Sometimes when I don’t have anything to do, I put an old DVD in my player and see what’s on it. Today, I found a wonderful DVD called “Friday Night in the Downtown: Memories of Downtown Delaware, from 1925 to 1975.” On the back of the DVD holder is a list of names of persons who had been the group of downtown Delaware people I remember. How about Merrill Kaufman, owner of the People’s Store, to begin with?
It hit me rather hard when I realized that the beginning of the DVD was nearly 100 years ago now.
Something else printed on the cover of the DVD is, at that time, Delaware city had more than 200 businesses! The downtown buildings are still standing, pretty much as they were then, just some facelifts on Sandusky, William and Winter streets, as well as Central Avenue. (I have often wondered why Central was considered an avenue, while the other three were considered streets.)
I remember several of the downtown fires such as the sanctuary of the Methodist church on William Street and Buns on Winter Street. You can never forget what Buns was like in the 50s, especially the first section with all the baked goods, and the second part with all the framed pictures of football players on the walls. These pictures were of sporting events of Ohio Wesleyan University. And also, that Bun, himself, always stood just inside the door to the first dining room, greeted you personally, and handed out menus as you came in for lunch or supper. That second section was the place to go after school to get together for a tin roof sundae (ice cream, chocolate syrup and nuts).
Recently, I read about the auditorium of Willis being updated. When we went to see the play “Odd Couple” this past summer, I enjoyed sitting in the chairs with the small shelf you can bring up to use for your homework. I remember all the notes that were passed around that weren’t supposed to be passed. Those of you who remember Stubby Bowen need to know that he passed more than his share of notes during study hall. Stubby is shown in the DVD talking about his memories of Delaware, too. Back in high school, I didn’t know Stubby very well, and then later, while eating at the Branding Iron, he sat down at the table with us. He was wearing a red jacket, so I asked him if he worked there, and he said, “I own the place!”
Another person to remember is Ed Wolf, co-owner of the Brown Jug Restaurant. He is also featured on this DVD. You are fortunate if he ever sang “Happy Birthday” to you while having a meal there. Oh, to have a summer sub again!
If you are interested in having a copy of this same DVD as mine, you might call Mr. Brent Carson. You would be pleased to see such Delaware people as Bill Bossert, Steve Wilson of CJ Wilson’s, of course, Jim Kern, Bob Balser, Max Bargar, Art Ruth, Henritta VanMeter, Norma Hudson, and John Robinson, to name a few. Those mentioned are shown just sitting around talking candidly about their memories of Delaware from their days back in the period from 1925 to 1975.
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.