Saturday, June 27, 2009

Back To My Roots - Travel Day and Muncie - Part 1

Why did we take this quick trip back to the Midwest? I have been writing about my home town of Celina, Ohio and how long it has been since I was there. I left Celina at age 15 in 1949 (sixty years ago) and moved to Kansas City, Missouri to live with my Uncle Ray and Aunt Edith Moore. My grandmother’s health had taken a turn for the worst and I needed another place to live for my last three years of high school.

Our daughter, Brenda, was reading the stories about Celina and thought it was time for a “quick trip to Ohio” since I had recently been diagnosed with Ideopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. Ann and I had planned to take a trip there to show her where I grew up but every time we planned a trip, something came up to stop our plans. The last time I was in Celina was just after graduation of high school in 1952 when I made another “quick trip to Ohio” to visit my grandfather before I left for California to attend college. My grandmother passed away one year after I left Celina and I didn’t know when I would get to see grandpa again. We didn’t know that grandpa would live to be 101 years and 11 months old. We were able to see him at his 90th, 95th, and 100th birthdays as his family planned parties to celebrate.

In 1952 I stopped in Muncie, Indiana to pick up my brother, Bob, at our mother’s place and take him with me to Celina and up to Elkhart, Indiana to visit our sisters, Faye and Lenna. It had been a while since Bob had seen them so I wanted a little “family reunion”. Ben was in the Navy overseas and couldn’t be there. I had Ben's 1939 Pontiac for the trip.

Brenda came up with the plan for the trip. She and her husband Scott had American Airlines miles that could be used for our flight. When they got them transferred together, it left a balance of $112.50 each for a round trip to Indianapolis, Indiana. Plan was to go to Chicago from Santa Ana and another flight to Indianapolis on Friday, June 12th. The return flight on Monday June 15th would be from Indianapolis to Santa Ana via Dallas. The trip would be just Brenda and me as Ann was unable to travel at this time. Brenda’s daughter, Hannah, stayed with Nana while we were gone.

Brenda and I rented a Lincoln Town Car in Indianapolis and drove to Muncie, Indiana where my brother, Bob and his family reside. The last time we saw each other was in June 1984 at our mother’s funeral in Covina, California. That was 25 years ago! We have talked on email and the phone but not in person. We spent the night at Bob’s home with a dinner out to a nice establishment with his two son’s Bobby Jr. and James and their families. A neighbor of Bob’s joined us as he is the Executive Pastor of the local Church of the Nazarene and knows our background. Great time - great food! Then back to Bob & Mary Lou’s place for fellowship and pictures.

On Saturday morning we had breakfast together at another eating establishment before continuing our trip. We were able to have lunch with Bob, Mary Lou and Bobby Jr at Cracker Barrel on our return trip to Indianapolis on Monday June 15th. We had a nice reunion after 25 years. Here are some pictures of our time in Muncie.

Dick & Brenda ready to go to Chicago - then transfer to Indianapolis.

My limo and driver -- Our Lincoln Town Car with daughter Brenda.

Dick with his "little" brother Bob (he's 5 years younger).

James, Gwen (Bobby's wife), Bobby and Dick at dinner.

Bob's family - James, Bob, Bobby and Mary Lou.

C.A. Dalton (Bob's neighbor and Executive Pastor of a local Nazarene Church) and Bob.

Breakfast on Saturday morning - Dick, Brenda, Mary Lou, and Bob.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Dick Sings "O Holy Night" In StarPak Production

Before I get into the Celina, Ohio trip stories, I want to share with you the last time I sang in public. This was with the StarPak production at Coast Hills Community Church in Aliso Viejo. Two of my grandchildren were in the production. I was the only adult in this childrens musical/play. I wrote about it in December and you can read it here.

I played Angel Gabriel who spent some time with young angels telling them about the first Christmas since I was there. I had an acting/speaking/singing role and interacted with my two youngest grandchildren. A wonderful experience. The song I sang was "O Holy Night" which I want to share with you now.

This video is on YouTube and will be in the side bar to the right of this BLOG for future viewing.
My son, Rick, did the technical work to put this on. Thanks, Rick!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

WOW! What A Quick Trip To Ohio!

My daughter, Brenda, and I took a very quick and very active trip to Ohio last weekend. This will take a number of postings to tell you everything about the trip and how special it was. I will list some of the topics that I will write about over the next two weeks. I have many pictures to help tell the stories.

We flew from Santa Ana, CA to Chicago, IL to Indianapolis, IN. Rented a Lincoln Town Car. Brenda and I shared the driving.

1. Saw my younger brother Bob and his family after 25 years. The last time was in 1984 at our mother’s funeral here in Covina. Bob lives in Muncie, Indiana. We stayed with him Friday night and also had lunch with him on Monday on our return trip.

2. Trip to Troy, Ohio Saturday morning to visit Riverside Cemetery where my dad was buried in June 1940 when he was 31 years old and I was 6. Bob was one. Bob has never been to the cemetery but plans to go soon. Our grandparents are buried there about 30 feet from our dad. Interesting story coming up in a posting.

