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Each Step Holds A Memory

If you’re like me, working from home, time manages to slip away unnoticed. I have found that working at home has actually kept me glued to my seat for hours at a time. In the office, I often had reasons to walk about the room, visit other floors and go out among the populace to obtain stories.

However, I rarely leave the confines of my home office. My husband pops his head in and reminds me to at least eat lunch. To offset all the sitting time, he also reminds me that I promise to take a walk with him late in the afternoon. So we head over to Oglebay for a loop around the park.

Some days there are a good many people walking, jogging and riding bikes. One day we chose a path that took us behind the Anne Kuchinka Amphitheater adjacent to Waddington Gardens in the park.

As I prepared to head up the stairway to the top of the amphitheater, I was overwhelmed with memories. Each step I climbed brought smiles as I recalled sitting on those wooden bench seats and listening to all types of music. If there was one thing our mother tried to do it was expose us to various programs offered at that outdoor cultural venue.

From the classical music of the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra, to the 1969 bubble gum music of the Cowsills, we were there to see and hear them. In my youth, it was a big deal to attend concerts at Oglebay. We got dressed up and took blankets to shield our dresses from the snags of those wooden seats.

We saw plays there and even acted out a few when at day camp at the park.

Nearly everyone in my family crossed the stage there when graduating from Central Catholic High School. It is tradition to toss those mortarboards into a warm morning sky.

There was and still is magic in that place. Perhaps it is those funny toadstool-looking concrete lights along the steps that add to its charm. They offer just enough light to guide your feet but not enough to take away from the ambiance of an evening performance.

It’s funny, the things that bring back memories of our mom. Lilies of the valley, fancy handkerchiefs and evenings at Oglebay Park’s outdoor theater are among my favorite reminders of her. Thanks, Oglebay. Mom would be glad to know the magic continues.

Heather Ziegler can be reached at hziegler@theinelligencer.net.

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