Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Bear's Mill - Dave's Midwestern Ohio Memories

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

Bear's Mill


Recently, my wife and I traveled back to Russia to visit her Mother for the weekend, so on Sunday afternoon, we planned an activity for the three of us. While growing up, for some reason, I spent very little time in Darke County so decided to explore on-line what the county had to offer and found that Bear’s Mill was holding a fall open house. None of us had ever heard of or been to Bear’s Mill, so off we went for the short ride from the friendly confines of Roo-shee to the old gristmill built in 1849 between Versailles and Arcanum.


My wife and her Mother enjoyed the mill store while I took a self guided tour of the old mill, exploring all the floors Included was a gristmill demonstration that was very interesting. The mill was built over a fast flowing tributary of the Greenville creek next to a dam created to power a turbine that turned the gristmill on the floor above.


Meanwhile, the ladies were surprised to discover a beautiful art gallery connected to the mill store that they really enjoyed.


The gift shop offered candy buckeye balls for $1 each, but my mother-in-law didn’t want one saying they were too expensive; she could make the whole plateful for that price!

With our appetites whetted, we moved outside for some apple cider and soup that was delicious. A two person band was playing the violin and banjo next to an open fire that we enjoyed with our food.

That respite gave me a chance to tour the grounds around the mill and take some more photos.


The old mill even generated its own electricity powered by a water-driven turbine just like the gristmill. The electric generator must have been retrofitted years later well after the 1849 mill construction as Thomas Edison didn’t invent the generator until the 1870’s.

For a virtual tour of the old mill, click on this link.

We took a photo in front of this Ford pick-up truck because it was built the same year as my mother-in-law was born, 1929!


The tour of the old mill was a memorable experience that we really enjoyed on a perfect fall Sunday afternoon exploring Darke County. Our next trip back home will be in mid-December to celebrate my mother-in-law's 90th birthday. We have the perfect gift for her, but after searching all over near our home in Michigan, I come to find out they go by a different name. And are priced higher to boot!

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Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Paul Harvey - Dave's Midwestern Ohio Memories

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

Paul Harvey


Recall last week my blogpost about listening to Ft. Wayne’s WOWO radio as a kid while milking the cows with Dad. My favorite segment was entitled “The Rest of the Story” by the legendary syndicated announcer, Paul Harvey, pictured above. The theme of each segment was Paul recapping some unknown topic, but then finishing by telling the widely known aspect of the same story, always ending with “and that’s the rest of the story. Good day.” Click here for a special example of Paul Harvey telling "the rest of the story".

This was Dad’s favorite Paul Harvey segment about God creating a farmer.


Except I didn’t spend my life doing what Dad does as suggested in the last sentence - and neither did my younger brother!!

Listen to his commentary after President Kennedy’s assassination.


This 1965 segment about the Devil unfortunately still rings very true today.




Paul Harvey was a coiner of words, such as Reaganomics, guesstimate, and skyjacker, all were the themes of one of Harvey’s famed stories. He was a close friend of J. Edgar Hoover, the legendary FBI Director, who apparently had his agents research many of Harvey’s stories for accuracy.


Paul Harvey Aurandt, the newscaster, was the son of a police officer and a Danish immigrant. He dropped his surname in 1933 when he began his radio career at KVOO in Tulsa. Here’s a wonderful Charles Osgood tribute to Paul Harvey upon his death in 2009 at age 90.


Now years later, Mike Rowe, TV host and narrator, publishes a weekly podcast called "The Way I Heard It” as a tribute to Paul Harvey. Here’s a preview.


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Tuesday, October 29, 2019

WOWO Radio - Dave's Midwestern Ohio Memories

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

WOWO Radio


When helping Dad milk cows as a kid on the farm, we would always listen to WOWO, 1190 on the AM dial, a 50,000 watt clear channel station broadcasting out of Ft. Wayne. Dad felt WOWO had the most accurate weather forecasts since Ft. Wayne was west of us and their weather eventually made its way to midwestern Ohio. Most of the time, for a farmer, guessing the weather with some accuracy made all the difference in the world to crop yields, whether at planting or harvesting time. But when he guessed wrong, WOWO was to blame. Below is a photo of the WOWO weather wheel that was used to predict the weather back then. No wonder Dad blamed them!


Also, guessing the best time to sell the harvested crops was doubly important, and WOWO had endless reports of grain and livestock futures from the Chicago Board of Trade, the prime midwest source for commodity prices.

