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  • John 10:51 am on September 10, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , pataskala   

    1964 Watkins Memorial High School (Pataskala, Ohio) 

    This was John Holmes high school, so I have included some photos from the 1964 Watkins Memorial yearbook. I guess that John would have graduated in 1962 if he’d finished his public schooling. This gives you a glimpse into the town of Pataskala, Ohio, local businesses, the high school kids, and all just a few years shy of the young Holmes era in Ohio.

    Far from L.A. and Hollywood.

    • criticextraordinaire 6:04 pm on September 10, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I once stopped off at a quick-mart in Pataskala as I was passing thru several years ago. As I was at the checkout, I asked the guy at the desk “Is this the town where Johnny Wadd grew up?”. He was noticeably annoyed and said “just take your stuff and get out of here”. I gathered from that exchange that some people in Pataskala are still troubled by John.

      I always thought it would be cool if they had some sort of John Holmes museum in town where people could come in and learn more about The King. It would being a little business into town. Having a little theatre beside it would be nice too, but I imagine that would be unrealistic. 😦

    • localarts 11:28 am on September 11, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      LOL. Must be 21 to get in, parking in the back.

  • John 3:03 pm on August 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , pataskala   

    A Closer Look at Pataskala, Ohio 

    Of course, this is the hometown of John Holmes. Wikipedia has him listed as a notable person on the Pataskala wiki page:

    • John Holmes, better known as Johnny Wadd, one of the most prolific porn-stars of all time. He lived in Pataskala as a teenager before enlisting in the army at the age of 16.

    While touring the area from Bird’s Eye View on BING, it appears that the old center of town is maybe a few street lights and shops and other businesses. That’s about it. If you took away all of the new development and sprawl and neighborhoods of the last 50 years, it would be very rural looking. Today, the population is about 15,000. The population was a few thousand in 1960 according to a recent city study. I guess that is the year John left town for the Army.

    Pataskala, Ohio.

    Pataskala, Ohio. Photo: Jill C. Nelson

    John certainly took the route less traveled when he left town for good in 1960.

    John certainly took the route less traveled when he left town for good in 1960. Photo: Jill C. Nelson.

    This is what the older section of the Watkins Memorial High School looks like. It was opened in the mid-50s. I have been unable to obtain a yearbook photo, for the one or two years that John attended school here. There are a lot of Holmes’s in Ohio. Popular name.

    There is a newer part up to the left, but it looks like a prison. At least this is classic 50s/60s style with windows.

    John Holmes old high school. There is a newer part up and to the left (not shown), but it looks like a prison. At least this old section is classic 50s/60s style with many windows.

    Here is what the Urban Dictionary had to say about present-day Pataskala:

    Pataskala is located in central Ohio, 20 minutes east of Columbus. Known for being the former home of the famous porn star John Holmes, Pataskala offers many fun activities. These include counting the hundreds of underage pregnant girls roaming the streets in search of marijuana and a vast assortment of drugs. Also, sitting in a vehicle in the local Kroger’s parking lot for no apparent reason is another popular activity. If a place to stay for an over-nighter with a hooker you just picked up, the Shamrock Motel is perfect for you! The stained mattresses and the unbelievable amount of crack addicts inhabiting the area will put a smile on any crack whore’s face! If sports is more of your choice for entertainment stop by the local Watkins Memorial High School for a basketball game. With a total of 3 wins in two years, it should make you feel better about yourself while the coaches embarrass themselves and the entire school. So come on down to Pataskala Ohio and waste your life away with us! See you soon!

    That silly post about Pataskala reminded me of rural Mississippi, where my grandpa was from. Boring. And pregnant girls everywhere.

    Source (population):

    Pataskala Utility Study. http://www.ci.pataskala.oh.us/Downloads/Exhibits%20A1-A10.pdf

    • Blueskies 1:53 pm on August 24, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      For anyone wanting to watch again or haven’t seen the Wonderland movie yet; Dish network channel 130, tuesday [august 27] 3:05 am-5:00am and channel 167, thursday [august 29] 4:00pm-6:00pm.

