November 2020

Veterans Day Memory from Danny Burke

A Remembrance on Veterans Day

I was on Oahu on December 7 about a decade ago and was debating whether to sleep-in or get up and go down to Pearl Harbor for the commemoration of the attack on that date in 1941.  I decide to go in honor of my Father who had fought in the Battle of Iwo Jima (Navy).  

The ceremony started early as I was told that it always began at the exact time the first wave of Japanese attack airplanes hit Pearl Harbor. The ceremony took place in a warehouse with open views directly across the harbor from the sunken USS Arizona.  It was such a beautiful morning: not unlike the one on Dec. 7, 1941.

Among the speakers that day were Sen. Daniel Inouye and a Army Air Corps pilot who was had been there that terrible day and who took part in Doolittle’s Raid on Tokyo in 1942 and was later shot-down and captured by the Germans. He was said to be the character portrayed by James Garner in the film “The Great Escape”.  (I read a few years back that he had died).

By the time I got to the warehouse there were few remaining chairs but then I saw an older woman standing-up waving to me and indicating a seat was available next to her.  When I sat down she introduced me to her husband.  He too was a veteran of World War II and she mentioned that they had been there for every commemoration ceremony as long as they had lived on Oahu. They were just a delight to talk with; warm, friendly and full of life. She asked me if I had served in the military and I told her that I had served in the Army Communications Corp from 1970-1972 but was stationed at the Pentagon and had not been sent to Viet Nam.

The most touching part of the ceremony occurred when they laid a very large wreath in the water for every ship sunk during the attack and the ship’s name was called out as a lone bell was rung and reverberated until the echo faded out to silence.  You could hear a pin drop. It was so touching.

Just before the end of the ceremony the speaker asked all who had served in the military to please stand but I didn’t think I should as I hadn’t seen combat like many others who were there.  Suddenly I felt this hand at my back pushing me up out of my seat and it was the older woman I had been talking to and I whispered to her that I didn’t think I should. And she said, “Whatever you did you responded to the call to serve your country when it needed you. And she added emphatically, “Stand Up.” I did and the warehouse just rang out with an applause that seemed to last forever for all those who had served in the military

In truth I was a very reluctant soldier and during my service I thought mostly about getting out of the Army and into Graduate School so I never really reflected much on the fact that I served but on that day I realized that I would always be one of the millions of fellow Americans who had served in the military when needed; knowing it required me to put my best laid plans aside for two years and too that I might have to put my life on the line in doing so.

I will always remember that morning on Oahu and the wonderful wife of an old soldier who forced me to stand up and be counted.

On this Veterans Day my thoughts are also with those from our class who whatever they did in the service they too “…responded to the call to serve [our] country”, especially those who were sent to Viet Nam.  And today I’m holding special thoughts for Jimmy Clark and Jim McGarity from our class who came back with wounds that hastened the end of their lives and to a fellow grade school (ICS) friend Charles “Tucky” Allen who never made it home. If I missed someone from the class who was wounded while in Viet Nam my sincere apology.

As always. God Bless America.

Danny Burk


September 2018

Coach Dick Walker

Richard Walker was born in Cleveland, Ohio on January 21, 1933, to Leonard & Harriet Walker.  He attended Cleveland East High School and John Carroll University. He excelled in football in both institutions.  He was a 3 year starter and letterman at center and linebacker playing all 60 minutes of every game in his junior and senior year, never missing a second on offense, defense and special teams. He was ultimately inducted into the John Carol Hall of fame.  After graduating from John Carroll, CoachWalker had a short assistant coaching career at Cleveland Latin High School before being recruited by Monsignor Edward Spires.

He arrived in Columbus in 1959; he became the head football coach and head basketball coach and taught American History and physical education.  His first football team which he inherited from Coach John Murphy went 9-0 with remarkable wins over Worthington High School, Delaware Hayes, Ironton, St.Charles and Linden McKinley.  He inherited excellent players 4 of which were inducted into the Watterson High School hall of fame.  His motivation and leadership catalyzed this and all of his other teams.  During his career at Watterson he compiled a record of 50 -11-3, for a winning percentage of 81%.  In his last 3 years,  his team went 26-1-1 for a 93% winning record culminating in an unbelievable 32-0 victory over #1 Upper Arlington, a game that is still remembered with great pride by the Watterson community.  Watterson became undisputed State Championship, in the largest division at the time, Class AAA as voted by the Associated Press and United Press International. 

Coach Walker left Watterson and started an impressive post high school career.  He coached for 2 years at Toledo and additional year at the Naval Academy.  During the time in high school and early college coaching career, he obtained a Master’s Degree from The Ohio State University and also participated in the National Guard.   On leaving Navy, Coach Walker joined the Ohio State University and coached under Woody Hayes from 1969-1976.  He left Ohio State to coach in the New England Patriot organization under Chuck Fairbanks, and then with Pittsburgh Steelers coaching under Chuck Noll from 1978-1981.  He participated in 2 Super Bowl games in which the Steelers were victorious.  He left the Steeler organization to coach the Montreal Alouettes in 1982, and then the Chicago Blitz in the AmericanFootball League in 1983.  He retired, and then subsequently started coaching again at the high school level in Atlanta, Georgia and Las Vegas, Nevada.  Wanting to return to Columbus, he sought the advice of several people, one of which was Ray Griffin, Archie Griffin’s brother, who Coach Walker had mentored at Ohio State.   He called Ray Griffin 2 weeks before his death.  He was killed as a result of an automobile accident in Las Vegas shortly thereafter. Coach Walker, at the age of 79 wanted to continue coaching.  He had kept himself physically and mentally fit, he wanted to continue innovating, strategizing, and mentoring young men. He had a remarkable career.  He touched the lives of many people and taught many positive lessons on the football field and in the classroom.  He was arguably the seminal figure in Watterson High School football history, starting a proud tradition.

