The Condensed Memoir of Gary E. Scholl
By Gary Scholl
It is my wish that most who read this will be able to relate to happenings in your life. Some of you know I am somewhat of an egotistical person. It may show up as I proceed on.
In late November 1936 A.D. several ladies in Hanover (within one week) delivered the following children at Hanover General Hospital. Sandy (Little) Hart, Claire Wolf, Dale Hoff, Phillip Krenzer and yours truly.
My birth was traumatic. I had a calcium growth on my head that was nearly as large as my head. I was immediately sent to John Hopkins in Baltimore (my first trip out of state). Doctors there assured my parents there was nothing to worry about. In time my skull would grown into it. Eventually they were right. When looking at old baby pictures I was always adorned with a bonnet or cap.
My initial residence was 600 Baltimore Street. When I was five years old, Mother and Dad moved to 24 Eichelberger Street (adjacent to the “Big Oak Tree” on the campus of E.H.S.) This remained my residence until which time I returned from the service and went into housekeeping. I was in the second ward which enabled me to attend Penn Street Elementary School. (It was relatively new when I entered first grade.) Yes, I was one of the boys who wore knickers with long stockings and Buster Brown lace-up shoes. After many washings the elastic in the knickers gave way and the long stockings could only be held up with rubber bands. I payed some dues! At present I can remember some of my elementary teachers. Miss Olinger, Miss Wolford (later married to Musselman), Miss Louise McDaniel and Mr. Wolf. Recess was my favorite class. I hate to admit it but I played the TONET.
I remember one day when Gary Reaver (deceased) was sent home because of the skunk odor he couldn’t abate. He was a great young trapper but the night before the skunk was able to get both hind feet on the ground.
I learned early on that Don Rutters could hold his own in any fight. I wasn’t stout so I quickly made friends with him. When someone got “huffy” with me I’d tell him to stay clear of me or he’d have to deal with Don. Any problem was always solved.
While in elementary school I remember: (a) seeing the first Television set in Hanover. Harold Unger had an appliance store on Carlisle Street. He got folding chairs from Feisers Funeral Home to accommodate the interested people. Remember Dave Garoway & Uncle Miltie?? (b) the oval on the square. Benches, Iron Dog and Union Soldier on horseback. On occasions you could find “Bumble Bee” folding and tearing newspapers. End results being beautiful Eagles and other works of art. (c) witnessing the burning of J. C. Penney store on the square. (d) learning about the automobile accident at the quarry on the road to Cross Keys. It was a Studebaker car occupied by several Gettysburg College students. The car broke through a fence and fell to the bottom of the quarry. (e) the day the second World War ended I was on the tennis courts at EHS. Car horns were blowing and door bells were being rung on McCosh Street.
Summer time while in elementary school I pulled my wagon with a block of ice and syrup. I’d make it a point to be at the Hanover Shoe Factory during break times. The temperatures were unbearable in the factory. There, my snow cones sold themselves. I put that red wagon to work door to door selling “WEDGETABLES” grown in my Grandfather’s “Wictory” garden. Both the snow cones and vegetables were lucrative for me as Dad paid for the ice and Mother provided the syrups. My grandfather furnished the vegetables. HELL OF A DEAL! Getting back to Penn Street -- I’m taxing my memory to list some of my classmates (maiden names for girls). Carolyn Clausen, Sally Alleman, Julie Mudge, Eleanor Miller, Rose Ann Scholl (my 1st cousin, deceased) Shirley Kerr, Carol Shafer, Ann Shafer, Earl Lawyer, Dean Rickerode, Bill Dell, Dean Kerr (deceased), Gary Reaver (deceased), Eugene Miller, Ken Myers, Larry Eply, Bill Feeser, Don Rutters and Lloyd Becker.
In the 6th grade I was appointed to a patrol station. I was proud of my white belt and shiny badge. It was my responsibility to see that fellow classmates safely crossed the road. (Penn Street & Stock Street) Being a patrolman allowed me to leave school 15 minutes early.
Ken Myers and I each received NEW bicycles one Christmas. We’d mount cardboard on the frame and allow it to hit the spokes. Closest thing to a motor sound we could find. We were “Hell on Wheels”. Remember Ken? Chain guards were eventually taken off our bikes. Then when biking with long pants it was imperative to have a pant leg restrainer to keep the pant leg from getting fouled in the sprocket. Most of us would turn our handle bars upside down for a groovy look. Today’s terminology “COOL.”
I was a cub scout and my mother was a “Den Mother” Larry Wentz and I were chosen to unveil a monument in the Pigeon Hills when it was dedicated. The Cub Pack made a trip to our Nation’s Capitol. I became the third generation to climb the Washington Monument. Since then 3 more generations made it. (Some on elevator)
One day Bill Dell (neighbor across the campus on McCosh Street) and I decided I would scale the bricks at the entrance to E.H.S. This took me to the balcony outside the library. Mission accomplished! BUT, I couldn’t get down. Bill went home and brought back a lasso. With his help I was able to get down. (Bill was somewhat of a cowboy -- he owned a pony and cart anyhow)
Around that time I carved my initials in the “Big Oak”. The oldest set of initials (J.T.) belonged to John Tanger (Sr.) The founder of Tanger’s Hardware. They were carved in the tree circa 1905.
