Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Three Tenors - 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

Three Tenors

An email arrived recently with this fantastic video of the Three Tenors, Jose Carreras, Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti, pictured above, signing “My Way” in the presence of the song’s author, Frank Sinatra. It brought to mind the 1999 Three Tenors concert my wife and I had the privilege of attending at Detroit’s Tiger Stadium in it’s final year before being torn down.

Because my employer, Ford Motor Company, sponsored the event, we were able to get great seats in front of the stage located in center field of the stadium. We’re somewhere in the above photo! Below is an excerpt from a well written article about the event, written in 2007 at the time of Pavarotti’s death.

Pavarotti Provided a Great Concert in '99
Friday, September 14, 2007
By Jo Chiparo, Staff Writer

The crowd converging into Tiger Stadium on that warm, July evening wasn't there to see a baseball game. Some of the special guests were dressed as though they were attending the opening of a Broadway play. Actually they were attending "a first" as they exited their limos and white Hummers dressed in long, evening gowns and tuxedos.

It was July 17, 1999, and we weren't with the select few who had valet parking and box seats but stood in the long line that wrapped around the block waiting for the gates of the baseball stadium to open. With threats of rain and umbrellas restricted, guests entering the gates were handed raincoats in small plastic packets. However, the weather cooperated, and as the sun was slowly dipping in the West, Motown's Aretha Franklin opened the concert with her stirring rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.

Then the three tenors entered one by one and sang alone. First there was Domingo, then Carreras -- and finally Pavarotti. Wearing a black tuxedo, he entered the stage with his arms extended and waving an oversized white handkerchief. The exuberant crowd gave him a standing ovation. During the three-hour show, the tenors sang medleys and also sang alone. Pavarotti sang everything from "Recondita armonia" from Puccini's opera Tosca to Frank Sinatra favorites.

As the sun dropped below the horizon and the lights flooded Tiger Stadium, the music continued under the stars. There were rounds of thunderous applause and shouts of "Bravo!" Even the food offered on the field was special including shrimp cocktail, fresh strawberries with sour cream and champagne. As I sat through the extravaganza, I reminded myself that I had to savor these moments, that it was magical and a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Days before the extravaganza, there had been rumors that Pavarotti would cancel due to illness and that he may soon retire. Carreras had been suffering from leukemia, so I doubted the three would return for a concert.It was only a few months after the concert that the lights went out forever at Tiger Stadium. Nothing is left on the field but shadows that hide ghosts of the past and memories of happier times.

A few days ago, Pavarotti was laid to rest, his magnificent voice stilled forever. As I watched his funeral televised from Modena, Italy, the memories of that magical evening came flooding back -- Pavarotti bigger than life flashing that magnificent smile, wiping the perspiration from his brow with his famous white handkerchief, but most of all his beautiful voice.

Comerica Park has replaced the old Tiger Stadium, but I'm not sure that there will ever be another tenor that will replace the charisma and the voice of Pavarotti, the elementary school teacher who got sidetracked into a fabulous singing career.

Jo is a staff writer for the Greene County Daily World. She can be reached by mail at P.O. Box 129, Linton, Ind., 47441.

The Three Tenors even autographed a baseball shown below that was recently auctioned off on eBay for $117

The concert inspired one of Tiger Stadium’s hot dog vendors named Charlie Marcuse to sing while selling his ware around the stadium. Charlie is pictured below.

We’ve had seats to ballgames in his area and find the singing entertaining, but some patrons complained to Tiger management, who forced him to stop for a while, but that created many more complaints from attendees who enjoyed his vocals. Finally, a compromise was reached where Marcuse could only belt out his songs between innings, which seemed to work to everyone’s satisfaction. He even has his own line of mustard, named Charley's Ballpark Mustard. He was more of a hotdog than the dogs he was selling!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Smart Phone on the Fritz - 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

Smart Phone on the Fritz


Ran across this interesting article entitled “A Trip Back in Time to New York City” about someone whose cell phone went on the fritz while traveling. The writer was literally lost without his smart phone in the Big Apple. It is amazing how dependent we’ve all become to the smart phone and what they can do, replacing literally dozens of separate devices we used to have as depicted in the photo below:

The phone has sure come a long way from it’s original invention by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876. Contrary to popular belief, I do not have any memories of those days to share! On the other hand, if by chance you like Lady Gaga, here's an interesting video song about the history of the phone.

