Paula Tobias – A Woman of Worth- 2018

Paula Tobias,  my  dear friend, one who  fought  bravely  the obscenity  of ovarian cancer  for 5 years.

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2013/03/27/you-have-cancer-paulas-journey-shared/

Paula,  had  written about many  varied things over the years  just type Paula Tobias in the search box. My  dear friend  knew she would only  be able to  keep  her fight going for so  long, the disease and the treatments took their toll on her  more than she let the  outside world know.

A year before she passed she asked me to  do  two  things for her, to  write and give her eulogy at her celebration of life and to  oversee  the placement and landscaping of a bench which she had chosen . “Come Sit With  Me” that would look out over her beloved Lake Erie and the east side of Lorain.

Following is part of the eulogy  for Paula, so  those that read this blog outside of this city  will hopefully  understand how we have lost a woman who  was of “worth” not just to  her friends and family  but to  her community :

 

“I loved Paula and she was “there” during my worst days- my strength-, helping me through my darkest hours

a self-portrait Chris Ritchey

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2009/12/25/christmas-the-day-after-chris-miss-christmas/

Paula- kind, loving…… and there.

Her words “anything I can do? Were her mantra, it didn’t matter how busy or what was going on in her own life she was there.

The loves of her life Frank, Jean and Liz were always first in her thoughts and actions. Paula fought so hard to beat the obscenity that is cancer, not just for herself but for them, her mom and the rest of her wonderful family. Paula put up a fierce battle with grace and quiet strength just as she had done throughout her life.

 

A life that touched so many of us….. in such positive ways , she would see a need and would try her best to meet those needs. Paula saw a need in Lorain and the nurturer she was…. Ran in 2007   as mayoral candidate for Lorain……. She called me from her car ….

“Luvvey! I am on my way   to the BOE to pull petitions for Mayor – this should be a surprise to some!!!!!

http://blog.cleveland.com/wideopen/2007/09/profile_paula_tobias_lorain_ma.html

Unknown in politics, she still managed a very successful campaign as an “Independent” running 2nd to the Democratic candidate and overtaking the sitting Republican candidate. Both parties having great respect for her –  her commitment and love of her community. She added class to   the campaign

 

Such was Paula’s influence and respect among all political parties she continued with soft-spoken strength crossing over and through political parties making a difference in this city she truly loved.

Always an advocate for Lorain… There she would be at City Council meetings   and reporting on them …. holding up placards when the Bascule Bridge took so long in getting repaired to filling potholes…She researched  a new machine and introduced that machine to Lorain by bringing ii into the city  .. Pitch Patch Paula putting on overalls and her personal hard hat and filling the test pot holes herself. . It took a while but Lorain has now a similar machine.

 

Paula turned her hand to being a blogger….. her thoughts and hopes for Lorain are still there on the internet waiting to be acted upon.

Paula was also on the Board of Directors for the Lorain Port Authority   bringing with her historical knowledge, passion and common sense. Paula was involved in so many of the situations good, bad and beautiful because she was “there for her beloved Lorain. She wanted the visitor to Lorain to be welcomed with inviting neighborhoods.

https://locophotogblog.wordpress.com/category/paula-tobias/

YES! Paula was there, her style was quiet determination, softly speaking sense – little notes baked goods and chicken soup if needed accompanying her lovely smiles/ .

I will so miss the lilt in her voice as she would call

“Luvey??? Do you need anything/”. I still hear her voice in my mind….

In all those terrible months after her diagnosis not once did she complain to me about her battle, the physical and emotional cost.

Paula, truly remarkable in her compassion for others asked not for sympathy for her own plight, putting on a brave face and smile. Paula became a volunteer to help other cancer patients through their journey as she fought her own battles, I remember saying to her-

I just don’t know how you are doing this you have much more bravery than I

she smiled and said I just want to help because I KNOW the journey they are on…..

How many times she offered me quiet respite from my life- to join her in her beautiful home for an afternoon by her fire or a summer evening on the lake .

Oh the days her dining room and sun porch tables fair groaned with the weight of delicious foods as she invited people to share the beauty of the lake and the hospitality of her family. Paula, nurturing, loving, protecting and intensely passionate with all she held dear.

I have–.. to remind me of her… and those times.. a small antique dining room side board,…… goodness knows where my husband purchased it……… BUT I realized whilst helping myself to food at one of those banquets that Paula and Frank had the rest of the dining room set…. my little side board was a perfect match for her set.

We laughed about my having the missing piece .. a coincidence or fate? the missing piece– her dining room set not complete…. and now my darling Paula is the missing piece., our lives will not be the same   and we are now incomplete .

