Gloria Ferris

one woman’s view from a place by the zoo in the city

Chronic Illness Recovery-One Step At a Time

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Today I emptied the dishwasher and I filled it all at once. First time, in ten years that I did not take a 20 minute rest between the two tasks. It is now one task again. This is not to say that when the humidity is high or my back screams to me that I need to sit down, put up my feet and read a book I will not listen. I will and once gain feel like the slow tortoise I have become.

Still, I think I took a good step forward-no longer facing the task with dread, but with the knowledge I can do it.

Ten years ago, I had a massive heart attack and three strokes. I had no use of my left side. I could not walk. I could not feed myself. I could not negotiate going to the bathroom by myself. Before that point, my husband and daughters were told I had a negative 17% chance of living. I had been unconscious. I had not responded to light or to many other triggers used in assessment..

I don’t tell this for sympathy, empathy or anything else but simply to tell you that I understand the struggle people have when recovering from heart attacks, strokes, and cancer. Yes, cancer. During all of this, I was diagnosed with uterine cancer. Luckily, it was a very early detection so that learning to walk could come first. Then, I could wait the 90 days needed to recover from the heart attack and participate in cardio rehabilitation so that I would be stronger when the surgery happened.

All of this background leads me to today when I accomplished something that many of us take to be a given- unloading and loading the dishwasher.  It does us good to remember to be grateful and thankful for what we have every day of our lives because in a wink of an eye all that can change.

My point is not to be depressing but to let everyone know that should a chronic illness come your way it is not necessary to stop living or stop working toward goals. When you look back to yesterday, and believe me, look back one day.  Do not look to what “used to be”.

Your normal is a “new” normal and yours alone because each person’s backpack of a chronic illness is unique to themselves. For some people, recovery comes quickly up to a point and then, it seems to plateau. For others, the path is filled with rocks and tree roots and the time it takes is much longer.

I tell people that heart disease is customized and each person’s list of symptoms is unique. It is the same with strokes. I regained my ability to walk. I eat with my left hand once again. I type using every finger on my right hand and my pointer finger on my left.

Today, I used those six fingers to share that I can now do one more thing that has eluded me for ten years. I know it probably doesn’t seem like much, but in my world, it proves that I can still achieve more.     

Written by Gloria Ferris

June 9th, 2018 at 4:33 pm

Where is My French Roast Coffee?

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Don’t judge me on our taste in coffee, but Tim and I love Starbucks French Roast. For a month and a half we have been unable to procure it at any of our local Starbucks.

The answer to the question varies every time.  ‘We need to order more’.  ‘We are not selling French roast any more’.  ‘I don’t know why we don’t have it, we just don’t’.

Tim went to their website where it is still listed as available.

And then, yesterday I decided to persist in finding out more of an answer when I stopped in to buy Komodo Dragon since, of course, no French roast.

After the cashier finally caught the manager’s attention, she told me that they were downsizing on the kinds of coffee beans sold.

I replied the selection is still listed as available on Starbucks website. Her answer relayed through said cashier: “We shut down the on-line store before Christmas.” My reply: “Not the on-line store. The website”.  Again relayed by the cashier. “You would have to contact the website about that. I don’t know anything about the website.”

At this point, I asked her to stop multi-tasking and relaying everything through the poor cashier who I am sure felt like the pickle in the middle and just answer my question as to why French roast was chosen to be deleted from the offerings.

She then told me that the beans used for French roast had no consistent market for buying, and therefore, it was eliminated.

I thanked her and left with my purchases sans the steel straw my daughter asked me too buy.  The manager told me that the item had been discontinued two years prior  as too dangerous to sale.

After I left, I recall reading an article somewhere, sometime that the coffee market would become exceedingly unstable due to geopolitical reasons. I don’t recall where I read it, but it was probably The New Yorker, The Economist, or The week.

I wonder if others are finding it difficult to find their favorite bean from their favorite roaster because of geopolitical reasons.

Where should I go to find a comparable smooth taste of French roast? Or am I to continue my search for a “good” cup of morning coffee made at home?  My only consolation is the number of coffee shop selections within a mile of my home-Tremont: Civilization and The Loop, Old Brooklyn:  Coffee Coffee Coffee and Metropolitan Café and my all time favorite Gypsy Beans in Detroit Shoreway.