Back in the 50’s and 60’s, we had a party line phone on the family farm. A party line meant several neighboring farms all shared the same line, so if a neighbor was listening in, they could eavesdrop on your conversation. My sisters loved doing just that to stay on top of all the latest neighborhood gossip. They would also rush to see who could pick up the phone first when it rang. Then there was the local operator who would be called on to place a long distance call (basically any call out of town whether a few miles away or half way around the world). She was probably the most well known person in town next to the parish priest.

My first cell phone was purchased in about 1992, a Motorola flip phone if I recall. It soon gave way to dozens of other brands over the years, many of which are pictured below. My first smartphone was a Palm Treo that I had until the first iPhone came out in 2007.

I’ve been with Apple ever since, having also transitioned from PC’s and tablets to Mac’s and iPads. It got really annoying dealing with all the bugs in other devices; however, those experiences were helpful at solving many of my friend’s tech problems. Had the smart phone been around back when when I was single, dating might have gone more like this Dilbert cartoon:

No surprise, I was up at 3:00am on the morning of October 27th, the first day to order the new Apple iPhone X on-line. I was able to sell my old iPhone on eBay the same day. The X arrived a few days later and it is everything advertised and more. My favorite features are the full screen, crystal-clear display, face recognition, enhanced battery life, greater speed and better camera. About the only feature I’m disappointed about is Siri; she doesn’t do what I ask!

Did you notice how smartphones and tablets are also being used extensively in sports these days. In fact, the Boston Red Sox even got caught this fall relaying signs using the Apple Watch during a game against the Yankees. Who knows what else is going on with these latest technologies to get a competitive edge in sports and business (and dating!)?

Here’s a brief video about the evolution of the smartphone that boldly makes the prediction that cell phones will be implanted on our body by 2024! Maybe that’s how they’ll keep track of me as I adventure around in my autonomous vehicle as envisioned back in the 60’s shown below! But while playing dominoes, no way!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Here Today - Gone Tomorrow - 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

Here Today - Gone Tomorrow

A retiree friend of mine sent this video entitled “Here Today - Gone Tomorrow” that shows very realistically what it was like growing up in the 50’s and 60’s. I’ve copied several of the scenes from the video below and share my recollections about each:

Mom would never let us sit this close to the TV, saying it was bad for our eyes and who knows what kind of harmful rays were being radiated from the box. And Dad had his own personal remote back in those days; it was us kids being told to change the channel, adjust the antenna or up the volume.

We had our own special milkman and it was Dad. And the milk couldn’t have been fresher, since he had just milked the cows a few minutes before coming into the house for breakfast and supper.

Going to the dentist was absolutely the worst experience growing up. Cavities were prevalent since there was no fluoride in the water. And the Novocain shot was worse than the drilling. Ouch!

All kinds of traveling salesmen visited our farm on a regular basis. Mom always seemed to be buying something - somewhat like Amazon today.

My grade school memories were captured in this recent blog.

Mom’s kitchen was pretty much like this one, with a big dining table the centerpiece of the kitchen. Boards could be added to the table on a moment's notice if someone was staying for supper. Mom always made extra food that was turned into soup or leftovers for the next day.

The full service gas station was the norm in those days. Dad’s uncle, Aloys Ernst, was the proprietor of the local SOHIO station. After Dad retired, he spent many an hour at the station, then and likely still owned by Tim Ernst, Aloys grandson, telling and re-telling stories with his fellow retirees.

