Ariel Castro drove a Cleveland school bus for 21 years, and in that one way — his job — he was like most everyone who lived at Seymour Ave. Built inthe two-story, wood-frame house had always been the working-class address of people who kept the city moving, built cars and boxes, made clothing and weighed steel. The Malinkeys didn't have a car, but they didn't need one.
Their house soon filled with uncles. Now Sue is 71, and overnight, her childhood home had become Cleveland's most infamous address. And Sue, looking a few years older, sat on the edge of the new, enclosed back porch their father had just built, her feet resting on cinder blocks because he hadn't built the steps yet. Injust before Eleanor's first Holy Communion, her family moved in. In the pictures, the house was light brown. When her uncles found places of their own, Eleanor got her own bedroom, the tiny one above the front door.
In jail, he accused the cops of acting like Nazis. Bernard was a stocky guy, about 5 feet 6 inches tall, with dark hair and blue eyes. Margaret was homebound then, sick with lung cancer.
Sue and Eleanor's grandfather was a floorman for the Smeed Box Co. He was "a very quiet man," says Eleanor. Then she got out her mother's photo albums — black s with white corner-frames holding black-and-white snapshots. Her dad, Michael Malinkey, stood in the backyard, his white sleeves rolled up.
But not all her memories there were happy. The hand tore into the house's year-old wooden frame, which crackled and crashed like unruly, nearby thunder. Michael's six younger brothers all served in World War II, five in the army, one in the navy. They sold the house to Bernard and Margaret Hamilton.
They'd met when he was a cab driver and she was his passenger. The bells rang from the Malinkeys' parish, St. Eleanor and Sue would roller-skate through the churchyard, up and down Seymour, and in circles in the house's basement. A jailer sucker punched him and gave him a black eye.
She felt sick the day it was torn down.
Three weeks later, her own cousin drew the nation's attention from domestic terrorism to homebound terror. His former address reminds Edwin Castro of when his family was young, when he labored to make a better home for them. InEleanor and Sue Malinkey's neighbors included an electrician, a diemaker, a plumber and a fruit vendor at the West Side Market.
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At 19, Carol Brady moved in with her aunt in Eastlake, where she met her future husband, Richard Brady, a carpenter. When the Emsleys moved to Scranton Road soon after Ida's father died, they sold the Seymour house to Jacob Schneider, a machinist, and his wife, Louisa. A mere six days after the judge ed the order, the prosecutor, the press, the neighbors and a victim's family gathered to witness the Aug.
A yellow claw hung over the roof, ready to enact final judgment. He'd sit in the living room or at the kitchen table listening to Jimmy Dudley broadcast Indians games.
Castro had transformed Seymour Avenue from a home into a coerced accomplice, its closet doors forced to stand guard at windows, its walls made to carry chains. Before Sue started kindergarten inshe had to memorize the house and street name, along with her parents' phonein case she ever got lost and needed help.
But since May, his warm memories of each room slide terribly into the knowledge of what his nephew did there afterward. Carol dropped out of school in the 10th grade to care for her. Red letters ran up the excavator's arm like a tattoo. Today, they live in a hilly stretch of North Royalton, near a lagoon lined by pine trees. After the Boston Marathon bomber's arrest, Maria thought, He must've had a crazy family.
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That September, the Malinkey family put Seymour up for sale. The pink walls stood for a few more minutes before the hand took them down. Francis Cone was a carpenter, and after he died in his daughter's house inhis estate's public auction included his chest of tools, his hammers and pick, his carpenter's bench and his grindstone. Eleanor held the support pole in the middle of the floor as she skated, spinning around and around. They grew pink petunias in the backyard.
The day Ariel Castro was sent away for life plus 1, years, his house received a death sentence. Dad was more quiet, just a nice guy. Now a corner of the house was gone, revealing a pink bedroom on the second floor, the 7-foot-wide room where Castro had imprisoned both Michelle Knight and Gina DeJesus.
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From inside, dust rose like smoke from an unseen fire. For the first time since Castro blocked the window with a thick wooden door, daylight filled the room. Her father had a temper. For that, the boarded up house and everything it stood for would have to be erased, obliterated. Margaret died inwhen she was 42 and Carol was Until this spring, Carol would drive by the house on her way to appointments at MetroHealth Medical Center and tell whomever she was with that she used to live there.
Carol, now 77, cried when she saw Seymour on the news this year. Owner leaving town. Her memories of her uncle Edwin's house, a half-block away, are of parties at Christmas, New Year's and birthdays — adults gathered in the basement singing carols in Spanish, children running around in the bedrooms upstairs. Maria Castro-Montes, Ceci's daughter, grew up in the apartment above her father's store.
The machine's four-pronged hand grabbed the white siding at the dating Cleveland rican guy peak and lifted it off. He'd open a coin purse and hand her a cent allowance — enough for a double feature, popcorn and drink at the Garden Theater, four blocks south on West 25th Street.
I know exactly where the girls were kept. Before that, it had spent a century as a cheery children's bedroom. She sold the house to Augustine and Carmen Munoz, who lived there with their kids from to Edwin Castro and his wife, Antonia, acquired the house from the Munoz family around the same time he bought a Spanish-language record store three blocks away. In the s, Edwin and Antonia moved, rented out the house for a while, then sold it in to Ariel, their nephew.
They moved in earlywhen Eleanor was halfway through eighth grade. But then, someone on the TV said Berry had escaped from Seymour. She means to say that Castro's crimes mocked everyone who raised a happy family in her former home, mocked the ideas of home and family altogether. Almost everyone who lived in the house in its years moved on to something more, a better life. We had dating Cleveland rican guy good times there. Seymour Avenue was a German neighborhood then, centered on the Immanuel Lutheran Church at the end of the block.
Michael, a welder, had all three of the daily newspapers — the Cleveland PressCleveland News and The Plain Dealer — delivered to the house.
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They had three girls and a boy together. Ariel Castro came to Cleveland aroundthe year he turned She and Sue wore bright dresses with a matching pattern by the old back porch. She looked at the house, covered with white siding, and didn't recognize it. Streetcars ran on West 25th, a half-block away. He had built a secret prison to isolate, starve and torture. Eleanor watched on TV as police came and went through their former house's entryway, where her family's piano and telephone once sat below a high window.
She had lived on Seymour, she said, from when she was 3 to when she was 8. She turned to her husband, sitting next to her. Eleanor's grandparents, Dan and Helen Malinkey, bought the house inthe year before Eleanor was born. Tom Emsley, a firefighter with Cleveland's hook and ladder company No. Two years earlier, they'd bought the land from her parents, Francis and Louisa Cone, who lived next door.
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Once, at a meeting to settle a neighborhood dispute about a broken window, he got so angry that a prosecutor sent him to jail overnight to cool off. The next four owners included a house painter, a laborer, a widow who lived with her woodworker son and a weigher at the American Steel and Wire Co. The whole block was like that. Eleanor's mother, Sue Ann, a homemaker, always seemed to be in competition with her six sisters over "who could cook better, bake better, keep the cleanest house," Eleanor says.
With Castro gone, its time on death row would be brief. She stops. Their new house, a colonial built inis twice the size of the 1,square-foot house on Seymour. But she can't bring herself to finish the thought.
Beyond its threshold — horrors.