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Our hometown is Greenfield, Ohio and these are stories about our favorite little burg and the communities that share our corner of Highland County.

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Greenfield, Ohio: A collection of stories about our favorite small Southern Ohio community.

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March Madness

Here we are again, into that time of the year which joins die-hards, casuals and even some of the “don’t give a darn” folks into FANatics of March Madness, the month that quickly brings us to deciding the college basketball national champion.

Who’s on the bubble? Who will get left out of the big tourney but belongs there? Who will be in but shouldn’t? Who’ll get the number one seed in each region and will the NCAA load up my team’s region with the strongest teams?

By the end of the month, hundreds of thousands of fans will be disappointed, thousands will say “my team got screwed” and a few thousand will be bragging “We’re No.1” while pointing one finger into the sky, the finger next to the one they use the other 11 months.

I’ll watch and cheer, but my happiness won’t depend on the outcome.

You see, it’s getting close to the end of winter, the time best suited for chili soup and bean soup, onions and cornbread. So March is the month I pile it on. Chili or Great Northern beans several days a week.

And, oh, the magnificent result.

You’ve seen the drawing of three guys sitting in the theater. The two on the ends have frowns and the one in the middle has the big, evil smile. The caption under it reads: Guess who farted.

Yep, that’s me in the middle.

During the month of March it is me in the middle almost every day.

This is the month you may see me standing over there by the green beans in the supermarket, chuckling at the people’s faces as they approach the meat case and as they walk into the cloud of fragrance I left there.

No matter the outcome of the final four, I’ll be able to smile wide.

Think I’m kidding? Pull my finger!

Jeff Pollard, March 17, 2011: Submit Comments

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Damn Squirrels!

Earlier last week, as I sat here at my computer, the squirrels were cutting nuts in the trees outside my window and their cuttings were making a gentle noise as they fell to the wood decking. On Thursday, however, while my wife and I were watching the evening news, a strong breeze whipped into our woods and suddenly it sounded like the skies had parted and it was raining buckets of rocks. Our decks are absolutely buried under this year's hickory nut crop. Wondering if this had any significance in folklore and did a little Googling. Larry Chapman

Seems like the old timers figured that a heavy nut crop was sign for a bad winder. It was mother nature's way of seeing that the squirrels were taken care of in the face of what she had planned for them.

Those same old timers held that if the shells of hickory nuts were thick it also signed a hard winter. Since I haven't kept a yearly record of shell thicknesses during the thirty-three years we've live amongst these trees it wouldn't do me any good to measures this year's shell thickness. But, I'm going to assume they're thicker than in past years and predict we are in for a long, cold and hard winter. Reflecting back the shells must have been thick last year as well.

When I mentioned the large volume of hickory nuts to a friend they requested I set some aside for them. Acknowledging the difficulty of extracting the meat they expressed their willingness to take on the task for the sake of making a hickory nut cake like their grandmother use to do. Hopefully they'll be successful and also not forget from wince the nuts came. I don't think I've ever had hickory nut cake but I'm more than willing to try a piece.

A second friend suggested I gather the nuts and make my own pies and cakes this winter. Well, we gave that a try one year, without much success. The whole family spent several hours gathering black walnuts and hickory nuts years ago. After gathering we spent more hours removing the husks and staining our hands a dark green. The now naked tree fruits were spread out on a flat shed roof to dry and later gathered into onion sacks for storage in the shed.

Sometime around Christmas we went to the shed to retrieve some nuts and discovered that the damn squirrels had beaten us to them. Somehow they had found entrance to the shed, gnawed their way into the sacks and released the contents onto the shed floor. There was lots of evidence that our shed had become a wildlife version of Blake's Coffee Shop for all those damn squirrels.

Salvaging what we could we went to the basement and armed with ice picks and hammers began the process of picking the meat from the shells. It must have been a hard winter that year because, damn those shells were thick.

I don't remember just how much nut meat we obtained or what we did with it. But, I'm pretty sure this experience led to our current nut policy. Going to Sam's Club and buying large cellophane bags of shelled pecans, English walnuts and almonds, dividing them into smaller baggies and storing these in the freezer.

So far, the damn squirrels haven't found a way into our pantry and the freezer!

Larry Chapman, September 20, 2010: Submit Comments

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Riding Bikes & Raisin' Cane in the 70s/a>

All of us remember those days when we really were not that coherent and had a lot of fun. Or do we? Those days for me were about 40 of the last 59 years. I vaguely remember graduating from undergraduate school (though I graduated three more times after that) and then going to work at Buckskin School in 1972 for my first real teaching job. Dr. Chuck Knisley

I had great times in Greenfield; often at the Bike Shop (Yankee Peddler Bicycles) and often on Kirk Thompson's porch before embarking on a two day weekend excursion for various activities. Luckily I found my way home from these weekends and looked forward to the next ones.

MMany girls, many guys, many cars, many brews, and many fond "almost" remembrances take me back to Greenfield each night I fall asleep now. Tom Blackstone, Larry Chapman, Norm Gingerich, Steve Ingle, Bobby Everhart, Dave Allen, Norman Anderson, Sara Blackstone, Tina Kellis, Terry Thompson, Mel Free, Susan Rich, Alice Smalley, Pam Delong, and a host of others guided me through these years and out the other side.

I know some are dead and some are living (but I did like them all)...........I am not sure I am the wiser for my varied life, but I truly have been blessed. I have been on all continents, all oceans, and have spent considerable time in the Caribbean (St Kitts), the Mideast (Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi), Asia (China and Thailand), and a few other places. I have seen most of the World Heritage sites, no big deal, but a great book. They were all on my bucket list!/span>

I just got back from Nepal and India this summer. I took a private plane around Mt Everest..WOW!!. The Taj Mahal looks great at sunrise. I have also spent time at the pyramids, floating up the Nile River on a huge boat, scaling the Great Wall of China, and walking through Ankor Wat.

I have a few more stops to go to fill my brain with all of the well-known profound images (Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia, Bali, Maldives Burma and Bhutan to go yet "this year" )......but for all of this, I still love Greenfield and its people..............hands years at the Greenfield Schools and the the bike shop were the best...........And I still ride bikes and drink!!!!!!! to this a tribute to those guys in the Bike Shop.

I just sold my road bike of 35+ years and am now only a mountain bike guy (TREK).......God I love southern Ohio and Greenfield......I will ride the Danube river this coming summer from its start to its stop......probably my last major bike ride..........but who knows? I still have a need to traverse Italy and Greece......we will see.

DDr. Charles C. Knisley (a.k.a. Dr. Chuck), July 26, 2010: Submit Comments

NOTE: Chuck Knisley is the son of Thelma Knisley who taught 6th grade at Buckskin in the 60s and 70s. Chuck began his teaching career as an elementary special education teacher at Buckskin. He has since received his doctorate in education and been a superintendent of schools in Vermont and Ohio. In more recent years he has worked administered English schools in Saudi Arabia and Thailand.

