Back to School
It’s back-to-school time which brings back memories of August, 1966 when I headed to Sinclair Community College in Dayton after saving some money while working at Copeland’s (now Emerson) for the summer. Rather than commuting from my parents farm in Ft. Loramie, I rented an upstairs room in the house shown above located on Riverside Drive in Dayton, just north of downtown. The place was owned by a widow lady named Mrs. Orsi who rented out the three bedrooms upstairs to college students. Two other Ft. Loramie natives stayed in the other upstairs rooms, including my older cousin, Mel. He’s the one who connected me to Mrs. Orsi as she relied only on word-of-mouth to rent her rooms. She was a wonderful lady we all respected and admired.
At the time, she had some heavy bushes in front of her house above the retaining wall that hid the busy roadway so all she could see when sitting on her front porch was the Stillwater River across Riverside Drive. She would sit out there most of the day, sipping her ice tea and reading a book. I don’t recall her even having a TV. Her husband was a businessman who had died years earlier and her son now ran the business. She was always involved and understood how things were going, as her livelihood depended on it. The $75 we were each paying per month for rent surely wasn’t sufficient.
Sinclair classes were held in the Dayton YMCA building, and students were allowed to use the YMCA facilities, which was a nice benefit for a sports-minded guy like me. Sinclair also offered a co-op program, which allowed me to both work and go to school, fortunately avoiding any student debt. I worked on the night shift at Frigidaire on the dishwasher assembly line. Most likely I could have also taken a room at the Y rather than renting, but Mrs. Orsi’s place was special. The interior furnishings were art deco style and her late husband's old Packard was still stored in the garage. Their son sometimes started it up and drove it around the block. What a treat it was to get a ride in that old car.
Speaking of cars, just down Riverside Drive stood this garage. After filling up my tank a few times, I befriended the owner and convinced him to let me use his bay to perform occasional work on my ’62 Chevy. It was there that I converted that old two-door Bel Air to a SuperSport Impala as described in this previous blogpost. JC Whitney automotive catalog was the source of all those parts; their nickname was JC Junk, but the prices were right. I was surprised to find out they are still in business - since 1915!
I recall further down Riverside Drive was a small grocery store that carried Busse meats, so it was really handy to pick up some tasty sausage for supper several times a week. Another favorite meal was scrambled eggs with Busse’s grits and canned mushrooms. Yummy!
|Busse’s Meet Market in Ft. Loramie|
All three of us staying with Mrs. Orsi had each played basketball for legendary Loramie coach John Kremer. The stories were memorable and some are documented in this previous blogpost dedicated to Coach. He's still living at age 95; teaching all those phys ed and health classes really paid off for him! Wish I’d have paid more attention.
After a year going to school at Sinclair and working at Frigidaire, I was fortunate enough to transfer to General Motors Institute, another coop college, where I eventually received an engineering degree. That year staying at Mrs. Orsi’s place was so memorable. It was great to be on my own with the freedom to come and go as I pleased - with one exception - girls were not allowed in our rooms. In fact, the guy I introduced to Mrs. Orsi who took my place snuck a girl upstairs and got kicked out! He was from Greenville - should have recruited a Loramie guy, I guess.
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