hospital for the mentally ill on Wayne Avenue in Dayton. It was called the Dayton State Hospital, but before that name it was actually called the Southern Ohio Lunatic Asylum.
In those days it was common for us kids to kid one another by saying things like, “Keep doing that and you’ll end up on Wayne Avenue.” or “Did you just get out of Wayne Avenue?” This wasn't as mean-spirited as it sounds today, it was another way of saying "You're crazy." or "You're acting crazy."
One time, after one of us kids had made this joke about “Wayne Avenue” Dad told us a story.
“I was driving down Wayne Avenue one day,” he began, “when I got a flat tire.”
“I pulled over and began to change it. As I took each lug nut off I was very careful to put them all into the hubcap so that I wouldn’t lose any of them.
(At this point I should add that Dad told this story using very “colorful” language.)
“I was fuming! Now what was I going to do? Then I heard a voice.”
“’Hey, Mister.’ It was one of the guys on the other side of the fence.”
“’Why don’t you take one lug nut off each of your other three wheels and use them to attach your spare?’ he suggested. ‘That will at least get you to a service station where you can get some more nuts.’”
“Wow,” Dad said, “that’s a good idea.”
“So I did what the guy suggested. After I got everything put away and was ready to leave I thanked the man again.”
“Look, I said to him. I don’t understand why a guy as smart as you is in this hospital.”
“‘Well.’ the guy responded, ‘They put us in here because we’re crazy, not stupid.’”
You know Grandad. Do you think this is a true story?