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1024 Dover Avenue

July 20, 2009 - Michael Palmer
The move to Dover was a shift in cultures for Mom, she was used to being part of a community where she had grown up and knew many of the residents and had life long friends. In addition, the residents of the greater Dover-New Philadelphia area in general looked down on the residents from the southern end of the county, known as 922-ers because of the telephone prefix.

The job at “Monkey“-Wards was going well for dad, we bought a new Rambler station wagon, a color television set and had cable TV hooked up in the house with a wire connected push button remote control box to change channels. We still had coal heat but I was old enough to stoke the furnace, well, Mom still didn’t think so and preferred to open the electric oven and huddle all of us around the kitchen table in the winter while dad was at work and she cooked dinner.

An Italian cook, Alice was at home in the kitchen, this was not an area where father knows best. We found this out when Mom mistakenly took one of Renee’s pills. At that time Renee was prescribed Phenobarbital for the prevention of seizures. Barbiturates are a group of drugs in the class of drugs known as sedative-hypnotics and just one dose took Mom out, she was drowsy and appeared intoxicated. Dad put her to bed and took over in the kitchen to feed the crew, we had Chicken and Stars soup made with milk, not water, and buttered bread. This experience made us both appreciate Mom’s cooking and envy those incarcerated in prisons for their fine cuisine choices. Thankfully the effects wore off by the next morning.

There were plenty of kids in the neighborhood and there was a constant game of baseball, tag, hide-and-seek or bike riding during the summer. The bike riding was restricted to an area not to cross Wooster avenue, a busy street. That confined our search area when the phone call came that grandpa Tony had packed his bags and left from Uncle Bob’s house across town, across Wooster’s busy traffic flow.

It finally became intolerable for grandpa to live like, in his words, “a slave,” (my uncle had 6 children at the time) so he packed all of his remaining worldly possessions into a suitcase and walked out. He was unfamiliar with the Dover area and not sure of exactly how to get to his daughter’s house, so he walked a round-about route that took a couple of extra hours. This resulted in a man hunt and all of the neighborhood kids rode off looking for him as twilight approached. My sister spotted him across Wooster and recklessly risked almost certain death to ride to the rescue. Grandpa was back living withn his daughter. He occasionally helped out mom with cooking duties and became a great source of conversation and candy for the kids.

Dad had a chance to manage a store for Singer and we moved again, this time to Heath, Ohio. The house we found to rent was an old farmhouse, it had a big field alongside for a garden and a grape arbor covering the patio. A three story storage shed and a three car garage were in the back alongside the county airport. It was on the edge of town and had a more rural feel, it seemed to fit the family better. There was no prejudice that followed us when we made this move, Mom immediately made new friends, good friends that would remain close the rest of her life. The Licking county department of mental retardation and developmental disability was far superior at the time to Tuscarawas county and it was a happy time for Renee.

That was the summer of 1969, when man walked on the moon, a very exciting event in our house. We all watched on television as the epic events unfolded and Mom told us that it was a great tribute to her favorite President, John F. Kennedy that we managed to put a man on the moon before the end of the decade.

That was forty years ago today, four decades, times were changing fast. The 70’s were a time of technology and her children growing up.

Next time - Chapter 4 - The Blizzard of ‘78


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