this grief so profound as to sap the energy of life and laughter – it is the love that your Nana, Dad and sister still feel – not diminishing- as the world turns once more around the sun – one day I will know the answers ……. as will we all in the meantime I will put my faith in the earth , the sky , the sun and rain to bring forth life……….
January 3rd- All over this planet people are starting this year of 2015 with goals- losing weight , spending more time with family, giving up smoking etc. My goal, is to be able to sit in the chair in the den long enough to write my 3rd of the month post for you my son. Not to do so would be , for me , breaking faith with not letting the world forget as so many in your life have already done, that you existed were loved and made a difference.
Without going into too much detail, I have had chronic pain for a few months. First the drugs were tried and they took care of it so it was manageable for a few weeks at a time but then more and stronger were needed. I have learned through your months of “hospitals and doctors ” more negatives than I ever wished to know about the health care system and some “professionals and hospitals”. Because of my life for those many months watching and seeing the outcomes I now trust only my instincts , my intelligence and my own research.
Yes that is right Chris, the one thing I learned is that I should have taken more charge of what was happening to you- I didn’t. Would the outcome have been the same? In all probability YES but the pain of our journey would have been lessened and hope would not have been sold “wholesale” for as long as the insurance paid and you would not have been Cleveland Clinic “lab rat”.
As I researched and interviewed Drs. I refused to be sent to anyone having anything to do with my dreaded Cleveland Clinic or doctors that took their residency under a certain Program Director at South Pointe Hospital –
I knew too much about that aspect of Dr. training from personal experience.
You would be amazed at the faces of potential health care professionals when I interviewed them. I am sure a couple were getting out the “white coat” for me. But remember this is my body , my choice, they are not gods, just people earning a living in the health care industry and not all doctors are of the same level. Putting a MD or DO to their name doesn’t make then all-knowing or of more than a “passable” expertise ! You and your insurance are paying for their expertise and yet so often we turn ourselves over to people we don’t know or know very little about or who know about you and say “save me”. You trust in their ability or the ability to refer but to whom?? You have rights as a patient and I now choose to exercise those rights.
However, I have managed even with my “outrageous to some” criteria to find a few wonderful doctors, and two very special hospitals, small enough to know my name and to whom , I and my family are people and not just an insurance number or the next condo in the islands payment .
One, St. John West Shore http://www.sjws.net/
has literally saved my husband’s life twice in the past 18 months and have treated my strange proclivity’s with patience, caring and understanding.
The pain worsened , I managed with drugs and hot water bottles and a lot of understanding from family and friends for the two weeks it took for the “insurance” to tell my doctor it was Ok for the next step.
Every time I filled the red hot water bottle , too hot for my bare skin, I thought of you the hundreds of times the five hot water bottles we filled in Texas as you went through the “trial” with no one but you and I. The number of scalding hot baths you took every night to ease the pain in your body. You never complained to me I know you didn’t want to scare me , you were “eating pain pills like candy” I knew you were just trying “to be”. I watched the pain envelope you but the phone would ring and you would answer in a voice so strong so as to hide the agony you were going through.
December 17th found me having the first procedure which went well, in fact better than expected and for 10 wonderful days I had only very slight discomfort- the pain forgotten as I got through Christmas. I was waiting for the procedure in the operating room and the anesthesiologist as he stated ” you will feel a little burn then nothing”- I remember thinking
I wish you could make me feel nothing! I wish you and your anesthesia had something to erase this horrible debilitating grief( that you are unaware of as I lay here)
But just like the tsunami of grief that is held at bay whilst life continues, so the pain laid low for a bit roared back into being . It came back after departing for a just a brief while,- contained – only to break through the medical barrier stronger for the respite as my body probably was doing more than it should without the warning of pain.
New Years Eve, found me once again laying on the table waiting to have my misery relieved. I have in the past months learned to live outwardly not showing for the most part the grieving mess I really am- the powder and paint of normalcy painted on like a mask every morning.
This time although I felt nothing due to the anesthesia and how that works is a mystery to me and also to others
” Despite their necessity in modern medicine, scientists aren’t sure exactly how anesthetics work. The best theory suggests that they dissolve some of the fat present in brain cells, changing the cells’ activity. But, the precise mechanisms remain unknown. ”
Well the fat cells in my brain may have been dissolved but apparently “according to the nurse” my fat body ( she didn’t say that though) was not co-operating and was moving around in pain on the table for a bit even after my brain was anesthetized .
