A tale of two- continued Lorain’s cast offs


Original artwork Scott Bakalar

Part ONE – https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2017/05/11/a-tale-of-two-city-houses-downing-of-quality/

The tale of woe that has become Lorain’s deplorable housing , especially in the 44052 and 55 didn’t get where we are today by accident. So many years citizens, council people , newspapers and yes ‘Bloggers” pointed out there were situations needing to be followed through.

Multi- property owners going in 4 years from 34 properties to over 300 and the majority in poor condition, proofs those same people were trading properties back and forth to dump them ( so as not to be the registered owner when the Lorain Building Dept. came to call – the process had to start all over again. ). Then the “bank” dumps , unreachable predatory property LLC -majority being out of town- and so many reasons compounded to make the system broken BUT we also have ourselves to blame!

But first let me introduce you to Lorain 365 – Lisa Miller https://lorain365.com/ who wrote about one of the properties back in 2013 – in fact this property is the one we will be focusing upon — Let us start at the beginning: I was introduced to 3620 Clifton by Lisa on a winter’s day in January…..


Once upon a time in the Lorain

3620 Clifton Avenue – Part One
3620 Clifton Avenue – Part One
As Seen In Lorain: 3620 Clifton Avenue and the second chance
Posted on January 13, 2013 by Lisa

“Even though it was noted by Demolition Board member, 5th ward Councilman, and neighborhood resident Eddie Edwards that “Before the sale, the house sat empty for about five years, with its doors and windows open and generally falling apart…” and “The new owners also waited a year before taking action to repair it…” AND the Board went out to see this house for themselves AND took the Fire Chief with them AND talked to the unhappy neighbors – the owners have $17,000 and a plan and that was enough for the Board to grant them a second chance”

ED Note you will see

in the Lorain 365 post this was the original state of the home and was sold to the owners for 200.00 and it just gets better from there – this and the following post is a MUST READ, even if you just look at the photos included.

And then Part Two – a week after the first post as Lisa revisited the property that needed a roof and a few other things to stop it from being demolished .
3620 Clifton Avenue – Part Two

ED NOTE: However the one thing that always worried me ‘WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND ALLOWED THIS CARBUNCLE OF A TWO STORY ADDITION ON THIS LITTLE SLAB HOUSE IN THE FIRST PLACE!!! I am not an engineer or architect but to put this “weighty” two story addition on a one story slab home, “a cabuncle on the bum of pre blight” was not a well thought out “plan” – even I know this was so wrong and not just from an atheistic viewpoint.


3620 Clifton Avenue – Part Two

3620 Clifton Avenue – Part Two
As Seen In Lorain: 3620 Clifton Avenue and the second second chance
Posted on January 19, 2013 by Lisa

As Lisa questioned at the time 4 years ago :

I am amazed that this house, which has been inspected and re-inspected by TPTB (and then some), was deemed worthy of a second chance. Sitting exposed to the elements for at least five years, sold for $200 to two guys who let it sit untouched for two more years (sale date January 2011) – it meant nothing to anybody until the city came knocking with the wrecking ball

To be continued………..

Photos Lisa Miller – Lorain 365

May 13, 2017 at 1:36 pm 3 comments

A tale of two “city” houses – downing of quality

Durand Map 1834

Many, years ago in a place called Lorain the settlers, pioneers of their day, in those early 1800’s built a foundation for this city of hard work, diligence and pride.

Families followed to work in the ship yards and steel industry. How wonderful for the immigrants to this country , state and city to have a living wage and able to “own” a home , dreams coming true. Neighborhoods grew , log houses became wood sided houses with porches and designed not for shelter only but for home and hearth, curtains hung , window shades drawn to be even with the next window, grass planted , sidewalks made an appearance , and bricked roads replaced wooden planks. The homes loved and admired.

