We tell ourselves that Fall has begun, because it’s September. It hasn't, and we know it. But it has, and we know that, too. The old buried memories of the first day of school waft up to the surface like the bubbles of gas given off by a decaying corpse -

No, let me rephrase that. Jeez. Too dark too soon, dude. The old buried memories turn out not to be buried at all, just tucked away in a closet in another room, with Uncle Frank. Him we should have buried, though.

No, let me rephrase that. The memories aren’t in another room, but in a drawer in the room where you live, perhaps under that notepad from a hotel where you stayed six years ago. No, that’s your wife’s drawer. She has all these pads for writing things down, and they’re never used sequentially. It’s not as if she goes through one pad, then another. Some things get jotted down on one pad, then it goes in the drawer, and the next time she needs one, somehow another pad has worked its way to the top, and she uses that. And so many pens! They came home from the office, hitching a ride, one by one, until the drawer was full of them, all black, uncapped, in varied states from useful and dry. If all the humans disappeared and aliens came down and started doing through our stuff, they would figure out that words were written on these pads, but there would be one thing that would baffle them: a little squiggle. It had no obvious meaning. It was not part of the alphabet. They would have no idea that it was a line drawn to test the pen, or perhaps prime the ball at the tip.

No, let me rephrase that. They would figure it out eventually, because her drawer had the pads with the squiggles, and my drawer didn’t, because I only use one pen, and it always works without having to make a squiggle. Once the aliens compared the pens, they would see how the ones in this drawer were mostly dry, but the one in this drawer was not. This assumes they arrive within a few months of humanity’s disappearance, and came in such great numbers they could spare a few guys to go through the drawers for sociological information.

Anyway, I don’t remember the particulars of going back to school, but I do remember the emotions. Other school memories are just general and ubiquitous - the sound of the locker door slamming, the way the handle felt weighty and loose. The cold tang of the fountain water, the finality of the bell, the smell of the pencil sharpener - woodier than your little plastic ones, with a note of oil.

Daughter’s college starts today, and she’s excited. Going back to college is different than going back to school.

You don’t go home at noon for a grilled cheese sandwich.

To quote Bill Murray, I want to party with this guy:

The artist: “Jean-Simon Berthélemy (5 March 1743 – 1 March 1811) was a French history painter who was commissioned to paint allegorical ceilings for the Palais du Louvre, the Luxembourg Palace and others, in a conservative Late Baroque-Rococo manner only somewhat affected by Neoclassicicism."

Those were the specific instructions! Affected, yes, but only somewhat!

This is notable:

Berthélemy was an esteemed painter in his day, chosen to join the entourage accompanying Napoleon's campaign in Italy, where he was among the experts assigned the task of selecting works of art to be transferred to Paris under terms of the Treaty of Tolentino, February 1797.

Hmm, what?

The treaty also formalized the confiscation of artistic treasures from the Vatican. Over a hundred paintings and other works of art were to go to the Louvre in Paris. The French commissioners reserved the right to enter any building, public, religious or private, to make their choice and assessment of what was to be taken to France. This part of the treaty was extended to apply to all of Italy in 1798 by treaties with other Italian states.

Jeez, Boney, rub it in.

And this, well, I love it.

When two monographs on Berthélemy were published in 1979, Philip Conisbee, reviewing them in The Burlington Magazine, observed drily: "Two monographs on Berthélemy is overkill for a painter who could have been dispatched with a single substantial article. The French academic system of art education in the eighteenth century, backed up by the stimulus of church and state patronage, was so efficient and rigorous that even an average talent could be sufficiently conditioned to produce a handful of decent history-paintings, which are sometimes minor masterpieces."

He has a point.

Oh, the subject of the painting? Some dude named Didder-Ott, or something.










Our first look at this town, with more next week. Sometimes that's just because I'm in a mood to find everything interesting. Sixty-four thousand souls, so it's going to have a lot.

Wikipedia: "Lorain is notable for its deindustrialized economy, formerly being home to the American Ship Building Company Lorain Yard, Ford Motor Company Lorain Assembly Plant, and United States Steel Corporation's steel mill on the City's south side."


I know it’s the Google camera, but it looks a bit unsteady. Who made it?

Why, the fan club for a famous California band! You do wonder why they didn’t come up with another name, given what the abbreviation is. How do you greet a fellow lodge member? “Hey, are you Friend or F. O. E?”

I wonder if it’s original.


A 1928 theater - commercial complex.

There were plans:

In 2008 a plan was made to connect the Lorain Palace Theatre with the adjacent Eagles Building via a glass arcade. The project would partly be funded by a $200,000 grant from the city of Lorain, most of which would be required to purchase the Eagles Building while the rest would go to construction costs to the facade and marquee of the theatre.

However, an additional $7.5 million would be needed to complete the project, which includes renovating the interior and exterior of the 37,000-square-foot Eagles building, as well as a section of the theater and the construction of the arcade.


The Palace Theatre in Lorain continues to have funding issues but has thus far managed to hit fund-raising goals to keep its doors open. In October 2008, the theatre held a masquerade ball which helped bring in an additional $6,000.

Not exactly a Bruce-Wayne-hosted event.

Hmm. This is across the street.

The Gould building.

The ancient old details, a hundred years old, outdated for most of them.

looks like it should be a theater, but then again, it doesn’t.


The BRIAR got a nasty ground-floor rehab.

Actually, it’s the Bobel. It was a handsome bit of somber Moderne, once. Could be again.

Who’s on first?

The tall one really got worked over; that middle floor is just brutal, and it laps at the ankles of the third. Who’s turning in his grave?




I’m thinking this was a government building, but maybe it isn’t anymore.

If it is, FDR is turning in his grave along with Helfrich.

This was something else before it was a Modern Restaurant. If you couldn’t tell by the design - they did that in the 60s, probably through the 80s, and sometimes it worked - you can tell by the every-so-thin Buckaroo Revival on the bottom of the frame.

For God’s sake, why.

Not sure I’d take an office in the TORNADO building. Fate-tempting name aside, there’s the mystery of what the little people do in the space between the first and second floor.

So you think you have a feel for the town? This might be more illustrative. Look at that gorgeous piece of ersatz “Gothic” - you don’t know whether to shop or kneel.

More next week. There’s a lot more to this town.



  That'll do! Thanks for your visit, and enjoy some Motels. They may start in summer, but they go for the rest of the year.