Dispatches from East Dayton

John Frum

Secret Society Member
If you're a history buff, you'll be familiar with Dayton, Ohio as the home of the Wright brothers, and an early-20th century hub of invention and industry. Maybe you know someone who was stationed at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. If you're a college basketball fan, you might have been to the University of Dayton's Welcome Stadium for one of the yearly First Four games of the NCAA March Madness Tournament. Maybe you remember the Bosnian peace accords brokered here in 1995. You perhaps saw the documentaries "The Last Truck" or its sequel "American Factory" that chronicled the death and resurrection of our local GM assembly plant. You might be a fan of The Ohio Players, The Breeders, Zapp & Roger, Guided By Voices, Brainiac, or Hawthorne Heights. Or our city could be fresh in your mind from the summer of 2019, when we suffered devastating tornadoes and a mass shooting.

I love my city, really. But Dayton's a complicated town, and it's hard not to think its best days are behind it. I moved to East Dayton from a bedroom community in 2009, when I was still relatively young and almost cool. Since then, there's been a few decidedly local news stories that have percolated up to the national and world level. Here are a few of my favorites - each of these comes from within 3 miles of my house:

Cheap Toy, Expensive Psychotherapy

A mother was horrified upon discovering in 2014 that the "princess wand" she bought her daughter at the $1.00 Store on Linden Ave concealed an image of a demonic figure cutting her wrists. The store owner doubled down, telling the media it was a perfectly appropriate toy for a child. To be fair, it was called the "Evilstick".

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Lost Dog Leads To Free Beer

A desperate but broke local woman came up with a novel reward for information on her lost dog in 2014. She was reunited with Zoro, and Dayton got a mention on SNL's Weekend Update, with Seth Myers dubbing the city "Dirtbag, Ohio".

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Man Loves Cars

In 2016, a Dayton man was arrested after being observed attempting sexual congress with the front grill of a parked van. Alcohol may have been a factor.

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Best Limp Bizkit Concert Since Woodstock '99

A Facebook event in-joke spiraled wildly out of control in 2016, and a sizable crowd gathered at a Sunoco gas station for an imaginary 4/20 concert by washed-up rap-rockers Limp Bizkit, spawning a yearly tradition, and copycats around the world.

The gas station (decisively taking the long-argued title "the crazy Sunoco on Wayne Ave." from its competitor a few blocks down) was a five minute walk from where I lived, and the show was awesome.

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Ohio is a wonderful place to be from. I lived there from 1960 to 1978 after a brief stint in MI. I lived in Warren, Cleveland and Columbus. I am sure I drove through Dayton but never stopped by. I have a lot of fond memories of Ohio but the climate and the politics would prevent me from ever returning for anything but a short visit.

Edit: Every city is going to have its share of embarrassing moments. Some cities seem to have more than their share.
 
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JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I grew up in Ohio between Akron and Canton. Or North Canton, really, as even part of Canton doesn’t want to be from Canton. My exposure to Dayton was the Air Force Museum, which is the best airplane museum in the world by a significant amount. Imagine a building with a B-52, B-36 and XB-70 inside and it’s not even the only building. I also briefly dated a girl from Xenia which I think is nearby and best known for a tornado In the mid 70s.

Ohio in the 70s and 80s was a great place to grow up. Mall culture. Still a varied industry, mixture of white and blue collar work all in one town. It’s changed a lot since then.
 

John Frum

Secret Society Member
I grew up in Ohio between Akron and Canton. Or North Canton, really, as even part of Canton doesn’t want to be from Canton. My exposure to Dayton was the Air Force Museum, which is the best airplane museum in the world by a significant amount. Imagine a building with a B-52, B-36 and XB-70 inside and it’s not even the only building. I also briefly dated a girl from Xenia which I think is nearby and best known for a tornado In the mid 70s.

Ohio in the 70s and 80s was a great place to grow up. Mall culture. Still a varied industry, mixture of white and blue collar work all in one town. It’s changed a lot since then.

Xenia? I grew up there. Wonder if I know her.

A Clean Break

A Wilmington man got the whole night shift at the Xenia Burger King canned in 2008 because he took a bath in a sink at the restaurant and posted video to MySpace.

I actually knew the guy from his consigning CDs at the record store where I worked. He was in a horror-core group called Kare Bear Mafia, in which his stage name was “Mr. Unstable”.

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John Frum

Secret Society Member
My exposure to Dayton was the Air Force Museum, which is the best airplane museum in the world by a significant amount. Imagine a building with a B-52, B-36 and XB-70 inside and it’s not even the only building.

The National Museum of the United States Air Force is really rad, and I’m due for another trip next year. The Director is retired Air Force Lieutenant General and all-around superman Jack Hudson, whose son’s been a close friend of mine since college.
 
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JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
The National Museum of the United States Air Force is really rad, and I’m due for another trip next year. The Director is retired Air Force Lieutenant General and all-around übermensch Jack Hudson, whose son’s been a close friend of mine since college.
That's cool. It's always nice to hear that good people are behind something. A trip to that museum when I was about 3 really gave me a lifelong fascination with airplanes. I still have the book from the gift shop back then, though I've been back twice since. The last time was in the late 1990s, though... can't believe its been 20 years!
 

John Frum

Secret Society Member
That's cool. It's always nice to hear that good people are behind something. A trip to that museum when I was about 3 really gave me a lifelong fascination with airplanes. I still have the book from the gift shop back then, though I've been back twice since. The last time was in the late 1990s, though... can't believe its been 20 years!

I don’t remember this, but apparently until not too many years ago, they had an Atlas ICBM parked outside that they’d dress up for the holidays.

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“Ho ho ho! Merry Armageddon!”
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I don’t remember this, but apparently until not too many years ago, they had an Atlas ICBM parked outside that they’d dress up for the holidays.

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“Ho ho ho! Merry Armageddon!”
A relic from a wonderful time before we overthought the meaning of every gesture. Even if that gesture was really messed up..haha.
 
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