As delivered at BWHS’s first football players reunion by James L. Moses, M.D.


October 2015

November Light

By Dan McGrath

This time, this place is mine.  This light, so soft and kind,
Quite filtered now by thinning leaves still clinging high.
I hear a twit and rest my shovel, look to find
This kinglet, ruby crowned, in brush now bare close by.

Months back, with summer’s heat, with shadows hard to eye,
In truth, life throbbed some stronger pulse, I’ll grant you that.
One would not see this kinglet -- though perhaps up high.
A summer’s seldom subtle.  November’s where it’s at.

I’m sixty-eight today, and smile at the thought.
I enter this November, pleased the light is soft.
Perspective won with years, the lessons I’ve been taught
Bring new found joy in smaller things that earlier I’d scoffed.

My shovel comes to hand.  That smile’s on my face.
November light engulfs me.  I love this time and place.


February 2013


Buckeye Leaf Fiasco

By Guido Boggioni

This happen to Bonnie and me on our way back to Texas from my mom's furernal. The following story was writter by Joe Blundo of the Columbus Dispatch.Since this article appeared in the Dispatch. This story has hit two Columbus TV station and has been pick up by several other newspapews and all over the internet. I guess the moral of the story is if you have a buckeye leaf on the back of your car don't drive through Tennessee.

BLUNDO: Buckeye leaf mistaken by police out of state

Joe Blundo is a Dispatch Life columnist.

Tennessee police might need better instruction in botany and Buckeye football. A 65-year-old woman recently came under suspicion, she reported, for having a Buckeye leaf decal on her car. The cops mistook it for a marijuana symbol. “It’s just amazing they would be that dumb,” Bonnie Jonas-Boggioni said. She lives in Plano, Texas, but she grew up in Columbus and is known as a lifelong Buckeyes fan. She has served as president of the Ohio State Alumni Club in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

On Feb. 4, Jonas-Boggioni and husband Guido Boggioni, 66, were driving home to Plano after a trip to Columbus to attend the funeral of his mother, Eleanor, 92. They were in the westbound lanes of I-40, a few miles east of Memphis, when a black police SUV with flashing lights pulled them over, Jonas-Boggioni said. A second black SUV soon pulled up behind the first one. “Knowing I wasn’t speeding, I couldn’t imagine why,” she said.

Two officers approached, one on each side of the car. “They were very serious,” she said. “They had the body armor and the guns.” Because the couple’s two schnauzers were barking furiously, one of the officers had Jonas-Boggioni exit the car so he could hear her better. “What are you doing with a marijuana sticker on your bumper?” he asked her. She explained that it is actually a Buckeye leaf decal, just like the ones that Ohio State players are given to put on their helmets to mark good plays. “He looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language,” she said.

At that point, Boggioni got out of the car to show that he was wearing a commemorative sweatshirt from the 2002 national-championship season, complete with a Buckeye leaf. The officer then explained that someone from outside his jurisdiction — apparently another officer — had spotted the leaf sticker and thought it might indicate that the car was carrying marijuana, Jonas-Boggioni said. She was too rattled to notice what police department the officers represented. But she suspects that a joint drug-interdiction effort was under way because they had passed several law-enforcement vehicles from different agencies.

Neither the Tennessee Highway Patrol nor the Shelby County sheriff’s office in Memphis had information about the traffic stop. A marijuana sticker would not be a sufficient reason to stop a car, said a spokeswoman for the West Tennessee Drug Task Force. Even if it were, Jonas-Boggioni said, police hunting drugs should know that a Buckeye leaf —which has five leaflets — doesn’t look much like a marijuana leaf, which typically has seven leaflets and a narrower shape.

Before they let her go on her way, the officers advised Jonas-Boggioni to remove the decal from her car. “I said, ‘You mean in Tennessee?’ and he said, ‘No, permanently.’ “I didn’t take it off. .?.?. This little old lady is no drug dealer.” Joe Blundo is a Dispatch columnist.


September 2012


by Steve Schieser

I went into the U.S. Army from Chicago in January 1969, following approximately six months of employment for Teletype Corporation. I had graduated from Columbus Technical Institute (now Columbus State) in June 1968.  I fully expected to go into the service but decided to work until I got drafted into the service.  Following training at Ft. Bragg, NC, Ft. Jackson, SC, and Ft. Gordon, GA, I was sent to Saigon, Vietnam for one year.  Having lost approximately 58,000 men and women to the Vietnam War (not to mention the thousands that came home disabled), this war’s outcome is very sad!  In my case, having made it home in one piece, Vietnam made me appreciate many things I had taken for granted in the USA – just simple things like being able to take a shower every day.  Vietnam is a very poor country, and we in the USA, live like kings and queens compared to them.  Regardless of the outcome, I am proud to have served in Vietnam.  I left Vietnam Sept. 28, 1970 and was discharged from the Army in Oakland, CA.

