Dennis Janson: You just never know who you'll meet when you stop the car and strike up a chat

SYMMES TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- It was one of those scenes around which Charles Kuralt, of the famed CBS "One The Road" segments, would have spun a wonderful story.

A woman painting the sign in front of a historic landmark in Camp Dennison. She was there as I went about running errands earlier on a Monday in May and I thought it interesting that she was tidying up something that not too many people take note of in the first place.

She was there again the next day. And as I drove past I got all the more curious. About a quarter mile down the road, pangs of conscience intruded to the extent I turned around and retraced my steps. It dawned on me that Charlie Kuralt would not drive past this twice without stopping once.

And so it was that I made the acquaintance of Kim Magnuson.

A geologist by training, a trustee of the Ohio Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution by birth. As her daughter played nearby, Kim was dealing with paint bleed from faulty painter's tape. She was thus reduced to free handing the precise application of paint to faded letters on the sign heralding it as the Camp Dennison Ohio Civil War Museum. It is adjacent to the Waldschmidt house, another project undertaken by Kim’s group of patriots. They lovingly preserve the past for anyone who cares to stop by for a visit, Sundays only from 1pm to 4pm. My brother and I toured the grounds last year and it is riveting to see the role that Cincinnati, more specifically Camp Dennison played in conflicts dating back to our nation’s founding.

And Kim is clearly dedicated to the cause.

“Why are you under taking this?” I asked.

“It needed to be done. That’s what we do. We make sure that the grounds are as inviting as possible and to help maintain the authenticity of place,” she said.

They have support from the Ohio Historical Society but I got the impression that no one needs to remind the local group of issues that should be addressed.

They take it upon themselves to, “do what needs to be done,'' she said. "We don’t do it for publicity sake just because it is the right thing to do.”

Kind of like me stopping when given a second chance. I’m glad it proved a two-day project.

Dennis Janson's "My 2 cents" column is published every Monday and Wednesday on WCPO.com. His video commentary airs every Friday at 6 p.m. 

Print this article Back to Top