Full Circle

Comic books and drawing … that’s all I cared about as a kid! Attending New Albany elementary through high school in the 60’s and 70’s was pretty cool, although many times as a boy I felt like the proverbial square peg. I didn’t play sports (or have any interest) and by today’s standards, I guess I would’ve been considered a nerd! Drawing was the only thing I gave my undivided attention … which is probably why I had so much trouble with Algebra during the first 6 weeks of study. I didn’t realize it at the time but I was a right brain thinker! Oh, I would eventually do well with courses like Algebra, after my brother tutored me and broke it down so I could grasp what it was all about … but I had to really work at it!

The old high school was something else, and I can still remember having 3 people to a locker, which meant look out below if your lockermates overstacked their books and stuff! The new high school was like something out of the future with modular walls, and award-winning design (at least that’s what I heard!) and plenty of space for everyone! Which made it all the more confusing that we still attended art classes in the old elementary school building! I didn’t really mind though, because that room was like a good friend to me. The two art teachers that stand out in my mind are Mrs Hale and Mrs Ballenger. Both were patient and kind teachers who may not have always understood my passion for drawing crazy flying comic book figures rippling with muscles and such … but they gave me space to grow and experiment. I loved drawing imaginary girls with big eyes and long flowing hair, then later just drawing people in general became a fixation! True, I complained when I was told I had to learn about fine art and Van Gogh and Rembrandt … what the devil did they have to do with me?! And why am I drawing railroad tracks and telephone poles in perspective? I hate perspective! Or so I thought at the time. Still, the things I learned from my teachers and the latitude they allowed me only fueled my desire to draw more and more. I came out of my shell and began to express myself through my art! One of the best things about New Albany was the fact that everyone knew everyone! When my senior year consisted of at least 3 study halls with no option to leave early, Mrs Ballenger allowed me to spend those extra periods in the art room, where I got to know the sisters and brothers of my classmates … and to work on whatever I wanted, a dream come true!

The world was opening up for all of us after graduation in 1974 and although I didn’t want to attend the Columbus College of Art and Design, I wasn’t sure where this square peg would find the right fit! The answer came in 1981 with the start of an intensive 3 year training program at the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art, in Dover, New Jersey. Joe was one of the premiere comic artists from the Golden Age of Comics and through him and my other art instructors I learned a lot of discipline and control, whether drawing faces, figures, or backgrounds … in perspective! I really applied myself and was fortunate to be one of their top students … but something was missing and I realized I really didn’t care to draw flying men in tights all the time! Luckily a good part of my training also involved graphic design and advertising. So while I was still in school and putting in 16+ hours of work a day on illustrative studies, I began freelancing (and was yelled at for doing it too!) with two small advertising agencies in the area. That opened my eyes to the world of advertising, TV storyboard work, and freelancing in general!

 

    After graduation in 1984, my wife and I naturally gravitated back to Ohio. Our families and memories were here and after living in Albuquerque, New Mexico then Hackettstown, New Jersey, it was good to be home! The next 25 years were filled with lots of freelance and commission work with ad agencies and design firms, and even a 10 year stint as co-owner of my own graphic design firm, before my partner and I split.

Always remember that everything old is new again, at one time or another! After taking a different road than comic books and building a career from it, I decided to embark on another dream from childhood and began to write and illustrate children’s books. I had no formal training as a writer, but after delving into every children’s book I could lay my hands on, I found that anyone could do it! Online publishing was a growing child, and once I began crafting my artwork and stories, I found my graphic design training prepared me for this next step into self-publishing. The early perspective drawing plus the narrative storytelling I learned and used in television storyboards, gave me the right tools to go to work! For the past 11 years I’ve written and illustrated 3 children’s books for myself, plus other titles for several authors. I’ve come full circle with my work as my books are designed and read as graphic novels rather than ordinary books you typically find on a shelf.

Today I live in Gahanna, Ohio with my wife of 42 years, Sandy, and our black lab, Sophie. Immensely proud of my Sicilian heritage and close to my family overseas, I publish my books in English and Italian versions, which are sold through my website cucciaKidsBooks.com, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and a handful of other online sites. I’m also an accomplished pencil portrait artist (cuccciaCreative.com), with commissions throughout the United States and parts of Europe.