My twin brother Don, following ROTC and graduation from Ohio State University, joined the U.S. Army as an officer in April, 1971.  He was sent to advanced Army training and then on to Ft. Benning, GA in July, 1971.  In Saigon, Vietnam, I worked with a career U.S. Army sergeant named Baldessi.  He had been in the army a number of years and likely planned to stay in for 20-30 years.  Baldessi was sent to Ft. Benning to continue his career.  He saw my twin brother Don at Ft. Benning, went up to Don and said: “I know you; I was in Vietnam with you!”  My brother Don said: “Not with me you weren’t; that was my twin brother Steve.  A fellow soldier I had not known until I met him half way around the world in Vietnam ran into my twin brother in Georgia.


August 2012

Watterson “First Person” Article

by Jim Moses

Many of us at Watterson were extremely blessed with good supportive parents.  The work ethic of these people and their loving, nurturing, directive influence was hugely important.  Their constant example served us well and formed a basis for our future success.  They taught us valuable lessons that even today serve us well.

I was very fortunate to have great parents.  I could not have picked better people to guide me.  They taught by example; just living around them provided a sound “code of conduct” and was quietly motivational.

Often, the contributions of our parents go unrecognized.  As part of a lectureship I established in honor of my father at The Ohio State University, I oversaw the production of a tribute video about him.  I thought those of you that knew him and those that did not, might want to view this video.

My father was a great person, parent, physician, and wonderful teacher who could not have succeeded without the constant help of my mother.

To view the video, copy the following link and paste it in your browser:


July 2012


By Tom Eshelman

The “Missing in America Project” is a group of volunteers formed in 2006. They have been searching, contacting funeral homes all over the country for unclaimed cremated remains that have been kept in storage.  In some cases, laws have prevented the remains from being disposed of.  Some of the funeral homes have decided to keep these ashes, some of which are decades old, out of respect for the dead.

Among these remains are people who have served our country, veterans who deserve more than sitting on a shelf somewhere.

Last year the coordinator of Ohio’s “Missing in America Project” went through the records of the unclaimed remains at Cook & Son-Pally Funeral Home and found twelve sets of those who had been in the armed forces.  A loyal group of local veterans took charge of ten sets to make sure these remains would finally have a proper resting place. The other two sets would be buried by their families.

The oldest of these “vets” was Carl Reinig who was born on Oct. 23 in 1894.  He served in WWI from Oct. 5, 1918 until Jan. 27, 1919.

On May 22, 2012, I left my house on motorcycle at 6:30 a.m. and met other riders at the American Legion Post 144 just south of the city.  The Columbus Police Dept. and the Highway Patrol cleared the way, shutting down all traffic, both lanes, as we rode down I-70.  Our proud group was 100 strong, 2 abreast, traveling in the center lane with three hearses carrying the remains of ten veterans to the Dayton National Cemetery.

Congressmen Pat Tiberi and Steve Stivers along with Ohio Attorney General Mike Dewine, representative for U.S. Senator Rob Portman attended the ceremony, giving speeches to honor these veterans.

This entire day was very moving for all who had attended. It is rewarding to know that these veterans were acknowledged and that they had made their final journey.

Somewhere it is written – A veteran is someone who, at one point in their life, wrote a blank check made payable to the United States of America for any amount, up to and including their life…


May 2012




VANILLA – You are colorful, impulsive, a risk taker who sets high goals and do whatever it takes to meet them.  You have high expectations of yourself.  You live a hectic life, easily suggestible, expressive, idealistic; a private person.  People are drawn to your friendly, out-going personality, and you have particularly strong relationships with your family.

CHOCOLATE - You are lively, creative, dramatic, charming, enthusiastic, and the life of the party.  You are seductive, well-dressed, extroverted, easily influenced, a follower, intuitive, one who enjoys intimate relationships. You are charming; your enthusiasm and creativity add to your allure.  You love to be in the spotlight and can become bored with the usual routine.

STRAWBERRY – You are shy, yet emotionally robust, skeptical, detailed-oriented, opinionated, introverted, and self critical. Easily made to feel guilty; cranky, pessimistic, low self-esteem. You may be shy but you also have a steely backbone and have no problem making your opinions known.  Your tendency towards perfection can be irritating.

BUTTER PECAN - You are orderly, a perfectionist, careful, detail-oriented, conscientious, ethical, and fiscally conservative.  You are competitive, aggressive in sports and the take-charge type of personality. You are very loyal and especially compassionate towards others. You carry these traits at your work as well as in your personal relationships.

CHOCOLATE CHIP – You are generous and competitive.  You are a charmer in social situations, ambitious and competent.  A visionary, a conqueror who enjoys being catered to, is intolerant of defeat.  You’re a go-getter with many accomplishments, but never talks about them, preferring to count your blessings. Your captivating personality makes you a natural leader.

BANANA – You are easy going, well-adjusted, generous, honest, and empathetic.  You manage to juggle all of your duties with calm assurance.  You’re incredibly generous of heart and a good listener. That’s why you are often the one others turn to for solace and advice.


