Wheeling Spoken History Project: Mary Lou Henderson
[ Date: July 07, 1994; Interview #: 96-014; Title: Germans in Center Wheeling ]
▼ Interview with Mary Lou Henderson
Title: Germans in Center Wheeling
[ Date: July 07, 1994; Interview #: 96-014 ]
MICHAEL NOBEL KLINE: Can you say "my name is?"
MARY LOU HENDERSON: My name is Mary Lou Henderson. My name is Mary Lou Dueker Henderson.
MNK: And today's date is.
MLH: June 7th.
MNK: July 7.
MLH: July 7, I'm on the wrong month.
MNK: And we're at the West Virginia Independence Hall. And you walked over here from the Library?
MLH: No, I parked in your backyard today. I drove in from home. I live out the pike.
MNK: You work at the --
MLH: I work in the Wheeling Room at the Ohio County Library, Genealogy Department.
MNK: Can you start out by telling us a little bit about where you were born and something about who your people were?
MLH: Okay, I was born May 6, 1927, at 2506 Chapline Street, across the street from the Wheeling Post Office right now in a part of town that's called "South Wheeling." My father was George Charles Dueker. He was born at 2518 Chapline Street, right down the street from us. He lived at 2506 all his life. He married Mary Elizabeth Naley. At St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church at 22nd & Chapline Street. I was married there too. I was married in '49 and my dad was married in 1918, my great-grandfather, my grandfather was married there in 1886 and my great-grandfather was married there in 1860 so we're four generations in the church. My father was a restaurateur or as he would say "saloon keeper" and he had a restaurant at 2601 Chapline Street for 30 years. My father was in the United States Cooks and Bakers School and was the last man in his company to die. In 1918 he served at Camp Meade, Maryland, and when his time was up, he came home and went into the restaurant business. The restaurant was my grandfather's before that, my grandfather was Carl August Dueker who came here from Germany in 1880. He got his citizenship in 1886, married my grandmother and was in the restaurant business. Only in his case it was also called "saloon keeper." My grandmother, grandmother Dueker, was Alvena Reese. Her father was a painter and he built the house at 2518 Chapline Street in 1860 right after they got married and grandmother was born in 1861. Grandfather Dueker was in the business for 30 years and grandfather Rease, who lived across the street, at 2518 was a painter and they he was in the painting business painting houses and everything else. And after he had built his four-room brick house, he painted it, he muraled the stair, the rooms were not wallpapered like many of them were, his were all painted and they never referred to them as the living room or the dining room or the bedrooms, they referred to them as the "goose girl room" or the "swan lake room" and I don't know what the other two were, my father never told me and my mother didn't know because they'd been covered up with 28 layers of wallpaper by the time I moved in in 1952. And then I lived there for 2 years and we only found out there were 28 layers of wallpaper because a piece of the plaster fell out with the wallpaper and we put it in the kitchen sink and let it soak while we were away at work and came back and it had floated apart and there they were, 28 layers of beautiful Victorian wallpaper. I think they painted over plastered and then they did the wallpaper every other year or two because some of these hadn't been done for years.
MNK: (52) So there was no chance of uncovering this artwork?
MLH: No. No the artwork was all gone, in fact, I sold the house after my father died in '73 and uh the plaster was all deteriorated and falling apart. But grandfather also painted, made his own stencils and painted the staircase all the way from the first floor up to the second floor was all stenciled all along the border line, across the ceiling, and up the stairs. Very interesting. Some of the design still was there when some of the paint came off at one point. This man was fantastic, he'd work
CNK: Is that house still there?
