Last week marked the 90th anniversary of the Ohioana Library. The Ohioana Library Association was founded in 1929 by Ohio First Lady Martha Kinney Cooper to preserve and promote the works of Ohio authors, artists, and musicians.
As first lady, I am the honorary chairman, and I love to visit the library and participate in the book fairs and other great programs they sponsor. Ohio author Wil Haygood was our speaker on Sunday as part of the 90th birthday celebration. Wil has written several books, but he really talked about “The Butler,” which was also turned into a great movie, and his newest book “Tigerland.” Wil is from Columbus, attended Miami University and still does some teaching there. He really is an amazing storyteller! Mike and I were both fascinated by the program.
While we were in Cincinnati, we decided to go to the musical “Come From Away,” which was playing at the Aronoff Center. It is set in the week following the 9/11 attacks. It is the true story of what happened when 38 planes were forced to land in the small town of Gander, Newfoundland. Seven thousand stranded passengers landed unexpectedly in Gander, which also had a population of around seven thousand. The Gander people housed and fed all the passengers. It was a great, fast-moving story of emotions and friendships from those five days. The remarkable stories made you laugh and made you cry, and made you remember just where you were during that fateful time. And the music was fabulous!
The rest of the week was also very busy. On Monday I went to Tuscarawas County and Holmes County to work to set up the Governor of Ohio’s Imagination Library, our program to send a book in the mail to every child, every month, ages birth through 5. Then on Tuesday we opened our “Ohio office” in Washington D.C.
On Wednesday, Annabel Downs, a chartered landscape architect from England, spoke to many of our gardeners and friends and volunteers of the Governor’s Residence about the incredible memorial to President John F. Kennedy. Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe was commissioned to design “a memorial in landscape and stone on Crown land at Runnymede, which was, in May 1965, bequeathed to the American people in perpetuity.” Runnymede is where the Magna Carta was signed in 1215. The beautiful, simple, natural design of the 1-acre park really highlights the memorial, which has quotes from Kennedy’s Inaugural speech about world peace and public service.
On Thursday I visited one of the public schools in Columbus where all the children in the school got to pick out a brand new winter coat. Operation Warm gives out about seven thousand new coats in Ohio each year. The children came into the cafeteria one class at a time. I helped many of them find their perfect size and color, and I got to experience their joy! Some told me they were “so happy!” and they were glad their parents didn’t have to worry about it. I went from there to Dayton to cut the ribbon for the new addition to the Carillon Park buildings. It is a must-see, a great gateway to the whole Dayton area.
I was thinking about what really was the best food I ate all week. It was such a fast-paced week that Mike and I didn’t get to eat a lot of meals together at home. But on Sunday night before the play, we took our grandson to a great little restaurant in Cincinnati called Goose and Elder, across the street from the Findlay Market, on the corner of Goose and Elder. I decided to order their fried bologna sandwich, which was their specialty: two slices fried bologna, American cheese, Dijonnaise sauce, slaw, and an egg “over-easy” on a Kaiser bun. It was delicious! We also shared a large slice of watermelon that was sprinkled with a mild chili powder (Tajin seasoning), a little kosher salt, and lime juice. I have no measurements, but I am definitely going to try both!
Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine is a Cedarville resident, Yellow Springs native and guest columnist.