April 2012

We couldn't find anyone to contribute a story this month, so Carla provided this verse by an unknown author. Please consider telling us your 1st person story next month.



May today find you rich in spare moments to spend,

May you never be lacking a loved one or friend,

May you always have purpose giving strength to your dreams,

May your heart not be short of a few crazy schemes,

May you look at life squarely and find it worthwhile,

And may every day give you good reason to smile.


March 2012



This week I lost a very dear friend…

Her name was Barbara. I met her years ago working together part time at Lazarus Northland.  I noticed that she was special right away by the way she treated people.  Although she was old enough to collect social security, she chose to work part time gift wrapping, as well as her full time job - more than 60 hours a week.  She impressed me with her energy and the fact that nothing seemed to get her down. Never a day did she forget to make someone feel special.  Always a kind word or an unexpected treat was her manner.  By the time of her retirement from Lazarus, I felt we had become like family. I had learned a lot from her and it wasn’t all work related.  Her two children were on the opposite sides of the country and she needed help from time to time.  The month after my own retirement, Barb fell and broke her shoulder.  I was able to attend to her daily and loved every minute of our time together.  Over the last five years other ailments had begun to trouble her but she never gave into the pain. She fought through the aggravation, smiling and praying, with the determination that she would get better.  Still working up until this past December, we talked about her moving to Florida to be with her daughter.  Even though she was convinced this was only a small set back, I wasn’t so sure.  She finally decided to take disability (not retirement) and move south until she was well.

The weekend of her move, I misunderstood what arrangements had been made. When I called to tell her I was on my way to see her and say “good-bye”, she was already gone.

We spoke several times on the phone, more health issues was the news.  No complaints - she was staying strong - she was going to get better. I wonder then if I had missed my last chance to see her.  She told me she loved me…


I question myself now, did she really know how I felt about her.  I think I acknowledge those around me who are special or who have done something special for me, the way that she did. Or do I?

I think at our age we all should remember Barbara’s lesson.  We don’t know what each day is going to bring. We need to acknowledge our family, our friends, and anyone who has been kind to us; we may not have another chance.

I’ll miss you my sweet friend…


February 2012


By Dona Ramey Carey

            My husband (Dick Carey, North High Class of ’64) and I have always loved antiques and antique houses.  We moved to Cape Cod in the mid ‘90’s and purchased a new house in Falmouth.  We sold the house in 2000 and returned to Ohio for a year, but then decided that we missed the Cape and the three of our four children who now lived there.  We decided to return, with the intent purpose of purchasing an antique home.

            Upon returning to Massachusetts, we found that the housing bubble had kicked in big time; and any antique home was now well out of our financial range.  We spent a few years renting and babysitting for our expanding herd of grandchildren, all the while keeping an eye to the real estate market for an affordable antique.

            In 2008, a First Period home (circa 1685) became available in Sandwich at approximately half of the original asking price.  A young couple had bought the house from the husband’s parents, who had purchased the house in the 1970’s; but were now ready for a newer model.

            The price was still a bit high, as East Coast prices still assault our Ohio sensibilities; but we decided to check it out anyway.

            The house was everything we had dreamed about, and more!  It had five working fireplaces, feather-edged original paneling, butterfly hinges, random width floor boards, exposed summer beams, etc., and all in good condition on almost 2 acres with a pond!  When we left, I commented to Dick that I had the feeling when I entered that the house was happy and was hugging me.  He said that was exactly how he would have described the feeling that he had in the house.

            We talked at length over the possibility of buying the house, but I was still worried about the amount of mortgage we would be incurring “at our age”.  We decided to investigate any grants available to renovate historic homes and to further investigate the history of the house.  The house had been built by Nathan Tobey in approximately 1685 and remained in the Tobey family until 1895.

            At one point, we visited the old cemetery in Sandwich, looking for graves of the original inhabitants.  We didn’t have much luck there, as the tombstones of the Pilgrim Century were made of wood and did not survive.   While walking around the cemetery, I was saying aloud:  “If the Tobey family can hear me, I want your house.  I’ll take good care of it, and won’t modernize it like some potential buyers want to do.  But, I need some help here—I don’t have enough money!”  My husband was laughing at me the whole time!

            A couple of weeks later, the house went into contract.  We were not going to get our dream home.

            About a month after the house went into contract, the Mega Millions lottery hit an all time high; so I decided to take a few tickets, which the machine picked for me.  I won a quarter million dollars.

            Yes---that’s $250,000!!!!!  I called the realtor the next day and asked if “my” house was still in contract.  She said that, strangely, the contract had fallen through the day before—the day I won the money.  We purchased the house.

            Coincidence ?  Maybe.  But the fact remains that if you had four of the five numbers, plus the Megaball, in the drawing, you receive $10,000.  If you have all five numbers, but not the Megaball, as the machine picked for me, you received $250,000., but the odds of that happening are One in Four Million.


                                                                                    Dona Ramey Carey

                                                                                    (Writing from a very old house on Cape Cod)


January 2012

My Story

by Tom Eshelman

This story begins in October 1964, Career Day at BWHS.  As a young man I listened to the Air Force recruiter and became mesmerized by the tales I was told.  During Christmas break that year, I went and talked further to the recruiter and took the test to get into the Air Force.  My physical was on the 12th of February 1965.  In June 1965, I turned eighteen on the 3rd, graduated from high school on the 6th and by the 30th I started basic training at Lackland AFB in San Antonio Texas.

