Bob Dyer: Akron a great place to be old and poor

By Bob Dyer
Beacon Journal columnist

Add This

Well, here’s some good news.

I think.

U.S. News & World Report has named Akron one of “The 10 Best Places to Retire on $75 a Day.”

The bad news: Most Akron retirees can’t afford $75 a day.

Just kidding.


The magazine sings our praises thusly:

“Seniors can get discounts to the Akron Art Museum and Akron Symphony Orchestra, or utilize medical services at the high-performing Akron General Medical Center and Summa Akron City and St. Thomas hospitals.

“People age 60 and older pay a median of $1,087 per month with a mortgage, $646 in monthly rent or $420 per month if they own their homes debt-free.”

If you check the rest of the list, you’ll see that Akron is actually in some fairly decent company. Here are the other nine cities, which U.S. News lists in alphabetical order:

• Augusta, Ga.

• Chattanooga, Tenn.

• Des Moines, Iowa.

• Greenville, S.C.

• Little Rock, Ark.

• Louisville, Ky.

• Pittsburgh.

• San Antonio.

• Syracuse, N.Y.

Different era

Coshocton is less than 90 minutes from downtown Akron, but somehow I have yet to make it to the Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum.

If I do, here’s the address I’ll have to plug into my GPS:

300 N. Whitewoman St.

Just a guess, but I don’t think that street was named during the past couple of years.

Well cooked

Do you miss Stan Piatt?

Do you miss him $20 worth?

Didn’t think so.

But if you know somebody who does, that amount of money will provide him or her with two hours of Piatt-related video.

Piatt’s retirement roast, held at the Funny Stop Comedy Club earlier this month, has been turned into a DVD. To get ahold of one, write to John Harrow at

If you don’t listen to WNIR (100.1-FM), Piatt was the station’s morning man for 35 years. The precise date of his retirement developed into an issue, which is why his longtime bosses didn’t show up.

Ironically, the funniest guy there was roastmaster Keith Kennedy — morning man for rival radio station WKDD (98.1-FM).

A puff from the past

Ran into Rich Osborne the other day. He was the editor of Cleveland Magazine when that publication was in its considerable prime, and at times worked closely with Dick Feagler, who has just retired after 50 years in journalism.

In 1999, when Feagler’s first book of columns, Feagler’s Cleveland, was in the planning stages, Osborne was put in charge of selecting which columns to reprint.

The task was a piece of cake, he says, because he simply couldn’t go wrong: “They’re all good.”

For Beacon Journal reader Tillie McMullen, though, one of Feagler’s columns stood out. It stood out so far, in fact, that the Brecksville woman made photocopies of it and handed them to hostesses when she entered a restaurant.

The column appeared in the Beacon way back in 1988. She still has it, and sent me a copy.

Feagler, a smoker, was grumpy about an announcement by Northwest Airlines that it was going to ban smoking on domestic flights. (Yes, this was a loooong time ago.)

The piece was headlined, “No-Baby Section, Please.”

Despite his nicotine habit, Feagler didn’t mind smoking bans in restaurants. “In fact,” he wrote, “I’d like to see such policies expand into other areas.

“For example, I think every restaurant ought to have a ‘no-baby’ section.”

He detailed an encounter with a woman with two babies, one of whom “began to yell and shove coleslaw up his nose” while the other “pointed his chin at the ceiling and began to howl in a shrill voice like a midget, soprano wolf.”

Feagler considered doing what nonsmokers do in restaurants: Leaning over and saying, “Madame, would you mind putting your baby out? It’s annoying me.” But he didn’t want to create a scene.

He opined that having babies, like smoking cigarettes, “is a habit some people just can’t break. As soon as they finish one baby, they immediately start another.”

And so on.

And how was the column received by hostesses?

“The hostesses who seated me always smiled and did their best to seat me in a quiet section!” Tillie says.

Never mess with a patron toting a newspaper column.

Bob Dyer can be reached at 330-996-3580 or

© 2014 The Akron Beacon Journal  ●  ●  Enjoy  ● 44 E. Exchange Street, Akron, Ohio 44308