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The Dunce’s Cap- green, yellow, red – singling out the children


It has been many years since I watched my little 2nd grade daughter stand across the street , tears falling down her cheeks, holding her tummy as she lined up to go into Irving School.

Holding my hand up with total honesty, I hated the fact that every day of the week for months I had to turn my children over to the personality , thoughts and teaching ability of people who were comparative strangers. I breathed a sigh of relief when K- 12 was over and done with.

The reason my little girl was so upset was her 2nd grade teacher, a person who delighted apparently in sending a message to the class by “accidently” getting their hair caught in her bracelets among other pseudo teaching techniques such as pinching .
My little girl was petrified, although she hadn’t had her hair caught, the threat was there as it happened to her little friends. This fear manifested itself physically , tests ( and some gastric tests that were not pleasant for the child or her mother ) were done. Discussion with the pediatrician turned up the child’s fear. Obviously , I contacted other mothers and two of us went to the principal, who naturally supported the “bracelet /bangle woman” .

” Oh! don’t read too much into this , children exaggerate, get things wrong, after all they are only six and seven ….. I will talk to the teacher yada…. yada…. yada .”

Not to be fobbed off, and since it was still warm weather, I stood under the open window of the classroom to hear and see for myself the teaching of this “bangle batterer” . The children weren’t exaggerating . And I, therefore, dealt with the situation, but I can still see that little face on those horrific school mornings .

Now, of course, discussions with friends, who too, have little grandchildren (we grandmothers tend to chat about our perfect grandchildren) and this green- yellow -red “card” or “table” way of teaching . I suppose this is the latest version of the dunce cap

So placing pupils in Dunce’s corner could breach a pupil’s human rights, say councils. This has been used as a punishment in schools since Victorian times. But the original purpose behind ‘Dunces’ was to help pupil to learn better.

In the 13th century, a Franciscan monk and philosopher, John Duns Scotus, developed a ‘duns cap’ to be worn by children who needed something to help them focus. Detractors of Scotus made fun of the cap. Over time the ‘dunce’s cap’ came to be associated with ‘stupid’ children, and was eventually misunderstood and used to stigmatise and make fun of such children

OH! I know from whence I speak- 1st day of school – 4 years old -taken from my nice warm home environment to a large classroom with desks- children crying . I still remember, over a half a century later, being singled out, made to sit on a stool in the corner ( no cap) as an example of bad behavior because I couldn’t stop crying. Miss Waters ( probably dead by now) was forever burned into my brain and I felt the pain of stigma and shame for the first time. A cuddle of understanding would’ve worked wonders or even a tissue , a positive distraction may have done the trick- but sitting on a high, hard, uncomfortable stool as an example to others what they would suffer was not the way to get a 4 year old to stop crying. roxeth manor

end of caning

My elementary school of the day and the school governors did not frown upon corporal punishment. The Head Master strolled the playgrounds with his cane- and not to help him walk – it was his caning stick for little back sides and or hands – and for the girls- a leather slipper.

The end of caning and the slipper didn’t come into play in Britain until 1981

Evening Standard, London, 30 January 1981The last day of the cane — beaten at last

And it wasn’t just England where the teachers wrath could be felt- Canada – New Brunswick was my next “schooling” experience- there you were controlled with the strap for misbehaving – this was not banned until 2004!


The strap has also been used on minors in reformatories and in schools. The latter was particularly prevalent in Canada, applied to the student’s hand, until abolished in 2004, but there, in modern times at least, it was generally made of canvas/rubber rather than leather.

The other recommended teaching tool in Canada was the “shame basket” not having done anything worthy of the strap or paddle ( the paddle being given by the principal in the library) whereas the strap was dished out in the classroom.

Ah! Miss Green( also probably dead) you will live on in my memory- not for being a great teacher- but for that strap hitting my palms and the look on your face

No ! the shaming wastebasket stood next to the teacher’s desk. The wastebasket made of metal and quite large became the receptacle, not of papers and trash, but children who were thought less than perfect. You had to stand in the waste basket for the rest of the lesson – you are a “waste of space” lesson to be learned. I spent many an afternoon standing in the basket for “questioning” Miss Green.