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The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company

Sally Turner’s article struck a cord with my warped memory, so I am attempting to share with you.  Years ago, there was a radio program called “Can you top this?”  A group of four or five comedians would sit around the microphone and the first one would tell a joke or a story and then the rest of them would take turns telling their own story on a somewhat related topic. Fred Raike

 I am not trying to tell a bigger or better story than what Sally wrote, for it was a “stand alone” story and can not be topped.   My story is also of my first job, and it too, was in a grocery store.  THE GREAT ATLANTIC AND PACIFIC TEA COMPANY.  Never heard of it?  Well, how about the A & P?  Does that ring a bell?  It was not a super market, it was a store. It was located about two stores west of the Gossett Company, right next to Dr. Glenn’s office. There were no shopping carts in the store.  There were three of us who worked there,  Bill, the Manager, Clyde, the produce man, and me, the new kid.  I was a senior in high school and only got to work there Thursday after school, Friday after school and Saturday from 9:00AM to 9PM.  The store did not have recording cash registers, that are commonplace today.  The customers would walk up to the main counter with their shopping lists and tell us what they wanted.  “Three cans of green beans.”  I would go down the correct aisle, get three cans of green beans, and return to the counter, tear off a strip of brown butcher paper, and write down the price of the three cans.   Next she might say “I want three quarters of a pound of Italian bologna.”  I would run to the meat case , slice the bologna, wrap it in the brown paper, tie it up with twine and return to the counter, write down the price and continue until her list was complete, then I got to add the column of numbers on the strip of paper, for there was no such thing as an adding machine in the store, take her money, ring it up on the register, make the proper change, and then either put all of her purchases in a cardboard box, or in a paper sack or three.  Then I got a break and got to carry her purchases out to her car, parked somewhere on Jefferson Street, or maybe down on Washington Street. 

 On Thursday and Friday afternoons, the main job was to adjust the prices on the cans and boxes the had changed during the current week.  Bill, the manager, told me that if the price went up, to use the alcohol based cleaner and erase the former price. Then mark the new price on the can.  If the price went down, just make a mark through the old price and stamp the new lower price beside the former, higher price.  Salesmanship.

 Saturday night was the hardest time.  All of the stores downtown stayed open until 9:00 and most were busy all evening long.  The entire downtown area was filled with people either doing their shopping or just sitting in their cars watching the people walk along the sidewalk.  Some people would park their cars in a prime location during the afternoon and walk home.  Later on about 7:00PM they would walk back downtown and sit in their cars and watch the pedestrians stroll along the sidewalks of Greenfield. You have to remember, there was no such thing as television in those days for most people, for TV was in its infancy and just a few people had TV sets.  One of the big forms of entertainment, was watching other people.

 Many times there were all three of us working the counter filling orders and there my have been five or six ladies waiting with their shopping lists. The big reward came after closing on Saturday night for that is when Bill would go back to his office and bring out the small brown envelopes with our weekly pay and give each of us (me and Clyde) our envelopes.  I think that my hourly rate was 75 cents per hour.  It might have been 55 cents per hour.  I just do not remember exactly what t was.  I do know that, at the time, I thought that it was a fair wage.

 Many lessons were taught and learned  For example, “Do not stand there and talk (or Listen) to a customer while there is a lady over by the produce counter who wants to buy three pounds of potatoes.”  You must learn to excuse yourself from the story that she is telling no matter how important that she thinks it is, and take care of the cash customers, first.

 I got to work there for the entire summer.  Many good times, some not so good, but a great learning experience for a  young boy.  I would not trade that summer for much of anything.

Fred Raike, July 20, 2010: Submit Comment

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My first job – late nights at Bob's Super Valu

Do you remember Bob's Super Valu?  Many young people in Greenfield started their working lives there.  Around my junior year in high school (1973/74) my parents thought it would be a good idea for me to work.  I had previously had some small temporary jobs that were arranged by my father and I’m sure he got the job for me at Bob's.  I don't remember passionately wanting to work, but having an active social life I knew it would be a good place to work because the owner, Bob Hull, hired many McClain students and would work around your school schedule if possible.  I don't remember ever having to miss a game, a dance or a church youth group activity because I had to work though I did miss some Saturday date nights.  I worked mostly nights, 5 or 6 pm to 10 pm, having the challenging job of changing prices.  I would sit on a milk crate with a list of canned goods that went up or down in price.  I would spend hours removing price tags with a sticker-removing solution and re-pricing them with a price gun up or down a penny or maybe a whole 3 cents!   As shoppers walked by me I would try to get them to buy whatever product I was working on before the price went up so I would have less to change. 

After a while, I was trained as a cashier by a McClain cheerleader!   Oh yes, I was in the company of cool kids now.  No bar codes then, all prices were punched in by hand.  I was pretty good at it and my drawer always balanced. Usually I was a second cashier so when not busy, and that was a lot on those late nights, I went back to price changing or stocking shelves. There was a demarcation of duties - girls were cashiers, boys were baggers.  I remember trying to "help" bag groceries once and so overloaded the bag with canned goods that the "bag boy" just about fell over when he tried to lift it.  He told me not to “help” anymore.

I learned a lot.  My people skills improved.  After that job I could talk to anybody about anything.  I made the mistake of taking a bad check once, one that was so obviously faked I thought I would die of embarrassment when it was returned by the bank and Bob called me into the office to talk to me about it.  He kindly pointed out to me how I would know the next time but I was just mortified.sally turner 1974

I also remember that The Joker by The Steve Miller Band and Band on the Run by Paul McCartney played constantly on the radio station piped through the store's speaker system. I still don’t understand the lyrics to The Joker!

I made minimum wage which was $ 1.60 and I didn't work very many hours a week.  I mostly spent the money on gas for the white family Ford truck I drove.  I set some land speed records on Route 753 in that truck, and I was never caught or late for work. I also spent my wages on bus tickets for trips to Cincy to visit my boyfriend at UC. After about 9 months of working I quit – I was having trouble keeping up with my schoolwork along with working.

No experience is wasted in life. The customer service skills I learned on that job were valuable on many jobs to come. And here’s an irony – as much as I hated price changing then, it is part of my job today! I still don’t like it but at least I am sitting in a comfy chair in front of a computer instead of crouching on the floor on a milk crate. And today, Black Horse And The Cherry Tree by KT Tunstall plays constantly on the radio station and I don’t understand those lyrics either!

Sally Turner Kennedy, June 28, 2010: Submit Comments

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Pick 'm up!

It was in the late 70s or early 80s that I had a brief chat at Ameristop in Greenfield with my old friend “Dink” Moore. Back then, I knew his first name, but everyone always called him “Dink” for some reason. I believe I first met him in Leesburg while I was in elementary school and visiting with my cousin, Jim Stewart.Jeff Pollard

A very amicable fellow was Dink, with always an interesting bit of news and something humorous to add to any conversation. It would take him a bit longer to tell a tale though. Ol’ Dink had a stammer, which made stories even more interesting. And, like Mel Tillis, the stutter was a part of his being which he cold find humor in himself.

Dink drove a beat up old pickup truck. It was sinfully ugly, with windows pitted so bad you could barely see out , or in. The rusty old fenders wobbled as he drove along the streets of Greenfield. Actually, the fenders wobbled when the truck was parked. What was left of the paint was oxidized to a greenish gray non-color, and the back end was covered by a ratty old piece of canvas held up by scrap lumber.