When the snow fell and accumulated the EHS campus became a true winter wonderland. Igloos, forts and snow ball battles were part of it. Sleigh rides would begin at the top steps of the entrance to the gym. Down the hill, across the tennis courts and then on to Hoke Bair’s Feed Store (Quite a trip). “I WANNA GO HOME” -- just kidding. I sold my snow shovel many years ago. Saturdays, without fail, would find lots of us at The Strand Movie Theater (Shootin Gallery). A good western you could count on. It would be a shame to miss the “chapter”, The Phantom was my favorite. Gil Colehouse would escort people to their seats with a flash light in hand. He on occasions would be the usher at the State and Park Theaters. In these days the film would tear or jam up the projector. When this happened most everyone would stomp their feet (to rhythm) and whistle. It never seemed to help.
Now on to Junior High. Lots of new faces as pupils from other elementary schools showed up. I made new friends. Some of them ‘til now are close and dear to me and Mary Belle. (This despite the miles that separate us)
It was here that I experienced a tragedy. Robert Myers was returning to school after lunch on his bicycle when he was struck and killed by a truck. We were all saddened. Our Nornir is dedicated to him.
I dated for the first time while in Jr. High. I escorted a gal from our class and we both enjoyed the evening. She had the initials S.A.M. and was known as Sam. If you are interested refer to the Nornir. She’s a precious person.
I spent approximately 90% of my idle time on our campus. I became a better than average tennis player. In the 9th grade I was able to gain a spot on the Varsity Tennis Team. At the end of the season I was invited to attend an awards presentation at EHS. I was proud to receive my first of four letters. When principal, Ray W. Gray attempted to quiet the students Soapy Hart slid in his seat and said loudly “Throw him a bone.” Hilarious but a bad scene.
Now, on to my alma mater. I began the 10th grade (living across the street from school.) I’d leave home when I heard the bell ring. I started in the Commercial Course and studied typing, short hand and bookkeeping. Apparently, I didn’t do well enough to continue. Eleventh and twelfth years I was in the general course. I’ve destroyed my report cards so our children and grandchildren wouldn’t stumble across them. I’ve had a lot of people snowed for a long period of time. Not Miss Flickinger. My first class in her math class she asked if either Ralph or Dave Scholl was my father? My reply “Yes Mam, Dave is my father.” She recalled what a wonderful student he was. She looked me square in the eyes and said “I trust you’ll be the same.” WRONG! She caught me cheating from Rose Ann Scholl’s test paper four days into the course, another bad scene.
While in high school I took a job waiting on tables at Cline’s Restaurant, on Carlisle Street (across from The Shoe Factory). I waited on tables at noon, my lunch was given to me for my 40 minutes work and I helped Burnell Cline on weekends as a “Soda Jerk”. The Shoe factory personnel stormed the place and looking back they were good tippers $$$$. Later I took a job at Hanover Clothing Store. It was a great experience and I enjoyed working for the Blumenthal family.
At this point I would like to recognize the following classmates who are related to me: Carolyn Crooks (2nd cousin on the Heusner side). Phillip “Nice” Whisler (2nd cousin on the Scholl side) and Nova, Janet and Rosella Shearer (also, 2nd cousins on the Scholl side).
The campus was normally used for make-up football and softball games. I was so conveniently located that I was called upon to round out a team.
Hunting and fishing with Dad and my Grandfather Heusner was an important part of my life. Over the years I wound up with quite an arsenal. Last year I split them up with my grandsons. I kept one pistol. A Ruger 44 mag with 10" bull barrel. I no longer hunt but I do go to camp each year for quality time with my son, David, grandsons, Drew and Sam and my son-in-law, Johnny.
In my senior year I entered the “Voice of Democracy Contest”. Mrs. Naomi Jones was my English teacher and she encouraged me to enter. I finished first! Julie Mudge, and Oren Barnhart were runner-ups. They both did excellent jobs. I entered in “District” but didn’t do so well. Ned Rutledge and Chuck Zinc were announcers at WHVR. Ned presented me with a radio as first place prize.
In the summer after my junior year I purchased my first set of wheels. It was a green dodge convertible with moon hub caps. It had fluid drive. (Ugh)
One day a U. S. Navy Recruiter made a presentation to the Senior Class. Chuck Garvick (ahead of us) and I were biding time on Saturday night in front of the “Mau Drau”. We were wearing pegged pants and white buck shoes. Both of us had Kay Woodie pipes and we were smoking cherry flavored tobacco while watching traffic on Baltimore Street. Chuck told me that he decided to enter the Navy. I followed his lead and after graduation the following enlisted on a buddy system -- yours truly, Fern Leroy Reindollar (Moon), Phil Krenzer, Chuck Garvick, Reubin Becker (deceased) and Leon (Gummy) Funk (deceased).
