During the summer months of the Covid-19 pandemic, I saw an old newspaper article about a boy from my hometown that had a really big adventure.   I thought the story was just the kind of tall-tale that needed retelling.   With some encouragement from one of my high school English teachers, I took the true story and embellished it with a healthy measure of silliness and a sprinkle of historical tidbits from 1910 Ohio to create a fun story about a boy in a runaway balloon.

It’s called “Freddy Shortpants and the Dreadful Dirigible Disaster”

See below for the newspaper articles and a map (for young readers)

Here’s the slug:

Freddy Meyers was a frustrated 10-year-old. Too big to be little and too little to be big. One day though, he was just the right size – for danger. Selected to help rescue a dirigible that crashed in his neighborhood in 1910, Freddy goes on an unexpected ride of a lifetime across the skies of Ohio!  A tall tale based on a true story from the annals of Ohio’s First Capital – Chillicothe.

Cover Art for Freddy Novel



You can find the book at Wheatberry Books in good ol’ Chillicothe.  Please support your local bookstore. 

However, if you can’t make it down to Second Street to visit Chelsea and her delightful crew – you can order a copy online from the Lulu Press Bookstore or Barnes and Noble.  I suppose it will appear on Amazon soon as well. 

A portion of the proceeds is dedicated to supporting the Burton E. Stevenson Fund – a scholarship for college-bound students from Ross County.

There are additional resources below including links to newspaper clippings about Freddy Meyer’s wild ride and a Google Earth Tour – allowing you to virtually see the path taken by our plucky young hero on that fateful day.

Google Earth Tour -See Where the Action Took Place

Read the Ross County Historical Society’s Account of Freddy’s Adventure

Here are some newspaper clippings from many years ago detailing Freddy’s big adventure:

Newspaper Clipping 1

Newspaper Clipping 2 (Some Years Later)

Newspaper Clipping 3

Newspaper Clipping 4 (Many Years Later)

Chillicothe – 1910