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Remembrances > Growing Up In Belmont in the 1960s Part Two
Growing Up In Belmont in the 1960s Part Two
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5 posts
Sep 01, 2014
8:10 AM
Immaculate Conception school and church experienced a tremendous amount of growth in my youth. The school added a wing on the south side of the building around 1964 and my fifth grade class and the sixth grade class were the first to use it. Little did we know our view of the sidewalk that extended from Lohrey Center to the street would become our new church. We watched it being built from the classroom and the playground. We were there when the bells were consecrated and placed in the tower. I was an altar boy there and because of Vatican II, I didn't have to have a working knowledge of Latin to perform my duties. And after 12:30 Mass, Dad was still head usher, I used to listen to organist John Buehler play Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor on the pipe organ. It was the best part of going to Mass, hands down. I was told at the time he chose this particular music because it utilized all of the pipes, which helped maintain the organ.

Then as now, fundraising was a part of education. Every Christmas season there was a huge school wide candy sale. We would all go door to door around the neighborhood and sell, sell, sell. For Cub Scouts, the pitch was for light bulbs. The biggest fundraiser was the annual festival, the last big event of the summer. Back then the baby boomers and their parents filled the playground with booths of all sorts of games of chance. My father ran one of the oddest booths I've ever encountered, the Ham booth. Once the bets were down, the wheel would be spun and if you had the lucky number you won a ham from East Dayton Meats, which is still in business today at 1546 Keystone Avenue, just off of South Smithville road. Dad actually had some hams available in the booth to give to lucky winners.

Milk was delivered to the house by Moler's Dairy in my early days and for years we would drive out to their working dairy farm in the country for ice cream, 1.4 miles away from our suburban home, at 1922 S. Smithville Road. In later years, they had a huge dairy cow statue in front of the store named Sweet Rosie O'Grade A. We mainly bought our groceries and returned our empty pop bottles to Dot's Market, still operating at 2274 Patterson Road. If we needed bread or milk right away, though, one of the kids was dispatched to Frank's Party Supply at 2014 S. Smithville Road. Frank's also was the supplier of baseball cards at our house and I found out years later, overpriced candy sold by young entrepreneurs on Immaculate Conception's playground.

Hartley's Bike Shop was operated out of the home at 3908 Wayne Avenue. The entrance was off the alley in back and what is now a carport was the showroom. Mr. Hartley had a reputation of being grumpy and in his later years when he was an amputee confined to a wheelchair he was, but that's where the kids went for needed parts or repairs.

Two blocks down Smithville road from Frank's, between Woodcliffe and Pleasant View avenues, stood the Dabel Theater. Unlike the neighborhood Belmont Theater on Watervliet, this movie house was for more prestigious movies like “Sound of Music” or “How the West was Won”. They used the side of the building as temporary signage to advertise each film and “It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” ran the length of it. Going to the Dabel was an event. The other movie theater in the neighborhood was the Belmont Auto Theater at 2060 County Line Road. It's where we saw a lot of Disney movies in the 60s but the film I remember most is “The Longest Day”. I didn't understand the significance of the film to my father at the time; he was a B-24 pilot over Germany during the Second World War.

One Fourth of July I remember people gathering on the hill overlooking Belmont Auto Theater to the east to watch aerial and ground fireworks displays on the farmland to the north.

For our shopping needs, downtown was the place to be. In seventh or eighth grade the school would bus us to Memorial Hall at 125 E. First Street for a Kinder concert, which was our introduction to classical music. Afterwards, if we had signed permission slips from our parents, we could stay downtown after the concert and return on our own on the city bus. I did this many times. We would walk to Rike's on Second and Main and maybe stop at McCrory's, at 29 S. Main Street to the Arcade, for affordable gift buying or ice cream sundaes. If you wanted a banana split, often times McCrory's diner was decorated with balloons. You picked a balloon to be popped and the price of the banana split was hidden on the slip of paper inside. Unfortunately, by the late 60s the heyday of McCrory's and the Arcade was long gone. Cockroaches were a common companion as you ate your ice cream and the Arcade dome was a dark and dingy crown to the shabby drugstore below. Yet I can still hear the awe in a friend's voice when we were in the Arcade and I told him to look up.

The other shopping destination that made an impression on my youthful mind was a new store, Rike's Kettering at 2050 E. Dorothy Lane. It was more than twice the drive to Moler's Dairy, a little more than three miles, but there were two things I loved about it when it first opened. I would pocket a marble chip from the landscaping as I walked in the door and then I headed to the snack bar to watch a machine make a green, mold injected plastic dinosaur. I can still remember the smell and the feel of the warm plastic. Unfortunately, the machine was long gone by the time Rike's Kettering became my first employer in high school.

But that's another story.
126 posts
Sep 04, 2014
3:37 PM
A Wonderful post. Really enjoyed reading it. Loved your comments about going to church and enjoying the pipe organ "recital" at the end. I've posted some comments elsewhere about my memories of the pipe organ at St. Mary's on Xenia Ave. from an earlier decade or two. Today I'm in the church choir at St. Paul Church in Westerville, Ohio. We had the excitement of a new church opening a few years ago. A new, custom built pipe organ of the size similar to St. Mary and Immaculate Conception congregants will be ready for dedication in mid-Oct. Can't wait to hear that Toccata and Fugue in D minor.
4 posts
Oct 09, 2014
8:55 AM
Photostve, your memories so mirror my own. (I have to know you.) I sang in the choir 5-8 grade while attending IC. John Buehler could really make that organ sing! Remember singing in many weddings held there and watching the children of these unions grow up. My family did the brat booth at the Festival for a few years too.
7 posts
Oct 09, 2014
4:30 PM
eastdaytongirl, I graduated from IC in '69. My last name is Weaver and we lived at the top of Woodbine hill, near Merline. Ring any bells?
7 posts
Oct 29, 2014
7:09 AM
I do remember you. My brother Phil North was in your class. I was a year behind. There were 9 of us that attended IC between 1960 through 1980. Thanks for the posts, it brought back a lot of old memories.
16 posts
Oct 30, 2014
3:03 PM
I remember Phil! Tell him I said hi.
luv my dayton
942 posts
Apr 05, 2015
8:04 PM
Photostev. I am impressed and amazed with what you have retained from your youth. I have wondered so many times how things had changed and what shops and businesses existed back then and from your descriptions it is as plain as day. My memory just failed me on many places that were originally there. Job well done and keep them coming. You mentioned a gentleman by last name of Hartley who had the bike shop. My ex husband worked part time for him to bring in extra cash back in 70s. He seemed to be a kind man and felt badly for him as his diabetis is what caused him the loss of his legs.

Last Edited by luv my dayton on Apr 05, 2015 8:10 PM
4 posts
Apr 21, 2015
4:37 AM
Loved reading your post! I am an IC grad, Class of 72, and I remember Mr. Buehler, Moler's Dairy, the Dabel, etc. Your comment about bursting the balloon to find out the price of your sundae was a memory that I hadn't thought of in years! Thanks for sharing!

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