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Every time I read of accusations on facebook , social media etc I do so with a wariness. I wouldn’t have had a few years ago. In my last post
I mentioned our 11 months of hell caused by an elderly neighbor who truly believed her accusations. Before her dementia she had been a good neighbor, wanting to help with the community and did so , her talent as an artist used more than once with neighborhood events .
The family made no effort to help and so this neighbor literally took down her favorite tree, glass blocked her windows and put up fences . She was scared , frightened and alone in the fact she did not get the help she needed and that fact rippled through our lives. Due to her actions, we could not help – our attorney forbade any contact- so we had to leave her to her own terrifying nights until at last, after being found by another neighbor wandering the street in her night attire, something was finally done. The damage to our family was already done-
I wrote about that time on another blog The WoM Blog 10 years ago – I would like you to read this tale of accusation – 11 months of proving innocence- this could happen to you –and the years between have not erased the helplessness and yes anger at the family we felt.
J’Accuse- The Cost of Innocence
It is 6:00 am. in Lorain – Do you know where your attorney is?
John Paul Sartre got it right when he stated in his play – No Exit
”HELL IS OTHER PEOPLE!”
The accuser and the accusations:
A neighbor, elderly and alone (who fully believed in her accusations) and since she wasn’t a known trouble maker or on anyone’s radar was totally believable- so the complaints made to the various authorities seemed reasonable.
1. a male neighbor throwing things at her house
2. male footprints in the freshly fallen snow leading to her front door from the neighbors
3. weapons being hidden between the houses
4. a male neighbor exposing himself through the fence
5. a neighbor opening the fire hydrants on the street
6. a male neighbor pointing a gun at her through the back door
7. a male neighbor hiding in the shrubs
8. intruders in her basement
9. intruders inside her house
10. up on her roof at night
11. neighbors cutting her phone lines
So I would ask you – you are the Lorain Police Department – you are getting these calls from an elderly woman, all alone- starting in June and carrying through to May of the next year. You send patrol cars -you check – you wake people from a sound sleep at all times of the night to make sure they are home and not harassing an elderly woman.
You respond when a citizen complains, it is documented. The elderly woman tells the rest of the neighborhood what it happening to her, enlisting their aid. The “family” of the accuser calls the accused family “perverts”-among other insulting remarks.
ARE YOU FEELING SYMPATHY AND OUTRAGE FOR THIS POOR WOMAN?
The REST of the story :
1. the things being thrown -tennis balls- coming across and into her yard as the kids in a neighboring home are playing ball.
2. footprints in the snow- the mail carrier coming from one house delivering to another
3. weapons ( supposedly being hidden to hit the neighbors on the head) – fallen tree limbs from her own tree
4. THE DE -FENCE NO. 4 -in the Accusations list
Oh! and the “exposing of a male part of the anatomy through the fence (from two properties away I might add)
It was the first accusation – I remember it so well another neighbor phoned,
NB. where is your husband?
ME: He is at the store –
NB: Oh good Sally phoned to say he was putting his penis through (another neighbors fence) ( two doors away)
ME: WHAT???? Is this some sort of a joke??
NB: No she is claiming your husband is sticking his penis through a knot hole in the fence….
AND SO IT BEGAN –
The elderly lady was fixated with the knothole and the penis and called out the police on another fine summer day. I asked the officer who was a little sharp with me at first to please come and look at the fence. He reluctantly did so – I showed him the knot hole and its position in the fence and then I said
“officer if you can put your penis through that hole I will personally put the handcuffs on my husband “
A little grin did flicker across his face as he remarked ”
” No thank you ma’am I am more endowed than to fit that opening.
I then took him to the other side of the fence where we have a pond. and where in order to expose oneself you would have to lay on your side half in the water.
The officer wrote up a report which was pretty laughable- the Chronicle Telegram and their reporter saw the police report, thankfully we were spared our names in the article – Shawn Foucher wrote the article : If The Fence Don’t Fit You Have To Acquit!
5. Opening Fire Hydrants – The fire dept. was called by the accuser, and the LFD were very irate, it was in fact the Lorain Water Dept. as they had a water line burst on Oberlin Avenue. So when the Fire Dept then turned off the gushing fire hydrant the water dept. guys from the Utilities Dept came running down the street waving their arms as they were now having to deal with gushing water .
6. The gun , after three such calls and reports it turns out, when questioned further, that the “gun” was actually a “RAY GUN” and this wonderful invention (invented apparently by the accused) could make her steel back door disappear for 8 seconds at a time and she had to blink to get it back!
7. The shrub – was an over 70 foot maple tree, which not only did the accused manage to climb, in the dark – but did so in a DRESS. (ouch!)
