My father turned 80 years old on Saturday. It was really a cool experience even though we were in Cincinnati at the U.S. Nationals Dance competition for High School girls. My sister's two youngest girls are both on a dance team from Dayton, Ohio.
I thought that I'd would hate the whole thing but found it interesting and was actually entertained by all the stage mom's (including my sis) hovering 'round living vicariously through their daughters. I sort of felt like I'd fallen into the Twilight Zone but then realized my father was there as too and all was well.
We took a break from all the dancing and went down to Dayton Kentucky, just over the river from Cincinnati and visited the neighborhood where dad grew up. Wow, what a cool place, just 2 blocks from the mighty Ohio River.
My grandfather was the superintendent of Dayton Public Schools and was recognized for two things he did for high school sports in the city. First of all, he hired a recent college graduate in 1933 to coach the boys basketball team and teach History. His name was John Wooden...yep, the same John Wooden who went on to become the "Wizard of Westwood" and lead UCLA to 11 National Championships.
The second thing he did was to install lights on the Football Field....Dayton High School was the first school in Kentucky or the Cincinnati area to have a lighted football field. Because of these achievements and many others educational as well as athletic, the school board named the field after him. Significant to me not only because my grandfather had a football field named after him but his name was unusual and it became my middle name: Olin.
I realize this blog entry is mostly for my own benefit (aren't they all really in the end?!) but I really have come to cherish my memories of the past. I've always loved history and that includes the history of my own family. It was a special way to spend a couple of hours with my dad on his 80th birthday.
Then it was back to the arena for another few hours of screaming high school girls, ach....