Not such a good thing for the doctor, I would assume, poised to do a delicate procedure. I, of course was unaware this happened although in my mind’s eye this great lump of a body laden with grief flopping around on the table half-naked probably wasn’t a great sight for him that New Years Eve. He earned his money that day.
So here it is January 2nd , my pain has lessened although I am not fully functional but I am endeavouring to sit in a chair for as long as it takes to finish this post for you. – a lap top may be in my future-
But somehow I will get this post written and posted even if I have to take jpgs of these scribbles and post them.
Another year without you in our lives will not be happy but hopefully it will at least be free from physical pain…. and I think of you every waking minute of every pain filled moment… I love you Chris
Disclaimer : The views and opinions in this post as to various doctors and hospitals are entirely my own based upon my varied experiences with such entities through out the illness of my family members and myself. I have no medical expertise but the life experience of having been there immersed in the world of medicine !
Click on all jpg’s to enlarge
A yellowing, crumbling to the touch, page of a newspaper from May 1894 took me on a journey once more into the lives of my neighbors of the 1800’s. This small neighborhood, poised to become the 10th largest city in the state, full of promise , steel and manufacturing. One of her ‘great names”,( George Wickens) tinged with scandal was found in the words of that newspaper cutting from another neighbor, after she passed- whose family had been part of the birthing of a city. https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/10/23/generally-gillmore-the-last-post-lorain-part-12/
Mayor George Wickens, had been pilloried in the press, small paragraphs recounting his troubles in various news print around the state. But what of Mida Pershing. “no spring chicken” according to George at the ripe old age of 26- earning a living through secretarial work, and then “unceremoniously imposed upon” by her boss, George. George Wickens, a pillar and strength of a fledgling city!
I have to think Mida must have been courageous, principled or very naïve to have taken on Mr. Wicken’s behavior in the public eye. Women of her time just didn’t cross that threshold and make of themselves the subject of gossip, but Mida did. I uncovered some small facts about Mida-
Mida was born in 1868 one of 7 children to George Washington Pershing and Catherine Cline.
Just a note here there are some discrepancies in the two “search for ancestors sites” as to her date of death. I will go with the date on the headstone North Murray Ridge Cemetery , Elyria 1947
making her 79. She married Ray A Eldred (1876 – 1958) in October of 1901. Roy was 8 years her junior. Mida went on to have 5 children apparently – two dying early on
Helen ELDRED b: 15 AUG 1903 Children Nettie K. ELDRED Ralph A. ELDRED b: 5 AUG Walter P. ELDRED Ruth V. ELDRED
You see George Wickens settled the case against him in 1895–
Just what the terms were of that settlement I haven’t been able to find on-line but one would assume the terms were satisfactory to Mida at the time .
Note:If anyone has more information on the case I would love to update the posts.
George was once again asked to resign :
PDF File of the complaint:
Jan 7 1896
George was adamant there was no such wrongdoing with the books for the cemetery account ( see above PDF file)
1896 The Lorain County Reporter
January 11, 1896
– The committee from the Lorain council appointed to investigate the books of Mayor Wickens, reported a shortage of over $250. The committee stated that the result was probably caused by bad book keeping. The mayor made a speech in which he stated that he was a victim of a conspiracy to ruin him. The council by a vote of eight to two requested him to resign his office, which he has thus refused to do. A strong undercurrent of public feeling has been aroused, and many do not hesitate to state that Mayor Wickens is being unmercifully persecuted by his enemies.
George, however, did not give up on Lorain as his full obituary found here on Dan Brady’s site : http://danielebrady.blogspot.com/2012/06/meet-george-wickens-part-1.html
From 1872 for approximately 10 years he was a “contractor”
While engaged in the carpentry business in Lorain, Mr. Wickens built many of the older houses now located on the east side and was the contractor that built the old lighthouse which now stands at the end of the west pier of the river
Lorain’s fist big dig maybe??
NOTE Contacting the Engineering Dept. they have found mention of
” # Y-45 created sometime between 1915-1919, but determined lost in 1923″ but that too would have been AFTER George had died in 1908- The question then becomes IS THERE ANOTHER TUNNEL UNDER THE BLACK RIVER SOMEWHERE?????
