OCTOBER 3, 1965
On a crisp October morning, our second child was about to join our Wolff Pack. We still had no idea if it would be a boy or a girl, but we were prepared with names picked out for either one. Jennifer Ann Wolff was decided on if a girl was born and Gregory Alan Wolff if a boy.
The name selection for a boy created quite a controversy with my parents. Mother just assumed we would follow the tradition that was started with Marvin Eugene Wolff, Marvin Eugene Wolff, Jr. and of course Marvin Eugene Wolff, III. I was the stumbling block when it came to the “family tradition”!
These were my thoughts on the issue. Immediately after I was born, I was nicknamed “Skippy” as I was considered the skipper of the ship. The next problem arose when I was enrolled for school. Was it Marvin Eugene Wolff, Jr.? No, it was Gene Wolff! My playmates and family called me Skippy, but at school I was Gene. Grandpa Wolff was the only one who deferred to the use of Gene. After graduation from high school, I enrolled at Purdue as Marvin Eugene Wolff, Jr. and the name Marvin followed me to work. Work and Apprentice school…Marvin, Friends and family…Skip, old classmates…Gene.
If we had a son,I did not want him to go through that confusion. Carole diplomatically deferred the son naming to me and we headed to Community Hospital with our selected names ready for whoever popped out!
Greg was born that day and Dad came to the hospital to visit, but Mother didn’t. It was just one small protest, because once Greg was home, they were both there!
Debbie loved her new brother and was always by his side like a mother hen. She loved to rock him in his cradle and sing to him.
Carole was recovering from an iron deficiency and Greg was a little anemic, but was coming along fine. I took a few days off from work to help out a little, but still had to attend night classed for the apprentice school.
With all the October excitement going on, Thanksgiving kind of snuck up on us this year. But, Esther was prepared as usual with turkey and all the fixin`s! We finally were able to sneak another photo of Carole`s mother, only because she thought she wasn’t in it.
Debbie, as always, keeping an eye on Greg as we prepared for the Christmas season. Apprentice wages were not the best, but we had a great Christmas and splurged on a few things. The main spirit was thankfulness that we were a family together in a comfortable home and that we shared an optimistic outlook for the future.
Of course, Mother came around and got over her huff once Greg came home and we enjoyed Christmas at their Wolff`s Den.
Christmas was always hectic and exciting as we were lucky enough to have both grandparents and great-grandparents around to share Christmas with. So five Christmases were enjoyed by all!
Not much of anything going on this spring except work and apprentice school. Of course Greg was growing like a weed and Debbie was still enamored with him.
Two years into my four year apprenticeship and I had been working the day shift at Guide all of this time. That was the norm for apprentices, because day shift had more machinist and journeymen for us to work with. We had a required number of training hours on each machine with a skilled machinist. After my two years, I had completed almost all of my machine time. Getting the machine time in early was required so that as we began to train under a journeyman tool and die maker we were expected to do our own machining as needed.
A fellow apprentice and I discussed the appeal of working third shift, however no apprentices had ever been placed on third shift before.
In 1963 our apprentice class was one of the largest ever started at one time and this did create some scheduling problems with our training requirements. We planned to use this to our advantage with our plea to be placed on third shift. Not only would we get a 10% third shift pay premium, but there would be more machines open for our use as we worked on our die making details. We would also be available to run service on the tools and dies out in the plant, under a journeyman’s supervision of course. Sounded like a no brainer to us.
A few of the dozen or more metal working machines that we served time on are shown here.
A few weeks later I was called to the general foreman`s office. It seemed our idea about third shift made its` way to the tool rooms superintendent`s desk and he supported the idea. We were to start third shift next week! This was not achieved without a stern warning. “Don’t screw this up or third shift will never have another apprentice!” I went on to complete my remaining apprentice hours on third shift.
We enjoyed a nice sized back yard across from the Falls Park and added a swing set for the kids. Well, for Debbie right now.
We just finished planting the boxwood hedge along the north side of the house.
Carole`s mother, Esther, worked as an inspector for Micro-Matic Hone corporation in Pendleton. Carole would frequently take the kids on a stroll to the plant and have lunch with her.
