(the following was submitted by Emily Ochs Carlile – a Daytonian now living in Prague, Czech Republic)
I was born and raised in Dayton… Well, born at Kettering hospital and raised in Oakwood. But I am definitely a Dayton native. From minute one, I lived in Dayton all my life.
Then I moved to Prague, Czech Republic. It was a spontaneous move, but I have now been here for a little over 11 years and am raising my two sons (age 6 and 8 ) bilingually… Most people think because I live in Europe I have this exotic life, but I have to admit, things are pretty much the same, except completely different…
Apart from the obvious differences, such as language, culture, architecture, history… the first thing I missed when moving here were the American grocery stores. My first job when I was 15 was as a cashier at Dorothy Lane Market on Far Hills. Being a kid in Oakwood, it was the only grocery store I knew. But little did I know it was the most fabulous grocery store. Ever! I would have paid a million dollars for a Killer Brownie or some Chicken and Grape salad… and pecans! The unavailability of simple things (or what I thought were simple things) was unbelievable to me. I couldn’t find a pecan in the entire city. Peanut butter, no way. Luckily things have a changed a lot since 2000, but I promise you, when I visit Dayton the first place I go is DLM.
Then I head directly to The Pine Club. Still the best steak ever! Dave Hulme watched me grow up. Saturday night was Pine Club burger night at our house. I had my first house account at age 22. They serve dinner until midnight. Perfection. And since they are kind enough to put a few of their yummies in jars, I am able to bring some House and Blue Cheese Dressings and Stewed Tomatoes back to Prague with me. Too bad I can’t bring the onion rings….
After finishing school at Oakwood and Wright State University, the next natural step for me was to move to the Oregon District. My mom moved from Oakwood to the OD when I graduated from high school, so for the first few years out of school, it became my hangout. I had my coffee at the Oregon Emporium, my pizza at the Oregon Express, the Trolley Stop still had build your own sandwiches, Feathers filled my apartment with bric-a-brac, and I had a Goodwill wardrobe. Over the years I rented apartments, houses and half-doubles on Green St. (3 different places just on that street alone!), Hess St., and of course The Samu on 5th St. By age 20 I had a job at Gem City Records, and at 21, Pacchia (and I continued with jobs at Coco’s, Blue Moon and Jay’s Seafood), was a regular at the Southern Belle (the original one on the corner of Green and Brown), ate at Wimpy and went to the movies at The Neon… I’ve missed the past 11 years of the Oregon District morphing – luckily some things still remain – Urban Krag, Coco’s, Thai 9… I miss them ALL!!! Every time I visit, I look forward to seeing the new things developing in Dayton – 3rd St, Atta Girl Art + Gardens, Press, Riverscape…
But of course, what I miss the most are my family and friends… It can get lonely living abroad, but knowing that Dayton is always there, waiting patiently for my visit or return, eases the homesick blues … I have to admit, there isn’t much I don’t miss about good ol’ Dayton, Ohio. Regardless of where I am in the world, Dayton will always be my home. After all, it’s where my heart is.