Friday, August 28, 2015

Lorain High School Class of 1957B Looks Back – August 1976

Here's a great article written by Michele Rice that ran in the August 29, 1976 edition of the Journal – 39 years ago this month. It profiles the Lorain High School Class of 1957B and its upcoming reunion at that time.

It also provides a nice window into what high school was like in the 1950s in Lorain. There's plenty of nostalgic references to the Lorain we all remember, too.


Lorain High Graduates Recall The 50's An Age of Innocence
Staff Writer

NORMA VOLAK with the Class of 1957 B's yearbook.
THOSE WERE the days.

Hanging out at Sutter's to watch the girls go by, going to beach parties, dancing at Vermie's, necking at Lakeview Park and going to Club.

That's what the old gang from the Lorain High School Class of 1957B will be remembering at their class reunion next year. They'll laugh about the styles back then – long skirts, dirty saddle shoes and bobby socks for girls and baggy suits with (always) white shirts and skinny ties for the guys. Ivy League sweaters matched Princeton haircuts.

The 50's – that innocent naive time of life when everything was looking up – is being immortalized by a new generation. The generation of the '70s, through the weekly exploits of "The Fonz" on TV, and watching movies with a '50s theme like American Grafitti and The Lords of Flatbush, trying to capture some of the nostalgia that class of '57 enjoys.

Dwight D. Eisenhower was president, the Korean War was over and nobody paid too much attention to a little county called Vietnam.

FALLOUT SHELTERS were the neighborhood status symbol, and the teenagers could recall the McCarthy hearings on television just a few years earlier.

A mushroom cloud covers an entire page in the 1957 Scimitar, the school yearbook.

"This is a symbol of our age – the age of the atom," the caption read. American technology was booming and the future looked good. Then the Russians, in 1957, started the space race with their successful launching of Sputnik, a shock to the world. And, the Edsel failed.

Teenagers (an age classification that just started in that decade) listened to songs like "Splish, Splash, I was taking a Bath" on their transistor radios, Elvis appeared (from the waist up) on the Ed Sullivan Show, James Dean, Kim Novak, Marilyn Monroe and Marlon Brando drew crowds at the movies.

"It was a good time to grow up," reminisced Jim Watling, "because there were no world problems. You didn't have assassinations. You didn't have the economy blowing out of proportion."

WATLING, who now works in the warehouse at Lake Erie Electric, remembers, "I graduated one day and punched the clock the next." He later enlisted in a peacetime Navy.

Back in the 1950s, Lorain High graduated two classes a year. The January class was the "A" class and the June graduates were the "B" class.

"When we were in high school, those were the good times," said his wife, the former Gerry Karney. There were no wars, jobs were plentiful, girls graduated from high school, got a job and then married. They weren't encouraged to go to college, she said.

Jim and Gerry, although both graduates of the same 1957B class at Lorain High (the only public high school in town then) didn't date in high school. They married 10 years after graduation.

She went to college, but remembers her father getting flack from the family for sending a girl to college. Now, she is a home economics teacher at Masson Junion High School.

Their high school lives were similar.

"AT THAT TIME, we had Crystal Beach (in Vermilion) on a Sunday night," Watling said. Acts like the Four Lads or Jimmy Dulio would play there. (Crystal Beach was an amusement park that was torn down.)

"Not too many kids had cars and downtown was a thriving center," he added. Movies were well attended. 'Rebel Without a Cause', 'Oklahoma', and the 'Wild Hunter' would pack them in.

Shopping in downtown Lorain was a big pastime.

"The stores used to be open on Friday until 9," said Mrs. Watling… "The thing was to go past Firestone's or Sutter's to see what fellas were there, and they would stand outside and watch the girls go by."

School functions – either those sponsored by the school or sponsored by a variety of social clubs – were held often," he said.

THERE WAS LOTS of double dating, dances, and hayrides. And necking at Lakeview, Little Lakeview or Oakwood.

"Oakwood Park, wow, that was really the place," remembered Watling.

He remembers being more naive than boys his age are now. Movies were more censored.

"You'd go to the Roxy in Cleveland then and you didn't even see complete nudity. Now the shows are more risqué," he said. "I think Brigette Bardot was in a movie and you saw her backside and you REALLY had to see that."

There was a strong drive to conform in those days, they both agreed.

"IF YOU WERE your own person you were socially flakey, you know," said Watling."