My being on third shift afforded me a few extra perks. Preparing for the new model change over, spring was a very busy and hectic time for Guide. We were finishing up the new production dies, tools and fixtures for the new model year coming up this fall. Overtime was required in order to complete projects in time to run trial parts prior to production start up.
One of the perks was that we were told we were going to have to work weekends. Apprentices were seldom given the oportunity to work overtime, but they were going to try it on third shift!
The other perk was that the extra hours worked, counted toward my required number of apprentice training hours!
The Barrett clan had the regular summer family get together dinner. A good photo op of Mother`s family!
Left to right, Marv & Gerrie Wolff, Jim & Jin Prevo, Jay & Dorthy(Dot) Barrett, Fred Scarcelli, Marg & Walt Schimmer, Grandpa Barrett and Mae Scarcelli.
While I had the camera out, I had Dad take some candid shots of Debbie and us. (Greg was staying with Goggie.)
Debbie`s third birthday was celebrated twice this year, one with family and one with friends.
1966, OCTOBER 3
How time flies. Greg`s birthday party at Goggie`s house, captured two of the hardest people in the world to photograph, Esther Laws and her mother Grace Pettigrew!
Another sneak photo of Esther in her kitchen shows her cabinet doors that were warped and would not close. I found some louvered shutters and trimmed them to fit. Adding some new hardware and her cabinet doors were good again. Of course we had to fight over her wanting, no…demanding, to pay me. I lost!
We got Greg his beloved “Horsey” for his birthday since it was an on the floor type. He loved it.
Meanwhile, Debbie was enjoying her audio story books while using my stereo headphones.
We decided this would be our last Christmas in this house. It was great, but with two kids now, the two bedrooms were crowded. We began weighing our options.
Debbie got her own colonial rocker this year.
Christmas at Mother and Dad`s was great. We even enjoyed putting together Debbie’s tea table she received from them.
Debbie`s visit with Santa went well. She had a lot of questions, which Santa was eager to answer. Greg did not like Santa!
We wished Santa could give us an easy answer to our question concerning where to move. We weighed all the pros and cons of staying in Pendleton versus moving to Anderson. Anderson won out.
Anderson schools, at the time, offered a broader curriculum and many more extra curricular activities. We also felt the need for the kids to grow up in and experience the ethnic and cultural social changes which Anderson provided. And of course, most of our entertainment was in Anderson.
Debbie enjoyed playing with her little brother and encouraging him to walk.
Once again, Mother and Dad were not pleased with our decision. They had planned on our staying in the house for a longer period of time and now talked about the dreaded prospect of selling the house. Selling the house? We thought it was a retirement investment! Why not rent it? No, it had to be sold.
We of course went ahead with our plans and found a nice three bedroom rental on a quite dead end street on Lafayette Circle in north Anderson.
Our third rental had much more room for our expanded family plus an attached garage which we used for a pool room. Our (my) Christmas/Graduation present was a new pool table, so the car stayed outside.
Shortly after we were settled in, we were in the back bedroom putting some things away when, from the living room, Greg`s curiosity got the best of him and he took his first steps to find out what we were doing! Luckily, he was very slow and I was able to grab the camera.
Debbie kept Greg occupied with her story telling skills.
After our hectic move and the resettling, I attended my Anderson Apprentice School graduation ceremonies. With the help of overtime hours, I had completed my hourly training requirements and was now a Journeyman Tool and Die Maker!
My identification badge showed I worked in the 390 tool room department and my time clock number was 077.
Hourly rate employees had to “ring” in and out at the beginning and end of our shift. The term “ring in” was tagged because as the time card was pushed down into the time clock, it would “ring” to let you know it was stamped on your card. Back in those days, your social security number was on almost everything, including the top of your time card.
We had tricycles provided for us to run service on the tools and dies out in the plant. It did cover several acres!
Greg had a tricycle too! But, Debbie had to make sure it was safe for him. The circle, with its sidewalks, made a great play area.
We only had one incident with fast traffic and it was motorcycles. We dads in the neighborhood tried talking to the riders about slowing down, to no avail. So, one day we all waited for their usual race with our rakes and broom handles at the ready. As the cycles started down the circle we postured as if to throw the rake and broom handles through the spokes of their wheels. For some reason they found another race route!
