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Memories of Mr. Medich and the mayor's office

September 17, 2013 - Paul Giannamore
Senses of the past sometimes just jump out at you.

As I drove to work predawn on Monday, I saw that the house once occupied by a wonderful family on the corner of Sixth and Dock streets was being torn down.

The house itself, in the condition into which it had fallen, was no real loss. But at one time, it was the home of then Mayor Dave Hindman’s secretary, Lynn, her husband and their children. And Lynn was a person with whom I spent a lot of time back in my time as a reporter.

Secretaries, after all, are the person with whom the reporter is left in the lobby while the officials are doing their work in their offices. Lynn always had a smile, a story about the children and her husband, and, because her kids were a couple of years older than mine at the time, she was kind of giving me the primer on what to expect a year or two down the road.

That house always kind of reminded me of that time, and it was a good time. We shared a lot of good stories on the way to me getting stories out of the mayor, and I’ve missed those times.

I’ve lost track of her and her family over the years, but, should she or anyone connected to her happen to see this, let her know I still often think about her days as the mayor’s secretary.

And then, as I was putting together the obituary page the other day, I saw the name of George Medich.

Mr. Medich was one of those guys that probably every kid in Steubenville, or the Steubenville region, has some memory of. He and his family lived down the street when I was growing up.

Many of them knew him as a teacher and coach. I didn't go to the Steubenville City Schools because I lived in that Indian Creek part of Steubenville, and in any event I was all but athletic until I turned 48. So, my memories of Mr. Medich are far different from most.

A bit of set-up here is required. Any regular reader realizes I idolize my father. But I’m also a realist. His construction and maintenance techniques consisted of duct tape, bailing wire, ancient paintbrushes (never buy one when you can leave the one from the shed repainting of 1967 soaking in turpentine until 1978 when it will still serve to paint the shed again), a Bernz-O-Matic torch and some solder. That, and, relying on my technically expert brother to fix things (“Hang on to that. Johnny is coming home at Christmas” was a mantra.)

I’m not sure if my mom recognized that, or if she simply knew of Mr. Medich’s prowess at construction of Pinewood Derby cars because she was a den mother at that point, but there was no question about having Mr. Medich, not Dad, build my Pinewood Derby car. The line was that Dad didn’t have the power saw, but Mr. Medich did.

So Dad and I walked my Pinewood kit down to the Medich home, where Mr. Medich built me a pretty fast little wheeled piece of wood back in my Cub Scout days of about four decades ago. I never forgot that, largely because that piece of Medich craftsmanship still has a place on a bookshelf in a room in my house. I recall that he had the equivalent of Roger Penske’s IndyCar shop for 1960s Pinewood Derby cars. I think I came in second or third in our pack races. Or in a consolation heat, or something. It's not important. The memory is.

Through the Target Shop, back when it was on North Fourth Street, he sold me the only pair of track spikes I ever owned, as well as all the Wintersville Warrior gear I’d ever need.

I figure every “kid” of a certain age remembers him selling us our high school gear. Most of them don’t get the memory of Mrs. Medich giving us rides to elementary school in a huge station wagon, the precursor to today’s soccer mom speeding around in a gigantic sport ute.

That he also was a great neighbor who raised some pretty good guys (all of whom I’ve lost track of except Dr. Medich, whose medical partner I credit with saving The Drummer’s life when he was a boy) and was generally an all-around great guy is always part of the memory.

May he rest in peace.

 
 

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