By Larry E. Wolfe (Great Grandson of A. J. Wolfe pictured lower right)
During the 1950’s, in the early years of my life, it was my great joy to spend time in the summers at the store with Grandpa’ and Grandma’ living in somewhat of a dreamland with all the candy and goodies my stomach could hold, not to mention the story-book beauty of the large, outdoor goldfish pond, the towering multi-story Martin birdhouses, the acres of gorgeous flowers Grandma’ would plant, the huge pines, shrubs and lush green grass as thick as a carpet, the farm animals including a big beagle named Jackie and an overgrown Easter rabbit (which I unknowingly ate!) and the meticulously kept buildings, painted dazzling white with dark green trim and a summer-house which housed a grand old pump organ.
The lovely two-story house was complete with working shutters, an artesian spring in the cellar, the dumb-waiter full of pies that sprang up out of the cold cellar into the kitchen at the touch of your foot, the beautiful open stairway with turned wooden spindles painted white, which led to ‘my’ bedroom on the west side of the house, where I would awake and just gaze out the window at the wonderful panorama of all of my marvelous, childhood wonderland!
A. J. and Kate’s first-born was a son they named Clarence, who was born on December 21st, 1899 just ten days before the turn of the century, making Samuel and Amanda proud grandparents. On the twelfth day of September 1901, A. J. and Kate’s daughter Grace was born only to pass away just months later on the second day of February 1902. She is buried in Sattazahn’s cemetery beside her aunt and uncle, Samuel and Amanda’s unnamed infant son and their young five-year old daughter Victoria May. Grace was A. J. and Kate’s last child, so their son Clarence, my Grandfather, grew up as an only child.
Clarence married Harriet Zimmerman who was a classmate of his and without a doubt the best looking of the young ladies in their class. Grandma Harriet, as her then aged eyes sparkled, gave me a vivid account of her wedding day’s memorable events.
Being married in the winter of 1920, in Lebanon, they returned by train through Jonestown to Lickdale, and then boarded a horse and sleigh, riding on through the cold evening and heavy snow along the Swatara Creek, turning left onto the winding snow covered road into Greenpoint, and then turning right just past Grandpa’s store, onto the ‘back road’ to Pappy and Mammy Zimmerman’s (Harriet’s grandparents) home, where they lived during the early days of their marriage.
This must have been quite a memorable and romantic ride for these two newlyweds. They were certainly a handsome young couple, as their wedding photograph reveals. They later had three children, Warren (my father), my Uncle, Clarence Jr. (we always called him ‘Uncle Junior’) and my Aunt Kathleen.
Although I never got to know my Grandfather Clarence, as he died in October of 1945 ten months after I was born, my Dad, Aunt Kathleen and Uncle Junior told me he was a good and gentle man, having a butcher shop at his home, and later working for Bethlehem Steel in Lebanon, Pa.
At one time Grandpa’ Clarence considered the possibility of learning the ‘funeral business’ because the Bavers, his Grandma’ Amanda’s family, had a prosperous funeral home in Hamburg, Pa. which Grandpa’ Clarence could have ‘worked into’. But, he just was not interested, as my Dad recounted the story to me, only a few years before Dad died.
The beautiful home where Grandpa’ Clarence and Grandma’ Harriet lived, is gone now, but the memories of the beautiful Victorian furnished parlor where ‘all humans’ (especially kids) were forbidden to trod, the huge floor model radio in the living room with the big round dial and ‘countless’ buttons, levers and knobs that could ‘pull in China’ on short wave, (would you believe the Chinese district in New York City?), the full length, front porch with the retractable striped awning and the hedge we kids jumped through (though we were told not to).
There was a long, narrow stairway off of the kitchen which led to Uncle Fred and Aunt Lulu’s second floor apartment where us kids could find refuge among the familiar cigar smoke smell of Uncle Fred’s stogies. He always had his pencil engraved tablet containing box scores with all the specific details of the Phillies baseball games next to the radio and the overstuffed bristle chair where he routinely planted himself when he wasn’t at the Greenpoint ‘Hosehouse’ (getting a drink). The coal stove had small orange-colored mica see-through windows in the door which fascinated us kids as we watched the coals burning within.
There was a bubbling creek behind the house where we spent summer days catching crawfish and whatever else we could get our hands on and a gigantic pine in the right corner of the front yard (where Dad hid when he played ‘hooky’) by the meandering country road that we walked, during the mid-fifties, a few miles to the one room schoolhouse, unless ‘Butchie’ (my older brother Warren Jr.) and I were playing ‘hooky’! It was the same one-room schoolhouse across from the Chapel where the ‘Wolf clan’ met some fifty years earlier for church services!
Look for upcoming Chapter 3 where Larry tells the story of how a group of believers left Sattazahn’s church and founded the Greenpoint Chapel!
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