Tuesday, September 29, 2009

THE MAGIC CITY: Barberton, Ohio 44203

In 1891 Industrialist, Ohio Columbus Barber commenced building the perfect city which he had laid out. In 1893 the City of Barberton was there. It was likened unto magic!

He started with his home, the Barber Mansion, with it's many castle-like barns, which overlooked one of America's most industrialized cities. Barberton became the Magic City. with it's sports teams known as The Magics.

He designed the city with business on the south side of Lake Anna, a spring fed lake which he named after his daughter.

Seen here are the Campfield-Hickman Funeral Home and the Elk's Club. Also located on the south side of the lake are City Hall, the Library and the Masonic Temple.

On the lake's other three lake fronts he laid out home's, like the one on the left, for lesser industrialists and on the next block away from the lake homes like the smaller one on the right for manager's and business leaders. Surrounding all this was a circle of major industry with the supporting machine shops and foundries.

A couple weeks ago I took a bad spill on the huge rocks walking out to the Huron Lighthouse to fish Lake Erie. In addition to scrapes and bruises I injured my left hip. It has been a couple weeks since the fall and the scabs are starting to come off and the hip is daily better. Yesterday evening, a cold, wet and windy fall day, I decided to do a couple turns around Lake Anna to loosen up the hip. Take a stroll with me and see the city today. Industry has gone but the beauty lingers on.

Lake Anna is a 21 acre city park that is enjoyed by all the people. Living a block from the lake we tend to take it for granted, even the many festivals that are held there throughout the year . The Mum Festival was last weekend and you can see the beauty of the mums still there.

Faith was and is an important part of Barberton. Five churches face the lake and several more are located a block from the lake.

How do people enjoy the lake? Well, as you might imagine, it is a place where lovers stroll hand in hand on a cold, fall evening. As you can see by this couple they have their love to keep them warm.

Barbertonians obviously love their dogs. Although dogs are not allowed in the park, you can almost always see people walking dogs of every description around the lake's perimeter.

Bikes are also prohibited from the park but, like the dog walkers, riding bikes around the one mile perimiter is very popular.

You can almost always see people meeting their friends at the lake. Even on a cold and windy evening these two young ladies laughingly gave each other a high five.

The lake has ducks, geese, swans and the ever present sea gulls. I often take my small grandchildren there to feed the birds and squirrels. As you can see by this Mom and Daughter, it is a lot of fun and the birds sure do cooperate.

The beautiful gazebo is popular for weddings. The city springs for free concerts during the summer on Friday and Saturday evenings. We clearly hear the music at home.

My parents moved to Barberton in 1945 as, along with millions of others, Dad lost his war related job. I remained in West Virginia by myself until I graduated from high school in 1948 and joined the Navy. I located in Barberton in 1952. Since that time I have seen the Bath House replaced twice, City Hall and the Library replaced once. Swimming is no longer permitted in the lake and the Bath House is a visitor's center.

Large sand stones were used in the park, including these stone steps where a nice lady took my picture. Although the Pierce family has been represented in all of our countries wars, our names are listed in WV and not on this memorial.

When I returned home a bit after dark I had dinner with the lovely lady with whom I've shared Lake Anna for many years. It was a candle light dinner with strip steaks and trimmings. I am truly blessed.

William Cowper, The Task, 1785

"God made the country, and man made the town"

God Bless!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

THE MUM FESTIVAL: Another way to celebrate!

Barberton, Ohio has a mum festival each fall. It is difficult to believe the artful way mums are displayed or the beauty of the gardens. We drive by the gardens quite often but normally do not go to the festival. It is free but from the food to crafts, everything costs. The lovely mums are for sale fairly cheap at $5 each or 6 for $25.

I have a long standing quarrel with the city over their spring tulips or fall mums. They cut down 12, centuries-old oak and maple trees to make room for the flowers. A few years ago they stopped planting the tulips. People come from long distances to enjoy the festival and view the mums so I am in a minority in my quarrel I guess. I'm really out of touch because to my dismay last year they added a statue of the cities founding father and removed the WWI cannon.