After basic training I was given orders and loaded onto a C-47 Gooney Bird and sent north to Chanute AFB in Rantoul Illinois for electronics school.  After graduation in April 1966, I listed Mather AFB in California or Germany on my “dream sheet” as to the location where I would like to be stationed.  I was sent, along with most of the class, to Lockbourne AFB, just south of Columbus!  My job, working with a crew chief, was to work on all the equipment used to support C-130 aircraft, MD-3 generators, BT-400 heaters and NF-2 light carts to keep aircraft flying.

Our main job though was to fly down to Fort Campbell, Kentucky to act like taxis for the army.   Soldiers were loaded up and half way through the flight you would hear the words “Airborne” and they would jump out of a perfectly good airplane!

About this time there was a young southern Baptist minister who was going around the country speaking to the masses.  After each of his sermons, his people would go out and burn their own homes, loot businesses, and kill each other.  I had heard from fellow vets with the National Guard stationed at the Great Lakes in Detroit that there even had been people hung from the street lights.

The Army 101st Airborne in Kentucky and the 82nd Air from Fort Bragg were transported by my team to whatever city this preacher was headed for to control the race riots - Chicago, June 1966; Detroit, July 1967; Baltimore, 1968; Washington D.C., 1968.

 On April 4, 1968 in Memphis TN., a bullet eventually found this individual.  There is a federal holiday in January named for him and last month the government unveiled a monument to this leader - Dr. Martin Luther King.


At least that’s the way I remember it…


December 2011

America’s Funniest Home Videos?
By Susan (Schorr) Scheetz
About 10 years ago, my daughter, Meghan, and granddaughter, Madison, were living with me. I do not recommend this to any grandparent! It is a whole lot of work and I swear I aged 10 years physically and mentally helping to raise my granddaughter for almost 3 years. I sang “Quack, quack, quack, quack,  cock-a-doodle- doodlie” so many times I thought I was one of the Wiggles. And good old Grover with his wonderful antics. It was like raising my own three all over again. Without the energy!
But I digress. Madison was not a good sleeper then or now. And one day, she had fallen asleep in my arms in the family room. Dutiful Gama that I am, I just lay on the couch with her asleep in my arms so Meghan and I could get some rest from the fussy baby.
Meghan was getting some laundry done and whispered to me that I should not put Madison down, but it appeared that a chipmunk had come into the house! HELLO! NOT PUT HER DOWN?? I had Meghan get our two cats and position them on either side of the china hutch in the diningroom where the chipmunk had decided to hide. No problem I told her, it can’t get under the hutch. WRONG! It could and it had.
I had just reloaded all the china and tchotchkies back in the hutch about a week before, since I had had some painting done. I blocked off the living room and kitchen with flattened cardboard boxes and a screen door, necessity being the mother of invention. I proceeded to unload the china hutch. Meanwhile, the cats are standing guard on either side of the hutch.
At this point Meghan and I realized that we couldn’t move the hutch, even unloaded. I called a neighbor and explained the situation and he said he’d come over to help.
The cats are still standing guard. A few minutes later my neighbor and his wife came over and with no trouble at all he slid the china hutch out (I am such a wuss).
I forgot to mention that as soon as the doorbell rang, one cat took off and wasn’t seen for the rest of the escapade.
As soon as the hutch moved, out comes Mr. Chipmunk. He runs for the kitchen, hits the screen door insert and hangs a left.  The cat is on his tail literally and bounces off the screen (bends it) and hangs a left. Meghan jumps up on a chair with a fishing net. My neighbors and I are laughing and the cat and the chipmunk are running around the dining room at warp speed, again with them hitting the screen door (I didn’t really need that screen insert anyway.)All of a sudden, the cat lies down. I figured she was looking for the chipmunk.
We all were and no one knew where it had gone. So pet person that I am, I asked the cat, “Izzy, where’s the chipmunk?” She just lay there looking at me. See I figured I’d get an answer. You know, “Meow, meow.” Or something like that.
After looking all around the dining room, I looked closer at the cat and low and behold sticking out of her very, very furry white chest is a little brown tail whipping around. She was lying on top of it! I’m not exactly sure how my neighbor did it, but he managed at some point in the long chase to pick up the chipmunk. He had come prepared with industrial gloves. So there is the stupid chipmunk, with his heart racing a mile a minute. My cat going crazy that she didn’t have the munk for her playmate and through all this, my granddaughter slept. Go figure.
My neighbor took the chipmunk outside and dutifully let it go. I was all for drowning it or worse after all the trouble it had caused.
Never had one in the house again, but this year I am battling chipmunks and squirrels in my yard. Lord, do they ever love to dig holes and eat everything I plant.
I know, you all say "awwww, Chip and Dale."  Well let me tell you, Chip and Dale destroy my bushes, my plants and my planters. They eat my tomatoes and empty my birdfeeders. They have destroyed my stone wall and eaten the roots and killed many shrubs. They are cute adorable rats and I would be happy to be rid of them.
There must have been a bumper crop of munks this year because they are everywhere.
Every time I think of our afternoon of craziness, I wish we could have videotaped the whole thing. It was a sure winner for America’s funniest home videos.
Note to self; if I would stop feeding the birds I probably wouldn’t have chipmunks destroying my flower beds and squirrels bounding across my roof to reach the feeders. But on our long gray winter days, it sure is nice to see the cardinals and Jays flitting around the drab yard. I am presently at war with a family of squirrels who empty my many feeders as quickly as they can. More rats!


