Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Thursday, February 16, 2017


I don't remember much about my 8th grade Ohio history class--Hiram (Ohio) Schools, 1957-1958, Mr. Walter Wolfe (whose daughter, Debbie, was in our class, too). Mr. Wolfe was one of the most, well, different teachers I had encountered. He was very opinionated about politics--and school and local affairs. He somewhat disdained college professors (a town-gown thing), claiming now and then that they had "no practical knowledge." I kept my mouth shut but thought otherwise: My dad, a professor at Hiram College, had grown up on a farm and was a living refutation.

Still ... I was a bit wussy at the time. Stayed mute. Mr. Wolfe also said he preferred "a gentleman's C" from an all-round student to an A from a nerd (not his word--but his idea). Now that I could relate to! I'm not sure how much of a gentleman I was, but I gathered lots of C's in junior high--something I kept secret from Joyce (a valedictorian of a huge Akron high school) until after we were married.

Anyway, in his class, we had a Current Events Day each week; we had reports to do on geography and history. And one of the places I remember talking about a bit was a place called Blue Hole in Castalia, Ohio.

For some reason, this came up the other day in a conversation with Joyce. She'd never heard of the place, so out came the iPhone, and here came Google.

Some background. I had never seen the Blue Hole--could not (quickly) find Castalia on an Ohio map (got a C on the quiz, probably). So ... here's a map image for you ... about seven miles southwest of Sandusky.

I found on Google some images of the place on some old picture postcards.

I had this vague memory of learning in Mr. Wolfe's class that it was presumed bottomless, but I see on some of the sites I visited that it is far from so--about 43-45 ft. says the Wikipedia article (I know, I know). But it was bright, deep blue--and very clear. And oxygen-free (no fish or monsters swim and/or lurk below.) And a constant temperature, year-round, from 45-48F. And so ... an attraction. For years.

But not no more.

It closed its gates to the public in 1990 and is owned by a private trout club--Blue Hole has no trout itself, of course, but it's on land with waterways that do. One source says there's a sign now that says: Private property--keep out.

Let's resist the temptation to talk about the current urge among some to privatize public lands and parks, shall we?

So ... what have  I learned.
  • I should have gone to see it before 1990.
  • I can't see it now.
  • I know where Castalia is. (Population 852 in 2010.)
  • Castalia was a nymph, who, chased by Apollo (hmmm ... wonder why?), leapt into the spring on Mount Parnassus near Delphi. She became part of the waters--some say because Apollo transformed her on the spot. (Source: The Oxford Companion to Classical Literature)

Two more memories of Mr. Wolfe.
  1. While I was in his class, we learned that the Hiram Schools would have a new Executive Head (i.e., superintendent). Won't tell you his name (you'll see why). Several of my classmates and I clipped from the Kent-Ravenna Record-Courier the story, with picture, about the appointment. I asked Mr. Wolfe if I could put it on his bulletin board (where resided the Current Events stories he liked that week). He promptly snapped: I don't want that Fish-Face on my wall!
  2. A year later, in ninth grade, I had Mr. Wolfe for a study hall teacher one period. He liked to slip out and have a smoke now and then. One day while he was out, I was getting ready to snap--with a very long rubber band--the back of my older brother, who sat in front of me, studying (no gentleman's C's for him!). Mr. Wolfe came in at that moment. The hush in the room was my warning. He signaled for me to join him in the hall, where he gave me two whacks with his wooden paddle. Both hurt. And it was very loud. I somehow managed not to cry when I returned to study hall. And, of course, my brother told my parents ... more trouble.

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