  • John 8:50 am on August 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , mary holmes bowman, pataskala   

    The Obituary for John’s Mother 

    Over the years, John Holmes has been a topic on the Pataskala community bulletin board at topix.com. There, you can read comments from locals and at least one alleged relative. The discussion thread goes back years, and things get a bit heated with religious talk, porno…It’s entertaining, if anything. I need to finish “Inches” so I can get to the bottom of John’s family life and the impact his career and choices had on them.

    Brandy alerted me to this and the obit being online, so I just went ahead and posted it all. Thanks B!


    The Columbus Dispatch. February 8, 2012.


    Mary J. Bowman, 93, of Pataskala, passed away at the Pataskala Oaks Care Center on January 27, 2012.

    Born on June 24, 1918 to the late John and Bessie (Gillenwater) Barton in Washington Court House, Ohio.

    Survived by children, Eddie (Barbara) Bowman, Dale (Ruth Ann) Holmes, Anna Louise Blount and David A. (Kerry) Bowman; ten grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren and seven great-great-grandchildren; brothers, Wesley (Evelyn) and Lloyd (Janet) Barton; sister-in-law, Elsie Barton; many nieces and nephews. Preceded in death by husband Harold Bowman, brothers Arthur and Donald Barton, sisters Dorothy and Virginia Hoffman.

    Graveside service on Friday, February 10, 2012 at 1 p.m. at Harrison Township Cemetery, South Bloomfield, OH, with Pastor Mark Pierce officiating.

    KAUBER-SAMMONS FUNERAL HOME in charge of arrangements.

    • Jill C. Nelson 10:10 am on August 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      And not surprising that Mary’s fourth child was left out of the obituary. We attempted to make contact with John’s family during the writing of Inches but to no avail, excluding John’s half brother David and his niece Leah.

      • Brandy 11:01 am on August 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Sounds like the family member in charge of Mary’s affairs kept John (Laurie) out of the obit out of spite. Just a guess.

        • John 11:02 am on August 23, 2013 Permalink

          Exactly what I just posted. Good call.

      • John 11:02 am on August 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        I have generally found, in my family and friends, that the obit is usually written by the bossy matriarch who has unresolved issues with certain people. They get to tell the undertaker what to send, or they themselves send it, to the newspapers. When my estranged/criminal cousin was left out of my uncle’s obit (his dad), …oh man, there was going to be hell to pay! LOL Needless to say my dad and I did not stay long at the after funeral party or whatever it is called. Too much bad blood and people ready to kill each other.

        I think something like this may have happened here. They could have included Holmes, so that is quite lame of them. It was his mother, after all.

        • Brandy 11:47 am on August 23, 2013 Permalink

          So true. I had to practically threaten the funeral home to fix a badly written & incorrect obituary for my stepfather. They were nasty & condescending but did fix it. It was originally written by a narcissistic sociopath (aka his sister).

    • Brandy 10:32 am on August 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I actually was surprised John was left out. It’s not the town didn’t know of Mary’s relation to John Holmes. Also, according to Laurie’s book (read in one sitting last evening) Mary was present when John died so that would imply she came to terms with who her son was.

      • John 10:50 am on August 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        I always found it strange that he was THE biggest porn star, but he used his given name, for the most part. Early on, I know that he used aliases but not in the mid-70s when he got famous.

    • Brandy 10:54 am on August 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Agreed, complete with his middle initial too! Maybe he was just really proud of his work (in the beginning at least) & wanted everyone to know. He might have thought his “fame” was going to be more accepted in the mainstream & family would get over any embarrassment.

    • localarts 11:41 am on August 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I guess this further illustrates the shame and embarrassment his family must have felt. I’m sure his name came up at the wake.