ANCHORS AWAY-- so long to Boydies, Mau Drau, and the Shady Dell in York. We went to boot camp at Bainbridge, Maryland. After 12 grueling weeks we graduated. Five out of our Buddy group were assigned to schools. I was sent directly to the fleet. I boarded the U.S.S. Cony (DDE 508) in Charleston, South Carolina and was put in the Deck Division. (OUCH) This meant lots of swabbing decks and chipping paint. My first duty was to chip paint with a jack hammer and eye goggles. It was overhead WORK. It was at this point I felt I made a big mistake by enlisting. On the second day I was approached by a Combat Information Center Officer and a 1st Class Radarman. They found it odd that I didn’t get a school out of boot camp. (Grades were good) They asked if I’d like to transfer to operations division and become a radarman. I couldn’t get “affirmative” out of my mouth quick enough. The transfer was instant. When the “Cony” got out of dry dock we sailed from Charleston to Norfolk, Virginia. Weeks later we sailed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for a “Shake Down” cruise. Sailed back to Norfolk and shortly we headed for the Mediterranean. After coming back to the states I was assigned to a class “A” Radar school (TEMPORARY DUTY) in Norfolk, Virginia.
Since I had great “on the job training” I aced the course with flying colors. Shortly later I advanced from Radarman Seaman to Radarman 3rd Class. Sailed the North Atlantic, Mediterranean, Carribean and South America. Before I was honorably discharged I made Radarman 2nd Class. I’m proud of my service time and I was honored to be high-lined at sea on a return cruise from Europe. I was sent by basket from the Cony to the Commodore’s flag ship (U.S.S. Robert A. Owens) DD828. The leading radarman on the Owens became ill. The Commodore asked that I assume responsibility of radar navigating our convoy to our home port (Norfolk) during low visibility. “I DID GOOD”.
While at Norfolk I had a 1951 Hudson Hornet which I used to get home on weekends. Moon Reindollar was also aboard a destroyer stationed at Norfolk. To go north out of Norfolk we had to take the Newport News Ferry. We’d try to get riders (sailors) going to Baltimore for weekends and liberty. One Friday, I pulled the car on the ferry, Moon was on the pier trying to get riders for us. Like a carnival barker he’d yell “Ride to Baltimore $5 dollars” We’d always get 4 riders to the Greyhound Bus Station in Baltimore. Most of the time we’d pick up the same sailors at the bus station on Sunday night for the return trip. Charles (Chas Guy) Wagaman came into the Navy some time after our high school group.
He was at Norfolk going to Class A Radar School. He had not been home since boot camp leave and I later detected a case of home sickness. I had the Hornet on the Ferry. Moon was on the pier barking. Chas guy didn’t know that Moon and I were heading home for the weekend. Chas later told me this, “Scholl, from a distance I saw Moon, and I hurried toward him looking for a hand shake, and/or a hug. He calmly, collectively looked at me and said, “What do you say Jack? Want a ride to Baltimore , 5 dollars?”
One weekend (Friday night) I didn’t have my car at Norfolk so, I had to hitchhike to Hanover. It was near the end of my naval career. It was pouring down rain when my last ride left me off. It was near Forest Park. The next ride picked me up. It was Ray Sterner. Of course he took me home. He and Sylvia from that time on have been the dearest of friends.
I owe the Lord and the Navy for the opportunity to meet my wife of 45 years. I was also lucky to see many different cultures. I joined the Navy to see the world and I saw a lot of it. In 1955, we docked in Port Arthur, Texas for liberty. Area young ladies social organizations set up a dance for the sailors on the U.S.S. Cony. I attended and that night I met the love of my life, Mary Belle LaBouve. The Cony was in Port Arthur only 3 days and I was fortunate enough to spend some time with her each day. We agreed to write each other. The morning we set sea detail to leave Port Arthur I was in combat information center (CIC) when a shipmate entered and said the gal that I met at the dance was on the pier waiving good bye. It was at this point I knew that one day we’d marry.
We proceeded to Pensacola where we did plane guard duty for an aircraft carrier, U.S.S. SIAPAN, after several months at sea we docked in New Orleans. I had time from noon (Friday) until 7:00 a.m. Monday. I decided to take a bus back to Port Arthur. A shipmate of mine met a girl at the dance and he decided to go with me. We went to the bus station and learned that we would waste too much time going and coming. Money was in short supply. We wired home and got some funds. Upon receipt we flew to Port Arthur. I phoned Mary Belle (she didn’t know I was in town). She came to pick us up at the airport and took us to a hotel for lodging. Mac (my friend) had a terrible let down. He called the girl he met and she informed him that recently she became engaged. He didn’t interfere with us. After checking into a hotel we went to her house for me to meet her parents. I was received very well. We had a great weekend getting to know each other. She took us back to the airport for our return trip to New Orleans. We wrote and talked. I sent her airline tickets for her to fly to D.C. over the Christmas Holidays (1956). I went back to Port Arthur on a 2 week leave. Again, I flew into Jefferson County Airport. She was there to pick me up. I asked her to take me to a hotel and suggested we go see her parents. She said “No,” Mother and Dad want you to stay with us. Money again was not in good supply, thus I accepted their invitation. Hotel money saved. We had the best 10 days of our lives. I informed her I’d like to go to college at Lamar Tech in Beaumont, Texas under the GI Bill of Rights. Beaumont is a neighbor city close to Port Arthur.