The drive-in theater was a special treat as kids, likely to see a Disney movie. Later as teenagers, we’d sneak into the drive-in hidden in the trunk to save the ticket price. And still later, I actually worked at a drive-in theater one summer during college, first as a ticket taker than as security. Main problem was people driving away with the speaker still hanging on their car door window, doing some pretty serious damage to both. I also recall as employees, we were allowed $1 for free food in the concession stand.

Mom and Dad enjoyed the Saturday Evening Post, as did us kids, because the photos were always interesting. It was a lot better than Dad’s farm periodicals or Mom’s women’s magazines. Eventually, I saved enough for a subscription to Sport magazine for like $1.50 a year.

Riding on an airplane was definitely one thing we never did as kids. The closest we got to a plane was watching them take off and land from the observation deck at Vandalia airport.

Records were popular back then and between me and my sisters, we had quite a collection. I always enjoyed listening to the reverse side of the record since it was not worn out and scratchy from overplay. We’d go through new needles weekly.

This photo shows a telephone and typewriter for you youngsters out there! These were the primary tools for communication back then and the predecessor to the smart phone.

Lone Ranger was my favorite Saturday morning show. And each weekday afternoon, the Mickey Mouse Club was pretty special; my favorite Mouseketeer was Annette, along with every other kid I knew.

Here today, gone tomorrow, indeed. So it goes!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The 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

The Game

Ok, Sports fans! Saturday I won't be routing for the Buckeye’s! Here’s how it started; why I root for the Buckeye’s every day but one each year. It began in the summer of 1967 when Tom Jacobs, a Minster native now living in Ft. Loramie, invited me spend the weekend in Michigan to attend a fraternity party at General Motors Institute, where he attended and I was enrolled for the upcoming fall semester. We were connected by a cousin who also attended GMI. Tom was driving a brand new 1966 Pontiac GTO just like the one pictured on the right. The car was a beauty and I distinctly recall Tom getting a speeding ticket for going 85 along I-75 near Wapakoneta on the way to Michigan.

We finally arrived at the fraternity by early afternoon in time to join a pick-up football game underway in the frat house yard. I was wearing a tee shirt with the inscription “Property of the Ohio State University Athletic Department”, pretty much like the photo on the left and just about as wrinkled. That shirt obviously drew some attention from my fellow competitors, with some believing the shirt (and me) were actually affiliated with OSU. I didn’t do anything to dispel the notion.

The frat party was OK; however, since the school at that time was predominantly all male, there were about 3 guys for every girl, an affliction I was to suffer through for the next four years. But during those years, I had a chance to attended several Michigan games and began to appreciate the game-day excitement in the Big House. Especially memorable was the 1969 Ohio State-Michigan game, when the defending National Champion Buckeyes came into Ann Arbor undefeated and again ranked number one. It was Bo Schembeckler’s first year as Michigan’s head coach, having coached under Woody Hayes earlier in his career. The rivalry was definitely rekindled at that point when Michigan went on to win that game and earn a spot in the Rose Bowl on New Years Day. For more on that game and the "ten year war" that ensued, click on this previous blogpost.

Legendary Michigan announcer Bob Ufer provided many unforgettable highlights during that period. My father-in-law, a staunch OSU fan, even liked to listen to Ufer on fall Saturday afternoons. Here are some of my favorite Uferisms:

Ufer goes crazy in this video when OSU players tear down the Michigan Banner.

When Bob was ailing from prostate cancer, the above banner was raised by the M Club and below the band’s halftime tribute honoring him.

Bob Ufer unfortunately died in 1981, broadcasting U of M games right to the end. This video tribute was created capturing some of his best Michigan broadcasting moments.

