Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Why Oh Why Ohio?

19 counties – mostly agricultural or Appalachian, with a couple of large metro areas -- Columbus, the capital, and Cincinnati, which some people consider part of Kentucky . . . they are representative and yet they are not.  My journey didn’t touch on the draining away of industrial prosperity – the steel industry – almost any kind of industry that’s left a rust-belt, joblessness, and poverty.  I didn’t look at Youngstown, or Cleveland, or Dayton, or Akron.  I didn’t look at big city slums with large, black, and often angry populations and a black middle class that’s losing ground; and I didn’t explore the white-bread marshmallow small towns dwindling in populations as joblessness increases with a white middle class that’s losing ground.  I haven’t looked at rotting city centers or once bustling farm towns that are now ghost towns. I could give a nod here to other ethnic groups they are there in small numbers but this is not California, or Florida, or Texas – this is Ohio and it is a story mostly told in black and white that was once red all over.

Remember that children’s joke – ‘what is black, white, and red [read] all over?’  The answer was 'the newspaper.'  What an apt parallel.  Newspapers are going the way of Ohio mining and industry.  I haven’t taken a definitive look at Ohio’s colleges and universities, or the sports teams – other than that Kentucky team – the Reds – just kidding, Cincinnati!
 The truth is that Ohio as it stands today is not my family’s story. All those families, probably 25 – 30 of them, began arriving in the late 1700s and by 1850 most of them had moved on. They were farmers and loved the land and the siren call of westward movement and the promise of a fresh start in Indiana and then Iowa.  They settled, they built, and they contributed to Ohio and left.  It is the age old saw – the one thing Ohio can count on is change – but liking what they were makes change inevitably painful.  Ohio is being reinvented – hopefully carrying through all the things that make it wonderful – while adding a trait that will make it great – adaptability. 

I’ve grown to love Ohio -- all of it – the black and white of it – it’s history and it’s potential. I ache for what Native Americans lost in Ohio – it was and is a beautiful and bountiful land that was their home.  For many of them it was an adopted home, as they had already been pushed westward from the east coast. That is not a story unique to the North American continent.  It is the age-old story of the Celts and the Picts, the Angles and Saxons, the Vikings and the French, the Normans and the English, the Romans and everyone else. In one way or another we've all been  conqueror or conquered. And that brings us back to that one thing we can count on - change. And, that thing that will help us to remain great -- adaptability.  That is the story of the human race.

All I know of Ohio was handed- down to me from those long-ago families and what is on the Internet. So . . . I went looking for Ohio on YouTube.  I found a lot of mediocre stuff – like I would find for any area of the country – after all people are trying new wings on YouTube. No one springs up an Emmy-Award-quality video producer without trial and error. After a couple of long sessions of sifting through chaff I found some gems. I’m going to share these in the next few posts.  Some of them are long and you needn’t watch past your point of interest.  Others you will want to watch to the end.  All have an Ohio flavor as seen through the eyes of Ohioans themselves. Let’s start with humor. 

As found on YouTube/melaniepinnay· at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vAIzilTl-I   Carol Burnett & Jane Lynch on Glee (which, of course, takes place in Ohio!), from the musical Wonderful Town, music by Leonard Berstein, Lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green.
Clipart - www.microsoft.com/clipart


  1. Great find!! Love your voice and the sentiments expressed. Shucks, if I spend more time here maybe I'll learn how to blog!!

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  3. About a link to the City of Akron ~ No Problem Sandra, and THANK YOU for checking us out…!


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