Captain Wilford Home -426 Washington ( take a drive by today )

Ladies proud of their part in the growth of the community , starched white blouses , the very ladies who kept the those homes shining with pride, the daughters of the founding fathers .
2nd row no 7 – Mrs. Fannie Wilford – wife of Captain Wilford – Gillmore Civil War letters

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2011/04/13/civil-war-letters-fannie-gilmore-lorain/

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2008/02/12/capt-wilford-a-hero-of-the-inland-seas/

There has been a plethora of history of those same homes on this blog and others . However, as you drive around these same streets today , you will notice missing windows instead of lace curtains or even window shades, you will see homes not kept with pride but hanging on to their last gasping breaths of “being”.

Did people and values change , that is up for debate, did the plethora of social service agencies located in a cluster in this area cause problems , again up for debate, administrations , city councils that came and went , did we suffer from party politics or lack of forward thinking and the consequences of one’s administrative actions?

One thing is not debatable is that in the 44052- and the old neighborhoods in what is called South Lorain something happened or ,in my opinion, didn’t and hasn’t happened – property accountability. So where does that leave us , those who are now stranded by economics and age who are still trying for a quality of life, homes built with love for “home” now home to heroin dealers and fences not surrounding gardens but “fencing the stolen goods”.

In this series I am going to look at what is, in my opinion, an issue that is one of the major concerns as to how we got this way. The tale of two homes – their paper trail – and conclusions………

As one official stated at a meeting ( paraphrasing) – There are people in the west side of Lorain complaining their neighbor’s fence is leaning on their property but in ( what is called old Lorain neighborhoods) we have people complaining the next door house is falling onto their property…

To be continued

May 11, 2017 at 3:47 pm 3 comments

May 3rd – Kid Fix – Chris Ritchey

It became a joke around here -just as my being Marie Barone in your and your sister’s eyes “my needing a kids fix” . If I called you out of the blue it was

“Ok mum you wanting your “Chris Fix” ?

I don’t remember aging but I did and there were times during those “days of before” when I would call you or Nikki (when you were elsewhere) just to hear your voices. ” My kid fix” – just knowing the both of you were safe during those moments of my need let me rest easy.

Chris and his sister, Nikki – on the happiest night of her life


As you both moved on to adulthood and your own lives I had visions of your Dad and I becoming an old Darby and Joan

Old Darby, with Joan by his side,
You’ve often regarded with wonder:
He’s dropsical, she is sore-eyed,
Yet they’re never happy asunder

spending the remaining years just getting on with life, the two of us. That was not to be.
Horror of Cancer, took that imagined life away. Selfishness of an in -law family and their priest took any respite and dignity left to us . We are left needing a “Chris Fix” – to see your face, to hear your voice , to see your smile, to know you are OK.

Long nights turn into longer days and yet they fly by for some unfathomable reason months into years I cannot remember living. Your poor sister now bears upon her shoulders the needs of her mother and father and two little boys give strength and have become the givers of the kid’s fix.

In troubled days they bring the smiles, the voices of a male child once more and a respite denied by others and yet there is more – a child’s toy that connects us in all its innocence

I love you still ……

May 3, 2017 at 11:36 am Leave a comment

What is their story and the story tellers- Lorain

I have lived in this old neighborhood of Lorain since we purchased our “starter home”- it will hopefully be the home where we “finish up”.
I know a few facts about the people who lived here through the 1/2 century before we became its caretaker. I certainly hope that someone will enjoy this home after we are gone BUT I don’t hold out much hope the way things go in Lorain.

too many examples to show…. this is the latest poster child 3620 Clinton and YES! it too has a story.

Local bloggers, council people such as Dennis Flores,
https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=dennis%20flores%20city%20of%20lorain%202nd%20ward%20councilman
have been trying to fight the blight of non enforcement of building codes for years. They have tried the name it and shame it until there were just too many to name. The outing of mega landlords with 300 such properties and those that followed him in his “business” plan. I went to housing court and another story. https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2015/10/22/housing-court-and-you-lorain-continued/

However recently Lisa Miller of Lorain 365 Blog – (a blog https://lorain365.com/ that photographs the good and sometimes quirky in Lorain every day) posted a picture of a little building on Colorado Ave. Lisa , had her curiosity tweaked by the name on the top of the little building . “Giuseppino”.

