Grief Is the Price We Pay For Love


Today we had to put down Tom.

He was my almost 11-year-old short haired tabby and the most loyal companion I have ever had.

It seems trite to say that losing a pet is like losing a member of the family. The fact is, though, it’s actually a gross understatement. Pets are unique and hold a special place in our hearts.

Don’t get me wrong — I’m not saying that dogs or cats are more important or more valuable than other people in our lives. But they do trump humans in some ways.

For one thing, they love us unconditionally. And that’s more than I can say about many human companions.

Tom came into my life at a very tumultuous time.  At the time I adopted Tom, I was living in Pennington Gap.  I had just been hired at Elk Knob for my current job.   I came to Harlan on September 8, 2008 to pick him up from an old friend who had offered him to me.  I brought him home that night and within an hour I received the call that my best friend had been in a terrible accident and was being flown out to Holston Valley.  This started a very dark, sad and lonely stretch of my life.  My friend didnt make it.  I told Tom, who was just a baby kitten at that time that he could just be my new best friend…and he was.  He was always so content to just hang out with me.  Watch tv, watch me play video games, listen to music, it didnt matter, he was always just so happy, full of life and so much happiness that his eyes and soul emitted it.

That was the first of many life milestones Tom stood by me through.  We moved to Gate City a few weeks after Cecil passed and he was so little he would sit in the front seat of my Scion as I drove back and forth between Harlan and Gate City when we would visit on weekends. One night while we lived over there in the middle of the night I heard water running, I thought for sure I had a water leak somewhere.  It wasnt a water leak, it was Tom using the toilet!   He kept doing that until we moved back to Harlan in June of 2009.  He was always such a smart cat.

All through the work for my masters degree, Tom was right beside me.  All through the construction of my house, Tom was right there.  So many times in life, I couldnt count on a whole lot, but I always knew no matter what, that cat was going to be excited when I came home and he would want to hang out with me.

Tom comforted me when my Granny Opal passed away, when my uncle Stevie passed away and most recently the hardest one, when my dad passed away.   The day that my dad passed away, I had been strong all day.  I hadnt shown a lot of emotion, but as soon as I got home I collapsed onto my bed sobbing.  It wasnt a minute until Tom was by my side loving me, I wasnt petting him.  He was literally petting me.   I use to get so excited for Christmas break because that meant we could hang out all day.  We could watch tv, and just be pals.  He was my sidekick.

Over the past several weeks Tom had lost all mobility.  He could barely roll over.  In the end I am shocked that I was strong enoughto accept the fact that he was in pain, he wasnt going to get better and I was being selfish and to do the humane thing and have him put down.  Ive cried all evening and my house seems so empty (even though I have 3 other cats) .

I hope what I do on Earth pleases God and I am allowed into Heaven and assuming I do, I hope that my Tom is there with me.   He is the most pure, perfect soul I have ever met on this Earth.  The pain of losing a pet is worth the decade or more of love, memories and companionship they give you.  You left little paw prints on my heart Tom.  Thank you.

Marianne Theater — Bellvue, Kentucky

The Marianne is a beautiful 1940s Art Deco, single-screen movie theater located in the Northern Kentucky Cincinnati suburb of Bellvue.
Marianne Theater -- Bellvue, Kentucky

The Marianne opened for business on March 1, 1942.  It has a seating capacity of 542.
Marianne Theater -- Bellvue, Kentucky By the mid 1990s the Marianne had began running second run movies and eventually closed for business. The last movie to play in the theater was the 1998 Tommy Lee Jones film “U.S. Marshals” Marianne Theater -- Bellvue, Kentucky
In February of 2018 developers announced that the theater would be restored and turned into an event center for live concerts and other performances.

Center Hill Consolidated School — Bourbon County, Kentucky

A few weeks ago someone posted pictures of this beautiful building near Paris.  I knew I had to get up there soon to see it as the roof was clearly failing or had failed in the photos.  Luckily, on my way back from a dead mall trip to Cincinnati and Columbus earlier this week I was able to locate the Center Hill Consolidated School located on Russell Cave Road in rural Bourbon County.

Center Hill Consolidated School -- Bourbon County, Kentucky
Center Hill Consolidated School was opened in 1924 and served to consolidate three nearby one room schools.