We rescued our first dog, a shepherd mix. He rapidly became one of the family and played with all the neighborhood kids.
Speaking of neighborhood kids, these are just a few of them with Debbie. Look at all the toe heads…must be something in the water! Greg`s was snow white too.
I started out working regular overtime after graduation, however because of seniority rules I was transferred to second shift. I hated second shift! It seemed as though we couldn’t get anything done at home. Before you knew it, it was time to go to work and when I got home everyone was ready for bed.
On the weekends most of the adults were up late sitting and visiting on their porches or driveways. So, when I would get home, Carole and I would have coffee and visit and solve the world problems with the neighbors.
At work I heard about a house in north Anderson that was just refurbished and ready to rent. It had larger rooms and kitchen and a big back yard. It was in the Greenbrier Addition, Aspen Court, on a corner lot with privacy shrubs along both streets. We went to see it and put down a deposit.
We moved in just before Greg`s second birthday. Before we left the old neighborhood, one of the families offered to have a birthday party for Greg since all his friends were there. We thankfully accepted and had a great birthday party and farewell!
OUR FOURTH HOUSE RENTAL
Debbie got her first bike, complete with training wheels, just before we left Lafayette Circle.
We settled in just before Thanksgiving and felt we had plenty to be thankful for.
A new avocado green, side by side refrigerator freezer was a great thing to be thankful for in 1967!
Another thing to be thankful for was being offered the opportunity to go on salary at work to help out in the tool design department. The winter months were always the overtime months for tool designing getting ready for the next years lighting products. I decided to give it a try. We worked 10 hour days and 8 hours on Saturday.
Carole and I built Debbie a vanity and bench for her bedroom this Christmas. Greg graduated from the glockenspiel to a ukulele this year and Carole broke a string while tuning it.
As usual we had the many Christmases with our families and it has been a great year for The Wolff’s Den!
Easter rolled around and we paid Grandma Wolff a visit at her assisted living home in Westfield. The annual Easter egg hunt was enjoyed at the original Wolff`s Den.
As the weather warmed the bikes and trikes emerged for their summer fun. Debbie had her training wheels removed from her bike and Carole helped with riding lessons.
Greg enjoyed the slight incline on our driveway to race downhill to the sidewalk.
Overtime in tool design was coming to an end . I decided to return to the tool room and go back on the clock as their overtime season was about to begin.
Carole had been having severe abdominal pain that would come and go. The doctor was pretty sure it was gall bladder attaches, but each time tests were run, they didn’t show any blockage. Surgery couldn`t be done without the tests showing positive blockage.
Debbie was finishing her year of pre-school and Carole didn’t have to drive her each day now and that helped. However, the pains persisted.
Finally, a test showed some blockage and surgery was scheduled. Our neighbor lady volunteered to keep the kids during the day for as long as we needed! Let’s get this done.
Backtracking a bit… Carole and I had bought a lot in the new Wooded Ridge addition in Pendleton, before we made the decision to move to Anderson. Now lately, we had been watching the adds for houses for sale in Anderson. We had pretty much decided on the south side of town and the Madison Heights high School district.
Back to present…The surgery went well and the reason it took so long for the tests to show blockage, was that there were no stones. What she had was like sand that would block and then clear out. Well at last that’s over and would be home in a few days.
In the mean time, I heard about a house thad had just been reduced in price by a widow who was eager to move. It was at 4533 Scatterfield Road…Madison Heights school district…Franklin Grade School just down the road.
I made an appointment to see the house. It was a three bedroom, brick ranch style built in 1952 on half acre lot. The 2800 square foot living space included two full baths, large living room with fireplace and built in bookshelves and cabinets, a dining room, large kitchen with breakfast nook and built in pantry, a laundry room, family room with an open beamed ceiling, knotty pine paneling and a fireplace. The furnace room off the kitchen opened into the two car garage and off the end of that was a workshop. It needed some painting and minor maintenance, but I loved it. Carole was being released today. Would she love it too? Could we afford it? What happens next?