Guinaeth Fritsch

By Jackie Pacholke

Guinaeth Fritsch

When Guinaeth Toon's friends decided they were going to Warren, Ohio to elope, she and her fiancé, Edward Fritsch, decided they would join them. Both couples were married Aug 24, 1939. Looking back on it now it was a silly thing to do. Although the couple had already been engaged, Guin knew her parents would be angry. When they returned home they both went back to stay at their prospective parent's home. One day at work someone told Guin that her mother knew the truth. She was afraid to go home because she knew that she had hurt her, but at the same time she was glad that the truth was out. Edward had lived in Garfield Heights. Now he moved into the Toon's family home in East Cleveland.

Guin's parents were Thomas Toon and Alice Lily Irene Ridsdale. She was an only child, born July 6, 1921, in Pleasant Unity, Pennsylvania. It was a coal mining town in a suburb of Pittsburgh. Her father had served in both World Wars. He moved the family around a bit. When they came to Cleveland, his wife Alice told him she had had enough and that is where the family stayed.

In 1939, Guin graduated from East High School. Her principal had been a military man who believed in locking the students in at school time. In this way they couldn't skip school. This could have been dangerous for the students. Fortunately, no one was harmed and his rule was repealed the following year. Today people are locked out of the school, so they can't wander in during school time. Schools have even revised their yearly school schedules so as to have election days off. This helps to keep children safe and away from people who might try to do them harm.

Edward was drafted into the Army and served overseas in the infantry during World War II. After he returned the family decided to settle in Eastlake on 337th Street. This was in 1952. They purchased a William's House and financed it through Andrews School for Girls. A William's House was one that only contained the frame for the structure. These were quite popular during this time. Family and friends helped them to finish off the inside. The woods located across the street from their home were soon dotted with William's homes.

Edward worked for the Reynolds Company in Cleveland making pop cans. Guin got a job working for Wayside Gardens Nursery in Mentor. This was located where the old Sawyer Restaurant would later be built. They raised two children: Sally, who was in the second graduation class of North High School and Thomas, who still resides in Eastlake. Sally has been a good helpmate for Guin now that she is getting on in years.

Living on this street caused Thomas to attend many schools. He went to Longfellow Elementary for first grade, Royalview Elementary for second grade, Shoregate Elementary for third, fourth and fifth grade, and then his sixth grade elementary class met at the Nike Site. This location later became known as the J.F. K. Senior Center. Tom explained to me that during the Cold War missile launchers had been stored there. The controls for the missiles had been kept at Manry Park. The rooms that the sixth graders met in had originally been built as barracks. After the site was dismantled it was turned over to the City of Eastlake. School buses had earlier been stored on the west side of North High School. Vandalism and the need to use this space for other parking led to the buses now being stored inside the fenced in property of the Nike Site.

For a few years the Fourth of July parade started at K-Mart and traveled down 337th Street to the Nike Site. Here it culminated into a carnival with rides, games and food. This was quite convenient for the Fritsch family.

Although 337th was one of the first streets in the city to have sidewalks, the street had the same muddy mess as the rest of the city. Friends of the Fritsch children would tease them and taunt that they lived in the "Mud Flats." Tar and gravel helped to fill in some of the holes in the street but the tar was messy, especially on the shoes. The gravel gravitated to the sides of the road. In the winter it would even hinder and cause drivers to get stuck as they tried to back out of their driveways. At one time a stop sign was located at the corner of Morris and 337th St. This was placed there to help slow down the speed of the traffic. State requirements for such signage caused it to be removed.

The children would play in the woods where factories would later be built. Grapes and blackberries were always great fun to pick. There was a good size creek located in the area where K-Mart would later be built. Tom remembered a one-ring circus tent that once came to town and put their show on in the same field that would latter become the K-Mart parking lot. It was complete with wild animals, clowns and trapeze.

For a number of years the family attended the white Congregational Church located on the corner of Vine St. and 337th. This would be where the Charter One Bank is located today.

The couple were instrumental in developing the Eastlake Little League. Edward helped to build the backstops and Guin and Sally always helped out in the concession.

For many years Mr. Fritsch would give Guin chocolate-covered cherries for Valentine's Day. The children would laugh. Guin didn't like chocolate-covered cherries. She gave them to the kids to eat. Finally the children told Edward the truth. He couldn't believe that after all of those years he didn't realize the truth of the matter. Edward passed away in 1994.

This article is brought to you courtesy of the Eastlake Historical Society.


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