Postcards from Ohio: 6

Our last stop in the Dayton metro was at Oakwood High School, a rather fine institution from which I was graduated in 1974.

There is nothing new under the sun, and a young person with access to an automobile will find a way to use it for mischief. And so it came to pass in those days, that after an evening with my nerdy friends of playing Risk and usually intoxicated by nothing stronger than diet soda, we would find ourselves on the streets of this lovely, leafy suburb in my mother’s blue Austin America (an underpowered MG with a singularly peculiar suspension system).

one endAnd lo, the people saw that the faculty parking lot along the south side of the high school gave onto a sidewalk with no curb.

the other endAnd my friends said, behold, the other end of this sidewalk ends with a curb cut on the Avenue of Schantz, near the playing fields. Let us rejoice in this attractive nuisance, and drive your vehicle from the parking lot directly into the Avenue of Schantz, without impediment.

And so it was done, and we drove the America down the sidewalk (think of Jason Bourne being chased through the streets of Paris in his Mini Cooper, but at vastly reduced speeds), and it was good.

That is, until some obstacle loomed on the passenger’s side and put a big crimp in the door. (Was it that big red oak that you can see in the first image? I seem to remember some sort of stanchion.) I achieved a new level of creative prevarication when I explained to my mother that the damage wasn’t my fault. (It was only last year, when she was zonked on hospital sedatives, that I came clean to my mother. But I think she’d figured it out a long time ago.)

Mom drove the America for another year or so, into my first year of college at least, until the hydrolastic suspension leaked and the car developed a severe list.

In any event, the sidewalk connection and the curb cut are still there, almost 40 years later. The ADA-compliant bumpy bits are the only change.

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