Ufer was Michigan’s super-fan for years, while OSU has had the above characters roaming the tailgate parties and stands for years. Now Michigan has a new super-fan as shown in this video:

Some of my favorite OSU-Michigan jokes:

Jim Harbaugh is on the Ohio 5 yard line in the closing seconds of a game tied 14 - 14 and prays for inspiration. He looks to the heavens and says "God what play should I call." God answers "throw a flat pass to the right". Harbaugh calls the play and it is intercepted and returned all the way for a touchdown giving Ohio State the win. Jim once again looks to the heavens and says "God why did you call that play". God pauses and says "Hey Woody why did we call that play?”
A Michigan fan and an Ohio State fan go to the restroom and stand next to each other at the urinal. They finish about the same time. The Michigan fan goes to the sink to wash his hands and the Ohio State fan starts to walk out. The Michigan fan yells to the Ohio State fan and says hey in Michigan they teach us to wash our hands after going to the bathroom. The Ohio State fan replies back. At Ohio State they teach us not to pee on our hands…
A young man hired by a supermarket reported for his first day of work. The manager greeted him with a warm handshake and a smile, gave him a broom, and said, "Your first job will be to sweep out the store." "But I'm a graduate of the Ohio State University," the young man replied indignantly. "Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't realize that," said the manager. "Here, give me the broom - I'll show you how.”
Once upon a time, there was a season when neither Ohio State nor Michigan made a post-season bowl game. It seemed so unusual that the teams figured there should be some sort of competition anyway. So they got together and decided on a week-long ice-fishing competition. On the first day, Michigan caught 100 fish and OSU caught none. On the second day, Michigan had caught 200 fish and OSU still had zero. OSU coach Woody Hayes, suspecting cheating, dressed one of his players in maize and blue and sent him to the Michigan camp to act as a spy. At the end of the day, the player came back to report. "Are they cheating?” asked Woody. "They sure are," the player said. "They're cutting holes in the ice!"
What do you get when you drive through Columbus really slow?
A: A degree.

Sorry Fish Report readers; On Saturday: Go Blue! Any other day Scarlet & Gray!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Hunting Season - 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

Hunting Season

November 15th was a special day each fall while growing up. It was the first day of hunting season; the only day each year I was allowed to skip school. Literally, all the farm boys in my class would go hunting that first day which actually started at midnight going coon hunting with my uncle Bob for a couple hours to kick off the season. Those escapades were documented in this previous blogpost. Then after a couple hours of sleep, I’d be up early not to milk cows but to set traps for muskrats and rabbits. A few days earlier, I would have placed the muskrat traps in the creek running through our farm and the rabbit traps in culvert entrances, but would not set the traps until the season started. That morning was the one time each year Dad would relieve me from having to tend to the milking. After setting the traps at daybreak, I’d proceed to hunt for rabbits. The best places were usually harvested corn fields, unless they were too muddy, and the clover fields that had been planted under the wheat the prior year. Rabbits loved to eat the kernels of corn and the tender clover leaves.

As a budding hunter, Dad didn’t trust me with a shotgun, so I used a rifle. That meant I had to see the rabbit nesting and take a shot before it took off, which required keen eyes, stealthy movements and a quick shot. Eventually, when old enough to use a shotgun, the hunting became a little more enjoyable, but those darn rabbits never ran in a straight line, so even those shots were a challenge.

Then in my freshman and sophomore year in high school, I attended a seminary to study for the priesthood. The students there also hunted for rabbits, but with clubs! All 300 students attending would circle a field two deep, club in hand, then the first group would proceed to close the circle, while the second group would follow about 20 yards behind. When a rabbit was scared up, it would try to get through the circle. If it wasn’t clubbed then, the back-up group had a chance to club the rabbit. Occasionally a rabbit would go down a hole, then a third group of “hunters”, armed with shovels, would literally dig out the rabbit. One year we got over 100 rabbits from the 300 acre farm surrounding the seminary. Great fun! (PS: I left the seminary after my sophomore year once the hormones kicked in!)

Because of my rabbit hunting background, I was on the rabbit cleaning crew after the hunt. We were rewarded by the nuns in the kitchen with some fried rabbit before the evening meal was served to the rest of the seminarians. Very tasty!

As I got older, my hunting became much more gentrified. For years a friend would invite me to his club called Hunters Creek, where first we would shoot clay birds for some practice, followed by a afternoon of pheasant hunting. Early in the day, the birds had been “placed” in the field, 6 to a hunter. A well-trained dog would track down the birds and point when one is sensed. The dog would inch closer to the nesting bird until it took flight, at which time the hunter closest to the bird would take a shot. If he missed, the other hunters would then take a shot. The dog would runs after the downed bird and brings it back to the hunters.