November 2011

My Peace Corps Memory
(Forty Years Later)
By Cathie Conrad Dotzauer
            It was an ordinary sunny Saturday in the little village of Micoud, St. Lucia. I was
nearing the end of my second year of teaching music and other subjects in the primary
school and then in the new junior-secondary school built with Canadian funds. I knew at
the end of my two years I’d be returning to my home in the U.S. At times I thought I’d
like to extend my Peace Corps service for a third year, but then I realized that another
year would make it harder to leave the kind, fun-loving St. Lucians, who had grown to be
my friends.
            Saturday usually meant that I would be hand-washing my clothes outside. As I
gathered my clothes together, I heard a knock at the front door.  When I got there, sitting
on my front porch was a darling little black cherub dressed in his Sunday best---white
shirt and blue pants! I couldn’t understand how he got there until I saw his mom, a
young woman from down the street, hiding behind the porch wall. She didn’t know me
well and shyly asked if I could take a photo of her son. I got my camera, took his picture,
and promised that I’d get her a copy as soon as I could.
            I was not prepared for what she asked next---could I take her son home with me to
the U.S.? After all, she said, I could give him all the advantages that she couldn’t give
him. Slowly, I put together an answer. Surely, I said, he is better off with his mother
who loves him and knows him. She and the baby left shortly after that.
            I did get a photo of her son to her before I came back to the States, and I will
never forget her wish to give up her little one so he could have a better life. Of course,
what I learned after two years in St. Lucia was that their society may not have the wealth
of the United States, but they have love and generosity beyond what is seen in other parts
of the world.
PS: This year we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Peace Corps by
John F. Kennedy. The Peace Corps is still serving many countries throughout the world,
sending teachers, doctors, nurses, agriculture specialists, etc. where they are needed.

October 1, 2011

by Guido Boggioni
On Saturday morning I visited with my mother at Whetstone Nursing Home and then saturday afternoon I visited with my wife's aunt. We sat and talk about the old times and we watch the Ohio State game together. As we watched the game we talk about each other family and how everyone was doing. We also shared the pictures that we had taken over the years of family members. I also told her of the dinner that I had to go to that night for our 35th reunion. Before I left, after the game was over, I gave her a book of my poetry to share with her family.
What I came away with that day I put into the poem Treasure. It tells a story about the moments we spend with a relative or friend and what it means to share those moments.
                                   The moments that we spend with a relative or friend.
                                   Listing to their stories about the past.
                                   These will be our treasured moments in the end.
                                   The keepsakes and mementos we received from a relative or friend.
                                   Whether it be jewelry, old pictures a letter or poem.
                                   These will all turn into lasting treasures in the end.
                                   The things that we leave behind to our relatives and friends.
                                   Whether it be jewelry, old pictures a story or poem.
                                   These will all turn into their lasting treasures in the end.
                                   So take some time to spend with a relative or friend.
                                   And take the time to listen to what they have to say.
                                   Because these will be your lasting treasures in the end.
Over the years I have shared my poetry with a lot of my friends and claassmates. I hope June Reeder still has the copy of the book of poetry that I gave to her.
                                                                     Dreams Of Yesterday
                           When tomorrows turn into Yesterday and dreams of things to come our way.
                           They will be with us throughout our lives, the dreams of yesterday.
                           What will we do with them? Build on them, or let them go away?
                           We will have many more tomorrows - but none like yesterday.
                           The dreams that we can build our lives on and promises to be made.
                           Our hopes and dreams of yesterday have carried us along the way.
                           There will be many more tomorrows - but none like yesterday.
                           We can share our hopes and sorrows and dreams of yesterday.
                           Till we meet and it will be the morrow - and we can fill our dreams of yesterday.