With all that goodness so close to home, why do I yearn for that home brewed cup of coffee?  

Written by Gloria Ferris

June 2nd, 2018 at 10:19 pm

Posted in quality of life

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Ward 14 Town Hall Meeting

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Last night I had the pleasure of attending the first town hall meeting hosted by Councilwoman Jasmin Santana, her assistant, Maranyeliz Miranda, and her volunteers.  It was an enjoyable, informative meeting. I hope,as Ms. Santana said,it will  be the first of many.

This town hall  was a community forum with many city officials as well as non-profit advocates discussing housing issues and solutions with the audience.  This first forum’s participants included:

Special Guest: MetroHealth

Chief of Staff. Jane Platten.  Walter Jones, Senior Vice President in charge of campus transformation accompanied her.

Cleveland Build and Housing:

Ayonna Donald, Interim director Cleveland Director B & H.

Housing Partnership Network, FKA Cleveland Housing Network

Kate Monter Durban, Assistant Director

Neighborhood Housing Services

Mahria Harris, Director of Homeowner Services

Christina Keegan, Land Trust Program Manager

Cleveland Housing Court

Heather Meljkovic, Magistrate

Peter Hotchkiss, Housing Court Specialist

Community Development Organizations.

Metro West Development Organization

Keisha Gonzalez, Managing Director

Tremont West Development Corporation

Cory Riordan, Executive Director

Pastor Gordon Martin, Prince of Peace Outreach presided as facilitator and fielded the written questions from the audience. Since the topic was housing, he informed us  that all the other questions would be handled on-line since people had failed to add contact info to the questions. 

As always, there were a few in the audience who refused to believe that the rules applied to them and they shouted their questions from the floor. When Pastor Martin was unable to get them to understand that the written questions served two purposes-the question topic would be housing and that all others would be handled in writing on- line,  the councilwoman and he handled the impromptu questions quickly and efficiently so that the discussion on housing issues could continue.

There was a lot of useful information exchanged. The housing court personnel handled eviction questions as well as what the procedure is if you end up in court. 

“Who is the code enforcer?” was handled by Metro West’s managing director, Keisha Gonzalez and Ms. Arnold of Building and  Housing  who has  over 20 years experience both in the field and in management.

Ms. Gonzalez shared that Metro West conducts four Code Enforcement Area (CEA) studies a year. When an area  is chosen  for closer scrutiny a house to house outside inspection is conducted. These inspections are to identify potential Building and Housing violations before they become a problem for the homeowner when code enforcement kicks in.

If you receive a letter, call Metro West. There are resources that can help home owners. any people accomplished home repairs which alleviates anxiety and enhances their own quality of life as well as their neighbors’.

Ms. Arnold made everyone understand Metro West, Tremont West or any other CDC does NOT have enforcement authority.

Many questions centered around affordable housing and what programs are available to residents as well as the deposition of the YMCA building on Pearl. An added plus was Jane Platten from MetroHospitals who addressed the new transformation plan for the hospital and how those plans do not call for the displacement of current residents near the hospital. Ms. Platten was glad to be able to dispel the rumors at a public forum.

Rebecca Kempton and I recorded the meeting on Facebook live. It is available in two sections. If you are interested please take the time to watch it. There are two sections I and II. Click on  Gloria Ferris. Scroll down.

Again, I would like to thank everyone who participated in last night’s meeting, but most of all, to thank Councilwoman Santana for using the calls to her office as her basis for the Town Hall topic.

I look forward to the next one.

Sticking a Bit Closer to Home to Identify Heroes

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Today Is International Woman’s Day. A very important day and there are many heroes I could mention-Eleanor Roosevelt, Elizabeth Blackwell, Beverly Cleary,  Elizabeth Jane Cochran, every woman who marched, faced ridicule, sat in jail, and worked tirelessly so I and others would have the right to vote, and many, many more.

But today, for some reason, I am thinking of heroes much closer to me in my life. Not those I read about growing up, thanks to teachers who encouraged me to explore these incredible women, but those women who influenced my life in ways that shaped me into who I am today-my mother and her sisters.

