By Abraham Klein – Guest Blogger
On a visit to see my parents about 20 years ago, they had The Shawshank Redemption playing on their television. I hadn’t even heard of the movie. Forrest Gump was the big deal at the time. As I stood at my parent’s door watching this movie, never even sitting down, Shawshank Redemption became my favorite instantly. This movie had it all to me, the music, cast of characters, plot and great friendship, to me these things make the movie real.
Over this past winter my father suddenly passed away. He battled addiction most of his life. When I watch the movie aside from its beauty, I see a man like Red who has made a mistake that he is still paying for, very much like my father. My father loved The Shawshank Redemption and on his last visit to my house last Thanksgiving, he mentioned how he wanted to watch it that night right before he left.
I had always wanted to see where Shawshank had been filmed and I had done my research on websites and YouTube. All the videos of people driving by the famous oak tree got me excited. When I was a kid and lived in Arizona, my parents would take me to Old Tucson to see where movies were made. I believe my interest to see where movies were filmed started then. I wanted to do something that my father and I enjoyed when I was a kid and something he would have enjoyed now. I decided it was time to not just talk about doing something, but to actually do it. So, my girlfriend Julie and I were on our way from Massachusetts to Mansfield, Ohio to travel The Shawshank Trail.
When we arrived, Brooks’ bench was the first tour spot we saw. We ended up visiting it at least 5 times on our stay. Seeing the Ohio State Reformatory was amazing and surreal. I couldn’t take enough pictures. Everything from the prison to the Bissman building, Carrousel Antiques to the courthouse in Upper Sandusky. Each point on the tour had its own unique quality about it. Getting to stand where the characters in the movie stood made me feel like a little kid again.
After seeing most of the tour we only had a few more stops left to make. I decided it was time to see the famous oak tree and the Road to Buxton. When we got to the Road to Buxton in Butler, it was just as scenic as in the movie. When I was getting out of the car I decided this is where I was going to ask Julie to marry me. She said “yes”. As I was still on one knee a friendly neighborhood black lab came trotting down the street and greeted us. For the last few years I had visions of proposing near the famous oak or as near as I could get to it, but in the end this made the perfect scene.
As happy as I am that I have a fiancé now, I am equally as happy I got to do something that I had planned in my mind for years. The people we met on the tour, in the town and neighboring towns, were so nice. Even though our new favorite spot is far away, it will make it more fun to be able to take a trip to relive this memorable time. We are planning to go back and visit the people and all the Shawshank sites again next year. I am glad to have this area as part of our lives forever.
IF YOU MISSED THE SUMMER SEASON AT THE OHIO STATE REFORMATORY, HERE ARE SPECIAL WINTER HOURS:
APRIL 1ST TO SEPT 1ST: DAILY 11AM TO 4PM
NOVEMBER 27 TO DECEMBER 20: FRIDAY, SATURDAY, & SUNDAY ONLY 11AM TO 4PM
FEBRUARY 5 TO MARCH 27: FRIDAY, SATURDAY, & SUNDAY 11AM TO 4PM
And for those wondering about the dog mentioned above – here you go!