September 1, 2011

By Michael R Kosec
Here is a little ghost story of sorts. When I was knee high to a grasshopper, which would place me about five years old if my memory serves me well. We lived at 266 East Garden Rd. Cols. OH 43214. As it was told to me, there was an old woman who lived in the house. She must have been about sixty-four or so. Well, she was a cripple, and then died mysteriously. 
My parents bought the house for the huge sum of 11,000.00 dollars. Back in the day, that was when you had to put 20% down, and money was hard to come by. My dad had a full time job, and then bought cars on the cheap and was always able to find someone who was willing to pay up-meaning paying a lot more than my dad paid for it. Cars were in short supply and nobody had much money back then.
So we lived in this nice house for a few years, but during that time there would be this terrible thumping in the basement in the middle of the night. It would wake all of us up. Pop (my dad) would always sleep with a machete just under the bed. He had done this ever since being in the big WW11. Sometimes he would go alone, to find the source of the noise and sometimes we would all go usually in single file. I was always at the back of the line. By the time we would get to the basement door and open it, the thumping would stop. This in itself is dreadfully scary, but there is more.
In the course of a couple of years, my mom would be able to walk less and less. She went to many Columbus doctors, but they could find no cure for her pain and paralysis. The thumping continued. We were all very worried. In the back of our minds we were always wondering what caused the death of the previous owner.
Finally, an aunt convinced my mom to see a specialist at the Cleveland Clinic. I remember going once on a train from Columbus to Cleveland. It was all very exciting. Up in Cleveland, the doctors found a tumor wrapped around my mom’s spine. It was not your run of the mill operation. But she wasn’t getting any better so the doctors were given the go ahead. My mom recuperated and made a full recovery. Meanwhile back in Columbus, my dad was busy finding another house with no steps for my mom to climb in the same neighborhood. This was not an easy thing to do. He found a house at 366 East Jeffrey Pl. for the grand sum of 14,000.00 dollars. Did I mention that money was hard to come by.
To make a short story longer, my mom did very well at the new digs. We lived there for about fourteen years. She never did have another pain after the operation. Today she lives independently in a beautiful retirement center here in Naples FL. She is 98 and needs no assistance and still has no pain. She just came back from a three week vacation in Colorado. She did say that people don’t talk on airplanes like they use to do.
Today, looking back, we are so happy to have moved from that dreadful house on Garden Rd. I have noticed that it had been bought and sold many times over the years, but we are not looking back. 
I remain very scared and respectful of the other world and try not to travel alone in the middle of the night. And I don’t like thumping sounds still.


August 1, 2011


Fading Boundaries
by Dan McGrath
              In New England, stone walls still abound
                        Deep in woods, where their ruins confound.
                        And just why they were laid
                        Is now lost. They've decayed.
                        Man builds square but then nature comes 'round.
            A loose system, comprised of my wife Betsy, my dog and myself, has just returned from a walk in the woods.
 In the fullness of summer, the Connecticut woods present an untracked, rolling pattern of greens and grays -- a dense network of tree trunks and branches. The branches are thick above, so there is no sense of the sky. Last year's brown leaves, damp with rain, still cover the ground, and this brown surface is interrupted by the surprising color of various sized patches of bright green haircap moss. This green, in more muted tones, is repeated above in the flattened needles of the hemlocks. Throughout the woods, ancient granite rock outcroppings of various sizes, their edges rounded by glaciers and thousands of rains, are coated with lichens. A smoother moss covers most dead-falls, many of which are caught at an angle, interrupted in their descent by the dense branches of neighboring trees.
            The soft, wet surface dampens sound; so footfalls are nearly mute. But when one stops for a moment to absorb the sense of the woods, even that sound is gone. Then, there is only the call of a hawk, and the playful squeak of chickadees in the hemlocks above. "The woods are lovely, dark and deep," as Robert Frost wrote about a similar New England forest farther north.
             Our dog stands by my feet, ears raised, tail alert, watching with us and wondering. Our loose system has tightened quite a bit in the years since we rescued this dog from the animal shelter. We know now what to expect from one another. There is a strengthened boundary around us, but the boundary between us has softened; there's lots of information flow.
            As we watch, we can see that other boundaries have softened as well.
            Throughout these woods are stone walls constructed by farmers two hundred years ago, helping to clear and mark the boundaries of their hopelessly stony fields. Having grown up in Ohio, with its smooth deep topsoil, I can't imagine how anyone, ever, farmed these Connecticut hills. 
            But I do know something about building dry stone walls. I've tried my hand now a couple of times, and will again. The labor is enormously satisfying, and I fancy I can hear the whispers of my Celtic ancestors engaged in just this work across the ocean. The final product, with its mix of tones drawn from the native rocks, is immediately pleasing to the eye. My stone walls are comprised of smaller, heftable rocks, while many of the stones built into these old walls seem impossibly large. Most have been fitted tightly with a care and craft that is beyond my abilities.   How were such walls built without machinery? 
            Clearly those farmers had a strenuous life and, historically, their farms only made sense for a short while. They were put out of business by the arrival of railroads to midwestern farms. Over the last eighty years, forests have reclaimed the fields Yet their rock walls remain, running through the woods just as they were built, not on any predictable pattern, but as you see in the photographs of western Ireland, up and down hills, at seemingly capricious angles. In spite of their age, the walls are often intact. Encountered on a walk in the woods, they're an enigma -- stone gates to nowhere, walls that separate nothing of distinction.  
            Frost also wrote, "Something there is that does not love a wall." He was thinking of frost heaves, the physicist's entropy. Order drifts to disorder where life has departed. But what nature has done to these walls belies Frost. As the old boundaries fade, moss and lichens now lovingly cover the walls, just as they cover the rock outcroppings. The walls are now incorporated in a new pattern.
            Other boundaries can fade as well -- boundaries between nations, between religions, between cultures. In some cases, boundaries soften when life departs -- when the autopoietic network of processes that create such tight systems have dissolved. Boundaries arise elsewhere, where they're needed to sustain new life. 
            But I'm particularly interested in the boundaries around loose systems. They can serve to enforce barriers between one group of people and another, and to fence out corrective truths. I understand the process, observe it in today's politics, and find it saddening. Within such walls, otherwise intelligent people engage in a dance of consensual delusion.   It will not end well.
            Betsy and I are fortunate to be in good health today, and hope to be taking our daily walks for years to come. But when I die, I want no efforts at sustaining boundaries where they no longer belong. Please, no sealed casket, no marked and bounded grave. I want cremation.
            I want my atoms blown into the fresh air to rejoin nature in some other cycle of life. I like the idea of folks inhaling me when they least expect it. Scatter any ashes among those patches of moss and among the rock walls.
            Let me be part of fading boundaries.




