A July 4th Memory From A Northern Town
Oberlin is, by any standard, a very small town. How small? As of 2019, the population stood at 8,296. My high school graduating class was a mighty 95 or so. You could literally walk from one end of town to the other. And at least back in the 70s and early 80s, my house didn't even have a door that locked from the outside. You knew all of your neighbors, and if a new family moved to town, you heard about it faster than if it had been on the 6 o'clock news!
My first watch was not bought at the local jeweler's (Herricks), but at what many of us referred to as the "corner drug store", Kaiser - Wells. This is a hand-winding Timex, featuring Snoopy and Woodstock. This was a gift from my parents as a congratulations for learning to tell the time. I was, if memory serves, the first kid in my class to manage it. It just so happened that they gave me this on the 4th of July.
More than a few people have asked what was the inspiration for the dial layout of the OBIE1. Well, that Snoopy watch was certainly one of them. Numbers at 12 and 6, as those were the key locations for telling time.
And apart from being the colors of Oberlin High, I always associate the 4th of July with that first watch. It sounds silly, but back before digital watches and cell phones, there were a lot of five and six year olds dependent upon grown-ups to tell them the time. And there was a certain freedom, and independence about looking at your wrist, and knowing the fireworks would be starting in another hour.
So from a Northern Youth from a small Ohio town, a very happy and safe Independence Day to you all, wherever you are, and whatever independence means to you.