Gloria Ferris

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

Archive for the ‘general’ Category

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

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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

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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

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Businessman Harry Farnsworth Envisions Emerald Necklace

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At the March Stockyard, Clark-Fulton and Brooklyn Centre Community Advisory Council I learned that Brooklyn Centre businessman Harry Farnsworth along with William Stinchcomb envisioned the Emerald Necklace and served as park commissioner as property was acquired for our beautiful park system. He suggested that “huge strips of land” be joined to make a “great 40 mile sweep of boulevard.  Here is a link to the historic timeline. http://www.clevelandmetroparks.com/Main/Timeline.aspx

I am so proud of the wealth of knowledge that our members of the SCFBC council bring to the table. I am so often pleasantly surprised, and this time was no exception.  Alan Forman shared with us that Mr. Farnsworth started the endeavor to build the emerald necklace. 

Some of you may recognize the name Farnsworth because it is the name associated with the historic building at the southwest corner of Archwood and Pearl Road where The Brooklyn Savings and Loan Company had their offices. Although Mr. William Prescott served as the president of the bank, the building became known as the Farnsworth Building after its Secretary-Treasurer Harry Farnsworth.

Mr. J. Milton Dyer designed the building originally.  This name is well-known to architects and historical preservationists because he designed some well-known structures in our area-mansions, public and manufacturing buildings, and military installations.  He designed the Edmund Burk Mansion on Magnolia Drive that now houses the Music Settlement, the Warner and Swasey building at East 55th and Carnegie, Cleveland City Hall,  Cleveland Athletic Club on Euclid Avenue and the Cleveland Harbor Station of the U.S. Coast Guard and much more here and in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

The building was saved when in foreclosure by Dr. William Donahue, a well known businessman and podiatrist in the area. In the early 1980’s, the Farnsworth Building survived a horrific fire that destroyed its roof and a founding village made its future precarious.  Thanks to Reverend C. Neil Wilds, the pastor of Brooklyn Memorial United Methodist and his Board of Trustees the building was secured until Ohio Renal Care purchased and renovated as a dialysis care center. Rencare LLC has owned it since 2000 and presently the site  is occupied by Fresenius.     

The Farnsworth Building and The CPL-Brooklyn Branch, Riverside Cemetery and a few other remaining structures exemplify the history and character of Brooklyn Centre.  Now, as this historic marker of a founding village of the Greater Cleveland are enters the next phase of its existence we look forward again to it being a beacon to the future.

Written by Gloria Ferris

March 6th, 2016 at 3:45 pm

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What wearing Red Means To Me

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Red has always been a favorite color of mine since a good friend convinced me that as a redhead I could wear it proudly. Years later, the red in my hair has faded and much of it is replaced with gray, and today I wear red for a very different reason.

Today is Wear Red For Women to raise awareness of the threat of heart disease to us. It seems it is as good a day as any to share my own personal journey with my heart. 

On November 17, 2008 I went out to dinner with friends for a celebration and 21 days later I woke up in the MetroHealth Cardiac Intensive Care Unit unable to talk, walk or fend for myself. This next part of the story was told to me by family and friends. I have no recollection of any of it. My husband tells me that when the paramedics arrived I was as limp as a noodle. One of them commented that this was the worst case of flu they had seen this year.

They put me in the ambulance and took an EKG. That paramedic didn’t like what he saw and said go! go! go!. Luckily, we live five minutes from MetroHealth so that when I began to scream “Help me! Help me!” the people I needed came running.  

During the next five days, I had three cardiac arrests, three strokes, and two stents finally placed successfully. But, then it was a time of wait and see. My cardiologist explained to Tim and our daughters that there was nothing more that could be done-if they tried I certainly would not survive.  That was the day that a DNR was placed at my bedside.

When I woke up I had missed my daughter’s birthday, my baby granddaughter and her parents who had celebrated Thanksgiving with friends and family who brought it to the hospital, days of friends sitting by my bedside reading to me, telling me stories, and holding my hand. And, I had missed my wonderful family being told that I had a  negative 17 per cent chance of surviving and if I did survive I would probably end up spending the rest of my short life in a rest home.

But as you can see I beat insurmountable odds and I am here today to tell you don’t be like me, don’t rationalize away the signs like me. When your normally low blood pressure begins to climb, when you become so fatigued by afternoon that a two hour nap becomes routine, when you have flu-like symptoms off and on that linger for weeks, a sense of impending doom that becomes overwhelming, when you dread walking to the end of your street or when climbing the stairs causes shortness of breath and a pounding heart go to the doctor. Be smart, be proactive, be a partner with your body. Acknowledge that these subtle changes that seem to come and go have become part of your routine. You know your body be its friend not its naysayer. When it begins to tell you that your “normal” is not normal, listen to it.

