Luther: “My father came here from Brownsville, Indiana, that's Union County, in 1880. But, there had been McVickers here in Darrtown before him. They paid a dollar an acre for 322 acres two miles south of town. I don't know when that was … I was born down on that farm in 1896. Got married in 1920 and moved into this house in 1926. We've been here ever since. It was winter, when we got acquainted. We used to go skating and sledding together. Opal had been teaching up here at the Darrtown School.”
Opal: “We met in the Methodist Church. So, we've been Methodists since then, even if his name is Luther. We're fair contributors to the Methodist Church and we give some to the other two. We have a good community life with the three churches that we've gone to all our lives. We have some friends at the Lutheran and Baptist Churches, too. For a long time, the social clubs from all the churches would meet together. Now that we're bigger, we just invite the others once in a while. But our Methodist Church has gone down in membership and we're a bit worried because we don't have a Sunday School anymore. Luther goes to church when I urge it enough. He doesn't like it, so he's going on my shirt-tail.”
Luther: “I hate to dress up on Sundays.”
Luther: “Darrtown was named for the Darrs. Johnny Darr was the last one here. He was hit by a car on 177. His house was in terrible shape. He had a spring wagon top over his bed to keep dry. Some folks said it was an umbrella or a truck top; but, I was in there, after he died. He was a witty old fellow. He used to tend market two days a week. Tuesday and Friday, he'd take a bunch of vegetables to town and sell them. Somebody said they saw him coming home one day and asked him if he seen a certain guy down the road. Darr said, “I passed him about a quarter-inch this side of Chris Gilbert." One day, the cornet band was marching through Darrtown to the cemetery and Johnny Darr missed the turn on Shollenbarger Road. He was a little too intent on his music. Of course, he only had one eye and that kind of fooled him. Hughes Kyger was another old guy around here. His right name was Huston, but everyone called him Hughes. He used to wear an old bathrobe, for an overcoat. They say, when he died, he had seven shirts on. When I knew him, I was about thirty and he was way up there in his eighties. He had long whiskers, I know; one of the early folks here. He wouldn't pay much attention to kids, but you can't blame him for that.”
Opal: “Our kids have been good to us. Our telephone is hooked up on the same line as our daughter, Jean's. If anything would happen, we got it so we just hit one button to call her.”
Luther: “I remember when it was called the Darrtown Telephone Company. L.A. Miller owned that. The phone service wasn't that good and there were a lot of eaves droppers; but not me. I never could get much of a kick by listening on the telephone. Mrs. (deleted) used to listen. You could hear her breathing.”
Opal: “We've done alright for ourselves. All of our children got college educations. But, our one son was killed in Germany, in a bombing raid, in 1944. After I was teaching for a while, I went back to school, too. In 1951, I graduated from Miami University for the second time. The first time was teachers' college, or normal school.”
Luther: “My first year in high school was my only year in high school. After that, I quit and went to farming. I had a chance to farm for myself on my dad's farm. We went on thirds or halves; I can't remember. But, I made a few dollars. I'm kind of sorry I got out of farming. There was a chance to make some money farming in them days, when tractors came along. But I got to monkeying around with automobiles and got into that game. Right after I married, I opened up that garage uptown. I did all kinds of repair work; valves, piston rings, bearings; things like that. Howard Cox helped me some. He was a natural-born mechanic. He could take something out of nothing and make something out of everything. His wife is in the rest home now.
Every evening, a gang would come in the garage and tell jokes and stories on the liar's bench. Hansel family, Teckman family, and three or four other families; the whole bunch. Kirk Mee used to bum around in my garage quite a bit. We were sorry to see him leave Darrtown…I used to toss the baseball with Kirk; just loafing at the garage. Kirk's a good fellow. When he was just a kid, he and I went to the other side of Dayton to see Lindbergh.
Another time, I went to Dayton with Smokey Alston to watch him play pool with Minnesota Fats. Smokey was quite a pool player. He had a pool table on the first floor of his house.
I had a pretty nice little business over there at the garage. We sold several gallons of gasoline every evening, and some oil, spark plugs, points, condensers and stuff like that sometimes. During the Depression, things were a little different. People would come in and leave their watch, instead of cash. But they needed gas, so I gave it to them. I never lost much money; just a few dollars, because I watched my books pretty good.”
The following narrative was taken from “The Old and Now In Darrtown, Ohio: An Oral History,” which Jon Jeffrey Patton wrote as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Philosophy Interdisciplinary Studies (Western College Program) at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, 1988. The following excerpts from the Patton paper do not represent the paper in its entirety.
Comment by author, Jon Jeffrey Patton: Comment of author, Jon Jeffrey Patton: "Opal and Luther McVicker still get along by themselves despite their old age. She's eighty-eight and frail while he is ninety-two and slowing down. Even today, their language reflects their life activities. Opal speaks clearly, like a schoolteacher should. Luther, on the other hand, is a mumbling storyteller. He spent many hours shooting the breeze with long-time friends at his filling station in uptown Darrtown."
Recollections of Luther and Opal McVicker
[End of interview]