My early years in the New Albany school system, helped prepare me for what lay ahead in the future … I just didn’t know it at the time! That small town atmosphere, the warmth of the people, and having cows and horses as your neighbors, instilled something in me that’s still kicking today! Grazie e tanti auguri a tutti voi! (Thank you and best wishes to you all!)

By: Davide Cuccia

 

Cedar Brook  New Albany

I grew up in Cedar Brook until I was 7. I attended New Albany Elementary. We only moved away because my dad worked for FBI and was transferred back to Georgia where he and mom grew up. I tell stories of our little town parades where the Brownies marched. We played outside until Mrs. Hassey rang the bell that we all had to go in for supper.  I always wanted to walk to school through the cornfield behind my house through the Huber’s  yard and across the street to school but I ride the bus that Mr. Walton drove. At the end of my street was a creek that ran behind me. Walton’s house. I spent many days catching craw dads in that creek and playing with neighborhood friends until large paw prints appeared and our parents said there was a large cat on the loose. Nights out to eat were seldom but after T-ball games, I was in the red team sponsored by All-State. We went for ice cream and sometimes went to Eagle pizza to eat. I was always in awe when the High School kids came in. I couldn’t wait to be an Eagle cheerleader like Dena, but we moved to Georgia and I became a cheerleader there instead. I wish I could have raised my boys where I grew up Cedar Brook Place. There is no place like it anywhere.
I have never seen the renovations to the tow.

 

By: Tara Jones

History of New Albany Football 
Did you know that New Albany first fielded a football team in 1930 with 14 students who had never previously played the sport? Learn more in the latest episode of our New Albany history series!

New Albany in the 1830’s

If you were living in New Albany in the 1830s, your mailing address might have been listed as Hope, Ohio. That’s right…not New Albany, but Hope. Local historian Dennis Keesee shares the story of Hope in this first installment of our New Albany history video series!

Vietnam War Hero

Albert Michael Butsko, a 1964 New Albany High School graduate, gave his life for our country in Vietnam on September 10, 1967. Mike, as he was known by his family and friends, is one of six New Albany service members in the last 100 years to pay the ultimate sacrifice. In honor of Memorial Day, we continue our New Albany History series by paying tribute to Mike Butsko, his family and all fallen service members and their families.

Old Schools in New Albany Ohio

This is what New Albany Elementary (far right), Middle School (now the annex-only old building remaining) and High School (back building, between the track/football field and the baseball field) were like when I started in 1992. It was a special place even then.New Albany Schools

 

By : Lori Sagar Cheney

The Old Dairy Cream in New Albany

My name is Carolyn, and my brother, Benjamin, and I grew up with our parents, Harrison and Leona Drake, on Reynoldsburg-New Albany Road just south of Morse Road.  When Ben and I were kids, the only thing in New Albany that interested us was the Dairy Cream.  To our young minds, that\’s all New Albany was–a place to get that new fancy soft-serve ice cream.  (Sorry, Eagle\’s Pizza!)  I believe the old Dairy Cream was located at about where the McCoy Center is now.  Everyone referred to that street as Dublin-Granville Road.  Northland Mall was on Morse Road, and if our father drove down Morse to get to Northland, he would take us back home via Dublin-Granville.  When we were near the Dairy Cream, Ben and I became very thirsty and hungry and begged our parents to stop for yummies.  Many times, though, the answer from our parents was, \”No.  We are close to home and you can eat and drink there.\”  We were some very disappointed kids, LOL!

Alive with Traditions!

Nothing has ever given me more of a small-town vibe than Summer of 2018 in New Albany, Ohio.

I was inspired to write this #newalbanystories entry after reading the story, by Steve Joseph, about his memories of New Albany Little League in the 70’s.