Here six signs of a heart attack. Remember that a woman’s signs are often not the classic signs of those experienced by men. Remember that most tests and  treatments are based on studies conducted by men for men.

· Chest pain or discomfort. Chest pain is the most common heart attack symptom, but some women may experience it differently than men.

· Pain in your arm(s), back, neck, or jaw.

· Stomach pain.

· Shortness of breath, nausea, or lightheadedness.

· Sweating.

· Fatigue.

My symptoms included a knot in my back.  There was no elephant sitting on my chest.   My RIGHT arm felt like a band tightening and tightening. And then the band, moved to around my chest.  I thought I had the flu-I was chilled, my teeth chattered. Twenty minutes later I was burning up, sweating, throwing up and so weak I could not stand.  My husband stood over me telling me he was dialing 911. I was insisting we should wait a few more minutes because I was starting to feel better.

I am lucky my husband didn’t listen to me. I am supremely fortunate that I live minutes from a Trauma 1 hospital that sees it all and knows that quick reaction is often the difference between life and death. And I am extremely blessed with a family and friends that have faith and believe in the power of prayer.

But I am hear to tell you that this is certainly not the way to take control of your health.  Do it when you aren’t in crisis mode. Do it when you feel those subtle changes happen. Don’t rationalize away symptoms. Move forward. Make a doctor’s appointment. Find out just what is going on in that body that has worked  so hard for you every single day of your life.

Don’t be like me.  

Written by Gloria Ferris

February 5th, 2016 at 6:56 pm

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Pinwheel Kids to open in former Sunbeam space – The Heights Observer

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I wasn’t aware of this—this news piece dates from 2013. This used to be the best place to buy things for little kids. This is Tim’s old neighborhood; he used to live on Ashurst.

There is a quaint little cluster of shops in Cleveland Heights on Fairmount Boulevard, between South Taylor and Queenston roads. One of them, Sunbeam–A Shop for Children, has been offering clothes and gifts for children in the Heights at this location for nearly 17 years, and in the community since 1915.

Earlier this year, Vocational Guidance Services (VGS) Sunbeam Board, the nonprofit organization that ran the shop, decided it was no longer within its mission to run a retail shop and announced it was closing Sunbeam. The board is redirecting its awareness-building and fundraising efforts to special events and activities, such as Fiesta on 55th and its holiday boutique. Members of the Sunbeam’s board of directors will continue to provide support to VGS, but without the shop.

Fortunately, longtime manager Janet Nelson decided to purchase the store and carry on its tradition. “It was a bit scary,” she said, “but I have 30 years of experience and many loyal customers.”

Pinwheel Kids to open in former Sunbeam space – The Heights Observer

Written by Gloria Ferris

September 15th, 2015 at 6:56 am

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New I-Open Blog Articles Featuring We’ve Got A Problem Bring Out The Fine China by Cavana Faithwalker

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Mine is the third blog article mentioned by Betsey in this morning’s email:

 

Hello I-Open Friends!

I wanted to share our latest #Blog articles with you:

We’ve Got A Problem Bring Out The Fine China by Cavana Faithwalker
Why is brainstorming rolled out like fine china for special occasions? Suppose brainstorming was the new problem solving? Let’s rethink the brainstorm definition and see what can be used daily.

A Short Story About Brainstorming by Tom Romito

Cavana Faithwalker’s thoughtful analysis on brainstorming (above) brings to mind a similar story about my own experience as a facilitator assisting community change.

Engaging The Community In New Ways by Gloria Ferris

This story outlines how groups of individuals can strengthen engagement to generate transformative solutions and self-directed, empowered communities.

Join us! Become a member or make a donation by clicking on a link below:

Thank you! Happy Innovating!

Betsey Merkel

Co-Founder & Director

I-Open Directors

The Institute for Open Economic Networks (I-Open)

Email info@i-open.org

Website http://www.i-open.org

PS: Would you like to learn about I-Open’s Entrepreneur University launching Spring 2016?

Add your information, check your interest and we’ll add you to our growing network list! Go Here.

PPS: In case you missed it, read our #1 story last week Diversity For Growth by Richard T. Herman. Richard makes the case for ushering in a new conversation about immigration as an economic driver of population growth, entrepreneur attraction and American job creation.

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New I-Open Blog Articles Featuring We’ve Got A Problem Bring Out The Fine China by Cavana Faithwalker

Written by Gloria Ferris

September 1st, 2015 at 8:01 am

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1.5 Million Missing Black Men – The New York Times

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This article is quite sobering. Be sure to look at the age band tables that show when the disparity begins and how it widens.

