RSS

Tag Archives: clyde

Gene’s Drive-Thru Carry-Out

Growing up we spent every weekend and many weekdays at my grandparents’ house in Clyde.  The big white farmhouse stood with a sort of authority, the same authority that rang through the air when Grandma called us for dinner.  And across the drive from the farmhouse stood Gene’s Drive-Thru Carry-Out.

In between Clyde and Green Creek Township, people drove out of their way to go to Gene’s.  Some say he had the coldest beer around, others came to sit at the counter on tattered stools and scratch lottery tickets and talk about the Cleveland Indians.  Some came because Gene and his kids remembered their orders and had them waiting as soon as they pulled in.

After hours of playing in the yard and being turned away from the cookie jar at Grandma’s house, us kids would run barefoot across the scorching asphalt and open the metal door to the back of “the store.”  Stepping in and cooling our feet on the smooth concrete floor, we sneaked through cardboard boxes and overstock Pepsi and Miller Lite cartons to the doorway that led to Grandpa.  He always stood behind the counter with either my mother, my Aunt Karen or Aunt MaryLynn or Uncle Mike.

As soon as we appeared, all of the customers would ask which of Gene’s kids we belonged to, and what we were up to.  We answered them, reaching into the cooler for a cold pop and then walking out from behind the counter to the wall of candy on the side wall.  We took what we wanted, sometimes daring to go to the freezer for a frozen Snickers bar, and we left.

It’s a wonder we aren’t all kleptomaniacs.  It is NOT a wonder that I was pretty chunky throughout my childhood.

I did a lot of growing up in that store.  I learned to play the clarinet with my cousin Heather.  I got locked in the cooler with a dead pig and my cousin Meghan.  “Momma Cat” had a batch of kittens in a garbage bag back by the bathroom and then left them for dead.  I scanned lottery tickets to my heart’s content.

I was heartbroken when Grandpa sold the store.  He retired and began working at Wilson’s Clothing part time instead.  They sold the store to a local couple, and during a chain of drive-thru robberies, Denise was shot:

“Less than 30 minutes after Hovis reported The Gables robbery to police, the body of 42-year-old Denise Clink was found at Gene’s Drive-Thru, just outside the city limits of Clyde, a small town in Sandusky County best known as the home of a Whirlpool factory. Robinson, police concluded, had shot Clink during a robbery of the drive-through that she and her husband owned.”  -Brad Dicken, The Chronicle-Telegram

It was terrifying.  Grandpa’s store became a place where a murder happened.  It was a friend who was killed…and worse, it could have been our grandpa.

Gene’s Drive-Thru is still standing, although vacant.  It’s mostly just memories now, memories that I hope someday we can revive.  I don’t know how to run a business, but it’s always an option.  It took Grandpa a lot of years to build up that clientele, and he was as loyal to them as they were to him.

I do miss that carry-out though.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on November 16, 2011 in When I Was Young

 

Tags: , , , ,

Grandpa’s 81!

Grandpa Gene is 81!  Whoa.  And if you’re not from Clyde or Fremont, Ohio, you don’t know this, but Grandpa’s birthday is almost a national holiday (ask him, go ahead).  For weeks, he readies himself for this big occasion.  It’s a celebration all around town, at the Drug Mart and the Speedway, at McDonald’s and the Circle K, the VFW and all the places where Grandpa makes his rounds each day.

One of the things I love most about my Grandpa is that he loves Loves LOVES lottery tickets (probably more than he loves his own birthday).  Scratchers.  All the time.  🙂  In fact, when he owned Gene’s Drive-Thru Carry-Out in Clyde (I think I have my post for tomorrow), the slogan on his t-shirts (and for the store in general) was “Play the Lotto with Slotto!”

Didn't believe me, didja?

Grant in his t-shirt.

So Grandpa had an awesome birthday.  And he got a lot of lottery tickets.

Grant, Grandma, Grandpa

Every time Grandpa opened a gift at his birthday party, Grant would say, “More lottery tickets?!”  He did get quite a few lottery tickets.  I can see how a kid would be disappointed with repeat presents.

The other thing I love about Grandpa is his love for all Cleveland teams.  See the Wahoo shirt?  That’s one of hundreds, I’m sure.  And Grandma (isn’t she frickin’ adorable?) is the same way.  She loves watching the Cleveland Indians.

