Thoughts at the Time of the Kennedy Assassination

I posted an article earlier this week that talked about my visit to my old neighborhood in Akron, Ohio. In that story, I mentioned that my first elementary school, Guinther School, had been torn down earlier this year. I even included a picture of where the school used to be.

I attended Guinther from kindergarten through 3rd grade. My teachers were Miss Pence, Miss Shade, Mrs. Randolph, and Miss Gross. What I remember most about my years there happened in my third grade year.

Actually, it will be the 49 year anniversary of this event next Thursday. It was a Friday afternoon in late November. It was about 2:00 pm Akron time. Miss Gross had left the room a few minutes earlier, and when she returned, she was obviously crying. As the room had gone into immediate silence, all 34 kids in our class were all wondering the same thing, what was wrong?

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I distinctly remember that she stood in front of the class, and in a very calm, but matter of fact way, proceeded to tell us that President Kennedy had been shot and killed in Texas.

If a class can get even quieter, it did at that moment. School let out at 3:30, and I don’t recall much of what went on between 2:00 pm & 3:30 pm, but I know it wasn’t a lot. I do remember talking a lot with my friend Kirk Murphy about it, who sat next to me in the room. We walked home together as we usually did. In a time before cell phones and social media, and in a time of youthful imagination, there was a lot of wild speculation going on.

I remember going into the house on Millbrook St., and my Mom had the old black & white TV on. She was in much the same shape as Miss Gross was. Crying, not believing what had happened.

It was a truly long weekend for not only our family, but for all of the United States, as well as the world. I remember being in our upstairs on Sunday morning playing with my 2 younger brothers, and all of a sudden, my Mom was yelling up to us about something that had just happened on the TV. Our TV, like most TV’s on that weekend, had been on pretty much non-stop since Friday afternoon. On that Sunday morning, Lee Harvey Oswald, the accused killer of JFK, was being led out of the police station, when Jack Ruby darted out of the crowd of reporters, and shot Oswald at near point blank range on LIVE television.

That video, as well as the famous picture of Oswald being hit by the gunshot, are images that live in infamy from that weekend. The funeral in Washington DC on that Monday tome is just remembered as a very sad time.

Over the years, I’ve read numerous books on the subject of the Kennedy assassination. Currently, I am reading the book, “Killing Kennedy,” written by Bill O’Reilly & Martin Dugard. This is a follow-up book to their #1 bestseller, “Killing Lincoln.”

Both books are very well written, are easy reads, and are quite informative. If either of these periods of time, and these events are of interest to you, I would highly suggest either of these.

A Visit to the Old Neighborhood

We all came from somewhere.
For me, it is the mid-sized, mid-western town of Akron, Ohio.

Millbrook St. “House of My Youth”

I spent the first 25 years of my life growing up & living there. Got married in Akron, and bought my first house there as well. Maureen & I moved to Mansfield, Ohio in 1980. Our 2 oldest sons were born while we lived there. We moved to Auburn, Indiana in 1988, and have lived here ever since. Our third son was born while living here.

As I grow older, many times my thoughts harken back to the days of when I was young, and to the old neighborhood where we lived when I was very young.

I had to travel to Akron on Monday night to go to the calling hours of a family member who had passed away. The funeral home was not too far from my old neighborhood in Akron. This area, when built in the mid to late 1950’s, was known as “Castle Homes,” and is located in an area of Akron called Kenmore.

With a short amount of time on my hands before going to the funeral home, I decided to make the turn off of Manchester Rd. and onto Carnegie to make the quarter mile or so drive to Millbrook St. We lived in the 13th house on the left hand side of the street, at 2951.

We moved into this house in November of 1957, and stayed living there until April of 1968. I was almost 3 when we moved in, and was 13, and just finishing 7th grade when we moved. Almost everything I can remember from my early childhood took place while living there.

