Saturday, March 26, 2016


    My column has appeared in this company's newspapers since the early 1990s---first in the Lake County Tribune of Gazette Newspapers and, in more recent years, in the Community Pages of Gazette Newspapers' Lake and Ashtabula County weeklies.
    From the first, this column initiated a very special friendship. Gazette Newspapers and this column became a part of my family and my life--a grand, growing friendship that has included more than colleagues and staff, but also those of you who have followed this column. Your responses have been frequent and generous. I included my personal contact information earlier than the "big papers" began including contact information for their writers, and I've never regretted it.
   Gazette Newspapers has given me free rein when it comes to subject matter, and I appreciate the trust they've placed in me. It has allowed me to speak of many things---people, places and things; opinions and personal reflections; local and Great Lakes maritime history;  personal history, holidays and politics; rock stars; adopted pets including dogs and a big goofy goat from a petting zoo; and more!... I've even spoken in defense of Santa Claus, teenagers and mules!
    THIS COLUMN GOT AROUND, through shared clippings, out-of-town subscriptions and who-knows-in-what-other-manner! I began receiving notes from far and wide--so many that my husband threatened to install a large U.S. map on which I could attach pins to indicate locations of readers who contacted me. He joked that I had heard from folks in "every state but Hawaii and Alaska," but then I heard from people in those states too! (One  was an Alaska fishing family with roots in Lake County, and one was a Coast Guardsman who had received a copy of my history of the Coast Guard's evolution from the old U.S. Lifesaving Service).
    A communication that particularly touched me came from a home-bound disabled man who told me, "It's through you and your writings that I get out into the community and world, and that means a lot to me."
    A bereaved woman  called me late one night from Minnesota. She had received a gift from a friend in our area, and that gift had been secured with newspaper wrapping. "I unrolled it, and there was your column," she told me. "I spread it out and sat there and read it, and read it again. I didn't know you or the person you wrote about, but it was so light-hearted and human, I felt better than I've felt for some time. And I called  to tell you that."
Some of you presented me with mysteries that had to do with local history, and I knew I could toss that question out to readers and eventually, they would help me solve it.
   Once I wrote about a "Grampa Hope," an elder in  my childhood neighborhood. There were no living grandfathers for my siblings and myself; all had passed away before our birth. So we adopted this kind gentleman as our own Grampa Hope, and for a brief time he was ours before he died. I described him in great detail, and I wondered if he was as real as my memory or simply a wish. A number of readers called to say they did remember, but his name was Holp, not Hope, and they remembered him and loved him too.
    That led to delivery of a manila envelope from California, "To Rose from Grampa Hope in Heaven." It contained his photograph, sent from Gampa Hope's 80-year-old son who shared his own memories of this beloved man. Most amazing, "Grampa Hope's" son came to town for a reunion of his old high school class, and Bob and  I met him personally. A year or so later, he passed away, and his family kept me informed.
    I actually "met" my own paternal grandfather when  I wrote a history of the Painesville Water Plant. Two plant employees invited me to the plant to tour and hear its history. It was good history, well worth the writing and the reading. While there, however, I discovered the REAL reason they had invited me. They had read my column about this grandfather who had died in the 1918 influenza pandemic. 
    To my surprise, I was led to a picture on a wall in the plant---it was of the assistant superintendent when the plant was new---and I was told it was my own grandfather! He had been recrutied from Pittsburgh. (Not long afterward, local Knights of Columbus historians called me to their hall and shared with me the signatures of the earliest members, and the list included the actual signature of that same grandfather who had left this earth so long before I arrived!  He was the first non-Irish member of the group.)
    I could go on and on with such examples of the remarkable bonding this column has provided between me and you readers. You mean a lot to me, and the memories will always linger, like family memories. 
   SO HOW COULD I POSSIBLY be suspending this weekly column? Until recently, I would not have believed it could happen. I suspect I wasn't  payiing attention to time and possibility. I was simply enjoying myself.
    Now as I cruise toward my 76th birthday, I find that that life is changing for me and my Bob, as it does for many people who have reached our place in life.  It goes without saying that issues of age, health, energy and circumstance arise and force us to reassess our priorities and responsibilities in order to do justice to each other as we continue to move along together in life (as Bob and I have, happily, for almost 55 years).
    For me it has forced a decision, and it is painful to tell you this "grand conversation of friendship" can no longer appear as a column that greets you each week in this space, on this page. The column and its author are retiring.
    As Gazette President/Publisher Bill Creed assured me as I regretfully announced my retirement to him, "The door will always be open to you at our papers. Believe me, you are still a writer. You are going to find things you will put into writing and want to share...  And when that happens, however seldom or frequent, our papers will print it and our readers will see it." 
    I think he may be right. Once a writer, always a writer. Whatever the future brings along, I have been blessed by your friendship and appreciate it.

(EDITORS' NOTE:: Rose Moore assures us that your "hellos" will always be  welcome at or 440-350-9818)

Bob and Rose Moore