I remember another “version” of that building from when I first came here. The building was right next to the Royal Canadian Legion ( no longer there) It was getting a little jaded even then but still someone still cared . This is how (with the help of picmonkey https://www.picmonkey.com/ ) I remembered this little building – original photo Lisa Miller.

The building changed hands through the years and at one point looked like a facsimile of what I remembered – this photo from the Lorain County Auditors site
and now of course Lisa’s photo of this week – SIGH

Lisa followed through researching the story behind the name on the building

http://wp.me/p1Rd8f-4Pt

A tornado memory – revisiting the Giuseppino 1924 building

This name and date stone turns out to be a memorial
to a 9-year-old boy who was killed in the 1924 tornado.

A family member reached out:
“That building was built by my Grandfather, Sam Garbo.
It was constructed with salvaged bricks after the tornado.
That stone, in fact, does say Giuseppino and is the child you reference.
His parents were Sam and Josephine Garbo, My Grandparents.
-Susan Garbo”

My genealogy search had ended with one Lorain connection,
a deceased 9-year-old child named Giuseppino Garbo. No relatives were listed.

Update 4/29/17:
Reader and contributor Rick Kurish picked up the search:
“You are on the right track in the research of this building. The nine-year-old child, Giuseppino Garbo, who is buried in Calvary Cemetery, is associated with the building. Giuseppino (English version Joseph) Garbo lived at 311 Colorado Avenue and was killed in the Lorain Tornado of June 28, 1924. He was buried in the children’s section of Cavalry Cemetery on July 1, 1924. While the grave marker lists the Italian version of his name, the cemetery records list him as Joseph Garbo. The marker also indicates that he was killed in the tornado. He is also listed in the Official Souvenir and Memorial Book of the Lorain Tornado, under the heading “Killed in Lorain Tornado”, as Joseph Garbo, 9, 311 Colorado Avenue.”

Much thanks to Rick and Susan for helping to fill in the blanks of Giuseppino’s story.

April 30, 2017 at 1:14 pm 1 comment

Memory Lane – The Ladies who lunched and accomplished


I received a phone call yesterday from Barbara MacGregor and memories of good times in Lorain surfaced. I wrote about some of them in this post

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2009/07/21/ladies-of-lorain/

I was in my very early twenties when I first arrived, a Mrs. Osmundson of the “Lorain Chapter of the Welcome Wagon” knocked on our apartment door and there followed the introduction to the Ladies of Lorain.

These ladies , some of whom have passed away , then introduced me to the “volunteer aspect” that was and is Lorain. The ladies that saved the Palace Theatre, built Lorain Community Hospital, literally ran the entertainment for Lorain International , planned the ” Hospital Follies” and fundraisers, celebrated the “anniversaries” and gently bullied administrations, newspapers and public servants to join in and refused to take No for an answer . They organized their projects and committees with a battle plan and strategy that would have made any General proud.

Ruth Calta, Jean Schaeffer, Marylou Connone, Lori Hoke, Barbara MacGregor, Corky Bruck, Charlotte Zakowski, Jane Baran, Jane Norton, Lou Kepler, Alice Weston, Phyllis Pfaff, Sally Bobel , Lilly Yuzon, Sally DeLuca , Mirium Schneider , Jean Anne King , Lee Mattei, Darlene Brown , Mrs. Robert Bostwick, Mrs. Dave Herzer , Carol Kramer, Frances Cellozzi, Marie Bonaminio,

and so many others whose names have faded with my memory . Some of these ladies are still volunteering and making a difference in Lorain everyday.

Barb had called to tell me of the 40th anniversary celebration of the Palace Theatre and of burning the mortgage
http://lorainpalace.org/theater/

“December 10, 1977 was a landmark date. On the stage of the theater that night following a Christmas musical program, the mortgage was burned ceremoniously, thanks to the generosity of many groups and individuals.”

Oh those were the days before the mortgage could be burned though fundraising took place at 319 Broadway ( the annex)

” Forty civic groups participated in this week long street fair, Stores soon to be torn down were converted as if by magic into an old fashioned ice cream parlor, a “Second-Hand Rose” shop, a casino, a book and plant store, an open air barbecue, international shops, etc. The Saturday night “Great Gatsby Party” at the Palace climaxed the week’s activities.

