Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Lake Cumberland - Dave’s Midwestern Ohio Memories

A Series of Guest Blogs by an out-of-state Fish Report reader originally from this area about fond memories of growing up in Midwestern Ohio during the 50’s & 60’s

Lake Cumberland

During the summer of 1971, we spent a long weekend in June with friends on Lake Cumberland in Kentucky. It was my first visit there and a memorable one for sure.

One of my friends had a boat, and the weather was perfect, so we spent the entire weekend exploring Lake Cumberland from one end to the other, over 100 miles. As shown in these photos, the lake is a long, curvy reservoir created in 1952 when the Cumberland River was dammed up at Wolf Creek.

According to Wikipedia, the explorer Thomas Walker of Virginia in 1758 named the river, but whether for the Duke of Cumberland or the English county of Cumberland is not known. The Cumberland River was called Wasioto by the Shawnee Indians, who lived in this area. French traders called it the Riviere des Chaouanons, or "River of the Shawnee" for this association. And at the headwaters of the river in the Appalacian mountains, Thomas Walker also discovered the Cumberland Gap. Danial Boone led settlers through the passageway to cross the mountains as they headed west.

But I digress! Our Cumberland experience involved trying to water ski for the first time. We quickly mastered the sport as envisioned in this photo!

After a fun-filled weekend, late on Sunday afternoon, we were loading the boat back onto the trailer, preparing for the long trip back home. A girl was in the boat and needed help getting out. As I was helping her out, she placed her hands on my shoulders and as I lifted her out of the boat, the skin on my shoulders under her hands literally slid off due to severe sunburn. Ouch, ouch! That girl is now my wife, so the pain was quickly forgotten and fortunately did not cause any long term skin problems on my shoulders (so far).

For several summers thereafter, we would travel with friends back to Lake Cumberland, most of the time renting a houseboat that could be floated around the lake. I’m just glad we didn't have social media and camera phones in those days, otherwise this ad shows how it would have gone down! What happens at Lake Cumberland stays at Lake Cumberland!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Perfect Game - Dave’s Midwestern Ohio Memories

A Series of Guest Blogs by an out-of-state Fish Report reader originally from this area about fond memories of growing up in Midwestern Ohio during the 50’s & 60’s

Perfect Game

Forest City

Today is the anniversary of the first perfect game in Major League Baseball history. It occurred in 1880 and the pitcher was John Lee Richmond, who played for Worcester against Forest City. They may not sound like Major League teams, but back then they were. In fact, Forest City was in Cleveland and Worcester near Boston. This first perfect game occurred just 11 years after the establishment of league when the first professional baseball team, the Cincinnati Red Stockings, was formed.

Speaking of the Reds, the only perfect game by a Cincinnati pitcher was Tom Browning in 1988.

A perfect game is defined by Major League Baseball as a game in which a pitcher (or combination of pitchers) pitches a victory that lasts a minimum of nine innings in which no opposing player reaches base. Thus, the pitcher (or pitchers) cannot allow any hits, walks, hit batsmen, or any opposing player to reach base safely for any other reason and the fielders cannot make an error that allows an opposing player to reach a base; in short, "27 up, 27 down”. The first known use in print of the term perfect game occurred in 1908. I. E. Sanborn's report for the Chicago Tribune about Addie Joss's performance against the White Sox calls it "an absolutely perfect game, without run, without hit, and without letting an opponent reach first base by hook or crook, on hit, walk, or error, in nine innings.”

During the course of MLB’s 150 year history of over 210,000 games, there have been just 23 perfect games, a rare event indeed. But it should be 24! On June 2, 2010, during a game I happened to be watching, Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga was robbed of a perfect game due to a terribly bad call by umpire Jim Joyce with two out in the ninth inning. Above is a photo that shows how far the runner is out and here’s a video of the controversial play. So a perfect game, unfortunately in this case, also demands perfection by the umpires!

Later Joyce admitted his mistake and apologized to Galarraga. Since then the twosome have teamed up to write a book about the game and also share speaking engagements around the country on sportsmanship.

The next day, Chevrolet gave Galarraga a new Corvette for the almost perfect game! And 10 months later, a local newspaper reported that MLB had reversed the call and declared it a perfect game. The date of the article was April 1st, a cruel April Fools joke to us Tiger fans.

The most famous perfect game in major league history was pitched by Yankee Don Larson in the 1956 World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers. Check out Vin Scully’s historic call of the final out.

