Helen Kerr Anna L DeMint The garden that got us through the winter months Virginia L Fricker JV Devils top Northwest 51-34 Senior Profile: Caitlin Young North Adams moves to 7-5 with 16-point Homecoming win over Northwest Held to a higher standard Claudia J Purtee Shaylee E Prewitt Questions still linger in Stuart explosion Richard Holsinger J Ruth Madden Frank E Swayne Robert Bechdolt Sara D Hatfield Barbara Goodwin Jeffrey Frederick Grace E Myers Johnny A Sullender Sr. Senator Joe Uecker sworn-in for second term Wenstrup sworn in for third term in House Ronald L Chochard Patrick P Clift Samuel W Freeland Senior Profile: Casey Mullenix Lady Dragons win ugly, taking Classic consolation game over Manchester, 48-45 Greyhounds roll by West Union to take Classic consolation game, 82-58 History made as Ward takes oath of office Peter A Bennington Tangela R King McDonald’s Classic crowns 2016 champions MVP Arey leads Peebles to McDonald’s Classic title, Indians outlast North Adams 82-76 in double overtime thriller Lady Devils get Classic three-peat, make it 10 of 11, 14 titles for Coach Davis Senior Profile: Raegan Dick Teaching students the power of giving Kids at Children’s Home gifted with shopping spree Marion Liming Dorothy Huff John R Murphy Michael L McAninch Rita Rogers Edward L Combs Ronald W Staggs Mary H Grooms Gladys Wilson Donald Barnhill Monda Van Vorren Deborah Spires Senior Profile: Andre Wolke Indians pull away in second half, get past Manchester 71-58 in Classic semis On home floor, Lady Indians move to Classic title game North Adams handles West Union, Devils move to Classic finals with 68-53 victory Lady Devils roll into Classic championship Beth E Rowley Leatrice Lewis Senior Profile: Justin Aldridge Mary Helterbridle Wanda Huffman PES Performing Arts entertains at Hometown Christmas Adams County Manor sends holiday wishes Peebles Lions Club hosts Christmas breakfast Elusive Elf on a Shelf makes a return visit to PES Santas in blue spread Christmas cheer in a very special way Senior Profile: Aubrey McFarland WUHS holds Hall of Fame induction ceremonies WUHS Academic Team has undefeated season Serving those who served their country From Pearl Harbor to ‘America’s Got Talent’, 93-year-old WWII vet is still going strong Yester Years brings a touch of old to the new Merry Christmas to you all North Adams Elementary announces Spelling Bee winners Peebles High School hosts Homecoming ceremonies Children in need receive gifts at PES Adams County Manor holds annual Door Decorating Contest WUHS celebrates with numerous Christmas activities Halftime lead quickly vanishes, Dragons fall to Northwest 73-62 in Saturday night non-conference match up Tammy S Scott Oscar Hilterbrandt Neil R Swayne Beulah M Daniels McDonald’s Classic begins Dec. 27 Letters to Santa Senior Profile: Tyler Swearingen Leadership Adams donates to local outreach programs North Adams student/athletes are part of Holiday Sharing Event Senior Profile: Kylie Lucas West Union Elementary holds Academic Fair on Dec. 2 WUES holds annual Spelling Bee NAHS Art students help out the Humane Society Peebles Elementary announces Spelling Bee winners CTC FCCLA / Culinary Arts class holds Cancer Awareness Drive Amen receives Distinguished Service Award ‘Tis the season for family-past, present, and future MHS Computer Class aces MOS Exam WUES recognizes November Bus Riders of the Month NAHS Beta Club sponsors canned food drive Peebles Elementary announces November Students of the Month Crisis text line reaches out during the holidays Paul Wesley Ailshire

The signs seem to be fading

When I was a kid in the 50’s and 60’s I was always ready to get in the car or truck and go with my parents to wherever we could go. To be on the road with my parents and also my brother and sister was so much different than life in the very rural countryside of that time. As much as I loved the country, a change of scenery from time to time was refreshing. At least once a month we all went to my Grandpa and Grandma Benton’s house just outside of Owensville. That drive was a good 45 minutes and much could be seen as we traveled along.

Since the radio never played in our car by Mom’s orders, “let’s turn down the radio so we can talk.” The reason for that was understood and never questioned. As we drove along I looked at the farms and depending on the time of year I looked to see what was progressing on those different farms. From time to time I would see a new barn had been built or a new house, but something that to this day I still don’t understand or can explain was seeing advertisements painted on barns.

My eyes would widen when we drove by a barn and in bright new paint a complete side of the barn would say “Chew Mail Pouch Tobacco.” The side of the barn looked just like an ad in a magazine only much bigger, as big as a barn one might say. There were several products and places painted on the barns such as “Visit Seven Caves,” or “Smoke Kentucky’s Best.”

To me to have your barn chosen to be good enough to have the honor of a bigger than life advertisement was quite the honor. I was always disappointed that as nice as our barns looked or I thought they looked, that we didn’t get this honor. Years later I finally realized that the barns being used were facing state highways. Our barns were on county and township roads and the volume of traffic was a lot less. That’s a loss I will have to deal with the rest of my life.

During the majority of the 20th century, advertising was done in this fashion until sometime in the 70’s and by the late 90’s the technology changed and with it so did the world. Communication and promotions hit the airwaves and customers for a product were approached by computers and cell phones and electronic billboards that flash across a screen in a micro second. Now we are in the 21st century and what I have described has become old hat. It was easy to see that the days of painting ads on a barn were numbered.

The last Mail Pouch barn was painted in 1999. I didn’t really notice until one day I drove past a barn that had the ad on it for as long as I could recall. I hadn’t passed it in several years and I was shocked to see the condition. The paint had peeled off and faded and the barn had fallen into disrepair.

I was saddened to see not just the sign and barn, but the farm as far away from the preteen and majestic farm I had remembered from my youth. This was a farm that I had thought so nice that I might just buy it when I grew up. but not then. I noticed the fading away of something that had always been done. I must say it just emphasized the change in my world and all of my generation.

In 2003 I passed a barn that was in excellent condition with a new sign painted on it. It was Ohio’s’ Bicentennial year and the state had decided to pick a barn of quality from each of the 88 counties to honor its birthday. Some years later Donna Sue Groves began the quilt patch trail with the barns chosen getting a quilt patch painted on them. Along with these proud alumni have painted logos of the state college such as Ohio State or University of Kentucky.

It has been a refreshing sight to see new paint appearing and less fading away. From time to time I see a barn with the Mail Pouch sign on it and the paint looks new, bright and it’s a refreshing sight from the past. I have been told that these are kept up by the barns’ owners at their own cost. The paint does keep the barn in good condition and the logo still is an eye catcher.

So as I travel across the farming parts of our area I look at what was and what is and feel the tradition of painting a message on a barn is still alive. I did forget to mention that if you reside in the city all I have written is news to you. You will never have the privilege or be saddened by the loss of a barn painted with a message to sell something such as chewing tobacco. To this I say to all the folks who have lived in the country, it has been our gain and to those of you who have lived in the city, you really did miss a big piece of Americana.

Rick Houser grew up on a farm near Moscow in Clermont County and likes to stories about his youth and other topics. He may be reached at houser734@yahoo.com.

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The Good Old Days

Rick Houser

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