From George’s obituary we learn :
He was mayor of the city when the plant of the National Tube company came to Lorain and had in his possession at the time of his death the first piece of steel ever turned out by the plant. In ’97 Mr. Wickens was elected as a member of the council from the second ward and later was a member of the boards of cemetery trustees and water works trustees. He was elected a member of the first board of public service in 1903. At the last municipal election he was again elected to the office of member of the board of public service by a large majority. He was also a member of the board of library trustees.
Upon his death the trustees wrote:
The trustees of the public library issued a special resolution that was part of that same article. It stated, “Resolved that in the death of Mr. Wickens this Association has lost one of its most useful members. Identified with the earliest efforts to establish a free public library in Lorain, Mr. Wickens gave his time and thought most generously to promote the cause. He was never called upon to assist in the work that he did not promptly respond, often at great inconvenience and sometimes actual loss to himself.
“It should therefore be known to all the people of Lorain that the Public Library as it now stands is in a sense a monument to the public spirit and noble character of George Wickens.”
The Board of Trustees are J.W. Jones, E.M. Pierce, Mrs. J.H. Hills, Mrs. McIlvaine, W.C. Fisher, George Wickens, E.E. Hopkins, and F.A. Rowley.
And so we come full circle back to the History( makers) of Lorain of which he was such an integral part. His story “hopefully” preserved by the Lorain Historical Society who now occupy that self-same Library– The Carnegie Library- I wonder if among the artifacts there is another yellowing piece of paper telling more of his story……………
Again many thanks to Dan Brady, Frank Sipkovsky, Paula Shorf for their research and information……..
Part One https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/11/12/mayor-george-wickens-buried-on-the-back-pages-lorain/
Part Five https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/12/11/mayor-george-wickens-changing-times-lorain/
Click on all jpg’s to enlarge
Evening Herald 1894
“When in the Mayors office she says he spoke a few words more about embalming and asked her if he should show her his person. She said no and he then asked her to kiss him. She says she sprang to one side of the table. He followed her , caught hold of her and kissed her on the ear. She says she then turned and confronted him and he said something which she does not remember and quickly left the room . He went to dinner and came back within 15 minutes and wanted her to say she thought he meant nothing wrong.
Oh George! had he been breathing in too much embalming fluid vapors, had his ardor cooled like a corpse on the table after leaving the room, perhaps realizing the seriousness of his behavior? In 1894 Lorain such behavior was indeed not accepted in polite society, especially in the puritanical Midwestern US who were desperately clinging to civilization among plank sidewalks, mud filled streets . Women were at a decided disadvantage it would take another 25 years for Mida to even get the right to vote – Democrat or Republican .
Now George was not the only “Republican Mayor” to be held up to the public for whispering naughty naughties to a “city employee” although the more squeamish newspaper ( Plain Dealer) of the 21st century day did not print in detail the intimate conversations of Mayor Craig Foltin and the “sex tapes”( 2003)
From the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Aug. 6, 2003:
The lurid details of a taped conversation that appears to be between Mayor Craig Foltin and a police dispatcher became public yesterday.
Two weeks ago, an anonymous person sent the six-minute tape to City Council President Kenneth Shawver. The tape includes several instances of sexual banteringThe phone rings and the mayor says, “Hey.””You have a great . . .,” a woman says.”Who is this?” the mayor jokes.
The two laugh as they discuss details from a recent night.Foltin also speaks about attending a retirement party, and a meeting with state, county and city officials on improvements to Colorado Avenue and going to court to acquire property from residents.
And a few paragraphs later:
After listening to the tape with a reporter, Foltin said the conversation was from 11/2 years ago, though he never conceded that it was his voice.
Listening to a portion of the tape, Foltin said, “I don’t remember any of those conversations.” After the entire tape was played, he said: “I think it’s tough to tell. I can’t tell if it’s me. What do you think?”
Foltin would not say whether he had dated a police dispatcher. “Right now, I am settled down and engaged to a lovely girl,” he said, declining to identify her. His fiancée does not work for the city, he said.
