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Patterson Road Farmhouse

Pam McGinnis takes on ‘Virginia Woolf’ 

Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? opened this past weekend at the Dayton Playhouse and plays two more weekends. This masterpiece of American drama combines the banal, the vulgar and the poetic. Come immerse yourself in Albee’s ‘almost-musical’ language and experience the dark, twisted world of George and Martha.

An instant classic in its straightforward investigation of the power and viciousness of love, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is a masterpiece of language - an acutely candid and courageous exploration of the illusions people use to keep themselves alive. In this dramatic tour de force, a night of drinking takes one ugly turn after another, as layers of deception are stripped away to their terrifying core.

Featuring Oakwood resident Pam McGinnis as Martha, Charles Larkowski as George, Amy Brooks as Honey and Matt Beisner as Nick, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is directed by Craig Smith. Albee presents a darker and more sarcastic vision of the American dream, by depicting a marriage (actually two marriages) based on the lies of illusions. The play is about the obliteration of that unhealthy dream and the liberating power of the truth.

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? plays this coming weekend, March 7, 8 and 9 and March 14, 15 and 16. Performance times are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. For tickets, call (937) 424-8477. Box-office open Monday - Friday - 1-5 p.m. and one hour prior to curtain. Or log on to This show is for adult audiences. It contains strong language and sexual situations.


Oakwood resident announces senior help startup

Oakwood resident Jerry Sanders announces the formation of a new company in
Oakwood directed towards senior citizens of the area. 

While the priority is on seniors living independently, small business owners, busy professionals, two-career families, recuperating patients and anyone with too much to do and no one to do it will benefit from the affordable new home help service.

The company, A Helping Hand, focuses on the needs of seniors for services such as safety inspections, minor repairs and maintenance, errand-running, and real estate services. Sanders is a licensed Realtor who, after the recent death of his father, noted that his mother is now in need of help with many home tasks that were once performed by her late husband.

“For many family caregivers, there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day. It’s difficult to care for all of the needs of an outside family member and still have enough time and energy left for your own family, your job and yourself. Exhaustion and stress can become overwhelming”, Sanders said.

Sanders meets with seniors to assess their needs and then draw up a plan to address the problems and solutions. It’s usually the small jobs that go unattended without someone to call for help.  

His recommended safety list includes the following: Is the house address visible from the street? Is there any flammable liquid in storage? Any damaged electrical cords or outlets? Are smoke alarm and CO2 detectors working and placed in the correct locations?

Sanders has been a resident of Oakwood for over 35 years. He was responsible, in part, for the installation of the CodeRed emergency telephone notification system that was adopted by the city of Oakwood.

Centennial Reflections
Essays from the Oakwood Historical Society

Oakwood is home to 10 different Parks

Parks – maybe not a big item in your life – or maybe one of the main reasons you like Oakwood – but we should be proud of our long commitment to them. For a small city in terms of area, we have a remarkable number of parks. Click them off in your mind as we tour them.

Among the most prominent is Houk Stream, which was created in 1912 by the cooperative efforts of Elizabeth P.T. Houk, Henrietta Parrott and John H. Patterson. Located at the intersection of Ridgeway Road, Oakwood Avenue, Park Road and Forrer Road, it consists of 13.7 acres restricted for park purposes forever. In 1986 it was renamed Friendship Park in honor of our sister cities in France and Canada. The part between Ridgeway and Forrer Road is known as Elizabeth Gardens in honor of Mrs. Parrott’s mother Elizabeth Forrer.

Nearby is the newest park, accessed from Runnymede Road and adjacent to Friendship Park, purchased by the city in 2007 and named Centennial Park, for out door enjoyment, study, and recreation.  Its 3.1 acres is to be maintained in its natural state, and will not have any playground equipment or ball fields. A master plan will be developed for future guidance.

Between Forrer and Park Roads is a one and a half acre park known as Loy Gardens. It was created in 1929 by the will of Katherine Loy next to the Loy’s home on Park Road. In 1990 the Garden Club of Dayton restored the park which had become overgrown. With the help of the city and support from the Rotary Club, they added dogwood, daffodils, and mulch for paths. The garden has hundreds of crocus bulbs planted whose flowers break through the soil and bloom as a harbinger that Spring is on its way. Wildflowers, a small brook and a footbridge all complement one of Oakwood’s best-kept secrets.By taking a little walking on Forrer Road, a walker can access the other above named parks.
Fairridge Park on Fairmont Avenue is between Fairmont and Ridgeway. The Ridgeway side was donated by Frederick Patterson and Dorothy Patterson Judah in 1924 for use as a water tower and playground. The Fairmont Avenue side was donated by developer Carl Shultheis. The playground is shadowed by the water tower, which originally was a Tudor architecture design. The city planted trees for screening the water tower in 1991.

