Many Dayton area residents have warm memories of Old River Park, the 45 acre recreational area created in 1939 for NCR employees and their families and friends. Bobbie Murphy grew up in East Dayton, and she remembers going to Old River. She spoke with Dayton Metro Library volunteer interviewer, David Murphy, who also happens to be her husband.
David Murphy (DM): Fond memories from your childhood that come to mind?
Bobbie Murphy (BM): I had a friend, her father worked at NCR and so she was always was going to Old River to go swimming and that was a lot of fun. We would canoe, they used to show movies on a big screen, and everybody’d have their blankets out and watch Doris Day and Jerry Lewis movies, stuff like that.
DM: So Old River, it’s no longer here.
BM: No, I don’t think it’s here any more.
DM: I remember you telling me story about Old River, going down there with your friend ‘cause you like it so much, you always wanted to go back.
BM: Friend of mine, well she like I said, one day, she could swim and I couldn’t, so the one day she said, because I would hang out in the shallow end, and she would always go, there were like two sides, two big pools and she was always in the deeper end ‘cause she could swim, and one day, she said that she wasn’t going to bring me anymore unless I went off the diving board, so after much coaxing, I guess, I said ok. She told me that all I’d have to do is walk off, I would hit the bottom, come back up, and she would swim out to get me, so anyway, I’m like alright, so she talked into it, I walk off the diving board, hit the water, and I never hit the bottom and I don’t think I ever hardly came back up, I mean, so it was pretty bad. Next thing I know, she did swim out to get me, and I think the life guard was about ready to jump in after me at that point, anyway
DM: But the good news is…
BM: The good new is I did it and I got to go back to Old River, almost drowned to do it, but...
DM: As a young adult, then, looking back on Dayton, the time you spent here, does it look different, are there things you did here, placed you liked to go and frequent and have fun as a young adult?
BM: I used to hang out down in the Oregon District, do things, you know, go the movies at the Dabel Theater, we used to do that, and even my mom used to take us to the Belmont Auto, it was the drive-in that was there, and that was always a lot of fun.
DM: Do you go back into your old neighborhood or things like that?
BM: A little bit. It still kinda looks about the same to me, as far as the neighborhood goes, I mean a lot of things have changed downtown, I that they’re trying to revitalize, they’ve done a really nice job, obviously, the library here is really nice that they’ve redone, and the Cannery wheremy son’s at, they’re trying to revitalize and make downtown a lot better, and so I think that’s a good thing.
DM: Any particular lessons in life or words of wisdom that you feel you can share with anyone who happens to be listening?
BM: Well, again just I think that attitude is everything, attitude determines your altitude, so if you have about attitude with things then obviously that’s going to bring you down and things that are around you, and usually those are small things anyway, so, those are things to just not worry about and just to have a good attitude and no matter what you’re going through, so I think that’s the main thing, check your attitude.
This interview was edited by Community Voices producer Alan Staiger. 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.