Try and think of the earliest dessert you ever ate. Can you think of anything? The earliest things I can remember, all from the time I was four or less, are animal crackers, vanilla wafers, ice cream (the earliest word I learned to spell, because my parents would ask one another, “Do you want to go get some i-c-e-c-r-e-a-m?”), and chocolate shakes. The latter I remember because I got sick with some sort of stomach bug and had to go for several days without eating or drinking anything except for sips of water—that was how sensitive my stomach was. I started fantasizing about a milkshake and, when I could finally eat again, I pleaded for a milkshake. My parents, bless them, obliged—and I promptly threw it up.
It is a shame that Appalachian Ohioans cannot replicate some of the successes that West Virginians have had bringing federal money to help their struggling state. But the problem is that all of West Virginia lies in Appalachia, while only part of Ohio does. None of the power centers of Ohio, all urban or suburban, are in Appalachia; the region does not have the population to have political clout nor money to purchase politicians’ attention. With no real economy, plus underfunded and under-attended schools, the region cannot attract money from the state of Ohio, to say nothing of the federal government. The region is a fairly equal mix of “red” and “blue” counties, but neither party pays attention to them, Republicans because they care nothing for the poor and Democrats because they know and care little about the rural white poor.