Tuesday, February 9, 2016

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

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.

First Kiss

With Valentine’s Day around the corner and being the romantic that I am, this blog entry is all about my first kiss. It occurred during recess under the fire escape pictured above at Ft. Loramie elementary school in first grade. The school is now gone, but the memory lasts. Turns out this first kiss has something in common with the couple in the kiss cam photo below as well as a famous movie star, Eva Longoria. No, it wasn’t her that I kissed! But just as she claims in this video, Ms. Longoria’s first kiss tasted like Cheetos; so did mine. The first grade girl that I kissed was nibbling on some Cheetos and I went up to her and said I’d trade her a kiss for a Cheeto. She agreed and there we did the deed right behind the bushes under the fire escape. I wonder if she remembers it; likely not as it probably wasn’t her first kiss, as she was so hot!

Another memorable kiss came after a class party in the summer between my sophomore and junior year in high school, just after getting my drivers license. I was driving my Dad’s 1959 Chevy and asked a classmate if I could take her home after the party. She agreed but had a midnight curfew, so off we went after the party heading back to her house. Now this was the first time with a girl in a car and so I was learning and improvising on the fly. When we pulled into her driveway just before midnight, again being the romantic that I am, I reached over and opened the car door for her. I picked up this trick from my dad when he would drop my grandmother off at her house! The girl exclaimed “You mean you aren’t even going to walk me to the door?". So I dutifully walked her to the door and when we got there, I said goodnight and turned back to the car. She again exclaimed, “You’re not even going to kiss me goodnight?”. So I kissed her a good one - again learning on the fly. Remember this was a few years before Bob Seger’s Night Moves album, so had it been out, I would have of course known exactly what to do. Right! The song also reminds me of a part time summer job at a drive in theater I once held, but those escapades will be fodder for a future blog entry!

Happy Valentine’s Day, Fish Report lovers!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

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

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.

Loramie Basketball

Strangely, I had a dream recently about the 1963-64 Loramie Redskin basketball team; why I have no idea! When waking up the next morning, I recalled the dream but only could come up with the names of 4 of the 5 senior starters, Mel Boerger (#50 above, my 1st cousin & my dad’s Godson), Nelson Barhorst (#45 above & distant cousin), Ed Sanders (#55 above & brother to classmate friend) and Dave Borchers (distant cousin - number not shown). So after a Google search to find the 5th starter, what came up from the Nov. 30, 1963 issue of the Lima News is shown below. Like my dream, it’s all garbled so the reader is inclined to pay to access the full article, but the name of the forgotten player was buried in the scrambled mess :­ John Rethman (#43 above & a neighbor). The team blew away Buckland early in that season 104-60. Dave Borchers scored 38. Note that a few years later, Buckland was consolidated into Wapakoneta HS. This game occurred over 52 years ago, which means the Seniors on the team will be celebrating their 70th birthday this year! Thanks to my cousin Mel, my sister Lucy and Jim Rosengarten, the curator of the Ft. Loramie Historical Association, for the photos and the stats (Mel sent the cheerleader photos; unfortunately they weren’t in my dream!)
Fort Loramie Goes 4Crazy' FORT The Buck- Totals land Bucks "took it on theBuckIand 42 20 104 22 14 17 Fort Loramie 31 23 26 nose" here Friday night Indian Lake Garners Win 3 were downed by the Fort Lora- mie Redskins, 104-60. Dave Borchers shoxved the Raskins trie path to victory as dumped in 38 points, more double the total of any- orft else in the game. Buckland Mix Place Tom Place Bob Fry Tod Miller Harold Ettly David Hughes Eisass totals Fort Loramie Sanders Ernst Dave Borchers John Turner Mel Boerger Dick Schwartz Nelson Barhorst Mike Bollenbacher John Rethman Steve Monnin Jay Darst GFT 066 0 7 0 1 6 1 2 7 19 0 0 4 10 1 0 00 1 0 0 00 19 16 54 GFT 4 2 0 1 1 3 1 3 15 0 8 0 4 0 0 1 3 0 2 1 7 0 2 0 6 2 32 
As indicated in the stats below, under Coach Kremer's guidance, that ’63-’64 team went on to win the SCL (not SCAL!) with a 21-3 record. They were great role models for us younger players coming up in the system. Plus with all my personal connections to the team, it was especially fun to watch them play and do so well. Growing up with these guys meant playing many barnyard basketball games together that would always be physically challenging, especially since I was a few years younger, but that rough and tumble play really helped me to eventually become a better basketball player.

Happy 70th Birthday to the seniors from one of the best teams in Loramie history.

