My name is Anthony Brandell, and I’m a senior Centerville High School. I was born into a pretty cool family. I have a mom quit her career as a travel agent when she found out she was pregnant with me, a loving father who owned a bar in Dayton and two funny brothers named Nick and Jason.
But when I was in 4th grade, everything changed. My parents received an offer they couldn’t refuse. For years the local hospital have been trying to buy our bar. They wanted to buy our property because they had already purchased all the other business on the block, and it was a prime spot. They offered a property that was an old 1800s firehouse and over a million dollars to restore the building and parking lot.
The whole process took about a year. I remember avoiding the nails scattered around the floor and watching the construction workers climb onto the roof. On November 11th, 2011 at 11:11 am, the grand opening of Jimmie’s Ladder 11 finally happened. When the clock hit 11:11, we cut the ceremonial ribbon, and everyone stormed into the restaurant.
See this made me really happy for the family, but I noticed how much time it was taking away. Sometimes I wouldn't see my dad until it was time to go to bed. I was moving from elementary school to middle school; classes were tougher. A lot of times I would get off the bus and no one would be home so I had to enter in the garage code to let myself in.
This time alone as a middle schooler taught me a lot about myself. It taught me how to be self-reliant and independent. I learned how to cook for myself. My favorite meal was nachos. I learned how to enjoy my own company. I spent hundreds of hours watching Youtube videos and movies.
Whenever I got to the restaurant with my family, everything was awesome. Spending time there was a crazy way to learn about the world. You can find out so much about people from seeing how they react in social situations like going out to eat or get drinks. You see how people treat others they’ve never met.
I remember one time there was someone who was drunk and rowdy, and my dad gave them $20 just to leave. This taught me something about my dad, showed me that he is really a kind guy.
I leared that my older brother Nick, who is front of the house manager, can talk charge when he needs to. I learned that my older brother Jason can make some banging food, but most importantly I learned that as long as you stay positive and keep grinding during a transition, then everything will work out.
Now that the firehouse is one of busier spots in Dayton, it's kind of just surreal because it started out as an idea and a dream. At first our old bar, it just like a family corner spot, but now we have a full-blown restaurant that appeals to a lot more people. And I feel like it brings a lot of joy to alot of people.
Anthony Brandell is a student at Centerville High School. Special Thanks to Tricia Rapoch, teacher for the Communication Arts Program at Centerville High School. Learn more at the school's website: http://www.centerville.k12.oh.us/CHS Dayton Youth Radio is supported by the Virginia W. Kettering Foundation and the Ohio Arts Council.