Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Midwestern Ohio Memories from the 50’s & 60’s

This is a guest blog by an anonymous Fish Report reader as part of a series of periodic posts that will focus on cherished memories of growing up in Midwestern Ohio during the 50’s & 60’s

50 years ago changed lives for many, including me

Summertime Blues

With summer coming to a close, growing up in the 50’s & 60’s offered the best summers ever, with the warm weather, pick-up baseball games, swimming in the lake, visiting cousins, running through the grass barefoot; just having lots of fun and not having a care in the world. Those times came crashing to screeching halt during the summer of 1965, between our junior and senior years in high school, when one of my best friends Ken Sanders and his older brother Leo drowned in a local gravel pit while fishing on a summer Sunday morning 50 years ago. Here’s the Minster Post article on their deaths. Just the night before, a bunch of us including Ken were cruising around together having the time of our lives, a much too short life in his case. I was in church that Sunday morning at 10 AM services when all the sirens started to blow, then shortly afterwards, someone came into church to escort Ken and Leo's parents outside and notify them about the terrible accident. His parents were sitting just a few pews ahead of me. As everyone was leaving church, the sad news was relayed quickly among the crowd. Ken was the closest person to die up to that point in my life, so it hit me very hard and still does. There isn’t a day goes by that I don’t think about him; what might have been, who he would have married, what he would be doing now, how many grandkids might he have, where he’d be living. 

Needless to say, the Sanders family, our classmates and the entire town were devastated. Lines were a block long at the funeral home to pay respects and say a prayer for the two brothers. Several of us to-be Seniors were pall bearers at the double funeral, after which our entire class of 37 met up at Louis’s (now Scudzy's) bar in Newport, one of our stops the night before. Needless to say, we shared stories and many toasts in Ken’s memory. Furthermore, soon afterwards when school restarted for our senior year, it came time to elect class officers, and I was asked to nominate Ken as honorary Senior Class president, which I did and he was unanimously elected posthumously. May he and his brother rest in peace.


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Midwestern Ohio Memories from the 50’s & 60’s

This is a guest blog by an anonymous Fish Report reader as part of a series of periodic posts that will focus on cherished memories of growing up in Midwestern Ohio during the 50’s & 60’s

The Rest of the Story!

Last week’s post about my parents first vacation many years after their honeymoon caused my siblings to remind me that the week our parents were gone was more than all work for us, as my oldest sister and I had thrown a party that night including a hayride for the partygoers. We sent our youngest siblings to bed early before everyone began arriving. The party started and soon the hayride took off. I was driving the tractor and a cute female partygoer wanted to drive, so of course I let her. That led to some problems, as suddenly we were in the ditch running down a neighbor’s fence before I could get the tractor stopped.Her view might have been blocked and it was dark out. Fortunately no one was hurt, except perhaps the cute partygoer's ego! The fence was fixed the next day well before our parents arrived back home, and nobody was the wiser until my younger siblings, who had been forced to go to bed early, spilled the beans about the party and the hayride gone awry. And regarding my 7-year-old brother not doing any work, he claims he shoveled manure all week and also rode on the hayride. Actually my sisters recalled he spent the time at an uncle and aunt’s place, for sure doing no work there either! Now you know the rest of the story.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Midwestern Ohio Memories from the 50’s & 60’s

This is a guest post by an anonymous Fish Report reader as part of a series of periodic posts that will focus on cherished memories of growing up in Midwestern Ohio during the 50’s & 60’s

Our family farm required a helping hand from everyone

Summer Hiatus on the Farm

In August of 1966, our parents took their first vacation since their honeymoon in 1947. As dairy farmers, they were tied to morning and evening milking of the cows and feeding of the livestock that kept them from traveling until my siblings and I were old enough to perform the work. And August was a good time to go; the hiatus between harvesting the hay, wheat and oats earlier in the summer and the corn later in the fall. The cadence of farming in those days was amazing. Crops were rotated on four year cycles, with corn following hay, which followed oats, which follow wheat, which in turn followed corn, repeating the sequence. Limited fertilizer and herbicides were needed in those days because of crop rotation and a farmer could make a decent living on 100 acres with 25 head of milk cows, 50 hogs, and 100 chickens (and kids to help around the farm!)

On their vacation, our parents visited the family cottage of my Dad’s brother on Paradise Lake in northern Michigan. The cottage is still in the family, and when my wife and I visited the same cottage at the invitation of our cousin, we noticed any entry by my Mother in the old log book at the cottage documenting their visit. We added our entry as well referencing back to the visit of our parents some 40 years earlier. While our parents were away that week, in addition to all the daily farm work, I had the additional chore of painting the corn crib, which is the middle sized red building in this aerial photo of our farm. Fortunately, my sisters did the cooking and housework that week. And I don’t recall my 7 year old brother doing anything! When our parents returned, we still only received our buck and a quarter allowance that week (yes, even my brother), so I figured my pay amounted to about 2 cents an hour!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Midwestern Ohio Memories from the 50’s & 60’s

This is a guest post by an anonymous Fish Report reader as part of a series of periodic posts that will focus on cherished memories of growing up in Midwestern Ohio during the 50’s & 60’s


These are two of the Ft. Loramie men that traveled and camped 
11 days and 1400 miles to Washington DC and back 75 years ago 

