Tag Archives: delhi hills

Food Foraging Kids of the 50’s


We didn’t have exotic road-tar-flavored jelly beans in Delhi Hills OH during the greater later 1950’s. Left to discover stuff on our own we pulled grass shoots apart to chew the tender light-green centers. Tiny three-leaf clover growing in the side yard were tangy: only later did we worry about the dog urinating against the wall. Hey there’s an aftertaste on my right-rear tongue. Thankfully it’s starting to fade.


A great sneak snack. Also good for jarring a mercury filling loose.
A great sneak snack. Also good for jarring a mercury filling loose.

Did you know that road tar of the 1950’s bubbled when the air temperature rose? Seeing it bubble reminded me of gum and the flavor of licorice. Only a small nugget of tar remains between two molars now, but that oily taste, what is that? Now the bubble experiment gradually fades from memory, so I shall take my tongue out of my cheek. My tongue tip probably found neither tar nor clover. Choose a hot day for collecting road tar. Find a stick with good heft and balance and wrap your tar around one side.  Kitchen matches are good for lighting your completed torch but Zippo lighters work well. Watch for flaming droplets that just might burn your skin.

1954 Topps bubble Gum box

Remember to bring official Topps baseball cards with you for card flipping or combine cards and spring-loaded clothes pin to flip against bicycle spokes. Trade the cards and then carefully store them in your shoebox. Possibly the same box you brought home after having your feet x-rayed. Don’t imagine that nearly every mother in the country would throw the shoebox away when you’re distracted by the new transistor radios.


Hey Bill, I want to hear more about Sacred Mountain and Lost City.

Sacred Mountain was not only famous for Indian arrowheads found in dark woods: there’s a difference between soil settled by interlopers and the ancient Indian stomping grounds of memory. Modern terrain marked by cinder-block  footers and solid stone door steps, such as the single remaining dwelling in Lost City. Must draw sketches and construct mental maps for these.

You could find them in a creek, here, there but not everywhere.
You could find them in a creek, here, there but not everywhere.

Hillside Gang ancestors probably sacked this very Lost City. We always blamed that gang for all bully activity. Frontier life at the western edge of Cincinnati: 1950’s.
But what about the food chain Bill? You’re getting lost in pedantry.
Let’s consider Summer at it’s warmest. It’s warmest in the attic on Glenroy but you only go there to attempt sleep during in the summer. It’s much cooler in the backyard under the stars. Why not begin this discussion with the final resort for mid-afternoon snack: Ayds. Marketed as a delicious between meal alternative to a candy bar, now available on YouTube for entertainment and edification.


When the only snack available is tar on the road, eat these and then place the chewed matter produced into a road-crack. A better use perhaps. My wife Lisa remembers Ayds ads and commercials too, and she’s a lot younger than I.

I’ll tell you about pears now. You could find them in that narrow wooded area between Old Man Hocker’s (not his real name) house and the Mt. Alverno Boys’ Home. An enormously mature pear tree grew there. Do you know the two most important reasons for climbing a pear tree?  To cool down and relax and to eat  pears.

As you approach the pear tree watch for the 1500 bees enjoying what they enjoy best, fruit juice. They’ll sting you plenty if you encroach upon their meal, but you may already know that. Near the top of this tree were branches designed by God for your afternoon comfort.

Remember to leave pears on the ground if bees get there first.
Remember to leave pears on the ground if bees get there first. PSA: Do not pick bee-laden pears from the forest floor, it disturbs the bees and they will disturb you.

The tree crown granted a vantage point on the pond and a glimpse of the barns at the school. The kids at the boys’ home milked cows with modern equipment, the cows licked salt blocks, they enjoyed chewing hay and they were adept at breathing frost-laden air in the winter. Great quantities of it. Cow tongues are as big as New Guinea is hot: Uncle Beer always remembered just how hot, so he repeated that factoid for us as often as possible.

New Guinea 1942
New Guinea 1942

Source for picture above.

Yeah but did you eat the pears on the ground, Bill?

No. And we didn’t eat the bees either. I once found a bee swimming in Sunkist Orange Soda, but spit it out before it could sting any internal organs.

We’re getting bored Billziegler1947, could you just list a few other forage-ready foods so we can get back to the football game?


Return a soft drink bottle for two cents and you can buy Peeps around Easter time, but beware when cashing in bottles: Carl’s on Greenwell (next to the Zenith Radio & TV Repair Shop) returns candy, not coins. Weren’t UDF glass milk bottles worth a fortune? 35 cents?  Inquiring minds need to know. UDF gave away ice cream cones on Halloween.

