Sunday Stills: Window

Hugh’s View & News says:  Like you and I, every window can tell a story. Some will show you those stories, while others will only show them to a chosen few. Some won’t reveal their stories to anything in our world.

These are a few pictures I took this past summer when I went back to my childhood home town. They’re very amateurish (which is what my photography is) and taken on the run. I used my iPhone8+.

One of many store fronts found on Main Street.  This one happens to be unoccupied.  Love the 1890 at the top!

So sad to see our elementary schools fall into complete disrepair.  This is Anthony Wayne and I attended here in the sixth grade. It was built in 1931 and our schools depended on open windows and doors for air conditioning! The elementary school I attended from second to fifth grades (Franklin Elementary) has already been torn down and is now a neighborhood park.

Standing in front of the County Courthouse looking up. It’s such a beautiful old structure.  So much history.  Built in 1876.  It is still in use today. This is a view of the second story circular window from the outside.

The above second floor window from the inside at the top of the stairs looking out.  My friend and I used to play inside and outside this old courthouse back in the 50s.

Sitting in my family’s sun room looking out across a farmer’s field.

 

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Daily Prompt: Let’s Dance

Krista on The Daily Prompt asks:  What are your earliest and fondest memories of dance?

So that got me all nostalgic again! So it was back to the old photos!

I don’t remember of ever really dreaming of being a ballerina; I just always loved to dance.  When I was three, my mother enrolled me in tap and ballet classes.  I don’t know how long I attended.  Not long enough.  It might have been because we moved.  Who knows.

I remember taking ballet classes again when I was around eight.  There were classes in the basement of the Marsh Hotel (click for earlier entry for story of the Marsh) where we lived in Van Wert, Ohio.

Ballet

The next dance involvement I had was in high school.  When I was a junior (11th grade), a friend talked me into trying out for a girls’ marching drill team.  This was in Lexington, KY.  It was a high school program sponsored and operated by the County Recreation Department.  And was I happy when we made it!  We were the KY KADETTES.  I performed with them for two years.  My senior year, I was voted “Miss Congeniality” and appointed Captain.  I had two Lieutenants.  This was probably one of the best things I ever did as a kid!  I had more fun and it was good for me.  As the Captain, I was out front by myself, my costume colors were reversed from the others and, best of all, I was the one with the whistle!  When we were marching in parades, I would turn and march backwards, raise my baton and blow the whistle to signal the start of our routine.  I loved it.

The two snapshots below are the only pictures I have from those two years.  These costumes were obviously for  dance presentations rather than marching.  I can’t even remember exactly where we were performing for these. 

KY 1

KY 2

We did a lot of parades, a lot of half-time shows at basketball and football games.  Once we even did a performance at the Lexington Trots (horse surrey racing).  They said that ESPN was going to be filming and we might be shown on their show.  Well, I think we made the cutting room floor!  I never saw or heard about it being shown. 

I’ve lost touch with all my Kadette friends. I have no photos of any of our performances.  I really wish I did.  I tried to find some of the girls who were in the KY KADETTES with me but I’ve not had any luck in my search.  Oh, well.  It would be fun to connect up with them or find some pictures from then. 

After high school, I attended the University of Kentucky. One of the classes I signed up for was a modern dance class that our former coach/instructor from the KY Kadettes was teaching.  I also performed in a modern/jazz dance troupe that she choreographed.  I started out as a dance/physical education (P.E.) major.  After my first semester, I met with one of the college counselors about my major.  Darn if she didn’t convince me back then there was no future in P.E. unless I wanted to just teach. HAH.  Hindsight.  Good grief, who knows what I could have done with it!  Oh, well, guess it doesn’t really matter now!

Ds Designs All that Jazz linda

 I got this great graphic from Donna who used to be on AOL Journals with me a number of years ago.

Well, you know what they say – DANCE LIKE NO ONE IS WATCHING!!  That’s me!

My Downtown Playground – Part 3

Downtown Van Wert, Ohio

Downtown Van Wert, Ohio

Growing up in a small town in the 50’s really did have that Mayberry feel to it. Most of the kids knew each other and hung out together at one point or another. It’s true when they say that everybody knows everybody else in a small town. That’s pretty good for the kids. I won’t speak for the adults – I didn’t live there as an adult!

School Days

School days were pretty regimented. Girls had to wear skirts and boys had to wear long pants. There were rules and regulations and the adults were treated with respect. By golly, it actually gave the teachers an opportunity to teach instead of constantly worrying about discipline and lawsuits. Okay, this isn’t intended to be a soapbox entry so I’ll get back to the story.