MLH: (60) It certainly is. Uh the people who have it now have changed all the windows, finally. Somebody has it and they're actually doing some restoration work. But it's in the neighborhood with Coleman's Drug Store, on the corner, and next door to that was Graby's house which was the one my father bought and that house was built in 1858 and that's the house in which I was born. And then next to that one was the, when I was a kid, was Papas' house and before when the house was built back in 1850's, 1860's it was a hospital. That house is 2508 Chapline Street and it runs from Chapline Street back to the alley. And in the alley there was an old stable and that's where they parked the horses and the ambulance. And then they would bring the stretchers in down two or three steps to the first floor and the first build, uh, the first door on the right hand side downstairs was the operating room. And then the doctor's offices and so on were on the bottom and then on the second floor was all recovery rooms. It's a big building and it has a lot of rooms in it. And by the time Papas' got it they turned it into a boarding house, but it had been a boarding house long before that, they had one-room apartments upstairs and I forget how many people they had living there. And then the next one was the barbershop was Karcher's, Karcher's is now an advertising place. And it was built by, uh, begins with a "C", the same one who built the house on 25th & Chapline on the corner, on the northeast corner. I can't think of the man's name, begins with "ch" anyhow, he was a contractor. He built Karcher's house and then sold it and then moved over to the other house and built it and that's the one that Winkiter's lived in. But Karcher's Barber Shop was a great place to go. They used to put me up in the chair on a board across the arms, put a bowl on my head and make the trip around. So I became a "bowl head" a little Dutchman. Now the corner was at one time was Cleavis's bar and boarding house, but the corner was torn down. And Joseph's bought the place and built a house down there so they had two two stories, one downstairs was an apartment and one upstairs. And then across the street on 26th Street was a saloon and that one belonged to uh, I can't think who that one belonged to, but when my dad was in business it belonged to George Vance. Now my dad and George Vance were good friends. (94) And then next to them was Dave Watson's little produce store, the whole corner now belongs to Jebbia. Everything that's there, including the place where my father was on 2601 is now a lovely little garden it belongs to Shrader. And Shrader's Casket Company is still there. And then on the other side of Shrader is another house that was torn down and they're using that for Jebbia's parking lot. Most of the stuff there that belonged to my relatives is gone. They tore down my Uncle Charlie's house and they put the front door of the post office in. And they went around the corner and at 26th and Eoff Street they tore down my Aunt Flora's house, my father's sister, and they put in parking lot because Jebbia needed another inch. And behind Jebbia's across the alley they tore down Wendel's house and put in a parking lot but the other two are still there. I don't know if Remke wouldn't sell it to 'em or what but that's the way it went.
MNK: (107) So I get the sense that your relatives lived right close around.
MLH: My father's family. My father's family.
MNK: Could you tell us more about that?
MLH: Well, my father of course was the oldest and then my Aunt Charlotte married and went to Cleveland. And then my Aunt Flora married and she lived in Wheeling. Her husband was Harry Grimm, her first husband, was Harry Grimm and he was a plasterer and he did a terrific job of plastering all these different houses. For many years. And then when they divorced, she married a policeman named George Hohney. And it was George Hohney's house on Eoff Street and 26th that she moved into. And then after George died and urban renewal and Jebbia finally got it and they tore it down. So that took care of that one. My mother's sister lived at 25th & Chapline Street and they tore down her house and she moved out the Pike. Out on Lynwood Avenue. She ended up down at Mound View Constant Care Center she and her husband both. She died at 94 not too many years ago, and Elwood a few years before her. Uh, let's see, who else lived in the neighborhood. Well, if you wanted to go north, from 24th & Chapline Street on the river side, which would be the west side of the street, there was my Aunt Hilda and Uncle Elwood Eckards. Hilda was my mother's sister. And then as you go on up the street, the next one was Waterhouse from the Waterhouse Foundry, Harry and his mother and then the next one, I can't remember that woman's name. And then the next house was Chris Steeber and Chris Steeber's granddaughter was Eleanor Steeber the opera singer. And they mo.. the son and Eleanor had moved to Warwood. But Chris was there until he died. And then the next part of that house was a rooming house and my Uncle Charlie Dueker, who is my father's brother, his wife was Helen Serig, and Helen Serig's sister, Alma, was married to George Thomas and they lived on the other side of Steebers. So far, okay, and then going on up the street I don't know who had the next two houses. But on the corner was a grocery store that belonged to Henry Carouth and Bob Burns. And I don't know who had it before they had it.
MNK: What was it called?
MLH: (139) C&B. C&B Grocery, now were talking 30's and 40's, okay. Across the street on Chapline Street, which is now the parking lot and IGA store were a lot of houses and John Medic's family lived across the street. John Medic is the banker that was written up in the paper not too long ago. He's fifth generation John Medic also. And they started out at St. John's and then they went from there down to South Wheeling down to 38th Street to St. Paul's, to help set up St. Paul's. And, of course, there was Minkamiller's Barber Shop was about the middle of the block, and next to Minkamiller's was uh, let's see, John, Jenny John, her family, her brother was Louis John who was a district attorney here at one point. And then on down, Charnock was the name of the corner. Charnock, he's the one who built the house at 2510, oop missed somebody, 2512 Chapline Street was Lapakas upstairs and downstairs was Tramolis and I don't know who they bought the house from, but they were two Greek families that moved in there. And then my uncle, my mother's brother, bought the house. And he and his daughter shared it after the 40's. Hilda Pollak and Tom upstairs and Jim and Clara Naly downstairs. So far, we're in three different generations. Okay?