"There was a very strong tendency to conform to the group," she recalled. "We were more conscious of group pressure and group acceptance."

The Watlings live at 3840 N. Hogan Sr., and have two children Jimmy, 8 and Steve, 5. They've noticed a difference already in the education their children are getting – as compared to the education they received in the late '40s and '50s. Jimmy, for example, is already getting career education – something that wasn't promoted even when Jim and Gerry were in high school.

graduation picture
Planning for the class reunion of 1957B is currently under way. It will be held next summer. The Watlings will be there, and so will Norma (Caruso) Volak, with her husband Anthony, a graduate of 1956A.

Mrs. Volak doesn't see the nostalgia surrounding the '50s as a new phenomena. She was interested in her mother's high school years. Were the '50s as innocent as portrayed through television and movies now?

"AS COMPARED to the troubles of the '60s and the disillusionment of the 70s, then the 50s was a time of innocence," said Norma, who is currently a fulltime history major at Oberlin College.

The problems of growing up as a teenager in the '50s were "petty trivial things," she explained.

"There was a lot of pressure to be feminine, a lot of pressure to be married young," she said, adding that the '50s was "a step back for women in that sense."

"I'm glad my daughters (Andrea, 9, and Renee, 13) are being formed and growing up in the '70s," she said. "Young girls make statements now that were unheard of in the '50s, such as then a girl would say "When I get married" and now she can say "If I get married."

"There's much much confidence in young girls today," she said. "My children are much more aware of what's going on in this county and around the world. Well, it's forced on them. It's right in the living room…

"SOME of the optimism about the future is gone from some," she added.

Mrs. Volak, who comes in contact with today's student everyday at college, said her ideas in high school were "very unpolitical" as compared to today's teen and young adult.

"The closest we got to politics was being forced to take part in a debate between Stevenson and Eisenhower as a social studies assignment in junior high."

"You couldn't teach economics and mention Marx in the '50s," she added later. "You couldn't teach government and mention Lenin in the '50s."

She remembers the social life in the '50s more than the academic side of high school. Clubs took a big part of the social calendar. She was in the Echos.

"WE'D RENT a college every summer in Vermilion for a week. And we'd have some dances, raise money for things," she said.

Her group was competitive with the other girls' groups – Y-Hi Jackets, Y-Hi Sweaters, Jr. Gems – but the girls were also friendly with the other groups. The guys belonged to the Whistlers, Dukes, Barons, Cavaliers and the Southerners.

"Every Thursday night we had club meetings at someone's home. "It was like a status symbol to be in one of the clubs.."

"Young people now are much more receptive and open to people whose lifestyle is different than theirs," she said.

"If you were a homely girl in the 50s, you were lonely," she recalled. The '50s, she said, were "very cliquish, very exclusive.

"IT DID TEND to be a little cruel. I'm sure a lot of people were hurt by that."

To get into a club, you had to be asked.

"You went to a Coke party on a Sunday afternoon and then you'd go home and wait to get a phone call," she explained. At the Coke parties, the club members would decide whether a girl was good enough to join the club.

"You'd be on display, on trial," she said.

After a girl would leave the Coke party, the club members would discuss her and vote on letting the girl in. There was a lot of politics in the voting.

"IT WAS A LOT of fun to be in a club. "If I had to do it all over again, I don't know what I'd do. I had a lot of fun. But I'm ashamed of the cruelty – the fact that I blackballed girls."

Norma and her husband, a Lorain Fire Department lieutenant, live at 3346 E. Erie, Lorain. Besides, the two girls, they have a son, 15-year old Christopher.

SHAROL KNIEPPER who remembers the '50s
as a fun time. (Journal Photos by Kurt E. Smith)
The big team to beat in sports was Elyria High. Everyone went to the games back then, remembers Sharol (Grunda) Kniepper.

She's active in planning the big reunion, and got a taste of nostalgia last fall when she and her husband John (class of 1956A) went to a '50s party, dressed in the styles of back then.

"Of course, when we were in school, we thought that we looked so cool. When we got dressed up (for the party) we had a good time just laughing at ourselves," she said.

"I HAD A D.A. (duck 'tail' hairdo) in high school, she added.

The typical style for girls at school was a baggy sweater, a long skirt, bobby socks, and saddle shoes, "but they had to be dirty." Only about one inch of the leg showed, she said, chuckling.

"In the summer, the girls would wear full skirts, with several crinolines to make it stand out," she said. After school, blue jeans and a baggy sweatshirt would be stylish.