I walked to and from school each day, just under a mile each way. No, really! If I didn’t walk, I was riding my bike. At least it wasn’t uphill both ways although it did feel like it most of the time. Especially on Tuesdays and Thursdays when I had to take my violin. Those were the days I was always sick but couldn’t get my mother to believe me for some strange reason. But I walked to and fro through some of the coldest, snowiest days. This was Northwest Ohio after all. I will never forget the one afternoon I was walking home through the very deep snow. Try to picture this. I was always very small. I was probably not even four feet tall yet at ten years old. Here I am walking through the park on my way home after school. Suddenly I disappear into a snow bank. I’m not buried but I’m deep enough that no one can see me and I’m having a heck of a time trying to climb out. So, as panic began to set in and I didn’t want my body to be found in the spring thaw, I finally managed to claw my way out and make it home. Not one person I told my story to seemed the least concerned. I still remember that and I still remember the reality of my fear of the possibility of not being able to get out.

I thought so highly of my third grade teacher, Miss Spridgeon. Gosh, she was so pretty. I suppose I was called the teacher’s pet because I was always volunteering to clean the blackboards for her. She really set me on Cloud 9 when she told me one day that I reminded her of Grace Kelly. Everyone, even kids, knew who Princess Grace was. I look at my pictures and I just don’t see it. But I keep telling myself it must be in there somewhere! HA! No wonder she made the top of my favorite teachers list! And all the while I’m sure it was a ploy to build my confidence. It worked!

4th Grade

Mrs. Weck’s Fourth Grade Class – Franklin Elementary School

Naturally, recess was our favorite time of day and it came once in the morning and once in the afternoon. Since that time all of the playground equipment we played on has long been destroyed as being unsafe for children —

The Swings

The Swings

Maypole

The Maypole

merry-go-round

The Merry-Go-Round

monkey-bars

The Monkey Bars

A lot of the time was spent playing girls after boys. Yes, you read that right. Girls after boys. We would chase the boys around the playground. What would we do when we caught up with the ones we were chasing? Why, we’d hit them on the arm, of course. What else would you do to the boys you liked? Silly!

Since my best friend, Mary Beth, lived across the street from the school, a lot of our afternoons were spent participating in the national pastime:

Americanbandstand1957

I don’t know about the rest of the nation but watching Dick Clark and his American Bandstand is how I learned to jitterbug! Of course when you’re 8-12 years old there’s really not much call for the jitterbug. Truth be told, it was years later before I discovered that I had learned it backwards from the TV! It turns out it didn’t matter anyway. By the time I was ready to rock and roll we were experiencing the British invasion and we were twisting the night away or doing the Bristol Stomp among other dances!

Summer Fun

School’s out, school’s out, teacher let the monkeys out. Now who on earth made that one up? And to think we used to chant that when we were kids. We didn’t even know we were insulting ourselves. Kids sure were naïve then.

We had about three months of what we called freedom. And one thing is for sure, we didn’t spend it lying around indoors in front of a TV screen. Almost every day, we’d be out the door early morning, meeting up with friends either at somebody’s house, at the YWCA or at the school playground for a day of play. Our days consisted of roller skating or swimming at the Y. We would play ping pong or checkers at the Y or badminton at someone’s house. We would go to the school playground and play on the swings or the jungle gym or the merry-go-round. Or we would just walk around town and visit friends. We were always on the go. The rest of the time we were off riding our bikes.

Riding Bikes

Schwinn

There was lots of bike riding around town. I don’t remember which Schwinn model I had. I just remember it was turquoise and chrome and had the carrier on the front like the one in the picture. I sure loved that bike! A bunch of us used to gather over on Race Street. What an appropriate name. It had a sort of incline. I don’t think I’d go so far as to even call it a hill! Man, was I crazy. I used to get my bike going as fast as I could and then do crazy things like let go of the handlebars or take my feet off the pedals or both! Sometimes I would hold the handlebars and stand on the seat. I think back now and my poor Guardian Angels were working overtime. One little rock in the road and I would have been a grease spot on the road. But all went well. I still marvel at our bravery (stupidity!). Ah, the foibles of youth. Youth knows no limits. There’s no such thing as mortality when you’re a kid. I suppose that’s why we can usually get away with so much more.

There was the time Mary Beth and I took off on our bikes one day. She wanted to show me where she used to live in a little town called Middle Point about 7.5 miles from Van Wert. So, sure, why not! Did we give any thought to the traffic? No. Did we give any thought to the time away? No. Did we give any thought to food? No. Did we give any thought to water? No. Did we give any thought? NO! So off we go. Two 10-year-old girls alone on their bikes on the highway. I don’t know what we were thinking. Oh, that’s right, we weren’t thinking. We pedaled for what seemed like hours. We were hot, tired, thirsty and hungry. So, we decided to turn back around and go home. We learned a hard lesson that day. It’s a miracle neither one of us ended up sick or hospitalized. We were literally on the point of exhaustion. But we survived and lived to tell the tale! And we never tried another stunt like that again!