My mother is dead. She has not been physically in my life since July 2, 1990. It doesn’t mean she isn’t with me every single day of my life because she is a piece of my heart. When her mother died in 1971, my mother was 49 years old. I remember my aunts were 39, 37, and 27 when Grandma Esther died. In 1990, I was 40 years old when my mother died.  I remember Mom telling me that it didn’t matter what age your mother was when she left you it would be too soon.

I remembered those words on the day of her funeral. I also remembered that she  told me that, although I was an only child, I would never be alone because I had aunts who loved me just like she loved their kids. And how she loved those kids from the time they were born through the trials and tribulations of adolescence to when they became parents

My mother expressed her love for others through her actions. She was a woman of few words but when she spoke you knew what she said was true and not lightly spoken. She had a laugh that began slowly, rose in volume and continued until it faded into silence.  She was my rock. She was my confidante. She was my mother.

She was right. My aunts did become like sisters to me. They invited my family and me to participate in large family gatherings as well as small get-togethers with them. They loved my children as my mom had loved theirs.

Their love for my family and me was never more apparent than November 2008 when I suffered a massive heart attack and three strokes. A time when it was surmised that I would not live longer than six months,  if at all. Tim has said that he does not know what he would have done without the incredible faith of “the Aunts”.

Against great odds, I did survive. I did recover from the paralysis of my left side. My heart did heal and I have had my aunts by my side every step of the way.My Aunt Janice called me once a week just to talk and I never told her  how welcome those phone calls were because it was like my mother was right there with me through a very difficult time.

My Aunt Mick was there too. She was the one that made sure that I did not withdraw from family. That I continued to be a part of something much larger than myself. She knew my tendency to become the only child who could do it all herself.

My Aunt Connie was six years old when I was born. My mother was 28. I grew up thinking of her more like a sister than an aunt although I always knew she was “the little sister” making her very special to my mother and my aunts. Together, they had a bond that was forged in a way that would never break.  My aunts all told me stories of my mom’s job at the Flxible Company during the war and how when the young men came back from war she quietly returned to her former job leaving the supervisor’s position that she loved. She paid for music lessons, she bought a camera for them for Christmas and all the other things she would do for her younger siblings. All three kept my mother alive for me.

Now, it is only Aunt Connie, me and my cousins who remind me of their mothers in such wonderful ways who carry on the values and traditions forged through the years. Aunt Connie continues to give me the hope I need and bolster my faith that those who go before us are with us each and every day.  I realize that all four of these women taught me how without hope we are nothing and with hope we have the faith to carry on.

Throughout my life, I told them all I loved them, but I don’t think I have had the courage to tell them they were my heroes. I am glad that I still have the time to tell Aunt Connie.  I can feel the warmth of the smiles of the other three wrapped around me as I write.  

Written by Gloria Ferris

March 8th, 2018 at 8:15 pm

Posted in general

Ward 14 General Election Community Forum

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On Tuesday, October 9, Brian Cummins and Jasmin Santana were invited to participate in a community forum to answer questions from the people who will be voting for them on Tuesday, November 7th.

Here is the invitation:

Congratulations!

Brian and Jasmin-

You are the two candidates left standing after a primary that had very capable candidates.

It has been more of a challenge to find venues and available dates this fall than it was this summer because of the number of events being hosted by our venues.

Therefore, there are three dates available for the community forum and one time frame 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm.

They are as follows:

Tuesday, October 24th 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm

Wednesday, October 25th 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm.

Wednesday, November 1st 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm

If you could check your calendars and get back to me as soon as you possibly can, I will be able to confirm the venue and we could all begin promoting as quickly as possible.

We will again use the League of Women’s format for the event.

· All Questions will be written.

· Keep questions clear, concise and to the point.

· Keep questions appropriate to the council race.

· Pose general questions that both candidates can answer.

· Screeners/sorters will be available for help with wording and writing questions.

· Pages will be in the room to pass out pencils and cards throughout the forum and to collect the questions.

When you confirm your attendance, I will forward the format, agenda, a flyer to circulate and four questions that will be preset by one of our volunteers, Mikki White.

Good luck and I look forward to another successful community forum.

Gloria Ferris

On Thursday, October 12, this reminder was sent out.

Brian and Jasmin-

Brian- Thank you for your prompt reply to our invitation.