And now same principle, different teaching tools, the green , yellow, red- Ok! I get it teachers need tools for behaviors – but who really sees the shaming of yellow and the punishment of red – the other little 5-6-7 year olds?

Are you telling me a professional who has obviously has been through the courses of “How to Teach” and has the diploma and student loans to prove their education- has to resort to shaming to get their point across? Ultimately, that is what it is shaming – whether it is a board with marked cards or tables at which the child has to sit for a predetermined length of time .

No More Green Light, Yellow Light, Red Light Behavior Management Plan!
The Safe Keeper System

I have tried the famous Red Light Classroom Management plan that is used in classrooms across America. (Every child begins each day on a green light. Certain behaviors and choices will change their light to yellow or red. Usually, yellow and red lights had consequences attached to them like loss of recess and so forth.) As a behavior management tool, it simply did not work in helping children learn to make better choices. It did succeed in providing consequences for misbehaving children – an important fact! But those same children kept “misbehaving.” It was not teaching them new skills.

There has to be a better way because if you are expecting “peer pressure” to work for you – I suggest you look at what is happening in this country – the more despicable the behavior the more people are “following” .

Bear in mind little ones in kindergarten, 1st , 2nd and even third grade don’t have agendas – they are trying to learn and they all learn at a different pace – they aren’t your enemy – they are in your care – little sponge like minds soaking in every day’s experiences- be careful what you do to that little person and the experiences you teach .

If you have a problem “call home”, email or send a note to the parent, stop categorizing these little ones – they need reading , writing and arithmetic, not being stigmatized.

The best teachers I had, were not of the punishing kind, they found my strengths and strengthened my weaknesses.

Thanks Miss Calder/ Mrs. McKay , Mr. Laidlaw and Mr. Lee because of you I Blog!!! Oh! yes, and I had Miss Green for Grammar – now all is explained !!!! Don’t get me started about “core math” being a product of the horrendous experimental “New Math in Canada ”

The name is commonly given to a set of teaching practices introduced in the U.S. shortly after the Sputnik crisis, in order to boost science education and mathematical skill in the population, so that the intellectual threat of Soviet engineers, reputedly highly skilled mathematicians, could be met.
Topics introduced in the New Math include modular arithmetic, algebraic inequalities, bases other than 10, matrices, symbolic logic, Boolean algebra, and abstract algebra These topics have been greatly de-emphasized or eliminated in US elementary schools and high schools curricula since the 1960s.

October 15, 2015 at 3:45 pm 10 comments

Paula Tobias-Department of Defense and Ovarian Cancer

This is a guest blog post by my wonderful friend – Paula Tobias- Paula has been fighting her own battle with Ovarian Cancer –

How are the Department of Defense and Ovarian Cancer connected?
Action Centeres
When I read this yesterday I was in one of many daily Pain moments; you know, on the scale of 1 – 10 (10 being the worst) I was a 9. The weather and more importantly the surgery, chemo and subsequent meds, tests, x-rays and PET/CT scans I believe have something to do with the agony dealt with on a daily basis.

Senator John McCain

Senator John McCain

The Department of Defense has funded innovative biomedical research programs for years that impact troop readiness. The Ovarian Cancer Research Program was added in 1997 and has since been funding research primarily aimed at finding an early detection test and better treatments for ovarian cancer.
Finding an early detection test for ovarian cancer is of critical importance to the military. Currently, any active duty military woman with a suspected case of ovarian cancer must receive her treatment in the United States (due to the availability of specialists here), so correctly identifying women that either do or do not have ovarian cancer is of critical importance to the military. Over the last five years alone, over 2,600 military women have had a suspected case of ovarian cancer. “
Senator John McCain will be adding an amendment to a bill in the Senate that would strip many of the research programs run by the Department of Defense, including the $20 million for the Ovarian Cancer Research Program(OCRP). The OCRP funds $20 million in innovative, high-risk, high-reward ovarian cancer research each year.
Senate staffers are calling this the biggest threat to medical research in 20 years.