Our family and some of our closest baseball friends were incredibly honored this summer to be a part of New Albany history when our 13 year old son’s little league baseball team took the state champ title and moved on to take 3rd place at regionals. Out of 3,587 little league teams from around the world, our New Albany Ohio Little League Team finished in the top 20!! After the state championship, we got to have a real genuine, small-town heroes welcome with fans lining the streets, firetrucks/police escort for our team, news anchors, and a greeting from our Mayor. It was EPIC! I have two more boys hoping to get their chances to defend that Little League State Title. THIS IS TRADITION. Our 2018 Little League All-Stars inspired a whole following of young boys and. Coaches (dads) to keep up the tradition of New Albany Ohio Little League and I can’t wait to see where that takes our community over the many years to come.

 

My husband and I both grew up in small town New Albany. We are very proud to be running our small family business in such a bustling, yet still very small community…Traditions Landscape Group…yep, that was a marketing plug! 😉 We are raising our four children in this community and cherish everything old and new! John played New Albany sports for many years and is now coaching youth sports. Our oldest started at age three with Timbits, eventually moving on to tee-ball, baseball, flag football, soccer, basketball…our fourth and final child just made her way through a tee-ball season of her own last year (Did you know that in New Albany Baseball, your fourth kids plays for free?). We think of Bevelhymer Park as our own backyard and feel very blessed to have such awesome parks and recreation facilities.

 

A lot has changed over the years…but New Albany, Ohio is still very alive with traditions! Early mornings at the ball fields, long lines at the concession stands, parents there to support their young athletes, the ringing of our National Anthem, and baseball under the lights! EAGLES PIZZA…Founders Day celebrations…lots of 5K races, including the annual Walking Classic and Thanks4Giving 4Miler…lighting of the Christmas Tree at Market Street…An incredible showing of support for our school athletics…countless recitals and shows at the McCoy Performing Arts Center…OUR AMAZING SCHOOL SYSTEM AND TEACHERS. On a personal note, I cannot tell you how amazing it feels to send my 8th grader to school each day, knowing that he gets to sit in a classroom with some of MY 8th grade teachers…LOVE! {Suzie Harris Cooper, Jim Morgan, John Galbreath}

 

Everywhere I go, I see old faces and new faces…and it has never felt more like HOME to us! Just outside of New Albany city limits…you are no more than a couple miles away from scenic country landscape and farming fields…seriously, is there a more perfect place? The beautiful trails that weave throughout our community are just another grand way to keep us all connected. Restaurants, green-space, dog parks, shops….all of which are among our many original and/or renovated buildings from “the old days” of New Albany. Our community carries a lot of history…it is evolving, binging in new traditions, and everything going on today will ultimately be a part of history…let celebrate THAT!! Here’s to New Albany {Old and New}…afterall, we are #8 on the list of America’s best 50 cities to live in!

 

Christi Richardson {and John, Josh, Jacob, Nolan, & Gracie}

You are cordially invited by the New Albany-Plain Township Historical Society to attend:

NEW ALBANY’S WWI CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION AND REMEMBRANCE

VETERAN’S DAY

NOVEMBER 11, 2018 at 6:30 P.M.
(DOORS OPEN AT SIX.)
Noah’s Event Center
175 E. Main Street New Albany, Ohio

This is a free event!

Please join us as we remember the thirty-one New Albany – Plain Township soldiers that left the peace of home for the battlefields of Europe one hundred years ago. This Veteran’s Day we will honor them with song, silence, historical displays, captivating visual effects, and more. The key-note address by historian Dennis Keesee will share our soldier’s stories with a look at our town in the early 1900’s and pay tribute to the 116,000 plus Americans who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

In keeping with this time honored tradition two sets of 31 poppies will be placed in New Albany this November each honoring one of our 31 doughboys. Additional poppies may be obtained at Eagle Pizza if you would like to place one in front of your business or home.

Every now and again, I look up Eagles Pizza’s website. I miss the pizza and like to look at the photos. But it is not just the pizza photos I like to see, it is all the photos of New Albany I really like to see! I grew up there but have been in Texas since 1984. I worked at Dairy Cream as did my two sisters. Life was good. I rode the roads of New Albany with my 10 speed bicycle and then my red cutlass supreme. I miss it all! It was beautiful! None of my family lives there anymore. Our home was where Jonell Ct. is now. The builder was nice enough to name a street after my Mom.
By: Mary (Snider) Wineriter