A Tour Down Memory Lane

This piece was written by Karen Wagner Francis for s special edition of the Tower of Memories, the Fairview High School Newsletter in the Summer of 2008. Nancy Marker, Janan King, Karen and others collaborated to put the issue together. It will bring back many memories and perhaps some nostalgic tears as you read it.


Last weekend I attended the Home Show at Hara Area and decided to cruise the areas that were once part of my life:

Do you remember………

When the Salem Mall was first built and all the excitement of having so many stores in one location. Until the mall was built we had to rely on Forest Park Plaza for all of our shopping needs or make a trip downtown. Now the only remaining building is the Sears building. The rest is a pile of rubble with Home Depot sitting on the former Lazarus site.

The Kon Tikki Theaters were torn down years ago.

The Durrell Paint Store at Salem and Gettysburg is where we used to get our art supplies for Ms. Sharkey’s art class. That building has been replaced with a drug store.

The Fort McKinley library still stands but the Vic and Mom’s pizza storefront is long gone. We had many memories in that place!

The old Burger Chef building is now ethnic foods but I can remember when you used to be able to get a hamburger, fries and milkshake for 45 cents. I also remember trying to get out for lunch from Fairview High and trying to get back within your thirty minute time allowance.

The old Salem Drive-In is long gone but the memories of having 8-10 kids in the car for the carload discount still remains. Remember the old clunky speakers you had to hang on your windows? How about sneaking kids in the trunk of your car?

The Stumps supermarket later known as Foodtown is still standing but I’m not sure if it is still open.

Miracle Lane is razed completely but I still have memories of Woolworth’s, David’s Buffet, and The Met where Doug Simon’s dad used to work. We used to buy our “Villager” shirts and sweaters there.  Remember Schiff’s shoes where you had to put your foot under an x-ray like machine to see where your toes were? We all wore Scat’s gym shoes until we could afford the Ked’s brand with the blue tag. Remember those awful wool socks? They used to cost $1.25 a pair and I had to baby sit for three hours to earn enough for one single pair. Then there was the Carry Out under the shoe store facing Prescott that sold wax moustaches, lips and teeth. They also sold tubes of Lickem Aid. As we got older we used to buy our Boonesfarm and Ripple wine from that same store. (underage of course)

Goody Goody’s is long gone but the Tasty Bird where they had the best “thumpers” in town is still open as is the original Arby’s Roast Beef. Do you remember when they first opened and we thought 49 cents was an outlandish price to pay for one sandwich?

Miami Valley Hardware was owned by Perry Gershman and we bought everything from nuts and bolts to appliances from that store.

The old Frisch’s at the corner of Philadelphia and Salem has been a hospital parking lot for years but I can still envision us waiting in line to get a table during football and basketball seasons. Sometimes we’d just stop in after school for a vanilla or cherry coke.

Baskin Robbins 31 was another familiar stop after school in the Davue building where the old theater used to be. I don’t know what was better, the rich ice cream or checking out the cute guys that worked there.

We used to walk home from Fairview everyday so I followed our path down Philadelphia – the area is now called “College Hill” to Forest Grove past Scott Kelso’s , Ginny Gibb’s, and Pat Dowd’s houses. At Tennyson you could catch a glimpse of Lonn Jackson’s contemporary house in the woods. Sometimes we’d cut up through Harvard Blvd to Connie Hoover’s house and then Pat Court’s flat topped house. We’d head west toward Shaftsbury passing Joy Meighen’s house where we used to have Girl Scout meetings. Judy Roads lived on one corner of Shaftsbury and Carl Bertsche lived on the other in “long sprawling ranch style houses”.

Then we were at College Hill Park, our beloved neighborhood park, which really didn’t look too different than 45 years ago. There was the shelter house where we played Rook for endless hours, the infamous drinking fountain where we were all initiated by the boys, the volleyball court and the baseball field, and even the large pine trees where we’d sneak off with a new boyfriend. All of the metal monkey bars and merry go rounds have been replaced with plastic. Remember all of those busted lips and scraped knees we’d get? I can still picture Craig and Bonnie, our Park Directors, playing records over and over again. I remember our College Hill softball team beating the Riverview Park team where Gail Thompson, our seventh grade history teacher from Cornell, was a Park Director. Sweet victory and trophies all around!