I immediately called my Senators and left voice mails with my history. It took a lot to maintain composure while doing this and as soon as I was done, Frank (my loving, caring, patient husband) came in from work and surprised me. Well I surprised him with a burst of tears and language a soldier would blush hearing. At the end of that tirade I said, “Do you think the Senator would be asking this if it were his testicles at stake?”

I support all battling their cancer diagnosis, patient or family. I volunteer at my Oncologists office to empathize with those. I try to offer hope and comfort.

• Click here to send your Senator an action alert email that will tell them to oppose the McCain Amendment.
• Call your Senators and tell them to oppose the McCain Amendment

Please help and pass along this information and if we (Frank is still my miracle -13 yr. Pancreatic Cancer Survivor) can help anyone with their Cancer Battle, contact Loraine and she’ll connect us. Paula Tobias

ED NOTE: Whilst looking for the date of the vote I came across the following – it seems McCain’s amendment will not only effect Ovarian Cancer funding but Prostate Cancer funding as well

Senator McCain amendment might kill Prostate Cancer research funding

Again and again and again Senator McCain (R-AZ) has attacked the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP), which for PROSTATE CANCER has been among the most productive research vehicles we have to conquer PROSTATE CANCER.

It is beyond my understanding why he has taken up this vendetta. Every year he is our biggest enemy, trying his best to stop the great progress we have made. As usual, he is at it again!

Senator McCain is a major advocate for funding of the Defense Department, but he seems not to understand that the money that flows to the CDMRP does not take one dollar away from our defense budget. The money that flows to the CDMRP is over and above any budget dollar that will go to the Defense Department. So, why the vendetta against the CDMRP, I cannot explain it.

June 17, 2015 at 8:06 pm 3 comments

The Ghost in the Pond- continued-2015


A little over three months after my son’s death I wrote of his last Mother’s Day present to me – A small Ghost Koi

I was scared to look closer , maybe it was one of the pale goldfish , we have a couple. I couldn’t bring myself to go to the pond for a better look. I can still see my son kneeling by the pond and surreptitiously slipping in that Koi . Chris would check on the Koi every time he came home , he would ask in the hospital
How’s the Ghost has it given up the ghost yet?”

I had told myself last summer I would look up how to keep this fish over the winter. Would I have to set up an aquarium for it?
I berated Chris for giving me that hassle and he just grinned at me again.

I got my courage up and took a deep breath and went to the pond. Yes the Ghost Koi had survived and slides silently among the gold and the dark water .

My Mother’s Day present survived and once again I saw in my mind my son’s grin

Every Spring since then I have waited for the ice and snow to melt – holding onto the hope the Koi will be there .
The disaster of taking down the Willow tree and changing the pond habitat .
The terrible cold of the winter before this when the waterfalls cracked and a temporary pipe was added to keep the water flowing in order to keep the fish alive during the bleak winter months.
This year Chris’ Dad winterized the pond once more. He insulated and wrapped the pipe, the pump and added another back up. When everything, including Niagara Falls, froze the little pond was open. His design worked , even Shadow could not be party to its demolition.
fish threeres
The birds that stayed, the animals wild and domestic all flocked to my little water source in order to drink and bathe. Still, I worried about the Ghost – he has become rather large- the biggest fish in the pond and will have called the pond home for 6 years.
Finally this weekend saw the end to ice , snow and frozen ground- a splash of gold and silver as the fish returned to the surface to feed and bask in sunshine – and there he was larger than ever- the reminder that love given freely that Mother’s Day reminds the world the Ghost existed and exists……. fish1res

April 12, 2015 at 5:29 pm 4 comments

Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red- Remember

Photo Rosie Hannon UK

Photo Rosie Hannon UK

Tower of London Poppies

Scarlet corn poppies (popaver rhoeas) grow naturally in conditions of disturbed earth throughout Western Europe. The destruction brought by the Napoleonic wars of the early 19th Century transformed bare land into fields of blood red poppies, growing around the bodies of the fallen soldiers.