MNK: Go ahead.
MLH: Go around the corner on 24th Street toward Eoff Street and you came across Gene Long's house. And that's Gene Long, the singer we were talking about earlier who sang he and his brother and two sisters sang with Wheeling Steel Hour in the 40's. And if you come back down to 25th Street and go up to Eoff on the corner of 25th and Eoff Street was uh Donald Gilbert Michael McGrael. And Donny McGrael was known as the Bobby Breen of the Ohio Valley at that time. And he, beautiful voice, he sang at my wedding. He had a beautiful voice.
MNK: Irish tenor?
MLH: Ah yes, and a delightful Irish tenor. He since got cancer of the throat and he has no voice, he has a little tube in there that they talk through. Yeah. If you went on down between 26th and 27th Street on Chapline Street at one point, when my dad was growing up there were nine saloons. Nine saloons. And these weren't bars like they are today where people will go in and get themselves as drunk as they could get just to see how drunk they could get. These were bars that fellows would go in after work, stop and have a few drinks, talk to each other, go back in the evening, talk to each other. Pub house type thing. Yeah, and another thing too, while we're talking here, my great grandfather, Henry Reese, my grandfather, August Dueker, my father, George Dueker, all belong to the Black Knights of Pithius. They were the Black Lodge. And the Knights of Pithius Temple, the Castle, was down at 27th and Chapline Street and has just been this past year torn down. And it was an oldie. It was a beautiful old building, I was --
MNK: (187) What's your sense of that organization?
MLH: I've not been able to find anything except that I know that my father and grandfather and great grandfather belonged to it because it helped the people in the neighborhood and it was part of of if you need help, we've got the money, we'll help you, in whatever way you need, financially or we'll bury your dead or take care of your sick or whatever. That type of thing. And if the father died then the rest of 'em would pitch in and take care of the mother to make sure she got a job and raise the kids. That type of thing. And St. John's was great for that too. Because these were all German families who were in there and that was one of the first things that they had was a benevolent society. And they set aside a lot of money and a lot of people for the benevolent society. And St. John's Church also had people like Louie Steifel who was the founder of the Steifel Calico Works and they had George E. Steifel who was business man here and had a big department store and Henry Steifel who was in the Calico Works. And these are the people that went out and set up the Steifel Mansions out the Pike. There are three of them out there, there's Henry Steifel's Mansion, which is Shadow Knoll; and there was, I forget which Steifel it was that's behind the Church of Christ, and no it's Christian Church, First Christian Church, they left 22nd, 20th and Chapline, 20th and Market Street and went out the Pike and built their beautiful, beautiful church and it has a great big glass window, circular, and lately, they've been shot out three times and every time, they build it back, they'd shoot it out again. But these were the people that were in there and the Steifel Mansion is right behind their church. And then there's another Steifle Mansion that's now Oglebay Towngate. Oglebay Institute, excuse me. Zion Church is their Towngate Theater. And that was also German people that started from St. John's.
MNK: (214) Were these wealthy immigrants that came here, or did they amass their fortune here in Wheeling?
MLH: Many of them were invited here, some of these people came because they were trying to get away from the lousy war that was going on over there constantly, uh, some of them came here because they were tired of famine and they wanted to go someplace that they could grow something that they could eat, and some of them came because they answered an ad in a newspaper or on the wall and it said "Come to America, to Wheeling, West Virginia, and work in the steel mills" technologists, and some of these people had money when they came here. They weren't all a bunch of broken, poverty stricken peasantry, ignorant, they were not. Many of them came here they were very high skilled engineers, technologists, the brewers who came here that made the business go. They had the skill from the old country. They brought it here and set up their breweries. Smooba brought a brewer from Germany here to set up the brewery. Raymond had one here, of the Raymond Brewery out here. And these men were absolutely initial in starting the cities park system here. Not just breweries and businesses, but Smooba was one of the greatest entrepreneurs the city of Wheeling has ever known and never really recognized it until just lately, within the past ten years they've begin to recognize him. He was the founder of many things, he came here at the age of 7 an unskilled laborer, just a little kid, no time to go to school, had to go to work with his uncle on the boats, and before he was 17 was already in the business of owning the boats. Yeah. This is a kid that decided to put his money in the bank business, and while he was in the bank business at one point they were going broke because of the cotton. The bole weevil got the cotton and Henry said, "don't close the bank. Put the money in tobacco." They did. They made a boom. Everybody else closed up and folded. But not Wheeling. He's the one that started a placed called Wheeling Steel. And he told them the bridges would work. He was also involved in LaBelle Nail. He was involved in setting up the first railroads to go through here and Fairmont and Clarksburg. He also had a railroad line that went from Wheeling all the way to Pittsburgh. He set up the trolley lines. He set up the incline to go to the park at the top of Mozart hill. And he had a park up there at the north end of the Island.