Sleepovers

sleepover

There’s nothing more fun for young girls than getting together and spending the night together to giggle and talk about growing up, watching TV and driving their parents crazy. Something inevitable is always bound to happen. Not anything drastic but usually just enough to get into some kind of “trouble”!

I remember one night Mary Beth was spending the night with me. My mother had this beautiful black ceramic cat that curled around a glass fish bowl. Instead of keeping fish in the bowl, she had several colored glass balls in the bowl. I loved that statue and knew better than to mess with it. But I had company and, of course, wanted to show it off. Well, wouldn’t you know, instead of just pointing out the piece, I just had to pick up the bowl. CRASH it went and shattered at our feet. Of course, it just had to be one of Mom’s favorite pieces. Once she determined that neither one of us was hurt, she made us go to bed – lights out for the rest of the night. Bummer! Poor Mary Beth. She had nothing to do with it. Ah, but we survived!

And then there was one time when I was sleeping over at my friend Carrol’s house. It was a Friday night and guess what was on TV? Here’s your first clue!

FridayNightFrights

Picture this. Here are two little girls all decked out in their pajamas huddled on the sofa in a pitch dark living room in front of the old black and white TV. Shadows bouncing on the wall from the TV. Godzilla We are so intently watching Godzilla. Yes, I said Godzilla. Everyone else has gone to bed. It’s just the two of us – or so we thought. We’re getting to a really scary part of the movie and BAM! Up from behind the couch roaring his head off comes Carrol’s older brother. Picture two little girls screaming their heads off and waking up the entire house. I don’t remember how long it took him to stop laughing. And, if I remember correctly, Carrol and I were the only ones not laughing when it was all said and done. Yes, folks, that stuff really happened in the 50’s. Kids were gullible. I’m here to testify to it.

Conclusion

There are so many thoughts and stories to be written down and shared about living in and growing up in a small town in the 1950’s. It was a wonderful time. It was a different kind of time. I feel very blessed and fortunate to have been a part of that time. There are so many more things I could write and as time goes along I’m sure I will. I hope you’ve enjoyed my brief little trip down memory lane. Your thoughts and comments are always appreciated. God bless.

My Downtown Playground – Part 2

Downtown Van Wert, Ohio

Downtown Van Wert, Ohio

This picture doesn’t do downtown 1950’s Van Wert justice! Of course, this particular picture is not from the 50’s but it’s the best I can do for now! But this was a big part of my playground. Growing up in a hotel without having other kids around to get into trouble with, you learn to find your own trouble!

Mary BethMy best friend (then and now!), Mary Beth, and I spent a lot of time walking Main Street, stopping after school for French fries and Green Rivers. We would occasionally switch out the Green Rivers for Cherry or Vanilla Cokes!

Directly across the street from the Hotel is the historic County courthouse. Click here for a brief history of the courthouse.

Van Wert County Courthouse

Van Wert County Courthouse

Cannons in front of Courthouse

Cannons in front of Courthouse

Mary Beth, and I used to hang out a lot at the courthouse. No, we weren’t in court. We were in and around the courthouse. We were just kids and we weren’t juvies. To continue. We’d roam the halls sometimes but mostly we spent time climbing around on the cannons. It’s amazing how fast those “horses” could go.

Memorial Hall at Courthouse

Memorial Hall at Courthouse

See that little white building with the green roof in the lower left hand corner of the picture? That’s a War Memorial building that houses a collection of photos of soldiers from Van Wert. Mary Beth and I used to wander through there looking at the pictures of the men and women who served this great country. We didn’t know any of them but it was fascinating. I know some of the photos went back to WWI.

William Edwin Carter

William Edwin Carter

Viet Nam Memorial

Vietnam Memorial

Of course, at the time, neither of us ever suspected that one of our dear elementary school friends would end up on the Vietnam Memorial Wall and have his picture placed in the Memorial Building (I don’t have a copy of it or I would post that). Dead at the age of 20. So sad for so many. But I digress. William Edwin Carter, R.I.P.

Across from the Hotel is a restaurant called “Balyeat’s Coffee Shop” that has been there what seems forever.

Balyeat's Coffee Shop

Balyeat’s Coffee Shop

Well, okay, forever to me is from 1922! That red neon sign can be spotted a mile away. The sign and the coffee shop are still there and they’re still serving excellent down-home cooking. Their pies are to die for. In fact, I wish I had one now. My family and I used to eat in there quite often. In fact, that’s one of the locations I was chatting with Cisco and Pancho.

