Gloria Ferris

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

Archive for December, 2012

My Christmas Wish For You

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The other day I created a Rhapsody playlist of my favorite Christmas songs. It wasn’t long before I realized that some of my favorites came to me through my mom and dad. Dad’s favorite  was “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”. When the strains of that song were hummed and sung each day,  I knew that Christmas was right around the corner.

Today, my mother’s favorite “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” by Kate Smith is my topic. I knew the song was based on a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow what I didn’t know was that the poem was written during the Civil War.  The popular song was based on five stanzas of the poem, not the original seven with two that refer specifically to The Civil War.

What a coincidence that both songs were penned during wars. War is war whether it happened in the 1860’s on our own soil or today in a land faraway that makes it surreal rather than the harsh reality it is. War is violent, and lately, we have experienced an act of unspeakable horror in a town in Connecticut that turned violence on 10 small children and six of their teachers who will never sit down to Christmas dinner again with their loved ones.

Today, the SEVEN stanzas of this poem seem appropriate. Against the harsh reality of war, we again hear God’s promise of “Peace on Earth Good will To Men” Here is the original poem with all seven stanzas.

"Christmas Bells"

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
Till, ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
Then from each black accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!"


My Christmas wish to all of you:

the faith to know that some day this will be. 

Written by Gloria Ferris

December 25th, 2012 at 10:08 am

Reflections On Christmas Eves Past And Christmas Present

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Today, my mind keeps wandering to Christmas Eves of my childhood when we gathered at Grandma and Grandpa Shearer’s for dinner, a gift exchange, and best of all, the Christmas Eve Candlelight service at Saint John’s Lutheran Church in McZena Ohio or as my cousin Jack earlier today reminded me “Dogtown USA”.


St. John's Church

With full stomachs, wearing new gloves and scarves, clutching toys or whatever we were given during the gift exchange we set off on foot to walk up the hill to the church.  When we arrived, many of the adults with us joined the choir at the front of the church.  I remember the quiet, the smell of pine, and the beautiful candles in the windows.

When the service was ended, the little ones were carried on shoulders while those of us big enough to walk  began the long, silent trek home through the starlit night. Sometimes, moonlight glistened on the Christmas snow, but most times it was just cold.  Suddenly, the silence would be broken when someone broke into song. We sang for warmth and to remember the beautiful Story of the Nativity comfortable in the promise of “Peace on Earth, Goodwill To Men”.

Many years have passed since those Christmas Eves of long ago, but tonight, Tim and I will venture out into the snow to attend Christmas Eve Mass at the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist. I believe for me  this tradition began long ago when my Grandma Shearer made it an essential part of every family Christmas celebration. I am so thankful for her example of what is important during the Christmas season.   


Shearer Homestead

Written by Gloria Ferris

December 24th, 2012 at 8:08 pm

PUBLIC MEETING: December 17, 2012 About W.C. Reed Park

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Join your neighbors at St. Barbara’s  Church at 1505 Denison on December 17th at 6:30 pm to discuss the remediation and renovation of W.C. Reed Park. Previously, there had been series of meetings concerning the renovation and upgrading of the park.  Plans were made to create a walking trail, upgrade the playing fields, add a community garden for the Foster Point residents and the neighbors in close proximity, to move the baseball fields,and to eliminate the tennis courts although tennis is making a come back as a quality exercise.

Then, comes the environmental study which puts the brakes on the project.  Here is a photo of a letter that parents of Horizon Denison School received:      W.C. Reed Park 

Those of us who have lived in Brooklyn Centre are well aware that the park is landfill.  Many years ago, a ravine and stream were covered with debris from the Cleveland Transit System which owned the land.  I believe that resident’s of Barbarowa have said that when the Jennings freeway was constructed, the area was used for debris.

Lead and arsenic are mentioned as two substances found within four feet of the surface as are PAHs.  It turns out that all three are byproducts of the burning of fossil fuels-coal, tar, diesel fuel.

Certainly sounds to me that as a community we should be concerned with how this project and remediation will be handled since schoolchildren are in close proximity each day as are many of our neighbors plus we all know how the winds in this area pick up the dust so prevalent here and then,  swirl around us.

Please attend this important meeting.  Continue to show how we all care about the health of our community.

Written by Gloria Ferris

December 13th, 2012 at 9:43 am

Old Brooklyn News—Gloria Ferris, Brooklyn Centre Naturalists

without comments is where you can see the *.PDF of this article. We got copies of the paper just yesterday. This is the text of the entire article.