MNK: (250) Did he build the first trolley bridge?
MLH: Now I don't know about that, but I know that he's the one who set up the trolleys. And he had it all going. But he never stayed with that particular thing. He was 67 when he got married to Pauline Birchy and and 69 when he died. The doctor said he had just worn himself out all his life. But when he died, he was at Roney's Point. Now all his life and all his working life, he was right down here at 23rd street. His home has a great big what looks like a dollar sign in the window of his door, but it's not a dollar sign, it's his initials "HS." The "H" and the "S" crossing it. And the same way with the brewery down at 33rd street. There's a great big "SH" on the building. And he has beautiful artwork down on there, if you ever take a look at it, it has the heads of all the different gods in charge of the wine and the breweries. And at first I thought they might be his brothers or something, because they all came too, you know, but that wasn't true. No, he has Backus and a few of the others who were the gods of the, the German gods. Okay. The Norsman's gods. And it's very interesting. But this mans life is very colorful and very interesting. He built the mansion at Roney's Point and before he built it, after he bought the land, the land had originally belonged to one Samuel Frasier back in the 1700's and it had passed on down to where Henry bought it and he was running a herd of thoroughbred horses out there. Out on the farm. Well then decided to build his mansion and his mansion was a fantastic place. Three stories high, brick building, beautiful gardens, and then in the back, he had septic tanks, two or three septic tanks. Nobody had septic tanks, but Henry did, and he knew how to build them. He also had dumb waiters, going up and down the, he had elevators when nobody else had elevators. He started a lot of things. He had the first greenhouse. And grew all kinds of things in the greenhouse. And then he (285).
CNK: When did he die?
MLH: In 1914, 1915.
CNK: Could you say his name again?
MNK: Spell it.
MLH: Henry Schmulbach. Okay. And he had his whole family here. They all lived down there at 23rd street. And when he died, they had a train that left here and went out to Roney's Point with everybody who wanted to go visit for a visitation. They on a train here at the B&O Station and they went all the way out to Roney's Point, got off and had special carriages take them from the bottom of the hill up to the mansion. And then after they were finished with the viewing and whatever, then they would come back down, those who wanted to stay for the funeral stayed and they were given special cars to bring them back into Greenwood. But the others went back down the hill, and got on the train, and came back to Wheeling. And about half the town turned out. This was a man who was never in the Blue, what did they call it, the Blue Blood Register, the Socialite Register. He was never in that. He was never a part of that. I mean let's face it, he was an immigrant, he couldn't read or write, he didn't have any wife, and they didn't particularly like his company. So he had his own girlfriends and he went where he wanted to go. And they had their Blue Blood dances and whatever else. So he was never a part of the social register. Henry didn't have time for the social register, if you want the truth. He really didn't, this is a man who worked 18 hours a day. But he was really something.
CNK: When you were growing up, do you remember any of his family down, I mean did they did they still live on Chapline Street?
MLH: (314) I don't know.
CNK: (say's something in background, I can't make out her question.)
MLH: Well, his mother and father were here. He had brothers and sisters. And...
CNK: But he had no children?
MLH: No, he never had any children. Yet when he died, in his will, he left money to a few people who were named for him. The last name wasn't Schmulbach but there were several kids that were named for him. Henry and I don't know whether they had his brother's names. But, the whole family is buried together at Greenwood. And so is the Birchy family, including Louis. Louie Birchy was Pauline's brother. And he was the mortician. And that was another curious thing too. Maybe you can answer it. Louie Birchy had two plots in Peninsula Cemetery of 16 graves each, empty. And he's buried with Schmulbach.