““I’d s-s-s-sell ‘er to s-s-someone n-n-n-needin’ a d-d-d-dog house,” Dink joked. “I have a dog,” I replied. “What’ll ya take for her?”

“T-t-t-two hundred,” he said, and we had a deal./p>

DDink walked a lot for a while after the exchange, but claimed he got to where he was going just about as fast.

From childhood, having watched “Gabby” Hayes and Pat Butrum with their Nellie Belle and Betsy, I was certain an old “beater” vehicle should have a name. It didn’t take much thought to name my new wheels, so, with a large Marks-A-Lot I scribbled on each door: D-d-d-d-DINKless.

I was usually alone as I drove her, and mostly only in town. My kids – Carrie and T.D. – although not prone to snobbiness, did have a sense of propriety and wouldn’t be seen in her. One of the kids had to be driven to a function in D-d-d-d-DINKless once, but spent the entire trip “scooched” down to the floor board.

I was stopped at the traffic light at st1:place w:st="on">Jefferson and Washington one time and a fellow pulled up next to me, saying, “I had a truck like that once.” “Oh, really,” I replied. “Yeh. Then I got a job!” he insulted.

T.D., too young for a driver license, learned to shift gears in the old truck as he and I bounced around that rough Kingsley-Dunbar Construction lot, T.D.’s head nearly hitting the headliner a number of times. No seat belts, of course./p>

I drove that old pickup around for about a year, Dink’s friends honking and waving, then retired her to the Kingsley-Dunbar lot at the edge of town. She went on to serve at least one more master. Dare I say he loved her more than me?

There seems to be a special bond between we low-brows and our well-worn pickup trucks, like that old pair of shoes which looks like crap but feels really, really good on your feet.

Jeff Pollard, April 9, 2010: Submit Comments

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A Tale About Dime Stores

TThere may be two generations today that have grown up never hearing the names, S.S. Kresge, G.C. Murphy, J.J. Newberry, or F.W. Woolworth. My older children may have a vague remembrance but my grandchildren would certainly be in the dark. Larry Chapman 

To me, and those who came before, these names are magic. They invoke good things to eat, affordable games and toys, trinkets of all sorts, comic books, and all the ordinary things we needed that didn’t require ordering from Sears and Roebuck.   

What brought all this to mind was an article in a recent newspaper insert about America’s oldest 5&10 store, Berdine’s in Harrisville, WV. Founded in 1908 it is still going strong and still stuffed full of the same variety of nick knacks and notions you would have found in Greenfield’s Famous 5&10 Store in the early 1950s.  

Today however, Berdine’s has gone high tech and can be visited and shopped from via the Internet and a trip to their website may bring back some fond memories of your childhood visits to whatever dime store was nearest you. 

The ones I remember from my youth in Greenfield are the Famous and Hall’s. Each was where people went to buy sewing supplies, records, pulp fiction books, comics, toys, games, lamp shades, and countless other everyday household needs and luxuries. 

What I remember most about the Famous store was stopping by for a bag of marbles in the fall and spring and every time I had a spare nickel, dropping in for what ever amount of Brach’s candy it would buy.  

Another favorite was a nickel or dimes worth of hot salted nuts which they kept warm under a light bulb in a special case. Usually I got the Spanish peanuts, they were the least expensive, but on special occasions, when one of my paper route customers gave me an extra tip, I’d pop for the cashews.berdine's dime store  

One of my proudest purchases from Famous was a small blue bottle of perfume for my mother on her birthday. It cost me fifty-cents and the label had the word Paris on it. I knew I was in the high rent district and a gift this grand would certainly make mom like me better than my younger brother.  

I don’t think I won her permanent favor, but regardless of what she thought about the eau de toilet I brought her, she kept to herself and gave me a big hug anyway.  

Sometimes in the summer I’d take the Carolina Special (a passenger train) to South Carolina and spend a week with my grandmother in Greenville. A few blocks from Mama Chapman’s home there was a family owned dime store and a couple of times during the week Mama would give me a quarter and let me walk to the store by myself.  

I don’t know what all I spent those precious coins on but amongst the purchases were a small tin steam powered tug boat and a plastic frogman that would dive under water.  

The boat had a steam chamber where you would put several drops of water and a small candle that provided the heat to make the steam. The steam would escape out the rear of the boat and propel it across the old galvanized wash tub Mama kept in her back yard.   

The frogman operated by putting baking soda in a chamber at the bottom of his foot. This somehow reacted to the water and caused a bubble to form that raised the man to the surface. Then he would tip over, the bubble would escape, and the frogman headed for the bottom of the tub again.  

I have a feeling that some of the money went to purchase a small brown bag of Brach’s maple nut candies. To this day I love those things and will not permit myself to buy a bag. They’re my example of, “betcha’ can’t eat just one.” 

The old dime stores are pretty much a thing of the past. They either disappeared altogether or evolved into what became known as the discount store. Murphy’s became Murphy Mart, Woolworth’s became Woolco, and Kresge’s became K-Mart.  

Greenfield, however, still has one of the remaining chains of variety stores in operation. For many years there has been a Ben Franklin store occupying a part of the grocery on the west end of Jefferson Street. Ben Franklin was one of the original dime store companies but unlike most, it based its model on franchise operations.  

Regardless if it’s Ben Franklin in Greenfield or Berdine’s in WV you’ll be hard pressed to find anything selling for a nickel or a dime. Even in today’s “dollar stores” it’s getting harder to find anything selling for a dollar.  

The variety stores have been blamed for forcing out the mom & pop stores and the discount stores the variety stores. The big box stores like Wal-Mart are continuing to make it rough for any small player. But, that is the way of things as nothing remains the same. 

I wonder, however, if today’s children will grow up with the engrained memories of sights and smells I still have of the Famous Store. Is there anything everlasting about having been in a Wal-Mart in your youth?   

PS: My wife recalled that the perfume I spoke of was called Evening in Paris. Probably made by Coco Puff rather than Coco Chanel!

Please share some of your dime store memories with us. Simply use the Submit Comments form page.

Here's a link to a YouTube tour of Berdine's:

Larry Chapman, April 1, 2010: Submit Comments

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 I miss the smell of The Gossett Company which, for years and years, provided numerous things Greenfield, OH, needed. Jeff Pollard

Yes, Gossett's Book Store equals the fragrance of old, old paper - wallpaper, office paper, books, religious reading material and more, more, more. And in the back, with a door facing N. Washington St., there were typewriters of every kind and various office machines which a youngster could stare at for the longest time without deciding what tasks they performed.

But for me, as an elementary schooler, it was the comic book area which had the greatest attraction. There were all the standards - Superman, Green Lantern and the like, and then there were the Classics Illustrated, hanging on a rack in the corner on a door which led to whoknowswhat in the basement. They cost a whopping 15 cents while the regular comic books were a nickel or, later, a dime.