In October of 1957 my active duty ended and I returned to Hanover. I entered the ranks of the unemployed. Every one needed a transition period from service life to the date he decided to enter the work force. I was spending lots of time and money at the Amvets Club. Then letters and phone calls ceased between Mary Belle and me.
I recall one day I was in line at the Employment office signing up for benefits, and indicated to the lady behind the desk that I was actively and aggressively seeking employment. (YEAH-RIGHT)
Mrs. Erb was the manager there and she knew my parents well. She saw me in line and approached me, “aren’t you Gary Scholl?” yes Mam I am! There went my Teddy Bear! She asked if I’d be interested in taking a temporary job with the State of Pennsylvania. What could I say? I’ve been a “yes” man all of my life.
I began work as an unemployment claims interviewer. While there Mrs. Erb arranged for me to take the Civil Service exam in hopes I could get on regular. I passed the exam but the only opening was in Pittsburgh, I refused and Mrs Erb arranged for me to have an interview at the H. O. Toor Shoe Co. for office work. I took the job and from day one I knew this work was not for me. Within one month I was asked to either leave, quit or I was fired! (Only time in my life)
Well, back to the employment office. Mrs. Erb again saw that I was without work. This time she referred me to Keystone Wire Cloth Co. I was interviewed and hired for office work. My desk was aside that of Mary Myers (office manager). She had yellow jaundice and frequently was off sick. I began answering her phone and doing her work. She passed away and I became an acting office manager.
Mary Belle broke the ice and phoned me to find out if I was coming to Texas to attend Lamar Tech. I said I couldn’t leave a job that paid so well and importantly it was one I liked. We agreed for her to come to Hanover. Don’t know what happened but our feelings for each other was great.
Mother and Dad had planned a car trip to the Rocky Mountains and I talked them into going to Port Arthur instead. Mother asked, “What are your plans?” I said, we had the spare bedroom she could use it until we were married. I sure had a selling job to do. She gave into my request so, Mother and Dad drove to Port Arthur to pick her up. I often think where I’d be if I didn’t have my precious parents and my adorable wife.
Shortly after their return, December 27, 1958 we eloped to Silver Run, Maryland. Suzie and Bill (Bob) Miller were attendants. Sylvia (Reck) and Ray Sterner also attended. After a honeymoon to Washington, D. C. We went to housekeeping at 12 York Street, in an upstairs apartment. Incidentally, Sylvia and Ray spent several days with us in October, 2003, I also tried Sushi for the first time. (Yuk) Sylvia and Ray will definitely remember this.
Eloping was not mandatory (Halo), our daughter, Denise Ann wasn’t born until we were married 5 years. She was and still is the joy of our lives.
Our honeymoon is worth mentioning. I had $10.00 in an envelope for the preacher who was marrying us. Before I left the church, I removed $5.00 from the envelope. Things were tight!!! When we left Silver Run I had $42.00 and some change. My aunt and uncle and another aunt knew about us getting married. Uncle Spud told me he’d buy us our wedding supper at the airport in D. C. They were getting ready to fly out on a vacation to Florida. After an exquisite meal, Uncle Spud got his wallet out and presented us with $50.00 cash as a wedding gift. My Aunt Frances followed suit and gave us an envelope with $25.00 in it. I had borrowed Dad’s ‘56 Ford (W/a Thunderbird engine it) and left him a note as not to steal the car. My plans were to stay in a “Zero Star Hotel” but, the rush of cash allowed us to stay in a brand new Marriott.
After the honeymoon the company hired Bob Breichner as Office Manager. I was given title “Sales Correspondent” and moved to an office next to the Purchasing Agent (Joe Aumen). I worked with both sales and production people. I’d put orders into production and saw to it that they were processed and shipped in a timely manner. Even in those days customers wanted their orders shipped the day before they gave them to you. Time marched on and Rodney Gobrecht came on board.
I accepted an offer to travel the state of Pennsylvania as a Salesman. They furnished me with an new automobile and turned me loose. I enjoyed it. Things got a little better finally so the bank and I purchased a new Ford Falcon from Willie Geisler. It was white with red leather bucket seats.
