In my eyes, Ashland hasn’t lost its quaint way-of-life.
The economy has helped the community expand over the years. Businesses have moved in and land has been developed where in the 1980s, farm land covered much of the outer-regions of the community.
Driving to Ashland from Northwest Ohio was a treat for my family and me because coming from an area of flat land, driving on the hills was a cheap thrill.
Yes, it took us nearly three hours to travel to Ashland, but seeing the Amish travel in horse-and-buggies was another thrill.
“LOOK!!! There’s another one!” my brother and I would yell to each other as if we were 100 feet away from each other, instead of 3 feet.
To most people, Ashland, Ohio isn’t any more exciting than traveling to “No Place USA,” but for me, traveling to Ashland reminds me of “home.”
No, I didn’t grow up in Ashland, but when I was a young girl, the trips we made to visit my Godparents have left an imprint on my life. (And, my parents were the Godparents for their oldest daughter.)
We were never “visitors” when we visited the Marquette family. Instead, we became their extended family. It was kinda like the show “Cheers” – where everybody knows your name.
The Marquette family was made up of John, Kim and their daughters, Michelle and “Spanky” – her real name is Nichole, but to my dad, she was always “Spanky.” And for us, the name stuck.
We’d have cookouts; go swimming at the “Parker pool;” and one time, we even went to see the ballet.
The house was an older home, and to me it looked like a mansion. There was a “formal” sitting room that we were never allowed to enter – I still have no idea why. And there was a dining room where we never sat. We were always in the den/family room or kitchen. It’s just where we hung out. We weren’t the “formal sitting area” folks.
I remember Kim’s wheat germ pancakes (eating those then put my mom on a “healthy pancake” kick); listening to “Eye of the Tiger” as my dad and John belted the lyrics; and running around like kids.
Going to Ashland was our version of “vacation.”
As we grew up, the trips made to Ashland became fewer, but the memories have stayed.
In 2004, my Godmother passed away from a rare disease called LAM. Toward her finals years, she endured a double-lung transplant that gave her more time with her family. It wasn’t a cure. But, she was able to see her two young girls grow into young women. She left this Earth knowing her family was going to be OK.
Since her death, her two daughters have graduated from college; established themselves in their careers; married; and between them, have given “her” three grandchildren (one was even born on the anniversary of her death).
I am very certain she watches over them every single day and smiles.
But why did I blog about Ashland? I now live only 30 miles from the community and yesterday, after church, we made spontaneous trip there to visit a store called “Fin Feather Fur” – or something like that. It was all about hunting and nature. The kids bought nets for the creek in our background to catch frogs or turtles (which means mom will be back there in her boots, catching the frogs and turtles).
I can’t explain it, but driving into Ashland felt like time-warping to me, because to me, Ashland is place schedules stop and there are no “to-do” lists looming. I can still see spring, summer and fall days where we were able to be “kids” and no one feared for our safety. It was a simpler time in our lives – and I am so glad we were able to spend them with our extended “Ashland” family.