Growing up in Rayland, Ohio

Submitted Feb 11, 2017
Barbara {Fisher} Girga-Meuleman
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Growing up in Rayland,Ohio, I have many fond memories, and some very wet ones.  My dad had boats, so when the floods came, before the dam, I would go with him to pick people off of their roofs, especially the Melvins, who would wait until the last moment to move out.  Dad and I would always sit by our fireplace near the basement steps, listening to the Pittsburgh radio station to see when the Ohio River would crest.  Many times, it came within inches of our first floor, step by step.  I was never frightened, as it was the only life I knew.  After the dam was built, I was surprised to see the water only came up the the Stringer Old Stone House back yard, and then stopped.  At my young age, I had no idea what a dam was or did, but do know I was so glad to not have to drain the basement ever again.

After the floodwaters went down, the fun for the boys in the neighborhood started, shooting rats.  And when the winters were cold enough, we all would go ice skating on the creek. In the summer, the boys would jump off of the railroad track bridge into the flowing creek below. Because they swam naked, girls stayed away, most of the time. (smile).

Today's kids have other interests, mostly indoors watching TV or on iPhones.  Some will hear of the Mississippi River floods and wonder what the big deal is.  And guns are rarely used to shoot rats, instead anyone who makes them angry becomes a target.  Ironically, I lived in Holland, where it is very wet with much rain and many canals.  Then my Dutch husband and I moved to California, where we have NO rain, but a horrible 4 year drought.  And one of my career fields was the Manager of the Water Association of Kern County.  It seems water  is a continual aspect of my life and it all begain in Rayland, Ohio, Jefferson County.