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Magical memories

Magical memories

Teri Rizvi March 09, 2022

Erma Fiste Bombeck ’49 lists her top 10 favorite things about her hometown, Dayton, Ohio.

When Ohio Magazine writer Damaine Vonada asked Erma Bombeck and other famous Daytonians to list their favorite things, funny or serious, about their hometown, Bombeck took a nostalgic, loving look. Her top-10 list, with a few handwritten edits and words x-ed out, can be found in the Erma Bombeck Collection:

  1. Standing in the barn at Hidden Valley outside Lebanon and inhaling the pungent smells of apples in the fall.

  2. Climbing that endless hill on “L” Street and beholding the UD chapel in the snow that looks like an expensive Christmas card.

  3. The old cemetery behind the Dairy Queen on Route 48 where tombstones mark the secret of what the area was before there were Dairy Queens.

  4. The Burkhardt Hill in East Dayton where the soapbox derby used to be run and little Erma Fiste used to sell ice water for a penny a glass at the bottom of the hill.

    A sketch of Golden Lamb in Lebanon, Ohio
    The Golden Lamb, Lebanon, Ohio
  5. The Golden Lamb in Lebanon mesmerizes me. I try to visit it whenever I can and soak up the history it holds. I nearly broke a leg getting out of one of those tall beds one night.

  6. The magnificent courthouse on Main Street that has always stood as an architectural triumph over the city, where Lincoln, Kennedy, brown baggers, pigeons and generations have gathered.

  7. A ranch-style house in Beavercreek that houses my best friend of 38 years and her family. It has always beckoned me with memories and a lot of love that seems to transcend time.

    vintage photo of the Dayton Arcade
    The Dayton Arcade
  8. I never can pass the old Journal Herald building at 4th and Jefferson without slowing down and remembering a 16-year-old copy girl who ran errands, hustled food and wrote her first obituary. Happily, I wasn’t the obituary.

  9. That breathtaking splash of color (of) red and yellow leaves when you drive through Oakwood. Somehow, they even seemed to be better and brighter leaves than we had in East Dayton.

  10. The Arcade. I always hoist a soft pretzel, dripping with mustard and say, “This one’s for you, Marj Heyduck.”*

* Popular award-winning Dayton columnist Marj Heyduck wrote a regular column, “Third and Main,” for the Dayton Herald, later known as the Journal Herald.

Humor that transcends time