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An Afternoon Visit with Jim Toth

by Sue Miklovic

I had the pleasure of spending the afternoon with author and director Jim Toth earlier this week at the Fort Findlay Playhouse, and we had a wonderful time talking about the experience of growing up in a small town, specifically North Baltimore, and the vivid memories that have lasted a lifetime. He is preparing to launch the premiere of his latest offering called Blood Moon Memories

Jim was born and raised in NB where his dad had settled after serving in the military. His dad owned a Gulf filling station on East Broadway in the area near where the old railroad line ran north and south and curved to the east to join the tracks that still exist today. The tracks have been removed that used to run north and south and are now the popular, well-used Wood County Park District’s Slippery Elm Trail.

“This is my tribute to NB” -Jim Toth, NB native and author of 107 plays, has written a play about growing up in a small town, It is called Blood Moon Memories

“I used to spend a lot of time with my neighbor who was a beekeeper,” Jim told me. “I remember getting stung by bees a lot, but it was a wonderful experience.” By the way, you can still see the word “Honey ” on the side of the two-story brick building located on the South side of Broadway, south of the trail’s parking lot.

(“Honey” house can still be seen across the street from the Slippery Elm Trail parking lot in NB)

We chatted about people and places, and “things”- some unique to NB, others typical for that place in time just about anywhere in the USA. As we shared stories about “Grassy Hill” and playing until dark, and hobos, and stopping at Petersen’s Bakery for a whole wheat doughnut on the way to school, and the aroma of freshly roasted nuts at Weith’s Variety Store, and walking home from the movie theater late at night, and  “ a neighborhood grocery  which was in someone’s house, but you could get a piece of candy or special treat for a penny or two” we slipped back into time, and never-ending memories and friendships.

“When I was a child, my friends and I would put on performances for the neighborhood kids in my backyard. Mom would pop up some popcorn, and we would charge them some change-5 or 10 cents to attend”

Jim has enjoyed being involved in theater for the majority of his life, since about 1962, which was about the time his family moved to Findlay. Jim attended Liberty-Benton, then Glenwood Junior High, before graduating from Findlay High School. ”I was here to be involved with the forming of the Rocky Ford Theater Company and it’s productions. The old NBHS auditorium was special. I enjoyed the time in community theater with that group.”

Toth has been writing plays for around 20 years. Most of them have been comedies. “This one was Play #107,” he shared. “As I began this one, the memories came flooding back. It was another time-another world. There were just too many memories to fit them all in! This is my tribute to NB, a modern day “Our Town” he said.

 Last October after he officially declared, “I’m retiring”, due in part to some health issues, he decided it was time to get his story that he had written about growing up in North Baltimore onto the stage for all to see. He shared it had taken him about a year to write.

“We tried and tried to find someone to play the part of  Grown Tim  in the production, but we just couldn’t find the right person. This role is the guy who gets to take the “look back at his life”, so I was told, “You are just going to have to play it! (and direct it too)”

The Fort Findlay Playhouse is located at 300 West Sandusky, street, in Findlay. Tip: Allow plenty of time for parking

You don’t want to miss it! Thursday, August 11, 2022. Doors open at 7:30pm. Showtime is 8:00pm. For Past and Present North Baltimore residents, with Love

 

Read more about Jim, and his desire to have the folks from North Baltimore enjoy this special one-night only production of “Blood Moon Memories” on August 11, 2022, as a gift to the community. The doors open at 7:30pm with the show beginning at 8:00pm. There are 110 seats in the theater, and they are available on a first-come, first serve basis on the night of the play. Hope to see you there!

An additional story related to Blood Moon Memories can be found here:

https://www.thenbxpress.com/blood-moon-memories-a-second-stage-production-free-to-nb-residents/

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