From the Cherry Blossom Festival to the Craft Shows, there are many events around Lake Anna which is a block from our home. Our street is full of cars for the days of the events. In addition to the parking we supply chairs, blankets, sweaters and jackets, water, bath room priveleges, food and a place to rest to extended family and friends. We don't mind. While we personally do not go to the events we share the experiences with those who come and go.

Today some of our dearest friends, Renee and Marty with husband Ed parked their two cars in front of the house while they went to the festival. When they came back from the festival they all went somewhere else in one car leaving Renee's new car.

Someone, I can't quite recall who, said wouldn't it be fun to T-P Renee's car. Although they both giggled and said what a "terrible thing to do", Julie and neighbor Donna headed for the car when the toilet paper appeared. It was childish and fun. Neighbors came out to watch and comment. People driving by slowed down and laughed. You don't see a T-Ped car every day.

How funny when Rennee returned. I can't imagine why she would think such a thing but she immediately blamed me without a shred of evidence. Well, I am innocent. If you don't believe me just ask and I'll tell you. I AM INNOCENT! Look, you can see the pictures of the guilty parties.

Now, while I do not enjoy the carnival atmosphere of the festival, I do love the sauage sandwiches. I told Julie she should go get me one. Somehow she thought that as we went to dinner on Friday and again on Saturday that we shouldn't get sausage sandwiches on Sunday. I don't get it but what can I say? She did make me a kibalsie with sauerkraut and mustard sandwich so I guess I should count my blessings.

The moral of this story? Bad people live on 5th St. NW Barberton. Avoid the area if at all possible!

Walt Pierce:

When I was young we had to entertain ourselves; thank goodness we didn't have a TV.

God Bless!

Friday, September 25, 2009

SO SOON OLD: So late smart!

You might consider this to be a REQUEL BLOG on flowers planted by my wife Julie. It is and then again, it isn't. It is the same blog I wrote earlier but told a different way! (Son Mark taught me about "requel", an old story told a different way.)

When we were married I assured Julie she would always have the nicest yard in the neighborhood. I am an amateur landscape artist with a green thumb inherited from my Mother and paternal Grandfather. For nearly 30 years I have labored to make my assurance a reality. It would be no easy task as you can see by two of my neighbor's flower gardens.

Last year was physically a tough year for me. I hardly kept the grass cut. Due to a second round of a ruptured disc I couldn't even help carry the Christmas decorations in from the garage.

So, this year Julie took it upon herself to plant the flowers. Wow, did she ever plant the flowers. I never had it looking so good. WHY DID IT TAKE ME NEARLY 30 YEARS TO LEARN THIS LESSON? My brother Henry told me all the time: Dummy!

I was so amazed when she first planted her flowers that I wrote a blog about it. Well, summer has come and is now gone. The days are shorter and the nights colder. Her flowers are fully developed and are starting to show some age. People still slow down driving by to look however.
Earlier this week Julie's daughter, Jackie, was going to return a borrowed ladder telling her friend, Sadie, that her Mother lived on 5th Street. Sadie asked if she could come with Jackie to show Jackie the house with the wicker furniture and breath taking flowers. She was amazed when Jackie proudly explained that that was her Mother's home.

Sadie came and from the Irish crystal to the foreign and domestic spoon collections, she was as impressed inside as she was out. Although a 105 year old home it has been completely remodeled inside and out, professionally decorated and furnished by Ethan Allen.

My back was hurting so bad that I couldn't build this simple rock garden for Julie last year. I'd drop the rocks from the wagon to the ground and she would roll them in place. A couple times one rock has rolled out but otherwise it has stayed in place.

Is this the most magnificent coleius you have ever seen or what? It thinks it is one of the family I guess because it keeps trying to come into the house, Really!

The hanging baskets? They are everywhere! These two are on the front porch. Less you think the flowers are just in front for show, check out the fountain in the small back yard. She is a bit old but "Naomi" is an old friend. The huge, red sedum (live forever) was a gift last year from our friend Carla Ludwig.

DID I JUST ABANDON JULIE TO DO ALL THIS WORK BY HERSELF? No, of course not! A good friend and neighbor, Donna, was hired to help plant and care for all the flowers AND to do other chores around the house that would be mine to do. Julie and I equally share the costs but it has become as much a social event as it is work and I don't know which of the girls enjoy it the most. Yup, FRICK AND FRACK. Uh Huh! Check the picture of them painting the garage.