My journey went on up Campus Drive past Alan Novotny’s house and my heart felt a little tug. Next was Anna Gorischek’s sprawling ranch that Anna’s dad custom built. I remember being in awe that the house had a full kitchen in the basement plus a rec room and a fully stocked bar. That bar was the source of our cherry and lime vodka supply in later years. We’d refill the bottles with colored water to mask our “borrowing” of the real stuff.

Right before us was Cornell Heights School and it looked exactly as it always had. I was surprised to see how small the doors leading to the elementary wing were because my memories were that they were huge! I remember that the doors were large and the walk all the way to the end of the hall to Mrs. Peter’s first grade class was a long haul. Remember Mrs. Gregg? If you got in her class you got to make Santa and snowmen mugs at Christmas time. Mrs. Schwab was the other first grade class. Do you remember when we got together at the corner just inside the entrance and we’d sing Christmas and Hanukah songs at the Christmas tree?

We drove past Randee Schantz’ house on Ruskin and Mike Szabo’s house on Newton. We crossed over Cornell which was not a busy street yet I remember being terrified to cross it as a child. We passed Greg Hiller’s house, another tug at the heart, and proceeded down Newton to Earlham Drive. The huge hills I remembered on Newton were merely knolls in my adult viewpoint today. The houses along Earlham looked great as did most of the houses on our journey. We passed Eric Sonnenberg’s house, Doug Simon’s house, Linda Coe’s house and Linda Scherbaurer’s house. At Shelley you could stretch and see LuAnn Miller’s house and Wendy Moshos’ house. Then we were in front of Yvonne Roman’s house, remember her, she used to chew on her long hair in grade school?

We are now on Kipling Drive and again the traffic seems slight unlike my memories of dashing to get across the busy street. We pass Stevie Needham’s house and can see Carol Diamond’s house as we round the corner to Kingsley.

The previous city block was only four houses long, today my yard is larger than that. All of the houses on my former street are now white with aluminum siding; when we were kids the houses were red, green, brown, grey, and even pink! The yards are narrow and the garages look more like sheds. The old massive trees have died out and the sprouts have become the mature tree line. It seems impossible that the tiny porches could hold four or five youngsters waiting for the bread man or the milkman. Remember White’s Bakery trucks? Royal Crest and Mohler Milk trucks? How about the pop cycle man pushing his bicycle cart up and down the streets? He was eventually replaced by the Mr. Softie ice cream truck.

Down the block lived Judy Stringer, Bruce Trowman, Danny Behr, Sharon Dollar, Linda Fox (another tug), Kathy Anderson, Connie Croswaite, and even Johnny Noe.

We rounded Princeton and turned on Wesleyan Road. Remember Johnny Giles? He used to scare the heck out of me in grade school. Remember Virgil Tibbs? How about Sally Lawwill and her three brothers, where did she go? The old fields where I used to roam with Karen Mills are now part of Wesleyan Reserve. We used to climb the cliffs which I now see as mere hillsides and hike the trails down by Wolf Creek. My heart yearns to follow the old paths but my senses tell me it would not be safe to do so.

We continue on past the house that used to be Fertie Fussbudget’s from the Uncle Orrie show. The old stone house has been razed but the old farmhouse is still in tact. We come upon the Cornell shopping center where we had the Cornell Cleaners, Shelton’s Pharmacy, Ned Karn’s beauty salon and Owen’s Supermarket. The memories are making my head swarm as they rush to the tip of my tongue. The sweet memories of childhood; full of adventure, exploration, and safety in a growing and developing community.

We headed up Wesleyan to Stanford and came into the back of Cathy Croy’s house where we used to meet as Brownies and then we were at Janan King’s house. Down the block would be Diana Fink’s, Gary Lucas’, Sandy Raffel’s, and Jeff Wells’ houses. Going backwards we would be at Kathy’s McClung’s house.

As we headed up Cornell again we pass what used to be Claudia Chapman’s house, another flat top but it has been razed and only an empty lot remains. The College Hill Presbyterian church holds many memories of our preteen years in the youth group. As we cross Philadelphia Drive I think of Karen Setzer.

