Archive for the ‘ Germantown ’ Category

Ulster 5-2014

That was my phone number growing UP in Germantown, Ohio.

Of course, the town was so small we only had to dial the last four digits!

We could do that because Germantown’s phone system wasn’t part of the Bell System or General Telephone or any of the other big outfits that ran communications in the nation.

It was an independent telephone company but had to become part of the NANP, or North American Numbering Plan, which went into effect in 1951.

“What’s the big deal?” you might ask.

Well, prior to the NANP, to call across the nation, you had to contact an operator who would then place the call for you.

With the NANP, direct dial long distance came into play.

It’s funny, most people alive today will never know what a telephone exchange is, heck, most people alive today, won’t even know what a land line is!

Cell phones rule and wall phones drool I suppose.

But back in the day, you know when you had no idea who was calling but you answered the phone anyway, and when you had to go home to call someone, and you had to be home to get a call, and there was probably only one phone in the house and it weighed a ton, the NANP was a break through.

From its beginning in 1876 and all through the first part of the 20th Century, the Bell System grew from a local company to a regional telephone system as the boys in New York bought more and more access across the nation.

These systems were connected with tie trunks, and each system had its own numbering plan.

Germantown’s was UL5, or Ulster 5, which equated to 855.  They were called exchanges.  Dayton had BA2, or Baldwin 2 or 222, just to give you a better picture.

The Baldwin exchange took UP 6 floors of a building on 3rd street in Dayton.

It was a pretty big deal.

The existing, rapidly growing plan resulted in an inefficient operation and the Bell System set out to unify the numbering plans in the 1940s so America could connect.

And so they could make money.

The new numbering plan was approved in October of 1947 and divided the US into 86 numbering plan areas, each one with its own area code.

That’s right, prior to that, you had to call an operator and ask tell them what city you wanted to call and they would connect to an operator in that city and that operator would connect you to the number you wanted and all four of you would be on the line because if one of the operators hung UP, the call was OVER.

It was cumbersome.

All the brains at Bell Labs worked really hard to come UP with the plan.

What did it give us?   Well, coast to coast direct dial calling #nooperatorneeded.

It was a technological breakthrough.

And, it was so popular, the Canadians, Bermudans, and West Indies folks wanted in.

Central America and the rest of the Caribbean opted out.

Since the Bell System is gone and AT&T is a company pretending to be AT&T, the NANP is administered by the NANPA, North American Numbering Plan Administration, which is overseen by the FCC.

They took over when the Bell System was destroyed by Judge Green back in the day.


The FCC bids it out, and right now, Lockheed Martin’s spin off, Neustar runs the show.

As cell phones became – some would say – more affordable, and there was an increasing demand for telephone numbers in the late 80s and early 90s, a way to create more numbers was studied.

The NANPA demanded 10 digit dialing even within in an area code because this opened UP more number availability.

See, prior to that, 0 and 1 in the center of a three digit number were reserved for the middle digit in area codes, forcing 10 digit dialing allowed for the 0 and 1 to be used elsewhere and allowed for 2-9 to be used in area codes.

Math people will get this as the changes expanded the number pool by about 25% for each area code.

So now, your phone number in Germantown is no longer just 1234, it morphed to 855-1234 and then to 513-855-1234 and eventually 937-855-1234.

All of this was unheard of and quite frankly, not even considered, back when we had that 20 pound black phone in the dining room.

And all of this made life simpler.  That’s right, adding digits made life easier for all of us.

Back in the day if you wanted to call Grandma and Grandma didn’t live in the same county, you picked UP the phone, dialed 0 for the Operator, asked to be connected to the operator in the city you wanted to call and hoped the call went through.

Now, you pick UP the phone and tell Siri to call whomever you want.

And it all started on this date, 66 years ago.

At Rest In Germantown

Seven years ago today, we buried my father.

Humor me here as I re-post this one…It’s not all about him, but I think he’d have liked it.


There are myths, stories, and fables galore about the Germantown Union Cemetery in Germantown, Ohio.

Most of them are false.

One particular story, popularized in the 1980s and ballyhooed on a yahoo contributor website, is totally false.

A ruse.

A con.

The story grabs one’s interest quickly by saying, “If you’re looking for a place in the Germantown/Miamisburg area of Ohio to see some ghosts and ghouls this Halloween, look no further than the Germantown Cemetery. The Germantown Cemetery is reputed to be one of the most haunted places in Montgomery County, Ohio, second only to the Air Force Museum, and possibly the Patterson Homestead.”


The story goes on to say that a Confederate soldier, who died in one of battles in Southwestern Ohio, is buried there.  There is a Rebel there, but no one is sure from whence he came!  There were very few battles in Ohio, and none of them were close to Germantown.

Again, pish-posh.

The fable tells us that the soldier haunts the burial ground because A:  he had a change of heart and realized that the Union was the right side and asked that he be buried in a Union Cemetery, or B:  his family couldn’t afford to retrieve the body and bury him in his southern homeland, or C:  he’s lost in the afterlife and looking for his battalion.

