Posts filed under ‘Uncategorized’
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.
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…….
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.http://www.bbc.co.uk/remembrance/how/poppy.shtml
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:
‘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.
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.
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 “.
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.
Part One https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/09/05/general-quincy-a-gillmore-the-dining-room-dilemna/
Part Two https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/09/08/general-ly-gillmore-lorain-the-early-years/
Part Three https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/09/13/generally-gillmore-lorain-the-early-years-pt-3/
Part Four https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/generally-gillmore-lorain-part-4/
Part Five https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/09/23/general-ly-gillmore-lorain-civil-war-part-5/
Part Six https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/09/26/general-lygillmore-recogniton-lorain-pt-6/
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:
TO GENERAL Q. A. GILLMORE.
EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, January 13, 1864.
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.
and other links to letters
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 http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/OHLORAIN/1999-04/0924388051 ; 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 http://www.metroparks.cc/lakeview_park.php ( the old farm where he was born)
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
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
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
According to the website http://tugboatsonline.com/archives/Historic/historic_tugs_html/Gillmore.htm
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”
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”
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 .
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.
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 ?????
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
PROPERTY OWNERS AND NUMBER OF PROPERTIES OWNED
GEORGE SCHNEIDER = (Under his own name) = 164
G AND S PROPERTIES = (INCLUDING Jay Metals 1965 E 28th) 3
GNS PROPERTIES = 1
GEORGE (misspelled ) SCHNEIDER= 6
Also affiliated with
REDS ALL AMERICAN RECYCLING = ( David Carter) = 52
DAVID CARTER= 12
Also affiliated with
FGSK PROPERTIES (inc Gustav AND Anna Krause) = 19
GUSTAV KRAUSE = 12
ANNA KRAUSE = 6
TOTAL PROPERTIES FOR THIS GROUPING = 275
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 http://my.clevelandclinic.org/staff_directory/staff_display.aspx?DoctorID=16147
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…
Remembering when? February 2008 ( 5 years ago) Lorain County Photographers Blog did an interview with Bill Desvari ( the infamous Chief Building Inspector – now deceased) part of which touched upon “Occupancy Permits for Rentals”- the whole interview can be found here:
But in part:
At the time of this interview, Bill told me there were 10,340 rental properties in the city of Lorain. Ordinance 126.97 requires housing inspections every 5 years. It’s never be enforced, and at a charge of $50 apiece, why wasn’t it happening, since it could bring in over half a million dollars? Most of the owners live outside the city, and really don’t make too much of an effort to keep up their properties. He went to then-Mayor Craig Foltin about this, and it took 18 months for anything to happen. (Craig’s being a part of the LELA have anything to do with this?-hh)
When the ball finally got rolling, with then-Council-at-Large Tony Krasienko watching close to make sure things ran correctly, two inspectors were able to do 1700 inspections in 2006. But it wasn’t as easy as that. One inspector had health problems, another substance problems. For the most part, in 2006, there was only one inspector working at any given time. And that was made more difficult by the fact that most of the owners were hiding and not responding to inquiries.
The Landlord’s Assoc was asked to provide addresses. The Law director told him they couldn’t fine the people, as it was an infringement of 1st amendment rights. Mark Provenza reviewed it for a long time, and Desvari told him the fine is already in Ord. 1501.99, anything in Chapter 15 can be fined $1000, that it’s been there since 1978. He was not blaming Mark, but it hadn’t been used, and now they’re able to take people to court.
Craig Miller called him ( Desvari) and told him that KENT SUTTON only wanted to do exterior inspections.
Note that woman : Ah HA!!! there is that name again KENT SUTTON in order to jog the readers memory:
****The system is set up to fail, and it needs revamped*** said Bill Desvari ( and coming from him that is a revelation ;)
Truer Words were never spoken!!!!!!
Back to today and 5 years later: The Questions re occupancy
QUESTION – THAT WOMAN
I have, as the property owner , caulked the leaks, done my wiring and plumbing dry walled etc. – put in new fixtures prettied up the property and now I want an occupancy permit for rental.
What is the procedure and who authorizes the occupancy permit? Do they come into the property and inspect? How many rental occupancy permits are there currently in the city of Lorain? How do you keep track of the “rentals”- is there a rental register? For example according to my research there are 10,177 occupied rentals in this city are there the same amount of occupancy permits issued ( taking into account more than one rental in a unit). How many occupancy permits have been issued?
The Building Department oversees and authorizes the occupancy permit. If the Building Department approves of the work after the final inspection, they issue an occupancy permit. As long as the property owner invites the Building Department, they can inspect the inside of the home.
A property is supposed to ask for an occupancy permit as well as require a rental certificate. To try to keep track of rentals, we review the rental certificates we have issued. But, to stay on top of this, the number of employees are just not currently present to review rentals, not just the ones who have applied for a rental certificate.
Of the 3,693 vacant dwellings how does the dept. covering the “occupancy permit” know when any of these are rented?
Unless a rental certificate application is received, the City wouldn’t know if these dwellings are being rented.