The times spent with my Dad & Mom, and sister & brothers. The family Christmas get together’s with extended family were always at our house. Going to Guinther School and Highland Park School. The neighborhood of people who till this day, I can still remember names, and which houses they lived in. As I alluded to in an earlier story, the baseball playing with my Dad in the backyard. The making of lifelong friends (my 2 best friends, other than family, Gary Ilijevich & Bruce Frazier, grew up in this neighborhood as well. I keep in touch with them to this day).

The street is still in “kept-up condition,” for being as old as it now is. There are still a few of the people living there who have lived there now for going on 60 years. The old Young’s Restaurant is now gone, as is Guinther School. Highland Park School has been torn down and replaced by Sam Salem Elementary. Many of the people who helped to shape my early life as good friends and good neighbors have now passed on.

I could go on and on. There are so many memories, and so many stories to tell. For me, it is always nice, but somewhat poignant to go “back to my roots.”

Lady Barons Open With Loss to Angola

Dekalb & Angola got together on Friday night at the Baron gym to do battle in girls basketball. It was the season opener for Dekalb, while the Hornets already had one game under their belts, as they had defeated Bishop Luers this past Tuesday.

In what was truly a game of streaks, Angola broke a 47-all tie with just over 3 minutes to play, and were able to score the final 8 points of the contest, as they won by the score of 55-47.

Hayley Martin at the Free Throw Line

The Barons jumped out to 9-0 and 11-2 leads early in the first quarter, fueled by what would turn out to be a monster game from junior Hayley Martin. But to the Hornets credit, they dug in and displayed some true veteran savvy, and by midway in the second period, they had turned the game around and led 27-15. The teams went to the locker room with Angola on top 29-20.

Dekalb must have “drank the kool-aid” during the break, as they came out and scored the first 10 points of the third stanza to regain the lead at 30-29. It stayed back & forth until the Barons inched ahead by five at 38-33 heading to the final 8 minutes.

But that savvy that I mentioned earlier reared its head in the form of Rachel & Ericka Rinehart, as Angola was able to roar back and take a 5 point lead at 47-42 at the midway point of the fourth. Martin would score the next five for Dekalb to knot the score, but those points would be the last for the Barons on this night, and Angola would walk out of the gym with a hard fought win to go to 2-0.

Martin would end up with 26 points, 15 rebounds, and 4 blocks in what was an outstanding performance. Equally impressive was the game of Rachel Rinehart for the Hornets, as she tallied 24 points, 5 steals, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists.

Bayley Rinehart added 12 points for Dekalb, while Ericka Rinehart had 11 for Angola.

Dekalb will play again tonight as they travel to Fort Wayne to take on Northside. Angola will host West Noble this coming Tuesday.

Trine Wins Big Over Olivet in MIAA Football

The Trine Thunder went into their football game on Saturday still hoping for a share of the MIAA league title as they were hosting the Olivet Comets. Trine held up their end of the bargain, as they rolled over the Comets by the score of 49-21. But when the score of the Adrian – Albion was final at 20-19 Adrian, all the Thunder can hope for is a second place finish. Adrian won the title with a perfect 6-0 conference slate.

Players Shaking Hands After the Game

Trine raced out to a 21-7 halftime lead over Olivet, thanks to 2 rushing touchdowns from sophomore running back Austin Shoemaker, and a fumble recovery in the end zone after an errant snap on a punt attempt. It looked to me like John Essex recovered the fumble, but the stats I received say it was Blaek Combs.

The Thunder started quickly in the second half, as they scored on their second play from scrimmage on a 42 yard pass from Ryan Hargraves to JaVontae Hence. Trine would score 3 more TD’s in that second half. Hargraves would scamper in from 12 yards out, Shoemaker added his third score on a 28 yard screen pass, and Charles
Dreessen would pick up a blocked punt, and score from 24 yards out to complete the scoring for the Thunder.

Running back Tyre Alexander scored all three touchdowns for Olivet, on runs of 17, 1, and 4 yards.

