Sunday, June 25, 2000

Queen City's moments to shine reflected in book


Photos, prose capture essence of caring people

By Cliff Radel
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        There's a new book about a city that is hard not to love. It's a city of romantic sites and daring deeds, of caring people and good times, a place that treasures small-town values as it pursues big-city dreams.

        The book is about Cincinnati, and it's titled Cincinnati Moments, a Celebration of Photographs from The Cincinnati Enquirer.

IT'S SOLD OUT, BUT...
  There will be a second printing if enough readers are interested. If you still want to buy Cincinnati Moments, email your name, address and phone number to gnoble@enquirer.com. Cost is $26.95, plus shipping.
        Wrapped in 148 pages are 121 photographs from the Enquirer's archives. The photos span 96 years, from 1904 through 1999. Every decade of the century is represented.

        I researched and wrote the story behind every picture. So, now you know where I was for five months in the summer and fall when a little box at the bottom of this page declared, “Cliff Radel is on assignment.” I was on book duty.

        But I was not alone. Cincinnati Moments is a team effort. Enquirer Photo Director Liz Dufour edited the photographs. News Editor Sue Lancaster ed ited the text.

        Researching the photos gave me the opportunity to rediscover my hometown. Through scenic photos of Fountain Square and Tall Stacks and a sudsy Oktoberfest shot, I saw a city that takes great pride in its storied past. Stunning accomplishments are honored with vintage images of Procter & Gamble's Ivorydale plant and Greater Cincinnati's airport, as well as a photo of Pete Rose, a homegrown west-sider and Cincinnati Red, standing by first base and atop all of Major League Baseball just after breaking Ty Cobb's record for most hits in a career.

        Beyond the rich history, the significant accomplishments and official headlines, I was most impressed by a theme that ran through many of the photos: This is a caring city.

        Forget the claptrap about Cincinnati being a town with no pity, a haven for conservative stick-in-the-muds with no sense of humor and no heart. The photos in Cincinnati Moments portray a big-hearted place.

        Cincinnati's caring nature leaps from photos of people struggling to save the city and themselves from the '37 flood. Rescue workers board lifeboats in the middle of a river-laden Third Street. Volunteers grab brooms and shovels to remove slimy flood mud near the Suspension Bridge. A shaken mother, her house victimized by the flood's waters, watches and worries as a doctor and nurse examine her son.

        In a photo from 1979, a little girl has just come home from school on a rainy day. Horror greets her. A fire killed four playmates who lived next door. The little girl is in tears.

        Paying no mind to the rain, friends from school hold her in their arms. As grown-ups do in times of great sadness, they give her comfort.

        There is one more photo I must share. It's from 1962. Dr. Albert Sabin holds an eyedropper as he gives his polio vaccine to a baby.

        “Gives” is the key word in that sentence. Dr. Sabin never patented the life-saving medicine he developed at Children's Hospital. Instead of making money, he cared only about saving lives.

        Every time I see this photo I have a renewed sense of pride in my hometown. The efforts of Dr. Sabin and other generous citizens have been multi plied 100-fold over the years. Their caring contributes to the close-knit fabric of life in Cincinnati.

        Columnist Cliff Radel can be reached at 768-8379; fax 768-8340.



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