(click on the pictures to enlarge)

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

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

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.

Family Farm Pets

While growing up on the farm, our family always had a dog as a pet, along with some un-named stray cats that dad like to keep around to control the rodents. Plus occasionally a farm animal was adopted, usually a baby chick or a new-born calf that my sisters would name but never seemed to care for; that was my job!. But for me, the family dogs were special. They were typically mutts and only once do I recall having talked my parents into getting a pure bred, a collie, which of course we named Lassie. The day or so after we picked her up at the dog pound in Sidney, she nipped at my sister so was immediately returned (the dog, not the sister!). Lassie could fetch a ball or a stick, could do tricks and respond to verbal commands, unlike my sister. So I was really peeved to say the least.

In addition to Lassie, we had dogs named Brownie (that’s me petting him in the above 1958 photo with my siblings), Skippy, Cookie, Spot, Ginger, etc. The family dogs freely roamed the farm and sometime just disappeared for days and a couple just disappeared, period. We were heartbroken for a while until the next mutt was picked up from the pound or a litter from a neighbors dog. We smothered the new arrival with unconditional love and soon forget all about the “dog gone”. For some reason they all seemed to enjoy chasing any car coming down our long gravel lane, which usually meant their eventual demise and another replacement would be needed soon enough. One situation I’ll never forget happened as I was riding my bike along a country road with our dog Cookie running ahead. There was a curve in the road before it intersected with a state highway. While riding around the curve, I heard the roar of a speeding car, then a bone-chilling thump, followed by some screeching tires. When I got to the intersection, there was the driver, a high school hot rodder from town, throwing Cookie’s body into the culvert, then taking off in his car. I was in too much shock to say anything, but never forgave the guy.

I recall several songs during that era about dogs such as Hound Dog by Elvis or How Much is the Doggie in the Window sung by Patti Page. Speaking of hound dogs, my uncle, who lived on the farm next door, was an avid coon hunter, so he always had hound dogs around his place that we’d love to tease cause they were chained up and couldn’t chase us down. And at night, before falling asleep, I could hear his hound dogs howling at the moon or at a newly treed coon in the woods nearby. My uncle loved coon hunting and would have hundreds of coonskins in his shed that he’d sell each spring. Once he made me a coon skin cap, so I loved being Davy Crocket when we played cowboys and Indians; that is until the coonskin cap started to stink, at which time mom asked me to bury it in the corn field!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

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

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.

My In-Laws

Previous blogs have shared memories of my family and friends so the focus of this blog will be about my in-laws, shown in this 1953 photo holding their first child, my wife-to-be some 19 years prior to our marriage. Both in-laws grew up during the Great Depression and World War II, with my mother-in-law unfortunately losing both her parents as a young child. An aunt cared for her and her 7 siblings on their family farm which happened to be next door to my grandparent’s farm. So my dad and my future mother-in-law knew each other at a very early age. That connection no doubt helped diminish any initial negative impressions my in-laws-to-be had of me after I rolled in on a motorcycle, with long hair, tie-dyed tee shirt and bell bottoms the first time I met the family! In fact, my mother-in-law-to-be once asked if that was the only outfit I ever wore! Needless to say, I went out and bought something new for the next visit.

My in-laws had 6 kids, and as a young family during the 50’s, they quickly outgrew their first home, an old farmhouse in the country. They decided to build near town and while saving for the new house, my father-in-law-to-be, a Korean War vet, held down two jobs as the local rural delivery postman and also as a worker at his dad’s small business in Piqua manufacturing doors and windows. My wife recalls the scrimping and saving during that period by her parents to have enough money for the new home. To save money, my mother-in-law, who was a great seamstress and gardener, would sew the kids clothes and meticulously tend to an extensive vegetable and flower garden. As the home construction was underway, my father-in-law was challenged with the home building expenses, so my wife as a young child had all her younger siblings gather the money from their piggy banks. When she presented the coins and a few dollars to her dad for help with the construction bills, in his frustration, he exclaimed “that won’t even pay for a doorknob!” In later years, my father-in-law always declared he would never have said such a thing, but in the heat of the moment and stress of building a new home, he can be forgiven for probably the only disparaging words he ever spoke in his entire life, for he was the most gentle man I’ve ever met. He, along with his sister and her husband, went on to successfully run the family business that now is being operated by the third generation. Unfortunately my father-in-law passed away in 2009. January 4th would have been their 65th wedding anniversary. My mother-in-law continues to live in the family home that she and her loving husband saved for, built together and maintained over the years. She still enjoys gardening, as well as reading, meeting with friends at a local senior center and most of all, attending family get-togethers with her 40+ grandkids and great grandkids on a regular basis (the photo below shows what this original family of three has grown into!). I’ve been blessed to have the best and most caring in-laws one could ever hope for. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

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

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

From This to That!