Oh, what magnificent "comic books" they were for a lad who often dreamed of far off places, being a hero and conquering worlds so far away from my quiet home town. A Tale of Two Cities, Moby Dick, Cyrano de Bergerac, The Man In The Iron Mask, Ivanhoe and others allowed me to live in someone else's wonderful world, if for only the few minutes it took to flip through the pages of colorful illustration and colorful words.

Although never an avid reader, the inky pages did prompt me to read the full novels a few times. Over the following years I would often go back to the stack and re-read the stories. In high school I even used them to quickly throw together a mandated book report. I didn't learn about Crib Notes 'til it was too late.

When I left the house for good, Classics Illustrated remained there, with the Gossett's paper smell intact, as I recall. I imagine they eventually were traded over the internet by baby brother Mark Stewart, who was an avid comic booker.

In my adult life I have detected the fragrance of old, old paper just a few times, and each time I would take a deep inhale and flash back to Gossett's, the comic book rack and the hours of enjoyment - even enlightenment - which came from there.

Jeff Pollard, March 18, 2010: Submit Comments

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Follow Up to Black History Month & Judge James F. Cannon

NOTE: I received this input from Joe Cannon and decided to post it as a follow up story to the piece I wrote earlier about his uncle James Cannon and Black History Month.

"In addition to those highlights James( uncle Jimmy) Cannon also spoke of the three educational paths blacks were subject to for so many years in Greenfield: College Prep, White or black, and how he was the first male in the Cannon family of 12 to graduate as his older brothers feeling the slight chose to join the military early, rather then stay in Greenfield. 

Here are a few words I wrote for the honoree:

After graduating from McClain James, following Cannon tradition, went to the Air Force and made it a 20 year career. 

Upon retirement from the United States Air Force he went on to study at Wright State University receiving both a bachelors and masters degree.

James then spent a short period of time working for the City of Dayton, and decided he would attend the University of Dayton to pursue a law degree. 

Approximately 9 years later he was appointed to a judicial seat in Dayton Municipal Court and was reelected twice to that position. 

James retired from the bench January 1, 2006, but was in no way idle upon his retirement. In addition to sitting as a visiting Judge about 60 days a year he and his wife Anita have spent considerable time traveling including trips to England, Germany and Czechoslovakia.

Jim’s family consists of his wife of 25 years Anita, three children, Tony( Philadelphia), Mike(Yellow Springs OH) Nancy(Silver Springs MD). He also has 7 grandchildren.

James Fredrick Cannon was born in 1931, of the late John R, and Florence Davis Cannon, and is one of 12 kids they gave life. Included in those kids are Bernice Mischal, and Ruth Ames of Greenfield, George Cannon of Gig Harbor Washington, Harold ‘Bud” Cannon of Los Angeles CA and Marvin Cannon of Columbus.

James has spent his life leading by example in the classroom, on the battlefield, and on the bench. James is the epitome of the value of an education and how continuing to learn can overcome the barriers faced, even when the initial playing field might not appear to be level.. Perseverance, a positive approach, along with the desire to learn and educate one’s self , no matter the era , proves that no obstacle will stand in the way of hard work and the desire to succeed."

Joe Cannon (Son of Marvin), March 15, 2010: Submit Comments

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McClain High School, McClain High School, the PRIDE of every Greenfield youth…….”  These are the opening words of a song that most of us know, and most of us have sung sometime during our lives.  Just what do these words mean?  Do any of us stop to think of their meaning, or do we just recite them with no thought of meaning? Fred Raike

Pride is something that comes from within and that no one can force upon us.  While in high school, I felt the pride that our school caused us to have.  Not only is it a beautiful building, but the traditions that are all around made us feel that pride.  The Marble Stairs , the statuary, the pictures, the murals,  were all something that we took for granted, but when we visited other schools in the area for athletic contests, and walked their halls, we got a first hand wake-up call.  These schools did not have any of the things that our school had.  We had something special. 

I remember when I got my first letter sweater and how I felt the pride in it.  The purple sweater with the one gold stripe on the left sleeve was, and in my opinion beautiful and a one of a kind thing.  It was mine.  

The purple sweater was used to display a football letter or a track letter.  A gold sweater was for basketball or baseball. There was one stripe about one half inch wide for each letter earned on the left sleeve.   

I traveled to Columbus to a store (factory) on Parsons Avenue, where a young lady took my measurements and my down payment and promised me that my sweater would be shipped to me in about a week or ten days.  It was a custom made sweater, made just for me.   

PRIDE.  Whenever I saw a red sweater with a white H on it, or a blue sweater with a white W, I thought they were ugly and could not understand how someone could wear such a thing.  Most of all, I could not understand how some of the local girls could wear a red sweater with that awful H on it to Penny’s and think that they were sharp. It was their sign that they were “going steady” with someone. It was bad enough that they dated the guys from Hillsboro, but to wear their sweaters...unbelievable. 

I do not know if that pride is still alive in the youth of today, but I really hope it is.  I know that the letter sweater is a thing of the past and is no longer in style.  Surely there is something that has taken its place.  Maybe it is just the inner feeling of pride and that would be just as important. But I feel that the way we express our pride was, and is, still important.  Letter sweaters, the National Anthem, the U.S. flag, are all ways to express our pride. Let us not forget.  

Fred Raike, March 8, 2010: submit comments

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A Few Thoughts on Black History Month 2010

The African-American Awareness Research Council, in conjunction with the Highland County Library, hosted a Black History Month gathering on February 20 to honor the accomplishments of McClain High School graduate, James F. Cannon.  Larry Chapman

Cannon graduated from McClain in the 1950s and after a stint in the military completed work on a bachelor degree in sociology at Wright State University in Dayton in 1973. The following year he finished the requirements and was granted his Masters degree in economics. While working for the city of Dayton he attended law school at the University of Dayton and after working as a prosecutor, entered private practice.  

In 1987, Mr. Cannon was appointed to finish the term of a retiring Dayton Municipal Court judge. Following that he was returned to the bench for three additional six-year terms, having recently retired. In 2000, Wright State University honored him by declaring him to be that year’s Outstanding Alumni.  

The first time I met Judge Cannon was probably via the Internet. Over the years he has been a frequent visitor to both the Greenfield-Ohio site and the McClain Homecoming site and had made contributions to both. We may have also met at either or both of the McClain All-Class Reunions. In 2003, I got to spend a little time talking with Mr. Cannon following the dedication of the Augustus West Marker* dedication at the Greenfield Cemetery. The Judge’s decedents were among those families who were attracted to the West Settlement and decided to remain in this area.  

Unfortunately I was late arriving to the library this past Saturday and missed much of the background leading up to the Judge’s speech and much of the speech itself. What I did get to hear though made me want to say a few words about just how far the civil rights movement has come in America but also about just how long it took, how close to home it existed, and how much is left undone.  

This annual program in itself is testament to the progress achieved. Not too far back in time one wouldn’t have seen such a gathering being co-sponsored by the public library of Highland County, Ohio. When we think about segregation and discrimination, too often we think of how things were below the Mason-Dixon Line. Anyone, who knows anything about the history of race in America, however, knows that racial discrimination was not limited to a single geographical region of the US. In the South it was segregation by law, but in the North it was segregation by unwritten law and expected custom.  