I went to the office one Saturday morning after being on the road all week. Bill Krebs, (V.P.) was there and asked me into his office. He said, “Gary you know our products, sold them and have had experience in production while you were a sales correspondent. We would like for you to move to California and assume the responsibility of Plant Manager at our plant in Fullerton.” Ten months earlier our daughter was born. Denise Ann was and is still the pride of our lives. She will be 41 in June. I advised Bill that I would discuss this offer with Mary Belle and let him know my decision. I informed Mary Belle of the offer. I also told her that I was not sure if I could handle the job. She was quick to reply, “If they didn’t think you could handle it they would not go to the expense of sending us out there.” GO WEST YOUNG MAN, GO WEST.
I departed Hanover on March 16th, 1964. My Aunt Janet Heusner had a cousin who was looking for transportation to Santa Barbara, California (Maylon Budd). I agreed to get him there if he would help drive. We picked up Route 66 at St. Louis and stopped at points of interest along the way. The Grand Canyon and the Painted Desert were the highlights. Once in California there were multitudes of orange and lemon groves. I left Maylon off at Santa Barbara and proceeded south to Fullerton. While this was taking place Mary Belle and Denise flew to Port Arthur, Texas to stay with Mary Belle’s parents while I searched for housing. They had a great time. I stayed in a Travel Lodge Motel in Fullerton for 30 days and found out that California was everything it was made out to be.(Beautiful, expensive and with smog nearly everyday) Outside my motel room on the back parking lot sat a 1931 Model A Coupe. (not registered) I inquired about it and the motel manager said it belonged to his son who lived in Riverside. “It was not for sale.”
I found a place to live and “Keystone” flew Mary Belle and Denise to Fullerton. Periodically I would stop at the Travel Lodge to drink coffee with the manager. Basically he was the only one I met since arriving (other than staff at work). One day the manager at the Travel Lodge called me and asked if I was still interested in buying the Model A. I answered quickly “Yes”. His son purchased a Model T and decided to restore it instead of the “A job”. The price was $300 not a penny less. Done Deal!
When the plant was first planned the company hired Roy (Whitey) Hauer. He had worked for New York Wire cloth Company in York, PA. for many years. They sent him to Fullerton to set up the wire cloth looms and eventually keep them running. His family and ours became and remain dear friends. They are retired and live in Haynesville, Florida.
I picked up the newly purchased antique car. Did I mention that it would not run? I towed it to our plant and mentioned my problem to our Director of Personnel. He said he would look at it after work and get it running. Sure enough he did. The engine had two valves stuck in the “open position”. He sprayed WD-40 in the cylinders and tapped both valves gently with a hammer and long screwdriver. Both of them seated. He set the time and cleaned all 4 spark plugs and replaced the battery. He cranked it and the engine was hitting on all four. Incidentally, my Father had 2 Model T’s. (1914 Touring Car and a 1915 Roadster, his hobby had rubbed off on me. Life Father, Life Son.) “The A” is five years older that I am. It definitely held up better than I did. We restored it 23 years ago. It still looks good and runs even better. I have 7800 miles on it since rebuilding the engine. The Grandchildren love to ride in the rumble seat. Currently I drive it daily.
On January 15, 1965 I was in the maternity ward at St. Judes Hospital. A nurse entered the waiting room and said Mr. Scholl your wife delivered. My questions was “Are they both okay and is it a boy or a girl?” She said please go into her room as she wants to tell you. She had a spinal block and was not to fluent she looked at me and said “Well, UH YOU GOT YOUR BOY!” I checked him out from cloud nine.
There is a couple in Upland, California that lived in Pomona, California when we arrived out there. They migrated from Hanover in 1952. As a youngster I knew the lady as she was a childhood friend of my Aunt. There names are Ralph and Geraldine (Dimp) Carbaugh. Her maiden name was Wildasen. Her Father and Brother owned and operated Willow Beach Esso Service Center on York Street near Lonces Dairy. That station was my hangout while I was in high school. Blub Leister and George Rohrbaugh will remember those days.
From Fullerton to Pomona via Brea Canyon is approximately 22 miles. We nearly wore out the road going to their house to visit. Ralph’s specialty was “Marinated Leg of Lamb”. The Carbaugh’s acted as our personal tour guides the whole time we lived out there. They showed us most everything of interest in Southern California. Lifesavers they were to us. They have two children (Ted and Dawn) and are Godparents to our son, David.
