Cincinnati, Ohio. August 31, 2016
6:00 PM CST
Temperature 77 degrees/ Humidity 80%
Today was a splendid day where my business was all in the actual city of Cincinnati this time. No longer was I speeding around the back roads, but slowly deciding whether or not I could turn right on red. The weather was also splendid. It clouded over at about 4:00 pm but nothing more than a light shower that soon cleared up. The temperature was again in the upper 80s, but again the humidity was low.
The people were still great! And actually, I don’t know why, but I felt like they made more time for me than their fellow Ohioans out in the smaller towns. More times than not I had real meaningful connections with folks and a special shout out has to go to Tony Gargano at the Oyler Community Learning Center. He took me on a tour of the school and I learned so much about how far community outreach and education goes beyond just basic “school”. This is from WCPO Cincinnati (2014)–
“…Virtually no students who left Oyler Middle School graduated from high school before Oyler added its own high school. In 2013, 40.5 percent of its high school students graduated in four years. That number is expected to rise as more students who began at the Oyler High School graduate.
Serving an overwhelmingly poor neighborhood –primarily low-income Appalachian Americans and African Americans – school leaders realized they had to meet basic nutritional, health and mental health needs before children could learn. Children who are hungry, suffering from a painful cavity or can’t see the white board are at a learning disadvantage.
The school forged partnerships to deliver critically needed services, including a dental clinic, a one-stop eye care clinic, an onsite mental health service and a top-ranked preschool and day care.”
All of this just tunes me into a whole facet of our culture that I’ve never been very exposed to. I never grew up in a city or been used to what “inner city” even means. While I learned that windows are only boarded up because the occupants don’t want their windows smashed, I also learned that people are people no matter where they live and we all just want the same happiness we deserve.
I also keep picking up on the dialect of this region and feeling eerily familiar with my surroundings. My grandmother spoke the same way, pronouncing “wash” as “warsh”. I even heard a woman say “TOE-pography” and “slAURGHter”
When I got done today I visited the William Howard Taft National Historic Site, about five minutes from my lodging. Similar to when I visited Calvin Coolidge’s abode, I was shocked to learned so many great things about a man (I feel) largely forgotten about in our pop culture. Turns out, he was never stuck in a bathtub but he served offices such as Governor of the Philippines, Secretary of War and Chief Justice of the United States. President, of course, but not the only feather in his cap. He was also a man of immense (no pun intended) integrity, warmth and humor. Highly respected in every facet of his life and just one member of a whole political dynasty that has apparently always been embedded in Ohio society. Who knew?
I even got a personal tour! My guide was locking up anyways so she just showed me around anyways and we got to talk about Taft and Roosevelt. I try to engage with National Park Rangers whenever I can because how often do they get to nerd out about specific?
Then I took another quick jaunt at Eden Park where I waited out some rain in my car… but still managed some sightseeing when two deer appeared out of nowhere!
Keep it up Cincy, I’ve only got two more days so let the good times roll.