I recall Dad going on a bus tour sponsored by the local chapter of the Future Farmers of America (FFA) at Ft. Loramie High school to see first hand the trading floor of the CBOT. Because the bus traveled through Ft. Wayne on the way to Chicago, the participants also toured the WOWO studios and were called out on the air by announcer Bob Sievers - 15 minutes of fame for Dad and his traveling companions!!


Sievers, pictured above, would claim the music played on the station relaxed the cows and produced more milk! As an example, listen to Nancy Lee and the Hilltoppers singing Little Red Barn. The lyrics follow:


VERSE 1
I was born 'way down in Indiana,
Wish that I were there right now.
Want to hear my dog bow-wow
When I go to milk the cow.
Raised on corn 'way down in Indiana,
So was ev'ry little hen.
I was mighty happy then;
Wish that I were back a-gain:
CHORUS:
In a little red barn on a farm down in Indiana,
Let me lay my back on a stack of new mown hay.
'Round the barnyard where the farmyard folks are pally,
Let me dilly-dally all the live-long day.
I'm a Hoosier who's blue, thru and thru, and my heart is pining
For the sycamore trees where the Wabash breezes play.
What's more, I'm pining for a yellow moon that's shining
On a little red barn on a farm down Indiana way.
VERSE 2
Work was done 'way down in Indiana,
Picked the eggs the chickens lay;
Pushed the plow and pitched the hay;
Ev'ry day a busy day.
Had my fun 'way down in Indiana
When the sun would go to rest.
Saw it sinkin' in the West;
That's the time I liked the best.


WOWO was the first radio station in the world to broadcast a live basketball game - where else but Indiana? It was broadcast from the studio with “live feed” from a Western Union telegraph ticker at the Indiana High School State Championship game in 1924 won by Martinsville over Frankfort 36-30. Both high school coaches in that first broadcast finals game went on to very successful careers in the college ranks. Amazingly, legendary UCLA coach John Wooden was a freshman on that winning team, repeating again in 1927 when he was a senior.


Back to WOWO, for me, the most memorable aspect of their daily broadcast was the segment by Paul Harvey, which will be the topic of next week’s blog. Good Day!

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Tuesday, October 22, 2019

I75 Construction - Dave's Midwestern Ohio Memories

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

I75 Construction

 Brent Spence Bridge Construction over the Ohio River

It dawned on me recently while passing a drivers training vehicle on the freeway that when I received my drivers license permit at age 15 back in 1963, there were no freeways in the area. Dad had trained me how to drive using surface streets, the only roads available. It wasn’t until 4 years later during my sophomore year in college that I75 opened through Ohio. Going to college in Michigan during my freshman year meant long, 5 hour drives via US Routes 25 and 23 with countless traffic lights along the way especially around Toledo. Plus the I75 construction made maneuvering through that city even more challenging and time consuming.


Once I75 was completed, the drive time shortened to only 3 1/2 hours. Meanwhile, heading south during those days before the interstate yielded similar problems. For example, going to a Reds ballgame took 3 hours using only surface streets, except for one stretch of US 25 in Cincinnati called a Limited Access Urban Highway that had been constructed during WWII.


These highway concepts really took hold after the war when former General Eisenhower, then President, conceived of the Interstate Highway system after observing how the network of autobahns in Germany was a critical enabler to the Third Reich's war machine. In fact, he dictated that every five miles a straightaway should exist for the purpose of landing military aircraft in an emergency.


As I75 was being constructed through Shelby County, land that had been purchased for the freeway right-of-way divided numerous farms with parcels on each side of the freeway. The farmers had to transport their equipment to the nearest freeway overpass miles away to access their land. It was considered a real hardship back in the day, but Dad had little sympathy for those farmers as they were paid a nice premium for the land purchased by the federal government. It took a lot of dirt to build up the overpasses, so land was also acquired that was dug out for the overpass fill, eventually creating ponds all along the length of the freeway.

Russell Road I75 Overpass northwest of Sidney

Before the interstate, I recall a visit to Crosley Field, where the Reds played at the time, parking on the area where I75 was being constructed as shown on this aerial photo. Note the Crosley Field bleachers in right field; check out this previous blogpost on watching a Reds game from that venue during Johnny Bench’s rookie season.