Jasmin- If you could please reply to my original invitation or this reminder by the end of business Friday, October 13th at 5:00 pm.

This is a very busy time of year and our venues are keeping the dates open for us but they are already asking for confirmation so that they can release the dates not used for other events.

As soon as we here back from you we will craft a pdf of a flyer that you both can use to promote the forum to your supporters and those voters on the fence.

Here are the dates available for the community forum and one time frame 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm.

Tuesday, October 24th 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm

Wednesday, October 25th 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm.

Wednesday, November 1st 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm

Please reply with a confirmation or a regret.

Gloria Ferris

It is quite important to nail down a date and a venue quickly so that the event can be promoted for at least a week. Also, the venues have asked for certainty as soon as possible because Fall is a busy time and they are waiting for a yes or no so that the venue can be released on that date.

We are hopeful that we will have answers for them by 5 pm on Friday, October 13.

Written by Gloria Ferris

October 12th, 2017 at 11:05 pm

Reply to Jasmin Santana’s Facebook Post

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Ms. Santana’s Facebook post appears at the bottom of my blog post. It was forwarded to me as an email. Just as she decided to reply publicly to my invitation I have decided to do the same.

On two things I agree with Ms Santana, we need to stay focused and continue to make Ward 14 the best it can be. This is why I try to stay out of the drivel that is so much of Facebook nowadays.

I, too, abhor rumors and accusations. Since I am upset by the lies and half-truths in her public reply I find it necessary to reply in public. Words that impugn my character, integrity and honesty need to be addressed.

Her reply implies that she did not receive an invitation until it was sent to her on August 8th. This is not true.

The invitation was sent by email July 31.  Here it is.

Dear________:

We would like to invite you to participate in the Ward 14 Community forums for council candidates. As in 2013, we have a plethora of qualified candidates running for the council seat. This council seat is very important to the voters in our ward. We feel offering two forums where candidates can answer questions asked by residents is an important part of community engagement.

We are a group of Ward 14 residents who believe in this process and because of that belief formed a rules of engagement and sponsored three community forums in 2014. We have been asked to again offer this service.   We have made some changes to the format, not many, but ones we feel will make the forums even more effective and enjoyable for participants and audience alike. 

We have changed the number of forums from three to two and have decided to have one on the east side of the ward and one on the west side. Archwood United Church of Christ has agreed to be our east side venue.   On the west side we are looking at three possible sites, Stockyards Community School, West 58th Street Church of God, and Clark Rec Center. Since our east side venue is difficult for some people to navigate it is imperative that our west side venue be accessible to all. 

Providing Spanish translation proved a challenge at the first forums. This time, we would like to engage your help in finding suitable translators. Therefore, if at all possible, we would like each candidate to engage someone to be their translator. If you would rather not or cannot, we will gladly help. 

We will again offer time for each candidate to speak at the beginning and closing of the forum. Usually, we try to keep those remarks to three minutes each. The questions are asked in round robin fashion so that no one individual has the advantage of being last or the disadvantage of being first. These are shared equally. 

I have sent a doodle poll for your convenience in sharing your availability. We have chosen two weeks and three dates each week in hopes of not needing to fine tune date selection too much. 

As soon as we have confirmed dates and times, we will notify you so that you can begin sharing the information with your workers, with people you meet and greet, and on social media. We will create a flyer by pdf for you to reproduce, share or use in any way you see fit. 

We will also send you a copy of our rules of engagement so that you will be able to ask questions or offer suggestions for its improvement. 

We look forward for the opportunity of holding these forums so that you and our residents can discuss the issues that are deemed most important to our community.

Sincerely,

 

Gloria Ferris                  Rebecca Kempton

2017 Ward 14 Community Forum Initiative

She did not reply to the invitation or Doodle poll. The Doodle poll was sent July 31. A Doodle poll is sent to participants giving them dates and times. The recipient simply adds her or his name to the list and clicks on the dates acceptable to him or her. That’s all it takes. The creator of the poll is notified when people reply.

Granted, the invitation did not go out until July 31, but we needed to secure the venues before asking the availability of candidates.

Candidates had until June 29th to submit petitions to run in the primary. Technically, anyone soliciting candidates for a forum or debate would not do so until that date passed.