Shoemaker gained 63 yards on 15 carries, while Hargraves had 55 yards on 6 carries, Jamil Davis had 44 yards on 5 carries, and Jared Barton had 17 yards on 7 totes.

Hargraves completed 10 of 12 passes for 176 yards, with Hence snaring 3 of those for 101 yards.

Tyler Guzy and Caleb Nitz led the Thunder with 9 tackles each, while Louis Danesi & Tony Miranda each had 6 stops.

Trine will finish the regular season this coming Saturday when they will host Alma College. A win will insure second place all by themselves in the MIAA. It will also be senior day at Shive Field, so come on out and see this fun & exciting team, and also pay tribute to this fine group of senior leaders.

My Dad

He would have been 85 if he wouldn’t have passed away 12 years ago yesterday due to the ravages of Alzheimers disease. On that day, our phone rang at around 6:30 in the morning as I was getting ready for work. It was my brother Mike informing us of what had happened. He had died in his sleep at a nursing home in Barberton, Ohio.

Dad, Mom, & Me at My Wedding in 1978

My sister Sue posted numerous pictures of him yesterday on Facebook. Pictures of him with her, my Mom, myself, my 2 brothers, and with some of the grandkids. Looking at those pictures, as well as knowing it was the anniversary of his death, it just conjured up a thought that I often have. I truly long to be able to sit down with him and just have one more conversation, even if for just one hour.

If I had the chance, what would I say? I would have to start by thanking him for being a good Father. And then I’d thank him again. He set an example from as far back as I can remember of always being there for us. He worked hard, many times working 2, sometimes 3 jobs at a time to make sure we were provided for.

Some of my favorite memories are when he would take me with him when he was “lathing” houses, and let me earn a little bit of money by helping out. It was me, him, my Uncle Andy, and even my Grandpa on occasion. Great times!

Even while working to provide, he would find time to always play baseball in the backyard on Millbrook St. with us. He would be hitting us “grounders & popups,” and before you knew it, the yard would be full of kids playing right along. He never hesitated to include everyone.

I would tell him that Mom still lives in the house in Manchester, and she is still fairly healthy at 82. I would tell him that she always talks about him when I visit.

I would tell him that his kids are all doing well. I’d say we all have great families, great spouses, have good solid careers, and that his grandkids, and great-grandkids are just a terrific bunch!

I’d obviously be able to go into more detail with my 3 sons. I’d say what great young men they have become. They work hard to be the best that they can be in their respective fields. I’d tell him he would be intrigued by their careers & educational choices. I know he would love to sit down with them and discuss their lives.

We’d talk about the world we currently live in, and how different it is from even a decade or so ago. I’d tell him how 9/11 changed the world. He would be appalled.

I’d thank him again for building the groundwork for me to be able to live & prosper in a very tough world. And I would thank him for helping to instill in me the knowledge to be able to pass on the love & caring to my boys so they can do the same.

I wish that I had just one more hour. Through my faith and religious beliefs, I know he is with me, and he always will be. For now, that will have to do.

I’ll close by saying, that when I walk down the street, and the subject of my Father comes up, I can hold my head high and say, that just wasn’t anybody, that was my Dad!

Dekalb Health’s Annual “Healthy Halloween Fair” – A Great Time For All

Maureen & I had the pleasure of being at the Dekalb County Fairgrounds on Tuesday evening to take part in Dekalb Health’s annual “Healthy Halloween Fair.”

Bernie Interviewing at the HHF

The Mad Ants Mascot was on Hand

It is a truly great event that has become part of yearly fun that takes part around the Halloween festivities here in the Auburn area. Kids can attend and participate in games, events, and win prizes in a very healthy manner. Even on a night when the weather wasn’t the best, there was a wonderful turnout of young people.

What we have done in the many times that we have participated is to set up one of the cameras that we use for videotaping the programs that we air on Dekalb TV, and we interview the kids and let them watch themselves on the TV monitor. It is a lot of fun, and the kids, as well as their parents, really seem to enjoy it.

