Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Celina, Ohio -- My Home Town - Part 2

This posting is a continuation of the story concerning my home town. Enjoy!

Celina was a small town of about 5,000 people. It was next to a large lake called Grand Lake. That is, Celina called it Grand Lake. Ten miles away was Saint Marys and they called it Lake Saint Marys. You will find both names on maps to this day. The lake was 12 miles long and 3 miles wide. Lots of fish and we spend many evening catching our next days meal. Grandpa liked to fly fish - drag a line through the water and have fish grab it. Grandma enjoyed cork fishing -- just throw a line in and watch the cork. When it went under, you had a fish! We used to sit there and chat while waiting on the fish to act.

Grand Lake was our swimming hole during the summer and a place to ice skate during the winter. I had clamp on ice skates and we would skate at night to car lights shining on the ice. I remember a fellow with a Crosley car driving the ten miles to Saint Marys on the ice. Ohio was cold during the winter. I learned to swim there. Mainly by doing it. No one taught me.

We lived in three houses while I lived there from 1943 to 1949. The first one was on Sugar as I had mentioned before. I don’t remember the inside of the house. I have a picture of the outside with Uncle Gary in army uniform on the porch. The second house was at 230 West Warren Street and was a two story brick house. Had a half city block lot so there was some yard to mow. Houses back then had a “front room” that was closed off during the winter to save heating costs. Hardly ever used during the winter. Everything was open for summer including the doors as it was hot and no air conditioning. We slept next to an open door that had a screen to keep out the flies. We were in the Warren Street house until Grandpa retired from being the minister. Had to find a home of our own for the first time.

Grandpa bought a large lot that had a two story wood frame house covered with an imitation brick siding. The address was 630 Nickerson (later named Brandon) Avenue. The house had one cold water pipe to the kitchen -- no bathroom and no hot water. We had a path outside to the outhouse. Believe me, that was a cold trip during the winter. Fortunately, Grandpa built a bathroom off the kitchen using the pantry and extending it out for the shower. Added hot water heater and we were like normal people again. Prior to this we had to heat water on the kitchen stove for our Saturday night bath. Baths were taken in the kitchen.

Downstairs we had the kitchen, dining room, front room, bathroom, and master bedroom. Upstairs we had a guest room and one bedroom that Ben and I shared. The rest of the upstairs was turned into a small apartment with outside stairs. Grandpa was very good at building and did all the work himself. We rented that out to help with expenses. We had a number of fruit trees on the property and a grape arbor. A large portion of the land was farmed for food. So this land and the church land was farmed for everything but meat, eggs, and milk. Those we bought. We even grew our own popcorn!

The dining room was our social place. That was where the heating stove was that kept the house warm in the winter. We used coal that had to be brought in from the garage. Listening to the radio and playing a board game with Grandma was a highlight. A porch swing got a lot of attention during the warm evenings.

I’m a collector of things that don’t seem to be important to others but to me they mean something. Things of my past. I had a postage stamp collection in a book for that purpose and it is interesting to see the countries that no longer exist as that name. For instance - Ceylon. I stopped collecting stamps when I left Celina in 1949 and the book remains in the condition it was when I moved to Missouri.

I'm including a paragraph from Part 1 concerning the webcam:

Celina has a webcam at the corner of Main and Market showing the Mercer County Court House. You can check it as I do daily to see what is going on there. Here is how you can access it: http://www.dailystandard.com/ , click on Community, then Celina, then webcam, and you can enlarge the picture for better viewing. With high speed internet, you can watch cars go by, people walking, see if it is raining, snowing, etc. Since it is my home town, I check it daily just to see what is going on. This corner is right down the street from The Daily Standard which is to the right of the picture. Check it out.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Dick, I just watched a video at a high school gym in Celina. They were hosting the Mercer, Co. Ribfest. That's a neat way to keep up with the old hometown.

Dave and Marlene