I did not want to be part of sponsoring candidate debates this election cycle. Although residents kept asking me if we would have community forums again I continued to wait by the third week of July, none were scheduled and I knew people wanted them.

Since I believe in the right of community engagement in the election process not controlled by the parties, I began looking for venues.

Yes, maybe it is a bit of a short fuse, but I needed to make sure we had venues in line before contacting candidates for availability.

Hence, the Doodle Poll which gave six dates and two starting times for the forums. Three candidates replied quickly with availability and two did not. Since the three candidates who replied all indicated that August 17 and August 22 were good for them, and it turned out that West 58th Street Church of God could ONLY host on that date, those dates were chosen.

If Jasmin had contacted me directly to let me know the 17th and 22nd were not good dates for her, I would have continued looking for a second ADA-accessible venue. Archwood Church had indicated that any of the six dates worked for them.

So now, I know from Jasmin’s public reply to the flyer I sent or to the invitation she received and/or the doodle she did receive notice. She simply did not give me the courtesy of a reply.

Flier sent to ALL candidates on August 9.

[to be added later]

I am glad that Jasmin mentioned the League of Women Voters in her public reply so that I could share a bit of background with her and the public. Four years ago, the Cuyahoga County League of Women Voters was the first group I reached out to when we began to explore the possibility of community forums.

At that time, their representative informed me that as a rule they do not hold community forums for Ward candidates. She did steer me toward the California League of Women’s website where there were instructions on how to conduct such a forum. The format worked perfectly for our purposes. If she had contacted me with her concerns, this is what I would have told her.

I must admit this time I simply decided to use the League of Women Voters’ format that we previously used. I decided my time was better spent securing translation equipment from the Cleveland Municipal School District and looking for two simultaneous translators. I am still looking.

If anyone knows of translators with this skill set, I would greatly appreciate contact information. Mine is 216-351-0254 or gloria@gloriaferris.net.

I am not sure from where the information of me being “a strong Cummins supporter” originated, but I think that those who know me would find the statement a bit incongruous.

Throughout the years, people who know Brian and me know that we have had our differences of opinion. We often do not agree. In fact, I ran against Brian, Rick Nagin, and Emily Lipovan one year.

There is one thing I admire about Brian and that is his willingness as an incumbent to face his opposition in an open forum. I am also thankful for Nelson Cintron Jr who never steps away from the public engagement. I am grateful to newcomer Omar Medina who also stepped up to the plate. Sadly, I wish that the two candidates who did not reply to the invitation had.

Since all questions are submitted in writing by the audience and vetted by a committee chosen by the candidates and read by the moderator, I am not sure where “bias” enters into the conversation.

I beg to differ with the statement that this forum cannot be seen as a place for the public to hear from the candidates honestly and openly.

Over the years. I have heard from many people who attended and participated in community forums I have conducted. I am proud that two words “fair and impartial” are used when describing them.

I intend to continue to offer the best community-based forum for the candidates and the voters I can. I will not and cannot be sidetracked by a candidate who did not reply to an invitation, but waited to respond when it was indeed too late to accommodate her.

And yes, a primary season that is two months long followed by a general election two months later is not the public’s friend.

From Jasmin Santana:

My Response to the Invitation to Participate in the Biased, Cummins Supporters Sponsored Candidate Forum

Recently I received an invitation to participate in a candidate forum. I will not be attending the forum for several reasons.

I will be out of town for the first one with my family keeping the commitment I made to my husband and children to spend time with them before school starts. 

The second forum takes place at the same time as an event that I had already placed on my busy campaign calendar. 

To announce in the beginning of August a candidate forum and expect candidates to attend is truly unfair to dedicated candidates who are meeting with voters daily. 

This forum is also being hosted by two women who are strong Cummins supporters and are perceived as biased.  

One of them recently stated "Jasmin has about as much chance of getting elected as a snowball in hell has a chance of surviving.”  

A statement like this shows complete bias and therefore, this forum cannot be seen as an opportunity for the public to hear from the candidates honestly and openly. This has been the case in the past and now that his campaign is struggling, they have hastily put together this forum to help his campaign. 