The last section of I75 to be completed was through Dayton and it created quite a traffic disruption. The summer between my freshman and sophomore year in college was especially problematic because I was living at home while working in Dayton at Frigidaire. I would help Dad milk the cows, drive to work then return after the shift in time to help him milk that evening. With gas only 39 cents a gallon, I was able to save a lot of money by avoiding room and board costs that summer, which helped me eventually afford a new car that I had posted in this recent blog.


I75 literally divided Dayton down the middle and was a major contributor in my view to some of Dayton’s subsequent urban issues. The very last segment of I75 to be completed was the Needmore Road intersection north of Dayton that had the only stoplight between Cincinnati and Toledo, creating an intersection that was notorious for many accidents as drivers were not used to stopping.


Another interesting phenomenon about I75 is how the exit intersections evolved over the years, starting initially with a gas station or two, then fast food places, followed by shopping centers, big box stores and businesses that unfortunately led to the detriment of many downtowns like Sidney. Take a look at this aerial photo of the SR 47-I75 interchange that 50 years ago was all farmland!


Now over 50 years later, the entire I75 stretch through Ohio is being rebuilt literally from the ground up. Bridges are being replaced and widened while roadways are being expanded to three lanes. So traveling back home is like deja vu all over again with construction zones from Toledo south that never seem to finish.


Back to my lack of drivers training on the interstate, my first trip on the new freeway back in 1967 resulted in a traffic ticket for going 80 mph. My ’62 Chevy seemed like a brand new car traveling over the smooth roadway. The speed just got away from me - so I explained to the cop - to no avail. The ticket cost me $25 plus a trip to traffic court. It wasn’t my last ticket along that venerable highway that I’ve traveled so many times over the years. Now the cops simply take a credit card to pay the $200 fine!

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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Pro Wrestling - Dave's Midwestern Ohio Memories

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

Pro Wrestling


Sixty years ago, a neighborhood friend and I talked our Dad’s into taking us to a pro wrestling match in Minster. Back in those days, as kids we were enthralled with the pro wrestlers who were on TV, and now those same stars were coming to our area so we just had to see them live. The nicknames of the wrestlers were very memorable, such as BoBo Brazil, Calipso Kid, Killer Kowalski, Russian Bear, Dick the Bruiser (who also played for the Green Bay Packers), Nature Boy Buddy Rogers, Gorgeous George, Bearcat Wright, Sheik, Crusher and Haystacks Calhoun to name a few. But our favorites were Handsome Johnny Barend and Magnificent Maurice, a tag team who headlined the evening by wrestling in the final championship bout. They were fighting BoBo Brazil and the Calipso Kid for the championship. I distinctly recall the gigantic championship belts the two wrestlers were wearing when they entered the ring.

Magnificent Maurice and Handsome Johnny Barend

The elevated boxing ring was set up in the middle of Minster’s football field just north of the high school at the time on Hanover Street. Chairs were arranged all around the ring for spectators. Our seats were in about the 3rd row, a factor that will come into play later. Some of the lessor known wrestlers fought in the earlier bouts, and some didn’t even have nicknames yet, nor were they very good or entertaining. Entertainment is the key, as the wrestling was totally fake, but we enjoyed every minute. The ring was literally spring loaded so that the wrestlers were not hurt when taken down on a throw or when jumping from the corner post onto their opponent like shown on this photo of Pedro Morales about to land on the Russian Bear.


In the feature bout, our heroes were getting creamed by BoBo Brazil and the Calipso Kid, with BoBo using his patented CoCo butt and pile driver moves. Maurice and Barend were both known for their antics and that night was no exception. One of the two grabbed the corner water bucket where the fighters spit between rounds and proceeded to throw the liquid on their opponents; however, they ducked and the contents went spraying all over the audience right where we were sitting, which fortunately turned out to be just confetti! Another antic came near the end of the bout when Maurice tagged Barend and then proceeded to literally craw under the ring emerging on the opposite end to blind side their two opponents who had ganged up on Barend, knocking them down and pinning both simultaneously to win the bout and claim the championship belt. Perfect ending to a fantastic night of big time wrestling. Even our Dad’s were entertained! Check out this YouTube video of a 3 man tag team match with the the same wrestlers.





Fast forward 28 years to 1987, when my son and I along with 93,000 other fans witnessed Hulk Hogan fight Andre the Giant during Wrestlemania III at the Pontiac Silverdome. Hulk body slammed the 525 pound Andre to win the exciting match. Here's the closing minutes of that memorable bout.


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