Recently this article about Canadian beach towns on the eastern shore of Lake Huron appeared in our local paper, and the article reminded me of a chain of events that impacted my life very positively. Let me connect the dots between the above photo and the one below. What got things started was a weekend trip to one of the beach towns described in the article near the end of my senior year in college with a bunch of fraternity brothers. We drove to Canada in a caravan of several cars and stayed in a cottage on the beach owned by the parents of another friend. In those days you could drive right on the beach like at Daytona. It was a fun weekend until we drove one of the cars too close to the lake's edge, causing water to be sucked into the engine. Since water does not compress like air or burn like gas, the engine locked up with a bent connecting rod. We left the car at the cottage, but went back the following weekend to tow it to the frat house. While returning with the car in tow during a rainstorm, we spun out on a curve and did a 180. What could have been a disaster resulted in the only damage (other than my underwear) being a slight dent in the tow bar. Both cars were ok. Finally making it back to the fraternity house, we proceeded to remove and tear down the engine and successfully replaced the bent connecting rod during finals week when I should have been studying.

Earlier that year, another fraternity brother was at Mardi Gras in New Orleans where he was hit by a motorcycle and broke his leg. Since he was out of commission, he lent me his motorcycle for the summer. But I had to get both my car and the motorcycle from the frat house in Michigan to Dayton where I would be working, so my buddy with the newly rebuilt engine said he would haul the cycle back in his trunk (it wouldn’t fit in mine). We disassembled the bike, squeezed it into the trunk with half of it hanging out the back and after following him all the way to Dayton, we re-assembled the motorcycle and it ran just fine. The photo above shows our group at the Port Huron cottage; note the bike, the car and the guy with the broken leg. Believe it or not, I set up blind dates with this motley crew and a bunch of my sister’s friends the year before, but I’ll leave that misadventure for a future blog!

The Friday after coming home from college, Tom, the neighborhood friend who lived on the farm next door whom I wrote about in last week’s blog, threw a party at his place in Dayton, so I decided to ride the motorcycle to the bash, where I connected up with a cute girl who, when I mentioned the bike, wanted to take a ride. So off we went after the party, riding all over the place through the night. Turns out that midnight ride started a relationship that would eventually lead to our marriage! Recall from an earlier blog that I had become aware of this young lady some 4 years earlier during a high school basketball game while on the bench with foul trouble checking out the Russia cheerleaders. In the photo above, I'm the dude in the Budweiser shirt. What she ever saw in me is anybody's guess; maybe it was the bike? But our motorcycle ventures were over at the end of that memorable summer when I returned the bike to my friend. We haven’t ridden since! And check out the photo below of my fraternity brothers with their mini-skirted girl friends (no blind dates this time) all decked out for our wedding. Incidentally, I just discovered last night from a friend who had attended our wedding that the Russia Mayor at the time had directed the town cop to not arrest anybody and to make sure everyone got out of town safely. My friend was stopped, but was told to let his girlfriend drive home. Not coincidentally, the Mayor was my wife's great uncle who was married to my aunt!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

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

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.

Friends for Life

During WWII, my mother worked at a place called the Box Factory in Minster that provided corrugated containers for the war effort. During her stint there as a single girl working in her first job away from the farm, she befriended another farm girl who was a co-worker. After the war both my mother and her friend married guys who also knew each other, so that further set the stage for a lifelong friendship that would eventually bridge at least two future generations so far. In the early 50’s, a neighboring farm to my parents went up for auction. So they encouraged their close friends to consider buying the place. All day farm sales in that era culminated with a live auction of the farm itself in the late afternoon, following a full morning and early afternoon of bidding off the household items and farm tools, with food being served throughout the day. Auctions provided a genuine social event that attracted not just potential buyers but also many on-lookers, including kids like me and also Tom, the oldest son of our parents' friends. So all day long, with the staccato of the auctioneer’s voice in the background, Tom and I roamed the grounds, checking out all the items for sale, exploring the huge barn, large brick house and various surrounding sheds. It eventually came time for the main event, and my dad and his friend were side by side facing the auctioneer. As the bidding proceeded, my dad noticed that his friend never appeared to place a bid, so as the price rose with numerous bids by others, dad became fearful the farm would be bought by someone else. As the bidding came to a close, the auctioneer exclaimed “sold" and pointed to my dad’s friend. Unbeknownst to my dad, his friend had been bidding the whole time by winking an eye to the auctioneer. That evening, the new neighbors celebrated the farm purchase over a meal at Brucken’s Cafe along with for sure a few toasts to the occasion and long-lasting friendships!