Judge Cannon spoke of this de facto segregation by relating a couple of stories upon his return to this area after being discharged from the military. He and some friends (all veterans) in 1960, entered a bar in Washington Court House and were simply told, “We don’t serve coloreds.” In 1967, he and some other blacks decided to go bowling in Greenfield and were told by the manager of the bowling alley that, “It is not customary to permit coloreds to bowl.” After asking to see the owner a phone call was made to Cincinnati and the owner reversed the policy.  

I can relate my own experiences to this; even though I didn’t know or understand what was happening at the time. I know that the black man who picked up the trash at the restaurant where my mother cooked always ate his noon meal in the kitchen and never “out front.” I know that black students rarely, if ever, attended school dances and other activities. I know that black teenagers never came to Penny’s where the white kids hung out after school and on weekends. What I didn’t know, then, was of the existence of unwritten rules of behavior that were expected from black citizens of our community.  

When I looked around the library it struck me that most of the people present weren’t hearing about things that happened to their ancestors, they were reliving the things that they themselves had grown up with and had to endure. It drove home just how recent all this was the accepted norm and how little time has passed since it began to change. And, in watching all that has unfolded on my television’s screen since an African-American became president of the US, how much more has to change before people truly are, “Judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”  

Being white, I was in the minority at that gathering. I knew a sizable number of those present but most were strangers to me. However, of those I knew, there wasn’t a one that couldn’t be proud of the content of their character. And, of those I didn’t know I was given no reason to judge them otherwise. That should be both the written and the unwritten rule as we continue on with our lives.  


L-R: Judge James F. Cannon, Charles Harris (pres. of AAARCM), residents of Greenfield in attendance.

*Details of August West and his settlement may be found at:

Larry Chapman, February 22, 2010: Submit Comments

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One of Greenfield's Masters of Mung Spins a Tale/strong>

This story starts back in the early 90’s. We all had a friend named Mike McCoy (rest his soul, he was the first one of our little crowd to pass on) and Mike, after visiting my machine and welding shop here on Miami Trace Rd. named it the "Mung Factory" because everything you touched was dirty and greasy just like old machine/weld shops are supposed to be.  

photo of blogger Fred MartinAnyhow, on with the story, the first one to get "munged" was 'ol Frank. We had an old car here that he wanted to get running. He didn't know it had been down at Robinett's Junkyard on its side for a while and he told me to turn the engine over while he held his thumb over #1 plug opening to bring her up on compression. Well, I turned her and that cylinder was full of the blackest motor oil in the world...and he got drenched with it. I couldn't stop laughing because it was that funny.  

The next guy to get it was 'ol Jim Orebaugh. I had gotten a small air compressor down at The Mall, as I call the junkyard just down the road. I had plugged it in and it pumped right up. Jim came out and we were admiring it and he told me that the tank was full of water...he took the plug out of the bottom and nothing came out. He told me to get him something small to open the drain hole, I handed him a welding rod stub and he poked it in the opening. Out shot enough old black "mung" to drench him good! There I was hysterics...couldn't stop laughing.  

So, this was getting to be fun. The next guy to get 'er was the old kingfish himself, Larry Chapman. Jim and I were over to Larry's cause we were all into ham radio...and friends (till then) when I happened to tell Larry that his basketball brace thingy was full of water. He just grabbed up his trusty rechargeable drill and walked out there and poked a hole in it....and guess what? It was green mung this time...and how that much came out of that little quarter inch hole was all over him!

Well, as the old saying goes, "What goes around comes around," and when my turn came, there was a terrific crowd watching. I still think it was a setup. Old Frank had me to hold my thumb over that hole while he pumped the lever. I argued with him that it would spray me and he said "no it won't." Well, he was lying through his teeth because I got her that time...drenched with hydraulic fluid...and it seemed like a chorus of a hundred guys laughing at me. I imagine I uttered a few foul words and headed to the rain locker for a bath.

Since then things have kind of settled down out here, maybe it's cause we're well into our sixties and getting senile and cranky. These guys coming out here today won't hold nothing for you without a whole lot of explanations as to it won't shock me or spray me will it? I just grin and say no, cause I learned my lesson too.

This story wasn't written to remind anybody of "whose next", by the way...just wanted to share it with anyone who might find it interesting...and have a laugh.

Fred Martin, September 24, 2009, comments to


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A Little Greenfield Dairy History

I don't  know about Sagar Dairy, but my father Bob and his brother Frank purchased *Spring Grove Dairy* from Sagar and our families moved to Greenfield in 1953.

Lowell "Bud" Cropper was the town fire chief and made the ice cream in the building to the rear of the milk bottling plant on the corner of 8th and North.

ICraig Vandemark helped Bud by eating more than my fair share of the ice cream before it was frozen. It is still difficult to find really good ice cream with that much butter fat in it.

The front of the bottling building was where the ice cream was sold by the cone, dish, shake, etc.

Most probably don't remember the following names, but Bob Clay drove through the country side picking up 10 gal cans of milk from the dairy farmers. He lifted those FULL 10gal cans one in each hand onto the truck as if they were nothing. He was probably one of the two strongest men I've ever known. The other also worked at the dairy, but I can't recall his name.

Roger Cooper delivered to the wholesale stores, Uhl's, etc.

Homer Ashbaugh, delivered to the homes in town while Chuck Dixon (Nixon?) delivered to the out of town wholesale stores in Leesburg, Hillsboro, etc

The harnesses for the horses that used to be used by the Saga's was still in the outback building.

Dorothy Nicely, who I think was respected by everyone who knew her and her husband Meredith worked the front office taking care of "the books".

All of this could have been attested to by the late Virgil Althouse who also worked there. He was about 17-19 at the time - as near as I can remember. He was just dating Patsy back then. I do remember that I thought Patsy was really good looking. I was a bit envious of Virgil.

Craig Vandemark, August 24, 2009, comments to


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An Oooey Gooey Walk Downtown

The other day in Greenfield I was walking from Home Building and Loan to the post office. I was on the north side of Jefferson Street. It was one of those extremely hot and humid days but I was in the shade and it was cool. And then something happened right around the alley past Blake’s Coffee Shop (please note: Blake’s has nothing to do with it). 

I had to duck my head to avoid being hit in the face with branches. My feet were becoming sticky and gooey as I tromped on some small rotten round pieces of something that I think fell from above. My view of Jefferson Street was obscured and if I wanted to look ahead of me very far I needed to hug the buildings and stay as far away from the curb as possible. I stopped to see what was going on and then I realized; it was the trees. 

From the alley between Blake’s and the old Sundry Store, looking west, were the trees planted over 20 years ago. Tall, leafy, green: they are beginning to look like the trees that used to arch over the streets that I can remember being here when I arrived 30 years ago.   

As highway improvements and old age and disease took out those old trees, a group spearheaded an effort to buy trees to replace them. Their replacements are the trees you can see today in that block. 

