The best stories in a small town were often told by someone sitting in a rocking chair in the general store.
With that in mind the Enon Community Historical Society, ECHS, developed a series of programs called Rocking Chair Stories.
For more than 20 years these programs have been asking questions of influential community members sitting in a rocking chair. The videos of the interviews are kept in the ECHS oral history archives.
From the beginning Darryl Bauer has been the Master of Ceremonies. Bauer’s news radio experience at WIZE, WBLY, and WHIO made him uniquely qualified to ask the questions that would help the program’s subject share details of the good old days.
Bauer told me that he doesn’t arrive with a list of questions. He just likes to keep the conversation informal and ask a few simple questions that will hopefully lead to more questions.
“People are very modest about their role,” said Bauer. “They remember more than they think they will and it always turns out really well.”
Having been interviewed by Bauer myself, I understand the talent he has for encouraging an entertaining conversation.
“We like to do one (Rocking Chair Story) a year,” he said, explaining that while organizing the events ECHS members look for a theme that will tie it all together.
One of my personal favorite Rocking Chair Stories involved three local farmers reminiscing of their early days on the farm working with horses. It really wasn’t that long ago.
Another Rocking Chair event is set for this Sunday July 21, when Bauer will interview Jennifer Hawks and Robin Barry, daughters of Enon’s legendary, long time mayor Charles Koons.
“He was bigger than life,” said Bauer, explaining that Koons was influential in the development of Enon’s water supply. “There was a time when he knew where all the pipes in town were underground.”
Koons’ youngest daughter Robin Barry filled in more details for me.
She said that Koons was born in Medway, and lived in New Carlisle until he moved to Enon in 1950 when the town had a population of around 400. He was mayor from 1951 to 1955, from 1957 to 1965, and finally from 1967 to 1988. That is around 33 years. He worked at Wright Patterson, built a series of houses in Enon, and always thought that “Enon was a good place to be.”
Koons oldest daughter Jennifer Hawks was four when they moved to Enon so she remembers many of the early happenings in town. She especially remembers having the police radio next to the dinner table and living next to the siren on the day of the big train wreck.
If you don’t know about the train wreck, I imagine they can answer your questions.
The setting of the program is informal, and there will be times when the audience can ask questions or contribute to the story.
The stories begin at 7 p.m. on Sunday July 21 at the Mike Barry Research Center, 45 Indian Drive, Enon. It is across the street from the mound and behind the Enon Village offices. There is plenty of parking nearby.
This is the perfect place to learn fun information about Enon’s 20th century growth, and maybe even find out how some of the streets got their names.
These two sisters know where different businesses and homes were once located, and have memories of the early days of the emergency services when they had the “fire phone” in their house. I was sad to learn it wasn’t red but it worked just fine.
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