3. Celina on Saturday afternoon:
A. Web Cam at Market and Main. (Unplanned) We called my wife Ann and Brenda’s family so they could see us waving to them on the internet.
B. Meeting “Whitey” Klosterman and riding in his 1946 Buick.
C. My friend, Karl Allmandinger, who I knew in Junior High and who married a friend of mine. Complete story later.
D. Dinner out Saturday night with Karl.

4. Celina Church of the Nazarene visit
A. Different building than when I attended in 1949. In fact, this is the second location since the one I remember.
B. I got to address the congregation concerning my background with this congregation and what I have done with my life.
C. Met some people who knew my grandfather who was pastor of this church from 1943 to 1946. He retired from active preaching and had to buy his own home since he was living in the parsonage. He continued to attend this church and became the janitor -- yes, my brother Ben and I cleaned the church, kept the lawn mowed, and the snow off the sidewalks.

5. Sunday afternoon tour of Celina with Karl:
A. Visited both houses I lived in from 1943 to 1949.
B. Two of the three schools I attended were torn down and the land has new occupants.
C. My Junior High School (7,8,9) was also the Senior High School (10,11,12) building. It now has school offices and a Head Start school. New Elementary K-4 school, new Intermediate School
5-6, new Middle School 7-8 and new High School 9-12.
D. The planned Web Cam appearance at 2:00 p.m. Ohio time which was mentioned to others so they could look in and see us wave! My son, Rick took pictures off the internet of us and wrote an article for his BLOG (
E. Dinner near the West Bank Inn and Spillway Sunday Night. Here comes Whitey Klosterman to see us in his 1948 Buick Convertible. Another ride.

6. Monday morning at The Daily Standard newspaper offices meeting the publisher and staff. Two hour tour and interview for story with pictures. They will send me copies. The photo and story was in Friday June 19th edition. Whitey called me from Celina and Karl emailed me about the newspaper article and picture.

7. Lunch with brother Bob, his wife Mary Lou, and their son Bobby at The Cracker Barrel in Muncie.

8. Indianapolis Terminal, return rental car and flight home to Santa Ana, CA Monday afternoon via Dallas.

So you can see there are many stories here and I want to split them up to make them more interesting to you.

Stay tuned!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Taking Your Dad To His Home Town - Priceless!

I have written about my home town of Celina, Ohio several times on this BLOG so you know where I spent my youth from ages 9 to 15 years. I left Celina in September 1949 which will be 60 years ago this September. My last visit there was in 1952 just before I left for California to begin my college days at Pasadena Nazarene College in Pasadena.

I have planned, with my wife Ann, to make the trip back there so many times but things just didn’t go right for us to visit my home area. She wanted to see where I grew up and I wanted desperately to show her. We planned trips by car and during my working years, vacations were used up quickly for other family needs. So I never got the chance to go back. Now it is difficult for her to travel.

My daughter, Brenda, wrote me an email and said -- Dad - it’s time for you to take that long awaited trip to your roots - your home town of Celina. She said we could go on Friday June 12th and return home Monday June 15th. She had American Airline miles that could be used and both of us would pay a small fee for the trip.

My first thought was about Ann who is handicapped and needs someone here with her and provide a lunch out daily. Our son, Rick, will help there along with our son-in-law Scott. A granddaughter will come and stay with Nana so the home front is taken care of by family.

I am required by my pulmonologist to take an oxygen compressor for the “in flight” use only. Do you have any idea what a hassle this has been to get that approved by the airlines? I think we finally have it worked out.

We will fly from Santa Ana to Chicago and change planes for Indianapolis arriving there about 5:30 p.m. Indiana time. A car rental is waiting and we will drive to Muncie, Indiana to see my younger brother who I haven’t seen since 1984 at our mother’s funeral. He is arranging dinner plans for us and we will stay the night there with Bob. In the morning we will leave for Troy, Ohio to visit a cemetery that has my dad (died in 1940) and my grandparents. I want Brenda to “meet” them.

Then it’s off to Celina, Ohio where I spent my youth. We have reservations at a lakeside hotel. A friend from my school days there married a friend of mine named Helen Howell. She was my brother, Ben’s, girlfriend when we lived there. I knew Karl Allmandinger from my time in Celina schools. He was a year ahead of me. We will be with Karl who will “show” us the sights around Celina. I expect to take a lot of pictures.

On Sunday morning Brenda and I will visit the Celina Church of the Nazarene where I used to attend -- new building and a different location. Grandpa was the pastor of this church for a number of years. You can read about my last visit to this church in 1952 by clicking here. The afternoon will be spent seeing the sights and locating any people that I might know. At 2:00 p.m. Celina time (11:00 a.m. California time) Brenda and I will be standing in front of the Mercer County Court House talking to Ann on the phone while she sees us wave on the Web Cam the city has set up. You can read about the web cam and how to access that by clicking here.

Monday morning I hope to be able to visit The Daily Standard office where I used to work as a paper boy and janitor. Then it is off to Indianapolis for our return trip home. A hurried trip but will be worth the effort.

Thanks, Brenda, for making this trip possible. Something that was on my “Bucket List” can now be scratched off!

We will have the story and pictures on our return.