Saturday, July 15, 2000


Dickens characters to visit

        WAYNESVILLE — If you know Dennis Dalton, you know he wades knee-deep in local history and anything Victorian.

        This fall, he will merge his interests when he helps set up “Dinner with Dickens,” a show that celebrates numerous characters of Charles Dickens.

        Local people will portray 10 characters. Mr. Dalton will play George Putnam, personal secretary to Charles and his wife, portrayed by Doug and Pam Campbell of Waynesville.

        “They have wonderful costumes patterned after actual ones from the 1840s,” Mr. Dalton said.

        The show will be held at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 30 at Der Dutchman Restaurant, 230 N. U.S. 42. “Dinner with Dickens” will feature candlelight and an authentic 1800s menu. It's sponsored by Christmas in the Village Committee.

        The show was a success from 1991 to 1995. Unfortunately, it lost its home when a local restaurant was sold.

        “We've had waiting lists,” Mr. Dalton said. “This year, we're revamping the show and adding more characters. We'll act as though we've just arrived in town.”

        The Dickens connection dates to his visit after midnight on April 21, 1842. He did not have a good time. When Mr. Dickens asked for an alcoholic drink at Waynesville's coach stop, a Quaker innkeeper put down a pitcher of water.

        For the record, Mr. Dickens got even with Waynesville in his book American Notes. He described the village as a town of “squalid mud huts” and disagreeable people.

        Tickets will go on sale Oct. 30. The price has not been determined. For more information, call the Chamber of Commerce at 897-8855.

        HAMILTON — Robert Bowie, retired Miami University professor and expert on Russia, returned to Hamilton this week for a brief stay before heading to Detroit to give a speech on his adopted country.

        He recently returned from Russia, where he was a Fulbright professor.

        “One guy asked me, "Aren't you afraid to stay here?' I really wasn't, but things aren't good there,” he said.

        His students were uninspired because they have few job prospects. The mood of the people is one of caution. He said many people worry about more restrictions on freedom — a return to the old ways.

        “They persevere for long periods,” he said. “It's not like South American countries, where you have a periodic military coup. In Russia, the military stays out of it. But every 100 years or so, the people simply explode.”

        Because of Russia's poor economy, many U.S. companies have pulled out to focus on China. Mr. Bowie worries what will happen if the nation experiences another economic slump, like the one that hit a couple of years ago.

        “It could be bad times,” he said.

        OKEANA — At Gov. Bebb Preserve, off Ohio 126, American Indians will present an authentic encampment from noon to 5 p.m. today and Sunday.

        Visitors can see the everyday life of the American Indian east of the Mississippi. This includes crafts and demonstrations.

        Admission: $2 for adults, $1 for seniors and children 5-11.

        Randy McNutt's column runs on Saturday. He may be reached at 860-7118 or at The Cincinnati Enquirer, 4820 Business Center Way, Cincinnati, OH 45246.


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