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"O" Is For Ohio!

Celeste Reichert Friedman . . . An Autobiography

I have searched for countless hours through family records, Ellis Island passenger lists and records of births and deaths, to trace my heritage.

Thinking of how my great-grandparents arrived in America,
their hearts filled with hopes and dreams,
I also ponder on thoughts of how I share a heritage with
those who were native to this land. Like the Hopewell,
the Adena and decedents of French explorers, I too,
was born here in Ohio, brought into the world
along the Great Hopewell Road, in Newark, on October 28th of 1953.

My father built our home in a small valley, nestled in the shadows of
tall walnut trees and ground-covered with wild honeysuckle.
Some of my most treasured moments during childhood were picking violets, cycling over the hills and 'round the bends of historic farms,
not to mention the fun of hiking over worn wooded paths,
once traveled by Johnny Appleseed.

Being the granddaughter of a big band leader, I am the successor to a love affair with the piano, any piano. My fathers' father, Leo Reichert, along with his orchestra, traveled throughout the Midwest. If only I could share band stories with him now and hear about the days when they traveled unpaved Ohio roads during the Depression and drawing immense crowds at the famed Crystal Ballroom in Buckeye Lake.
He would hear my stories of touring the United States,
performing in clubs and showrooms. Like him, I performed on the same Crystal Ballroom stage, only five years after he passed away.

My mother’s father was an Ohio farmer, who watched his dreams come true every year from his gardens to his greenhouses.
He taught me about the importance of where one comes from.
I was fortunate to witness the induction of my grandfather,
Wilfred Powell, into the Ohio State Fair Hall of Fame,
as the oldest living exhibitor of vegetables and wheat.
He proudly shared his story with the audience that day,
of how he was only eleven years of age when he won a blue ribbon for
a peck of tomatoes. His induction-award was a wall clock in
the shape of the state of Ohio and it might as well
have been made of gold. He held his award
tightly in his arms, pointing out to me,
“See, it's in the shape of the State of Ohio . . . ain’t that grand?!”

Once I discovered a wonderful phrase in a book that said, "where the music takes you". I believe that my life to this point can be best explained in those five words. After many years on the road as a performing musician, combined with several years in broadcasting,
"the music" has led me back home to Ohio.
Music has transported me to a very magical place . . .
writing for children.
What a grand way to re-live one's childhood. What a better place
to experience it but here, where I was born and raised in Ohio.

In July of 1992, I lost the love of my life, my dearest friend,
Charlie, who had been with me since 1973. I was certain that
he would live to see twenty.
We met in a pet store in Grand Forks, North Dakota, where he was immediatley introduced to a life on the road,
filled with the constant playing of music,
singing and humming.
Every note and every word of my music is dedicated
to the white dog with brown ears and big brown eyes.
Songs For Charlie Music celebrated its 10th year in October of 2002.

The opportunities to present musical-reading programs for schools and libraries have built the foundation for where I am today.
"O" Is for Ohio has given me a chance to get to know
our land, it's history and it's people.
Me, the kid who hated history in grade school, especially memorizing dates,
can't get enough Ohio history and stories!

And so, that's me, someone born and raised in Ohio,
where one looks forward to
the scent of the autumn leaves, the first crocus to pop its head from the soil in the spring and the sweet smell and glamour of the fields of corn,
along The Great Hopewell Road.

For a complete bio, please visit Celeste's singer-songwriter/ author and presenter website:

Celestial Voices

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