I refuse to attend on that principle alone. If the forum were being conducted by the League of Women Voters, or an unbiased, non-partisan group, I would happily attend given enough notice.  

To all of my wonderful supporters, I know that there will be a lot of rumors and accusations, some people are going to be upset and might say things to try to hurt the campaign or us, so, let’s stay focused, and continue working to make Ward 14 the best it can be! 

Palante!! Seguimos enfocados en hacer lo mejor para nuestra comunidad

Written by Gloria Ferris

August 10th, 2017 at 10:27 pm

Vino Veritas: Vineyard on the Verge

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From time to time, I write an article for a local publication, The Old Brooklyn News. At the link is my latest effort on pages 22 & 23, “Vino Veritas: Vineyard on the Verge.”

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Written by Gloria Ferris

June 7th, 2017 at 3:55 pm

Posted in general

pole down, lights out

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This morning, around 3:20, our power went out. A call to CEI told us that it was due to a car accident. A look out the front door validated that—there was a large cluster of emergency vehicles two blocks to the east of us on Denison Avenue.

Yesterday, December 3rd, was the birthday of Newton D. Baker. In the early 1900s, when he was the 37th mayor of Cleveland, he advocated that utilities be put underground on the streets or run above ground on utility alleys. Despite having passed legislation to effect this, the poles remain above ground in Cleveland.

Today, we depend more than ever on our electric power and our cable systems—strung on poles and fully exposed on our streets–to conduct our daily personal affairs; some of us rely on these utilities to make a living. Isn’t it time we limited our vulnerabilities and put the wires underground?

As an afterthought, when mature trees are no longer butchered to serve the interests of the utility companies, do you think that might improve the density of the canopy in a place that really can’t claim the name “Forest City” any more? Might we dare plant big trees again, something more robust than the honey locust?

Written by Gloria Ferris

December 4th, 2016 at 6:24 am

Posted in general

Counting Blessings on Thanksgiving

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Happy Thanksgiving!

My dad taught me early in life to count my blessings. So, on this day of Thanksgiving, I think it is quite appropriate to remember one of the boys in his life that he considered one of his “sons” and many of the others who were dear to his heart.

Today is my cousin Donnie Evans’ birthday-November 24, 1958. I still remember the day that his mom and dad brought him home from the hospital. My memory believes it was Thanksgiving Day, but sometimes, my memories have a way of evolving into a bit better story, so I may be off a day or two. He was such a precious little treasure.

He would be fifty-eight today. But you see, time stopped for Donnie on October 27, 2015. Tim and I travelled to Missouri and I will forever be thankful that he suggested it. I reconnected with some people that I had not seen for too long. My dad and Donnie too was there when we visited Mackie the concrete goose and picked pecans while birds and squirrels watched us plunder their winter food supply.

Louie, true to form, filled the pocket of my vest with pecans and told me to plant them in Cleveland just at the depth of squirrel would.  I shared them with friends who are hikers and bird watchers asking them to plant them on their walks. I keep some for myself and planted them in some favorite spots. There is one nestled in my plaster fox curled up to my left as I write this post. 

Strange how with family the years just melt away when you are together,  and it always seems just like yesterday when last you saw them.  That trip to say “Godspeed” to my cousin will remain in my heart forever. His funeral gave me the opportunity to spend time with my cousins who for years when I was young  I saw them at least once a week, but hadn’t seen them in too many years.

Tim told me on the way home as we travelled on the Santa Fe trail that he had learned more about why I am who I am than he ever thought he would. He told me now I understand your love of nature and the woods a bit better because so do your cousins. It is in your blood.  Yep!

Louie and Chuck were more like big brothers to me than cousins. My aunt lived next door and they would pop into Mom’s kitchen almost every day to see what Aunt Virginia was cooking. Jim and Jane Ellen did not make the trip but they were with us in spirit and their names were mentioned often during the stories shared.

Connecting to Julia and Larry as adults was a moment that seemed so surreal. Again, I had spent many days when I was young with them because they would stay the weekend with their uncle Harry and Aunt Virginia, my parents. Now, here they were with kids of their own grown, attending college, starting families, it was enough to boggle my mind.

And then there was Courtney chronicling events with her camera. Why do I think that someday somehow, we will all end up as characters in a book? Julia is so proud of her child, and so she should be, the girl is a treasure.