Our journey continues down Salem Avenue toward the interstate where we are exposed to numerous areas of boarded up houses and evidence of crime and drug abuse. How lucky we were to have grown up in a period of time that was innocent and safe. How lucky we were to have shared a wonderful childhood together!

Do you remember………………………….


  1. I remember one year, during 2nd grade at Cornell Heights School, my parents had taken me out to lunch on the last day before Xmas vacation. As we pulled up to the school, the Xmas caroling had already begun. As I got out of the car and walked towards the double doors leading to the elementary wing, I could see students and teachers inside, filling the hallway around the Xmas tree and my teacher, Mrs. Andrews, standing at the door. I was afraid I’d get in trouble for being tardy, but she just smiled at me and said, “Oh, I’m glad you’re here. Since you have your coat on, could you please hold the door? I’m freezing but it’s hot inside and we need ventilation.” Of course, I happily complied. Not only did I not get in trouble — I was proud to serve!

    • David, thank you so much for sharing your early Cornell Heights memory. We were so fortunate to be born to an era such as ours with the great schools, caring teachers, and strong communities, resulting in a solid foundation for each of us to succeed. I am grateful to have shared my childhood with others like you!

  2. Pat Nichols (Rose, Mikes sister)

    September 5, 2015 at 7:53 pm

    Wow what a memory!! Even though a year behind you I recognize so many of the names and your thoughts. Thanks so very much for the trip!!!

    • Hi Pat, I remember you! Thanks for the good comments on “Do You Remember…?” We were all so fortunate to have grown up in a wonderful neighborhood, a great elementary school, and then followed by such a terrific high school. What a great foundation for life!! Thanks for the visit!

  3. Ronald D Puterbaugh

    September 7, 2015 at 10:37 am

    As we close one chapter on our lives, a new one will always open, until the last chapter, and then our book of life will close forever, with those left behind to finish their books without us, but hopefully with very fond memories of all the days that have gone by. But once our book of life is ended, a whole new world awaits us on the other side of that veil of tears. For friendships forged in this life do not end at death, but they who have gone on before us await our coming, to be with them, and friendships of long ago will be renewed, and all that we had forgotten will be remembered, and we will understand that we are eternal beings with eternal beginnings and all that we have experienced together will be a part of our eternal natures. Once was will be again, and Fairview will have the greatest reunion on the other side. This time is to build friendships and to heal all old wounds, this life is the time to forgive and forget so that love that is a part of us will carry us through all that we have come here to experience. The family of Fairview High will be together once again, for Fairview is forever.

    • Hi Ron, nicely written. Nice to see you on the website and as you can tell it still has lots of work to go before it will be completed. How fortunate that we shared our education together in such a great school. great community. and nucleus of so many wonderful classmates.

      • Sandy Raffel Cranmer

        October 26, 2015 at 9:04 pm

        I agree with Ron Puterbaugh 100% … and this man writes well … can we have some more from Ron?

        • Sandy and Ron, we need more “writers” for this site and you both are gifted in that field! I’d love to see more from both of you!

          • Ronald D Puterbaugh

            October 27, 2015 at 5:57 pm

            You both are very kind with your compliments, but after reading what you two write, my skills don’t even come close, as a matter of fact, I lack the real skill of writing, but I am trying to do my best. I try and write my thoughts often, but cannot seem to finish the things I start. I have dozens of articles I have started, and none of them are finished. Again thanks for your compliments.

  4. Very nice article. Brought back a lot of old memories.

  5. Margaret (Kerman) Robinson

    September 20, 2015 at 9:16 pm

    Thanks for the Memories. I was a year behind you at FHS. I grew up near Fairview Elem. I remember all the places you wrote about. Still friends with alot of my classmates. Fairview lives in the heart of all of us.

    • Thanks Margaret! We grew up with an intimacy within our grade schools and even more so with Fairview High School. What a great time in life with the great music, muscle cars, teachers that were dedicated to our learning and neighborhoods that were safe. You’re absolutely correct; Fairview does live in the heart of all of us!

