A text comes in from the kid. “Loved Messer’s article on OTR.” The kid is our son, Davis. He lived with us last summer, following our move, and then left for college. Note, he’s in Oregon, and its early morning.
Of our four children, Davis was uniquely positioned to comment. Five years ago, during our initial search of properties, he and our youngest daughter Kaitlin were the only suburban teens to take a Bockfest brunch tour around OTR. We visited the former classrooms of the Emery building, Memorial Hall, a group of condos which turned out to be behind our home, and the catacombs of the St. Francis Seraph. Thank God for Brother Tim who made the tour palatable for the kids.
Still living at home, Davis and Kaitlyn were made to do the forced march of Findlay Market all day Saturdays or Sundays. And when we finally selected our present home site, we parked on Race, opposite of the park, where NO ONE parked and walked the fourteen blocks to the stadium, just to get used to the walk. Not all of them went on to become Reds’ fans.
Kaitlin graduated, and truth be told, probably stayed in Charleston, so as to not move. But Davis endured because he had to. Many nights, we left him in Loveland to attend Streetcar meetings downtown. If I was home on a Monday, he acted surprised. “Don’t you have a streetcar meeting?” he would ask, shake his head and make his spaghetti. Ironically, when I visited him two weeks ago, and met one of his floormates, one of the first topics I brought up was the streetcar. “You just can’t let that go, right, Mom?”
Needless to say, he became entrenched in his surroundings last summer. Though it often felt like pulling teeth for his friends to visit, one by one, they came. We also learned the way to Davis heart was through his stomach so we plied him with Tom + Chee (he and my son-in-law now have a “thing”, this is “their” place). He has begged Bakersfield or Tom + Chee to start in Eugene. He is active on social media and usually knows about the new restaurants around town, Reds events, crime and streetcar news before we do.
I shouldn’t be surprised by Davis’ response to Ryan’s article. Davis after all tolerated rounds of taunting about moving to OTR from people who had been schooled to know better. Although I suspect those will be the first to ask about parking, when that person turns 21.
While our conversations still center on sports, we also talk about addiction and poverty and he sees those issues in real life settings. We didn’t move to OTR for financial reasons, but the reasons have become more valuable than we anticipated.
If we want young adults to return to the city, after college, to learn how to engage in the city in a positive manner, we need citizens like Ryan Messer stepping into roles to work side by side with long-time residents, whether the subject matter is parking, jobs, Future Leaders or the s——–.