That eventful day was the first escapade in the lifelong friendship between my new neighbor Tom and me. Stay tuned to future blogs for more tall tales about our adventures!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Fish Report's 2015 Year in Pics...

As we usher in the new year, I always like to take a sentimental look back on the year that was. There will be mostly good memories of 2015, but also a few heartaches as well. While some of the pictures below were taken with my Fish Report lens, most belong to other talented photographers from the area. A few of these moments were serious stuff and others, not so much. All of the pictures, however, appeared on the pages of Fish Report at some point during the last twelve months. I hope you enjoy.

Russia kicked off 2015 recognizing Lauren Heaton for a 2014 state track title in the 400 meter dash during her sophomore season

Ft. Loramie alum Clair Ruhenkamp wrote an award-winning essay on overcoming adversity at Grand Valley State and one judge stated, "her story gives you chills"

Three Ft. Loramie friends and Ohio State star Joey Bosa's mother traveled to Dallas to watch the Buckeyes win a National Championship

Future Ohio State Buckeye, A.J. Harris, and Duke Blue Devil, Luke Kennard, both appeared on Fish Report LIVE! to talk about their final appearances at Flyin' To The Hoop

Versailles ended Lima Central Catholic's 20-game winning streak with a 68-56 overtime win led by Michigan State recruit Kyle Ahrens' 31 points

Minster alum and Bowling Green senior Erica Fullenkamp had just finished up her volleyball scholarship with the Falcons when the basketball team asked her to help out after a rash of injuries had depleted their roster

Brooke Albers was the 17th inductee in Ft. Loramie's All-American Wall of Fame after a record-setting golf career at the University of Findlay, which included being named a 4-time All-American Scholar Athlete

Five outstanding seniors won their final home game in the Clair C. Naveau Gymnasium and went on Russia's longest winning streak of the season, 7 games, before eventually falling in the regional tournament

Anna senior Chandler Cotterman, both an offensive and defensive football star, announced he was accepting a Division-I scholarship to the University of Toledo

Russia senior Kylie Wilson became the 7th girl in school history to join the 1000 Point Club and was followed just three weeks later by classmate Nolan Francis who became the 6th Raiders boy to do so 

Two of Shelby County's best basketball players were Russia's Gavin Hoying and Ft. Loramie's Devin Braun who both thrilled their home crowds with rim rattling dunks

Fish Report LIVE! tracked down and interviewed Jackson Center hero Jeff Teeters who 30 years earlier won a state championship for the Tigers with his "Shot Heard 'Round Ohio"

After back-to-back 22 wins seasons and consecutive district titles, the Russia boys fell to the eventual state champions from Tri-Village for the second time in 2015 on the same floor, Kettering's Trent Arena

The Ft. Loramie girls won their second-ever state basketball championship 55-48 over Waterford behind a game high 25 points from junior Jessica Boerger and a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds from junior Holly Frey

Almost 3 hours later the Versailles girls won their second-ever Division-III state title 49-46 over Ottawa-Glandorf led by senior Lauren Bruns 16 points and freshman Kami McEldowney's 12 points

Jaimee Maier-Francis, the wife of Russia alum Josh Francis, appeared on WDTN Channel 2 to voice her thoughts on Angelina Jolie's op-ed piece written for the New York Times about cancer

Long time Houston girls basketball coach Greg Ward called it quits and announced his retirement

Russia girls varsity softball saw the debut of 13-year old freshman pitcher Grace Saunders 

The Village of Russia began a major project and installed a new culvert between Main and North Streets

Gene Richard threw out a ceremonial first pitch in a game at Versailles High School that honored his grandson, Zac Richard, and saw Zac's jersey retired on the outfield fence

After recovering from Tommy John surgery, Ohio State pitcher and Minster alum Adam Niemeyer made his first collegiate start against #4-ranked Louisville and allowed only two hits before picking up the 2-0 upset victory

After 31 seasons and 437 victories, legendary Russia basketball coach Paul Bremigan announced he was stepping down from the Raiders program

It was a family affair for the Fullenkamp's at the Capital City Half Marathon in Columbus

The Rethman family from Ft. Loramie followed suit running the Flying Pig Marathon Relay in Cincinnati

A team of local 4th-graders from Russia, Ft. Loramie, Minster and New Bremen won the 15th Annual Cardinal Basketball Classic at Thomas Worthington High School in Columbus

