Tag Archives: memories

Postcards Of My Life #pcoml No. 10, Son of a blacksmith.

My father was a lifetime learner with many skills, a practical and intuitive engineer, he was also a competent electrician, mechanic, fabricator, as well as able to do basic carpentry. Over the course of his lifetime he wore many hats and designed many things from the small to the incredibly large. Be it a belt buckle or an overhead crane capable of lifting 100 tons, he could design and build it. The skill he enjoyed most, though, was blacksmithing.

Dad made many cool things as a blacksmith, from hand-made chains that were used in a movie to a candelabra that sat on a friend’s wedding altar, from belt buckles to broadaxes. He did his smithing to make money but it was also his therapy, hobby and fun. He would spend a couple of weeks every summer living in a tent and smithing at the Great Pennsic War, both as a crafter and a merchant. He loved beating Iron and creating with it.

As I sit in the house he and mom lived in I can almost hear the ringing of the hammer and anvil in his shop out back… Sadly, they are phantom and a memory of when the toughest guy I ever learned to love still walked the Earth.

Postcards Of My Life #pcoml No. 7, Girton’s Gas Staton, New Milford, OH.

Growing up in New Milford, Ohio, a fixture of our lives was the gas station located down the road. Girton’s was owned and ran by Russ and Betty Girton. Russ was a mechanic, Betty ran the store operations and they usually employed one or two clerks. Anything a young woman or man could want, and most things many adults did, could be had from Girton’s.

Girton’s was a full service operation with garage. “Ding ding” as you pulled a car in, or your bike if you hit the rubber line just right. Gas, checked the oil and tires and cleaned the windshield, all with a smile.

Inside, coolers filled with beer, wine, dairy goods and deli meat and cheese, ice cream and ice cream novelties… Shelves for basic pantry items, snacks, smokes, and… A huge candy counter.

We all ended up at Girton’s pretty much daily as kids for a soda or candy, or for air in our bike tires. As we hit the age of driving, we stopped for our gas and oil. Sadly, small independent gas stations were driven out of being profitable by the larger stations and chains.

I don’t remember exactly when it closed. I feel sad that I don’t because it’s closing was a bellwether of the charges of our entire world, in which the warm and local was displaced by the cold and corporate for profit.

Postcards Of My Life #pcoml No. 3. Lucky Lindy.

While it would probably have made sense to post this yesterday, on the anniversary of Charles Lindbergh crossing the Atlantic, I already had another post in mind for yesterday.

This photo, along with the newspaper article about the flight, was on my grandmother’s kitchen bulletin board. I have no idea why, to the best of my knowledge neither of my grandparents ever flew in an airplane, let alone had any interest in aviation history. I remember the article was titled “Lucky Lindy.”

My grandparents’ home was filled with small, but important, mementos… A little flower pot on the windowsill that said “Be happy, be gay for tomorrow’s another day,” a butter paddle that was used for spanking with a cartoon laminated to it, a collectable plate with a story about rooster not visiting a hen as often as as he used to… As well as photos of us all and of horses and of my aunt Nancy, who died before I was born.

As I write these little posts I can almost feel neurons shaking off mental dust and making old connections, even if poorly. Hopefully this endeavor will correct some of the losses from brain damage, aging, or both.

Postcards Of My Life #pcoml No. 2. Moving day to KSU.

Both of my parents did the college thing, mom’s bachelor’s degree is from Bethany College, dad went to the Franciscan University of Steubenville, but didn’t finish. Mom got accepted to a Masters degree in Sociology program at Kent State University. There were not remote education Masters programs in the late 70’s. Around 1976 we moved from the trailer on Sixteen Ridge to the Allerton Student Housing at Kent State in building “H.” Later on in life I would date a woman who lived in the apartment almost directly above ours that my parents’ friends, the Kellems, lived in.

On the day we moved we drove past my grandparents house on Rte 213 in Taylortown but didn’t stop. I think I remember them being on the front porch waving at us but it’s probably childish imagination. I remember crying a lot because I wouldn’t see my pap and grandma nearly every day anymore. I did spend a lot of time going to the house for vacations growing up. My pap lived there until the day he died there, laying down in front of his basement work bench. My grandmother lived there until she was no longer safe to live alone. The house was bought by a childhood friend, Robbie Angus.

A lot of other postcards exist from this house but so much more is lost.

There were huge walnut and pine trees in front of it when my grandparents owned it. It’s a Sears or Montgomery Ward catalog house.

The Icons of Kent No More…

 

by Jerod J Husvar on Tuesday, February 7, 2012 at 8:17pm ·

“I WENT BACK TO OHIO / BUT MY CITY WAS GONE / THERE WAS NO TRAIN STATION / THERE WAS NO DOWNTOWN.”

