This is the first of what I hope to be many columns written about our area, our past, our progress, and the great people who call Scioto County home. Having lived here for most of my life I have fallen in love with my home. (42 years except for a brief 3 year stint in Morehead, Kentucky and Piketon, Ohio while Dad was deciding where he wanted to work) I was born at the former Scioto Memorial Hospital. I grew up in Rosemount on Garden Ave., a happy and safe community where I (and other kids like me) rode bikes and played outdoors without a care in the world. Except for maybe when the street lights came on and everyone knew it was time to get home before the sun set. Mom would be waiting! Having grown up in such a tight knit community everyone seemingly knew each other. At least it seemed that way. As a young boy I remember the milk man, the egg man and the mail man. All of them stopped by, knocked on the door, and we knew them by name. We even exchanged Christmas cards. Our insurance agent stopped by our house periodically and reviewed policies with mom and dad. It seems odd now but back then it was called good business. Our neighbors were our friends and we spent time together. It was a different time then. A time when personal relationships were more valued and time didn’t seem to be such an unachievable commodity. Our grandparents lived in Sugar Grove and we spent a lot of time there on the farm. We would help plant and weed the garden, pick mushrooms out of Grandpa’s mushroom cellar, play in the barn, and generally run wild. Later they lived on Stoney Run and my brother Jeff and I would hunt squirrels and play hide & seek. There was an old race boat in the barn that had seen its better days. No doubt a boat that had seen victory (or something less glorious) at the local River Days boat races. We would jump in and pretend we were racing around the final turn and victory was just ahead. We didn’t have Atari and hand held video games weren’t invented yet. We had stations 3, 5 and 13 on the TV. I still remember when we received our first cable box and we could now see stations 3 through 13. All of them without the snow. We thought we had arrived. So much so that Dad went out and bought a new TV, a RCA with something new included, a remote control. It seemed that the old Zenith floor model had seen its better days.
Dad worked hard at the hospital. He made enough that Mom could be a stay at home mom. Both worked hard and taught my brother and me the value of hard work and respect. Chores were the norm and respect for others was taught and expected. No sir, yes sir. No Ma’am, Yes Ma’am were the standard answers given to our elders and strangers. We were taught to honor our veterans, our peers, our seniors and the elderly. It wasn’t hard as most were my adopted Aunts, Uncles, etc.. We went to church, worshipped God and lived by his commandments.
I remember side walk sales, steel mill smoke, turning in glass pop bottles, True Value Toy Town and Letters to Santa, paper plant stench, Rudd’s Christmas Farm, Labor Day boat races and parades, the county fair and Roy Rogers Festivals. Some of which we still have but all of them seemed so much bigger as a child. Mom would never buy us “back to school clothes” until the sidewalk sales, which were a whole month after school had already started. “What you can “save” is more important then what you can “show” she would always say. So we would park down by Sears in the back parking lot and off we would go for a whole day of shopping. Sears, JC Penney, H&L Green, Kresge’s, Macks, Wolff’s, Marting’s, just to name a few and all within a few blocks. My clothes were new whenever the other kid’s clothes were wearing out.
All of these memories serve a purpose. I’ve always tried to be a “cup half full” kind of person so none of what has been written has been to show what we no longer have. These memories are to show who I
am and who many of us are. As we grow up our lives take many paths. Some choose different careers or educational opportunities. Some get married early, some wait. Some stay and work to better themselves and our community. Some leave and find success elsewhere. Our communities ebb and flow much the same way. Some grow and prosper. Some do not. Some stay the way they have always been. Our demographics have changed as well as our way of shopping, eating, living, and yes even working. Our area has had its share of problems. It seems that the negative often overrides the positive and the good news stories get lost in the mix. We have our share of problems, all of America does. But we have something more plentiful. We have POTENTIAL and we have the PEOPLE to make things happen!!! My goal with this column is to share the positive side of things and let people know more about the things that make us great. As a Father, husband, Pastor, small business owner, and now County Commissioner I hear so much (good and bad) and being asked to do this column is a great honor. Many of us share a great heritage. By living our lives every day we hopefully honor those who forged a path for us in the past. We as living testimonies keep our heritage, our story, going forward year after year. So Happy New Year to all and I look forward to sharing my thoughts in 2016.