Also featuring photos from our monthly supplement...

Oakwood homes during the
'teen' years -
1913 to 1919

Kick off the
Oakwood Centennial
at That Day in May

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Hayes - Miller

Col. and Mrs, Richard Hayes, of Charleston, South Carolina, are happy to announce the engagement of their daughter, Megan Alexis, to Kraig Patrick Miller, son of Doug and Pam Miller of Oakwood, Ohio.

Kraig P. Miller and Megan A. Hayes

The bride-to-be is a 2001 graduate of Cheyenne Mountain High School in Colorado, Springs, Colorado. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Food Science and Human Nutrition from Clemson University in 2005. She is a member of Kappa Delta sorority. Megan is a Registered Dietitian and is currently practicing at New Horizon Family Health Services in Greenville, South Carolina.

Kraig is a 2001 graduate of Oakwood High School. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Clemson University in 2006. He is currently working as a Senior Engineer for the Robert Bosch Corporation in Anderson, South Carolina.

The couple will be married on October 4, 2008 at the Circular Congregational Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina. The newlyweds will make their home in Greenville, South Carolina. 

Author to discuss teaching the deaf

Author Susan Schaller, author of A Man Without Words, will tell her story on Thursday, April 24 at 7: 30 p.m. in the Great Room of the Senior Center, 227 Xenia Ave., Yellow Springs, Ohio.  

Schaller tells the story of teaching a deaf adult man his first language and how it led her to other adults who were without language. That journey is the subject of Susan’s forthcoming book, Lives Without Words, People Without Language, as well as a 50 minute documentary made with Oliver Sacks and Schaller.

For more information, visit or

Entries sought for Oakwood Film Festival

The Oakwood Jr./Sr. High School Film Club will be sponsoring the sixth annual Oakwood Film Festival on Saturday, May 17, 2008 at 1 p.m. in the high school auditorium. Film age groups are: K- second grade, third – fifth grade, sixth – eighth grade, ninth – twelfth grade and community members.

If you would like to enter a film, the deadline is April 30. You can pick up film guidelines and registration forms in the high school or junior high offices. There is no fee to enter a film.  

Turn in registration forms and films (DVD or VHS format) to the Oakwood High School office by April 30. If you would like to help sponsor the film festival, contact

Debbie Smith at 937-297-5325 or email

American Dream Awards Program April 30 at OHS

The OHS Class of 1943 and the OHS Social Studies Department present The American Dream Awards Program on Wednesday, April 30 at 7 p.m. in the OHS Auditorium.

The opening address will be by Oakwood City Manager Norbert Klopsch, who will share his American Dream.

Scholarships will be given to the first, second and third place winners. Seven students will be given honorable mention certificates.

The ten contest finalists will share an overview of their essays based on the theme: The American Dream: A Perspective of the Last 100 Years. The theme was chosen as a tribute to the City of Oakwood’s centennial celebrations. The public is invited.

OCC drawing contest winners

The Oakwood Community Center held a drawing contest, with the winner gracing the cover of the OCC’s Spring/Summer brochure. Over 40 Oakwood children submitted incredible entries depicting Oakwood’s 100-year celebration. The judges had a very tough time picking just one for the cover. Daisy Flotron, age 11, won first place, Mackenzie Lahmon, age 12, took second and Peter Salisbury, age 7, won third place. What a great job by all who entered!

Reserve your That Day in May tables!

Attention Oakwood Residents and Community Groups! If you wish to reserve a table for That Day in May to be held on May 17, 2008, please contact Debbie Hershey at 294-5854 or

There is no fee for non-profit community groups. Vendors will be charged a $50 non-refundable fee.

Setting up a table at That Day in May is a great way to advertise to the community about what you or your group is trying to do. It is also a terrific marketing tool to attract new members to your group. See you there!

Centennial Reflections
Essays from the Oakwood Historical Society

Ralf Kircher - a witty, one-of-a-kind local writer

Fiddlesticks! - is a rather dated exclamation of frustration from another era. We remember it from our grandparents, but our grandchildren are denied the pleasure of hearing older folks burst out with such statements. In Oakwood, among older folks, we identify it with a column which ran for 20 years on the front page of The Oakwood Press by “Fagin Fogg” a.k.a. Ralf Kircher. It was a weekly gem which was eagerly awaited, and truly a predecessor to those of Erma Bombeck and D.L. Stewart.