We at OH-13 are unsure of what the bigger laugh is: is it that he was enjoying a sexual phone conversation with an on-duty police dispatcher, he was too stupid to realize that the POLICE TAPE ALL THE CALLS, or that when presented with the calls, he knew when they were made, but was unsure if he was the one on them? Was he just listening in to calls between a police dispatcher and someone who sounded remarkably like him? Enquiring minds and political junkies want to know, even if Mayor Foltin isn’t sure about the whole deal.
Times don’t seemed to have changed much ( he said, she said , the media said) but to continue with George and Mida:
She [Mida] said she was sick the next day, not having , not having slept any during the night , and told Mr. Wickens she wanted to go back to Mr. Lampman’s
Note: Mr. Lampman was a successful merchant and proprietor of a general merchandize store.He is mentioned in the warrant of May 1894 —(“Did Manford ( meaning Mr Lampman) ever talk like this to you?- Adultery is no sin- God won’t condemn the act; there are other virtues;”)
He [Wickens] said he did not want her to go and asked why she was going . She told him and remained until after he returned from Dayton. She says when she settled up with him she swore at him and told her he had made her hate the Bible . She says he asked her three times to forgive him and she refused.
George really does have himself in hot water and another warrant was issued for assault.
When the officer went to serve the warrants on the Mayor he was found in the office of the store. He seemed much agitated and said he would like a copy to the instrument left with him. The officer refused to leave the affidavit and the Mayor said he would consult his attorney. He has retained E.G Johnson, Q. A Gillmore and C.G Washburn.
George was indicted by the Grand Jury and Lorain *( the village of) was bitterly divided. From the Plain Dealer ( yes! the same newspaper that covered the other Republican Mayor Foltin and the “sex tapes”-in 2003- 108 years later….
In 1895 ( and bringing truth to the reasoning of the writers at the Evening Herald 1894:
Now several months must elapse with the people of Lorain all the time in doubt as to whether their Mayor is a libertine and a wretch of the most loathsome character or a man worthy of respect and esteem.
The village of Lorain “named in 1874″
by the head of the Democratic Party”
NOTE: Once again many thanks to Dan Brady http://danielebrady.blogspot.com/ for his help
To be continued……….
Oh dear! Poor George when we left him last had not learned his lesson it seems. I can’t find much about Mida Pershing and will share what has been found at the end of this series. But George on the 26th of May 1894 continued on his conversation with Mida- would that he hadn’t.
But let us look at the man, what he built, and that which survives him . Part of the legacy he leaves today including the name that still rings through the centuries Wickens, Herzer, Cook and Baptista
Note: George Wickens had various business apart from being the Mayor of Lorain – he had a furniture store , he was the owner and director of a funeral home and you can find the pdf of his story and his business below. Thanks to Paula Shorf( one of the authors of Lorain: The Real Postcards of Willis Leiter) http://www.arcadiapublishing.com/9781467111331/Lorain-The-Real-Photo-Postcards-of-Willis-Leiter for the information:
234.The Wickens Company
George arrived in Lorain in 1873 and this is what met his eye
The caption from the Wickens’ Booklet reads
” North Broadway is seen from the east side of the river- practically the whole town is shown. There is no bridge, the old plank bridge having been washed out by the freshet. Steve Moore’s ferry is carrying a horse and rider across. William Jones’ old shipyard on North Broadway is seem filled of lumber and here, in the picture, H.D. Root has just launched the steamer “Charles Hecock”
George started his first “shop” store on West Erie in the Bowen Hall in 1882
George with his three children and then onto Broadway – a building that modern day Lorainites will be sure to recognize
then and now
George also had other properties
In his business life Mr. Wickens has been most successful and in the last twenty-five years has built up one of the most extensive furniture businesses in this section of the state. In 1900 he erected the three story business block on Broadway now occupied by the Boston Store. In the spring of 1899 a branch store was opened on Tenth avenue. In 1904 the five-story building in which the business in now located was erected, the store opening for business on December 13, ’95. The Parkside Chapel, identified with the undertaking business of Wickens and Ransom, was erected in 1903.”
http://danielebrady.blogspot.com/2012/06/meet-george-wickens-part-1.html His funeral home – Parkside Chapel
Regular readers please note: in the above narrative from the History of the Western Reserve Part three – what is now known as Veterans’ Park , the little park from whence this community was platted in 1834 WAS at ONE time also known as GIL(L)MORE PARK https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/10/23/generally-gillmore-the-last-post-lorain-part-12/ So we can add that to its series of names https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2013/08/02/veterans-memorial-park-fini/
The Parkside Chapel was next door to his residence, which ironically, segued into the building we know today as Walter Frey Funeral Home – sitting next to the Lorain City Hall.