In this old postcard, you can see the old movie theatre across the street from the Hotel at the end of the block.

Cinema

I used to spend time in there. I suppose you could say there were some perks living in the Hotel. I’m guessing now but I’m pretty sure my Dad had made some arrangement with the theatre owner to let me in for free. Otherwise, how could you explain all the times I just walked in? I know there were a few times I would take a friend or two with me. I loved that old movie house. Some Saturday mornings they would have games and contests for the kids followed by cartoons. It was a few hours of Saturday morning freedom for lots of parents! I still remember one of the contests I entered. We were supposed to fill our mouths full of saltine crackers and then whistle. For some reason, I didn’t win. Could it be that I have trouble just whistling even without anything in my mouth? Nobody would do that today because they’d be so terrified of a kid choking and the parents suing. People didn’t think that way then. Kids actually were allowed to have fun. I can still hear the roar of the laughter from probably a hundred or more kids. Boy, it got loud in there. But fun.

When you walk a couple blocks or so the other direction from the Hotel, there was Fountain Park.

Fountain Park

Fountain Park

Two acres right in downtown. It was a pretty park with swings and paths. I don’t think I spent a lot of time actually in the park because there was just so much other stuff to do. I did cut through it a lot, though, on my way to friends’ houses!

YWCA

YWCA

Last time I was home the YWCA was still there. I think Van Wert is one of the few towns that had separate YWCA and YMCA facilities. Now, this is one place where I did spend a lot of time. Nearly every Saturday morning when I wasn’t at the movie house, I was in there roller skating. Yep. I loved it. I was never a fancy skater or anything but I had fun doing it. I remember one time, a bunch of kids formed a chain and put me on the end of it. I think it was because I was small. Boy, I never let them do that to me again! I was flying. It’s a miracle I didn’t crash through a wall or something! Of course, it might not have been as bad as my memory serves!

My Mom was such a fashionista. I remember I had a special roller skating outfit. It consisted of a red satin blouse and a short black velvet skirt with red satin trim and matching red satin pants. I had a rhinestone roller skate pin that I would always wear.

Rhinestone Pin

Rhinestone Pin

I still have the pin and, as you can see, it’s missing a few of the rhinestones so I don’t wear it anymore.

I used to go swimming a lot at the Y. It was an indoor pool and the smell of chlorine was so strong I can still conjure it up. And, of course, after all that exercise of roller skating or swimming or ping pong or checkers, etc., I always had enough money in my pocket to buy a snack. It was always the same thing no matter what.

6 oz. Coca-Cola

6 oz. Coca-Cola

MoonPie

MoonPie

But my absolute favorite downtown playground activity has to be The Brumback Library! There is no way I can do justice to the beauty of this library. I’ve never seen anything like it before or since. Click here for a brief history of the Library. The Brumback Library stands as the first county library formed in the United States. The building was dedicated on January 1st, 1901. It’s been renovated a couple of times and expanded but they’ve done a magnificent job of maintaining the integrity of the building. I saw it a number of years ago after the expansion.  They did a fabulous job of making everything match.  It’s such a beautiful place.

The Brumback Library

The Brumback Library

I have such wonderful memories of this library. It has been likened to a CASTLE! That’s how I always thought of it. I spent more hours in this library when I was in elementary school. Maybe that’s why I love reading so much. Not only was it a treasure trove of books, it was a fabulous place to explore! I don’t know if they still have them, but some of the upstairs walkways were made of heavy frosted glass. They were so cool! I think they may have been removed or replaced when they remodeled. There were so many stairways and alcoves to explore. I doubt the kids today would have the run of the library like we did back then. Migosh, I miss it!

Library Interior

Library Interior

Library Interior

Library Interior

Library Interior

Library Interior

I could go on and get really detailed about all the stores and alleyways and things to explore downtown. But I’m sure you’ve read enough for now. Besides, I’ve got to save some for the third and final installment on Van Wert in the 50’s.

Only Wrong Once!

scan0001

 It just goes to show that sometimes you can be too close to something to actually see it.

I believe this article about my parents came out in the Toledo Blade sometime late in 1958. Reporters for the the Blade were always passing through Van Wert, Ohio and, for some inexplicable reason, often found our family newsworthy.

I still have the bracelet and earrings that match the necklace Mom is wearing. Oh, what I wouldn’t give! Even as a child, I loved playing with her jewelry. But that’s another story!

When I reread this article, I just noticed for the first time that there is a misprint. Guess it got past the reporter, editor, typesetter, etc.! See what happens when one of your jobs has been as a proof reader? I’d better not say too much, though. I’m sure I would run across my own misprints if I were to review my entries.