Archive for the ‘ Germantown ’ Category

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.

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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.”

Pish-posh!

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.

Busted*

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.

SSS 2

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!

UP In Smoke!

On January 11, 1964, the Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. Luther Terry, M.D. published the landmark report Smoking and Health: Report on the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the United States stating that smoking may be hazardous to one’s health.

The report sparked a national anti-smoking effort.

Back then, though smoking was reviled in some religious groups, it was socially acceptable to most.

Doctors did cigarette ads…

And even Santa got in on the act…

Frankly, I think everyone knew smoking was bad for you prior to the report.  Long before 1964 cigarettes were called “coffin nails” and the term “smoker’s cough” was around.

The original American economy was largely based on tobacco.  John Rolfe saved the colony of Virginia with the weed.

But, since the report, smoking and smokers have been looked at in a different light.

When I smoked, people would say, “You’re so smart, why do you smoke?”

The answers was easy, I was addicted.

Fortunately, after far too long, I was able to lay the habit down.

A year after the report came out in 1964 42.4% of the overall American population smoked.  51.9% of the males in the US did, 33.9% of females were smokers.  The racial divide in smokers’ world was pretty even, 42% of whites smoked and 45% of blacks did too.

From 1965 to 2014, the rate of smokers in the US dropped to 16.8%. Obviously many people took note of the report, the ads, and the non-smoking campaigns.

Looking back at old newsreels, you see most newscasters with a cigarette or a pipe, and Congressional Hearings were quintessential “smoke filled rooms,” and Hollywood made it very, very glamorous.

…there were celebrity endorsements…

It’s not.  It stinks, it’s expensive, and these days, smokers are social pariahs.

Surprisingly, the largest percentage of smokers today is the 25-44 year old group!  The smallest, 65 and older!

The higher level your education, the less likely you are to smoke.  Wonder what happened to all those professors with pipes?

The racial divide is about the same for blacks and whites.  Asian –Americans and Hispanics smoke at a lower rate than the rest of the country and multiracial and American Native and Alaskan Natives tend to smoke at a higher rate of their population.

Geographically, it’s Midwesterners who burn more.  Yeah, that shocked me too.  I thought since most tobacco is from the south, it would be southerners who did. But then I remembered that Germantown when I was a kid had tons of tobacco farms and even had a tobacco barn in town.   Much of its original economy was tobacco based at the onset of the community.

But, back to the report:  Its conclusions were focused on the negative health effect of cigarette smoking.  It found cigarette smokers had a 70% increase in age-corrected mortality rate; i.e. they died sooner.

Cigarette smoke was the primary cause of chronic bronchitis, and there was a correlation between smoking, emphysema, and heart disease.

And, smokers had a ten to twenty fold increase in lung cancer cases.

It also said the pregnant women who smoked tended to have underweight babies – that was actually considered positive by the committee!

The report also defined cigarette smoking as a habit.  This may have stemmed from the fact that most of the committee were smokers and were uncomfortable calling it an addiction.

And, since people could quit, well, it was just a nasty habit.

With the onset of Dr. C. Everett Koop who deemed it an addiction, society was more sympathetic to those who were “trying to quit.”

Research was increased and nicotine replacement methods were developed, but when it all shook out, “cold turkey” was found to be the best method of quitting.

Though smoking was verboten at my house, at least one of my Aunts smoked, and all the Uncles did.  My grandfather started smoking when he was seventy years old, he’d light a cigarette, lay the hand holding it on the big barber-shop ashtray he had and nod off.  When the fire got to his fingers, he’d knock the ash off, take a drag, put it out and go back to sleep.

My Aunt Nette would say, “Charlie ain’t sinnin’ honey, he don’t inhale.”

She was the only one who got away with calling him Charlie, and I find it interesting that though she smoked a plenty, she considered it sinnin’.

Nowadays, sinnin’ has little to do with it.  It’s expensive and socially unacceptable, none of the cool kids do it!