In late 1914, the fields of Northern France and Flanders were once again ripped open as World War One raged through Europe’s heart. Once the conflict was over the poppy was one of the only plants to grow on the otherwise barren battlefields.

For the past months a huge army of volunteers planted ceramic poppies around the Tower of London. Created by ceramic artist Paul Cummins, with setting by stage designer Tom Piper, 888,246 ceramic poppies progressively fill the Tower’s famous moat.

You may read more about the installation here

Every evening the “Last Post” was played. Americans have not embraced the poppy here in the USA. The poppy may not have been recognized with its significance but the “Last Post” has certainly made an impact and is played reverently throughout the nations. Armistice Day 11-11-11 was the thought of King George the V. Exactly a year after the guns of World War 1 fell silent 1919 he prounounced:
Geoge the 5th

I believe,’ he had announced, ‘that my people in every part of the Empire fervently wish to perpetuate the memory of the Great Deliverance, and those who laid down their lives to achieve it.

He suggested that ‘at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, there may be, for the brief space of two minutes, a complete suspension of all our normal activities’.

The parade ended with a bagpipe lament and the playing of the Last Post on a solo bugle. The use of the humble, functional bugle — rather than a cavalry call proclaimed with ceremonial splendour by state trumpeters — was a poignant, heartrending lament for the hundreds of thousands of ordinary husbands, sons and fathers for whom the nation grieved.

Royal Marine Playing The Last Post in Afghanistan MOD-
last post

During World War I the Last Post took on a new significance, with a bugler standing over every grave and playing the haunting melody at the start and end of each day

Although the origins of its haunting melody are unknown, the Last Post had been used since the beginning of the 18th century in Army camps to mark the ending of the day and the sealing of perimeter fences. In hostelries and brothels, it was sounded to alert Army personnel that they should return to their headquarters.

During the previous 50 years or so, however — and particularly during World War I — the tune had taken on a new significance. No longer just a military signal, it had become a powerful symbol for the ending of a life, rather than the literal close of a day.

During the Battle of the Somme, a tradition arose that the dead were buried at the beginning and end of each day. Morning and evening, a bugler would stand over every grave, playing the Last Post……….
………..That first Armistice Day commemoration in 1919 would complete the melody’s transformation from practical signal into the unique, almost sacred, symbol it has become for both army personnel and civilians today.
(Daily Mail)

On November the 11th here in the USA Veterans Posts and organizations will be honouring the fallen for all the wars, the Last Post will be played , eyes will fill with tears and honor will be given to those who have died and given young lives for us, including the young unknown soldier from World War One who wrote the poem before he went over the top ( of the trenches)into ” no mans land “.

over the op

and whose words now touch millions 100 years later:
Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red
By Anon – Unknown Soldier

The blood swept lands and seas of red,
Where angels dare to tread.
As I put my hand to reach,
As God cried a tear of pain as the angels fell,
Again and again.
As the tears of mine fell to the ground,
To sleep with the flowers of red,
As any be dead.
My children see and work through fields
of my own with corn and wheat,
Blessed by love so far from pain of my resting
Fields so far from my love.
It be time to put my hand up and end this pain
Of living hell, to see the people around me
Fall someone angel as the mist falls around,
And the rain so thick with black
thunder I hear
Over the clouds, to sleep forever and kiss
The flower of my people gone before time
To sleep and cry no more.
I put my hand up and see the land of red,
This is my time to go over,
I may not come back So sleep, kiss the boys for me.


November 9, 2014 at 4:59 pm 2 comments

General(ly) Gillmore- Lincoln- Lorain Ship- Part 11

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five
Part Six
Part Seven
Part Eight
Part Nine
Part 10

I am coming to the end of this series on the Gillmores and in particular General Quincy A Gillmore. Not because there isn’t anything more to write about but because there is so much more. A book or a blog devoted to the Gillmores of Lorain and their contributions both locally , nationally and internationally – I believe is required. I have just skimmed the surface but hopefully managed to tweak at least some curiousity as to this man.
Of course General Gillmore during the Civil War had directives from higher up and the President at the time Abraham Lincoln was “his” Commander in Chief. There was bound to be correspondence:


I understand an effort is being made by some worthy gentlemen to reconstruct a legal State government in Florida. Florida is in your Department, and it is not unlikely you may be there in person. I have given Mr. Hay a commission of major, and sent him to you, with some blank-books and other blanks, to aid in the reconstruction. He will explain as to the manner of using the blanks, and also my general views on the subject. It is desirable for all to co-operate, but if irreconcilable differences of opinion shall arise, you are master. I wish the thing done in the most speedy way, so that when done it be within the range of the late proclamation on the subject. The detail labor will, of course, have to be done by others; but I will be greatly obliged if you will give it such general supervision as you can find consistent with your more strictly military duties.

Letter courtesy  of Matt Weisman

Letter courtesy of Matt Weisman
and other links to letters
gillmore  scan
Gen Q. A Gillmore was held in high esteem apparently by the African – American Community due to the following reason I would imagine

Courtesy of Quincy Gillmore Leslie the great great grandson of Daniel Seth Leslie and Sophia Gillmore (Leslie)

General Gillmore’s sister, Sophia, married a Civil War officer named Daniel Seth Leslie ; Leslie was from the same area near Lorain, OH, as Gillmore. Three descendants of Daniel Seth Leslie were named in General Gillmore’s honor, i.e. “Quincy Gillmore Leslie”, his son “Quincy Charles Leslie” and his son, “Quincy Gilmore Leslie”. In light of General Gillmore’s association with African-American troops under his command, Daniel Leslie was assigned some responsibilities for African-American veterans after the Civil War. His name (Daniel Seth Leslie) is reported to appear on a monument to African-American troops in the Washington, DC area.

And speaking of monuments, although locally this home town General has a small plaque at Lakeview Park ( the old farm where he was born)
Gilmour Tablet there isn’t anything else .

I am pleased to say our General has more than that at the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Cleveland – he has, according to Warren Doyle , to whom I spoke to this morning, a life-size bronze – Photos courtesy of Mr. Doyle and the Soldiers and Sailors Monument Cleveland
bronze Gengen2

Although, recently deemed unworthy for inclusion in Lorain, the General’s portrait that resides in my dining room , this community did back in the day honor their General 1867- The schooner Gen. Q A Gillmore a wooden schooner was built on the Black River. – She had a varied history sinking the dock

Preparations are being made to raise the schr. GEN. GILMORE, which sunk at Engle’s lime-kilns, at Cleveland, Tuesday evening, and the prospects are that she will be got up all right.Buffalo Commercial Advertiser July 9, 1875 3-5
Workmen were busily engaged raising the sunken schr. GILMORE at Cleveland, Monday, and it was thought she would be sufficiently raised yesterday to get off the stone with which she is loaded. Buffalo Commercial Advertiser July 14, 1875 3-5

to be refloated and finally to become on of the Great Lakes Shipwrecks and sunk 1881, Jun (ca. 12th)Place of loss : Gull Isl. Reef, near Kelley’s Island
gillmore shipwreck
– No 49

If you click on the maritime history link above you will see their front page has the story of the great storm of 1913
and yes! there is a connection to General Gillmore even there. You see there was another vessel named for the General the tugboat Q. A. Gillmore
tug gillmoreres Source
According to the website

During the “Great Storm” of 1913, the seven-month-old Gillmore was called out along with sister tug John M. Truby (still in service today as Great Lakes Towing’s North Dakota) to retrieve the barges Alexander Holley, W. LeBaron Jenney, and Sidney G. Thomas, which had broken loose from their moorings and run aground on the Cleveland lakefront. In 1921 the Gillmore was involved in the search for the wrecked wooden tug Cornell, which sank on Lake Erie enroute to Buffalo. No survivors were found, but the Gillmore’s crew did manage to recover an ice-encrusted lifeboat with the body of one fireman floating in the Lake.