We usually ask names, ages, about their costumes, if they like being on TV, etc. You would be surprised as to some of the answers that we get. Some kids that might seem shy at first, once on camera, really start to “preen” as they see themselves on the screen.

The event is organized by Cheryl Clark & Terri Christiansen from Dekalb Health. I’ve known both for many years, and they do a tremendous job in getting this event “off the ground” each and every late October.

Dekalb Health has been a loyal supporter of ours at Dekalb TV since our inception back in 1998. We truly appreciate what they do for us. Like I am wont to say during our game broadcasts, “we would not be able to do what we do without the help and support that they give us.”

OSU Pulls Off Miraculous Win, Just Like in 2002

Last Saturday was a great day for college football throughout the Midwest, and it was made even better by the fact that my youngest son, Ethan, was able to come home from college for a few days. Even though we weren’t able to see all of the game, we were able to watch the latter stages of the Ohio State game against Purdue.

It was a game that simply put, the Buckeyes just shouldn’t have won. The Boilermakers were in control throughout, and when backup quarterback Kenny Guiton of OSU threw an interception with 2:40 to go, it looked all but over.

I kept thinking at that point about the Ohio State game against Purdue 10 years earlier, late in the 2002 season. That was a game that has come to be known as the “Holy Buckeye” game, because of the phrase that Brent Musburger said when OSU somehow pulled that game from the throes of defeat to one of their greatest victories ever.

O-H-I-O Performed by Some of My Favorite People

Back in 2002, the Buckeyes trailed 6-3, and faced a fourth & 1 at the Boiler 37 yard line, with no timeouts remaining, and just over a minute and half to play. Coach Jim Tressel had called a play that was supposed to be a short pass to the tight end. But when the pocket collapsed, quarterback Craig Krenzel stepped up and lofted a long pass towards Michael Jenkins who was streaking down the middle of the field. Jenkins caught the perfectly thrown ball in stride for the TD, and OSU held on for the 10-6 win. If that play doesn’t work, there is no national championship win over Miami at the end of the season.

Ethan & I both remember what we were doing when that play occurred. We had a DCBBL game at Waterloo Elementary School. We needed to get inside as our game time was quickly approaching, but we listened on the radio as the Krenzel to Jenkins catch unfolded, we hooted & hollered as the TD was scored, then went in to play our game (I was the coach).

So after the Guiton interception, even though all looked lost, I still had these eerie feelings about the 2002 game (sports fans know what I’m talking about). Could history somehow repeat itself? OSU got the ball back with 47 ticks of the clock remaining, and they were trailing by eight at 22-14. Guiton was playing because OSU starter and Heisman Trophy candidate Braxton Miller had been injured earlier in the contest. Guiton quickly connected on a couple of passes that had the Buckeyes facing a situation of having to score from the 2 yard line with under 10 seconds to play. Guiton threw a pass that was “low & outside” to wideout Chris Fields, who went down and cradled it just before it hit the ground. Then a beautifully conceived 2 point conversion pass to the tight end knotted the score with 3 ticks remaining on the clock.

OSU, now with all the momentum, scored first in OT on a short run by Carlos Hyde, and OSU held on to win 29-22. It kept their undefeated season alive in coach Urban Meyer’s first year at the helm.

The Buckeyes travel east today to take on the Penn State Nittany Lions in what a lot of people are calling the “ineligible bowl,” as neither team can take part in a post season bowl game because of NCAA sanctions.

All I know, is that any time the Buckeyes are playing Purdue, I will make sure that Ethan is spending time with us at home.

The World Series – The Apex of the Baseball Season

The World Series of professional baseball begins tonight in San Francisco where the Giants are hosting the Detroit Tigers for bragging rights as to who is “world champions.”

