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Thursday, October 11, 1984


Pix #1 - Graduation photos of Mrs. Walker and Bob Harley

PIX #2 - Corner Drug Store where she had her first Sundae

PIX #3 - Across the street...Emerine Block and north of it Colonial Theatre.

PIX #4 - The high school and the band

School reunions are a time for remembering the events of the classmates have changed since graduation...what happened to so and so... those special events in school life...old flames...and a host of other topics.

After 50 years the attendance at school reunions get slim even though memories live on. When the class reunion of the Fostoria High School Class of 1929 was held earlier this year one member, Ruth Geere Walker, now residing in Ukiah, CA., couldn't be present. But she did share by writing a letter which contributed to the trip down "memory lane" for those who attended. Her letter was read at the gathering.


Robert "Bob" Harley, Detroit, also a member of the class, was present for the reunion. After graduation Bob worked for The Fostoria Times, "Cap" Carle's newspaper, before continuing journalism studies at Ohio State University. After graduation he worked for a number of large city dailies, winding up at The Detroit News, where he retired.

Bob knows good reading matter when he sees or hears it. When Ruth Walker's letter was read he made a mental note to tell me about it. Incidentally he is a regular reader of Potluck.

Bob, myself, and Al Bryan, who was editor of The Times before it merged with The Review, had a reunion of our own the next day after the reunion. We had some catching up to do ourselves. More about that later.

Harley suggested that the Walker letter be reprinted in this here it is.


"There is a well-known refrain, `you can never go back'. By not visiting Fostoria and seeing what I know to be many changes, I can go back, for in my mind's eye it is still as it was".

"Walking down Main St. today I'd probably feel like a stranger...there would be few, if any of the old landmarks. But by not seeing these changes it is still familiar territory. I can still stroll south on Main until I pass the Times newspaper, published by Roscoe Carle, located where Main and Perry Sts meet. Does the train still hold up traffic periodically? After crossing the tracks I can still glance to my left to see if the interurban for Lima is waiting there".


"Then proceeding on the right hand side of the street past Slatter's Meat Market, Lutz Bakery and the Star Grocery, where I can buy oranges and bananas by the dozen, not today's per pound method. I can pass Rice's Music Store, where I sometimes worked after school and weekends and look across at the remnants of Tony's Ice Cream Parlor. I can still remember the slow sweeping ceiling fans that wafted that special sweet-laden air that ice cream parlors always had, and how shocked everyone was when the building folded up like an egg carton early one morning not too long after we all had our graduation picutes taken in the studio upstairs".

"By this time I'll have passed the Woolworth 5 and 10 Cent Store on the other side of the street, where they really sold things for five and ten cents and glance to see what's playing at the Colonial Theatre. At the tight time of day I might see the lady going in who played the piano accompaniment. I'll have already passed under the overhand of its competitor the Magestic, more commonly known as the Bucket-of-Blood".


"At one of the right hand corners (Center St?), I'll pass a drug store where as a little girl I had my first Tin Roof Sundae, while listening to some men draped on the fire escape lustily singing Hail! Hail! the gang's all here, what the hell do we care. They were celebrating the end of World War I".

"Continuing down the street I'll finally come to Crawford's Drygoods. Downtown pretty much ended at Tiffin Street, although there were a few things strung on beyond".

"While in town I can again visit the Fostoria High School and once again become enmeshed in the excitement of our usually victorious football team, and if I wander through the halls inside I may run into Miss McDermott or Miss Bourquin, and would like as not hear Professor Wainwright's bellowing as he rehearsed the band in the auditorium. I remember how proud everyone was of that band".


"I can still go swimming in the reservoir and remember how a girl friend driving her folk's car offered two of us a ride home, but stipulated we'd have to stand on the running board so we wouldn't get the upholstery wet, since wer were wearing only our dripping bathing suits...then proceeded to take us at hair raising speed down Main Street, much to our embarrassment".

"I can still wander past the house where I was born at 724 N. Main and run into Sacket's Greenhouse just a block away, or turn up Summit Street to visit the Union Street School".

"There are many other random things I will still be able to remember... putting up the ice card in the window so the ice man would know whether to leave 25, 50, 75, or 100 pounds and how hard it was to take out the drip pan without spilling it...getting silvers of ice from the back of the iceman's wagon, wrapping them in newspaper and licking them like lollipops...waiting for the ice cream man with his white wagon pulled by a jingle-bell adorned horse...going with a doctor to make house calls out in the country".


"Probably most of the places I've mentioned no longer exist, but by not visiting Fostoria they do to me. That's why I say I send my regrets with mixed feelings".

"I've gone to school and camps and lived in a number of places...Long Island; Cape Cod; Dover, Delaware; Boston; Holland, Michigan; Chicago; Santa Barbara, California, but when someone says "Home Town" my mind always turns automatically back to Fostoria, Ohio.


"We now call Ukiah, California home. This is a town about the size of Fostoria, but it seems larger because it sprawls out more and is the county seat, which generates more traffice and activity".

"We moved here in 1975, bringing a portion of our business with us. My husband pioneered in the field of precision industrial grinding when industrial ceramics and the electronics industries were just coming in to their own, and for many years operated his own business in Santa Barbara".

"Unfortunately Santa Barbara, like much of southern California, grew to the point where its allure was tarnished, at least for us. Many cities are afflicted by the bi-is-progressive syndrome. We on the other hand are of the small-is-beautiful persuation, so in 1975 we disposed of part of the business loaded the machinery involved in it, plus our household good on to seven moving vans and came to the northern part of the state where we can still look at a picture postcard bright blue sky and "smog" is just another word".


"Our business was a truly interesting one...we worked with such companies as the General Motors Experimental Laboratory in Warren Michigan. Burroughs, did governmental classified work for Sandia Airforce Base in New Mexico and made literally millions and millions of the tiny tabs used in transducers, plus many other items used in the electronics field. We even had parts that wound up on the moon. In 1981, though my husband decided that there could be enough of even a good thing and that he'd like to retire".


"Now we live quite contentedly on four acres overlooking Lake Mendocino with our dogs and cats and chickens and ducks and geese and African Pygmy goats and Miles Standish, a sixty pound turkey. This is a really nice location for the view is beautiful and varied with the constantly changing panorama afforded by the lake and its activities. We have great privacy up here on the hill, but are only 10 minutes from town. The only drawback is that we're now about 700 miles from our son, Rick, who is a speech therapist living in Idyllwild, located in the San Barnadino Mountains east of Los Angeles

Ruth Geere Walker

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