Ralf Kircher, a local advertising executive, started writing columns for his college newspaper at Ohio University around 1928. And as he said, “that’s what caused all the trouble”. Trying to make a few bucks on the side during the Depression, he hid his name from his employer by using the pen name to hide his moonlighting. His son, Dudley recalled how he was amused by his companions on the bus by their comments about the column, which he dutifully agreed with.

His writings appeared in four books, published from 1941 to 1947 which I regard as collectors pieces: “Fiddlesticks”, “There’s a Fly in This Room”, “Gypsies Have the Right Idea” and “Wrap it as a Gift”. Gypsies has an introduction by Erma Bombeck which says that he wrote in an era that spawned other genius-insanity, such as H. Allen Smith, Robert Benchley, and Max Schulman – which is pretty big time – coming from Erma.

At any rate – which is the kind of transitional phrase that Kircher indulged in – let me reminisce about the columns, their wide ranging subject, the sheer innovation of being able to come up with material until 1954. He was not above repeating a column on occasion, but who could blame him – and he always picked good ones. He engaged the services of friends and contemporary writers to fill in while he was on vacation, then used them as a launching pad for responses. One from Congressman Harry P. Jeffrey recites a tongue in cheek recap of the stuff one can read in the Congressional Record.

He set himself up for later columns by publishing fake articles from his wife and his publisher, which allowed him to stretch a week or two out of supposed insults.

A long piece in Wrap It, is entitled “Are Children Here to Stay?”

The conclusion is, “…if we are going to have future generations with people in them, then we have to have children now, so for goodness’ sakes let’s make the best of it. But let’s not take them out to dinner.”

Among my favorites was his annual piece on Income Tax, the filling out thereof, and the responses from the IRS. Home ownership was a source of constant abuse. One is dedicated to the annual cleaning out of the junk drawer in the kitchen. The title of his book “Gypsies Have the Right Idea” comes from a long column on the trials of buying, dealing for, repairing, redecorating, and financing a home, versus renting. The lead article in the book takes one through dealing with architects, lot salesmen, builders, home loan officers, and – yes – wives, and their various bites at the apple.

He had no peer when it came to finding the soft underbelly of everyday transactions. On buying insurance his agent pointed out the need for the “time when you pass out of the picture”. He had to think of his wife as his “Beneficiary” and his son as his “heir”. On reading his home owners policy when received, he found that he was distinctly in a class with the Hope diamond and the gold reserve at Ft. Knox.

During WW II he stated “that if this country can win the peace by appointing committees and holding meetings, then the rest of the nations might as well toss in their gavels and go home, because America simply cannot be licked in that department”. He had a series of articles calling attention to the Salvage Committee entitled “Adventures of a Drip”, the first of which focused on the drive to get people to save cooking fats. After a confrontation with his wife, which he lost, on the uses of these fats in the manufacture of glycerin, he said that he was going to write a song “Drips Will Win the War”.

On golf, he reflected about Carey Middlecoff’s advice to be careful with every shot ”except in case of a calculated risk dictated by a desperate situation”. In his average round he took about 100 calculated risks, and the situation was never anything but desperate.

After studying a catalogue of artificial fish lures, he decided that he could catch more fish with ornaments from last year’s Christmas tree.

Pets gave him a chance to roam wild without fear of hearing from the pets, but he often heard from the pet lovers. One such column appeared in a magazine during National Cat Week, and resulted in a “torrent of abuse…vitriolic letters by the hundreds, scores of cat snapshots….plus five prepaid subscriptions to “Cat Digest”. Others in the series were The Dog That Ate the Dollar, A True Horse Story, and A True Mouse Story.