Pish-posh times 3.

First of all, when the Germantown Cemetery was founded back in 1849, it was just that, simply the Germantown Cemetery.

Articles of Incorporation

It didn’t become the Germantown Union Cemetery until 1979.  I hate to burst the hopes and dreams of paranormal investigators every where, but it wasn’t even named for the few Union soldiers buried there, nor for the Union, its victory, or anything to do with the War Between The States.

It is called the Germantown Union Cemetery because two civic bodies own, run, and maintain it.

German Township, and the City/Village (depending on population this week) of Germantown work together to keep the place UP.

There are three board memebers: a trustee from the township, a council member from the village, and an at large representative.  No, there is not a weigh-in!

According to someone in the know, like guy running the place these days, Mark Steinecker, some teenagers had too much hooch and weed one night and came UP with the story.  It was told, re-told, and well, a lie told often enough…

Again, pish-posh.

But, there are some things that make the Cemetery interesting.

There’s a movie and Broadway star buried there.

Eddie Bruce, a Germantown native came home to rest in the 46 acre cemetery on the West end of Germantown.

Eddie Bruce

And there is one soul interred there who actually witnessed Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.

Witnessed Lincoln Assassination

The Cemetery was started in 1849 for the same reason most of the rural cemeteries were started.  The city fathers decided that all those graves in the Lutheran churchyard were just too risky to the town’s water supply, and well, the Rural Cemetery Movement was revving UP to high gear, and there you have it.

Let’s buy some land, move some bodies, and start a Cemetery.

So, in 1849, bodies buried in 1811 were moved along with others from Warren Street to Market Street in the new landscaped cemetery.

It is typical movement material.

Beautifully landscaped, laid out if you will, and designed for solitude, solace, comfort, and beauty, the park covers 46 acres, contains 11,000 graves, and over 8,000 headstones.

Many of them bear the names of founding fathers.

Union Veteran

And the first families of Germantown have many, many ancestors resting there.

It is truly a place of beauty.

Another view

Tall towering trees shade graves over 100 years old.

Drive Graves and Trees 1

And newer sections, added over time, are no less beautiful in their simplicity as they wait for nature to take over and the trees to grow UP around them.

Another view 4

You’ll find one year old graves interspersed with 100 year old plots; the cemetery isn’t just a piece of history, it a working cemetery with a full crew who keeps it beautiful year round.

Another view 3

As I said, it is the final resting place of the founding fathers, newcomers, friends, classmates, and family.

We buried my father there just over three years ago on a hot and rare October day.  He would have been 92 today.

Flag Ceremony

When I get UP there, I go out the cemetery.  I pass high school friends, mentors, teachers, and family – blood and extended.

It is a resting place, just as the city fathers planned. But it isn’t the final resting place.  It is simply a stopping point.


Sneaking back into the building on the parking lot side of the old gym, the boys were sure no one had seen them.

Skipping class had never been more fun; a quick trip to the Mall, lunch at London Bobby, all in the name of photos for the year book.

Timing it perfectly, the boys blended in with the rest of the students during the class change, and their Sr. Government teacher was none the wiser, as they slipped into class.

Surely, no one had missed them in study hall.

Most of the teachers never took attendance in that “class” anyway; someone was always skipping.

But, just as the bell finished ringing, Mr. Batten’s voice came over the PA, their names were called; they knew they were busted.


Each week, the lovely and talented Ivy Walker hosts a link-up challenging writers to spin a tale in six sentences – no more, no less. Click on the link right here to find out more and link your own post. While you’re there, click on the blue frog button to find more stories from some wonderful storytellers.

This week’s prompt was skip.

*This may or may not be a true story.

Pi v. Pie

Today is Pi day!

It’s the day we celebrate the mathematical constant   π

I don’t know where the “we” comes from; the only math I celebrate is when my check book balances!

Frankly, it should be pie day, not pi day!

San Francisco hippie and physicist with time on his hands, Larry Shaw started the celebration of PI Day in 1988.  He led a march – really what is with all the marching in the country – and then he and the staff ate pies.

Since then, it’s been a thing.

For some.

Mostly nerds.

In 2014 they got really pushy and declared March Pi month.

Honestly, give people an inch!

If we’re gonna have a holiday celebrating Pi, it should be PIE DAY, and we should have this.

Frisch’s Strawberry Pie

What you’ll need.

  • 1 pie shell, 9inch, baked
  • 4 cups strawberries, fresh and sliced
  • 12cups water
  • 34cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 ounces strawberry gelatin

Here’s how you do that!

  • In baked pie crust add sliced strawberries.
  • In small saucepan, mix water, sugar, and cornstarch and bring to boil. Boil until mixture is clear and thick, approximately 2 minutes.
  • Remove saucepan from heat and add the strawberry gelatin, stirring until dissolved. Pour this over the strawberries in pie shell. Chill and serve.

Or, you could drive to Ohio and pick one UP!