The other Hanovarian who migrated to California long before us was Ben Mowrer. He worked for the postal service in Long Beach (deceased). His brother was a neighbor of ours on Eichelberger Street. I looked him up in the early going. He wanted to know if I liked professional baseball. I replied “I’ve been a fan of the Detroit Tigers since 1946.) We had him over for a meal and established a great friendship. During that meal he stated when the Tigers come to town we will go. At that time the Angels (American League) had no ballpark. Their games were scheduled at Chavez Ravine in Los Angeles when the Dodges were on road trips. The Tigers came to town and Ben picked me up. The Angels were a poor drawing ball club. The night we were there the attendance was approximately 1200. “Can any of you picture 1200 people in the stands at Chavez Ravine?” I didn’t have any idea what was in store for me. He told me to keep my wallet in my pocket and follow him. He new the parking lot attendant and greeted him-No Charge-got to the turn stiles and he greeted that person and showed him 2 fingers. We entered . NO CHARGE. Where do you want to sit? The Tiger dugout area would be great. We approached the usher and of course Ben knew him also. When I took my seat it was that of Doris Day for the Dodger games. I could reach out and touch the playing surface. Needless to say I was very impressed. Ben called the bat boy and asked him to pass a ball around the clubhouse and get as many of the Tiger Players autographs as possible. It wasn’t long that the bat boy approached us and he handed me the ball. I WAS ELATED. Gene Autry (Owner of the Angels) was there and I obtained his autograph on a newspaper. Over the years I lost it. Detroit had a 3rd baseman from Lancaster, PA. His name was Don Wert and his teammates called him “PotPie” because he was from Dutch Country. Yes, I got to meet him. To sum it up I wound up with 2 broken bats and 2 autographed baseballs. He said we’ll do it again, and we did, several times. We attended a Yankees game and got a partial autographed team ball. Whitey Ford, Roger Marris, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Mel Stottlemeyer and several other big names or on it. Ben new so many people in the Angel Organization. In his personal collection he had over 100 baseballs most of which were autographed. He also had 1st, 2nd and 3rd bases and home plate from Chavez Ravine. After we left California the Angels built there own stadium in Anaheim and Ben began working for the ball club in the clubhouse til he passed away.
In 1966, Keystone decided to close their Fullerton Plant. I was assured by top management that the closing had no bearing on my performance. They were able to manufacture our products much cheaper in the Brookhaven, Mississippi Plant and ship it to a warehouse in California. They asked that I give thought to going back into sales. A territory covering Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida. In the meantime Mary Belle’s Uncles found out about my possible move. They owned and operated a completely integrated poultry operation in Texas and Louisiana. They raised and slaughtered 1,200,000 broiler type chickens every nine weeks. I had followed them over the years in Dunn and Bradstreet and new they were stable and had a 3A rating. They offered me employment in their grow-out operation in Texas. Mother told me as a lad there would be many decisions to make throughout my life. How true she was. It broke my heart to notify management at “Keystone” that I was leaving them.
Time came to depart Southern California and take up my new responsibilities in Jasper, Texas. Mary Belle asked, “what are your intentions for the Model A?” I replied, “We are taking it with us”. We left Fullerton with our Falcon towing the Model A. Our first stop was Gila Bend, Arizona on a Saturday night. Early Sunday morning we continued our journey east. Left the motel and proceeded down a long hill with a 30 degree right hand curve at the bottom. At this point at the bottom of the hill the Model A decided not to follow. The right fender tore up the left quarter panel of the Falcon. We were bounced around but I finally got control without any injuries. It was evident the tow bar couldn’t be used to continue. Mary Belle said to me “Well, what are we going to do now?” This question was asked in a semi sarcastic way and I said, “You are going to drive the Falcon and I the Model A.” We proceeded on and drove the A all of the way to El Paso, Texas. I had the tow bar reinforced and we hooked it up again to proceed on our venture. We reached Port Arthur, Texas (her home) without any other unfortunate incidents. After a day or two there I drove the A to Jasper. Cowboy boots and western hats became most of my wardrobe. We got Denise and David and Airedale puppy and a stud Shetland Pony. We named the dog Amos and the pony Lightning. More on Lighting a little later. Jasper is a lazy deep East Texas Town (then) of 5,000. (This was a Big change from the Los Angeles Area.)
After a year of learning the poultry business from the ground up I became Manager. We mixed feed and delivered same to approximately 50 families who would raise the broilers under contract. We lived on a 60 acre ranch with a man made lake loaded with catfish. Wild hogs and deer were plentiful. We later purchased a home in Jasper and seven good years went by when my wife’s Uncles sold their business to a Co-Op. The Co-Op had its own management team lined out and there was no room for me. I was feeding crushed oyster shell to our laying hens as a calcium supplement to their feed. A salesman who sold us this product called on me one day and I told him what was taking place and that I had to look for employment. He said it is odd but his company (Oyster Shell Products) told him recently that they were looking for a plant manager at their Houston, Texas operation. Oysters Shell Products is a subsidiary of Southern Industries Corporation in Mobile, Alabama. There annual sales were around 1 billion dollars. In later years Southern Industries merged with Draco Corporation of Pittsburgh, PA. I interviewed for the job in Houston and was hired. This meant moving to Houston and getting rid of Lightning. Word of mouth and advertising brought no results so I sold the saddle and threw in Lightning FREE!
The move took place and we purchased a home in the Northshore area of Houston. Back to the big city again. The plant was situated on the ship channel near Galena Park. (20 minutes from home to work.) Dead reefs of oyster shells were dredged by our company out of Mobile Bay. They were then barged to our plant where we cleaned, dried, crushed and bagged them strictly for the poultry industry. We also had bulk facilities to load rail cars.
