Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Versailles - 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.


My wife noticed on Facebook recently that one of her friends had taken their grandchildren to Versailles Poultry Days and had posted some photos that brought back many fond memories of Poultry Days for my wife, as she had grown up in nearby Russia.

One of my sisters was in the Miss Chick pageant, and a high school classmate of mine actually won the contest in the mid-sixties. She’s pictured below:

I don't ever recall as a kid going to Poultry Days; however, my memories of Versailles involved poultry as well, primarily going to buy baby chicks documented in this previous blogpost. My wife’s fondest memories of Versailles were countless trips to the swimming pool every summer. Her Godmother, aunt Rita, would round up all the neighborhood kids and travel to Versailles from Russia to enjoy the pool. My wife recently called her aunt and over the course of the conversation, discovered she is a big Fish Report fan and actually reads my blogposts! Imaging that? In her honor, the following photo of Rita at her first communion along with her brother (my wife’s Dad) is now posted to cyberspace.

My wife and I visited the palace of Versailles in France a few year ago and we happened to mention to the tour guide about a town in Ohio with a French heritage named after Versailles but pronounced differently. She said that’s the way the German’s pronounce Versailles when they tour the palace.

After searching eBay, the following memorabilia were found for sale. Below are two offerings related to the now defunct auto dealership, Elson Ford:

And this presumably empty box of Ward Way ice cream:

Along with this 1981 ad for Poultry Days:

Here’s a sesquicentennial token and commemorative place from 1964. My wife remembers going to the celebration, but having to leave early because her arm was hurting from being broken when hit by a car while walking home from cheerleading practice.

And a postcard from horse and buggy days along Main Street:

An historic photo of Midmark employees in 1915. My niece now works there:

An undated price sheet from a local poultry producer:

And finally, in honor of Versailles deep poultry roots, this video is being provided for your musical enjoyment.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Summer of ‘71 - 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.

Summer of ‘71

Writing last week about the 1971 All-Star game brought back even better memories of that summer, as it was more importantly, the summer I met my wife. I had just completed my senior year in college and had returned back to Dayton to start my job at Frigidaire. My friend Tom was having a party on Friday, May 15th and somehow without cell phones, email, Facebook or Twitter, I found out about it through the prevalent technology back then, the Grapevine!

And there she was, a pretty brunette setting on a couch in the living room of Tom’s apartment. I sat down on the arm of the couch next to her. We started talking and have continued that conversation for some 46 years now. While taking a walk together yesterday on a perfect summer morning, I mentioned this week’s blog topic to my wife. We shared again our favorite times, such as the first movie we had seen together called “The Summer of ’42”, an Oscar-winning film about a love story during WWII staring Jennifer 0’Neil, pictured on the right, who looked a lot like my wife.

We recalled the canoe trip on the Au Sable river; our first visit to Michigan, where we were to eventually live for the last 45 years. Also, the great times around the pool with friends at our apartment complex (photo below), the all-you-could-eat lobster fest where my wife reminded me I gobble down 7 lobsters, the joy exploring new places and doing things together for the first time.

This song by Helen Reddy entitled the “Summer of ’71” perfectly captures that wonderful summer.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Baseball’s All Star 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.

Baseball’s All Star Game

With the Baseball All Star Game being played tonight, the following article appeared in our local paper about the 1971 game that was the writer’s favorite All Star game of all time, which also happened to by my favorite as well. Most players on the two teams are now Hall-of-Famers.

Simply put, the greatest All Star Game ever!
Reggie Jackson homers during 1971 MLB All Star Game at Tiger 
Stadium off Pittsburgh’s Doc Ellis. (AP)


However, I must admit it is not an objective opinion.

I was born in Detroit. It was held at Tiger Stadium. I was a kid playing Little League baseball that summer in Birmingham. We had just gotten a color television, a first for my family. It was the initial sporting event I recall seeing in color.

The Tigers’ Norm Cash started at first base and Bill Freehan at catcher for the American League. Detroit lefty Mickey Lolich, in the midst of one of the most underrated seasons ever by an MLB pitcher (376 innings, 308 strikeouts, 2.85 FIP, 1.18 WHIP, 25 wins), worked that night. Al Kaline appeared before the Tigers’ adoring fans, rapping a base hit in two at bats.

The field was incredibly green and plush, with red, white and blue stars painted in each outfield spot.

This was more than a quarter century prior to interleague play, and before there was more than just a “Game of the Week” shown on national television. The Tigers only broadcast 40 games per year on TV, only those on the road except Saturday afternoon games.

Particularly compelling were the National League stars. My favorite was Roberto Clemente of the Pirates, although I couldn’t tell you exactly why because I seldom got to watch him play. I know this: Clemente’s baseball card was my favorite.

Clemente homered during the ‘71 All Star Game, into the right field upper deck bleachers above the 415 foot sign off Lolich. It was a majestic clout. Henry Aaron, Johnny Bench, Harmon Killebrew and Frank Robinson also slammed homers. Each is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The topper, or course, was Reggie Jackson hitting a shot off the light tower above the roof in right-center field. It planted the seed for Jackson’s legendary status.