Class rings would hang on chains around a girl's neck. Engraved ankle bracelets would be worn on dressy occasions.

"There were about three big formals a year, Sharol remembers. The dresses would be "always strapless, fitted and real full."

THE JITTERBUG was the dance to do. Rock 'n Roll was just born.

Sharol and John have two daughters, Kyle, 7, and Karyl, 6. Another child is expected in October. The family lives at 364 Hafely Drive.

The '50s were more simple times. Parents were more strict, she said.

Not too many kids had cars. If they did have them, they would be old junkers, or a guy would borrow a car from his folks to go out on a date – mostly a double date, she explained.

"There was not much drinking and of course, there was no such thing as drugs," she said.

"We had a lot of good, clean fun."

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Pete D'Agnese Interview – August 1976

Way back in October 2010 (here), I did a post about the well-remembered D'Agnese's Restaurant and Pizza businesses. (I still think about a great sub I had once from the Root Road store.)

Well, here's a nice article about Pete D'Agnese Sr. that tells the story of his businesses and also offers some of his thoughts and advice about Italian cooking. It was written by Bill Scrivo and ran in the Lorain Journal on August 15, 1976.

Bill Scrivo's People
Lorain's Pete D'Agnese Sr: He Speaks Universal Language of Good Food

IF THERE IS a universal language in this world, it has to be food. Everyone understands a juicy steak, a tasty dish of chicken paprikas, a good cheese blintzes or a succulent serving of spaghetti.

No one appreciates good food more than Peter D'Agnese Sr., who certainly has to rank as one of the premier Italian cooks of Lorain County, if not the state of Ohio.

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., the son of a baker who came to America from Italy, Pete D'Agnese learned his profession at the side of his father and mother. He cooks in the Neapolitan tradition which some say is the finest example of the Italian cuisine.

Being a good cook is no mean accomplishment in any ethnic culture. To be an acknowledged capo cucina in the Italian tradition is perhaps one of the most coveted of culinary accomplishments, since most everyone loves Italian food.

If you don't believe that, look at the vast pizza industry in the United States. Four decades ago, pizza was unheard of here, except in families of Italian immigrants who came here in the great migration some 30 years before. Pizza began as a sort of treat for the kids mothers made with dough left over from making bread.

"THEY ADDED TOMATOES and spices and that was the first pizza," says Pete D'Agnese.

It was not only the first pizza. It marked the beginning of the love affair of the American people with Italian food in general. And like any love affair, it has its secrets, some of which Pete D'Agnese is willing to share in the interests of good eating, or "Buon appetito," as they say in Italian.

"The best ingredient in good Italian cooking is honesty," says Pete D’Agnese. "You must use fresh vegetables when possible and good cheeses.

"Don't ever buy something because you can get it for a few pennies cheaper."

Most important of all, Pete D'Agnese says:

"The seasoning should whisper, not scream."

BORN JUNE 2, 1920 in Brooklyn, Pete D'Agnese was the youngest of four children of Fortunato D'Agnese and his wife, both immigrants from the south of Italy.

Pete's schooling was gained mainly at the side of his father in the bakery.

"Mother was an excellent cook," Pete recalls, "But Dad was even better."

At any rate, Pete came to Lorain in 1947, not as a cook, but to enter the lumber and construction business. It was a case of success without happiness and in 1963 he opened a restaurant on Broadway in Lorain.

"Cooking was always my first love," says Pete. "I was aware of the life giving qualities of good food."

HIS BROADWAY restaurant was acknowledged as one of the best and it was in operation until 1969 when rising costs caught up with Pete D'Agnese and he sold out to go back into the construction business.

After four years away from his chosen profession, the urge became too strong and Pete D'Agnese got back in the food business with a sandwich and pizza shop at 41st and Broadway. The business soon outgrew the small building there and Pete moved to a new location at 916 Root Road, Lorain, which he operates today with his wife, Barbara, and son, Peter Jr.

There he had space to carry a full line of imported and domestic foods, plus operate a pizza and sandwich shop and handle his growing catering business.

"IN ITALIAN COOKING, good is not enough, it must be superb," says Pete D'Agnese. And he means it.

Continuing with his secrets of good cooking, Italian style, he insists that fresh lean meat should be used and most important a good grade of vine-ripened tomatoes.

"The plum tomatoes, commonly called Italian tomatoes, are best," Pete says. If they are out of season, use a superior grade of canned tomatoes, imported from Italy or California plum tomatoes if the imported variety is not available.

