Remembering the Bowditch Boathouse at the end of Arizona Avenue, on Lorain’s East Side.

On March 27, 2015, I wrote a blog post here entitled.:

“Remembering My Parents and Our Home at 208 Arizona Avenue, on Lorain’s East Side”

Sharing my latest photograph I recently received, unexpectedly no less, that has brought a floodgate of memories back to me of my early childhood days and put them in a much clearer focus than I have had for a long time.  It is a rather simple looking image, but one that  has made a huge impact upon me unlike any other. 

It is a 1951-1952 era black and white photo that Mr. Bob Bowditch shared of his family’s one time boathouse that sat at the end of a sloping hill that led to the end of the street that I lived on, Arizona Avenue, on Lorain’s East Side.   I remember so well walking down that slope.  I recall how I grasped onto the trees as I trekked down to get to the boathouse and boat dock area when I knew my father would be after coming back home from a morning of fishing; or to visit him when he had gone down there to get his 14 foot Lyman outboard ready for either the beginning of a fishing season or at the end of it.  I also fondly remember buying grapette pop in glass bottles there when I had some money with me – which wasn’t much of course.  If my memory serves me correctly, the pop was taken out of a cold chest type cooler.  

I look at every detail of that little building now and examine what surrounds it.  Off in the distance to the right, was the fencing that separated the boathouse property from the American Ship Building Company that loomed quite largely over the area with large buildings, dry docks, and freighters.   However, what I remember the most is the sloping hill that was my pathway to the boathouse that sat at the edge of the Black River in Lorain. 

Oh, how I wish my father, Harry Limes, were here right now to view the image with me.  What memories we could talk about.  And, what stories I know he could tell me about his time docking his small wooden boat there.  That boat dock was a chief reason my parents bought our house at 208 Arizona Avenue when it came up for sale in the summer of 1948 when I was six months old.  My father caught more fish than I think I or anyone could have counted during his lifetime.  Those fish dinners my mother prepared weekly for ourselves, and sometimes for guests, would be too numerous to recount as well. 

Our street was a street of dreams for both my parents and myself.  Seeing this image of the boathouse lets me once again walk down the Arizona Avenue I knew growing up and grab onto those trees trunks to steady myself to safely descend down the slope that was my quiet path.  

Sadly Arizona Avenue has changed drastically since the 1950s.  My childhood home was demolished by 2003.  All of the houses were torn down as well.  The land sat empty until this past year when storage units were built on the west side behind the gas station.  I can’t go back to my childhood or the scenes that were there from it, but I can remember what was once there and share my recollections here.  

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