Memories on Memorial Day A soldier’s story, a family’s grief Thank You for your sacrifice Seaman community honors local veterans with special tribute Former PES teacher dies in tragic accident All County Senior Citizens Day celebrated Parks signs with SSCC Soccer Senior Profile: Lexie Bunn Jessie Rodgers Memorial Day services set for county Truly our greatest generation Bertha Lashley Maia Swartz Jessie Rodgers Errors spell the end of Devils’ baseball season Senior Profile: Carry Hayslip Lady Hounds’ season ends with tourney loss to Paint Valley North Adams hosts Youth Volleyball Camp Time to get “Stroke Savvy” OVCTC, GE host Community Service Day 65 years in the pulpit Jamison, Richmond, Minshew conquer second race of 2017 Brushcreek season Manchester’s Cox signs with Rio basketball program Senior Profile: Andrew Weeks A dozen SHAC champions Thomas D Lute Sandra F Schwab Turning something broken into something beautiful Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide One dead, two injured in ATV accident 2017 Graduation Ceremonies West Union Alumni and Friends Educational Fund announces 2017 Scholarship Awards TAG students tour Pennsylvania Commissioners proclaim Older Americans Month Building an anti-drug culture one t-shirt at a time SECTIONAL CHAMPIONS NAES students awarded Science Camp scholarships SSCC’s Associate Degree Nursing program celebrates graduation Bauman selected to National 4-H Congress Lois Pertuset Hazel Nixon Philip L Paeltz Manchester Youth Volleyball Camp begins May 30 Jase Thatcher Figgins’ walk-off winner sends North Adams to Division III sectional finals Lady Hounds top East 10-3 in sectional opener Commissioner Pell, union reps travel to DC Forgotten experience brings back good memories for WUHS seniors Gordon Boldman Local teen injured in jeep accident BCI Investigation underway Rick Arnold Happy Mother’s Day- Do you want food? Robert Hodge Melvin Tipton Lady Dragons Basketball Camp begins May 22 Lady Devils Basketball Camp is May 30-June 1 National Day of Prayer celebrated in county NAES students enjoy day at GABP Car strikes Amish buggy near Winchester Eldon J Shoenleben Farming out life lessons to children and parents Proposed Medicaid changes could cost Adams County millions Annual ‘Redneck Run” returns to Manchester May 13 They really were the best of times West Union hosts Junior High, High School County Track Meets Figgins signs with SSCC Soccer Perfect again! Senior Profile: Caley Grooms James T Hughes Anderson signs with Rio Grande Basketball Senior Profile: Miranda Schiltz Playing for Dad, Part II Lady Indians win SHAC Big School title Danny Bryant Sadie Stamm Franklin E Brayfield Softball, baseball tourney match ups announced Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall coming to Georgetown next week Southern Ohio Genealogical Society offers program on ‘Family History Sources at the Ohio History Center’ Joseph A Johnson Jr Kramer tosses two shutouts in five days Trip to Akron = two more wins for Lady Indians softball Devils blank Dragons in non-conference battle Meade twins part of Rio baseball program Playing for Dad Senior Profile: Madison Welch As Mr. Seas It, for ACOVSD High School graduates We stayed up all night with Bob Clean up of Manchester’s abandoned gas stations continues Ribbon cutting held for canoe/kayak access sites Columbus Industries donates driveway repair to Animal Shelter North Adams Elementary recognizes March Students of the Month Animal Shelter Adoption Center announces new hours of operation Major road construction planned for summer months West Union Elementary honors March Students of the Month Charles D Jordan Betty Ginn Pamela M Hampton Former county sheriff celebrates 80th birthday

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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