And we all came to celebrate at my parents’ house in Fremont.  Even baby Jax!  Now where are we going to find a tiny Gene’s Drive-Thru shirt for him?

 
3 Comments

Posted by on November 15, 2011 in Daily Happenings

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Catching Bees

Meghan and I spent a lot of time catching bugs, for whatever reason.  There was a certain time of year that the ladybugs covered the north side of the house.  We spent hours seeing how many we could fit into discarded Slim Jim jars from my grandpa’s carry-out.  I believe we probably had two hundred in one jar.  I still remember the smell of smashed ladybugs in the grooves of the lid and the sound of their wings cracking under the pressure as they tried to escape with each new capture.

A lot of the bug catching happened in and around the barn.  Spiders lurked in every slat and the woodpile was full of creepy crawlies.  When Grandma and Grandpa opened the cellar for cleaning, Meghan and I lined up mason jars and Slim Jim jars full of our bugs along the shelves and pretended to run a bug museum.  At the end of the day, we unscrewed the lids and watched them escape into the night.

I remember one day I was the only kid at Grandma and Grandpa’s, and there were hundreds of bees buzzing around the mud puddle.  It was hot, and the bees were moving lazily from one patch of mud to the next.  I found one of our Slim Jim jars with holes poked in the red plastic lid and perched on the small hill above the puddle.

I watched the bees rise and fall to the mud and crept up slowly.  I had gotten my first bee sting that summer after running through the fallen petals of the catalpa tree in the side yard, and I didn’t want to get another.  With the lid in one hand and the upside-down jar in the other, I slowly lowered it over one of the bees.  It immediately flew upwards toward the bottom of the clear jar, trying to escape to the sky.

I slowly slid the lid under the jar and retreated slowly.  I did this all afternoon, and eventually I had 29 bees in the same jar, and no stings.  And no matter how many times I flipped the jar upside-down or horizontal, the bees always flew up.

It occurs to me that whenever we try to escape something, we, like the bees, always go up.  It’s as though altitude makes us more untouchable, less vulnerable.  People take off on planes to vacation spots every day.  Bees go up.  When we’re running short of air in the pool, we go up.  When kids are afraid of something on the ground, they raise their hands to their parents and say, “Up!”  Goats climb things all the time just to be up.

Funny how humans, who are land animals, take such comfort in being “up.”

 
2 Comments

Posted by on October 18, 2011 in When I Was Young

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Mud Puddle

At the request of my dear friend and former student, Jerry, I am writing again about my childhood.

My cousins and I spent every weekend on my grandparents’ farm, where we searched for Jessie Simmons’ tongue, and our sweet Grandma Cleobelle rarely let us in the house if it was nice out.  So we spent a lot of time inventing games, climbing trees, and getting into trouble.

This is my grandparents' barn. In front of this was the mud puddle.

In front of the barn, there was a perpetual mud puddle.  After it rained, it could be as deep as halfway up to our shins.  During the drought of 1988, it turned into flake clay mud that blew away in the dry wind.  But for the majority of my childhood, it was a mud puddle.

We rejoiced in riding our bikes through it, spraying water up on our backs and the cousins who were unlucky enough to ride behind us.  We filled water guns and Solo cups for water fights, and built mud pies out of the thick mud below the rocks.  And if we were lucky enough to find something that floated, we had make-believe sea adventures.  Even though Grandma wouldn’t let us into the house after such antics, we still played in the mud puddle, ate dinner with our muddy hands, and smear mud on our arms and faces like war paint.

What is it about a puddle, or mud, or dirt that draws children in?  Perhaps it’s an innate instinct to locate water and exist near it.  Perhaps it is just because we can.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on October 11, 2011 in When I Was Young

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Why It Is Almost Impossible to Live In One’s Hometown

I don’t know about your family, but mine has been in the same place for a long long time.  Let me explain.

Fremont & Clyde

Fremont and Clyde, where my kin resides.