Jayme Lucas-Bukszar

Gloria Ferris
Brooklyn Centre

Mention a community activity which
includes Brooklyn Centre, and it’s likely that
Gloria Ferris is/has been involved in it. The
Brooklyn Centre resident is active with Friends
of Big Creek; Brooklyn Centre Naturalists;
Stockyard Clark-Fulton & Brooklyn Centre
Community Development Organization;
Garden Walk Cleveland; and Old Brooklyn
Community Development Corporation’s
Green Space Committee. She is also a regular
contributor to the Old Brooklyn News.
Originally from Shreve, Ohio (a rural
community outside of Wooster), Gloria arrived
in Cleveland in 1973 to teach junior high
school and work as librarian at West High
School (now Joseph M. Gallagher High

After that, Gloria became the Campaign
Administrator for State Senator Charlie Butts;
a later job was taking care of national railroad
accounts at BP America for twelve years.
Before settling in Brooklyn Centre in
1981, Gloria lived in several places in Greater
Cleveland — the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood,
Cleveland Heights and Lakewood.
When asked why she moved to Brooklyn
Centre and why she and Tim, her husband of
twenty-eight years, have stayed, Gloria replied,
“the people, convenience, transportation
options and amenities like the Zoo and
Brookside Reservation. And I love the small-town
feel we have here.”

Gloria’s involvement in all things green
started with creating a Backyard Habitat at her
own home. The goal of the National Wildlife
Federation ( certification program
is to provide food, water and cover for
wildlife. Through it, Gloria connected with
people in Friends of Big Creek and the
Cleveland Metroparks who were already working
on similar initiatives.

As Gloria forged even stronger links with
like-minded residents in both the Brooklyn
Centre and Old Brooklyn neighborhoods,
Brooklyn Centre Naturalists was born. Among
other things, they have been working to make
the 44109 zip code a registered National
Wildlife Community since 2008.

In 2011, Gloria and the Brooklyn Centre
Naturalists collaborated with employees of
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and members of the
Greater Cleveland Chapter of the American
Association of Zoo Keepers to plant a Polar
Plot at the W. 36th Street Commons Park.
Polar Plots is a program in which participants
plant trees and native plants in local communities
to help educate the public about how the
presence of trees counteracts a warming climate.

Brooklyn Centre Naturalists also received
a Neighborhood Connections grant for a children’s
educational program which took place
in 2009 at the former Brooklyn Memorial
United Methodist Church. The program looked
at community through nature, and included
courses on gardening, backyard retreats, and
arts and crafts.

In 2012 the Brooklyn Centre Naturalists
were the impetus for getting the Old Brooklyn
and Brooklyn Centre neighborhoods included
in the second year of Garden Walk Cleveland.
Gloria’s current efforts include planting
herb and dye gardens at Art House, Inc., 3119
Denison Ave. Dye gardens incorporate plants
such as hibiscus (red, white and pink dyes),
coreopsis (yellow and orange dyes) and purple
basil because they make nice fabric and paper
dyes. She hopes to utilize the dye plants next
year for projects at Art House.

Brooklyn Centre Naturalists are now
focusing on getting the last twenty-one of the
necessary one hundred backyard habitats needed
for the National Wildlife Community certification.
More information about how to  create
backyard habitats can be found at

The Brooklyn Centre Naturalists have
also compiled a cookbook using recipes from
Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre residents
called A Taste for All Seasons. It will be for sale
for $10 at the Art House’s Short & Sweet
Holiday Shop, which will feature sixteen local
vendors The dates are November 30th to
December 2nd, and December 7th to
December 9th, and the hours are Fridays from
4 to 8 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 1
to 5 p.m. More information is can be found at

When asked how she stays so passionate
about Brooklyn Centre and the environment,
Gloria replied with a huge grin, “I don’t think
I could be anything else! I’ve always thought
that every day is an opportunity. And after my
heart attack and two-month hospital stay, I
wanted even more to keep on doing as much as
possible for as long as possible. My community
involvement has allowed me to meet so
many great people. My place now is to help
younger people find those connections and
continue this great work. At the end of the day,
it’s about people. We’re still here and change
is good.”

Gloria and Tim have two daughters and
two granddaughters. Older daughter Maureen
and her husband, Geri, and granddaughters
Teagan and Maggie live in Knoxville,
Tennessee. Katie, their younger daughter, lives
outside of Philadelphia.

(Lynette Filips contributed to this article.)

Old Brooklyn News

Written by Gloria Ferris

December 13th, 2012 at 9:31 am

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