Civic Center Madness – Oh and it was, the ladies served lunches , painted poppies on pianos, sold artifacts-


I still have a little chair -was left after one auction in a terrible state – it was headed for the dumpster when Ruth Calta decided I should buy it for a dollar – and you didn’t say no! – rehabbed and upholstered is still with us – a memory of can do!

I was just a young newly married transplant when Jean Schaeffer decided I needed to be introduced.

There was so much joy- energy – a pushing ahead through problems- these were the “can do ladies” and they did and they pulled each volunteer along with them in their net of enthusiasm. These ladies who saved a theatre and built a hospital. The Great Gatsby Party – what great fun – The Palace Players and Henry 8th night- not to be forgotten-

Cover Arcade MJ

As Barb and I talked, I remembered a time of energy and of loss of those ladies no longer with us- 40 years of life tends to do that. Still the Palace is there a testament to perseverance and pride- still needed in this old town.

April 19, 2017 at 4:06 pm 3 comments

April 3rd – sample of life – Chris Ritchey

Breath of Life – Celtic Knot – Chris Ritchey


At first, after you died I girded myself for the arrival of the mailman – sympathy cards, notifications in your name, even the ones from the monuments people wanting us to purchase you a headstone- at least they recognized your family should have a say. As the months disappeared into years pretty much the only mail for you would be the yearly invite to a “four-wheeler” event.

Last week however, Monday , found me opening your letter calling for you to submit work created between January 2015 and December 2016 for AIGA Cleveland . My breath was only sucked out of me for just a few moments and although I was in a foul mood and very touchy for the rest of the day, causing everyone around me to tread on eggshells, I managed.

Then the mailman knocked on the door three days later with a registered letter from the Cleveland Clinic – I can’t abide that conglomerate of medical management http://my.clevelandclinic.org/ This letter was from the Andrology Laboratory and Reproductive Tissue Bank.
Apparently they were updating records and it came to their attention you had passed away “our condolences” (written as an after thought) but we need to dispose of what remains of your son’s life ( my words) hereto known as the “sample” .

I was confused, incredulous , not sure what I was reading – yes I remembered you, on doctor’s advice, had banked sperm before the chemo. I had wondered weeks after your death what would happen. I didn’t do anything because since the Lombardis and the then your wife – Angela Ritchey ( now Dr. Angela Murphy- http://my.clevelandclinic.org/staff/16147-angela-murphyespecially Sue Lombardi ,had made ALL the decisions as to what would be happening with you, my son and your mortal remains, with no input from his family – they would have seen to this as well. I hadn’t realized you had designated me in this instance.

And here it was -the Clinic apparently had not “disposed of ” (their term) the sample upon your death as contracted . Now, I have to make the decision to call them re maintaining the samples – should I do nothing they will commence the disposal on what would ironically be your wedding anniversary !!!!

I read and reread the letter , my gut churned, my mind ran amuck – this planet still holds your life essence and the cavalier Clinic wanted to tell me they were once again in disposal mode.

Angela , Sue and Tim Lombardi


I cried ,gasped for air, memories became reality once again in the ensuing hours. Everything came rushing back – emotional incontinence, anger , disbelief, pain returned full force.

Thoughts of what could be , what should have been, pulling the plug conference in that damned hospital – stony faced Lombardis – removed from the emotions of your death – sitting at that conference table looking like they were smelling bad fish and hoping against hope I would agree to your being taken off life support. Inconvenient, if I wouldn’t agree as Sue Lombardi had already picked out the “coffin clothes”. https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/10/14/an-open-letter-mama-sue-lombardi/

I wasn’t thinking straight –

I could get legal advice about maintaining the “sample” – you see to me was more than a “sample” it was my grandchildren that would never be- the life essence of my son and yet there was hope still– surrogate mother ran through my head- what would that cost? and then the darker thoughts of what did they mean by “disposal ” did they dump your “essence of life” into medical waste, the toilet , down a sink? My mind raged , bled and remembered……

Logically I know, you had signed the contract your “sample” should be “disposed of” after your death, so I believe that is what you wanted. Even if I could find a surrogate – it would be sheer selfishness on my part to bring a child into the world when I am surely heading out of it before they would be grown and finally you had a blood cancer when the “sample of life” was taken, I couldn’t take a chance that any child born would have a chance of cancer.