Again, with the limited staff, the number of employees do not allow the Building Department to be proactive on this front. The Building Department does try to review any properties with “For Rent” signs or review the paper in order to match homes with rental certificates.
QUESTION THAT WOMAN
Does an occupancy permit cover those who “rent to own?”
I am not entirely sure of an answer on this. As stated previously, an occupancy permit is issued for anyone who applies for a permit with approval. “Rent to Own” is not actually a rental; the “tenant” is actually in the buying process. If the Building Department comes across a property they believe to be a rental, they request the owner provide documentation to show the “rent to own” status.
QUESTION – THAT WOMAN
How often does a landlord need to renew an occupancy permit? – Is it yearly, 5 years etc. or on the basis of new tenant occupying the building?
An occupancy permit last for 3 years, as long as ownership doesn’t change.
How much is an occupancy permit? $50 for rental; $75 for duplex
QUESTION – THAT WOMAN
What IS inspected in order to gain an occupancy permit? For instance mold, structural safety, electrical, plumbing???In depth please.
If it is rental, the inspectors follow the International Property Maintenance Code. I am sorry I cannot provide a more detailed answer.
FOLLOW UP QUESTION – THAT WOMAN
In the city of Lorain when and if a landlord asks for an occupancy permit – what is looked at by an inspector ( I know it has to meet the International property maintenance code) but if an inspector goes into the dwelling does he look at structure, electrical, plumbing to see if that meets the code- what do they “inspect” floor boards, roof plumbing what items on the check list are looked at to see if a dwelling meets the minimum code ?????
Not every inspector is certified in all areas. For example, our Electrical Inspector does not have the certification to inspect other types of work. However, for property maintenance code, the inspectors have a general checklist of what they inspect. I have attached the “Exterior Checklist” and the “Interior Checklist” for your review.
NOTE… INTERIOR INSPECTION CHECKLIST PDF FILE FOUND HERE
QUESTION THAT WOMAN
If a tenant calls for an inspection of the home is it accurate to say the inspector can only inspect the “complaint” for instance if it is the wiring that is an issue can they cite for rotting floor boards?
For a rental, the inspectors can cite for other concerns visible to the inspector. Typically, the tenant will point all the complaints to the inspector.
QUESTION THAT WOMAN
Is there a point of sale inspection in Lorain – if not why not- and is there any legal reason there cannot be a “point of deed transfer inspection” to negate the property from changing hands within a group or family to get around any point of sale inspection.
THE CITY ANSWERS
Not currently. Point of sale is used in other cities. As to my knowledge, no point of sale ordinances have been overturned.
QUESTION THAT WOMAN
PHOTO TAKEN MARCH 19TH 2011
Also re the question of blue tarps as roofs– is there any time limit as to how long a temporary roof fix is allowed? For example the one property on 329 Hamilton has had the temporary fix for 3 years-(NOTE: I wrote about this particular property in March 2011
Hurricane Sandy blew most of it away and they have now put up a new blue tarp- What are the rues if any for temporary fixes and does anyone inspect those temporary fixes as to times?
TODAY ‘S PHOTO JANUARY 30TH 2013
THE CITY ANSWERS
When the Building Department sees these types of homes, they send a notice to the property owner requesting the anticipated fix to the roof.
Ah that explains it : Driving Blind a probability????? Maybe the city could use some help? I know a judge that must not be seeing his handiwork as he tootles along in Lorain passing by another of George Schneider properties
Does the good judge ever drive past 1965 E 28th Street and wonder if the Building Dept and the City of Lorain will come before his court again with 1965 E 28th Street ?
and now it seems we have inspectors “Oblivious to the BLUES”- to be continued _ LORAIN IS FEEDING UPON ITSELF
Illustration Cat Scott SOURCE
In Search of my Son Part 18
Once again a week in August – a time past of celebration – the happiness of a wedding anniversary , your birthday and then mine used to cause your father such consternation ( a lot of money outgoing all in one week :).) As you grew, we started to combine the celebrations , after all, we “shared your birth” – you , I and your dad as had watched as his son was brought into the world that August day.
But that next day , whilst your Nana was being picked up from the airport and everyone was busy preparing for our homecoming, Nikki wanting to meet her little brother was all excitement – you and I had a quiet time in the hospital room – a time to bond.
I held you , propped up on my knees, looking at your little face, all red and blotchy, little finger nails so perfect and I made the promises mothers make- I talked to you of life , your big sister and how I would never let you down , I would do everything I could to keep you safe and give you happiness. I was so grateful for the gift of your life. I can remember every word I spoke to you that morning and then Dr. Shotz telling me as long as my mother would be at home with me we could leave and start our lives as mother and son and take home MY birthday gift – YOU!
Your last birthday on this planet – saw my failure – I did try but I couldn’t keep my promises made on your “birth – day.
I sat in the Cleveland Clinic waiting room, which reminded me of an airport waiting area – the big electronic sign boards telling of the status of patients and their respective surgeries – holding patterns – landed – in flight or in this case – recovery – in operating room etc. It made me feel quite ill at the cold technology announcing “status” of those under the knife in the same way planes landed at Hopkins Airport.