"A good sauce can be made on the strength of the tomatoes," Pete points out. "No meat is needed." He used the following recipe for marinara sauce, which can be used "as is" over pasta or combined with chopped clams, lobster, shrimp or calamari squid to make a more exotic dish.

Brown garlic in pure olive oil
Add fresh plum tomatoes, crushed
Add salt and coarse ground black pepper to taste
Add fresh Italian parsley and basil
Simmer gently for one half hour.

Use sauce over linguine, rigatoni, spaghetti or other pasta of your choice, cooked al dente (literally "to the bite," or not soft and mushy).

Pete D'Agnese has some definite ideas on how pizza should be made too.

First of all, he says, the cheese should be natural and well fortified with protein. Properly spiced tomatoes should be used on a freshly prepared pizza crust that contains no chemical additives, he goes on.

"After all, the Neapolitans originated pizza," he says proudly.

PETE MAKES all his own sauces, sausages, and dough in his shop on Root Road.

"In this way we can be assured of freshness and quality," he says.

Sausage is made from lean cuts of pork butt, not trimmings, and must be freshly seasoned, Pete says.

"I was happy to see the recent series in The Journal by Lelord Kordel," says Pete. "I makes people aware that they are basically what they eat."

"Women have been seeking the fountain of youth at their drugstores," he goes on. "It really lies in their food stores. The inner glow that they seek comes from within, not from a powder puff."

Pete adds that people in Europe – Italy, France and Greece especially – have known this for a long, long time.

"THIS IS THE reason they are far more food conscious and more attuned to gourmet cooking that we are," he says.

"To prove this, they have fought wars over spices. Our word 'salary' comes from the Latin 'salarium' which the Romans paid their mercenaries with."

Pete finds it odd that a nation such as the United States exists mainly on what he calls "junk" foods.

"Shakespeare summed it up when he denounced the eaters of 'broken meat'," says Pete. "That's what we know as hamburger today."

Pete D'Agnese caters to parties and dinners from his Root Road outlet but only when he is sure the facilities are adequate at the party site to insure that the food can be served with "a sparkling taste of freshness without no meal is complete."

"WE ACCEPT catering only if we feel we can do complete justice to the occasion," Says Pete. "Primarily we put accomplishment before profit."

The former D'Agnese outlet on Root Road today
(Courtesy Lorain County Auditor)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

New Ownership for the Castle – August 1976

The restaurant that many of us think of simply as the Castle changed hands recently, and because Castillo Real. I certainly wish them well. The new owners are to be commended for keeping open an iconic local institution.

The spouse and I planned to eat there last Saturday night, but the rapidly growing size of the curious crowd that was waiting for a table convinced us to seek sustenance elsewhere. But we'll try again sometime.

The Castle changed hands back in 1976 too. Read all about it in this article written by Bob Cotleur that ran in the Lorain Journal on Monday, August 9, 1976.

Carl Gumina Leads Group Buying Castle-on-the-Lake Restaurant
Staff Writer

LORAIN'S Castle-on-the-Lake Restaurant has been acquired by a trio of area businessmen "but that's only the beginning of the change," according to contractor - developer Carl Gumina, 52, one of the new owners.

Gumina said today that he and Plumbing Contractor Ronnie Gold, 42, had bought a 50 percent interest and Rich Roman, in his early 30's and a son-in-law to Olga Blondyn bought the other 50 percent.

"Mrs. Blondyn, who bought the Castle with her late husband Walter back in the early 60's is retiring," he added.

Gumina said a number of plans have been made for renovating and updating the restaurant.

"We will pave the lakeside parking lot before fall," he said, "and next year we are going to provide parking in front as well.

"WE WILL ALSO have a front canopied entrance and someone to park your car on weekends. This place should have had a front entrance a long time ago."

He also said the wall between the present bar area and the main dining room will be removed and that considerable interior decorating is also planned.

"Rich Roman will be the manager,"Gumina said, "and our chief goal is to improve service. No change in the menu is planned nor are there any plans to change personnel."

What will Gumina take a personal interest in?

He laughed. "Lou Kepler said it the other day in her Journal column. She said I bought the Castle so I could sing in my own place.

"WILL I? Sure I will."

Gumina's main activity however is with Gumina Construction Co., Oberlin Ave. He had built numerous homes, apartments, the first condominium in Lorain County (in Avon) and other structures in a number of states other than Ohio.