Living in Houston allowed us to see sporting events at the Astrodome. The beaches at Galveston were close. Odd as it may seem we enjoyed our stay in Houston. Management found out that I had previous sales experience so I was given the sales responsibility for Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Louisiana. This brought about our move to Tyler, Texas. (now approximately 80,000 population). Tyler is the Rose Capital of the World. It has very little industry. The backbone of the city has been oil and gas however drilling in the immediate area was minute. The town houses geologists, investors and all kinds of oil/gas service companies. H.L. Hunt officed and lived here in the 30's and 40's. He developed an oil field several miles east of Tyler. The discovery well was drilled in the 30's. It was named the Daisy Bradford #1 and until just recently was still producing crude oil (Texas Tea)
Prior to moving I learned that Ethyl Knarr (Reindollar) and her family lived here in Tyler. Her husband, Donald R. Knarr is a family practitioner. When we got settled we knew we needed a doctor and chose him. Our family and theirs became the closest of friends. You will recall I entered the navy with her brother, Fern LeRoy (Moon) Reindollar. Moon and his wife, Shirley visit quite frequently as they have a daughter living in Tyler also. We have had a multitude of great times over the years. During the 30 years we have lived here we have been honored by visits from Larry Rohrbaugh and family; Carol Keller; and Judy Garrett Winebrenner; Carolyn Clausen Harrell and hubby, Jerry (six of him are a dozen); Sylvia Reck Sterner and hubby Ray; Ben Huffnaugle (deceased) and wife, Barb (Balabin); Delores (Kopp) Chappel & Sam; John Feeser and wife, Golda; Moon and Shirley Reindollar; and Beulah and Mike Wildason (previous owner of Willow Beach Service Center, on York Street, in Hanover) they now live in Pomona, California; Geraldine and Ralph Carbaugh; Sis Wisensale; Fran and Mary Ann Beidlespaugh and Ron and Judy (Mowrer) Gerris.
Tyler seemed like it would be advantageous for operational purposes as well as raising our family. The city has a small airport which was convenient for commuter services to Dallas/Fort Worth. I was traveling approximately 65,000 car miles and 15 to 20,000 air miles annually. During that time I looked up Wayne Grove in Arizona and Jerry Duck in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I developed a large account at the Port of Catoosa (Tulsa, Oklahoma). A company was loading barges of corn and milo and sending them through several locks and dams to the Mississippi River and then on to New Orleans for export. This company was bringing their barges back to Catoosa empty. I convinced the owner of this company to set up a bagging operation and act as a distributor for our products. This meant he could bring our product back to Catoosa on at least some of his barges. I convinced him that trucks out of the northern parts of the good ole USA could unload their grain and load oyster shell in lieu of going all the way to our plant in Houston. A building was erected and became functional. The first order I received consisted of four barges of our product. The operation flourished and the feather was in my hat. BUT, this brought about a decision by management to transfer me to Tulsa, Oklahoma so that I would have more control over the distribution facilities. For the first time in my working career I learned to say no knowing this reply would cost me my job. I hesitated on giving management my decision in order that I might check out other job opportunities. Our next door neighbor was a successful Petroleum Engineer with his own company. He learned of my situation and offered me a position in administration. I accepted his offer and tenured my resignation. He had other consultants working for him and all were on separate projects. He came into my office and handed me a hard hat and told me to go play engineer??? He said that a company was desiring to core an oil well that was being drilled about 20 miles from town. During my indoctrination he had me on several drilling rigs in order for me to have some idea as to what took place. The company which furnished the coring tools (diamond bits and core barrels) was located real close to our pipe yard. I went there and followed there truck to the job. After I was on location I visited with the coring truck driver and asked what he could tell me about the procedure that was about to take place. He said they would bring the drill pipe out of the hole and we would install the diamond bit and core barrel and go back in the hole to the coring zone and drill ahead. He told me that you rotate the bit 15 rpm with 7,000 pounds of weight on the bit. When you reach bottom drill 30 feet (the length of the core barrel) and come out of the hole. I thanked him and here goes. I put my hard hat on and climbed the ladder to the rig floor (now it was dark) and the driller asked if I was the Company man and I replied “You Got It”. Fortunately he asked ever question that I had asked the core Barrel truck driver. I had the right answers and the process began. My boss told me when he sent me out there that he would have a man relieve me that night. (2 days later my relief arrived. Needless to say I learned an awful lot about coring and other things that took place during normal drilling operations. I snowed my way through it AGAIN. As time went on John (boss) sent me out on jobs of different types. After one and a half years I had pretty much learned most of the ins and outs of drilling oil and gas wells and completing them. Eventually I became a consultant.
