Revisiting Oakwood a treat
The definition of home is a place where someone waits for you. The trip my husband Charles and I took last month was precisely that “homecoming.” Laurence Warwar invited us to revisit our former home, Oakwood, over the Thanksgiving holiday. Laurence met us at the Dayton airport with a large bouquet of flowers in her arms, which made us feel immediately welcome.
Driving from the airport through downtown Dayton was a bit confusing; The familiar Rike’s Department Store was no longer there. In its place there is an impressive Schuster Performing Arts Center. I recall, I used to drive back and forth in that area like it was my backyard, but it has changed so much it is no longer recognizable, and if I drove there today I would not know where I was going.
However, when we got close to Oakwood, my memory was back. Schantz Avenue’s gate was there, the street was full of golden oak leaves, neatly raked on either side of the street for the city to pick up, which to me was a very beautiful in its own way. Our former home at 401 E.
Schantz Ave. was still there, unchanged, which made us feel really good. By the way, we visited there the next day and the lovely owner couple graciously invited us in to show us the entire house. It has been maintained very well during these past years. What we appreciated most though was that they kept the basement rec room the way we left it, which was remodeled by Charles and me.
Every moment we had spare time, Charles drove Laurence’s car around, looking at the area carefully, reminiscing and reliving the memories of the bygone days of 27 plus years ago when we lived in Oakwood. We have endless fond memories of the people, the city, the buildings, trees, and the air. Our son, Mark, was in grade school, the Indian Guides, track meets, Harman School, the OCC swimming pool, etc… The kaleidoscope was turning rapidly. I wished there was a way to reverse the time machine once more.
We drove to the west side of the City and admired the beautifully built homes. We live in the Seattle area now and it is rare that we see the caliber of homes we saw in Oakwood. Homes are considerably higher in Seattle. The median price is $475,000 there. I often wonder how young people can afford a house nowadays.
The City of Oakwood was planned very carefully, and it is impressive indeed. The lot size, the setting, architectural design, building material, every aspect is superb. It is no wonder there is no one willing to change, rather insistence of a tight grip on the whole picture of the city was exactly the same as when we lived there, which gave us the feeling of coming home.
We are deeply thankful to the Warwar family for the hospitality and generosity they extended to us during our 10-day visit. The opportunity to revisit one’s former residence is rare without a kind friend’s invitation. It was also a wonderful chance to see and spend time with our old friends Jack and Phyllis Heck, Lucy and Jess Perez and Do and Jack Wagner. So long City of Oakwood until we see you again in some future.
A young lady, Mackenzie Reed, visited our office last Wednesday with this letter for our newspaper. We had already gone to press for the New Year’s not-to-mention the Christmas issue, but would like to publish this little homily nevertheless…
My Christmas wish
I am asking for just one Christmas miracle. That is for the war in Iraq to end once and for all. I am saddened to think of soldiers giving their lives for America, when they could be home for the holidays. I know this is a present that can’t be wrapped, but is perhaps one of the best gifts in America. Some people ask for toys, clothes and games. I have a different voice and want the war to end. Please let this Christmas
miracle happen hopefully by next Christmas. I know it is weird that a ten-year-old girl puts so much thought into the war but I have a voice and I want to let it speak and be heard, so please bless the soldiers and help them come home safely.
Mackenzie A. Reed