We’re excited to share the first of several blog posts about our research trip to Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania! We’ll delve deeper into the people we met and family businesses we visited in the coming weeks, but wanted to take this time to discuss an overview of the trip. Some highlights: witnessing an epic thunderstorm with hail, trying to herd buffalo, Amish teenagers zooming by in a horse and buggy race, lots and lots of cornfields, eating the BEST one dollar ice cream, and drinking Bud Light on the porch while watching fireflies (aka lighting bugs) with native Ohioans.
Living and working in the entertainment industry in LA where things move quickly and people tend to be focused on their own career, it was refreshing to slow down in a more rural setting. While talking with an auto shop owner in Minerva, Ohio, his longtime customer stopped by to hand him a bag of vegetables from her garden. She didn’t need any work done on her car, she just wanted to say hi. When we were on our way out, he handed us half of the vegetables that she had given him and gave us a salad recipe he recommended. We just met him that morning.
Although a few auto shop owners turned us away either because we were strangers or they were busy, most people welcomed us with open arms and started launching into stories about their lives and the history of their shop, showing family photos, their favorite cars, or even providing us with shelter during a massive thunderstorm. While at an auto shop in Massillon, OH (more like a house converted into a garage), it began to pour. Rain quickly progressed to hail, and the owner had to shut the doors because water started flowing into the garage. They just kept talking about the history of the shop like it was no big deal as they swept heaps of water into the drain and our shoes got soaked. We were all huddled together in a tiny garage for about forty-five minutes until the rain subsided enough so that we could make it back to the car.
Stay tuned for more!