I recall so many things and they sometimes jumble together and not enough to link together as a post. So, I will circle the wagons around my uncle Amos Jacob Stahl and his wife Helen Irene Beck-Stahl. They were a good-hearted couple with six kids. George, Barbie (She calls me Tommy so I have to tease her with Barbie and not Barbara), Glenn, Dottie (Dorothy), Anna Gail, and Larry. Each paragraph may be just a short fleeting recollection with Jake , Helen, and family as the only thread.
Their home was perched on a hillside above Indian Head, Pennsylvania. The kids would spread out in the town, playing with their friends. When it was time to eat or for the kids to be home, Jake would stand on the side porch and bellow. It could be heard everywhere in town and kids would head for home.
Helen was an extremely clean person. With all of the kids, I think it was nearly impossible, but she did chores like washing, ironing, baking, etc set for specific days. On top of that she had a room that she did what we would call a “spring cleaning” for each day. She had a little ball of a belly that would jump and shake when she laughed and always dressed to the nines when she left the house, high heels, purse, and pearls.
Jake was an excellent stone mason. Built like a small tank, he was robust, rotund, and had short legs. His always drove an Oldsmobile automobile. The combination of the shortness of his legs and the size of the steering wheel, he ended up with a worn area on the front of his pants. To provide for his family, he moved to Orlando, Florida so that he could work year-round.
I recall stories of the kids taking coal shovels and cardboard to sled ride in the winter while they lived in Pennsylvania. The story was told that they took off their shoes and had them beside the road as they sledded. The snow plow came through and many of the shoes couldn’t be found until the spring thaw.
Once when our family visited for a meal, there were no mashed potatoes left. Jake placed slices of bread on our plates and we were introduced to “gravy bread.”
Helen was struck by lightning. I believe it was three times. Her favorite footwear, like the kids, was bare. They had a small, uncovered, concrete back porch-stoop. She would go out there to shake rugs etc. That is where the nearby strikes jolted her.
When I was stationed in Orlando as a naval corpsman, they would be offended if I didn’t visit every weekend that I was free. It was a bus ride for me to their home, but I was always made welcome. I wanted to pass these memories that I have as a tribute and a thank you to Helen, Jake, and their family.