Paula my words cannot do justice to the gracious, inspiring , loving and kind woman the epitome of a “lady” I came to love so very much – I know your pain has passed— which is our only consolation as we have to say goodbye. I love you as does everyone who was touched by your very soul and that is a wonderful legacy … Fare well my friend…………

The Bench — to  be continued.

September 19, 2018 at 8:26 pm 5 comments

Sept. 3rd – The Bubble- Chris Ritchey

 

August– and the week of hell as far as memories go ( and come) has been left behind for another year. The wedding anniversary  , your birthday  and mine  now in the past once more. I live in a self-imposed  bubble, especially  now ,with  your  Nana slowly  disappearing from this existence.

I haven’t left this house for much  more than an hour at a time for weeks, and this house has become my own “living in a bubble,” surrounded by the people and things I  love most. I let  very  few intrude in the fragile existence  I  am living .

 

I have stopped letting in the distraction of “other lives” whilst I  currently  deal with  life and death  in this house. The crime, the angst, the annoyances of people , politics and  lifestyles  that I  cannot  do  anything about outside these walls  , even writing and documenting has been relegated to  another existence.

I  close  the windows , turn on the air-conditioning not only  to  deal with  the heat of August days  but to  add a sound barrier to  my  bubble  – to  defend against the intrusion of the “noise “of a people without respect for others in this neighborhood. I don’t want to  deal with them or anyone not welcome to  come into  my  bubble. I am dealing the best way  I  know how to  get through.

 

I  have taken some time to  look at “your book” – No  Limits –  still stuck after so  many  chapters, looking for strength  to  continue , it seems I  have limits .

– and I  am reminded that for  30  years I lived without “knowing you “, you  were not a part of this existence  and then you came into  our lives  and left all too soon ,  and I miss you   so much . Most of those  that knew you in your all too short existence  have  relegated you  to  a mere memory  , if that anymore. Your life ,floating as a bubble on the wind ,has left their existence  and eventually  has disappeared, a name on a headstone ,in a place not of your liking or choosing……. . you  are only  bright ,living  and  colorful in our little universe.

This  loss of you from memory  will be  repeated  in all our lives. We are all  only  remembered   for as long as “living memory ” is in play. When your Nana passes so  will all the lives of the people she loved , knew and shared her  life with  when  she was young, she is the last one left to  remember those times, people and places.

Eventually  we all  will be forgotten, relegated to  some cemetery  or plaque  that will fall into  disrepair and get buried over and forgotten, unless of course you  are famous or infamous enough to  be documented  for some great or terrible deed or happenstance of life.  Life consigned to  a  shelf in a library, computer, television program, “history” interpreted , discussed and revised .

The happiness and love you  brought into our lives is not fleeting and neither is the gutting pain left behind  after your leaving…….. the love endures …. and so  do  you in my  fragile bubble like  world.

 

September 3, 2018 at 11:50 am 1 comment

August 3rd- continuation- Chris Ritchey

You  would think after all this time I would run out of things to  share about you  and the fact you  lived but as life “continues” I find, far from being at a loss to find subject matter  , everyday  continues with  you .

Recently,  another mother wondered about whether people  felt she should be “over her grief by  now”  another  if there is a time limit to  being broken?

Because we are broken, and the pieces of us are held together with  a very tenuous glue.  The slightest “wobble of a memory “ entering into  one’s day  can see us picking up  the pieces and trying to  put ourselves back  together in order to  be on “life’s display”, hoping those we meet , work and socialize with  will not notice the cracks. Broken can make people uncomfortable, because  they too are not immune from losing a son or a daughter and we  are constant reminders that can happen.

As your  Nana is “transitioning” and I  am once again “caring” with cooking special foods, diets, changing sheets every  couple of days and giving medications ( you  too were prescribed) the glue is hardly  doing its job most days. It is probably  a good thing I  am not interacting with  people at the moment because  I am not handling  being  broken in “two” .

What little patience and tolerance I  had before this latest life event has disappeared. I have become selfish  with  my  time and energy. Telemarketers have found that to  call me subjects them to a tirade of “language” not generally  associated with  one of my  age and upbringing. They  have become my  relief valve, something I  need,  so  I  don’t shatter   altogether.

As I  looked on your Nana’s face this morning I was reminded of the charcoal drawing you  made of her when she was 85 looking out of a window. She was quite annoyed. “Chris you  made me look 95 not 85” but your artwork prophesied the future as today the portrait is a true likeness as she continues and slowly disappears from this world.