75 Years Ago this Week

Several weeks ago Fish Report referenced an event that occurred 75 years ago this week involving 17 Ft. Loramie FFA members who traveled to Washington DC, camping in tents all the way there and back. The article indicated two of the travelers were my uncles, my Dad’s and Mom’s younger brothers, each of whom served in WWII a few years later. As it turns out, another one of the travelers, Leo Meyer, had kept a diary of the trip. So at the request of my aunt, the widow of one of my uncles, a search began for the diary. Initially archives of the Ft. Loramie Historical Association were searched and a reference to the trip was found but the diary was not included. However, it did indicate the diary was published in the Minster Post. So a search of the Minster (now Community) Post archives on the Minster Historical Society website turned up the August 30, 1940 edition with the diary article on page 3. It’s an interesting description of the trip as seen below. Even though the trip was sponsored by the Future Farmers of America, neither of my uncles became farmers; no doubt somewhat swayed by their discoveries during the Washington DC trip 75 years ago (which also likely further influenced their WWII service).

(Click on article to expand)
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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Midwestern Ohio Memories from the 50’s & 60’s

This is a guest post by an anonymous Fish Report reader as part of a series of periodic posts that will focus on cherished memories of growing up in Midwestern Ohio during the 50’s & 60’s.


Shelby Oaks Golf Course in Sidney was the first public course in the area. 
The Moose Golf Course in Sidney , a private club, existed prior to 1965.

Shelby Oaks

The first public golf course in the area was Shelby Oaks, which opened in the fall of 1965 with 9 holes during my senior year in high school. Our basketball coach Kremer was an avid golfer, so he recruited a bunch of newbies together from the seniors in high school and challenged Anna Coach Anderson to a golf match at Shelby Oaks. Coach Kremer had us practicing in the outfield of the baseball diamond. Fortunately, I had hit golf balls before, thanks to my uncle Gene from Chicago, who let us hit balls when he came to visit. I distinctly remember about age 12 hitting a golf ball with a 5 iron over the hog stable on our farm from next to the tool shed, a distance about 150 yards. That ball was never to be found, and it went farther by three times than any baseball I’d ever hit. So from that moment on, I was hooked on golf. Unfortunately for my wife, I’m still hooked almost 60 years later. Anyway, back to the story, the day of the big golf challenge arrived. I have no recollection of how our team did against Anna, but I do recall that I shot a 45, bogie golf my first time out, which I have a difficult time matching to this day. What a memorable round! Unofficially, I’d like to think this event was the first ever County golf tournament!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Midwestern Ohio Memories from the 50’s & 60’s

This is a guest post by an anonymous Fish Report reader as part of a series of periodic posts that will focus on cherished memories of growing up in Midwestern Ohio during the 50’s & 60’s.


The ferris wheel is a staple at any County Fair. The Shelby 
County Fair once made national news for their ferris wheel

County Fair

It’s late summer and County Fair season. So many memories come to mind about the fairs while growing up, from the rides, cotton candy, livestock displays and midway games. Although I never won anything like a stuffed animal for a girl, it was fun and exciting to give it a go, especially when I was rewarded with a kiss behind the livestock barn for trying! Many of my friends showed their livestock at the fair, so we literally stayed on the grounds for the entire week, sleeping on straw bales for a couple hours a night after a raucous day at the fair. The Deloye’s always had the winning Holsteins, the Pleiman’s the best Ayrshires and the Joslin’s the top beef cattle and sheep. And during the ’63 fair, I distinctly recall walking from the fairgrounds downtown to the theater to see the movie Cleopatra staring Elizabeth Taylor! But the rides at the fair were the best; in fact, a Guinness Book of Records for riding a ferris wheel was set during the 1964 fair. A 15 year old kid named Chuck Rogers from Botkins rode the ferris wheel for 25 straight hours. Then low and behold, the very next week, a 16 year old Sidney girl named Patty Jones reset the record riding 40 hours at the Auglaize County Fair. No, I didn’t remember those names but did recall the event. Google helped me find the details from a Tuscaloosa newspaper article, as the story went “viral” in it’s day! And as shown in the photo below, there’s a guy in Hamtramck, Michigan who just might have a part of that old record-setting ferris wheel displayed in his back yard.

Hamtramck Disneyland's creator passed away in May, but his
wacky structure just off I-75 in Michigan is American folk art

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Midwestern Ohio Memories from the 50’s & 60’s

This is a guest post by an anonymous Fish Report reader as part of a series of periodic posts that will focus on cherished memories of growing up in Midwestern Ohio during the 50’s & 60’s.

Summer Days

Summer brought family reunions and always a fun day. My parents had literally dozens of brothers and sisters so the affairs were quite a gathering and a bunch of fun. In fact to this day one side still holds a reunion each year. Besides the hotdogs, pop and games, the really best part of the reunion came afterwards, when my brothers and sisters would spend the following week with our cousins in Dayton. It was a fun-filled week away from milking cows, feeding pigs and gathering chicken eggs. We would swim in real pools, not the muddy creek running behind our place. And ride bikes on hard surfaces instead of our gravel lane. And they had air conditioning, not only in their house but in the car! I still remember my very first ride in an A/C equipped vehicle; all the way back in the third row of a station wagon. It felt so cool even back there. Who knows, but maybe that experience led me to take my very first job at Copeland’s (now Emerson’s) in Sidney to work on the A/C compressor machining line during the summer after graduation from high school before heading for college. For certain, those summer vacations with our cousins in Dayton likely lead me consider a life beyond the farm, but the memories of those farm days will never fade. 

Taken at St. Patrick’s School in the summer of 1947