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1977197819791980198119821983198419851986198719881989

MY EARLY RECOLLECTIONS OF THE YMCA
January 19, 1977



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PIX #1 - The Pontiac Club was a YMCA organization that existed in the late
20's  and early 30's.  All the members were not on hand the day this
heretofore unpublished photo was taken.  Reading from left to right: front
row - Charles Jeffry, A.D. Kinn, Francis Kuckuck, Byron Stears, Carl Berry,
Dale Mills, Herb Snook, John Hollenbaugh, Dr. D.D. Waltermire, Chet Kieffer,
Glenn True, John Rogers (advisor), Don Paine, Paul Krupp, Vincent Beck,
Al Bryan, Duncan "Scotty" McLean, Justin Harrison, Myron Klienhen, Paul
Paine, Kean Van Curren, Berlin Berbaugher, Norman Fruth.  Top Row - Duane
Harrold, Charles Hunt, Carl Bormuth, Roy Hay, Francis Bormuth, Howard Went,
Hendy Spooner, Ralph Barbour, Bill Paine, John Simpkins, Donald Dubbs, Glenn
Smith, Bill Lockhart, Jim Whitfield, Paul Shaffer

PIX #2 - Boys Group - Photo shows one of the boys groups that worked-out at
the "Y" in about 1918.   Wallace White was physical director at that time. 
This group was called the Pioneer club.  Although all of the boys cannot be
identified, many of them can, and are as follows: top row, reading from left
Orville Boyd, (unknown), Phil Degans, Bill Sells, Walter Bristol, Bill "Mope"
Doyle, Paul Krupp, "Red" Bricker, Kelly Myers, Guy Workman.  Second row -
Robert Turner, Carl Turner, Harold Wilson, (unknown), Jim Longacre, Front
row John (Gaikoski) Gardner, John McMeen, (unknown), Jim Spangler, Homer
Spangler, (unknown), (unknown).

Sandy Ruppert's article in The Review Times recently stirred my early
memories of the YMCA going back to 1912 at the time of the cornerstone laying
... my first membership in 1918 ... and then the succeeding years up to
approximately 1935.

I remember standing on the west side of Wood Street where the Post Office is
now, and watching them place the corner stone in position.  There was quite a
cround present and the usual ceremony that goes with such an event.  Being a
lad of only seven, obviously I do no remember what was said then.

One of the early general secretaries was Anna Gilbert.  I believe she was
followed by Jack Jerpe, who was instrumental in providing membership for
boys of the community who couldn't afford to join the "Y".

Jerpe was a super salesman, and he aroused the community to "the need to
provide the boys and young men of Fostoria with a means of developing spirit,
mind and body."  He made the idea work by getting the business and
professional people to buy memberships for the youth.  The Rotary Club was
particulary active in that respect.

I was one of those boys who received a memebership through the generosity of
a public-spirited individual whom I never knew.  Later on, when I could earn
some money I paid for my own membership; and still later on whn I was
employed full-time, I in turn donated memberships to the underpriveleged.

When Jerpe had informed my mother of the gift membership she wasn't sure it
was a good thing for me because I was rather frail.  It turned out just the
opposite.  The physical program helped develop my body, and I am sure
contributed to my good health throughout the ensuing years.  I'm sure my
association with the "Y" benefitted me spiritually, and mentally too.

I do not recall all of "the popular sports of that era" as mentioned in
the Ruppert article.  I do recall that every gym class started with
calisthentics of every description ... physical fitness seemed important
then.  We jogged and ran around the excellent overhead track, constructed
of a resilient surface underfoot, and properly banked corners on the curves.
Then we had workouts on the parallel bars, the horse and the rings.  Then
team games - vollyball, baseball, basketball, etc.  Back in those days
the physical directors might not have been able to duplicate the feats we
see on television performed at the Olympics, but they could instruct and
do most of them.

Two of the early physical directors I remember were Bill Gailey and Wallace
White.  Gailey and Dr. M.A. Pruden later started a summer camp for boys in
Michigan.  White served the local "Y" for many years, then moved to an
eastern Ohio city as physical director.

In 1921 or 1922 Jack Jerpe started Hi-Y in high school, and I was a charter
member.  Roy Hay, now deceased, and I attended the first Hi-Y summer camp
ever held at Camp Nelson dodd at Brinkhaven, Ohio.  That trip was my first
overnight train trip, and my first time away from home for 10 days ... quite
an experience for both of us.

I have wondered in recent years what happended to Hi-Y.  In my time, it was
an honor to belong, and it influenced the morale in high school - something
badly needed today.

When W.L. Kershaw was general secretary of the "Y" he was instrumental in
organizing the yound men of the community who were active in the "Y" into a
branch of the state YMCA Yound Men's Association.  We went to Columbus for
an organization meeting in my Pontiac, so that became the club name.  The
club existed for a number of years, providing the "Y" with a means of
reaching the young adults of the community and in turn providing them with
the activities the "Y" offered.

Again in 1931, I had the opportunity to visit Camp Nelson Dodd, this time as
a delegate to the Ohio Young Men's Association summer camp.  Other delegates
were Don Paine, Don Dubbs, Paul Shaffer.  One thing that had chanced since
my earlier visit was the replacement of cabins for tents used nine years
earlier and a pool was available for swimming instead of the Mohican river.

At one of the State Yound Men's annual meetings, held at Lima, the Pontiac
Club staged a show to depict the founding of the YMCA by George Williams and
some of his associates in London England in the 1800's.

I remember many other things about Fostoria's "Y"
* firing the old coal boiler
* scrubbing the lobby floor
* bowling on the excellent alleys, and setting pins too
* rap sessions in rooms of teachers who roomed there.
* spending delighful Sunday afternoons in front of the lobby fireplace.  The
  kids gathered there then.
* " Ma" Knowles and "Ma" True who ran the kitchen, and the delicious food 
  they prepared.
* The annual "circus" one ring - when every youth class performed showing
  what they had learned in the gym - and side shoes for fun and amusement.
* the industrial basketball league, sponsored by the "Y"

Yes, the "Y" then also catered to business men, and there was a ladies' day,
but the main thrust was to the youth of the c ommunity; and none were turned
away because they didn't have the money to join.

The YMCA has been an asset to Fostoria and hopefully with its new and
expanded facilities it may find new goals to challenge its leaders and new
ways to serve this community
GOOD LUCK!