  6. Sandy Raffel Cranmer

    October 26, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    Always loved this well written, unbelievably detailed article … now what I’d like to see is your description of the sewer systems we both explored – along with various other dedicated sewer spelunkers! Write it like only you can … in humorous description! You know how we all love to laugh Thanks!

  7. Andrea Lynn Hall Bollinger

    November 1, 2015 at 9:19 pm

    It’s been so long since I was in Dayton I had forgotten much, until I read this lovely piece. I was right there coming down Kipling where we lived at the corner of Shaftsbury. The last time I was there, I almost didn’t recognize the neighborhood and someone had painted our Tudor-style home pink- yikes! I’m grieving a bit for missing out on the comraderie and history, and looking forward to reconnecting. Thank you all for your hard work. /Lynn

    • Lynn, I remember your parents allowing us to step into your porch and sometimes your house as we clustered against the blistering winds at the bus stop. Your house and Ann Callison’s house were both dark brick Tudor design and they both stood out amongst the framed Cape Cod designs that dominated the neighborhood. What great childhoods we shared!! So glad to see you have “found” us!

  8. Katherine Ullmer

    April 24, 2018 at 10:27 am

    All of the above have given me fun. My brother Jim, sister Stef, and I grew up in the neighborhood and went to
    Cornell Heights and Fairview. I was a member of Girl Scout Troop 411 that met at Vicki Roads house at Shaftsbury, across from College Hill Park. Those were great times. Cornell Heights was new then. At age 100 Miss Stewart went back to the school with Mr. Galvin, the gym teacher. Both have since passed. The school looked the same. And Miss Stewart walked on her own and greeted the children with the grace she always showed. I had Mrs. Thornberg for a teacher in first grade and my third grade teacher Miss Chase was one of my favorites. I seventh grade we all went to Miss Schaffer’s wedding, at her invitation. Aside from sitting in the hallway with our heads covered in case of an air raid, and sending gifts to the Korean children…we had no worries like today’s kids. Later, as a news reporter I saw the devastation of the neighborhood with drugs and crime. At Kipling and Harvard I had to go out and investigate a murder. There were killings at the park we used to walk through on the way to school. The stores along Cornell Drive were all gone. As someone said, many of the small trees had overgrown the small yards and been removed by the new owners. House prices dropped drastically, back to WWII prices….when the homes were first built after the war. Life changes and Cornell Heights and Fairview are no more. They were great schools to learn in, as there was no playing in the halls and teachers were able to teach with discipline. Then came the 60s and 70s with the drug culture taking over, and kids everywhere not respecting the opportunities the schools could give them, not taking the opportunities the teachers offered to make their lives better. Some students survived despite the chaos in the schools. They became doctors and lawyers, teachers and professors, despite the world around them.
    I am so glad to see that many have good memories of the past and that many are thriving because of the good public education we enjoyed. No need to pay big prices when the prize is right before one at a discount.
    I thank all who share such good detailed memories of what once was in Dayton View. We had great fun growing up there. I came in second in a city parks track meet at Welcome Stadium, and had no training at all. I just loved to run. That’s what life is about, and though I was not in the same class as those who have written here,…I helped write our song to the departing 8th graders…with Jane Seiler….With school mates like you, Old friends so good and true…We say farewell to you tonight, from Cornell Heights. We’ll miss your cheer throughout the year..And wish that you would still be here. It won’t seem the same, but still it’s our aim, ..To wish you lots of luck and fame. …So strive for goals above…With loyalty and love…And Cornell Height will remember your name…Mrs. Wolf, the music teacher set it to music. Anyway…life goes on and memories fade, but you all brought back good ones, and I thank you…Kitty Ullmer. Brother Jim became a dentist and Stephanie, my younger sister married Dennis McNary and they now live in Panama City Beach Florida. I keep running into Fairview former students at Dorothy Lane Market….Janet Sonnenberg, Carol Chudd…(Class of ’61) ..Larry ? he didn’t give me his last name…(class of 62), Alan Schwab (Class of 62…and former Centerville City Planner…etc…I didn’t know them while at school though I graduated in 1964. Go figure…We sort of stayed in our own grade level for friends back then. But we share memories of our teachers and the fun we all had at the area locations. Best to all!

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