MLH: Yeah, he's out at Greenwood. And it wasn't in the section, well yes it was too, it was in the section that they moved for the freeway. But 32 graves, a mortician has 32 graves, why? Was this in case somebody couldn't afford a grave and he would bury them? On his property? In Peninsula? I don't know. And I think there are two people actually were planted that were called "unknown." There're no stones on them. Were they using it as pauper's graves? Because anybody else who was a pauper in this city or anybody else who was not known, like the body that they pulled out of the river not too long ago, the black man that they thought was from Pittsburgh, he's buried out at Roney's Point. After Schmulbach died, he left it to Pauline and Pauline sold it to the city and county for the county farm, county poor farm. And there is a cemetery in the back around the back. And of course they built the Tuberculosis Hospital on the top. Up there behind Henry's. So if they would die, then they'd take them down over the hill, right behind the hospital, and they would bury them. And the paupers were buried out there too. So, good question. You know, that's were they're still burying them today.
MNK: (350) This sounds like an absolutely fascinating community of people. What was distinctive about them socially. Did they, did they maintain their German language or customs or anything?
MLH: Uh huh, yes. My father went to church on Sunday morning at 6:00, every Sunday. Until he was 14 years of age he had to attend German services, at 6:00 in the morning. And then he got to stay for English services. So my father spent six hours in church on Sundays. He didn't get home until noon. But after he was 14, his father said "alright George, it's up to you." My father never went back to church. He was too busy. He worked in the saloon. He worked at the drugstore. And that was his idea, to be a druggist at one point. But then after he and mother got married, he had to go into the service for World War I and when he came back it was a little bit late at the age of 30 to start into the pharmacy business. And he knew how to cook. So mother talked him into joining his father who wanted him to buy the business, and he did. That was another thing too, my grandmother cooked in there, my Aunt Flora cooked in there, and then my mother cooked in there. They all took a turn. Everybody got a turn. But the German people here were musically inclined and that was one of the big things that was important. We had a Beethoven's Society, we had the Harmony Society, there was a German Society, Dr. Wolfe could tell you more about this. Because that's his field. Dr. Wolfe, from West Liberty. He's a specialist on the German groups here for music. But they used to have concerts here. They had the Sanger fest here in 1886. And then when they had the Sanger fest here they had groups singing groups from all over the valley and they had them here from Chicago and one from California and they had them here from Voitenberg, Germany and one from Hanover Germany. And they had guest concert leaders and so on. But, yes, this was very musical. And everybody was tickled to death to sing. And most of them were men. Men's groups. They had up at Bethlehem, were Schmulbach had his park, say 33rd street and then you take the incline up over the top of the hill to Incline Avenue in Mozart and they had a park up there. It's now a baseball diamond. But at that time they had a park and they had a gazebo with band play everyday. They had the brass bands were up there. And the Beethoven's Society would sing up there and then right over the other side of the hill was house that was owned by Walter Reuther's father. And in the back, because Reuther was part of the singing group too, in the back he had a little house that was built so that they could practice. Right behind his property. (399)
CNK: Do you remember the park?
MHL: No, because by the time I could get to the top of the hill there, it was gone. It had been gone for some time. In fact, it was gone before Henry died. Or shortly after. But between he and Raymond, the competition that was going on is what opened Wheeling Park out there so he could sell his beer and they opened the Incline Park so Schmulbach could sell his beer and Schmulbach also had the North Island Park over there as a beach. So you could go swimming. And then later on, Raymond opened a swimming pool and a few other things. That's another thing too, Wheeling Park when they first opened the swimming pool didn't have concrete walks, they had sand walks. And when I was a little kid, we used to go out there and play in the sand and get in the water. And the water was three inches deep and went up to 12 feet. And then you had diving boards on the other end. But whole families would get in there. They didn't have any children's pools or anything like that. But it was a great place to go. And they had dances every Saturday night upstairs. Open windows, you know, now they've got it all closed in.
CNK: Do you remember any of the amusement rides that they had, the roller coaster?
MLH: No, that was before my time too. They had a they were already gone by the time I got to go. I was born in '27 and they were gone by '30. They were gone by the depression. As far as I know they were gone by the depression.
MNK: (425) Were they pretty elaborate? Were there carousels? Or a rides, or a are there any old pictures of those things anywhere?
