At a recent gathering at our home, a topic of conversation was the great number of downtown stores there were when we were teenagers. I commented that the population for Washington Court House had not changed much since 1950.
Washington Court House’s population in 1960 us was 12,388 people according to the Census. By the 2010 Census the population had increased to 14,192, a gain of 1,704 people in 50 years.
Fifteen years ago I was standing in front of a huge meat cooler in an IGA store in Monck’s Corner, SC and seeing a part of my youth pass before my eyes. I was looking at a massive variety of fresh and smoked animal parts, pigs feet, ham-hocks, jowl meat, pig ears, turkey legs, chicken feet, ox tail, and fat back. These were all the things that my Uncle Johnny sold in his Columbia, SC grocery during the 1950s.
My brother and I spent the occasional summer visiting our South Carolina relatives and working in Uncle Johnny’s store. Boswell’s Grocery was located in the middle of a largely black district of the city and impoverished blacks were the main walk-in clientele. The store also had a sizable “white” trade but that was mostly by telephone and delivered via a Chevrolet panel truck. One of the main joys of spending summers in the store was getting to run around the city in that truck and get a South Carolina driver’s license at the young age of fourteen.
I remember the first time I defeated you like it was yesterday. My hands rusty and blistered, they became the primer for callouses I still have. Every time I rub my hands together I think of you. That tower, my Everest.
I had seen many other kids tackle you, but they had an advantage. They were older, taller, and stronger. I was tiny, but mom had always told me something about dynamite being in small packages. Momma was right. She was always right. She was small too, but ran the hurdles in high school. Dynamite.
I didn’t beat you with fanfare, in fact I was alone. I’m pretty sure Grandma saw me through the kitchen window, but she wouldn’t tell. She always had an eye on Continue reading Rose Avenue Everest→
It has recently been pointed out to me (by someone who points things out to me regularly) that I am the sole provider of low-brow fare for Chapman’s General Store patrons. While others are writing about the economy, politics and general state of the nation (or at least Greenfield), I’m offering insight into the latest musical stylings of the Butthole Surfers or Fury in the Slaughterhouse.
That said, I’m not thinking of changing or anything. As Popeye said, I yam what I yam. And so we proceed . . .
As many of you know, I’ve been in education for over 27 years. I’ve taught at every level from Pre-School to 8th Grade, from PE to Social Studies (yes, my years as a PE teacher included a class of 4-year olds. Fun aplenty but that’s another blog entirely). Anyway, I’ve taught, coached, was an AD for 9-years, blah-blah-blah. As a result I’ve had some pretty interesting experiences. Below are just a few, because I have a million of these. Come to think of it, this may be the first installment of many.
If you live in a city of 18 million souls the legacy you’re remembered by may not count as heavily as it would in a small town of less than 5000. Mr. Wert Ash lived and died in a small town and for decades his legacy has been stained by what small town’s are good at; accepting rumor and half-truths as fact.
During much of his life, this descendant of a grandfather who had experienced slavery first hand, was known as “Hammerhead” or “Hammer.” Few knew his real name but most in town knew him by those nicknames, didn’t know why he was called them, but knew that shouting those words at Mr. Wert Ash would drive him to a fit of anger, evoking oaths, threats, and at times hot pursuit.
There’s always been a lot of talent in Greenfield and often it runs in Families. Marty and Judy Beatty’s family is one of them. There oldest son Chris is an art director for Walt Disney and involved in the design and development of a several new attractions at Disney’s original Disneyland in California. Daughter Valaria was heavily involved in McClain’s music and performing arts program and remains involved in music. The Beatty’s youngest son, Lynn is simply, multi-talented. I can’t count how many instruments I’ve witnessed Lynn working out on but there probably isn’t anything that has strings or you beat on that he hasn’t mastered. Here’s a YouTube video of Lynn playing stand-up bass with a group of professional musicians in Nashville. By the way, dad and mom aren’t without musical talents themselves. Enjoy!
Sally Turner Kennedy has an interesting blog about the end of baseball season in Northern Ohio and some great photos of their family’s day watching the Indians defeat the Twins. Her blog, North Coast Muse, is always worth a visit.
Having been born in Cincinnati, Ohio, raised in Greenfield, and schooled in Dayton, I am, of course, a Midwesterner. During the course of our forty-year marriage, my husband and I have not strayed far. We’ve been Buckeyes, Badgers and now, Hoosiers. A few years ago I retired, but my husband, a business owner, still works twelve-hour days and often on Saturdays and Sundays. Those who know him assume that he will not enjoy retirement but, the truth be told, he is looking forward to it.
My husband has never been a complainer, but lately I have heard him muttering about the05 Indiana winters. Recently, he has been talking about becoming a Snowbird, once retired, and is mulling over the possibilities. Even though I find myself dreading the coming winter I cannot quite drum up enthusiasm for moving south, or west. My younger sister, from Columbus, Ohio, moved to Arizona in April and has frequently e-mailed me lauding the beauty of the mountain views she enjoys while having coffee on her deck. Her recent Facebook boast of how she is looking forward to not spending another winter in Columbus hurt just a bit. It’s true that a mountain view and the ocean’s waves certainly top the cornfields of Indiana, so why does the thought of leaving winter behind come with a hint of sadness?
There’s been lots of nostalgic discussion about Greenfield of the 50s and 60s on Facebook. Several times it has included questions about Daniels Brother’s Pool Room so I decided to reprint a column I originally wrote for the Times-Gazette newspaper back in October of 2002.
There are lots of men my age who have fond memories of the Daniels Brothers poolroom, which was once an important part of life in Greenfield. The establishment was owned and operated by Pearl and Ernie Daniels and was everything great poolrooms used to be.
One of the things I don’t like about today’s world is the loss of the “old fashion” hardware store. The place in every town where one could go and buy a heavy brown paper bag containing the five or six sixteen-penny nails they needed and not the five pounds that come in a big box at the big box store.
In my home town, Greenfield, Ohio, we once had two fully stocked hardware stores and two fully stocked lumber yards who also carried a good selection of nuts, bolts, nails, and fence staples. Today we still have a hardware store but too much of what they sell comes in pre-packaged blister packs and you can’t buy just one cup hook, you have to buy three, or whatever’s hermetically sealed in a plastic bubble that often requires a sharp pocket knife and a couple of Band-Aids to open.
Ashling’s Hardware was my store of choice, mainly because the owner was the grandfather of two of my best friends and Mr. Ashling sold sporting goods and would let us kids buy stuff on credit. We could buy a new ball glove and Continue reading But I Don’t Need 5 lbs. of Nails!→
I’ve written about Parker J. Pfister before. Many of you around our area may remember him as Jason Pfister who graduated from McClain High School in the late 1980s. Jason was always a creative and talented person and in the years since leaving Greenfield he has carved out quite a name for himself in the world of photography, especially wedding photography.