8. The intruders (now there were two) the accused and his wife- apparently getting in through the vent in the glass block window
9. Picture this if you will. The police are called the “intruders” (we now have two again) are in the house, armed . One officer arrives, he has called for back up however there is a serious problem elsewhere other officers are tied up on another call. With caution the officer calls to the intruders to come out of the closet. Nothing, silence- weapon at the ready he throws open the door to a closet???? no one
Ma’am are you sure they went in here?
What is the matter with you ? Can’t you see them- they are hiding under that lampshade!
Call for back up was cancelled!
10. Up on the roof (raccoons and squirrels using her roof as a route from one tree to another )
11. The phone lines were cut as a truck making deliveries to More for Less caught the overhead lines and ripped them down.
NOTE – pretty funny isn’t it??? but these plausible complaints were harrowing to us at the time and terrifying to her – AND WE HAD TO PROVE EVERYDAY – EVERY COMPLAINT THAT WE WERE INNOCENT!!!!
The EFFECT😦 Due to these accusations):
1. Hundreds of dollars were spent by the accused on lawyers letters, dealing with the accusations, building higher fences . Family members of the accuser making insulting and damning remarks (rather than seeing the problem- again lawyers letters)
2. Months of harassment, being woken from a sound sleep at all hours of the night with the police at the door responding to the accusations. Not being comfortable and able to relax in your OWN home.
3. Documenting your every move for over a year. Because when someone makes an accusation that you were doing something at a certain time you better have proof that you were elsewhere and have a reliable witness.
So you keep a daily/hourly diary, where you were, who was with you, if you go to the store alone -you keep the time stamped receipt. You cannot even go into your back yard without a witness or companion. Your reputation is shot! Your life becomes about PROVING YOUR INNOCENCE every day, just because “J’Accuse”.
4. The embarrassment is bad enough but the stress takes its toll, infact this living on the accusatory knife-edge ( and people will say – hmmmm where there is smoke…..) effects you emotionally and physically you become ill. You can’t sleep, you are on the defensive, your life is turned upside down and the lives of your family, you are angry, bewildered and hurt .
YOUR HOME, YOUR SANCTUARY BECOMES A PRISON
Everyday you have to prove innocence because someone made an accusation, that on the face of it, was believable. You spend your days “explaining” and your nights waiting for the next phone call or knock on the door wanting to know what you are doing and where you have been .
It is only when you look into the “rest of the story” that you realize that as ridiculous as these accusations really were the suffering, expense and the toll on a family -wasn’t funny.
AND NOW – the hedges are grown deliberately- so the daughter and husband who had their say as I was screamed at by the “construction king ” and ironically wanting MY HELP in their “estate court case” can no longer peer into my garden- let them inspect the alley–
You see the grandfather also had issues before he passed only at that time it was another neighbor who bore the brunt of his “visions” – those ” good ” neighbors eventually moved…… So before accusations are made – and believed remember sometimes all is not so cut and dried…………………………THIS PROVING OF INNOCENCE CAN HAPPEN TO ANYONE ……….
This year’s Pride Day 2016 ( Lorain County)- thankfully – found the volunteers not having to fight Mother Nature , unlike 2014
However true to form we had Lorain Rotarians continuing their mission
“Phil Dore, a former president of the Lorain Rotary Club, was part of a contingent that undertook the sprucing up of Settlers Watch in Lorain. He said that the newly minted park is just up the road from his home, but the rotary club has been deeply involved in the park since the beginning.
“We’ve been doing this now since 2009,” he said while taking a short break from his work. “
Charleston Village Society http://www.loraincounty.com/charlestonlorai/ is very fortunate in the continuing loyalty of our volunteers to the area known as Settlers’ Watch,
This is a huge green space- taken out of the rubbish dump and tangled growth of vacant lots .
The transformation could not have been even remotely possible without the partnership of the City of Lorain , the help of Lorain County Solid Waste and community donations and the volunteers from the neighborhood, CVSI Executive Board and so many others who quietly give back, including our constant gardener. Without Joe and his love of the space we would be in dire straits. Another successful Pride Day 2016.
Thanks to all the people who continue to help in so many ways. Take a walk and “smell the roses”- and a special thanks to Joe our constant gardener!!!!
Photos are also a collage of Lisa Miller and others with their phones.
Readers will remember the tale of my dilemma of the portrait of General Gillmore.
The portrait, in my opinion, was obviously important and significant in the fact it seems to be a family piece of the General in his later years. Bearing in mind he passed away at the age of 63 in 1888 – I would say this photographic portrait was probably of the General in his 50’s. This portrait, in all likelihood is one of a kind or one of very few.
