On a recent spring afternoon, it was a delight to walk into the Martin-Perry House and see 88-year-old Dr. Harry Riggs at the piano as Powell Liberty Historical Society member Marge Bennett hummed along and moved gently to the beat.

On a recent spring afternoon, it was a delight to walk into the Martin-Perry House and see 88-year-old Dr. Harry Riggs at the piano as Powell Liberty Historical Society member Marge Bennett hummed along and moved gently to the beat.

Riggs and his 90-year-old sister, Doris Fahrenbach, had come to the house to share childhood memories.

Riggs had piano lessons as a youngster during the Depression (they cost $1 each), but is now playing by ear. At his invitation, I requested "Can't Get Started," by Bunny Berrigan. After Riggs finished, he told us that Berrigan played at Buckeye Lake for an entire summer just after Riggs finished high school. He and friends went there to dance. He recalled a friend who was excited upon hearing a great new singer appearing at Olentangy Park on High Street. The crooner was Perry Como, and the location was a popular amusement park where Olentangy Village is now located.

A few readers might remember "School Days," a 15-minute radio program in the 1930s that featured children talking to teachers. Harry played the harmonica on that show, which was broadcast from WCAH at the Ft. Hayes Hotel, across from the Palace Theater. Earlier, as a 9-year-old, he won second prize in a state harmonica competition. He appeared on WCOL, broadcast from the Seneca Hotel.

Doris, Harry and their brothers, Roy, Walter, and Donald, grew up on the Hilltop in Columbus. Their parents, Hattie Andrews and Clyde Riggs, were teachers in one-room schools in Liberty and Concord townships. Women could not teach after marriage, and when they became husband and wife, Clyde became a carpenter at the Girls' Industrial School.

Roy was born during the famous 1913 flood, his mother having been carried on an ironing board to the second story of their home to deliver him. A few years later, when Doris was just a toddler, she contracted diphtheria and was near death. After two physicians were unsuccessful in improving her condition, Hattie sought the help of a Powell physician to cure her little girl. Dr. Charles Talley doubled the dosage of the antitoxin and Doris survived.

Harry was named for an uncle who lived on the Home Road farm of Emily Jane and Albert Andrews, his grandparents. Their 160-acre farm is now the site of Indian Springs Elementary and Liberty High schools. Harry told us how he wasn't named immediately after being born ... not until his uncle won $5 in a contest and said he would give the boy's parents his winnings if they named their son after him! Harry would spend a week or two in the summer at the farm and fondly remembers the skills of his uncle at training horses.

At age 3, Harry remembers being knocked down by a sheep protecting her lamb. Perhaps Harry's days on the farm led him to be a veterinarian. When he began his practice in Mount Gilead, after World War II, country calls were $5 or $6, and that included his time, medicine and gas. He remembers gelding 12 draft colts for $3 each. While 90 percent of his early practice was treating large animals, things have clearly changed, especially with fewer farms and equipment handling the work of horses. He served the community for 40 years and at one time was the only veterinarian in Morrow County.

Doris remembers one day on her grandparents' farm when she and her cousins were instructed to pick peaches in one of the many orchards. Unfortunately, someone got the trees confused, and the delicious peaches intended for pies or canning by grandma were eaten by the children. This was not intentional, but there were times when the children would get into mischief.

Doris fondly remembers her Aunt Jenny picking her up in Columbus on Friday nights and taking her to the farm. The bed she shared with her aunt was very cold. A flat iron, heated on a stove, helped to keep the young girl from freezing, and the memory of the cold temperatures and dressing downstairs by the coal stove has not left her.

Both Doris and Harry remember the wonderful dinners when 16 to 18 people would gather at the farm on Sundays. They remember that Grandpa Andrews made maple syrup and drove a horse and buggy to Columbus to sell it door-to-door for $1 a gallon, and they remember onion syrup as a remedy for coughs. They remember the sleigh Grandpa drove to cut down the Christmas trees and the Model T with flower vases, hand windshield wipers and no heater. Harry said the crank needed to start the car was "kind of dangerous. People broke their arms!"

Doris and Harry's father, Clyde, lived to be 107 years old and said the best time of his life was going on a date to a square dance, arriving by horse and buggy. No one in this family, living or deceased, could have imagined what exists today in their dearly loved farm community ... a parkway ... five schools ... condos ... and golf courses.

Carole Wilhelm is a member of the Powell Liberty Historical Society.

Carole

Wilhelm