Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Peter Rabbit's Tale

by Martha Fisher

Remember Tremont Center?  Penny candy store, pharmacy, shoe shop, and menagerie; forget Easton—Tremont had it all.

When I was about five, my grandfather gave my family a tiny rabbit.  Don’t remember why; most likely for Easter.

I loved that rabbit.  Cleverly, as a family, we named him Peter.  Peter Rabbit was just like a member of the family.  Cuter and furrier, sure, but one of us.

As Peter Rabbit grew, his charm seemed to...evaporate.  We began ignoring him—except for our cleaning lady who regularly asked for him to come home with her.  Clearly, Peter Rabbit’s ultimate destination once at her house was going to be the stew pot.  My father, a wonderful person, did not like pets in any form.  He thought the stew pot was an ideal solution for Peter Rabbit.

Not surprisingly, this caused significant upset with the kids.  Every Friday, when the cleaning lady came, we guarded Peter Rabbit to prevent his departure for the stew pot. 

My Mom found a solution for Peter Rabbit’s longevity by donating him to the Tremont Center fenced green space.  Less than a zoo; more than a stew pot—the ideal location. Peter Rabbit could live in style at his own UA residence where we could find him—and the cleaning lady couldn’t. 

I think we checked up on him for about a year; bringing him carrots and making sure he was fine.  Somewhere along the line, we stopped checking up on him—probably about the time penny candy lost its allure.  I can’t even tell you when the Tremont pet space went away.  However, I can tell you that, now, 50 years later, I’m very happy Peter Rabbit didn’t end up in a stew pot.   So, next time you walk by the set-in space at Tremont Center…give a quick look around for Peter Rabbit.  If you find him, give him a pat (or a carrot) for the Fishers. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Ice Skating on Motter Pond

by Suebeth Dusthimer Zartman

Great change took place in Upper Arlington between 1956 and 1966. Bulldozers, road graters and building material were common in the neighborhoods north of Fishinger Road and south of McCoy Road. The quiet little New England style suburb was exploding with California style sprawling ranches and split levels. New roads, schools and houses were appearing and new families were entering into the formally insular community of Upper Arlington.  Construction sites were the norm doing those ten years.

On the east side of Surrey Hill Place, near where current Shoreham Road runs, was a shallow pond. It was behind the cement block home that still stands on Fishinger Road. The Motter family lived in this home hence the name; however I never saw a Motter family member ice skating there. Now the area is filled with sprawling ranches and manicured lawns.
We had moved to Upper Arlington in August, 1956, right before fifth grade. In September I started attending Fishinger Road School. My parents chose to move to UA instead of Bexley, which was much closer to our hometown of Zanesville, where my aging grandfather still lived. In their view UA was a more modern suburb with new homes and excellent schools. Much to my parents’ horror, my classroom was one of two Quonset huts placed on the land to the west side of the school. They couldn’t believe I was attending school in what they considered low- end military housing. 

The overcrowding at Fishinger Road School was caused because the newly constructed Wickliffe School, which was planned to be ready at the beginning of the school year, was not finished until January 1957. To solve the overcrowding problem the Quonset huts were purchased by the school district for use until Wickliffe was ready for occupation.  Later we found out a mistake in room assignment had been made; I was supposed to be with a classroom in the main school, because our home was north of Fishinger Road, which was the boundary line for separating the two schools. So in January of my first year in UA schools I had to change classrooms and start all over again…but that’s a story for another day.

During the first few months of school, everyone talked about ice skating at Motter Pond. Though I had never ice skated in my life, I thought it would be wonderful to skate on a pond. I think ice skating was tied into fantasies and fairy tales. I was enthralled, and throughout the fall I begged for ice skates. My parents were puzzled by this and so I showed them where Motter Pond was; and told them everyone in UA ice skated. Also nearby was the pond on the east side of Riverside Drive, where the older kids skated and played hockey. “Everyone here has ice skates,” I would say; and one or the other parent would always respond, “We’ll see.”

I recall there was a day or two in December when the pond was frozen over and my mother took my brother and me to the pond to slip and slide across the slippery surface. I was right on the border line of it being OK to be seen with my mother and brother. Afterwards I really began pleading for a pair of ice skates. I think by this time, they were telling me, “Put it on your Christmas list.”

Christmas morning finally arrived and I was overjoyed to get my ice skates. I quickly put them on and wobbled around the living room in my beautiful bright white ice skates. Soon, reality set in and I realized the weather had gotten warmer and Motter Pond was no longer covered with solid ice. I think it was not until closer to my birthday on January 21, when the ice was safe again. Keep in mind, Motter Pond is what the neighborhood kids called it. Looking back, I believe it was little more than permanent shallow backwater from the Turkey Run watershed. But the advantage was that the ice was thick enough for skating and was still shallow enough to be completely safe.