MLH: There are somewhere, I've got some pictures out home that were my father's and I have to go through them. But when my dad died, they were getting rid of everything at the house and my mother had given, my mother died the year before my dad, my mother died September 6, 1972, my dad died September 6, 1973, my dog died September 6, 1974. So it turned out to be a lousy day, okay. And in 1954, in September 6, is when my husband and I gave up trying to get a job here and went west to California. So, it's a lousy day. But anyhow. The box of pictures, my mother said that I should take because my dad wouldn't do anything with them because by that time he was to a point with arterial sclerosis and being 85 years old he wanted to sleep all the time. And she said you take these. Okay, I took them, got them out home and put them in a storage drawer and let them go for awhile and then the next year my dad died, but before he died and we had to put him in the hospital out at Peterson, he handed me a package, an envelope, that had pictures in it. And I asked him what they were and he said they're just some stuff I took out of the restaurant. Evidently, my mother didn't know that they were still there. So I took the pictures and took them home and then after my dad died, my brother and I were going through the things and my sister, all three of us were looking these things over and my sister said, " for crying out loud, that was so and so and this was Bill Bartolis and that was Bud Bartolis and these were the guys that served with pop and there's pops old buddy," yeah. And they had them in military uniform. My father and George Weckerly. Now George Weckerly died many years, I guess about 1922, something like that. He died of tuberculosis. But these were pictures of people I never met. Now the Bertolis brothers I knew because they lived across the street. But my sister and brother could point these out to me because they were older than I. Three to six years. And we were going through the whole works, well then I put them away and forgot about them. Now, Chip Wess has got the place open up there and it's jogging the memories back. And here they come back now. Yea.
MNK: (469) You mentioned a sister and a brother.
MLH: Yes, I have a sister Dorothy, who's name is Patterson now. Dorothy Dueker Patterson. She lives in Fairmont. And she had two children, two girls. And then I have a brother, who's an architect, George Robert Deuker. And he's uh George Robert August Deuker, all three of them in there, he's on West Coast in Woodside, California. He's an architect. Yea.
MNK: So, there were ... , you were the youngest of three?
MLH: Three kids. Actually, I was the youngest of four. The first one died at 6 days. Thelma died, she's six days old. And then Dorothy, and then Gus, and myself.
MNK: Can you sort of recreate for us the household in which you grew up. What it looked like, what your mother's kitchen smelled like, what she
MLH: Aw, come on,
MLH: You get me back to that point and I'm going to start drooling, because my mother was a fantastic cook. She was a great cook. You name it, she could cook it. We always had a good dinner. We always had things like meat and potatoes, my father was a meat and potatoes man. Not vegetables, but meat and potatoes. So if we want spaghetti, you ate it a lunch, when pop was working. He was not spaghetti, he was German. We had lots of cabbage and lots of sauerkraut. Of course, mother being Irish, very, very, what shall we say here, Cosmopolitan, she would try anything, including artichokes. My father says what are you doing scraping your teeth on that stuff. That's not for me. But he wanted to ... (500) Bread, potatoes, meat, and he'd have green beans or peas or something like that. But mother was willing to try anything else. And my dad worked all the time, so very seldom we got to go anywhere with him. But fortunately, he worked across the street. And it was only a half a block away from home and he'd close up the restaurant at midnight and he'd come home at two o'clock in the morning. And mom always waited up for him. And then she'd put us off to school in the morning and she'd sleep in a little bit. But he'd go back to work at seven o'clock in the morning. And he would work and come home and take a nap a lunch time and go to the bank. My father walked from 26th street to the Post Office everyday. All the way up to 12th Street. And then he would go to the bank which was down at 22nd street and then he'd go back home and then back to work. And when the uh the Post Office they decided to build the new one across the street in urban renewal was getting rid of all the relative's homes, beautiful homes that were over there, my dad had broken his hip so he couldn't go anywhere, and they told him they said, "well George you can't go to the Post Office, so we're bringing the Post Office to you." And they did, he sat on the front porch and watched them build the post office. But, it was an interesting time to grow up. Because in the first place, being the youngest I was given some privileges that the other two weren't. My sister had to report everywhere she went, and I reported about half of them and escaped the other half. Because, my sister would walk out the front door as a lady always, she's six years older than I am, so she was always ladylike, but her younger sister used to embarrass my brother. I invariably would embarrass my brother because I was a tomboy and I climbed the fences to escape, jumped the front fence, at one point I was carrying the violin, jumped the front fence, dropped the violin case, scrambled it all back up into the case, ran up to catch the trolley car so I could get down to South Wheeling to take my lesson. (542) Of course, the violin was broken, but it didn't mean anything. Just so mother didn't know, and I was late. the other thing is that my brother had cowboy pants at one point and they were fur chaps, who know, oh these are the great ones you know with the lamb skin on the outside so he outgrew them and he put them in a drawer. And nibby nose me, three years later, I found them, and they fit me, so I paraded myself around the bedroom for awhile and when I found out he was gone, (laughter) I went outside and I played cowboy in his pants. And he came home one day oh he was mad, he came one day and he says to my mother, "she's not my sister, she's not my sister, she is no relation to me, I don't want anybody to know she's any relation to me, she's wearing my clothes." My mother said, "uh oh, gotta take the chaps off." But my brother and I used to fight light cat and dogs because I always wanted to wear his clothes. I liked his clothes better than mine, those frizzy little dresses, those crazy nylon things that you had, oh the terrible things that were starched and you cant sit down right or anything. I wanted to wear the boys clothes, cause they fit better. I used to play baseball, football, twenty-one boys and me, then I found out I wasn't one of the fellas and that wasn't such a happy thought.