Now look east from that alley and notice the short, stubby trees that are beginning to look like shrubs. They cast a small area of shade and their limbs are so low you must duck to get past and they drop some kind of icky (a perfectly acceptable adjective) fruit that squishes instantly and stays on your shoe a long time. They block your view of the town area. You can't see the fronts of the stores and buildings. I remember at the time the tall leafy trees were torn out and these red "shrubs" were planted....something about the old ones being messy and the merchants did not like that. I do not remember those old trees being as messy as the ones that are there now. Too bad they're gone. 

Wendy Royse, August 24, 2009, comments to

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Shonkwiler on Greenfield's Department of One!

We now have two elected officials on the city council, all others are appointed.  In addition to these appointed officials are three members of the Greenfield Civil Service Commission.  Brent Johnson, James Walker, and Thomas Morrello, appointed by the Greenfield Council.  Not sure how many members of the council were elected when this board was appointed.

photo of blogger John ShonkwilerA lame duck City Manager, appointed by the Council, and three members of a commission appointed by the council have made the decision to reduce the fire department to one full time employee.  It appears that no others were involved in this decision and based on the local media there were no input sought from the community.
Those outside the city limits are currently paying property tax for this fire department, doubt there will be any refunds not that the money is not being spent.  I also doubt that the current tax will be reduced when the 5.5 mill property tax is proposed.
 The 5.5 mil property tax that has not officially been placed on the November ballot is the proposed fix.
Add to this that there has been a crime committed (per the BCI) of forgery, most likely by a current or past member of the council or the city manager, and you have a true three ring circus.
 It is sad that the local economy has reached this level.
 This is going to be an interesting fall. 

John Shonkwiler, August 16, 2009, comments to

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There's a New Pie Queen in Town

Have I ever told you that I love raisin pie? Well, I do. The only pie I enjoy more than raisin is grape. My wife’s cousin makes a mean grape pie. Only problem is, when she changed husbands many years ago she lost custody of the grape arbor. 

Larry ChapmanFor years I would allow myself an occasional piece of raisin pie at the Quik Stoppe in Greenfield. When I decided the time was right I’d stop by and if they had any I would indulge myself. I even had a piece of raisin pie along with a bowl of oatmeal one morning for breakfast. 

As some of you know, I have been on a sort of quest for the best of certain basic foods. I’m still searching for America’s best pizza, its best pork barbecue and its best raisin pie.  

So far I haven’t found a pizza I like any better than the first pizza I ever tasted, Jerry’s in Chillicothe. The pork barbecue award remains at Wilber’s in Goldsboro, NC. The raisin pie trophy, well that was, and still is, right here in Greenfield.  

The lady who made pies for the Quik Stoppe was the reining queen of raisin pies for many years. Unfortunately she retired from the trade a few years ago and until recently, nobody rose up to claim the prize. 

I’ve driven quite a few miles out of my way to try a raisin pie that someone bragged about. While visiting the Pennsylvania Dutch Country a few years ago I read in a travel guide that some restaurant twenty-five miles out of my way claimed to have the best raisin pie in the world. Well, that’s a hell of a claim and I decided to challenge it.

  I drove the fifty-mile round trip and, although it was tasty, it didn’t come close to the raisin pies that came out of the oven of Greenfield’s pie queen.  

Lots of people think the Amish and Mennonite bakeries around this area make a good pie. When the bakery outside Bainbridge opened up I got all excited when I first visited because right there in the front of their pie case sat a big raisin pie with the word “Raisin” punched and baked into the top crust with a fork.   

I was, and remain, sorely disappointed at the quality of the pies that come out of the ovens of our “plain folk” neighbors. Basically they don’t make fruit pies; they make fruit juice and corn starch filled pies. I think the raisin pie I brought home with such anticipation had about three raisins in it, just for color.  

You can get a pretty good piece of raisin pie at the Rainsboro Methodist church and at the Hardin’s Creek Friends Church. Each church has a member who always brings a couple of raisin pies to their public feeds.  

My daughter Jennie occasionally makes me a raisin pie. And while I always appreciate the love and kindness she puts into it but, she just refuses to use enough sugar. Jennie likes tart desserts. Tart is for pickles, sweet is for pie! 

Anyway, since the Quik Stoppe pie lady retired it’s been a long dry spell for us raisin pie lovers. But, last week, at

photo of Mary Jane Parker
Mary Jane Parker, my pick for the area's new pie queen. 
the Greenfield Farmer’s Market, I fell in love with Mary Jane Parker’s raisin pie. She has been hauling a load of pies to the market each week and by the time I’ve arrived, she has sold out.  

The total price came to $5.50 and after one bite Janet and I decided we each had the perfect pie. For a full-size pie, Mary Jane gets $12 and I always thought that was a little high. Now that I know what those dozen dollars will get me, I’ll gladly pay the price.  

There’s a new pie queen in town boys and she’s takin’ names. I’d suggest you get your name on her list and place a weekly order for whatever is your favorite pie. As for me, I’ll have the usual.

Larry Chapman, July 21, 2009, comments to  

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A Few Facebooker's Take a Stoll Through Greenfield's Recent Past

This collection of remembrances grew out of a Facebook (FB) thread that begun with someone mentioning Blake’s Coffee Shop. From that mere mention a flurry of “I remember” postings ensued. The tread went something like the following:


Blake’s, I also remember a pizza shop behind Blake's when I was young but I can't remember the name of it.

I remember things like Foster Haines, Gossett's (loved how it smelled!), Sundry and Snack Bar. If we can't have a real museum of these places in our past then we should try to get an online museum up and running. It's great to walk down memory lane. I have no pictures of shops of the 70s and 80s and would love to see some. If anyone has pictures please post to FB. I would help put funds towards such a project. We really need to make sure this information is stored someplace for future generations. 

I thought that once there were two pizza shops on that side of Jefferson Street, not just Carl's. We're talking early 70s, maybe I'm wrong. I remember going in on the side of the ally to pick up pizza.  

Carl's was in the alley and then they moved to Jefferson Street. When they were in the alley they had a jukebox that had songs by Elton John and Olivia Newton John and I used to think they were brother and sister, just like Kristy and Jimmy McNichol. 

Gary's Pizza was on Jefferson Street but you may be too young to remember that.  

Gary’s! OK, but not in the ally. Had it mixed up some being so young but I knew there was another.  

I grew up in Carl's Pizza. I still remember being a little girl and making sandwich’s on Saturday mornings for the weekend, and getting paid $5. We thought we were rich. I have always heard stories of "the sports shack and "the huddle" but I’ve never seen many pictures of either.  

Remember Gossett’s? I might be the only person that loved the smell of Gossett’s. The other day at work, I found an envelope box with a Gossett's label on it. The first thing I did was smell it. Where can we find that smell? Do you remember going there to buy school supplies? That was a memory I wish my boys had. Wal-Mart for school supplies! What kind of memory is that? 

Put that envelope in a sealed plastic baggie and save that smell. I want to smell it one day before I die, deal? 

I'm weird with smelling. I smell new books, I smell scotch tape, I'm a smeller but don't tell anyone. Gossett’s was one of my favorite places. They had so many different things there. What's sad about things changing is that some things change that should have been preserved like Gossett’s, the Rand and the Snack Bar and now our kids do not have that. Silly to let good things go and we should be ashamed. Our generation needs to do better at preserving the best of the past.