And Julia, is my Aunt Dadie personified one more time. She couldn’t look more like her if she tried. She is a strong, independent woman who means what she says and says what she means. Giving her mother Annie a hug was one of the best moments of the trip.

Alma is such a sweetheart and I am so glad my cousin has her in his life. She is a free spirit and enjoys life so much. Leesa fits in with “the boys” and her pink camouflage kind of says it all.

On this day, when we count our blessings I am so glad for my family. My parents made sure that both sides of my family became “our family” and to this day, they all remain so important to me.

Written by Gloria Ferris

November 24th, 2016 at 3:13 pm

Posted in general

September 2 Was My Dad’s 90th birthday

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My dad was born in 1926 during the height of the Roaring 20’s. It seems rather fitting because my dad always loved a party and had a way of becoming the center of attention without really trying.

He could be exasperating at times, but you could always count on that lopsided smile and twinkling blue eyes to turn your frown of frustration into an “oh well” shrug.

That smile is something I always remember about him.  Whether he was turning the crank on the ice cream maker surrounded by hungry nieces and nephews or throwing a stick deep into the water for Goldie his Labrador Retriever that smile would accompany the action.

My dad was happiest when he was with people. He found those people in many places.  One place was the American Legion where he found men who had experienced the same war he did. When I would ask him about the war, he would tell me about all the places he had been-Calcutta, India, Ceylon (Sri Lanka today), Karachi, Pakistan.

I just realized he never talked about anywhere else although he circled the world twice. One time, he did talk about the North Atlantic and how cold and dark it was and how the storms where brutal. He said that seeing the Northern Lights for the first time made up for all the scary times when he felt more alone than he ever had in his life.

He hopped a ride to Cleveland to Join the Navy but he was only sixteen and they wouldn’t take him. A recruiter told him that the Coast Guard took recruits at seventeen. When he got there, he lied about his age and said he was 17, filled out the paperwork and handed it to the recruiter. The man said “you are only sixteen”. Dad replied “Yes sir, but I will be seventeen when I finish basic training.” The man looked him up and down and stamped the form. I am sure that infamous smile made an appearance.

When he returned home his cousin John got him a job in a foundry called Wooster Products.  A group of fellow workers convinced him to run for Union Steward because his smile could change anger into calm. He served for many years, but his heart was never really in it. He didn’t like always having to convince everyone that compromise had given them all the best contract available.

He began as a pattern maker and the only way to move up was to become a molder. It was hot and dangerous work. His nose was broken twice. After twenty years, he decided he needed a change of scenery and went from an inside job to working construction in the heat of the summer and the cold of the winter, but he loved it. I never heard him complain once about either job, but he never told stories about the first one. My father’s blue eyes would twinkle and a smile would cross his face when he talked about all of the men on his construction crew. This time he stayed far away from union politics simply paying his dues and exercised his right to vote.

He found friends and companions everywhere he worked, every bar he frequented and every barbeque or fish fry he and the guys threw for one cause or another. He and a group of fellow hunters and fishermen formed the Shreve Farmers and Sportsmen’s Club.  They pooled their money and bought acreage from a farmer south of town.

It was centered in a beautiful oak forest perched on a ravine. They dammed a creek and made a pond stocked with fish.  On the weekends, they built a clubhouse where they held monthly fish fries to defray the costs of buying more property around their ravine. He took every opportunity to show it to anyone who gave the least bit of interest in where it was and what it looked like.

He was always most pleased when someone wanted to walk the trails in the woods with him.  He would point out the twisted trees that he was convinced had been used for marks on an Indian Trail.  If the man had his kids with him  and it was spring, he would find a plowed field to hunt for arrowheads.  I would often tag along because walking in the woods with my dad is in my top ten things that I loved to do when I was young.

When I close my eyes,  I can still hear him tell me “we aren’t lost Cat. We just don’t know where we are. We will know soon.” And we always did find our way back.  I would be elated and he would reward me with one of those big smiles.

Now that I am closer to 90 than I am to that young girl I realize that that smile was probably because he had always known.  Happy Birthday, Dad!

Written by Gloria Ferris

September 2nd, 2016 at 11:18 pm

Posted in general