Valentine’s Day trip brought back memories


Valentine’s Day is always kind of fun. The fun started when we were all in elementary school and exchanged little cards. (That’s how it was at the school I went to, anyway.) It can be really good, or not so good, depending on if you receive a valentine from the right person. That’s the way it is while you are in elementary school anyway. It’s different when you are an adult and have had a spouse for a lot of years.

In my case, being married for as long as we have, it’s usually a given to get one.

So, yesterday when George asked me what I would like to do for the day, without thinking, I said that I would like for us to go up to Galion. I had lived there while in kindergarten, first and second grades. Those three years of my life certainly must have had a lot of meaning to me because I enjoy going back as much as possible. So, that’s where we went.

It was about 11 a.m. before leaving for the 45-minute trip. Before having lunch, we drove around to look at the houses I had lived in back in the ‘40s. One of the houses is completely gone, one is totally unlivable, and two are livable. The last house that looked most livable looked empty, yet had a porch full of bags of groceries and a whole gallon of milk. The neighbor next door was sitting outside, so I went over to ask what he knew about the house. In turn, he asked me where I went to church. When I said it was the Ashley Community Church, he was very pleased to know we each had the same minister over the past years.

Our lunch was at “Granny’s Kitchen,” which is on state Route 61, at the east edge of town. Great place to eat. We found out that the original owner is still there. I was supposed to get a side dish of carrots, which was forgotten, but when the waitress realized it, she gave me a container with the carrots to take home. Plus, the fact that they made sure we had a senior discount.

As we were leaving, two different ladies mentioned how much they liked my purple raincoat. I told them I have been wearing that same purple coat since back in 1988.

When we lived there, my dad worked at a place called the Galion Square Market. And, I have always remembered the one time I walked by myself to where he worked. The most I remember about is what happened when my mother walked downtown alone on the cold day right before Christmas. (Our two older sisters must have been home to take care of us younger ones.) Mom had lost her hearing as a child, so barely ever left the house. But, she wanted to buy a new white shirt for our dad for Christmas. And when she found a store and they had the right shirt, and she went to pay for it, she was a penny short. And the store employee would not let her have the shirt until she brought back that needed penny. So, she walked clear back home, got the penny, and walked clear back to the store, got the shirt and walked clear back home all alone, in the cold.

I never thought to ask her to tell me what year that happened. If it was the last year we had lived in Galion, it would have been Dec. 24, 1943.

This year was a great day for Valentine’s Day. No snow, just sunshine all day. It was a day of meeting a lot of friendly people, including our waitress at “Granny’s Kitchen.” We told her that we hope to come back again before next Valentine’s Day. But, what I don’t think I will ever forget is about the time mom had to walk an extra trip home and back just to give the store one more penny for the cost of a shirt for a Christmas present for our dad.

Kay E. Conklin is a retired Delaware County recorder who served four terms. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a degree in sociology and anthropology.

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