Once the 6 pheasants per hunter are chased up, we adjourned to the club house for a wonderful pheasant dinner. Meanwhile, the pheasants we shot are cleaned and packaged by the staff and are ready to take home once dinner is over. Sure nothing like the old days!

I recall years ago when we were building our current house, the goal was to have the roof on before the first snowfall. We were on track to meet that goal until the hunting season came, when literally every tradesman bailed out for a week of dear hunting in northern Michigan, leaving the roofless house high and not so dry! Once the crew returned, fortunately they made up for the lost time and soon the house was under-roof before much if any snow had fallen.

My hunting days are pretty much over, except for the “hunting” I do around out house, catching about 50 chipmunks and a couple groundhogs each year, giving them all a last swim in the lake!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Sidney Socialite - 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

Sidney Socialite

After reading a recent blog about Sidney shopping memories, my sister reminded me that another stop our Mother would make after shopping in town would be to visit a widow named Katharine Dunson, a wealthy socialite for whom my Mother had worked as a nanny during high school in the 1930’s. Mrs. Dunson lived in the big Victorian home on Main Street south of Holy Angels church pictured below. 

She and her husband Huber raised 5 children in this home, the youngest two being twins born in 1937. I recall them as look-a-likes for Hollywood stars David and Ricky Nelson from the Ozzie and Harriet Nelson TV show in the ’50’s.

Huber was the proprietor of Dunson’s Supply, formerly located near or in the building that now houses the Sidney ACE hardware pictured below. The business was growing as evidenced by the following SDN article from 1940. They also had a store in Bellefontaine.

Out of the Past
Aug. 26, 1940

The old brick smoke stack, connected with the factory buildings on North Miami Avenue recently taken over by the Dunson Supply Co., located at the rear of the Dunson property, was dynamited and wrecked late yesterday afternoon. A crowd of approximately 500 were on hand to see the stack fall. It was erected 54 years ago by William Harp, for the late James Anderson who then operated a spoke and wheel works in the adjoining property. The stack was 118 feet high.

Mr. Dunson unfortunately passed away in 1944 at age 47. Katharine was left with the 5 young children ages 7-15 and a business to run. She preservered with her second son Samuel taking over the business some years later. It was at that point in her life that she became active in the Sidney social scene, mainly by supporting various charitable organizations, especially Holy Angels Church and School, where her children had attended. She also traveled extensively, as on-line passenger manifests for several cruise ships to Europe in the 1950’s had her listed.

My sisters loved visiting the Dunson home with Mom. Here’s one of their memories:

“We recall many visits to Mrs. Dunson. Of course, before going, we prayed to St. Christopher for a safe trip to far off Sidney and were instructed to be on our very best behavior. Mom and Katharine would share an afternoon tea in "very pretty cups". She gave Mom bags of old nylons that we sisters would use for pretend dress up. Mom would give us garters to hold them up. We would then put Mom's old dresses on and heels that she wore as bridesmaids. Oh, we had great imaginations! Someone was always getting married. Of course we never concerned ourselves with any groom or groomsmen! Our church was the stairway. LOL”

Dunson Supply is still a registered business in Ohio and operates as Advanced Auto Parts, a NAPA franchise on Michigan St. near the I75 interchange. It is operated by her grandson Michael Dunson.

Michael is the son of Samuel Dunson, who passed away at the early age of 45 in 1976. He was President of Dunson Supply at the time. Katharine died a few years later in 1981 at age 82. Her obituary and tombstone follow. Unfortunately a photo of Katharine could not be found in our family photo albums.


Mrs. Dunson was a special lady who made a larger-than-life impression on youngsters like me and my siblings at the time. She obviously was a very positive influence on our Mother as well, because Mom always spoke so highly of her and visited Mrs. Dunson regularly until her death.