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IN RESPONSE TO THE ARTICLE "FAIRYTALE OR TRAGEDY" BY MARTY AND MARILYN GRIFFITH
From one of the editors:
Last month I began a correspondence with Ruth Emily Bray. More often than not our emails and conversations ended in tears. As you will see, Ruth Emily`s mom was a sixth-grade teacher in Boston. She was a larger-than-life lady and was much admired by all of us. Everyone in the community always referred to Ruth Emily by her full name. The "Emily" part was given to her to honor my dearest aunt, Emily Fisher Ritch. I will continue using it. For those of you who are "from here" I am sure you will share in our tears. This was our history; one I feel that is no longer important to many of this community. The stories are part of what made us a community and who we are today. Each time I drive past that empty lot, I think of the Bray family and how their home was always open to the neighborhood kids. They were important to this community. I hope you will appreciate her story.
- Amy Zorena Anderson
My name is Ruth Emily Bray Hilliard. My parents, Bill and Marion Bray, were told by the Park Service that their property had to be sold for the park through eminent domain. By that time, I was teaching in Denver, but my mom called me and told me what had happened. I knew it was heartbreaking for both of them. She was devastated. I asked if they were planning to fight this in court, but she said the few who had tried that got barely enough more to pay for the lawyers. They felt they had no power to change anything and no one was able to keep their home.
My mother was a long-time sixth grade teacher who had graduated from Peninsula High School. My dad had come from England in 1909 and was a machinist in Jaite. My brother graduated from Boston High School and I was in the first graduating class from Woodridge.
During the depression my parents purchased their land (what was 6621 Riverview Road), and together built a beautiful Tudor home on six beautiful acres between Riverview and the Cuyahoga River. They often talked about digging the foundation themselves and taking it in a wheelbarrow to put on different places on the property. My dad did most of the work on the house. It was more than a dream home; it was part of who they were. They eventually dug a gas well to heat the home, had a small barn where Mom raised chickens and I had my horse, and had a huge garden. When I was young, I imagined building a home on their property.
The last time I went to visit the property is when we went to my high school reunion, and it was so overgrown you couldn`t even walk on it. We rode the train past the property, and you couldn`t see any of the land because of a tall cliff. So, this land couldn`t be seen and was impossible to walk on. So, they took our history and it couldn`t be used for the park.
To make my parents feel better, the Park Ranger said the house would eventually be used as a Ranger Station. Of course, that became impossible when they demolished and
buried all the structures on the land and left it to the black berry bushes.
What could have been a monument to the hard work and ingenuity of the people during the depression was destroyed by misguided and self-serving individuals.
So, if you want to know if this episode in this area`s history is a fairytale or tragedy, you know how my family would vote!