Eight years later the Gillmore and Virginia were called out to assist the sidewheel passenger steamer City of Buffalo, which had lost power in a storm on Lake Erie. Difficult sea conditions prevented the tugs from getting a line onto the helpless steamer, and after an unsuccessful attempt to bring her into the shelter of Ashtabula harbor, the City of Buffalo rode out the storm at anchor in the lake, with the tugs standing by to render what assistance they could. The following day, the passengers and some crew were transferred to the steamer City of Erie, and the tugs escorted the City of Buffalo back to Cleveland. The crews of the Gillmore and Virginia received a commendation for their efforts and their devotion to duty.

Unfortunately during the depression she was sold and renamed the Reiss- however after a varied career ended up with a historical foundation in 2004 who was bringing her back and taking back the original name of Gillmore but the foundation went bust and the tugboat ?????. Well at one point ended up on E bay as well and here is a link to much conversation as to the “Gillmore/Reiss – the LAST Great Lakes Towing State-Class “G-Tug” left in the world
and a you tube

Did the Gillmore end up in Holland Michigan to be refurbished ? I will check further .

General Quincy Adams Gillmore – so much to this man’s story and the ‘family name .
After the war General Gillmore did return home from time to time. He bought the property ( the family farm) ( from the estate possibly , as his father died in 1869) the 1851 map shoes Q Gillmore owning the property but by 1874 it was in the hands of Q.A. Gillmore. and according to The Lorain County History the General planted “grape vines”

screen grab
(courtesy of Dan Brady)
Thanks to Paula Shorf and Matt Weisman ( from
Elyria Independent Democrat – August 7, 1867)


Elyria Independent Democrat 1873
farm for sale

Thanks to Dan Brady, Matt Weisman, Renee Dore, Quincy Leslie and Warren Doyle for their help , research and information

To be continued – Part Twelve – the last post”

October 17, 2014 at 12:01 pm Leave a comment

George Schneider- A property Legacy- WHAT NOW?????

Schneider George 011813

George Schneider , a relatively young man, passed away in his home, one of the hundreds he owned in Lorain and Elyria.

He was , according to Kent Sutton during a recent discussion with me

“really nice guy”

. Friends have extolled his virtues and contributions to the German culture .

I never personally met George . I only know George from my neighborhood through his properties, which leave a lot to be desired. I have written about George extensively over the years – Go to the search box in the right hand corner of this page and type in George Schneider.

George has left Lorain a legacy, a legacy of properties that are for the most part in poor shape.

George’s unexpected passing reminds us of the death of Lewis Strnad .

lewis strnad
I did have occasion to meet with Lew Strnad
when I was the volunteer Mainstreet Lorain Director, on occasion. He too, seemed like a nice guy. However, he was also a multi property owner and we are STILL dealing with his legacy. He is STILL listed on the Lorain County Auditors Site as the owner of over 30 properties 4 YEARS after his death.


One property 138 Washington , a historical property , being Mayor King’s House – I have written about the frustration of getting the garbage picked up etc of this house – which is due to now be demolished –

Finally, after weeks of emails etc.and contact with the city just to remove the trash bags from the outside.

Sent: Friday, May 10, 2013 12:46 PM
Subject: Re: Permission Washington Avenue
On behalf of the estate you have permission to access the property described below for the purposes described below without any liability upon the estate for anything whatsoever.
Shia N. Shapiro
Attorney for the estate of Lewis Strnad.

The issue to me now becomes WHO IS ACCOUNTABLE NOW THE OWNER IS DECEASED. To even get permission for volunteers to go on the property to take away the trash away from 138, Washington , owned by Mr. Strnad’s estate took letters,lawyers and weeks. And still the issues continue.

138 col

This house, situated on lot #76 of the original Charleston Village Plat, may date to the decade of the 1860’s ( possibly earlier) It appears on an 1874 map of Charleston Village by R.H. Penfield. The middle section of lot #76 ( on which this house stands) was sold in 1858 and again in 1861 to Julia Porter ( Grantor Julia D Root)

In 1874, Porter sold the property to Henry J. King, a salt water sailor and farmer who immigrated from England at the age of 25. This property remained in the King Family (ED NOTE- Not the King family of Admiral Ernest J King renown) with out-side ownership 1876-1882.