The last three articles in “Fiddlesticks”, his first book, are rare speeches Ralf made. “So This is a Noontide Club” is accompanied by the note that it was originally prepared for one club, but with new paint and variations in the chrome trim, it had survived many presentations. The last, “Why I never joined the Engineers Club”. was excerpts from a speech on the 27th anniversary of that organization, which was a roast of this rather staid group.

When The Oakwood Press was bought out by The K-O Times, he continued to write, but not as regularly, and it was not displayed as prominently. One such piece was a put-on of Ann Landers. A writer whose husband was showing signs of regressing to his teen age years, said that she thought she would scream, and signed the letter FRANTIC. Fogg’s advice – Scream. In another letter, a golf widow asked whether Jack Nicklaus was God. The answer was – Only in Columbus.

In 1950, he left Kircher, Helton & Collett advertising agency and went to New York, at no pay, to become the national director of the United World Federalists. He dedicated his talents to sparing mankind from another war through a world government with power to control the implements of war. The threat of nuclear war so challenged them that they thought such a super organization was the answer. He retired to Florida after leaving this fight.

New edition of Oakwood: The Far Hills coming

The Oakwood Historical Society is preparing a special Centennial Edition reprint of Oakwood:The Far Hills, the popular history of Oakwood first published in 1983.

Originally written by local authors Bruce and Virginia Ronald, it is out of print and no longer available locally, we have prepared several pages of updated material for the intervening 25 years, and added pictures of current interest.

This edition will have a cover similar to the hardback edition, with a Centennial Logo. It will be available through the society in May. Orders are being accepted at the society when accompanied by your check for $25, plus $2.00 for mailing/handling.

You may pick up your copy by including you phone number & local address for notice of availability.

A limited number is being printed for the Centennial celebration.

Volunteers collecting Hazmat items

Oakwood Rotary volunteers will come to your home on Saturday, April 26, to collect some of the things we all have taking up space in our basements or garages that the weekly trash pickup are not permitted to collect:  paint cans, stains, thinners, pesticides and batteries.

Call 296-5155 and leave your name, address, and the items will be collected between 9 a.m. and noon Saturday, April 26.

There is no charge for this volunteer service, yet you may make a tax-deductible donation to the “Oakwood Rotary Club Foundation” and leave that with the items in a well-marked envelope or mail to PO Box 512, Dayton OH 45409.

At the Wright Library_______________________

One council member added to the Roster

Wright Memorial Public Library’s citizens advisory council met on Monday, April 14. Maureen Anderson, chair of the Library Advisory Council, announced the renewal of twenty members for another two year term.

Todd Fister was added as a new member. The group meets twice a year and is charged with reviewing library finances and business operations and providing feedback to assist the library board and administration in planning and budgeting.  

Debra Schenk, fiscal officer, reviewed the library’s financial picture for the next five years. Barring any major decreases in state funding, the library is poised to last until 2012, the expiration of the current levy, before going back to the voters.

Ann Snively, director, discussed the strategic planning process. This has been a community-wide effort focusing on how best the library can meet the needs of our community in the next four years.

Wright Library needs Book Sale volunteers

Wright Memorial Public Library is again extending its annual book sale to six days this year and needs volunteers to help before, during and after the sale.

Volunteers are needed these days:

Monday, May 19 – Set up tables and move cartons of books (muscles useful!)

Tuesday, May 20 – Unpack boxes

Wednesday through Sunday, May 21-25 (during the sale) – Straighten and restock tables as they empty and help customers carry books to their cars

Tuesday, May 27 – Pack any unsold books, put tables away, and clean up

Anyone who can help is invited to stop by and complete a Book Sale Volunteer Form, or download the form from the Calendar section of the library’s web site at

“Big Read” discussion group slated for April 27

On Sunday, April 27 at 3 p.m., the Wright Library will host a book discussion in the Library meeting room of Funny in Farsi by Firoozeh Dumas.  The program is part of the “Big Read,” the Miami Valley’s annual community reading project.  Funny in Farsi is a funny and touching look at growing up as an Iranian immigrant in 1970’s California.

Registration is not required for this event, and light refreshments will be available. For a list of dates of all the discussion groups in the Miami Valley, visit

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April 22, 2008
Volume 17, No. 17

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