MNK: Who were the kids you played with, who were the kids in the neighborhood?
MLH: Jean Long, Donald McGrail, Billy Miller (policeman's son), Ozzie McGrail (that's Donald's brother), a guy named Doobie Dailer, who's now a magistrate, I cant think of everybody that was there. But it was everybody, oh and Chuck Holmes (he's dead, he died in World War II) he was a fantastic swimmer. And my cousin Chris, Chris Zimmerman, he went to Cleveland. And there were some other fellows that were on the other team that I didn't know but they lived up at 23rd street. But we all played football together, and I was the only girl among the crowd.
female: (575) Where was the field?
MLH: The field was the street between Chapline and Eoff, 25th Street. Its all uphill and it was all brick. And we played tackle football.
female: In the middle of the brick street?
MLH: Right on the brick street, yes sir, boy they tackled you, you slid. It depended on which way you're going though. Now when you kicked the ball, you always tried to get on the top so you kicked the ball down the hill. Didn't always work, but that's the way it was. Then we found out this was getting a little bit too rough because one of the fellas had skinned his nose. Somebody tackled him by the ankles and he hit and skinned his nose and he had to go home and get a band-aid and that's when his father said "that's enough of that well make you a paper ball and you wont have to kick that thing and there'll be no more tackle, from now on its touch." So they made took a piece of newspaper and folded it over lengthwise several times and then rolled it up tight so that you come out with a cone and then they rolled another one on top of that and then they tied it up with a piece of string. At first they were putting rubber bands on it but the rubber bands broke. So they tied it up with a couple pieces of string and it worked real well. We used to go through three footballs a game. Yes sir, and then somebody nylon hose came out and then they found out that these made pretty good covers so they started putting nylon hose over them and it was about that time that I quit playing football. But I was still playing catcher on the baseball team. Same guys, we all played baseball, Hubbard Playground, and they took out Hubbard Playground and Webster Grade School when they put in the off ramp and the Route 2 down at 26th Street. And they've moved Redmond Cemetery and that's where my grandfather was buried. But he had already been moved out to Greenland before that. That was a neighborhood to grow up in, Ill tell you.
female: (615) Did you get down to ... in the Center Market?
MLH: Constantly, my father would say "okay, I need" and went to the market house to bring back the chickens, you went to the market house to bring back the bacon, you went to the market house to bring back all kinds of stuff. And if it wasn't there, then he would, uh by this time I was about 11 years or old and 12 and my father would say "I need the Limburger cheese. Get on the bicycle and go up to 20th Street and down to Main Street." Its right next to the old Robrecht Building, there's a warehouse type of building there and used to pull up to the truck docks, truck stop, truck dock, okay, and that's where you bought your cheese. So we'd buy 10 pounds of Mohawk Valley Limburger Cheese. Did you ever sit behind one of those in a basket on a bicycle with the wind blowing in your face? (laughter) Shew, it got to be a bit much. And he'd send me--
female: (636) ...
MLH: Yeah boy, every other day, maybe two days in between and I was never allowed to ride on Main Street. I always had to back up to Market Street or Chapline Street.
CNK: Why is that?
