Posts Tagged ‘Civil War’

“The Children of Aleppo”

January 18, 2016




Reading this morning the never ending terror and violence done by Muslims in Europe and around the world makes me wonder where it all will end.  Obviously in Civil War and then probably in WWIII.  The real victims of war, civil war, etc., are  children.  It is always the children who suffer the most.  In our hatred for what adults do, we must remember the children who are innocent of such terror.

Lady Nyo

The Children of Aleppo


There is no childhood in Aleppo.

There are little martyrs-in-the-making

Where 5 year olds and 8 year olds

Wish for a ‘family death’

Where they can die together

With their parents

Where they live in peace in Heaven

Never tasting the fruits of peace on Earth.


There is no childhood in Aleppo.

The children haunt the abandoned houses

Of friends who have fled the city.

There they find abandoned teddy bears

While looking for guns for the rebels, their fathers.


“Oh, the poor thing!”

A dead canary in his cage

Abandoned by its owners

They flee the rockets, bombs

And mortars.

In the face of daily death

The sight of this bird

Evokes a child’s sorrow.

But the gunfire outside continues

(They are used to the noise)

And huddle in the pockmarked

Halls until safe to scatter.



The children of Aleppo

Have no teachers, doctors.

These have fled the cities, schools

But they still pine for ice cream,

For music in the streets,

For curtains not torn by violence,

For books and toys

And gardens and flowers,

For friends that have not died

Innocent blood splattering

The dirty cobble stones

At their feet.


The children of Aleppo

Are free and children again

Only in their dreams,

And perhaps, if you believe so,

After death.


How do you put back the brains

Of a child in the cup of the shattered skull?

How do you soothe the howls of the mothers

The groans of the fathers in grief?

How do you comfort the left-alive siblings?


The children of Aleppo

Have no future as children.

Suffer the little children here,

They are the sacrifice of parents

And factions,

And politicians

All with the blood of

10,000 children

Who have died

In a country torn

By immeasurable violence.


The beautiful children of Aleppo

Like children everywhere

Still want to chase each other

In the gardens, on playgrounds,

Want to dance in the streets,

Want to pluck flowers for their mothers

And they still pine for ice cream.


Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2014-2016







Haunted House….

October 28, 2009

1870's abandoned...foreclosed.

I have watched this old house since the early ’70’s.  It’s in Adair Park, close to our neighborhood, in fact only one neighborhood over.  The vast majority of houses were built by a builder (Adair) in the early 20’s, though there are a good deal of houses from around WWI.

But this one stands out because it looks like nothing else around it. It’s a definite Southern design, or what probably would be called “Southern Farmhouse” for that is what it was long ago.

The Civil War ended in 1865 and the destruction of the area was just about total.  The Terminus, the intersections of all the railroads that fed into Marthasville in 1826, which would become Atlanta by 1840’s, was destroyed by the Union Army. Blown to Hell.  Then Sherman swept south to the sea, playing with matches as he and the troops marched.

What was left were a lot of citizens who were mostly elderly, children and women.  None of these were the slave owners, the plantation owners, who were generally miles away in large tracts of land. These were the small farms that had a few mules if lucky and a few acres to plant food stuffs.  Cabbage, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, okra, beans, these were the crops of the local people.

Come to think of it, IF they had a mule they were lucky because most horses and mules were requisitioned by the Confederate Army or then taken by the Union Army.  Or eaten after the war when the full flush of starvation swept down upon those left in Georgia.  It was not unusual, as seen in photos of the time, to see women hitched up to the plow, or young boys, and that was what they had to do to prepare a field for planting.  Seeds and plants were hard to come by and the lives of these Southerners were hard.

I haven’t been able to track down the name of the original owners, but it was a lovely house when built.  A barrel ceiling on the front porch is an unusual piece of design, and I’ve rarely seen it here in the South.  The slope of the roof line is also intriguing, because of the pitch.  I think it was built with more of an attic than a second story, but I did this weekend have a chance to go through it.

It’s owned by a small bank, was foreclosed upon and the agent had never seen it.  It was just a distressed property and there are a lot of them around because of the economy.

My husband and I were told that the door (which looks like an early possible ‘original’ …broad and solid wood) was open, the lock box not locked and we could go in ourselves and look around. This was by the agent who was absolutely no help at all.  We ended up climbing through the back where the windows had been torn from their casings.  They must have been huge windows, because all the windows are gone.

The house is broken up into a boarding house of about 14 rooms. Small warrens for desperate or down on their luck boarders.  This was many years ago, but the original lines of the house can be seen.