He plans to continue his company and also his deep interest in area boxing and boxing shows.


The Castle is one of those topics that I seem to keep coming back to again and again.

I did a multi-part history of it beginning here back in 2010, and did several posts connected with specific ads, including one with 1941 and 1952 ads, a 1954 Thanksgiving ad, a 1955 St. Patrick's Day ad, a 1958 Halloween ad and a 1967 ad.

I also posted a 1975 Bill Scrivo interview with Olga Blondyn that included a nice history of the place.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Make Some Real Lemonade

Summer is slipping away (judging by all of the school buses I’ve been getting stuck behind during my commute lately), and I realized last week that I hadn’t made a batch of real lemonade yet this year.

By real lemonade, I don’t mean lemonade made from a powdered mix that somehow you’re supposed to feel nostalgic about, either. I mean the kind where you squeeze the lemons and grate some of the peel to put in it. If you’ve never had it, you don’t know what you’re missing.

So I recently mixed up a batch of it, using up about six lemons. I use the recipe in this 1958 Good Housekeeping recipe booklet (below) that’s been in the family for years.

And here’s the spread with the recipe. There’s some other interesting recipes to try on there as well. An Orange Rickey sounds pretty good.
You’ll note that the lemonade recipe is not for making a pitcher of lemonade. It’s for making a starter concentrate that you then use to make one glass at a time.
Here’s another page from the book with a few more drinks, including Canadian Iced Tea. Just the thing to enjoy with some back bacon or poutine.
Finally, here’s the Good Housekeeping booklet’s photo of the lemonade, although you might not notice it in the picture because of the deliciously distracting Buffet Scrambled Eggs, Crunchy Kidney-Bean Salad and Spiced Crabapples.
Strangely enough, Country Time Lemonade has apparently taken its cue from these types of vintage recipes and is now marketing its own Lemonade Starter – flavored with 5% real lemon juice.
As for me, I’ll stick with the real thing that’s 100% real lemon juice. I guess that’s why I like those Lemon Shake-ups that they sell at the Lorain County Fair.

(I’m not a snob when it comes to orange juice, though. I’ll drink just about any kind, name brand or obscure store brand, with or without pulp – whatever’s the cheapest.)

Monday, August 24, 2015

Gene Autry and Annie Oakley at the 1957 Lorain County Fair

July 29, 1957 Lorain Journal ad promoting Gene Autry’s appearance at the Fair
It’s Lorain County Fair Week – one of my favorite weeks of the year! It’s the perfect time to look back at what kind of entertainment was featured at a past fair, in this case the 1957 edition – 58 years ago.

None other than Gene Autry, America’s Favorite Singing Cowboy was the headliner, along with his horse Champion. (Also appearing was Little Champ, a “well-trained trick pony” according to Champion’s Wikipedia page.)

As this ad below, which ran in the August 17, 1957 edition of the Lorain Journal reveals, there was something for everyone at the 1957 Lorain County Fair.
Musical acts included Mel Tillis (who is still touring), Minnie Pearl, the Smith Twins and the Great Scots barbershop quartet from Steubenville, Ohio. (The international finalist quartet performed in full dress Scottish kilts.)
For more Western fun, there was Annie Oakley (Actress Gail Davis) from the syndicated television series of the same name that ran from January 1954 to February 1957. Annie Oakley was produced by Gene Autry’s Flying A Productions, and Davis had also appeared in many films for Gene’s Autry’s production company.
Gail Davis as Annie Oakley
For thrills, there were Jack Kochman’s Auto Daredevils. Here’s a link to the website with some information about auto thrill show producer Jack Kochman.

And here’s a small sample of the type of show that the crowd at the Fair might have seen that day.

And for the 2015 Lorain County Fair’s entertainment lineup, click here.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Massacre Mile

For decades now, whenever I've driven south on State Route 58 (Leavitt Road) past Jaeger Road, I’ve thought about the old "Massacre Mile” moniker for that stretch of the highway.

I’ve never really heard of anyone outside of my family call the road that, so I was surprised to see this article (below) from the August 27, 1976 edition of the Journal refer to it by that name. I guess the newspaper must be where my parents first heard of it. Consequently, they warned my siblings and me to be careful there as we each learned how to drive.

Since Massacre Mile is not exactly something to get nostalgic about, here, in the name of public safety, is the article. ( Hopefully things have improved safety-wise along Leavitt Road in the decades since.