Justin Verlander and Barry Zito will be on the hill as each team tries to get the upper hand in game one. It should be a great series between 2 teams that I truly like & respect.

Some of the Family at a Texas-Cleveland Game From Earlier This Year

It is somewhat bittersweet though, as my beloved Texas Rangers will be watching from home after 2 straight appearances in the “Fall classic.” After being what was considered the best team in baseball for the better part of this past season, Texas faltered during the final couple of weeks, and were eliminated in the wild card play-in game.

I’ve been a baseball fan for all of my life, and getting the chance to go to the World Series in both of the past 2 seasons was something I will treasure forever. It not only was exciting, and had a certain “magic aura” to it, but having the chance to do this with family members made it very special.

Even though the Rangers lost the series both years, with last year’s being especially excruciating, being able to experience that whole atmosphere with Maureen, Brandon, Ethan, Krista, and our oldest son Joey, who works for the Rangers, made it truly memorable for me.

Good luck to both teams this year. It should be a memorable series in its own right, hopefully without any controversy. I’ll sit back and enjoy watching, and may the best team win!

Trine Drops Volleyball Match to Alma

Dekalb TV Player of the Game, Betsy Irwin

On Saturday afternoon, the Trine Thunder volleyball team welcomed the Alma Scots to Hershey Hall on their beautiful campus in what was the Thunder’s final home match of the season.

Trine came into the match with an overall record of 18-9, and they stood at 9-4 in the MIAA Conference. On top of that, they were coming off of a highly emotional, down-to-the-wire contest the previous evening against league foe, Olivet. The Thunder won that “senior night” match in five games, with the fifth game score being 15-13.

Unfortunately for Trine, they ran into a buzz-saw in the Scots, and Alma won in 3 games by the scores of 25-22, 25-22, and 25-15. With the loss, the Thunder still sit in third place in the league standings, with road matches this week against Calvin College & Hope College to end the regular season. Those 2 schools are “only” a combined 46-4 for the season up to this point.

Senior Betsy Irwin, who hails from Athens, Ohio, had a very nice match for Trine as she contributed a number of nice serves, as well as leading all players with 12 kils. Sarah Radekin led the Thunder with 17 assists, while Darcy Crabtree had 15 digs.

After finishing the regular season this week, Trine will participate in their league tourney, which starts on November 2nd.

Barons & Railroaders Ousted, Blazers Move On

High school football sectionals from around the area geared up on Friday night, and just one of the Dekalb County teams will be moving on to next weeks second round action.

Baron Quarterback Evan Cochran

The Dekalb Barons, playing at home against the Wawassee Warriors, went to the halftime lockerroom tied at 7 apiece. But in the second half, Wawassee scored 3 touchdowns to Dekalb’s one, and won by the score of 27-14. The Barons got 2 TD passes from senior quarterback Evan Cochran, an 11 yarder to Dylan Cagle, and a 5 yarder to Logan Schilling. Dekalb finished 2-8 on the season.

The Garrett Railroaders led the Whitko Wildcats 16-7 in the second quarter of their contest. But Whitko, with touchdowns in the second & fourth stanzas, came from behind to end Garrett’s season 21-16. The Railroaders finished 7-3, including a share of the ACAC conference title.

The Eastside Blazers will be the only team from Dekalb County playing next Friday, as they ran roughshod over Bluffton on Friday by the score of 52-12. Quarterback Blake Blaker accounted for 412 yards of total offense, including 7 total touchdowns. He had 3 TD passes, and 4 TD runs. Eastside will have their hands full in the second round, as they will travel to Fort Wayne to take on the defending state champs, Bishop Luers High School.

Other results involving NHC teams saw East Noble lose to Concord on a last second field goal 38-35, Homestead lost to FW Snider 30-20, Columbia City beat Leo 14-7, Norwell got its first win by defeating Logansport 22-0, New Haven was all over Marion 43-20, Bellmont lost to Yorktown 31-20, and Carroll won big over LaPorte 49-7.