Every day when there was ice, except when I had Girl Scouts, I was at Motter Pond skating away. I never had skating lessons; I just taught myself by trial and error and lots of falls.  I loved skating; it was like freedom and floating all wrapped together. Even though I had heard about Motter Pond at school, not many of my school mates were there; mostly I skated by myself. Was it because I was the new kid?  I didn’t always know what other kids were doing after school.  Or, perhaps did it go back to errors in class assignment, because all my former classmates were at Wickliffe and weren’t permitted to cross Fishinger Road? Who knows? But I was still happy gliding across the ice. I taught myself to skate backward and to spin and twirl, but I was never able to jump. I don’t think I even tried.

On particularly cold days, especially on weekends, an old oil barrel with several saucer-sized holes along the side would appear with a roaring fire inside. When you got cold, you would come close to the barrel, take off your gloves or mittens and hold your hands close to the top. OK, I know it was 1957, but there was not an adult in sight. A pond, fire, ice and no adult; can you imagine that today?

Some days I walked to and from the pond, other days my mother would drive me one way or the other; sometimes both.  When walking home I would go north on Surrey Hill then west on Johnson Road down the hill to Overdale Drive. Then one day, some kids told me to go down the path to Hillview. Wow, a secret path that would come out on Anson Drive making the journey back home a little shorter.

Those wonderful days of winter skating only lasted a few years. Before I was ready to move on to more teenage activities, the pond was gone.  Shoreham Road was built and several new homes began sprouting up on the east side of Surrey Hill Place and on both sides of the newly constructed Shoreham Road. But gliding across the ice in a field within eye sight of Fishinger Road is one of my best childhood memories from the late 1950s.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

UA Veterans Conversation Circle

by Melanie Circle Brown

John Kaufman and Walter Betley share memories of their World War II service.

Upper Arlington veterans gathered on Veterans Day to share memories of their military service.  Their memories were recorded as part of an oral history-gathering effort of the Upper Arlington Historical Society.  The Conversation Circle was hosted by the Historical Society, Circle of Life Histories, and the South of Lane Cafe in the Mallway at 1987 Guilford Road.  Sharing their memories at the Conversation Circle were:

Wendell W. Ellenwood - U.S. Third Army under General Patton
Robert Ellis - Served on the Mercy Hospital Ship in the Philippines during WWII
John Kaufman - A member of the Signal Corps in the Pacific Theatre Army
Walter Betley - Colonel Corps of Engineers in WWII, Korea and Viet Nam
Nelson French - A West Point graduate, he served in WWII on the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project (Atomic Bomb)
Rupert D. Starr - A Lieutenant in the Army, he was in the Battle of the Bulge and a POW

Nelson French
Robert Ellis with a photo of the Mercy Ship Hospital

Rupert D. Starr
Wendell Ellenwood shares photos with Catherine Vonderahe, owner of  South of Lane Cafe
Kate Kallmes of the Upper Arlington Historical Society gives a presentation about the history of the Upper Arlington Mallway  to the Conversation Circle.
Nelson French, Wendell Ellenwood, John Kaufman and Walter Betley listen as Rupert Starr shares memories of his WWII service.

Monday, November 4, 2013

New Kid at Jones Junior High

by Bill Anthony, Class of 1961

I moved from the east side of Columbus to Upper Arlington when I started ninth grade in 1957. I went out for the football team. We had our organizational meeting at the field house on the track at the old high school (Jones Junior High). Of course I was very nervous going to a new school, but so were others since we were all entering the ninth grade. What really made an impression on me was how friendly everyone was. I especially remember both Bonnie Henry (Self) and Bev Mayhan (Clawson) making a point to come up and talk with me on that first day. That made an impression with me and now when I encounter a new person hired at work or a new neighbor, I always go out of my way to make them feel welcome. In fact, for years, I have organized our tailgate parties here at the College of Business at Florida State University and make it a point to personally invite all the new faculty joining us each year.  At least I learned one thing in 9th grade! 

Jones Junior High 
 (Image courtesy of the UA Archives, www.uaarchives.org)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

My UA Memory

by Kaira Sturdivant Rouda

It’s hard to sum up a favorite UA memory, at least it is for me. UA is the place I spent my formative years – from fourth grade at Burbank Elementary through graduation from Upper Arlington High School.  It’s the place where all four of my children were born – and it’s the place where my husband was born and raised. It’s also, the place where my father-in-law started his business. There is so much here – so many layers of remembrance on every street, each shopping center, even in the smell of the air as the seasons change. UA is home. It’s family. It’s tradition and always will be in my heart, no matter where I am.