But back to George and Mida- George had added to his many talents by graduating from the Clark School of Embalming in 1888- ( Note embalming became popular in the Civil War http://www.civilwarundertaker.net/history.htm
Dr. Richard Burr, an embalming surgeon, is performing the embalming process on a soldier recovered from the battlefield. During the early years of the American Civil War, a new profession began to emerge.
It was Georges discussion with Mida and the sharing of his texts ( in the old-fashioned sense of the word) that was his the beginning of his public disgrace.
Evening Herald 1894
On May 26th 1894 she said he showed her , when they were alone, a book on embalming, showing her a picture of a nude man. She said he told her something about how to keep from having children . This was down in the office and he asked her to follow him up into the Mayor’s office and she did so praying the Lord to give her strength……….
To Be continued
My personal day of infamy- December 3rd- has come round again- How can that be? You see the day I lost you, my son, was just yesterday – last night and the pillow was still wet with tears cried in an exhausted sleep as I woke this morning to the rattle of the garbage truck.
There have been so many millions of words , hundreds of thousands of books written about grief and especially the loss of a son or daughter.
Looking for answers, looking for some verification you aren’t alone in your world of agony, you search the words of others. This loss that is so different for me than any other of the losses I have lived through. You wonder……
am I going insane?
Am I alone in this insanity? Do other mothers experience the kaleidoscope of the “being” that I have become- fragmented disjointed only coming to together briefly in a pattern of who I was once for just a brief turn of the day, week, month, year.. When am I supposed to be “healed? People tell me it will get better with time?” Can that be true???? Is there hope the agony will not continue in such terrible strength as to block out any happiness
Sometimes you recognize bits of you in their writings, breathe a sigh of relief when you realize you aren’t alone or insane, abnormal and that maybe you too may be to get better at wearing the mantle of mania that is named “grief”.
Maybe, you may one day have rest without exhaustion and peace ….oh peace…… if only for a few hours, a healing respite from the world where you now tread. Maybe you may be able to function without planning how to manage every day tasks whilst struggling with this crippling grief . You look to see where others are on this journey forced upon you. You hope there is some hope……….
Maybe as time passed it became easier, a hope …. that maybe depending how many months years you are “out from the death” or “into the grief” you will heal have some semblance of acceptance , of peace.
I remember reading, just after Chris died, the words of a mother whose daughter died of Hodgkins two months before Chris. She was my “gauge ” I would follow her thoughts as she wrote of her turmoil. You see I didn’t know how I would live through the next day, how I could endure the loss of you Chris?
I cleaned all the closets , threw away the non essentials getting ready for my own death in the first days after you died. I didn’t want those whom I would leave to have to deal with my earthly baggage. I felt sure I could not endure this gutting ache , this pain beyond description that crushed me , crippled me for too many days or weeks. Surely my heart would give out, my lungs that fight to breathe between the gasping breaths mingle with choking tears would stop fighting for air.
My brain on fire with questions of why and at the same time dealing with the wickedness of selfishness, thoughtlessness and control
also visited upon us added to the flames . I was sure my very brain would burn out leaving no room for the every day tasks it sent my physical being.
And yet this morning I am still here but don’t ask how? I am better at dealing with the losing of you in public, when needs must . Techniques have been learned . These months and months of torture have taught the body how to endure and survive the hours. The brain has developed an automatic function , to quickly intercede and push down the memory or trigger moment but, that is all it can do. It functions to temporarily hold the Tsunami of grief at bay only for the wave to draw back gather strength and flood your being once more when you are out of the public eye or having to function in the world where time did not stop.
When you died Chris, I died, the Loraine that was is no longer. I look for you in every black Ford 150 that travels on the road. I wake in the morning still hoping this was just one horrendous nightmare. Time stopped , I stopped The me that I am now was born that December day the 3rd – born in grief and lost in sorrow. There is no I in Rest and Peace……