The Way It Was – The restaurant


Editor’s note: This is another column in Bill Boyd’s new series, “The Way It Was,” about growing up in Marysville. Bill continues to work with the Union County Historical Society to obtain information for his stories. With Marysville and Union County celebrating Bicentennial anniversaries in 2019 and 2020, respectively, these articles help depict what life was like in those early years.

On Saturday nights during the mid 1940s, I sold newspapers on the streets of downtown Marysville. It was an early edition of the next day’s Sunday Dispatch. It was a great place to sell papers because all the stores in the downtown area were open on Saturday night, so the sidewalks were loaded with people.
The streets were also full of cars, and every time a traffic light turned red, I could walk quickly down the row of cars that lined up in the street. I sold a lot of papers that way, and many times the drivers were in a hurry, so they said, “Keep the change.” Yes, it was a great place to sell newspapers.
Every now and then, I also went into restaurants downtown because many people bought a paper there to take home and read after dinner. My favorite restaurant for selling papers was the Home Restaurant. It was owned by a former Union County Sheriff named Hans Rausch, who later turned it over to his two sons, Hermie and Walter Rausch. It was located at 119 East 5th Street, right next door to Fleming’s shoe repair shop. It is the current site of McKinley Grill.
It was a popular restaurant with a counter and stools along the west wall. On the opposite wall were booths, maybe six or eight of them. Hanging on the wall above each booth was a large framed oil painting, perhaps four or five feet wide.
They were paintings that appealed to outdoorsmen, hunters and fishermen. My favorite was above the very first booth. It was a painting of two deer standing in a woods. It looked as if they had just heard a noise, and they were looking to see what it was. I really liked that painting, and I looked at it every time I went into the restaurant.
During the fall, a lot of hunters came to Marysville. Union County was one of Ohio’s best places to hunt pheasants. On opening day, the season began at daybreak, and hunters began pouring into town while it was still dark. They filled every seat in that restaurant as they ate breakfast. Then they were off to the fields.
Years later, sometime in the late 1970s, my wife, Janet, and I sometimes went to that restaurant for dinner on Friday nights. They served a delicious walleye.
Those large oil paintings were no longer there, and I missed them, but the walleye made the trip worthwhile. It wasn’t just the walleye, however, that we enjoyed. We sat in our booth and “people watched.” The counter seats were filled with interesting people. Some were regular customers we saw just about every time we went there.
My favorite was a slight man, probably in his early seventies. He always sat on the stool at the far end of the counter. He wore a powder blue sport coat over a crisp white shirt and tie. And he always looked as neat as a pin.
Just above his left breast pocket were several horizontal rows of pins or badges. They looked a lot like the rows of service ribbons that army generals and field grade officers often wear on their uniforms. I think they may have been his collection of fraternal, civic, and lodge pins. He seemed proud of them.
When the restaurant got really busy, he would leave his seat and step behind the counter where he helped the waitresses. He filled beverage orders, poured coffee, and put ice cream on our apple pie. He didn’t work there; he was just helping out. And he chatted and laughed with customers as he worked.
I really enjoyed watching that man. In fact, he is one of my favorite memories of the Home Restaurant. He ranks right up there with their walleye and that oil painting of those two deer. That’s how much I enjoyed watching him.
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