By jeanne starmack
It’s one of those things: You take for granted that it’s there, so when it registers that it’s missing, you aren’t really sure for how long.
Elizabeth Kline noticed the empty post beside her garage door Aug. 8 when she was going out to dinner. She’s doesn’t know how long the bell that belongs there has been gone.
The black, cast-iron antique from a train that hauled steel from the old Youngstown Sheet & Tube plant had been at her Wildfern Lane house for as long as she has — a housewarming gift from a friend after she and her husband moved in 60 years ago.
That friend had the bell in his garage. It had been his father’s, who had worked at Sheet & Tube. He had gotten it from the mill.
“It was off one of the early trains,” Kline, 95, said at her home Thursday. “I was thrilled! If we’d have ever moved, I’d have taken that bell with me.”
Two feet wide at the rim and weighing several hundred pounds, it stayed at its post through the years.
Kline rang it when she first got it, but the bell no longer worked.
“It had a little rope on it, and it rang, and then we didn’t use it for a long time, and it froze,” she said, explaining that metal parts have a tendency to do that if they aren’t used.
She didn’t use the bell to call her family home.
“I only did that once,” she said. “And my son said, ‘You’re embarrassing me mom, don’t ring that bell!’”
After she reported the bell missing to police, they told her they would check pawnshops and scrapyards. The bell has a handle on it that moved up and down. The rope attached to it, she said.
“I wish I had a picture of it,” she said.
Kline believes that more than one person had to have been involved, and they had to have had a truck because the bell was so heavy. She said it never would have fit into a car trunk.
She said she hopes she gets the bell back, but she did not seem optimistic.
Somebody was just “out for what they can get,” she agreed.