1.5 Million Missing Black Men – The New York Times

Written by Gloria Ferris

July 2nd, 2015 at 2:21 pm

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Has the “War on Drugs” Failed?

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I’ve always thought the term “war on drugs” set the wrong tone. It was a “war” set to fail.  I dated a DEA officer in the 70’s shot in the back when he entered a known drug ring’s apartment.  They never found the partner who did it, who decided the money on the other side was too hard to resist.  He told me that he thought it was futile as long as there were people to buy there would people to harvest and sell.

So, depleting demand should change the need for supply in theory.

Mansfield is correct until there is a bed for every addict needing and wanting it with the help to find a job (usually a futile attempt since there is probably a felony record in the person’s past and when there are 5 people for every job available not much chance of it happening) and a reason for staying clean, usually reconnecting with a family worn down by years of promises broken, law enforcement will be asked to clean up the messes so they are kept out of sight, not eradicated.

And now, with the added, addiction caused by prescription painkillers, who wouldn’t go to the cheaper and more readily available heroin on the streets?

I think I finally get why the drug dealers in my neighborhood are so busy at 8 am and 5 pm- a steady stream of SUVs and late model cars pull up, a driver or passenger hops out, knocks on a door or talks to a kid on a bicycle, and 5 minutes later they pull away.

And, before you say that law enforcement does nothing, let me tell you that the battle rages on in my neighborhood and across the city. But, just like the potholes in Cleveland there are priorities, many cases just wouldn’t make it to court and if it did because of overcrowding of jails, treatment facilities, the penny ante dealer will soon be back  on the streets.

Until we treat drug addiction as a SOCIAL ill instead of a criminal one, I don’t think much will change.

 

Written by Gloria Ferris

March 5th, 2014 at 12:02 pm

Old Brooklyn News, Brooklyn Centre Naturalists column: BC Naturalists plan spring activities

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by Gloria Ferris

“Trees give you a connection to the past, and a sense of continuity in a neighborhood.”

Benjamin Swett, New York City photographer of trees, gave the above quote during an interview with Ian Frazier in the March 4th, 2013 issue of The New Yorker. It is a fitting beginning to Brooklyn Centre Naturalists’ (BCN) annual Arbor Day article. (Arbor Day was observed on April 26th).

The history of trees in Brooklyn Centre and Old Brooklyn is a rich one. When the neighborhoods were initially settled in the early 1800s, a forest of oak, beech and maple trees greeted the first pioneers.
In the 1850s, Cleveland became known as “The Forest City”. Brooklyn Centre and Old Brooklyn certainly are part of that heritage. In the 1900s when these areas became bustling communities, planting trees along streets and boulevards was part of the strategic plan. The giant sycamores along South Hills
Blvd. in Old Brooklyn, for instance, remain as a bastion to this time of uniting nature with communities.

Sadly, the majestic trees of Archwood Ave. were decimated by the tornado which roared down city streets in 1953. More recently (last autumn) trees in both neighborhoods were hit by Hurricane Sandy.

In 1902, William Stinchcomb planned and oversaw the building of the bathhouse, tennis courts and main building at the new zoo at Brookside Park. Stinchcomb’s vision of the Emerald Necklace included Brooklyn north and south of the Park. Presently, our park neighborhoods are holding their own. Many
70 to 100 year old trees remain, but storms, updated street plans and age are destroying them regularly.

For years, City budget restraints have also taken a toll. Instead of the City automatically replacing a lost tree on a tree lawn, a home owner must request a replacement. When utility companies replace or make improvements to failing infrastructure, a disclaimer such as this one is often made: “Every effort to save
shrubbery and trees will be made. If necessary, they will be removed. They will not be replaced.”

Residents must act now or the neighborhood history of tree-lined streets will become only a memory of the past instead of a part of the future. Today, every resident can help to solidify Cleveland’s label of “the Forest City”. They can replace trees which have been removed because of storm damage, age and progress, instead of waiting for the City to do so. And they can plant new trees because trees contribute
to utility cost containment and storm water management. (Older homes were built with the intention of using trees for coolness in summer and warmth in winter.)

Planting a tree is a way to combine nature and progress. Join BCN in their effort to make sure that Cleveland — the Forest City — is a reality in the future and not just a memory. Plant a tree in honor of Arbor Day 2013. And when it’s mature, it just might increase the value of your property by many thousands of dollars.

(This article also appears at http://www.oldbrooklyn.com/OBN/13MayOBN.pdf)

Written by Gloria Ferris

May 4th, 2013 at 4:12 pm

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