By Rick Houser
To say why not is a mind set and a way at looking at life as we handle it. I say this often even when I know why but it was engrained in me from my child hood on as I grew up on our farm and attended school in Moscow. I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s and these were I guess my formative years. To look at things the way I do comes from more than just your family but comes from that community where growing up takes place.
Let me explain. Until high school my exposure to people beyond Fruit Ridge was mostly in the Moscow area and Moscow itself. I was always thrilled with the place and people around me at that time. With an older sister already graduated from Moscow and my brother in high school and I was in elementary helped as Peg and Ben were both known and liked by the students and parents and that was an advantage for me. Being the little brother to those two was a good thing the way I saw it and I used it to my advantage. But to get back to what I was saying was that the folks of Moscow had and have an approach to life and that is the why not approach.
The biggest example I can give from those days was the following. In 1957 and 1958 Moscow high school achieved a goal nobody in Clermont County thought possible. The smallest community with the smallest student body in the smallest school building assembled a group of 9 boys that even though the odds had told them why they were not going to able to compete on the same level as the rest of the county in basketball just decided why not. I recall this team very much as one of the starters was my brother Ben and I knew he was a good ball player as he had told me so a lot that fall. So based on that I just assumed the rest of the players were very good also. (I was their biggest fan.) When the season started not much was expected but they won the first and then the second and third games and won them easily (of course I never had any doubt).
This caused talk to begin that these boys were competitive and more and more members of the community began to attend the games. The team kept on winning and along with a larger and larger crowd showing up and even at the road games big crowds followed and the team began receiving coverage from the county papers and Moscow was in 1st place in The Clermont County League. (A first since 1941!) As the season progressed the other schools took aim at beating them and a couple did but the boys from Moscow kept on winning and saying why not. When the season ended Moscow had just missed the championship by a fraction and ended up in second place but also placed two members of the team on the county all-star team along with a couple who got honorable mentions.
As I had said I was their number one fan and by seasons end their fan base included the entire town of Moscow and most of the citizens of Washington Township. It was our own version of “Hoosiers” Draped in team spirit and community pride. But now when I look back on that event, the season of 1957-58 now I see what had always been there in that little river town and that close knit school. That was the why not mind set the area had had before then, during then and even now. It is a pretty good approach to life to my way of thinking.
Please don’t misunderstand me as most every community has a trait that bonds their citizens but Moscow has a permanent way of thinking and approaching life. Those boys that showed their town and the county why not have been talked about ever since and those nine boys who grew into men went on to lead clean successful lives and even now retired, just smile when that season is mentioned and a person can see the confident expression that is not boasting but sends the same old message it always did. Why not? Everything that came out of that school said that. Everyone who stepped forward to achieve bigger or help others said that, when the floods came all the citizens looked at what had to be done and said that and when in 2012 when a tornado tried to erase Moscow away the people said you will not do that! And why did they feel they could stop that, it was because they never stopped thinking why not.
Rick Houser grew up on a farm near Moscow in Clermont County and loves to share stories about his youth and other topics. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.