In the late 70's the oil/gas industry plunged. John’s other consultants one by one went different directions. A Canadian Company (Saxton Petroleum Corporation) approached John and requested that he drill a well on a large lease about 70 miles away. He drilled it and completed it. It was a very profitable venture as it not only produced gas but a high volume of distilate. I contributed to the work on this well and “Saxton” was so impressed that they offered John and me permanent employment. With the oil/gas industry being in a depressed status John recommended we accept the offer. On this lease we continued to drill and made 20 more profitable wells. It was necessary for us to dryhole and abandon only 2. We built a gas plant and pipeline which ran about 30 miles west of the lease. As time marched on the company began sending me to South Texas and Kansas to drill and complete wells. Most of these wells took four weeks to complete. I was furnished a 40' self-contained trailer house on each and every job. I was always on location from start to finish of the job. Things continued to get worse in the industry and they decided to dismiss John and of all things keep me. Salaries had some part in the decision of this action. Things rocked along and I gained field superintendent status. The company continued to weather the financial storm but eventually all key personnel were summoned to a meeting in which the company president presided. He informed us that “Saxton” was going to vacate their Texas Office. They laid off the geologist, the landman, the production superintendent and YOURS TRULY. We were thanked for our services and wished well on our future endeavors. I was not disappointed. It was time for me to become a home body. I laid off for a year but being the productive person that I was I felt I had to get back to work. Our son, David, was working part time as a rural postal carrier for the U. S. Postal Service. Knowing my situation he suggested that I take the exam to be a rural mail carrier. I studied for the exam and received five points for being a veteran and scored in the high nineties. I was put on the seniority list at the bottom. I was finally hired as a sub after a 6 month wait. Eventually I became eligible for a full time route. I bid on the route on which we live. I became my own mailman. The job was right for me and I was able to have lunch at the house daily. I loved the work and became friends with just about everyone on my route (535 residences/34 miles)
In July, 2002 Mary Belle, Denise Ann, my wonderful son-in-law, Johnny and their children Sam and Lauren and I departed Tyler for a vacation to Hanover. Sam, 9 years, is a huge NASCAR fan. Bobby LaBonte is his favorite driver. I promised him a trip on this vacation to a race at Long Pond, PA in the Poconos. 6 of us planned to go but I began to feel bad and backed out, we were being accommodated by my cousin Gayle and her husband, Dan Mowrer. Denise took my place and the race was enjoyed by all. When they returned my health was deteriorating. I was picked up by ambulance and transported to York Hospital where my family was informed that I had renal failure and congestive heart failure. My family was informed that the outlook was grim and David and his family (lovely wife, Tana, son, Drew and daughter, Morgan)were advised to fly in to see me. I stayed 11 days in the York hospital. After 8 days David began crowding the doctors about flying me home to Texas. The Doctors had hoped that I would remain there for at least another week but they agreed and on the 12th day I was flown home to Tyler to be admitted in the hospital here. I spent another 11 days hospitalized. (let me insert “I’m not seeking sympathy”) Extensive testing revealed that only 1/3 of my heart is functioning and I have a leaking heart valve. I lost a kidney (cancer) 7 years ago and because of this no heart operation can be performed. In order to operate dye would be required and the insertion of that would most likely damage/destroy my good kidney. During this ordeal I lost 55 pounds. I went to cardiac rehab and starting gaining some weight and slowly rebuilt strength. Never once did I experience any heart or chest pain. The snowball kept rolling and they found a spot on my lung but ruled out cancer. I have been a diabetic now for many years. I developed a diabetic ulcer on the left side of my big toe (right foot). It was nearly 3 years in healing. Then in mid 2003 I had a toe removed, shortly after 2 more and eventually the last two. I called Jerry Harrell in New York to advise him of my misfortune. Without any sign of concern or good wishes he asked, “Do you want me to send a Tow Truck”. I told you previously 6 of him are a dozen.
Snowball continues to roll. Last summer Mary Belle had to call 911 and I was again admitted to the hospital, this time with a mild heart attack. I bounced back quickly and while in the hospital my cardiologist suggested that I have a Bio Ventricular Defibulator inserted in my chest. After this procedure and a short period of recovery I have undergone 2 skin graphs for my foot. Neither graph was successful but I am currently healing quite nicely. Mary Belle dresses my foot daily and she assures me it is slow but sure to heal. But again, I am without pain, I walk on my heel and my quality of life is good. My precious family and friends have been so very supportive of me during this calamity. This memoir was written in January, 2004. For a long time I planned to do this primarily for my grandchildren and future Scholl’s to come.
It is time now for that snowball to stop rolling or better yet melt. Needless to say my working days are over and I am limited now to lifting no more than 10 pounds. I thank our Lord and Savior for everyday. Hope you enjoyed this writing. Our grandson, Drew (16) is the only one left to carry on the family name and I have talked to him about it.
It is probably a little late in life but I would still like to leave you with the following: (If you turn a straw broom handle 180 degrees after each sweep the broom will always wear flat on the bottom in lieu of it being “half mooned”). Have I been a conservative or what?
God Bless You and Yours! Remember the Orange and Black.
p.s. If you need insurance, our son is a State Farm Agent. I get a piece of the pie on all new accounts I send his way. HA! HA!