I haven’t responded to the Clinic as yet- although I know I will have to but it is hard to once again have to pull that plug……….

I love you ………

Artwork Chris Ritchey

April 3, 2017 at 11:55 am 3 comments

The Scold – Lorain- the ducking/cucking stool


Time, people and trials in this town have left me in a sort of out here alone on a limb mode of thinking – the last of the “scolds”

Oh! I know there are others that share my thinking but could it be they are afraid of the “ducking/cucking stool ” which censors our opening of our mouths ( locally and nationally)? As if the bad mouthing, concrete crashing Neanderthals weren’t enough of a deterrent.
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2016/03/10/windows-on-lorain-the-neanderthals-a-tornado-history/
I have seen it too many times over the years of advocacy and I seem to have come away from those years half drowned ,soaking wet and getting more and more weary of trying – life here can do that to you. So I now find myself walking away, not raising the volunteering hand – and have left most of the “community” – I just don’t fit in .

As I “escape” from Lorain and the world into the realm Roku watching murder, mayhem and mystery I supplement with programs such as “Escape to the County” and the land of my birth where there are still pockets of the idyll and people looking to find their dream in the country.

It was during one such viewing this morning and the town of Leominister
http://www.leominster.co.uk/ and the story of Jenny Pipes (1809) the last woman to be legally ducked. She pronounced a “scold” by her community and the magistrate passed sentence

“In the common law of crime in England and Wales, a common scold was a type of public nuisance—a troublesome and angry woman who broke the public peace by habitually arguing and quarrelling with her neighbours. The Latin name for the offender, communis rixatrix, appears in the feminine gender and makes it clear that only women could commit this crime.
….. being placed in a chair and submerged in a river or pond. Although rarely prosecuted it remained on the statute books in England and Wales until 1967.
Francois Maximilian Misson, a French traveller and writer, recorded the method used in England in the early 18th century:The way of punishing scolding women is pleasant enough.(ED NOTE spoken like a true man )

They fasten an armchair to the end of two beams twelve or fifteen feet long, and parallel to each other, so that these two pieces of wood with their two ends embrace the chair, which hangs between them by a sort of axle, by which means it plays freely, and always remains in the natural horizontal position in which a chair should be, that a person may sit conveniently in it, whether you raise it or let it down. They set up a post on the bank of a pond or river, and over this post they lay, almost in equilibrio, the two pieces of wood, at one end of which the chair hangs just over the water. They place the woman in this chair and so plunge her into the water as often as the sentence directs, in order to cool her immoderate heat.

Jenny Pipes came back from her ducking still “scolding” and her claim to fame of telling it like it was has outlasted the magistrate. http://www.jennypipes.org.uk/

“the idea of ducking was to curb the tongue of the offender; the ducking to continue until the culprit either gives up or was exhausted”

Of course where there is a pond there is also pond scum and “ducking the scold” does disrupt that “gathering and rising to the top” if only for a little while. I have noticed the pond scum usually multiplies!

I have seen the “cucking stool” happening (metaphorically speaking) locally so many times and THAT Lorain is one of the problems and the why the view we have is of this (rehabbed????) “cottage
March 2017

and the duckers can’t say they weren’t scolded for 4 years from that first demolition appeals board.
June 2013

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2015/02/10/dye-abolical-goose-gander-inspection-process-pt-2-lorain/


To those who have been ducked, and lived to walk away and tell the tale _ you will be missed by those that got wet with you

-to those that have returned to the bank of the pond to join the crowd – it is understandable-

-to those that keep trying -may it only be your feet getting wet…..

for those of you still “piping up’ like Jenny Piper and facing the wrath of the duckers and the chair I will have a towel waiting for you and a different sort of chair in front of the TV!

March 14, 2017 at 6:49 pm Leave a comment

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