The wide front hall runs (or did) straight to the back porch, which is called “Southern Air Conditioning” before air conditioning was invented….or electricity for fans.  Off to the left is the main parlor, with a very large mantel that is probably too heavy for someone to steal and rust colored ceramic tiles inside what probably was a coal burning fireplace.  There are two large chimney stacks across the apex of the roof, and that is also of Southern design of the 1870’s.  The ceilings are 10′ or more and the floors are heart pine.  A stairway runs up the left side of the hall to a confusing jumble of rooms and closets, baths that look like they were put in around the 1940’s.   I bet there wasn’t originally a staircase at all.  I have seen it before in houses (abandoned) in the NC and Ga. mountains, where a solid ladder was nailed to the wall and this was the access to the lofts above.   We couldn’t find evidence of an original kitchen, but that would be a ‘detached’ kitchen….a small wood house with a large wood stove outside away from the house proper.  There is a small foundation in the back yard, but nothing else.

The block is a long one, running off from a main thoroughfare, and this house sits towards the middle/end.  Before these lovely Arts and Crafts, and before them, Queen Anne bungalows and houses were built, with their many gabled roofs, this house would have been the main farmhouse of the area with acres of cleared fields around it.

The house, surprisingly enough, has a solid foundation.  It’s built, as was the custom, on brick pillars and they look sound still.  Air comes under the house and at one point the pillars were enclosed with blocks and iron vents.  Through the generations, the house was clapboard, then covered with some sort of asbestos sheeting and then aluminum siding.  That last is torn off completely to the rafters, and the original siding is revealed.  It’s not in bad condition where the siding is still there, and could be restored.  The chimneys look sound, but one can’t know without a closer inspection.

My heart went out to this house, and as my husband is an indulgent man,  asked if I wanted to buy it.  I did, but what then would I do with it?  I would want to live in it, but as he said, we could buy it for a song and then it would take  an opera to restore.  We haven’t yet finished our own house and this would really complicate our life.

Our son is going off to the Navy in mid December and there goes my ‘hump’ labor.  The only thing to do is put up a high construction fence and gut the thing completely.  It probably only had about 6 original rooms.

Funny thing.  Many of the original settlers were Irish here about, and in part it reminds me of an Irish farmhouse…just a little, but I was thinking of the rooms and how they were used back in the 1870’s.  There would have been barns or sheds on the property for the livestock, but many times, like with the Irish Georgian farmhouses, rooms would have held grains, saddles, harnesses, and odds and ends.

(This is not different from our own house, the Ragsdale house, built in the 1880’s.  It was built as a real Georgian farmhouse, back on the property then, and not moved up to the street until the 1920’s.  That was for the sewer tie in…a new luxury.  The Ragsdales came from Lancaster, England in 1860 and owned “West End Horse and Mule”.  I found bits of what looked like rotted harness and metal pieces for harness hanging up in the basement when I bought the house in 1978.  It had a strange front porch across it’s front, and when we took it off (after a long trip to the UK) we found that it never should have been there.  It didn’t fit, and the house almost groaned in relief when we did.  We had an old Georgian house, a farm house on our hands, and I am sure that the original Ragsdales knew the farmers who owned the farmhouse in what became Adair Park.)

This was necessary after the Civil War, as emancipated slaves, the homeless, the destitute and just plain mean people, desperate to survive, would steal anything they could sell in Atlanta 3 miles away.  Survival was precarious in the best of times, and after a 5 year war that involved everyone, survival was hard going.

This neighborhood was a good one until about 1960.  Then changing demographics and the beginning squeeze for housing near the city began.  That’s probably when the house became a boarding house.

It’s abandoned now, though there was a “Stop Work Order” posted to the old front coffin door.  We could see how someone did a lot of work on the ceilings, running duct work and making tray ceilings to hide the ducts.  Not something that should be done to his historic house.  If I had it,…I would do it from beneath and …..

Well, this house deserves to be restored, but damn, it would take a lot of money.  Everything, except for the one fireplace and mantel…would have to go.  I would gut the entire house and take out the staircase and see what we had.  But it would be a long process without a crew, and though I could get one together, a real wrecking crew…well, again….it’s more nostalgic than practical…and life calls us to open our eyes  somedays.

This poor house will probably burn to the ground some day, as fire seems to take out a lot of these old structures.  But since it’s Halloween soon, I will go put a Halloween decoration on the front door and a pumpkin on the steps.  It does look haunted but that is more the effects of age and neglect.

Lady Nyo


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