The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio


April 16, 2014

A Don McCormack column: ‘Kids’ stuff’ spurs great responses

I’m often caught more than a bit off-guard by what stories, features or columns generate responses from you, Loyal Readers, much more so than those who do not.

For example, the column that appeared in this space a couple of days ago regarding things yours truly and my buddies did as kids prompted more than a few responses.

A sampling, many of which were posted on my Facebook page:

Lisa Munzer — Thanks for the walk down memory lane! The best years of our lives...

Julie Stainfield — Friday night Recreation was so much fun!!!

Stefanie Kaiser Hamski — Charming reminiscence. Stratego, Risk ...fond, fond memories! Outside was always best. Damn electronics ruined everything!

Scott Swanson — I always tell my girl about those same stories...even though only a few of the guys are the same — it might as well have been the exact same bunch. Those Friday night “Recreation” games at the Baptist church were a blast! The many football games over at Mark & Brian Mallory’s house could have not been any more fun!! The many different games that we played in L.J. & Tom Koskinen’s backyard. I can remember having a kickball game in my little tiny front yard on West Walnut Street and all of a sudden there was a group of kids that left the Baptist church and decided to join and believe it or not — we had over 60 kids playing at the same time — IT WAS UNBELIEVABLE!!

Thank you, Don, for bringing back some great memories — I would trade any weekend just to go back and play & laugh with all my old friends! I do have the perfect side yard for a pickup football game but I think, it would have to be touch nowadays!

Kris Dickman — Great memories, Don. My favorite memories include the group on Kathleen Drive. It was always Kelly Wesely and myself against whomever... and we always won. Thanks for the smile! Have a great day.

Tamera McTrusty — Very nice. We were all so fortunate to grow up in that great little town of Jefferson.

Jennifer Thomas — I didn’t know that you knew Chip as well! He’s much older than me, as you well know (wink, wink), but we attended the same church while I was growing up. He may have been a Sunday School teacher of mine, if my memory serves me right.

Deb Myers Collins — PLAYING outside??? My best times ever spent both as a child & as a teen were the moments under the sun or moon. Was it the fresh air? Was it the freedom? I’m not sure....but I do know relationships with my friends were and still are....solid. Time well spent together. Heck...I’m still known for “goofing around!” Tee! Hee!

Joseph P. Rich — Don, back in the old days, we all played backyard football. In the empty lot, at Kent State and over at Edgewood. We played with the likes of Manny Massi, Brad Bish, Donte’ Monda, Dave Peet, Kenny Laveck, Danny Craft... the names will bring back good memories.

Bryan Zweier — Plot summary for H.O.T.S... “College exploitation film focusing on the wild escapades of the women of H.O.T.S. Sorority. The antics include but are certainly not limited to a wet T-shirt contest, a sky-diving episode, plenty of fraternity boys and even a house-keeping robot. Can the girls of H.O.T.S. overcome the scrutiny of their unliberated student counterparts and the University Administration as they unknowingly become the focus of bumbling crooks?” I think it was up for Best Picture in 1979. Two thumbs up from me!

Amy M. Cohen — Yup, we played “smear the (ballcarrier),” too. To add a fun element, we played it on the blacktop at the old elementary school in winter... when the blacktop was a sheet of ice. And now I think I know where I, along with a few of my ’92 classmates got the inspiration to drive around in Mom’s truck, chucking apples out of the back at “stuff.” (I won’t say what or who we were chucking apples at...).

Rich Kelly — Those memories are unforgettable and totally relevant in how we grow up. I vividly recall both football and softball in school parking lot by Park Elementary in Chardon, also regular pickup football games at Munson Elementary or on the Chardon football field. Even in the mud where practice field now rests. Loved those times.

Anita Moore — I have a lot of memories tagging along with you “big kids.” Not sure why I got to tag along so much to things like Thanksgiving football games in the snow, but it sure did make me tough as nails.

John Glazier — Well you young guys and girls have nothing on us old coots. We did all of that, plus more — outhouses on Edgewood High School front steps, tomatoes sling shotted over the back of the buildings on North Chestnut Street onto Chestnut Street, bedeviling Officer Childs, the night watchman in Jefferson in the 1930s & ’40s. Going to the movies at Ames Theater for 12 cents, so many things from 70 years ago. It’s a wonderful life, so long and so sweet, I remember so many things from long ago with the friends of long ago, most of them gone now. Some of the best days of your lives are the young years, enjoy them, and remember them, embrace them and pass them down to the young people in your lives.

Steve Jones — Lovely memories, Don. I grew up on a farm imagine what we did.... I actually shot my sister with a BB gun then begged her not to tell Dad!

Denise Park Kapferer — Lucky for you, you didn’t put yer eye out, Steve!

Melissa Beacon Ginnard — Great stories about all those familiar classmates. I grew up on a farm too, so I know what Steve Jones is talking about, but parents didn’t hear those stories until years later...after we moved away from!

Bobbi Francis Michaels — Love your memories. I have the same with some variations but still they involved fun, mostly outside with a gang of kids from the neighborhood or school, we never got bored and no one worried that we were getting in trouble, at least nothing that involved the police.

I understand that need to go back to a simpler time because it was a much better time than now with all the technology life seems more complicated than ever and mistrust is a normal thing unlike the days of unlocked doors and the freedom for us kids to run all over the place without someone thinking we were up to no good.

Do you remember playing war? Everyone divided into two teams and we would run and hide and try to capture a person from the other team. I’m not sure if we ever did, but just all that running and excitement was enough to make it a good day.

Stefanie Kaiser Hamski — Sticks whittled to a point with apples on the end...whack! Apple wars in the woods, welts like you wouldn’t believe. Awesome fun!

Deanna Blough — What fun, reading all these memories, Donnie! It was fun reading about your youthful escapades, Donnie. You ran with a mischievous bunch back then! Kind of glad my boys lived out here in the country!

Brett Whobrey — We did have some great times.

Steve Goldman — One time I played Stratego, I chased down a piece and asked its identity, and was told, “bomb.” The thing had been moving across the board. My opponent was a real joker.

Reid Lamport — I really enjoyed reading your story. Much of it was relatable to my own childhood. Some great times of innocent (and maybe a little not-so-innocent) fun!

Thomas Eden — Brings back memories, Don. I tell my kids of the exploits I had with my friends in high school, and they just can’t fathom that type of excitement. Times have changed, and for the most part, I am not sure they are for the better...

McCormack is the sports editor of the Star Beacon. Reach him at

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