Loving you  continues- being broken continues ….

photo -self -Chris Ritchey

August 2, 2018 at 10:58 pm 2 comments

No Exit – trapped in Lorain- The Others

freedom of speech by Chris Ritchey

I don’t know why  I am writing this , not much  point really  apart from getting it off my  chest. In my  theatre days I was part of  a production  at the Palace Theatre ( Lorain) of John Paul Sartre’s  “NO EXIT”  Three people trapped in their own kind of hell……

““All those eyes intent on me. Devouring me. What? Only two of you? I thought there were more; many more. So this is hell. I’d never have believed it. You remember all we were told about the torture-chambers, the fire and brimstone, the “burning marl.” Old wives’ tales! There’s no need for red-hot pokers. HELL IS OTHER PEOPLE!

The “Other” people, they  come into  a neighborhood that is quiet  especially  in old Lorain ,  a Lorain that is not  growing old so  gracefully.

First: The Others   come in and dump  what used to  be decent family  homes onto  the market because of poor business practices and the sub prime mortgage scandal.https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2018/03/19/my-roses-their-guns-walk-away-from-lorain/

 

Then  : Others come in like money  hungry  vultures and buy  up the properties  for pennies on the dollar,

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2016/08/26/when-vision-is-cloudy-property-holding-llcs-ny-times/

Agencies  provide housing lists  where RSO’s and those on parole can “assimilate into  the neighborhoods- Bureau  of Community  Sanctions http://drc.ohio.gov/community

Bureau of Community Sanctions Overview

The Bureau of Community Sanctions distributes and monitors grant and contractual funds provided to local jurisdictions and private vendors to establish community sanctions and residential services for adult offenders that are re-integrating into the community or who, otherwise, would be incarcerated in local jails or state prisons. Programs funded by the Bureau include Halfway Houses, Community-Based Correctional Facilities, Community Residential Centers, Permanent Supportive Housing, and Community Corrections Act grant programs including Intensive Supervision Probation, Standard Probation, Prosecutorial Diversion, Non-Supervisory Treatment Programs, Electronic Monitoring, and Community Work Service. Additionally, the Bureau has provided Probation Improvement Grants, Probation Incentive Grants, and SMART Ohio Grants in order to alleviate voids in services.  The funds and contracts managed by the Bureau are addressed in Ohio Revised Code Sections 2301.51, and Ohio Administrative Codes 5120:1-3-01 and 5120:1-5-06.

artist not found

and the Adult Parole Authority , http://drc.ohio.gov/parole

The APA’s mission is to “aid in the reentry of offenders by partnering with community stakeholders and law enforcement agencies to preserve public safety by holding offenders accountable through diverse supervision strategies and technology.” The philosophy of supervision statement for the Field Services section of the APA is to “effectively supervise and provide opportunity for offenders to reenter into law-abiding citizenship and to reward, encourage, and promote positive behavior, while holding offenders accountable for negative behavior.” The APA determines release of inmates from prison to parole or transitional control, sets supervision conditions for inmates released on post release control, coordinates placement of offenders in the community and supervises them upon their release from prison. In addition, the APA assists counties in the development of basic felony supervision services upon request for the Courts of Common Pleas. The APA administers Ohio’s interstate compact agreement for probation and parole coordinating movement of supervised offenders among states.

 

and now rehab centers for drug dealers and convicted felons, along with  people who  NEED Rehab.   ( follow the money , and the grants)

https://www.familywatchdog.us/

RSO’s around my  house 165 mapable and 15 unmapable…. churches, schools also  in the same vicinity  along with  a struggling downtown.

A  neighborhood starts to  spiral downward, a business district suffers because of deteriorating neighborhoods surrounding  that district and they  are getting worse.

Others move into  these homes, others who are bent on living THEIR life style , no  respect, just  feed the sound system, deal  the drugs, intimidate what is left of  a neighborhood, bring in “others’ until  what is left are those that cannot move , are unable to  cope and so  hide within their homes, frightened of the “armed others”. 

 

The “left people, meaning those that are left – not of the political term- they  try to  call government, the police, anyone , they  for the most part do  not live this lifestyle, it is  foreign to  them , they  don’t understand  this disrespect  or how this is happening,  they  do  not know what can and can’t be done, they  reach  out for help……… and not a lot can be done.

There is NO  HELP  from the likes of a Bureau of Community Sanctions, helping THEM to  live in their neighborhood. No  service agency  for those that are left , trying to  live a peaceful hardworking  existence and live out their lives in their homes whether owned or rented.

Most of these issues, the music , the loud lifestyles, the implied intimidation  , watching people dealing  in parking lots ,  the lack  of quality  of life CANNOT  be addressed quickly  or with  much  accountability.  So  we live in a limbo  of fear of retaliation  perceived or intended.