The wavy glass in the portrait is pre 1900 , this portrait could well be 130-140 years old. There is foxing and some condition issues with the photo itself . It had for many decades been in the sun and probably in an area of damp in Peggy Gillmore’s residence, which is over a century old home.
Of course the first thought of the family was to donate such a proud piece of Lorain’s history to the now Lorain Historical Society- ( used to be the historical society known as Black River Historical Society) in Lorain where of course the Gillmores were one of this city’s founding families.
However, Lorain Historical Society was less than enthusiastic and turned down the donation (sight unseen) . The family gave me the portrait and to the Charleston Village Society . Therefore, I approached and was approached by other historical societies and interested individuals as soon as the series of the General and his portrait hit the internet . A few out-of-state societies were very interested due to General Gillmore’s Civil War and engineering career which was of importance to so many
I reached out to the Lorain COUNTY Historical Society in Elyria, the Elyria connection being General Gillmore was also of great importance to the County of Lorain, he went to school in Elyria and indeed it was his nephew Attorney Quincy Alanson Gilmore ( of Elyria) who owned the portrait in the first place- maybe through his father Edmund –
“He was the son of Civil War General Quincy Adams Gillmore’s brother Edmund (named after his grandfather one of the founders of this settlement ( owning approximately 1,000 acres). This Edmund married Miss Adelaide E Gillmore daughter of Alanson(also a son of the original Edmund of Lakeview) and Evelyn ( Jones) Gillmore.
Edmund and Adelaide’s only child was Quincy “ALANSON” Gillmore , who ended up a prominent attorney in Elyria (Page 728- The History of Lorain County)-
Since Lorain itself was less than enthusiastic as to keeping the portrait and the documentation of events / clippings, the Executive Board of Charleston Village Society
and interested parties/members were asked to vote on the new home of the General’s portrait- 100% of those voting decided on the Lorain County Historical Society . It was felt they did not want to lose the portrait to an out-of-state historical society or to individuals but to keep the portrait locally .
Also donated is an 1890 print of the Storming of Fort Wagner (note the mention of General Gillmore in the small type underneath the print). This print was also found in the items donated to CVSI. This event was part of the movie “Glory”
1. We have also donated to your organization various photos from Peggy’s papers such as the “Genealogy of the Gillmore family” – the New Hampshire Line ending in 1954.
2. Various loose photos of the family the Gillmore farm in Massachusetts, the Gillmore home on Oberlin Ave and Washington Avenue and various correspondence
3. Folders of various family cuttings (some are repeats)
4. Commemorative Newspapers regarding the Civil War etc. (delicate condition)
5. Two maps depicting Lorain’s early days (in very poor and delicate condition)
6. A copy of the Lorain Centennial Program 1834-1934.
7. Two CD’s- one containing the posts written by Loraine Ritchey about the Gillmore family, the General and various posts on Peggy Gillmore. Also a CD with information on Geo. Wickens from a newspaper cutting found in the box from 1894. (The paper literally is in pieces) but scans are included in the posts in the CD. NOTE: Quincy Alanson Gillmore was Mayor Wickens attorney in the lawsuit.
NOTE: You can find the whole series of posts on the Gillmores linked in this post https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/10/23/generally-gillmore-the-last-post-lorain-part-12/ the family went on to be a very important part of not only Lorain’s history but that of a fledgling nation.
There were individuals who wanted us to remove the photo from the frame so that it could be scanned, however I felt, as did the Executive Board of Charleston Village Society , we could not take the responsibility or risk due to the unknown condition of the photo beneath the glass. That decision will be up to the Lorain County Historical Society
The portrait, has at last found a home as well as many interesting bits and pieces from Peggy Gillmore’s “scrapbook” of Lorain’s early history. The basket and storage bin that arrived to this old house contained a love of Lorain by one of her founding families .
Some items are still being researched by two or three of our members, then they too will find an appropriate home!
Items that have already been donated include :
The damaged Pulpit Bible (Lorain Tornado) was returned to Christian Temple Disciples of Christ. A photo of the 1914 Lorain High Graduating Class was given to the Lorain City Schools. A panoramic view of the building of Terminal Tower was given to Dennis Lamont of Lorain’s Historic Railways (Street Cars). The architectural plans of Mayor Braun’s home 5th and Oberlin were given to Gary Fischer a local architect who is one of Lorain’s “history” people. A pencil drawn map of the early Village of Charleston / Black River was framed and donated to the City of Lorain- Mayor’s Office.
The General has found his home – no longer the visitor to my home, having said that, I will always thank him for providing me the energy and desire to document his story and that of his family. I hope Peggy would have been pleased.
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.
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 http://www.corpun.com/uksc8101.htm
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.
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?
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.
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.http://cqrcengage.com/ovarian/app/write-a-letter?0&engagementId=108520
• 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.