Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Where Is Dick Crowley? VISTA in Cincinnati's Over-the-Rhine

Today I was thinking about AmeriCorps and the VISTA program because my daughter Carolan has interviewed with AmeriCorps State and National and, we hope, will soon be offered a position with them. I don't know the history of VISTA, but think it is a kind of natural growth from the Peace Corps program that John F. Kennedy established--possibly coming out of the LBJ years and the "Great Society" programs of the mid to late 1960s. Of course the roots of VISTA must go back long before that! One need only to think of the Civilian Conservation Corps and the WPA projects of the FDR presidency.

So thinking about VISTA led me to thinking about Dick Crowley, a VISTA volunteer in Cincinnati in the early 1970's. Dick was one of several VISTA people I met in Cincinnati near the Mansfield House commune and the Orchard Street house in Cincinnati's Over-the-Rhine community. Another Cincinnati VISTA name that comes to mind is John Thornton (and his "Thorntonisms"). Dick was a great guy, a giant of a man perhaps 6'5" tall (at least he looked that tall to me!). I'll never forget how Dick recited a Pablo Neruda poem at Chris Cotter's wedding ("I, body of a woman . . .")--slightly under the influence. The recitation was great fun, greeted by hoots and hollers.

In recent years I have found out that I am a direct descendant of Mary Crowley, my great great grandmother, who emigrated from West Cork, Ireland with her husband Daniel Coghlin and her four children, Jeremiah, Bartholemew, Catherine, and Cornelius. Maybe Dick Crowley is a relative--one who got the tall gene. I wish I knew Dick's whereabouts!

2 comments:

Pat said...
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Bonnie said...

I am a good friend of Dick Crowley who used to live In Over-the-Rhine. I knew him when he was a VISTA working on the Voices Community Newspaper. I have been in touch with him recently. I will call him to tell him of your search for him.

Bonnie Neumeier