Russia senior Nolan Francis threw a no-hitter with 16 strikeouts against archrival Ft. Loramie in the sectional finals at Sidney

The Anna boys track team won the SCAL Meet and followed it up with a victory at the district meet a week later

Russia senior Leah Francis dominated the area in 100 Hurdles and later went on to finish runner-up at the state meet by just one quarter of a second

Soap Box Derby driver Jake Goubeaux (left) and Austin Cordonnier of his pit crew placed 4th in the Gravity Race Challenge in Columbus

Russia softball star Kennedy Metz signed to play college softball with the Wilmington Quakers

Versailles sophomore Jenna Frantz finished state runner-up in the Division-II pole vault after setting a personal record of 12'-04"

Ohio State's 6-time All-American Katie Borchers of Russia ran her last race for the Scarlet & Gray at the NCAA National Championships in Eugene, OR

Tony Fullenkamp blew up the internet with the snake he caught at Lake Loramie

Jeff Stammen of North Star threw out a ceremonial first pitch to his son, Major League Baseball player Craig Stammen, on Father's Day at the championship game of the Craig Stammen Classic little league tournament

Country Concert celebrated 35 years and these locals celebrated with them

Marion Local's little league team took home a tournament championship at Russia's annual Raider Classic baseball tournament

The historic Russia Inn closed and dozens of local men were forced to find morning coffee elsewhere after a kitchen fire in the middle of the night

The annual Lake Loramie Boat Parade was, as always, another good time

Akron Zip, Clayton Murphy, of Tri-Village took his first trip outside the United States and won gold in the 800-meter final at the Pan-American Games in Toronto, Canada

A group of Russia 4th & 5th-graders beat an all-star little league baseball team from Red Key, Indiana to win the Dylan Williams Memorial and a new Automated External Defibrillator for Russia Park

The girls golf team at Russia brought home the first hardware in school history when they finished runner-up at Arcanum's Lady Trojan Invitational

Buck Fiessinger of Ft. Loramie raked in another car show award for his 1956 Studebaker Power Hawk

Former Versailles and University of Dayton volleyball star Megan Campbell (left) joined the coaching staff at Wisconsin after coaching a year of high school volleyball at Marion Local

The area's biggest cross country star was Botkins senior Chloe Flora who won the Bob Schul Invitational at West Milton and later finished 4th at the State Meet

It was another fun year at the Russia Homecoming festival, including the Diaper Derby contest

The Russia boys golf team shared the SCAL Championship with Anna after falling to the Rockets at the final league meet of the season

Golfing star Emily Knouff of Ft. Loramie, a junior, won a lot in 2015 and eventually returned to the state tournament as an individual for the second time in three years

Fish Report and some running buddies enjoyed another Minster Oktoberfest 10k race

A young Russia volleyball team struggled to a 4-8 league record, but enjoyed a highlight when senior Cassie Pleiman (left) set a school record with 35 digs in a game against Fairlawn

The Versailles girls golf team advanced to the state tournament and finished 8th overall

The Monnin sisters from Russia were all smiles after running the St. Louis Half Marathon

Ft. Loramie football lost their starting quarterback early in the season, but Redskin senior Drew Wehrman stepped in as quarterback and led his team from 0-4 to six straight wins and a return to the playoffs

The Russia girls cross county team pulled off an amazing feat and won the regional championship for the third consecutive year

Football seemed to be the most popular costume on Halloween in the Village of Russia

Russia senior Molly Kearns signed with Wright State University to run cross country and track

Jackson Center volleyball redeemed a disappointing early exit from the 2014 tournament with a 2015 state championship and a final record of 26-1

Shortly after finding out his program could only field a varsity team this season, Russia girls basketball coach Tim Hatcher surprised a lot of folks in his opener against Division-I powerhouse Sidney and lost a nail-biter 61-56

Russia boys basketball began a new era with the debut of head coach Spencer Cordonnier (right)

Fairlawn junior basketball star Audrey Francis celebrated her 1000th career point as she continued to chase down her brother Andy and sister Amanda who are still ahead of her on the school's all-time list

Herb and Charlene Homan had plenty of interest in the state football finals with five grandsons that suited up for three different MAC schools

There was a lot of pride in the Herron family and Russia when 2015 alum Alex Herron graduated from Marine boot camp

Covington senior Jessie Crowell scored her 1000th career point and celebrated with teammates

Ft. Loramie sponsored their second annual Holiday Helpers game with the help of the Russia community and purchased over 1000 toys for kids at Dayton's Children's Hospital

Kyle Schafer of Russia received an early Christmas gift when Ohio State All-American runner Katie Borchers, also of Russia, autographed his Buckeyes flag