Center Hill Consolidated School -- Bourbon County, Kentucky Center Hill Consolidated School -- Bourbon County, Kentucky
Until 1948 the school served students from this part of Bourbon County in grades 1-12. In the fall of 1948 Bourbon County consolidated students in grades 9-12 from Center Hill, Little Rock, Clintonville and Millersburg to form Bourbon County Vocational High School. That building is still in use today as Bourbon County Middle School.
Center Hill Consolidated School -- Bourbon County, Kentucky The school was expanded in 1958 to include a new cafeteria and other new spaces. Center Hill Consolidated School -- Bourbon County, Kentucky
According to records kept the National Center for Educational Statistics in 1967-68 Center Hill School had 246 students and 11 teachers in grades K-6.
ScreenHunter 02 I cant find a definite closing date for Center Hill. I have narrowed it down quite a bit though. The school apparently closed sometime early 90s. Someone shared these pictures taken at an auction that was held for the building and its contents after closure. Center Hill Consolidated School -- Bourbon County, Kentucky
I base my calculation of early 90s on the shiny Chevy Corsica in this picture.
Center Hill Consolidated School -- Bourbon County, Kentucky Sometime in 2016 the school suffered roof failure and has fallen into a sad state of disrepair. Center Hill Consolidated School -- Bourbon County, Kentucky
Upon researching for information about this school I stumbled upon a Facebook group dedicated to this school, including comments from the current owner. I really feel sorry for the current owner as it seems they really wanted to save this building. Its stunning and when you drive through that stretch of road, as an outsider, you can envision how beautiful this school was when it was in its prime.
Center Hill Consolidated School -- Bourbon County, Kentucky Center Hill Consolidated School -- Bourbon County, Kentucky
I’ve said it so many times in this blog before, but it bares repeating…..They just don’t build them like they use to.

Shields High School Gym — Seymour, Indiana

P1000065 In November of 1937 construction began on a new gymnasium for the Seymour Indiana high school then known as Sheilds High School. The new gym was completed as a WPA project in 1938 and provided the high school and community with a modern, fire-proof gymnasium with a seating capacity of over 3,300. P1000066
The gymnasium continued to serve Shields High School until 1959, when the high school moved to a new campus and changed its name to Seymour High School.
P1000061 Upon the moving of Sheilds High School, the gym, and main school building which use to stand directly beside the gym were transformed into the new Sheilds Middle School. P1000058
The buildings remained in service to the community in this function until 1981 when the new Seymour Middle School opened.
P1000057 The main part of the Sheilds High School was demolished in 1998. P1000062
The gymnasium remains standing on 6th Street to this very day.
P1000063 P1000068

Richmond Mall — Richmond, Kentucky

Richmond Mall Closed Sears hometown -- Richmond, KY Richmond Mall is actually one of the newer malls when it comes to the bluegrass state. It was a late comer to the mall craze, opening in September 1988.  Richmond Mall was developed by the same company that developed the similar sized malls in Middlesboro, Somerset and Madisonville. IMG_20170412_133251856 When Richmond Mall opened it was home to Walmart, JC Penney, Goody’s and Dawahares. Richmond Mall -- Richmond, Kentucky Walmart left Richmond Mall in March 1996 when they opened a supercenter next door. Richmond Mall -- Richmond, Kentucky The biggest blow to Richmond Mall came in 2008 when Richmond Centre opened on the other side of town. When Richmond Centre opened it attracted JC Penney, Dawahares, Goodys and Hastings directly from Richmond Mall. Richmond Mall -- Richmond, Kentucky According to an article in the Lexington Herald Leader, when Richmond Centre opened Richmond Mall had an occupancy rate of 98%. By 2010 that rate had dropped to below 50% and the mall was put up for auction.Richmond Mall -- Richmond, Kentucky
Today the mall is home to a church, a Habitat for Humanity Re-store, a Mexican Restaurant, Payless Shoes and Bath & Body Works along with several other smaller local stores.
IMG_20170412_133418658 Oddly enough this location of Payless wasnt among the 400 store closures the chain recently announced. IMG_20170412_133500819
IMG_20170412_134418129 IMG_20170412_134458904
Richmond Mall IMG_20170412_133735243
Former Goody’s
Closed Sears hometown -- Richmond, KY Closed Sears hometown -- Richmond, KY
The Sears Hometown store closed in January of 2017.
Closed Sears hometown -- Richmond, KY Closed Sears hometown -- Richmond, KY
IMG_20170412_133143274 Former JC Penney -- Richmond KY
Richmond Mall -- RIchmond, KY Richmond Mall -- Richmond, Kentucky
Richmond Mall -- Richmond, Kentucky Richmond Mall -- Richmond, Kentucky

Ballard County Courthouse — Wickliffe, Kentucky

Ballard County was formed from portions of Hickman County and McCracken County.  Ballard County has the distinction of being the county in Kentucky that borders both Illinois and Missouri.It was named for Bland Ballard , a Kentucky pioneer and soldier who served as a scout for General George Rogers Clark during the American Revolutionary War, and later commanded a company during the War of 1812. On February 17, 1880, the courthouse was destroyed by a fire, which also destroyed most of the county’s early records. At this time the countyseat and courthouse was located in Blandville.

Ballard County Courthouse -- Wickliffe, Kentucky

The county seat was transferred from Blandville to Wickliffe in 1882. This courthouse was built in 1903 with the designs of Missouri architect Jerome B. Legg. It is located in the heart of Wickliffe making it the county’s most prominent structure. On February 27, 1980 the courthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places.