The best part: The American League won.

Why? Because back then, it really, really mattered. Just the year before, Pete Rose bowled over catcher Cleveland catcher Ray Fosse to win it for the National League.

And at the time, it was like the AL never, ever won it. In fact, the NL won the previous nine All Star Games, and 11 straight after the AL triumph in Detroit.

I covered a few All Star games after becoming a baseball writer, including the 2005 event at Comerica Park. Each presented a wonderful experience. The MLB All Star Game remains, by far, the best of the four major professional sports.

And there have been other electrifying all star events in various sports. For example, to this day, people often talk about the exploits of Julius Erving, Michael Jordan and/or Spud Webb in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest.

But for my money, the 1971 MLB All Star Game at Tiger Stadium stands alone and can’t be topped.

It helped solidify my love for baseball because it was unique, and hit home, in many ways.

Click here for a video of Reggie Jackson's massive home run.

Here's the starting lineups for that memorable game:

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Patriot”ism” - 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.


Today is the 4th of July, when we celebrate our nation's birth. It’s a day when patriotism is king, an ironic statement given our forefathers were rejecting rule by a king with their declaration. Wikipedia defines patriotism as "the will of the members of a country to support their country and help it continue". America is the only nation in the world that is founded on a creed, set forth in the Declaration of Independence, of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. So Happy 4th of July to all Fish Report readers.

Patriotism is just one of 887 words that end in “ism” according to this website. Many I’ve never heard of and for sure don’t know their meaning. These days we’re regularly blasted in the news with all kinds of words ending in “ism", like terrorism, racism and socialism to name a few. That’s quite a contrast to the days when I was growing up in Ft. Loramie when “ism" words like catholicism, baptism, catechism, along with of course, patriotism, were the norm.

Remember the Baltimore Catechism pictured above? It was the standard for Catholic teaching, starting out as a first grader all the way through elementary school. Rote memorization was key as there were hundreds of questions in the catechism like those listed below that we had to learn verbatim. It all culminated in the sacrament of Confirmation during the 8th grade when the Bishop would preside over the services and randomly ask the confirmation class questions out of the catechism. Everyone, especially the boys, were deathly fearful the bishop would call upon them. For some reason, the girls in the class were better at memorization than the boys! Most were taller, too! Fortunately, I seem to recall somehow responding adequately but with much nervousness when posed a question by the Bishop, which was a huge relief as I didn’t want to flunk confirmation. For my younger siblings, the process must have changed since the Bishop asked the question and allowed one of the about-to-be-confirmed to volunteer an answer. The instructors must have learned their lesson after our class!

Another “ism”, a critical one, communism, was on our parents minds a lot in those days, but fortunately not on ours as kids. I can recall our Civics teacher, Mr. Hancock, trying to explain the meaning of communism and the implications of the Cold War and the Cuban missile crisis during class in the fall of 1962. We were thankful Ft. Loramie wasn’t shown on the map below that depicted nuclear bombs from Cuba landing on major cities across the country. This map was predominantly displayed on TV and in the newspapers at the time of the crisis.

I don’t recall being scared at all during that period; only feeling intense dislike for the Cuban and Russian leaders Fidel Castro andNikita Khrushchev shown below.

There’s another “ism” word that I recall while growing up - Antidisestablishmentarianism. Back then, it was known as the longest word in the English language. Even though I had no idea what it meant, I could spell it. According to Wikipedia, this long “ism”s definition is a political position that developed during the 19th-century in opposition to the removal of the Anglican Church's status as the state church of England. The long word must have worked since the Anglican Church is still in place. By the way, it’s not the longest word anymore, which is pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, referring to a lung disease contracted from the inhalation of very fine silica particles, specifically from a volcano. Thankfully there are no volcanos in the midwest spewing clouds of silica soot.

Speaking of clouds, ever heard of a word cloud? Below are two examples using “ism”-ending words from now and back when I grew up.

According to the New York Times, there’s one “ism” missing from the above list, "Trumpism". See what the NYT had to say before the election in that regard:
People speak of “Trumpism” as if it were an obvious political policy that we recognize as soon as we hear the word, when in reality it is no more than pre-election rhetoric puffed up with a generous supply of Mr. Trump’s campaign trail hot air (“We are going to repeal and replace Obamacare, which is a disaster”; “I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay”; “I know more about ISIS than the generals,” and so on). “Trumpism” is far from a political philosophy, and no think tank of smart people (“brains”) could possibly morph it into substantive policy.
“Trumpism" is now much more than pre-election rhetoric, wouldn’t you say, NYT? Skepticism is my “ism" word for the NY Times and most media these days.

There’s even a book about “ism”s by Peter Saint-Andre entitled “The Ism Book: A Field Guide to Philosophy”. Ironically, the author, a philosopher, also has a blog - note our similarities!

So “ism"s today can be rather scary in our current vernacular; a big difference from those “scary" catechism questions asked by the Bishop during Confirmation. But there’s noting scary about the “ism” below discovered while doing on-line research for this blogpost. It’s my new favorite that gives comfort on this summer holiday, or especially when the media bombards you with more and more “fakenewsism”s.

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