Shafor Park on Patterson Road between Shafor Blvd. and E. Schantz Avenue was created by Walter Shafor conveying the four acres for the building and tennis courts now known as the Community Center to it’s predecessor, The East Oakwood Club in 1919. The building was built by a non-profit corporation sponsored by John H. Patterson. It maintained an active social program until 1928. When the club closed, it was conveyed with the rest of the land on the block to the city. An outdoor basketball court and playing fields added in 1991 have added to its popularity. Nothing happened in the building during the Depression and during WW II, when it was the Draft Board. In 1949 it was leased to the Y.M.C.A. for an active youth program. The Gardner family donated the swimming pool to the city in 1969, adding to the program of the “Y”. In 1987 after 37 years of operation, the lease was terminated and the city undertook the program with a new Leisure Services Department. After two years and the investment of $850,000, it became a popular multi-generational facility operating many programs.

Orchardly Park at Delaine Avenue between Orchard and Wonderly avenues was given to the city in 1928 by Henry Coleman, a local developer. Originally given the name Wonderly Park, in 1993, the city upgraded the park with a $212,000 investment for play equipment, walkways, and handicap access as well as landscaping. Citizens raised $5,500 for the landscaping project.

Irving Field Park located outside Oakwood on Irving Avenue, is 6.234 acres acquired in 1979 and in 1980. Part of it was bought for expanding the city’s well field. The city created three soccer fields with the movement of 13,000 cubic yards of earth and an investment of $177,894  plus $62,500 from the county Children’s Services Levy. Opened in 1982, it has parking for 70 cars, an equipment storage building and restrooms. It became hockey fields in the 90’s when soccer fields were made available by leasing property at Old River from NCR.

An obscure postage stamp park is located at the corner of Schenck Avenue and Far Hills Avenue. Donated by the Adam Schantz Estate in 1912, it consists of one lot and has no purpose whatever. It has no plaque, no fence, only a bench and is restricted from building.

We have discussed the park dedicated to the memory of Col. Robert Patterson at Far Hills and Oakwood avenues in a previous article.

Last but certainly not least, Smith Gardens is one of Oakwood’s premier destinations for residents and non-residents. Created by the will of industrialist Carlton Smith, it is at the corner of Oakwood Avenue and Walnut Lane. He also devised his residence to the city so that its sale could provide funds for maintaining the gardens. The sale produced $110,000, but this wasn’t enough, and since 1981 the community has supported the upkeep by fund raising. There is a stucco host building and a utility building. Several musical events show off the park each summer. The city’s Leisure Services Department and Service Department contribute to maintaining this beautiful crown jewel of the city.

In 1987, citizens became concerned about the future of the .6 acre corner of Far Hills Avenue and West Schantz Avenue. With a lead gift from the Huffman family, funds were raised to purchase and improve the land and create a permanent maintenance fund. A gazebo and marker were constructed and landscaping added so that Mary Reynolds Huffman Park is now a signature entranceway to Oakwood. A small tract at the rear has been a park since1937, when it was donated to the city as a condition for constructing the gas station which stood there for many years.

And now – the biggest undertaking by the city ever – the leasing in 2006 of 28 acres of NCR’s Old River for a soccer field complex. This is located in the City of Dayton, and will be accessed by a new road planned to enter from Volusia Avenue and Far Hills Avenue. These fields have been leased by the city previously, but now are under Oakwood’s exclusive control. More about this venture when we discuss Sugar Camp.


The politics of having a pound Puppy

My husband and I got a puppy. I don’t know why exactly; it all happened so fast. I remember we went in to the shelter for an old sick dog. I was going to take care of her in her old age, make her comfortable, step over her in the kitchen, walk her around the block and be done with it. But no sooner had we entered the building then they had placed an adorable black puppy in our arms. They told us she’d been found under a house. She was shaking and looked so helpless.

I came to three hours later with a puppy sound asleep on my pillow. I was confused but had the feeling that I was doing something good, something for humanity, something altogether right, American even. Then she woke up. When she isn’t tinkling on the floor, she’s doing a boom-boom, but that’s not to say she’s unsophisticated. This dog is waging some kind of relentless coup complete with gorilla warfare. At all times of the night and day, you can find me chasing a slightly larger black puppy around my 600 sq. ft. apartment. Bella - that’s what we call her - has invariably taken my shoe or slipper, a delicacy, or one of my socks - sometimes I’ll catch her with a pen; she is holding it for ransom from behind every chair and under every table. When she takes the pen, I imagine she’s writing the great American novel or perhaps making a list of her demands. I’m not entirely sure considering she shreds any paper she can get her hands on - self-defeating - like all great movements for change.

What’s more, in her short life she has staged a successful hunger strike. It seems she didn’t enjoy the last bag of dog food we bought her, so she simply refused to eat it. It worked; it was only a matter of hours before I was in the kitchen making her scrambled eggs and toast. All of this politicking wears out our little revolutionary, and she will climb up on the couch, a battle I have decidedly lost, and sleep stretched out on her back, arms and legs flopping to the sides. As she lies there, snoring like a truck driver, I remember why we got her, she’s so darn cute when she’s sleeping.

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March 4, 2008
Volume 17, No. 10

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