I grew up in Fremont, Ohio.  Most of my family has been in Fremont and Clyde for at least 70 years.  See that map?  My entire immediate family including grandparents is pretty much in there.  My maternal grandmother grew up in Clyde and searched for Jessie Simmons’ tongue on the very farm I searched for it years later.  She married my grandfather, who was also living in Clyde.  My parents, aunts, and uncles all married people in the same vicinity.  And let’s be honest.  Everything is easier for them in terms of seeing loved ones If my grandparents need something, they have 4 kids and their spouses right there, plus some grandkids and cousins.  It’s easy to pick a place to have a family gathering because everyone is right there.

And up until my generation, everyone was still there.  My grandparents have 10 grandchildren.  Seven of them are still living in either Clyde or Fremont.  I am just south of Cleveland.  My cousin Heidi is right around Ashland.  I know we would love to be able to get back more often and see our family, but sometimes it just isn’t possible.

Getting off of work at 5, driving an hour and a half home puts me at 6:30, long enough to eat dinner, say hi, and head on out before the hour and a half drive back, so that I can go to bed at a decent hour.  I’d love to be able to drive 10 minutes down the road to have a cup of coffee with my mother.

There are advantages to this.  If you marry someone from your hometown, chances are you get to be close to both of your families.  That makes celebrating holidays with both much easier.  It makes planning the actual wedding easier.  It creates built-in babysitters that you don’t have to pay and grandparents get to see their grandkids.  I loved spending every weekend at my grandparents’ house.

But it’s hard to do that as a Gen Y kid.  We move away, go to college, graduate, feel guilty for not using our degrees, and live somewhere we can get a job.  During that process, most of us fall in love, either with someone from our hometown, someone in college, someone in grad school.  And eventually you have to choose.  Do you live closer to your parents?  Or your lovers?  You’re coming from different places, after all.  Will someone be upset?  What if you both can’t get a job in the same place?  What happens then?

It’s just all very weird.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on July 26, 2011 in Domesticity, Fremont

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

1990’s Throwback – What the Hell Was I Wearing?

We might as well start this off right.  Here’s the photo:

Meghan, Britta, Devon, and ...me.

Oh.  My.  Garsh.  What IS this?  What is it?!  Here is what I know about this photo:

OBVIOUS OBSERVATIONS:

  1. It is Britta’s birthday, which is September 4, so either late August, early September.  Either way, it looks to still be pretty warm out.
  2. Britta was in the cute phase, where she thought crinkling her nose was smiling. 😉
  3. Meghan is chewing gum, which she probably took from her mother’s purse.
  4. Meghan is also coming at the camera, no doubt to say that she wants to take the pictures.
  5. I am wearing a horrendous jumpsuit looking outfit.
  6. Britta and Devon are sitting on the picnic table, which is where we more often sat than on the benches.
  7. Devon – Mickey Mouse in sunglasses.  ‘Nuff said.
  8. Britta and Devon – side ponytails.  Again, ’nuff said.
  9. I have a perm.  I am in the second grade in this photo.
  10. I also have braces.
  11. And I am wearing a horrendous jumpsuit.

OBSCURE OBSERVATIONS (the more profound ones):

  1. The flash on the wrapping paper is unnerving.
  2. As brown as the grass is, it must have been hot, and the earth needed rain.
  3. There is laundry on the line.  That clothesline served a major part of my childhood.  The yard beyond that is where we performed gymnastics floor exercises.  The whitewashed poles of the line were bases in tag, football, and more.  And Grandma always had clothes on the line.  See the clothes basket?  See the jeans?  So often, we stole the clothespins to attach old lottery tickets to our bike spokes so that we’d sound like motors.
  4. Beyond the yard is Gene’s Drive-Thru Carry-Out, where Meghan and I were locked in a freezer with a dead pig.
  5. Look at the hole in the picnic table.  It was always a fight to not sit on that corner when we ate outside.  It was so easy to forget, set your cup down in the hole, and spill it all over yourself.  Not to mention, that picnic table hole tore more pairs of shorts and shirts than I want to think about.
  6. The woman in blue in the background?  My mother.  She says it was purple.  I say it is blue.
  7. And our first Dodge Caravan.  So sexy.

So odd what a photo can remind you of.  Thanks, Britta, for searching through your desk and finding this embarrassing thing.  🙂

 
2 Comments

Posted by on July 15, 2011 in 1990's Nostalgia, When I Was Young

 

Tags: , , , , , ,