I sat trapped having to listening to what I considered inane comments , stupidity and selfishness of thinking by your bride’s vacuous grandmother and her brood https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2011/09/03/september-3rd-war-movin-on-hell-truly-is-other-people-chris-ritchey/ who had decided to “surprise us” ( although I know your “bride” wasn’t surprised )
My whole being was fraught with worry that morning , my insides were shaking and sick with fear, what would they find? My son going under a surgeon’s knife – cutting into your neck to see if the obscenity of the curable cancer had once again beaten the ” treatment”.. I just wanted to go somewhere quiet away from chatter with my thoughts. I didn’t want to be polite. I just wanted peace.
They coffee clutched the time away with their frivolous discussions of fashions, cake , birthdays and celebrations seemingly without thought of how this would affect those that did truly love you ). If there ever was a time where I heard my own grandmother’s voice it was then ” Remember Loraine, breeding will out”
I wanted to scream and shake them as the grandmother decided it would be a good time for a betting game- we were all supposed to pick a time from the time your name came on the big board informing us you were now in the operating room as to how long it would take for you to be under the knife and the time of the surgery .
“Angela it isn’t fair though you can’t be part of this as being a doctor you would know the answer – giggle, giggle, giggle” Lisa what do you say? Frank? 45 minutes, 55? an hour?
and so it went.
Nikki had excused herself and I was left alone with them. I ignored the game as best I could and tried to ignore them, all the while wishing they were somewhere else – anywhere but there, but the puerile woman would not shut up –
Come on Loraine you must have a guess, join in – otherwise you won’t win! Angela , do we have time to go to the cafeteria – Loraine isn’t it your birthday too in a couple of days – it is Chris’ today isn’t it – will you have a party, what kind of cake, will your mother be baking one or two?
I wanted to reach across the arm of the chair , as she prattled, joined by her granddaughters, and throttle her. I wanted to scream at them
Shut Up! are you all so damned insensitive you can’t see your imbecilic diatribe is ripping me apart, I don’t care about your nonsensical games , I am in torment that my son will die- can’t you see our pain you stupid,selfish people?
I kept quiet for my son’s sake. I felt like I was being swept away and immersed into a mindless black comedy. Shades of things to come, as your next birthday they placed cake and balloons on your grave.
I could stand it no longer and went outside where I vomited the choking bile into a gutter, floods of tears, held back for hours , exploded from me. Nikki came to find me and we sat away from the “prattlers” until the announcement to meet with the Dr.
As much as I try I cannot get your last birthday out of my head as the surgeon confirmed that the cancer was back- a gift of death on your birthday I had Nikki take me home – I knew that if you saw my face as you came round in the recovery room- you would know things were bad and I couldn’t bring you that pain on your birthday and I knew I couldn’t hide the horror from you ! Guilt swept over me as I also knew that by me not being there when you woke up would also cause you concern- I only hoped the excuse Nikki had to get back to feed Gavin would be plausible.I just couldn’t let you see what I know was written on my face.
I have, since you died, tried other ways to remember the day of your birth and to give Gavin, and now Braedyn, a present – a Chris – miss present so once again there will be joy, laughter and good memories associated with your special day. I try temper the memory of your last birthday and those uninvited purveyors of self with the happy laughter and giggles of your nephews.
This year, “Transformers” is the toy of the moment” Oh! how you loved that show and the robots when you were little – drove us crazy with them- and now Gavin has discovered “Transformers” and his mum will be plagued with Optimus Prime .
Nikki, will send another donation to your scholarship fund at LCCC to continue the remembering of you and your life – and I will try to make it through another
birth– day and try my very best to replace the awful memories of memories of that last birthday.
LORAIN COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE LEADERSHIP AWARD- CHRIS RITCHEY
Debra L. Richter
Alumni and Scholarship Coordinator
Lorain County Community College Foundation
1005 N. Abbe Road
Elyria, OH 44035
440.366.7758 – Office
440.366.4078 – Fax
The Journey- In search of My son continues
Part One – In search of my son- In search of me
Part Two – Tourjours Moi-Always Me
Part Three – Always Me – Always Chris
Part Four – In search of My Son-
Chris Ritchey – Thanks
Part Five – Dark Humour- Shedding a Light
Part Six – The Unfinished Portrait
Part Seven– The Unfinished Portrait- The Artists
(2) Part Two – Who Are We Really?
Part Eight– When Premonition Becomes Hindsight
Part Nine– When Premonition Becomes Hindsight – Part Two
Part Ten (a) – There is an “I” in Death
Part Ten (b)- I didn’t know my son- Chris Ritchey
Part Eleven- Unfinished Portrait the Artistic Gene
Part Twelve- Unfinished Portrait- the Artistic Gene- Part Two
Part Thirteen– A Place of Echoes
Part Fourteen – An Absence of Laughter
Part 15 – Who I am , the artist speaks
Part 16- The Lowest Ebb- I knew my son- Chris Ritchey
Part 17 – The Journey Continues- I long for Laughter- Chris Ritchey
Disclaimer : These events are as I perceived them to be and are witnesssed and documented .