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WYSO, the Dayton Metro Library and local social service agency, Rebuilding Together Dayton, have come together for a very special project. We’ve gathered the memories and wise words of Dayton’s elders for Senior Voices, a new series that is airing throughout 2018. We present them to you in honor of the life experiences and wisdom of Dayton elders.

Senior Voices: Sarah Campbell

Sarah Campbell
Senior Voices

This week on Senior Voices, Sarah Campbell shares fond memories of growing up in East Dayton. She had an absolute love of reading, and fresh homemade bread. She shared her story with Dayton Metro Library volunteer interviewer, Diane Root.


Sarah Campbell: Well, when I was born my parents lived on a street called Irwin, which is one of the older brick streets in the city of Dayton. In 1942, with my grandmother -- or early ‘43 -- they moved on to Harbine, which is a block away.

I remember my grandmother baking. Hot bread of any kind I love, but homemade hot bread is… especially coming out of the oven, you know, the smell of hot bread is… almost nirvana. And if you can have it with good butter on it… Grandma always said, “Sarah, if you eat it like that, it’s gonna…” and she’d say, “Clabber in your stomach and you’re gonna die.” And I would look at her and say “Grandma, I’ll die happy.” If I go to a restaurant and they’ve made bread or anything… I get the bread.

Diane Root: Totally understand that.

Sarah Campbell: Then in 1946, my mother bought a house in the 2900 block of East 2nd Street that they kept until it was torn down by... I believe the board of education… to add to the playground for the old Washington school. And the funny thing is, is if I walked out my parents’ back door, I would have been on the playground for Washington school. But we were Roman Catholic, so I walked the distance to Holy Family. It’s pretty bad when the nuns know your mother, personally, from growing up with her. But I, I enjoyed Holy Family.

And the school had a library, which I worked in -- it was a parish library -- and the nuns got used to me having a book hidden in my other subjects. And in the eighth grade, I had the same nun in both seventh and eighth grade, and she realized that if she walked out of the room... and if kids, you know, the nuns walk out of the room, kids get a little rowdy, well… Not dear sweet Sarah, there was that book underneath my desk! And that’s the first thing I did was dive for my book. If i could have a book, I’d agree to anything, so…

Lots and lots and lots of books; always books. To me, reading is more than fundamental. Mother Goose is very important in a child’s life. Mother Goose rhymes and nursery stories teach you a love of language and a love of nonsense, you might say. I don’t care whether it’s Barney, I don’t care how it is -- you’re teaching them words. And that’s important. I say getting a reader is like fishing: you find the right bait, or the right kind of book, and then you’ve got them hooked. And then you just keep supplying books.

This interview was edited by Community Voices producer Javis Heberling. Senior Voices is a collaboration between the Dayton Metro Library, Rebuilding Together Dayton, and WYSO. This series is made possible through the generous support of the Del Mar Healthcare Fund of the Dayton Foundation.