    • Jill C. Nelson 11:59 am on August 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I agree with all of the above comments. In John’s situation, his eldest brother Dale would have undoubtedly had the most influence over the writing of Mary’s obit. He was the family member with the biggest ax to grind over John’s career choice. Prior to his death, John requested that Laurie send different items of John’s to his mother and various siblings in the way of little antique pieces and other items. Charlie, one of their dogs, went to John’s sister. Dale apparently destroyed his “gift” into tiny pieces upon its arrival at his home. As much as Mary didn’t agree with her son’s career, she did visit John and Sharon at different points during their marraige and was by John’s side in his final months. They had come to a mutual understanding. Laurie and Mary continued in relative close contact until the late 1990s through phone and letters. We visited John’s home town of Pataskala during the writing of the book. It was like stepping back in time — or traveling to 1950s Mayberry, just like the TV show.

      • Brandy 12:23 pm on August 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you for your book & insight Jill, it is appreciated. I realize we are talking about deeply personal things for people we (I) don’t know. These are people’s lives & due to the morbid (arguably) fascination with The Wonderland Murders people have delved into others personal lives. I’m guessing “Leah” is the same niece that visited John, the one Dawn writes about in her book. I read some of Leah s blog posts & she seems VERY defensive of John & his innocence so I was hoping other family members of John agreed.

        I am wondering why there is such a vast contrast between Dawn Schiller’s book and her feelings of John, & Laurie Holmes book (John’s biography). Laurie seems to have a great resentment towards a lot of people & I don’t blame her I suppose. After reading the last few chapters of her book I did walk away with a “HMMMMM, I wonder…….” regarding John’s perspective of the Wonderland murders. But she was also very young when she was with John & he may have told her exactly what he thought she wanted to hear…..similar to Dawn.

      • John W 7:16 pm on August 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Pataskala sounds interesting, I like middles of nowhere. Jill, did you ladies see any Amish folk? What time of year was it and do you have any cool pics? 😉

        • Jill C. Nelson 8:20 pm on August 23, 2013 Permalink

          We didn’t see any Amish folk but people seemed a little suspicous about outsiders which seems pretty common in small towns. It was in July 2006. As it turned out, my daughter was playing in the NSA Under-16 World Series of Girls’ Softball in Columbus that summer so we drove to Pataskala on an off afternoon which was only about a half hour away and ate lunch in a 1950s style diner.

      • criticextraordinaire 5:37 am on October 18, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Interestingly, according to Sharon, Dale was one of the people who John most respected because “he could not be corrupted by money, drugs, or sex”. Sad that Dale rejected John’s parting gift. 😦

        • John 10:34 am on October 18, 2016 Permalink

          Sadly, Holmes and I have something in common. No, not that. We both have a brother who is only successful at having a bunch of kids!

    • localarts 12:34 pm on August 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I can understand why they left his name out. In a small town such as Pataskala it wouldn’t take long for the locals to put 2 & 2 together. The residual effect of being the principal facilitator to murder is somewhat everlasting and I’m sure the last thing the family wanted is that kind of attention.

      • Brandy 12:37 pm on August 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        I see your point but I’m sure everyone knows. They could have just said she was “preceded in death by her son John”, no last name necessary. Just an opinion of course, I have no idea what that family went through.

    • Jill C. Nelson 1:56 pm on August 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Brandy, thank you for your kind words. Leah is actually John’s eldest brother Dale’s daughter and she and her sister grew up in Pataskala. Yes, she is defensive of her Uncle and was able to get to know John during the occasional visits that he and his brother David made back home during the ’70s. The niece who had lived with John and Sharon for a period of about 10 months (not just at Christmas that year as Dawn has written) in 1979 is John’s sister Anne’s daughter, Julie. Julie and John’s brother David (as a late teen) were both sent to live with John and Sharon at different points because of difficulties in their respective homes. For the record, David does not share certain family members’ disdain of his late brother. He is a much more accepting and open-minded individual who also believes in forgiveness.

