Mark His Words: Our President Has A Secret

I like to read State Historical Markers. There, I said it…I’ve admitted to my little addiction.

For those of you that understand this addiction, welcome to my world! For those of you that just think I’m weird, welcome to my wife’s world. (Let’s just say that I am glad my wife is a forgiving person!)

Recently, I stopped to read a state historical marker that just left me feeling depressed.

It tells the story of the Golden Age Nursing Home, in Fitchville, OH, which burned to the ground in 1963. 63 people were killed. The fire (which was caused by defective wiring) led to national standards requiring sprinkler systems, upgraded wiring and effective fire suppression.

But, despite these changes, the nursing home deaths were quickly forgotten. Why? Everybody in America was focused on another event…the assassination of John F Kennedy, which happened the day before the fire.

Two things hit me after I read the sign.

First, I was struck by the fact that the death of 63 had been overshadowed by the death of one. I honor John F Kennedy for what he accomplished. It was tragic that he was shot. It changed America.

But, I have to believe that each of these 63 people contributed in special ways to what America is today. It says something sad to me about how we view those around us, that the death of one could have made the death of 63 irrelevant.

I was also struck by the fact that 21 bodies were unclaimed. As I drove away, I pondered that for quite a few miles.

Could it be that they had lived their lives in such a way that no one cared about them? Did they outlive all those who loved them? Or, maybe their family couldn’t afford the cost of burial and left the bodies unclaimed so the state would pay for the burial.

Whatever that case, it seems clear that their lives were not relevant. No one’s life is irrelevant.

Here at Lehman’s, we would like to help you make your life more relevant. We do that by preserving products and ideas that in many cases have been passed by in the world.

We like the idea of doing things the old-fashioned way. We believe that in many cases doing things using manual labor, hand tools and slower more thoughtful methods leads to a higher quality of life.

We encourage you to slow down. Disconnect from the digital world. Look for ways to thank your life more relevant. Take the time today to have a meaningful conversation with someone you care about!

Galen Lehman
Galen Lehman, President, Lehman’s

Galen Lehman
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Editor’s Note: For more information on Ohio’s Historical Markers Program, see  Want to see more markers without leaving home? Try, where you can find and read the full text of all the markers, and even map them to include in your next road trip to Lehman’s in Kidron. You’d be amazed how many are within an hour’s drive of our retail store.

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Janis McElhaney
11 years ago

Very interesting.

Jeremy Urban
11 years ago

I too am an Hicker (Historical- Hi; Marker-ker: and c- just to make the word not hiker; see there is a name for it). I think you have touched on a very interesting thought. I would like to thank you for writing this, because it points out something us Hickers have known all along. The history of the areas around us should be just as important as the history that is in the books. Peoples lives were not meaningless.

Tanya Sabio
11 years ago

I quite agree with you Mr. Lehman. Everybody “IS” relevant just b/c he/she is human.

Jose Antonio Pereda
11 years ago

AWESOME!!!! Some thinking we all should do these days.

TK Farrow
11 years ago

This article brought me to tears. Thank you.

Debi Parm
11 years ago

I too love historical markers. I can’t resist stopping when I see one. I have even been known to turn around to go back to one and I can’t count the times I’ve heard honking horns and watched waving fingers as they passed me ( and I don’t think they were saying “hello, how ya doing). This is one I haven’t seem. It is so sad. I may make a special trip to find it.

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