Most who read my blog understand that I write mainly about various outdoor hiking adventures. This is a bit different as I return to my hometown after 44 years of being away.
Rise and shine, it is Friday morning in Bucyrus and it is somewhat unseasonably cool for a mid September day. My hometown from the mid ’60’s to the mid ’70’s doesn’t have many coffee shops listed but there a couple so we go to the Pelican Coffee House located in the Square area. Located inside of the Amish Vault, a gift and furniture store, business is steady. We grab our coffees and head to Findlay, Ohio.
My father graduated from Findlay High School, and I actually lived and went to kindergarten and first grade at Howard Elementary School. After graduating high school, I attended my freshman year of college at Findlay College. (University of Findlay) There are some strong memories in Findlay.
When we arrive, Carolyn loves the Findlay downtown area. A town of approximately 45,000 that appears to be very vibrant. It looks like the area has a great vibe to it with multiple eating and drinking places and appears to be pedestrian friendly. We spend some time over by college where I searched for my childhood home on Frazier Street. I believe that I find my old house but can’t verify since nobody can remember the address for certain.
Howard Elementary School, located on the corner of Morey an Davis, close to Findlay College and the first school I attended, was torn down in 1985. It was a great old school that was built in 1910 and appears that it is now a parking lot. That childhood memory has been erased. In my head, I believe that I lived at 323 Frazer St but things have changed. Our house was a two-story house that now looks it is the home to two separate homes and since it is so close to the university, I would guess that the neighborhood is now home to many students. I do know that I would walk about 1/4 mile from the house to the school and home each day. For an image of what the school looked like back in the day: Howard Elementary.
Continuing on our drive, we passed Findlay High School and drove through the university campus area where I had attended. Since I haven’t been in this area for over 44 years, the memories come floating back of my times spent in Findlay. I’m done and ready to move on and Carolyn just happens to find a local brewery for lunch, Findlay Brewing Co. Great place with a patio and plenty of social distanced eating. We order in Findlay, OH, an antelope burger. Unbelievable and it is good. Antelope Burger, Yes, it’s really Texan antelope! White cheddar, caramelized onion, baby spinach & honey mustard. How that happens, I don’t know but it is great. They have over 15 of their own brews on tap and we go with the Brilliant Blonde, Blonde Ale that is good.
Back on the road, Carolyn and I are Bucyrus bound and ready to view Robinhood Drive, the best neighborhood to live as a child. First stop, is to visit with an old neighborhood friend, Dave Matthews. Dave and I grew up as avid baseball and football card collectors and I had spent many an afternoon playing with our cards in his house. We meet up with Dave at the house his parents have lived in for well over 50 years. Carolyn and I visit with Dave and his brother plus his parents and wow, what a time. All are doing well and to still be in the neighborhood all these years later really shows the strength of the area. To be able to reminisce about our years is enjoyable. It was a great visit for stop number one.
Stop Number two, is right next door to my old address of 1180 Robinhood Dr and a visit with a classmate, Andy Dotson. His father recently passed but his mother is still living in their house, once again, well over 50 years. Carolyn and I meet Andy out front and we head inside. Mrs. Dotson immediately comes racing from the kitchen with this big smile and greets me, “How’s my favorite brat?” What a hoot. We had a great time visiting and reminiscing about our days running the streets and backyards. It really was fun to spend time with Andy, his wife, mom, and sister, and while I was there, David Shealy and his wife stopped by the Dotsons and that was another blast from the past. 44+ years later and not missing a beat.
The weeping willow trees that my father had planted in the front yard and backyard have been removed so it my old house looks the same minus the lack of trees. The fence was still standing but they turned our garage, that we used for neighborhood basketball games, into another room. That was disappointing to see but otherwise the neighborhood looked the same.
Carolyn and I drove around and I played tour guide showing her some of the areas that I used to roam. We stop at the local Krogers and pick up the Bucyrus Telegraph Forum that just so happens to have my father’s obituary in the Friday edition. I had submitted am Ohio version since he had worked for about 10 years in the Bucyrus area. Darel’s Obit. We head back to the Holiday Inn and get around and decide to walk to a mile plus to our next destination. Next stop will be drinks with another Robinhood Heights alum, Don Hardesty. Don was a few years younger and lived a few doors down from 1180 Robinhood Dr. He was often involved in our backyard wiffle ball games and one of my connections to the Hood through Facebook.
Carolyn and I meet Don and his wife Melissa at Norman’s Niche. What a cool place for a beer or a glass of wine. Very cozy with an outdoor patio and great, friendly staff. Carolyn and I had a ball with Don and wife sitting around relaxing and reconnecting. Don had lived in Florida before returning to Bucyrus, met Melissa and reestablished himself as a Bucyrus legend. The lady that was working was a graduate of Colonel Crawford and she had attended Whetstone Elementary, the same school that all of us on Robinhood Dr. had attended. We get to talking and she pulls out a class photo of when she was in kindergarten and lo and behold a picture of my father as the principal is right on top. That was something wild. All of my old hangouts may be gone, but this place was a great one for this old guy. It was a great end to a great day.
There was a time when it was easy to find
A hangout that you knew was yours by name
And mine or not I could find the same spot
But it’s never gonna be the same
I’ve been away and I’ve seen too much
Looks like I’ve been moving on as well
And when I started to not really belong
I suppose I was unable to tell
But I ain’t sad and no it isn’t bad
It’s just one more thing I’m coming to know
If you’re alive you didn’t finish the ride
No telling where it’s going to go by Blues Traveler
Tomorrow is a big day as Carolyn and I will be spending a whole day in Bucyrus before heading to my class reunion. I’m somewhat nervous yet I’m excited for my journey home.
I do agree with everything you so eloquently said! When I went back to Bucyrus for the first time in 40 years, I was very anxious about returning to see classmates from 40 years ago. I have to admit that I drove around the square several times before garnering up the courage to walk inside! I’m sure it helped having Caroline at your side, but my hubby could not make it for my homecoming. I was amazed at how many wonderful friends greeted me and it was almost like I hadn’t left at all. I’m so blessed to say I walked away with several rekindled friendships!! Glad you got to go home again too! Blessings, Beaker
Thanks for reading and your kind comments. Living out west it is never easy going back but I’m glad I committed. My next blog will feature reconnecting with Jeff Dummitt and rekindling our longtime neighborhood friendship.