July 1, 2011

By Julie Lyons Miller
When we were living on Weisheimer Road, my Grandpa had a grandfather clock he loved because it was built the same year he was born – 1886. He was the only one who pulled the chains to wind it. I was very uneasy about the clock since the “gong” sound it made on the half hour and hour was very low and scary to me. When my Grandpa died, the clock stopped. My mom tried to get it started but to no avail. A day or two after the funeral she tried again and the old clock started up. Her friend told her that grandfather clocks attach themselves to one person because the clock gets used to the way that person pulls the chains to wind it. The clock worked just fine after that, but I was still uneasy about the clock. I never touched the clock before and had no intentions of ever touching it – it gave me the creeps!
When we moved to Tennessee, Mom was very careful to hire a moving company that had someone who knew how to dismantle, move, and set up grandfather clocks. The man that came was very careful and admired our clock. He was saying how pretty it was and asked if he could start it up. Mom told him the clock was kind of finicky about who touched it, but when he pulled the chains to wind it, the clock started ticking right away. We were amazed and Mom was very happy to have her clock working in our new home.
Several months later, the clock stopped at 2:37 in the afternoon. Mom called me at work and was crying because she said that meant someone had died. She had tried and tried to start the clock but it would not start! A day or two later she decided to call the moving company who had moved us to ask the mover if he would be able to come out and restart the clock. She was transferred to his supervisor who informed her that the man had died in a car accident. “When did he die”, she inquired. The supervisor told her three days earlier. She asked what time and he said about 2:30 in the afternoon! Mom waited another day and then tried to start the clock, this time the clock started right up.
When Mom died the clock stopped…
Now it stands silently – remembering those who loved it.
(This is a true story. Julie felt “the clock” did not like her so she never touched it nor try to start it. The clock now quietly resides with Julie’s daughter Christina and her family in Texas.)


June 1, 2011

A Mother’s Day Story
By Michele Grau Wiles Harrison
I had awakened before the alarm, the house was uncharacteristically quiet. I mentally went over the checklist of what I would need for my journey that day: transcripts from schools, record of immunizations, cash, directions from LaGuardia Airport to Adelphi University, Long Island, New York. My bedroom window was open slightly and the June humid air was blowing across my feet.
I heard a stirring outside my bedroom door, probably my father rising and readying for work. This was the day I would be leaving my home and the watchful eyes of my parents. I knew I would miss my three younger brothers and my Grandmother who lived with us. She is the one who planted the seed in me to appreciate beauty and the finer things of life.
My mother knocked on my door and said I should get up if I wanted to say goodbye to my father. I went downstairs as he was finishing his breakfast. He told me to write often. He also told me not to do anything that I could not tell my mother. (I always hated it when said that) He stood up hugged me and kissed me goodbye and told me he loved me and out the door he went to his job at the Columbus Show Case where he was Senior Foreman.
I headed back upstairs to prepare for the trip; I had been packed for two weeks, just needed to put last minute items in the bag. I had thought about this venture ever since the Peace Corp and VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) had been on the campus of the Ohio State University. After two years in the school of Arts and Science my counselor wanted me to declare a major and I was undecided as to a career path. Leaving high school I thought Medical Lab Technology would be my major but my social needs were not met in this field. So I joined VISTA and took a year out of my studies and… Could I really make a difference in someone else’s life as the recruiter had said? I choose to work in the United States because I thought as a country we should take care of our own. The three month training would give the volunteers the necessary tools and knowledge of agencies “to help others help themselves”, a VISTA mantra that struck the strings of my soul.
My grandmother was up now. We called her “Mom” because that’s what my father called her. I told her this was the day I was leaving for New York. She asked if I would be going through the Grand Central Train Station. I said no that I was flying. Her husband had worked for the railroad and she and her sister Hatie were well traveled using the rails. Her mind was starting to leave; the doctor called it hardening of the arteries. After my one year stint, she would not know who I was, although she would always like me and respond positively to me. Of course I did not know this at the time.
I said goodbye to my three brothers. Chris (one year younger) said, “Be sure and let me know of you get any in New York City, I might want to go there.” Rick (two years younger) told me he loved me and would miss me and that he would visit me when I got my permanent assignment. Dan (three years younger) asked me if I had any money on me, he needed to borrow some.     
Mother and I got into the car and drove to the airport. She would park and come into the terminal and wait with me at the gate until I boarded. As we sat, she put her little hand into mine and with tears in her eyes she said, “Michele, I am doing something for you that my mother never did for me, I’m letting you go. This is so hard for me but I love you enough to let you go.” I was perplexed. Was it normal for the child to be so excited about leaving home and difficult for the parent to let go? I came back to Columbus, Ohio after I had served my time and I would never live more than four miles from her. Quite possibly I was the one who couldn’t let go.