FRANK JOSEPH KING, son of Henry King lived in this house possibly as early as 1876 ( documented from 1891) and remained there until ca 1915.
F.J. KING was elected mayor of Lorain in 1902 and was one of only two Lorain mayors ( ED Note at the time of the survey in 1993) to suceed himself in office. He did so twice and served until 1912

Now Mr. Strnad’s properties were a fraction of the hundreds that George owns and some ,in my opinion, deployable condition. WHAT NOW ?????
nights of
GEORGE HAS LEFT LORAIN A LEGACY and I have a feeling a myriad of legal problems as to who will step in the take accountability for these properties. Maybe his business partners
or Lake Erie Landlords Association will step in. Somehow I think George’s Legacy to Lorain is going to be ongoing and frustrating, just as Lew Strnad’s continues to be.

NOTE this research was as of : May 27th 2014 – and can be found in the post


GEORGE SCHNEIDER = (Under his own name) = 164
G AND S PROPERTIES = (INCLUDING Jay Metals 1965 E 28th) 3

Also a
GEORGE (misspelled ) SCHNEIDER= 6
Also affiliated with

Also affiliated with

FGSK PROPERTIES (inc Gustav AND Anna Krause) = 19

September 20, 2014 at 1:59 pm 14 comments

A ghost of remembrance – Mother’s Day

soften collage

As long time readers are aware, a small koi- a Ghost Koi– was slipped into the pond on the last Mother’s Day my son and I shared –

Oh! Chris ! why would you buy another Koi? you know they never survive the winter”
“I needed to get this one and it’s Mother’s Day so you have to accept it “

And the next Mother’s Day was one of pain and cruelty unasked for “notes” from his bride had arrived – Angela Marie (Lombardi Ritchey) Murphy) Angela Murphy Do

There is always , like anything in this life, the chance his last Mother’s Day present would not thrive and survive the winters.
Last August disaster struck the pond – fish were dying

days and nights of water changes medicine but the Ghost Koi continued.

Then came the winter of my nightmares. The extreme cold caused the waterfall, which is made from a concrete like substance, to crack causing the water to leak out of the pond. The temperature was cold enough to freeze the mighty Niagara so even with heaters and aerator the water froze.


The day the concrete falls cracked open we lost nearly half the water in the pond. My husband had to first unfreeze the spickets and hoses in order to fill the pond to a level where the pumps would work. He then had to bypass the falls with piping in order to keep the water flowing, but the pipe would freeze. The pipe then had to insulated with a sleeve like design made out of a sleeping bag. Unfortunately, Shadow took great delight in pulling this off every chance she got.

My husband spent hours trying to keep the pond open in order for the gasses to escape and keep the fish safe. There was many a day he was out there in the 10 below temperature almost willing the water to run and the ice not to form. There were days that found me lying flat on my stomach in the snow chipping away at the ice on the end of the piping so the pump would continue. All for a fish , a fish given on that last Mothers Day.

Spring has come late this year. The pond is usually up and running and the fish awake by late March but it has only been in recent days life has returned to the pond . The water is still murky but a Ghost Koi, larger now than ever before, swims under the water fall once more and reminds me of a another Mother’s Day……..


Friday, was Mother’s Day for me , my mum, Nikki and two little boys went to the “fish” restaurant of choice “Red Lobster”. The boys eagerly watched two lobsters fighting in the tank but ate macaroni and cheese.

Then on to Pandys and Lowes for plants. I am not sure there will be any rhyme or reason to the garden this year as Gavin and Braedyn loved the plant shopping and filling the carts to overflowing. Certainly not paying attention to directions of “sun – full sun – shade partial shade” . Little hands distributing love and flowers , excitement in innocent eyes as they picked up more and more . There should be some interesting plantings this year because each plant was given with love and so couldn’t be put back.

My tears falling once more, my heart in hurt as I remember when a little girl and her brother would look up with the same excitement in their eyes as they gave their Mother’s Day gifts and one Mother’s Day when a small silver fish was slipped into a pond – a ghost of remembrance and a love that grows…crop2chris

May 10, 2014 at 12:07 pm 2 comments

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