      To attempt to answer your valid question re: Dawn and Laurie and their conflicting viewpoints: Dawn’s last year in particular with John was when John was at his lowest low. Prior to his Wonderland adventures (as David referred to it) John’s escalating drug use was relatively under control. Up until the onset of 1980, he was a functioning addict and if you go back and read Dawn’s (and Sharon) print interviews during the release of the film Wonderland, Dawn clearly states this very same point, that it wasn’t until the final year of their relationship that John became cruel and physically abusive, etc. Over the years, Dawn has ‘adjusted’ certain elements of her story and has contradicted herself which Sugar and I both noted. When John and Laurie were together, John was clean for almost a year and a half. When I say clean, he continued to smoke pot but he was free of cocaine and freebase and he and Laurie and his step-son, (Laurie’s son) lived a relatively ‘normal’ family life until he contracted HIV. So in many ways, Dawn’s experiences with John are foreign to Laurie’s and vice-versa. Most likely, Laurie could generate a tidy little side income if she had released a book that made her late husband look like an evil man, but despite the fact that many don’t believe her, that just wasn’t her personal experience with him and so she honoured that. We did the same when incorporating our interviews with Laurie into our book. We also honoured John’s godchildren’s personal experiences with him which were overwhelmingly postiive. Given the amount of negative material we had to work with, believe me, it was at times challenging to be fair.

      Personally, it is our belief that consumption of drugs or a lack thereof had everything to do with John’s horrific choices and actions. That’s not excuse making, that’s merely stating a common fact about chemical addiction and researching that became part of the process of developing the book because it was so glaring. As far as Laurie being resentful of certain people, well, I suppose that sort of goes with the territory. She feels that she carries a pretty heavy cross and undoubtedly, it’s been hard for her and she acknowledges many mistakes she’s made along the way, but she’s learning to let go a little these days. A lot of people have a propensity to discredit Laurie because of her association/marriage with/to John, not to mention because she also worked in adult films. It’s sort of guilt by association. Through the years Dawn and Sharon have sort of become exalted almost to a level of sainthood while Laurie and other girlfriends/releationships of John’s are denigrated or worse. I’ve said it many times before and I’ll say it again, everyone is capable of being a saint or a sinner. 😉

      • Brandy 3:11 pm on August 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you Jill! It makes perfect sense that people would automatically believe 100% of Dawns story because she had a big Hollywood production to back it up…..so of course it’s true! Not. You’re insight as to both Dawn and Laurie being with John with John at different times in his life also makes perfect sense. I should know as a recovering addict who did unspeakable things in my addiction that those actions do not define me. If I had a little fame, famous friends and money I may have had a worse outcome, like John.
        I noticed in Dawns interview in Portland, the one where she was reading from her book, she implied John was purposely and intentionally grooming her from day to be a prostitute and that he backhanded her within weeks of being together. I didn’t buy that, and yes that contradicted her book.
        The show “poisoned passions, pornstar pedophile” was nothing short of hilariously dumb. I didn’t buy that either. Thanks again, I wish Laurie peace. What an incredible thing for a 22 year old to take on!! You’re correct, she has a right to bitterness but I hope it doesn’t consume her.

      • criticextraordinaire 6:51 pm on October 18, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Yes, I prefer to view John as “the glass half full”, a good guy who indeed had some tough times. Considering the abusive childhood he had with a chaotic parental situation (Mom and Harvey marrying and divorcing 3 times, with Carl showing up in between marriages, and then Harold) it’s not surprising that his adult life was likewise chaotic. Throw a 14″ schlong into the equation and trouble is hard to evade.

    • Jill C. Nelson 4:37 pm on August 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      “I wish Laurie peace. What an incredible thing for a 22 year old to take on!! You’re correct, she has a right to bitterness but I hope it doesn’t consume her.”

      I will most definitely pass along your good wishes to Laurie, Brandy, as she understandably stopped reading any blogs that pertain to her late husband years ago. I know that she will greatly appreciate your sentiment. 🙂 Thank you.

      • Brandy 5:15 pm on August 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        I don’t blame her, I wouldn’t either. I’m sure it would be painful and frustrating. She’s lucky to have you help decipher fact from reality. Have a great weekend!

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