100 yards of tomato plants, much of it rotting in the field but more than edible and warmed by the sun, wild blackberries and black raspberries near Dolly the horse, chewing tree sap.

What’s next?  Ma and Pa Wagner, radios, shacks, daredevil schemes, farm with barn, storm-sewer explorations and firework fiascos.

Thanks for reading.



Time to x-ray your feet

Marmer’s in Price Hill is the go-to place for shoe outfitting. It’s either the season for summer wear or time for a school reboot, the time to see how well a new shoe could accommodate foot bones.


And climbing up onto an x-ray machine (fluoroscope) is one efficient method for bringing superman-quality tools to the task. On the top there’s a Viewmaster kind of thing to block extraneous light from the side, allowing you to more clearly view potential fit problems before purchase.

Yes, it's Buster Brown and his dog Tige
Yes, it’s Buster Brown and his dog Tige

The green things you could see were the many bones of the human foot, the shades of gray between the foot edges and the shoe leather represents the negotiating room available on the inside of the shoe. So, bone green, skin and muscle light gray, maneuvering room dark gray. Judge before you buy.

On the way home don’t forget not to latch the nonexistent seat belts in the car. Drive carefully to avoid contact between skull and windshield.

Looks like they're going to Coney Island.
Looks like they’re going to Coney Island.

Don’t want to reenact Signal 30 or Blood on the Highway while proceeding from the Price Hill to the Delhi Hill. Experience that while viewing those prom-night mishaps on the road. I watched my first drink, drive and die film in the church undercroft (Catholic-speak for basement. Also defined as a crypt it seems). Firemen pulled a human-shaped cinder from a burning wreck. The cinder was white and gray, kind of like the space between footbone and shoe leather.

Well this is actually Brevet MI as archived by Google but I like its tone.
Well this is actually Brevort MI as archived by Google but I like its tone. Editor’s license.

Once on the way to Michigan and its Lake of the Houghton a somewhat infant-aged Claire sat on Mom’s lap. The car had achieved cruising speed on US 27 when a physics experiment happened. The passenger door might have been a bit ajar. Upon leaning slightly against said door said door proceeded to open slightly in kind. The aerodynamics of the vehicle were disturbed when the atmosphere in the car mixed with the atmosphere outside the car. The experiment was brief but startling. Mom and Claire returned to an upright position, the door yanked suddenly shut. The trip continued. Mother and daughter could then continue existence and live to play other roles in 315glenroy.wordpress.com.


Phyllis and Saul Marmer.

Setting the Scene

315Glenroy or the briefer 315 is an eponym for a family living in a small brick house in a neighborhood bordering Cincinnati west. This blog is about that brick house, the people who lived there and the historic trees growing and dying around it. All this in a rich panorama sweeping from 1952 to 2013 (Truman to Obama).

The setting as it appears in 2015. Now otherwise occupied.
The setting in 2015. Otherwise occupied now, but the bricks are intact.

The cast of characters: Dad (1921), Mom (1921), Terry (1946), Bill (1947), Paul (1949), Tom (1951) and Claire (1963). Claire was still a pre-me, Clayo’s word for her preexistent presence before 1963. Famous silver maples planted in the 1950’s: two are still clinging to life with arboreal seniority. The tree closest to the house was a foot-long shoot when flattened to the ground by a speeding toboggan but demonstrated resilience in what matters for all silver maples: launching countless helicopters and dropping red things on the pavement.

'copter onslaught about to begin in earnest
Helicopter onslaught about to begin very earnestly

Shacks built, tents raised, journeys to Sacred Mountain taken, Dolly the retired horse visited, mulberries eaten and a 6 foot snake adopted.

Here is a future excerpt to whet your reading appetite:

Paul and I served as babysitters while the five other Glenroyers were at a later-in-the-morning mass at St. Dominic (‘s optional), clutch_membershipattention drawn between Clutch Cargo in the living room and Claire in the brightly lit yard; she liked the silver maples in the front, but was not interested in Clutch, Spinner or Paddlefoot.

A Clutch Cargo Fan Page


By way of postscript, all episodes of Johnny Dollar are on archive.org:

Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar 

Fifteen minute segments, broadcast from Monday through Friday, starred the most popular Dollar: Bob Bailey. You might not be interested to know that both Suspense and Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar ended their respective long-running series on the same day, September 30, 1962 (marking the end of old-time radio).  Four months before Claire’s pre-me era came to a close.

America's fabulous freelance insurance investigator
America’s fabulous freelance insurance investigator