That is Julie on the ground and Donna balancing on a 5 gallon bucket. Is Julie painting the seat of Donna's pants? No! She is holding Donna on the bucket. Why is she using the roller? Because I discovered she was using the dasher from my antique churn to hold her up and I explained that that was not what I had in mind for my dasher.

Now what? Well, it is fall so it must be mum time. Julie and I went to the Hartville Farmer's Market today where she bought six pots of mums. That seemed like a good start. I had her buy tomatoes. I ask you, aren't the tomatoes prettier than the mums. Yummy, Yummy!

Chili Davis:

"Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional!"

I'm with you, Chili! Uh Huh! Although I start working on my 80th year in a few more months, may I never "grow up"! Nah! I wouldn't like that.

God Bless!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


My last post, and the only one for August, was on the first day of the month. It is now the 8th of September and I'll try to get in a "HOWDY" before heading back to the lake for the month.

Most important, the family and I have been well. I've been working fairly hard, all things considered, at the lake. There needs more to be done than what I will accomplish this year but I keep chipping away.

Julie and I started the Labor Day weekend off with a friday night dinner for Mark and Mary and their dearest friends, Roc and Kim Marietta. Next day, most of the family made it to Mark's to watch Navy's gallant struggle against Ohio State. That was tough for me as both are my favorite teams. I felt for you, Cheryl, as Liberty also played WVU. After the game there was a fish fry at the lake. Kimberly and Jack couldn't make it to Mark's for the OSU-Navy game as their son, Riley, had a game that afternoon also. They made it to the Fish Fry and spent the rest of the weekend at the lake.

Sunday afternoon Julie and I treated the family to a Corn Roast. All the corn-you-can-eat, I shucked 5 dozen ears purchased at an Amish farm. We also did hamburgs on the grill and Julie made her wonderful County Fair Sausage on a hogie. On Labor Day Julie and I did the Ribs and Chicken feed with all the trimmings. Lots of dessert and fruit all weekend.

Todd, who is now retired also, took it upon himself to totally clean up after the Corn Roast. What a guy! He and Amy returned to Cincinnatti on Sunday so Amy could get in a rest day before returning to teaching on Tuesday. It rained on Labor Day so we carted the already bar-b-q'd ribs, chicken and trimmings to Marks and had an indoor feast in Mary's dining room.

Julie was truly overworked cooking and cleaning for a four day party. When I told her tonight that I knew that she pulled more than her share of the load, cheerfully and willingly over this long holiday weekend and that I wanted to show my appreciation, handing her a gift which she hoped to get this coming Christmas. She cried. Why do girls cry when they are happy?

Everyone went home Monday night. I stayed at the lake to "pickup" and put things away. Mostly though, I just rested today. Came home to get several prescriptions filled and take care of a bit of business.

It was a great weekend at the family lakeside retreat complete with camp fires with smores, singing around the camp fire and paddle boat rides. Church Sunday night at Mark's church where he had record attendance. Mostly though, it was great times spent with family. We missed three of the grandkids, Jillian, Bethany and David ( and spouses) but otherwise the gang was all there.

I'm back to the lake tomorrow. Julie's coming down Friday for the weekend. The entire family is going to Kimberly's in Canton to watch the Bucks beat Southern Cal Saturday. Most of the family will spend the night at Suzi's but Julie and I will return to the lake--a bit over an hour's drive. Go Bucks!


I am enjoying my 18th year of retirement isolated at the lake. Eat a bit, fish a bit, work a bit, read a lot. Watch a movie once a week or so. I can get your email on my blackberry. Thanks Maude, Kathy and all for writing to me at http://www.walsinepierce@aol.com/. I mostly have to drive away from the lake to call Julie each night. Cell phone reception is bad although emails come through okay.

Sorry you couldn't get my blog, Maude. It is working. Try again. Tell Cleo and Betty W. I would love to hear from them.

A favorite Irish blessing:

Sure, and now, May your troubles be few and your blessings be more and may only happiness come through your door.

God Bless!