Today also happens to be the anniverary of the opening of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY and also is the anniversary of Sparky Anderson's hiring by the Tigers in 1979 after the Reds abruptly fired him the previous year. His firing by the Reds really upset me, but his subsequent hiring by the Tigers made my day. Speaking of Sparky, what do Hall of Famers Babe Ruth, Tom Seaver and Sparky Anderson have in common? Follow me on Twitter and you’ll get the answer!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Cross-Tipped Churches - Dave’s Midwestern Ohio Memories

A Series of Guest Blogs by an out-of-state Fish Report reader originally from this area about fond memories of growing up in Midwestern Ohio during the 50’s & 60’s

Cross-Tipped Churches

My Aunt Liz recently passed away at age 84 and her obituary included a reference to her ancestors who were Ohio church architects. Turns out her great-great grandfather, Anton DeCurtins, designed 7 churches included in the Ohio Scenic Byway designated as the Land of the Cross-Tipped Churches. And his sons and grandson were the architects for 5 more after Anton retired. All 12 churches are listed at this link and have been named to the National Register of Historic Places including Aunt Liz’s birth parish, Holy Trinity Church in Coldwater pictured above.

Ohio Scenic Byway - Land of the Crossed-Tipped Churches

Putting two & two together, it’s really no surprise Aunt Liz was descended from such talented ancestors. She attended the University of Dayton where she received a degree in fine arts. Aunt Liz was a gifted pianist, teaching piano lessons as a teenager and young adult to help pay for college. Upon graduation, she began her career as an interior decorator in Cincinnati.

Later, after getting married to my Uncle Gene and moving to Highland Park, Illinois, she started a small art design business creating public art on commission, most notably outdoor banners for the city of Highland Park, the Ravinia Music Festival and a suspended sculpture for Chicago’s Water Tower Landmark museum.

I recall as a young boy in the ’50’s attending their wedding at Holy Trinity Church. This wedding photo was taken in front of the church.

The wedding ceremony was held in the morning, followed by a luncheon at a local restaurant and then everyone adjourned to Liz’s parents home for the afternoon reception (weddings in those days were held between the dairy farmers' morning and evening milkings). To the best of my recollection, pictured below is their family house where the reception was held, which clearly shows the architectural flair of her parents. I recall the home had a koi pond in the back and needless to say, we kids found the gold fish fascinating. My Mother was really upset at me for getting my suit and shoes all wet from splashing around the pond.

Liz and Gene had two children, so she naturally channeled her many talents to her children’s schools while serving the community in a variety of ways, including as president of the PTA, president of Tri-Con Child Care Center, a day-care center that served underprivileged children; president of Family Service Center of Lake County, IL., an interfaith social service agency; and as an active volunteer at a Waukegan soup kitchen.

In 1980, we had the opportunity to visited Liz and Gene at their beautiful log home in Highland Park, IL This photo clearly shows the log siding and the majestic white grand piano Liz would play so masterfully for us.

A celebration of Aunt Liz’s life will be held this Saturday at Coldwater’s Holy Trinity Church. Interment will be at nearby St. Elizabeth Catholic Cemetery in Coldwater. Aunt Liz, rest in peace and thanks for the memories!

Monday, May 28, 2018

Local Legends - Dave’s Midwestern Ohio Memories

A Series of Guest Blogs by an out-of-state Fish Report reader originally from this area about fond memories of growing up in Midwestern Ohio during the 50’s & 60’s

Local Legends

Hope all you Fish Report readers are having a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. It is an especially poignant time for me because of the flags mounted along Ft. Loramie streets honoring two of my living uncles who both served valiantly in the military; Pat and Linus Hoying (Linus aka Lindy is grandfather to pro baseball player Jared Hoying). In addition, a deceased relative, Richard Barhorst, is also honored with a legends flag as shown in the photo below with his descendants including his son Doug (in the yellow shirt who's a high school classmate of mine - '66).

They and many other veterans are similarly honored at the Ft. Loramie Veterans Monument in Canal Park. Eagle Scout Nathan Hausfeld conceived the idea of a monument and made it’s creation and dedication in 2016 the theme of his Eagle Scout project. This Community Post article describes the accomplishment.

My uncles had 5 other brothers who served in the armed forces, as described in this previous blogpost. Uncle Pat served as a guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.

And my Godfather, uncle Hank, was likely involved in the transport of atomic bomb materials or personnel to the South Pacific’s Tinian Island from where B29’s took off to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima & Nagasaki in 1945 to the end WWII. Check out this blog for more details.

My uncle Ralph landed at Normandy on D-Day. I recall my Dad telling the story about how my uncle returned home on leave after the landings, arriving in the middle of the night. He quietly crawled into bed which he had always shared with my Dad, then came down to the breakfast table the next morning as if nothing had ever happened to totally surprise his Mother and the rest of the family.

Another uncle Edwin worked at the White House as a Naval aid to President's Roosevelt and Truman, and attended several important conferences with Churchill and Stalin during the course of the War.