 

Chrissie Hynde was writing about changes to Akron when she penned and recorded this song in 1982.  I wonder if she knew it was to be prophetic of Kent.  The town I came to be around in 1976 is slowly fading off into the realm of “That used to be…”

When Denny’s closed, few people appeared to give it a second thought; most of us were beyond the age of closing the bars and then drinking coffee and having breakfast at 3am.  But it was the first in a string of places that many of us came to know and love that have since passed by the wayside.  The College Street Library (it had a few other names, as well,) must have served one too many underage drinker and became a parking lot.  Cheers became FedEx/Kinkos when they expanded.  The Stuffed Mushroom, a foreign car garage and a few galleries were lost between the replacement of the Crain Ave. Bridge and the new Sheetz.  The building that was Long John Silvers for years and years, and then an ice cream store and, finally, a cell phone store, was demoed to build the first Sheetz.  The Dog House was there one day and gone the next.

None of these are nearly as iconic as the recently leveled Robin Hood Inn.  Even the old Kent Hotel is being changed and renovated and developed into something new.  Sadly, a living icon of Kent also has now passed away, Bob Wood, dead of a heart attack at 65.  Captain Brady’s, his long-time haunt, became a Starbucks a few years back.

Change and progress is expected, needed, absolutely necessary for growth.  Maybe part of the fact that I am turning 40 this year makes me feel that some of it happened too fast, and maybe not for the greater good.  All of these are missed in some way, some by many, especially Bob, even if his passing is still fresh.

I want to see Kent prosper, it’s just sad to see so many memories fading into obscurity.  Some of these losses are minor and will never really matter to most people, others are hugely significant.  The coffee at Starbucks will never be as good as the stuff from Brady’s.  The hipsters and others who hang out there will likely never be the artists, such as Bob Woods, who hung out there, making art, or poetry or just playing cards. 

The Acorn Alleys, new bus terminal, and other new business are marvelous additions to the city.  I don’t know that they’ll ever become iconic, as they’re already seeing tenant churn.  I hope that we’re left with a few icons to admire.  If Ray’s, or Mike’s, JB’s or Taco Tanto’s fall by the wayside, great connections to the past will be lost forever.

September 11 memories…

September 11 memories… Took me an hour to find this post from 2007…
by Jerod J Husvar on Monday, August 29, 2011 at 2:24am ·

On September 11, 2001, I worked for a quasi-government organization in Northeast Ohio. We were the only officially occupied location in a 5 mile radius when Flight 93 was in CLE’s air traffic control area. We also happened to be the site of one the MANY successes resulting from the events of that morning. One of our team leads had gone to DC for a meeting a few days before 9/11. After the destruction of the towers and the subsequent nationwide air traffic stoppage, he was stranded in DC. There were no flights, every train and bus seat was booked, and there were no rental cars to be found anywhere on the Eastern Seaboard.

 

Jack had been gone from his family for many days, through one of the most spectacular terrorist attacks in history, and he was really wanting badly to be home with his family. We, being a large group of problem solvers, were racking our brains until one of the guys had a stroke of genius… “I bet he could rent a moving truck!” Jack dropped off our conference call and called back 10 minutes later, having rented a 24 foot Uhaul truck on his company Amex. 14 hours later, he was home with his family, and an organizational legend was born.

 

9/11 was a colossal failure… For the terrorists who attempted to tear the heart out of our country. The most accepted number of people inside 1WTC and 2WTC on 9/11/01 is 25,000 people. 2603 souls were lost directly as a result of the actual WTC attacks and 24 more people are still listed as missing. Only roughly 10% of the people at WTC perished. 8 in 10 walked away and went home.

 

Personally, 5 people I know were at WTC during the attack, including my ex-wife’s brother. None perished.

 

2 men I know who are firefighters were in NYC within 14 hours of the attack, doing volunteer work. One now suffers from Post WTC Lung Disease, and still doesn’t regret having gone.

 

A lady I know who trains search and rescue dogs had her team at the site 11 hours after the attack. It is a 13 hour drive from where she lives to the WTC site under ideal circumstances.

 

I remember standing at the corner of East 9th Street and Superior Avenue a few days after the attack watching a convoy of fire, construction, law enforcement and city vehicles leaving for New York, the streets lined with people waving flags and cheering for them.

 

I remember people standing in line for hours to donate blood… Firemen’s boots filled to the brim with money from people having dumped change or cash into them at street corners.

 

Yes, I remember seeing the towers collapse in real time… But those images are fading, while the ones in my mind above are not.

 

Of course, the anger still burns, but the pride burns stronger.

 

Tomorrow, please drive with your headlights on any time you are in your vehicle and fly your flag! (No matter what country you are in!)

 

8/29/11 – The anger has cooled.. but the memories are still vivid.