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2015/08/23/hurled-through-the-window-retribution-who-done-it-lorain/

The crime map  of this morning , as I  type, you   can see this old neighborhood  is seemingly  outnumbered by  the “Others”  How does  community  breathe in the 44052 . http://communitycrimemap.com/

 

Oh  some  of the drug deals etc are looked into  and documented for the courts by  our Lorain Police Dept, sometimes months of work goes into  these deals and dealers. BUT  what good is it when felons are given  a ” time out for  drug rehab” and a $750 fine and released back  into  the neighborhood. What message – Judges of Lorain and County  does this send to  the people who  are “left” ?

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2018/04/28/to-stabilize-or-de-stabilize-that-is-the-question-lorain-county/

The police can only  do  so  much, “call when there is an issue..  “make sure your  mention they have a scanner if you  believe that to  be the case” The police have to  witness the “crime or activity”. In Lorain on any  given day  or night there are only  6 -7 officers on the streets for a population of 64,000 and covering 24 square miles and is comprised of 113 Police Officers and 34 civilian employees.

The “Others” know the system they  know how to  get around the laws, they  know how to  waste time ,  they  know eventually  the “the lefts “ will either give up, die , move or just get plain worn out or be put down as a “complainer”…  Been there done that

In this house,  at the moment I have a hospice patient, last days of living in Lorain…. dying slowly without a murmur  and if you  ask me Lorain and the 44052 are following in the footsteps…….

I hope I am wrong but if this street and what is happening in this neighborhood is anything to  go  by  we the lefts  are terminal as there isn’t much  hope with  the solutions we have…… I  am not sure there will be a “continuation…..” not when the “others are spreading the disease as quickly  as they  are….

 

 

July 9, 2018 at 5:05 pm 7 comments

July 3rd – Life Changes- Chris Ritchey

Regular readers will notice that for the past weeks the only posts have been my  promised ” I  will write as best I  can your  story , Chris” until  there is a closure…..…

Oh!  there have been plenty  of things happening in this neighborhood, this  city , the state and country  and even the world  that would set my  fingers flying in years and months gone by.

I have reached a place of “sigh” everything seems to be too much  to  bear, too much  to  handle  and  apathy  has set in. One of the reasons is life changes ,here in this house and the losing of a wonderful friend, Paula Tobias. Death  and dying – I  am so  tired of watching those I  love die by  increments with  nothing I  can do  or say to  make a difference.

I  am at war with death  in the form of  a bird- a huge Blue Heron  who  found the pond.

He has become my angel of death  silently  swooping down , waiting , watching  to  strike. As beautiful as he is , he is now the enemy . I wait for him in the mornings and late evening  since I  first saw him a month  ago. He has no  fear,  intent on reigning havoc upon the habitat in the pond whether it is fish or frogs .

The pond where you  put my  Mother’s Day  present –  the “Ghost Koi “ that very  last time .

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/03/19/the-ghost-in-the-pond/

The koi  is huge, a good 24 inches , he glides stealth like through  the water. I was surprised this Ghost Koi , no  larger than the span of my  hand when you  released that May  day,  has become the size he has . I guess I  should have researched him – As I  read about this Ghost Koi, I had a funny  feeling YOU  did research  his characteristics  and thought it would be funny  to  land your mother with  a giant fish, somehow it fitted with  your sense of humour. Big fish   little pond !

Jumbo sized Koi grow up to 34 to 36 inches long and 40Lbs . Does the size of the pond hinder a Koi’s growth? The size of a pond will not stop a Koi from growing. The size of the pond, along with other factors like health, feeding, water temperature and water quality affect the speed of their growth.

https://www.koiacres.com/koi/faq.html

The Heron killed at least two  of the large gold-fish before I  could act.

I quickly  purchased a Heron net to  put over the  pond, in the 4 decades we have had the pond  we never had a problem , it was intentionally built deep with  steep sides to  keep away  the critters. This latest pond you  dug for me , moaning all the time as I remember.

I have watched, as this beautiful angel of death  circles , lands  silently , he and I  watching the other , the net raised higher , road blocks of obstacles put in   so  he can’t find a place to  “fish”. He has gotten through  the net , knocked down the supports , there is no  giving up  with  this bird.

He adjusts  his flight path  and landings, picks his moment .

He waits in the early  mornings on the roof of the surrounding garages and homes, leaving his calling card , looking for a way  through  the netting and me.

