Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Old Toaster - 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 (Receive a weekly email whenever there is a new blog post. Just enter your email address in the designated spot below the blog and follow instructions to set up the weekly alert.)

Old Toaster


While at a local restaurant recently, noted for its eclectic decor (see photo above), we noticed a photograph on the wall of the restaurant showing a diagram of an old toaster just like Mom had when we were growing up.


The diagram was taken from the patent for the device and the patent’s originator was Lud Koci, none other than the father of the very same Lud Koci that I had written about in a recent blog. Lud, Sr. was an engineer at Sunbeam Corporation after WWII where he developed many other patents for household appliances, like shown on this add from the period. According to Lud, Jr. his mother would complain about a chore around the home and his father would invent a new appliance to make it easier.

Thus evolved Sunbeam’s product strategy after the war tailored to women like Rosie the Riveter who worked in the factories while all the men were fighting overseas. They had become accustomed to using labor-saving tools, so it was only natural that after the war, new household appliances were created to similarly ease the efforts of homemakers. My mother literally had all the various appliances shown in the ad, but I don’t recall much labor being saved around our house as she always seemed to have a chore up her sleeve for me, which I disliked then and still do to this day!

Mom would reminisce about her wartime work at the Minster Box Factory located in a quonset hut directly behind the K of C Hall. Before the war, the factory made cigar boxes, but quickly converted to making customized corrugated boxes for wartime supplies by employing many young women from the area. The building still stands today as shown in this photo and now houses the Front Porch Candle Company.


The other women she worked with at the wartime factory became her lifelong friends. They all married after the war and had families, but at least once a year for the rest of their lives, they would get together to laugh and share memories of those storied times. Photo below of l-r, Delores, Norma, Betty, Louise, Arckie & Sally at Mom & Dad’s wedding May 3, 1947.


Back to my college friend, Lud, he and his wife Trudy became very active in the Catholic Church, founding Mary’s Children, a non-profit hospice care organization for children with brain injuries. Lud & Trudy have adopted several kids from the organization as shown in this family photo.


Their charitable efforts earned them recognition by Pope Paul II and the Catholic Order of Malta in the 1990’s.


God bless people like Lud and Trudy..


Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Election Day - 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 (Receive a weekly email whenever there is a new blog post. Just enter your email address in the designated spot below the blog and follow instructions to set up the weekly alert.)

Election Day

Today is Election Day, and every vote counts. I recall while building our current home, we had registered to vote in our new city and were told the polling place was in a local school, but were never sure which one. Late on election day that November, after work, my wife and I headed to the closest school only to discover it was the wrong location. We rushed to the right precinct only to find the polls had closed. One of the local measures on the ballot was approved by 1 vote, and both my wife and I had planned to vote no. So literally every vote counts - now go out and vote today!

Voting is a right and privilege that I learned first hand from my parents. Each election day, Mom & Dad would alternate trips to vote at the McLean Township Hall & Fire Station located on Elm Street in Ft. Loramie.


My parents would alternate so one could watch the kids while the other voted. As I got older, Dad would take me along and since the polling place was right next to Brucken’s Cafe, we’d go in for a bite to eat after voting so Dad could commiserate about the politicians running for election with the other voters in the cafe.

At the time, Dad and most other farmers in the area were Democrats, while the town-folk tended to be more Republican. Dad grew up during the Depression, so appreciated President Roosevelt’s New Deal policies that included public works projects to employ people who lost their jobs.


Nearby Lake Loramie was a major beneficiary of several WPA projects, which resulted in it being named an official State Park by 1949. Without those WPA projects, it’s likely the dam and spillway would have fallen into disrepair, meaning the lake would have disappeared and regressed back to its pre-canal original form as just another nondescript section of Loramie Creek.


Dad always made it a point to get to know the local politicians, as they were the elected officials who most influenced property taxes, which had serious financial implications for a landowning farmer like Dad. Most critical were the local elected officials for McLean Township where the farm was located, Ft. Loramie School Board and Shelby County Commissioner.


Invariably, Mom & Dad would invite the local elected official and their spouse to our house for an evening playing cards. Dad had a view that cultivating a personal relationship was important so he could stay on top of local issues while encouraging them to keep property taxes for farmers low. And for the most part, they all became life-long friends with my parents. In looking at the current office holders of those positions, namely Bill Rethman (Township Trustee), Tony Meyer (School Board) & Tony Bornhorst (County Commissioner), I found it interesting that all three are sons or grandsons of former office holders that Mom & Dad has befriended years ago. So I’m confident local government back home is in good hands.

In a past blog, I had written about the contentious 1960 Presidential election between Democrat John Kennedy and Republican Richard Nixon. Our entire family supported Kennedy, primarily because he was Catholic and a Democrat. But by the end of the ’60’s at the time of the Viet Nam war, Mom & Dad (and most of the rest of the family) had changed allegiances to the Republican party, especially when Ronald Reagan became President.

Well, the apple didn't fall far from the tree, as I also tend to dabble in politics, especially at the local level. It started after retiring from Ford when the Mayor asked me to join the Planning Commission in our home city of Orchard Lake, MI. The Planning Commission develops the long range Master Plan for the City and creates ordinances that support the Plan. My experience at Ford doing strategic and product planning helped immensely in this role.

Within a year, the Mayor also appointed me Fire Commissioner representing Orchard Lake on a Board of three adjacent cities who had a joint Fire/EMS department.


Then the next year, the Mayor asked me to run for an elected, non-partisan City Council position, which I won thanks in large part to my wife and I walking every street in the city of 2400 people knocking on doors. Debby would take one side of the street and I’d take the other. By election day, while shaking hands outside the polls, countless voters would comment they remembered my wife when she knocked on their door. That’s the primary reason I won! Being elected to and serving in public office was one of the most rewarding periods in my life, even though the pay was zero. I used to tell a persistent neighbor frustrated with the City’s direction that “you get what you pay for”!

While serving on City Council for six years, two as Mayor, we were able to drop the millage rate every year to keep property taxes in check while concurrently transforming the joint Fire & EMS department from volunteer first responders to a department staffed with 100% advance life support-trained firefighter/EMTs. Dad would have been pleased!

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