I totally agree. I miss how our little town used to be. I too am a smeller, maybe there's a support group somewhere. My favorite is old library books. Oh, and remember how everyone would smell their tests in school when the teacher passed them out? 

I catch my boys smelling and it's so funny. You know what made us smellers, Gossett’s! HaHa! It's even in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off; all the kids pick up their test and smell them.  

Hey Girls, I grew up in Greenfield/Chillicothe and I remember Gossett's too, especially the smell! I loved going in there and getting school supplies and looking around. My other favorite place was the Sundry Store. Used to go there a lot to get items my Grandma needed. I remember buying a George Strait cassette tape there. Don't worry; I am a smell-a-holic too. Guess it's not as strange as I thought since lots of other people do it too! Yeah, I’ll never forget those two places or Carl's Pizza in the alley and the Rand Theater. I have great memories of the Rand. I remember seeing "Grease" when it first came out in the Rand! While I'm on the memory lane subject, does anyone remember a conditioner called TAME? That’s what our grandma used when we stayed there; Ivory Soap, Tame and Gee, Your Hair Smells Terrific shampoo.


Hi, nice to meet you. I loved The Sundry Store. Oh, I remember Tame; do you remember they use to call hair conditioner cream rinse? I also loved Gee, Your Hair Smells Terrific; do you know you can order it from a store in Vermont?  

Hello! Yes, I remember cream rinse, I had forgotten that. No, I didn’t know you could order it anywhere, what store is it? I am Missy M’s first cousin by the way, that’s how most people remember me. I only went to McClain one year, but lived in Greenfield with my dad in the summers and on weekends. I lived with my mom in Chillicothe the rest of the time. So many great Greenfield memories! 

OMG!! I think I remember you! How have you been? I've always liked Missy. I'm not sure what the name of the store is, but my friend Crystal and I were talking about it one day, so I Googled it and there it was! I’m going to order it. That smell will bring back a lot of memories. 

Okay, let's go back farther. Anyone remember The Shirley Shop? Or Bays Variety or United Department Store? You could once upon a time get jeans there for about $3 or $4. Let's see now, the A & P store with my dad’s office on the second floor above it. Western Auto Store with the red radio flyers in the window. The Diamond Grill, OMG, I'm not really that old, am I? 

I tended bar in the Diamond Grill in November and December of 1964 for $1.00 an hour. What an experience. Best time each day was talking to an old WWI veteran who lived in the Elliott Hotel and came in each evening around 10 for a double shot of J.T.S. Brown bourbon. Cost him $.50 cents. The worse thing was always last call. Most nights some drunk was going to challenge you for not selling him another drink. I suppose that's why the owner kept a .45 automatic and a ball bat behind the bar. Never had to use either and glad of it. Bar keeping is not as glamorous as Tom Cruise made it appear in the movies. 

Jennifer, I have been just fine, thanks. How about you? Yeah, Missy and I had a blast growing up there. Well, I will have to see about getting me some shampoo too! I will Google it as well; have always thought about it, just never done it.


Mom and I would shop at United, what a great memory! Western Auto was where my brother bought action figures. My granny worked at Bay’s, Kris do you remember the Fashion Vault?  

I loved the United Department Store, Famous and Bays. I also loved Johnny Stewart's Pharmacy where you could go in and get a 5 cent bag of chips and a 5 cent cherry coke for your school lunch and then run over to Famous 5 and 10 and get 5 cents worth of your favorite candy. Those were the days. And when you were extra hungry or had extra lunch money for that day you could go into Pearce's and go for a hot dog and a bowl of chili or whip over to the Snack Bar and really have a good hamburger! What memories. 

Oh yes and don't forget Penny’s. Who did not hang out at Penny’s? School lunch there, at least for me, as my funds were limited was a cheese sandwich and a coke. Calgan take me away. 

A Penny’s lunch consisted of a hamburger, pack of Tip-Top potato chips and a small Coke, $.25 cents. Home cooked well-balanced meal in the school cafeteria, $.25 cents. Two big differences. Eat at school and you weren't permitted to smoke and jitterbug. At Penny's you were. Only down side, Penny's was further away which meant a shorter lunch period. Solution was to work in the cafeteria the period before lunch for a free meal and go to Penny's for fun during the lunch break. With the quarter you saved you could buy a pack of Lucky Strike cigarettes. Put a quarter in the machine and get back a pack of butts with three pennies inside the cellophane wrapper.


A great part of that scenario was, at the time, cigarettes weren’t thought to be unhealthy except it was claimed they would stunt your growth. If you were sixteen and weighed 230 pounds, who cared? 

Editor’s Note: The question was asked, “Who did not hang out at Penny’s?” The assumption being that everyone went to Penny’s. The ugly truth is that lots of kids didn’t. First were those whose parents wouldn’t let them because they believed sinful things went on there, others didn’t hang out because they felt they weren’t socially up to par, and worse, black kids simply weren’t welcome and they, and their parents, knew it. But, that’s what the “good old days” were like. It wasn’t always as good as we want to remember it being.

Also, if anyone has any photos of downtown street scenes and businesses taken in the last fifty years please scan them and email this site for inclusion into an archive.  

Various Contributors on Facebook, July 16, 2009, comments to

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More Memories of Sears and Roebuck

 The recent article about the Sears and Roebuck store brought back many memories for me. I remember the Sears Catalog issue with "the man on page 602." Wow, I had forgotten that! The neat thing is that I actually have that exact catalog from the Fall/Winter of 1975. It was just titled "SEARS" then and I am looking at it as I write this response. At that time I would have been 6 years old. The catalog belonged to my Grandma and somehow I ended up with it. Now, however, you couldn't pay me a million bucks to part with it. On the front cover it has the sticker to "Shop by phone, call Sears at 981-2171" 251 E. Jefferson St. Greenfield.


It has my Grandma's writing on it, only a few earmarks and bends, other than that it is in pretty good condition. There is actually a dress I remember having my school picture taken in on one of the pages. I actually had, and so did my cousin, Missy (Martin) some of those outfits and dresses from that book. My mom, and Missy's mom Carole, used to order a lot, I guess. The very best memory for me though, was sitting on my Grandma's couch, right next to Missy, and we would open the catalog. Missy would support one half on her lap and I would hold up the other. We went through every page that had clothes, shoes, coats and everything.


From from each page we would each picked the item we liked the best or thought was the prettiest. We did this for hours. Talk about keeping the kids busy. We always looked forward to the new catalog and the most exciting one of all was, of course the Christmas "Wish Book." Wow, I have to say that is one of my most treasured memories and I will never forget it. Thanks for the blog and history, well done.


Tracie (Powell) Rudek, July 16, 2009, comments to 


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Olive Smith Good Visits Her Past

A short time ago Dave Miley reminisced a little about Greenfield’s more sordid past. His memories have stimulated others to mentally travel back. Jenny Good read Dave’s comments to her mother Olive and while her mom reminisced, Jenny took notes. Here is what Olive Smith Good has to offer.


blogger Jenny GoodOlive recalls a tavern called The Barn and some of the local personalities chose it as their favorite watering hole. I’ll not mention names but it wasn’t uncommon to find one of these fellows sleeping it off in a nearby alley while another, ala Otis Campbell of Mayberry fame, frequently ended up sleeping on a wooden bench in the village jail.