Massacre Mile: A Busy Avenue of Death and Injury
Staff Writer

LORAINITES Terry and Joann Walczak, both 29, are very lucky people.

On August 16, at 6:25 p.m. their car collided with a car driven by Rodney Bowling, 29, of Amherst, along the stretch of Leavitt Road by Jaeger Road called “Massacre Mile.”

They are doubly lucky. First, because neither the Walczaks, of 4247 Miami Ave., Lorain, nor Bowling, was injured seriously enough to need hospitalization, despite the fact that Bowling, of 5524 Virginia Dr., Amherst, was found guilty of driving left of center, and driving under a license suspension.

Secondly, they are lucky because that stretch of Leavitt Road is commonly considered one of the most dangerous sections of road in the city.

Altogether, there have been 31 accidents along Leavitt Road this year. Seven have involved injuries and two have resulted in deaths.

Most of the accidents have been near the major cross streets: Tower Boulevard, Cooper Foster Park Road, and Jaeger Road.

IT DOES not look like a particularly dangerous section of road to the average driver. It curves around Jaeger Road and SR 254, but not so drastically that a good driver can’t manage it without any problems.

Because of the road’s banking, 50 miles per hour seems like an easy speed to maintain.

Yet since the road was widened from two lanes to four more than ten years ago, it has been the scene of innumerable auto accidents, many resulting in fatalities.

Most recently, on Saturday night, July 31, a 17-year-old Lorain woman was killed and her sister, the car’s driver, was seriously injured, when their car collided with another car while she was trying to turn left onto Jaeger Road.

On July 16, a 29-year-old motorcyclist was killed by W. 37th Street and Leavitt Road when his bike was hit by a car.

BEFORE THAT, in November of last year, a 59-year-old Lorain woman was killed in front of 4945 Leavitt Rd. in a head-on crash.

Residents of Leavitt Road have made it a ritual to complain about the road as the accidents have continued. In April of 1975, they tried and failed to get Lorain City Council to vote to lower the speed limit from 50 to 35 miles per hour.

Meanwhile, the string of traffic deaths, injury accidents, and even car – tree or car – mailboxd crashes continue.

Police cite various problems with the road and its users. Alcohol, slippery conditions, and poor judgement all share responsibility, but the nature of the road itself, with its four lanes and sweeping curves, must share part of the blame.

POLICE ARE also careful to note that “Massacre Mile” is not the only road in the city to have a high accident rate, and often wonder why other trouble spots get less publicity.

For example, the major intersections along Broadway, West and East Erie Avenue, E. 28th Street, Oberlin Avenue, and the city’s numerous railroad crossings have claimed far more lives, and resulted in many more accidents.

But because this road was once a mere two-lane link between Amherst and Lorain, an infrequently traveled piece of asphalt compared to the present thoroughfare, people stand in front of their homes on Leavitt Road and wonder at what the road was, and what it is now.

One resident once sent the following description of an accident to The Journal:

“In less than 15 seconds, a man driving the same road I travel every day was unconscious, blood pouring out of holes in his head and neck, breathing spasmodically, twisted and jerking in his ripped, torn automobile. Another man lay on the side of the road in a huddled, fetal position. He must have flown through the windshield, smashed it with his weight at 50 mph (or more) when the cars hit.”

It would be very hard to tell that witness that “Massacre Mile” is just another traffic problem.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Firelands Country Store Reopens

September 2012 view
Remember the Firelands Country Store (above) on State Route 113 in Birmingham? It was the place to buy many hard-to-find and unique items from candy to cookware.

And then, without warning, it closed – with its stock still on the shelves, visible from the highway through the windows. I’ve driven by it for years, wondering what the story was behind the closing.

Well, as Lisa Roberson reported in the Chronicle-Telegram on Tuesday (here), the Firelands Country Store has reopened – for a limited time, that is. Her well-written story explains the reason that it closed so abruptly in the 1980s, and why it has suddenly opened its doors for a final close-out sale.

Her article reveals that the store has been there since 1958.

Anyway, it would certainly be interesting to make it in there for a last look, although its hours (Monday through Friday from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm) make it a little difficult for those of us who work in Cleveland. I’ll have to see if I can make it there some time before it closes for good.

My mother shopped in there for years, and can still point to the items in her home that she purchased there. Plus, she bought a lot of candy there to bring on our cross-country camping trips for our family to munch on in the car.