We will be forever indebted to our 13 uncles along with all of our relatives who served so courageously in the military, and are eternally thankful for the sacrifices they made to protect and preserve our freedom. God bless them all.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

RFD - Dave’s Midwestern Ohio Memories

A Series of Guest Blogs by an out-of-state Fish Report reader originally from this area about fond memories of growing up in Midwestern Ohio during the 50’s & 60’s


Someone asked how I come up with ideas for the blog each week, so this blogpost provides some insight into the bizarre process I sometimes go through to find a topic. So bear with me as we follow the convoluted mental gyrations sometimes necessary to generate the weekly blog. A few days ago I was surfing through channels on the TV when an old show called "Mayberry RFD” from the 1960’s popped up. It starred Ron Howard as Opie.

I hadn’t heard the acronym RFD for years, which means Rural Federal Delivery. So I googled it and discovered that before 1880, farmers across the country had to go into the closest town to pick up their mail, sometimes many miles away. Fayette County, in southeastern Indiana was the first to try a system for daily mail delivery to the rural areas of the county.

Ironically, about a hundred years later from 1978-1982, I worked at a Ford components plant in Connersville, the county seat of Fayette County. The plant was unfortunately closed in 2007 and the production move to South Korea. We have fond memories of those times as our son was born while we were stationed in Indiana.

More on RFD; Ray Delaet was our long-time rural carrier in Ft. Loramie when I was growing up. He was a veteran who had survived the killing fields of Argonne, France during WWI as corporal in the 324th Army regiment.

Back in those days, soldiers from the same area tended to be drafted together and placed in the a single regiment, meaning there were dozens of other soldiers in the regiment from Ft. Loramie. One of the noteworthy veterans serving with Ray was Clem Ruhencamp, who became the ditcher extraordinaire back after his military career. I’ve documented in this previous blogpost my escapades as a honey dipper working for Clem and his son Don during summers while in college.

Of course everyone in the area knew and respected the mailman, Ray DeLaet. He epitomized the postal service motto: Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds, as did my father-in-law, Delbert (Doc) Francis, who was the RFD postman in Russia during the same time period as Ray. No doubt they knew each other well. I was always amazed at how both Ray and Doc could drive their postal vehicle, which doubled as the family car, from the passenger seat!

Ray's wife Marie was active in many of the various women’s organizations around town and was equally respected. Ray died in 1975 and Marie in 1979.

While researching more on-line information about Ray and Marie DeLaet, I discovered Marie had a brother named Joe Dickman, pictured here, who in the 1920’s lived as a hermit squatting on land in California and later Florida.

The DeLaet’s even traveled to California in 1931 to connect up with Joe, but couldn’t find him because by then he had moved onto Florida, squatting on land south of Marco Island.

According to this interesting Community Post article from 2008, Joe did not connect up with any of his 9 brothers and sisters until 1960. By then he had become somewhat of a legend having spent almost 30 years collecting and selling sea shells found on the Florida island, which was eventually named after him as shown on the map.

So now you know how some of the off-the-wall ideas surface for some of my blogposts. Something sparks a thought and I let the internet coupled with my memories of the past lead me to topics you hopefully fine interesting. Most searches lead to multiple potential blog topics, which I then save in a file of future blog ideas that now has hundred’s of entries waiting to be written about. So continue to stay tuned. By the way, I just joined Twitter and will be posting the blog each week. Be one of the first to follow me at this link.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

May 15th Recollections - Dave’s Midwestern Ohio Memories

A Series of Guest Blogs by an out-of-state Fish Report reader originally from this area about fond memories of growing up in Midwestern Ohio during the 50’s & 60’s

May 15th Recollections

Today is special to me because it is the day I met my wife 47 years ago as documented in this previous blogpost. It happens to also be the birthday of her father who would be 89 today if he were still living. And my wife’s grandfather’s death occured on this date in 1976. So all those events make the day especially memorable to our family. Here’s some other notable events that happened on May 15th over the years:

1862 - First baseball game in an enclosed park held in Union Grounds, Brooklyn, NY

1869 - Susan B. Anthony starts the Women’s Suffrage movement that eventually led to women being able to vote

1905 - Las Vegas founded

1918 - 1st US airmail postal service between NY, Philadelphia & Washington, D.C.

1919 - Brooklyn Dodgers score 10 runs in 13th to beat Reds 10-0 (Reds went on to win the World Series)

1940 - McDonald’s opens it’s first restaurant in San Bernardino, CA

1941 - Joe DiMaggio starts 56 game hitting streak

1953 - Heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano KOs Jersey Joe Walcott

1973 - California Angel Nolan Ryan's 1st no-hitter beats KC Royals, 3-0

1990 - Dow Jones avg hits a record 2,822.45 (current record 26,616, almost 10x)