A place is its people.  My best memory is of the spirit of Upper Arlington as embodied by its people during the Fourth of July. Our community spirit. Our American pride. The celebration of the next generation as the little kids bike past and of generations before as the Veterans shuffle along. Soon after we had started our family we moved from downtown Columbus to – where else- Upper Arlington. We moved to Yorkshire Road and we stayed there, in two different homes, for almost 20 years.

One of my fondest memories are the years we spent as a street – the Yorkshire Road team - building the float for the Fourth of July. It brought us all together – kids and parents – as we labored away each afternoon and evening to create our rolling masterpiece. Finally, when the float was finished in the wee hours of the night, and the big morning arrived, we’d proudly don our Yorkshire Road shirts and march along the parade route, celebrating our accomplishment, celebrating being together as neighbors and as part of an amazing, spirited community.  I loved those years.

Yorkshire Road's Fourth of July float.
Really, I loved all my years in UA. Sure, sometimes it was tough but like Middle School, whether at Jones or Hastings, you just get through it. All in all, there is no place better to raise a family. To raise kids who have strong values and community pride. My kids cherish their connection to Upper Arlington. My kids saw their grandfather celebrated as Grand Marshall of the same Fourth of July parade one year. How could they feel anything but connected to this amazing community?   

UA is where my family of origin’s home burned down, and it’s where I chose to build the family of my own.  UA is where my parents got divorced, and it’s where I got married to a UA native.  UA is where I have made my closest friends for life, and it’s where I have lost friends who died too young.  UA is a place where you can return to after you’ve left, and still feel at home.

UA is a special place because of its people. And if it’s your moment in time to live here – whether for a few years or for a lifetime – allow the spirit of the community to embrace you . Because like the fireworks in Northam Park on the Fourth of July, there is wonder and celebration in this place we call home.  

Cooling off after the parade.

Fun and games at the Yorkshire Road block party.

Harley Rouda, Sr. fishing with his grandchildren on the Fourth of July.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Golden Bear Football Champions

Dan Straka (#2 jersey) with his football teammates

by Mark and Sue Straka

The 2000 Upper Arlington Golden Bear football team started the season with high expectations and hopes.  As the season unfolded it began to yield a bountiful number of fond memories on and off the field.

Perhaps one of the more memorable times of forging camaraderie would be the post-game gathering of players and coaches to feast on food, watch local television's show, "Football Friday Night", and view a parent's sideline highlight film.  These gatherings often went past midnight. 

The hosting duties alternated between two team member's homes where family room furniture could be arranged for the eagerly awaited "highlights."  Food was also an integral part of the post-game bash. As the campaign stretched into November an early Thanksgiving theme emerged for the Friday night gathering.  Three 20-pound turkeys, 60 pounds of mashed potatoes, six boxes of Costco stuffing and 7 pumpkin pies all met their match with the huge appetites of the Golden Bear coaches and players.  

The UA team thrilled their fans as they finished 15-0 and became the first central Ohio team to win the large school state title since play-offs began, and the first team to go 15-0 in the state of Ohio Division I.  

The greatest memories for the players and parents, however, were these "Football Friday Night" post-game gatherings where food, film and fellowship produced an enduring legacy of brotherhood, UA spirit, and commitment to excellence. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Men, the Myths, the Legends

                                                George Haddad, left, with Woody Hayes

by Connie Haddad Frecker, Diane Haddad, and Carolyn Haddad Dougherty

Here is another side of our father and Woody Hayes that most people don't know.  Woody and Anne Hayes were good friends with our parents, George and Lilyan Haddad.  Everyone knows Woody as a colorful personality, but Anne would also light up the room.  She had a lot of energy and enthusiasm and loved to swim in our pool.  As our mother's health started to deteriorate as a result of multiple sclerosis, her eyesight became extremely compromised.  Woody would often come over to visit and he would kneel down by her wheelchair and read to her.

People might think that Woody, the football coach, and our father, the concert pianist, had nothing in common, but that couldn't be further from the truth.  They would talk for hours about the importance of relationships, whether it was the coach and his players or the professor and his students.  Not only did they talk, but they demonstrated this in the way that they chose to live their lives.  Woody and Dad enjoyed their children and grandchildren and shared their adoration for them.