Orlando’s Department Store was located in two building on South Washington St. that are now partially occupied by a used variety store. Orlando’s had both a men’s and a women’s department and specialized in work and casual clothing for men and more upscale clothing and accessories for women. It was owned by Leo and Francis Orlando and for many years operated by Doug and Bette McLaughlin, the Orlando’s daughter.


Sandwiched between Orlando’s and the People’s National Bank (now Merchants) was Jack Flynn and Flynn’s Market. Flynn’s was mostly a meat market but did carry a limited variety of other groceries.


Flynn’s competition for the custom meat dollar would have been Collins’ Market, operated by Ab Collins and his two Rook's mkt. was located where Fout is now located and behind Blake's was Park's poultry house. Blake's began in 1957 with only 6 stools. Jack and Bill. Collins’ Market was located in the alley where WW Cleaners has been for so long. Scott Rooks also ran a meat market on Jefferson St. Olive Good worked for Scott Rooks in the 1950s helping to butcher locally grown hogs and cows.


In the alley behind what for so many years (since 1957) has been Blake’s Coffee Shop, Leonard Park Sr. ran a poultry house. He sold eggs, chickens and other poultry. Before Blake’s moved in the small building was owned by a Mr. Kerns. Olive believes that Kerns ran a small carry-out ice cream shop from the building.


A few doors up Jefferson St. was Hurd’s Drugstore which later became Stewart’s. Hurd’s had a marble soda fountain and in the 1940s local teens and young people would gather there to sip mugs of root beer and eat ice cream. A mug of good root beer back then would set you back a nickel.


There weren’t a lot of entertainment choices so a favorite pastime was gathering around the public square and sharing news and gossip. Everyone knew most everyone so you could almost always find a friend to have a chat with.


For a little extra cash many people paid a visit to Mr. Grim who ran a creamery in the alley behind Hurd’s Pharmacy. Grim would pay cash for cream and eggs. Olive remembers being able to take a small bucket of cream and earn enough money to purchase a large sack of flour.


In the 1960s Olive worked as a cook and waitress at Pearce’s Restaurant where the current Who’s Place is located. It was a favorite eating place and employees of the American Pad and Textile Company (the pad factory) came in daily for their noon meal. Olive witnessed the beginning of women increasing their numbers in the workforce. Her own mother, Violet Stricrott Smith, was one of the many ladies working at the pad factory during World War Two.


Jenny’s mom also recalls a man named Roy Betts who ran a private taxi service. He owned one cab and did all the driving himself. Mr. Betts was unable to walk so he crawled as a means to get around. His taxi was rigged so he could operate all the controls with his hands. He was frequently parked at the corners of Washington and Jefferson Streets waiting for a fare.


Unfortunately, Mr. Betts died during a snowstorm on Blaine Lane. His cab became stuck in the snow and he was unable to reach help. He was later found frozen to death. She had fond memories of Mr. Betts and remembers him crawling into the Church of Christ and Christian Union for Sunday services.


Jenny said her mom got a nice chuckle when David Miley mentioned the lady on North Street who made and sold bathtub gin. She remembers the lady but we won’t mention any names. Olive wants to thank Dave Miley for helping to bring back a bunch of warm memories.


Olive and Jennie Good, July 14, 2009, comments to


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Was Greenfield "Little Chicago?"

NOTE: A question was recently asked regarding visits to Greenfield by Bonnie and Clyde and John Dillinger. Did this actually happen? It was also asked how Greenfield acquired the title of "Little Chicago?" I received a couple of responses; one confirming that such a rumor about visits does exist ant the other, from Dave Miley, about information he gleaned from the police logbook from years gone by. Here's Dave's blog:


photo of blogger Dave MileyWhy or how Greenfield got the name Little Chicago is a mystery to me. As far as I know, it was never listed in F.R. Harris' books and if it was it would have been titled Hometown Chronicles; the Blue Edition. I sold my copy a while back and haven't tried to Google it.


I do know from reading the many old police logs when I worked on the Police Department there were an awful lot of fights and drunk and disorderly arrests, especially at a place called The Barn. The Barn was located where the parking lot of Hearth and Care Nursing Home now sits.


The Chief of Police back then would walk to the scene, as generally the only cruiser had a flat tire, and break up the fight, handcuffing one guy to a post while walking the other back to the city jail.


There was also the Silver Front which was a predominately Black bar and they had their share of fights also.


The Club 28 was known for its fights and I remember Chief Hunter telling me about one case where this local fellow, who was left handed, would hit someone, then put out his hand to shake to say he was sorry for hitting the guy and while he shook his hand a tire iron would drop out of his left sleeve and the guy would beat the tar out of him. The Club 28 was a frequent stop for Country and Western performers.


Ade's Place was another good one for fights. I once saw a street fight in front of the bar with both guys holding broken beer bottles and going at each other.


There was a house in the 200 block of North Street where a lady made bathtub gin and sold it to the locals. Also, in the early 50s, I remember seeing some of the older drunks standing on the corner in front of Corner Pharmacy on Sundays. It was illegal to sell beer on Sunday so they would be drinking Mennen's aftershave.


One fellow used to come into Edward's Discount Store purchase cans of Sterno. He told me that he'd go home and strain the Sterno thru a couple of slices of bread into a fruit jar and drink it.


Those sorts of things are where I always thought Greenfield got the nickname, from the drinking and fighting, which was very common.


Or maybe it was from the KKK rally that took place at the old Chautauqua Park on North Washington. It was said there were over 5000 of them there on one weekend.


Dave Miley, July 6, 2009, comments to  


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Credit to the Citizens


As word is reaching the community that Mitchell Park is slated for the Kellogg’s park program, one might stop to consider those responsible, not only for that success, but also for the other differences overcome in these trying times. The citizens of this community have stepped up to make a difference.


They have invested precious time to the causes of keeping the town alive through the park program, the downtown beautification and the sports programs. The national media learned of the causes and gave credit where it was due, to the citizens – the moms, dads, kids, grandparents, aunts and uncles who came forward and are doing their part. photo of blogger Linda Fugate


These improvements did not come without cost to the citizens. For some, the investment is monetary; others sacrificed time and energy. In no way did the city manager and city council money pit participate. The credit for sweat equity and expenses paid should be directed where it belongs, to the people who live in and love the town of Greenfield.


These dedicated people have opted to continue successes instead of looking for new programs to conflict with and detract from other pre-existing community programs offered. It is distressing that the elected leaders and manager of this community do not stand behind these other offerings, but instead, undermine them with agendas like the summer park story program. This is just one more example of “out with the old” mentality.


To those volunteers who took it upon themselves to continue to care about Greenfield, hats off to you. You are the shining example of pay it forward. If no one else says it to you, I will. Thank you for caring and taking action.


Linda Terwilliger-Fugate, June 24, 2009, comments to 


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