MLH: You really don't want to know, do you? Well, from Main Street from 23rd take it back from 22nd to 27th Street was known as the "red light district." And the house that they just tore down here lately had been in business, constantly, for a hundred years. It was behind the Pirate Cafe, Pirates Cove. And I was never allowed on Main Street. One day, just one day, one time in my whole life, I decided I was too tired to pump the hill getting up 22nd Street, so I stayed on Main Street to 23rd Street and then went up the hill a little bit, cause it was a little more level, and at 24th Street on Market, and I thought "hell never know" and I went up to Chapline on 24th Street and I rode the next block, pulled up in front of the house, put the bicycle in the yard and went inside, the phone was ringing. My father says, "and just who in the hell told you you could ride on Main Street." Now, how'd he know? You know, that bothered me for many, many years. And then I found out who the squealers were, two policeman, one of them was Officer Mueller, and the other one was Officer Millard. Officer Mueller lived right there at 25th Street and Officer Millard lived around the corner on Eoff. And they told on me, cause they went in my fathers restaurant to eat every day and they had just seen me. So I was in real trouble. Another time, he'd say "I need tomato sauce, I need a great big can of tomatoes. Go down to the A&P at 29th Street, get on the bicycle and bring me back two cans." So you get on the bicycle and you ride down 29th Street, you buy the two cans of, great big cans of tomato, and bring them back. Were talking lunch time here, eleven o'clock, hes serving lunch at eleven o'clock and he needs more. Another time he sent me down to 40th Street so I could go down to uh they had the best mettwurst. Freischmooth, I went down to Freischmooth's. Its not the one who's the printer out in Elm Grove, its his uncle. But Freischmooth had the butcher shop. And they did their own butchering. That and make their own meats and so on. So we had to get down there and get the mettwurst and the bratwurst and whatever else he wanted, all the other wursts that he got, but the mettwurst was the best. I've never tasted anyplace else like it. Nowhere in this country has mettwurst. Not like (end of side A) (beginning of side B) They wanted me to get that Limburger cheese. I had to stop across, caddy corner from the the uh warehouse there it was Nassoff's Candy Company was on 20th and Main, okay, next to the bridge and I had to pick up the candy bars and the cigarettes, in the cartons, and then go get the cheese. And that's two great smells that you don't like too much mixing. Limburger cheese and tobacco. You know, its kinda weird. But, anyhow, that day when I was going down there that fast it was different. And I just forgot what I was going tell you.
MNK: (08) About peddling up, about riding up the street someway?
MLH:The mettwurst is hard, like dried salami. But it was big like cooked salami, big enough to fit on a bun. And that very good, really.
MNK: What about Center Market itself, can you describe the market, how it was laid out?
MLH: Well the lower end of the market was always open. The upper end of the market was closed. So that they would be in there all year round. But the lower end of the market, was not, it was open, and so they would have stands come in on Friday and Saturday. And they'd come up here from Marietta to sell their stuff and what they didn't sell, they'd throw in the river on the way home. But those stalls were trucks would pull up before the trucks they had the uh wagons and they would move the wagon into the and you'd take it off with the wagon. And over to the stall. And you needed more, you went back to the wagon. But it was always, the wagons were always parked on the market side. And nobody parked cars in there at that time. If you wanted to parked, you know, you didn't park, you just walked into the market. Most people just walked to the area that they were going to buy.
female: Did they sell out of the wagons? In the back of the wagons?
MLH: Some of them did. Yes. But then Bernie Coleman, you know the Coleman Fish Markets in the Market now, his father was John Coleman too. But Bernie didn't sell fish, Bernie sold cheese. And he went down on a farm around Hannibal, Ohio, and he raised his own cattle and he had his own cheese. And then he would come to the market on the weekends and they would make the sales there. Great big wheels would be two feet in diameter, some of them were three feet in diameter, maybe four inches five inches thick. And they'd be cheddar cheese or Swiss cheese, they were good. But they were fresh cheese and they were made in an area that you knew about. And then in the winter time he would still come, he was on the closed side, the enclosed side of the market house, on the north end. And of course, Jebbia had a stand in there. The Jebbia brothers.
MNK: They'd sell produce mostly?
MLH: Yeah, Jebbia's was strictly produce. They've only changed lately in the shop down there that they've added anything else. And that's only been in the past five ten years. But in this 50 to 100 years before that it was all produce.
MNK: Did they have their own farm or did they buy it from ?
MLH: They bought it from their brother. Who had a farm in California. Down in Los Angeles County area. They had a big farm down there. And the last I talked to Dominick, he tells me that they split the farm up. And that's what they were worried about, splitting the farm up because there were I don't know how many children and they were afraid some of the kids wouldn't stay on the farm that they would sell it otherwise.
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