He was here at 5:30 am this morning, this bringer of death, haughty  and proud but like death  I  too  can wait , a Mothers’ Day  Koi  has become more than just another fish………

I would like to  think your “Ghost Koi” will continue and I  can at least do  something to  save it from this particular ‘Angel  of Death”- our love of you  never fades or dies…….

 

July 2, 2018 at 9:51 pm 2 comments

June 3rd – delete- Chris Ritchey

Artwork Chris Ritchey

Hard weeks, when even writing is no  longer cathartic. Always months of anniversaries of this and that…. May  and June full of them. Some were happy  but in the dying times most are met with “wanting to  just get through” to  the other side. The “what if” things had turned out differently , “memories that should have been”  dissolved into  the murky waters of time  and reality  rippling out into  nothingness.

And yet the days of memories linger on the edge of our reality , the present.  As I wait for the pink rose  blossoms to  once again surround the fountain (you  purchased as my  “thank you “)  mingles with the memory  of you  carrying it piece by  piece that June day to  place it where it still sits- I  see you  the way  you  carried yourself, muscles taut  across your  back as the cast  concrete weighed upon those arms  recently  pumped with  chemo.

I see you  sitting on the edge of the pond slipping in the “Ghost Koi” that Mothers’ Day . The Koi that is now as long as my  fingertips to  my  elbow. He/she slips silently  through  the waters just a glimpse of the past melding with  the present. The reality  of missing you  and wanting to  see you , hear your voice, laughter to  make me smile through the grief that is always there  waiting…….

I can’t  “delete” those memories and the hundreds of them that assail with every  passing day. They hurt , even the very  good ones  but they  are you so  they  can be borne ….

I can and have deleted  people from my  mind  journey – the ones that have caused hurt, they  barely  exist in my  world except when I bring them to  the fore because they  are mentioned by others –  control , alt , delete . I can control those memories . It is if they  belong to  a different lifetime  and actually they  do  ….. they  are the purveyors of  wickedness personified , selfishness undiluted  and have no  room in the “what if”………

Another 3rd, another month  another year but you  are loved beyond all tears….

 

June 3, 2018 at 11:00 am Leave a comment

May 3rd- Words are all I have- Chris Ritchey

Words- text- communication through  a written language. Reading was always difficult for you  as a little boy you were at the beginning of a local failing school system. A system that had to  show progress, so  although  you  had the extra classes , they  passed you  through as completing their  grant driven reading programs. It wasn’t until the 5th  grade we found out , when I  had you  privately  tested, just how bad the problem was. Three years of catch-up and a change to  private education.

Those years were hard for you , you  thought you  must be “stupid”.  However, you  also  developed a skill of  communicating “visually” . Eventually  reading caught up  with  your ability  to  use your art to  communicate.  You  found a niche for your talent at Lorain County  Community  College https://www.lorainccc.edu/

and on the advice of the college you transferred to  Cleveland Institute of Art

http://www.cia.edu/

artwork Chris Ritchey

It was at the students art show at Cleveland Institute of Art , I  was looking at some of your designs etc. I noticed a couple of mistakes in the text. I spoke to  the your instructor that evening about the  mistakes in the text.  He looked at me and said :

“that is not a problem , we can teach  and correct  spelling  etc. what I  can’t teach  is what your son has, his ability  , creativity  and talent. I will give a an assignment  to  the group – “come   up  with  three different  advertising concepts  on a given product/ client  within a week” – Chris, will come back  within two  days with  10  entirely  different takes.  I can’t teach  that……

 

Eventually  you  gained a  position as Art Director for  Wyse Advertising .

http://www.wyseadv.com/

Apparently , according to  your boss at the time, you were poised to do  great things in advertising … we will never know…. but Wyse  were wonderful to  you during that terrible time of your illness.

I do  remember that first year  you worked for Wyse  you  were asked to  do  the ad for them in the annual “Torchlight” Membership  Directory

The monthly AAF-Cleveland Portfolio features the latest in industry development and trends, association insights and updates, and achievements of local members. “Torchlight,” our annual membership directory, is an invaluable “Who’s Who” reference manual of members, agencies, and services in Cleveland advertising.

The directory  was in your portfolio   and the ad………. text, words …….. “scan of the full-page ad that appeared in the Torchlight”

Artwork Christopher Ritchey

 

But there aren’t any  words  that were  so  important as the last words you  wrote to  me – even with  the spelling mistake…….I carry  them with  me every  day

 

Mother’s Day  is coming, once again tinged with  tears and bitter-sweet  ———– I love you…………I need to  finish writing  the book  if I can find the words

 

May 3, 2018 at 11:19 am Leave a comment

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