super-fun super-fund

When I was young we lived near a stream called Fields Brook and the Ashtabula river it fed. Ashtabula was the Indian word for “river of many fish” and adults said once Fields Brook abounded with trout and bass and pike. By the time I was a teenager, we would run over the bridge that crossed Fields Brook because it was so foul smelling it scared us and made us cough and hack. When we swam down river which we often did, we would get all sorts of rashes. Now it is a super-fund site and I have cancer. Go figure.

One sunny Ohio summer day, Donnie and I, about thirteen or so, floated inner tubes about three miles down the river to where it fed into Lake Erie. We splashed and kicked under the big trestle bridge, meandering past trees and steep banks. We paddled past the yacht club with cruisers and sailboats with tall proud masts that chimed in the light breeze. As we neared the drawbridge which would slowly rise for the big cargo ships that came off Erie for the docks a cruiser captain hailed us. “Are you kids crazy?” Yeah, I guess we were.

I was back there a few years ago and now it runs clear and there is grass growing near Fields Brook. Some say it cannot be dredged because the mud is so full of PCB’s and heavy metals. They laid down a gravel and concrete base so the water runs above the poisonous soil.

Direct causal relationships are rarely proven, and I don’t really blame that stream for my cancer. It was just a beautiful place transformed to a dead grey steaming bubbling landscape worthy of an apocalypse movie. It may never be wholly recovered.

Some things are too precious to waste.

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36 Comments on “super-fun super-fund”

  1. Touching story. I hope your cancer is under control and you are doing well. It’s funny to read your story today. My cousin posted on FB when we were kids and this truck use to ride through the neighborhood spraying pesticide to kill the mosquito’s and as kids we would run behind that truck to breath in the fumes. As kids we believe we are indestructible.

  2. I didn’t realize this. I am so sorry, and disheartened to hear. How long will round two go for? And is there anything that I can do to help?

  3. LadyBlueRose's Thoughts Into Words says:

    do you believe in whispers on the wind
    I hope so for to you I send
    a breath of fresh air
    sent with care…
    cradled in a bubble of blue
    sent with intentions kept high and true
    wishing you the best that is yet to be
    to continue on your earth-bound journey
    Take Care…
    You Matter….
    )0(
    ladyblue….
    your strength is racing through you as I read your thoughts here…
    I think you be all you are meant to be and there is more of you to see…

    • billgncs says:

      Lady — I thank you – I am touched!

      I believe in heart felt whispers upon the wind
      and love and prayers that others send
      each a piece and part of on another
      friends and more and heartfelt brothers

      You are beyond kind!
      I hope there is less of me to see,
      or on a diet I will soon be!

  4. Bodhirose says:

    This story reminded me of us neighborhood kids playing on the heavily sprayed golf course just down the street from me. We swam in the tiny water holes and wallowed in all the puddles after rain. Some (not me) ran after the mosquito truck that sprayed our neighborhood in the summers. Billows of pesticide pouring out of that thing. My best friend from those days is battling cancer (and winning so far) through alternative medicine and diet…no chemo for her. Her stage 4 cancer is in remission…her doctors are stunned. I wish you well, Bill. My healing thoughts are with you.

  5. emjayzed says:

    I’m so sorry ti hear you’re not well but I’m sending many wishes that I hope will change that and see you healthier than ever, forever.

  6. bert0001 says:

    … the price we pay for “progress” …
    some get rich by abusing the abundance of the earth,
    while the otheres suffer from their action.

    • billgncs says:

      yes, it’s important to be stewards of the earth, not exploiters, but many were left jobless when the factories closed.

      I expect in Asia now, many are grappling with this same problem.

      Once I read along time ago that until we think as the waste not as a by-product but a product of the process
      we will never own it.

  7. Some things are too precious to waste…
    says it all for me.

    Live and love and hope and fight and know we read you and feel for you and pray for you and want you lay down a concrete barrier so that you are crystal clear again and can swim…

  8. Bill I am truly sorry to hear the cancer is back, what a rotten thing to have to face once let alone twice. My heart and tears are with you and Jan, you are both strong and I know that our Lord is even stronger, He is the greatest physician so we shall lift you up in our prayers asking for your healing and strength. Stay strong my friend God loves you His faithful servant. ~~Len

  9. Clanmother says:

    I grieve for what we do to our environment. In the end, it all comes back to haunt us. My thoughts and prayers are with you…

  10. Eric says:

    A sad, sad reality in many areas of our once beautiful country, my friend. Men do more fiendish things in the name of progress than they do in the name of religion. Although, for many, it is the only religion they have left. May God grant you the peace of mind that exceeds all thought… Eric

  11. I’m sorry to hear that. Did you get some test results back?


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