It didn`t take long after the snow storm, for Mother and Dad to decide that a move was inevitable! They ended up on the north side of Indianapolis at 62nd street and Benford Avenue. After 22 years, this would definitely shorten the drive to work!
Another advantage was the elimination of the steep, long and winding driveway. This was still a rambling ranch style on a level lot.
Meanwhile, we were still enjoying the goofiness of square dancing as we tried to maneuver while keeping our feet in shoe boxes!
Right on schedule, Grandpa and Grandma Barrett came down for a visit and to see the new house.
An unusually warm spring brought out the early rose blooms.
We were able to pass on the kids school pictures to their great grandparents while they were here.
Debbie was in the 5th grade and Greg was in the 3rd grade. They finally managed to get a smile out of him this year!
Franklin Little League try outs for the draft were held this month. Greg was picked up on a minor league team sponsored by Frank Campel Painter.
I was still in charge of the T-Ball League, and was busy organizing try outs and the players draft. Carole was active, volunteering time to the concession stand. We both, along with Debbie, spent a lot of our time at the ball park during the summer.
We did take some time to visit Grandma Wolff at the nursing home in Indianapolis. She would turn 90 years old this December, and was still sharp as a tack. She continues to avidly read her romance novels and watch the soaps on TV. Rheumatoid arthritis has handicapped her somewhat, necessitating the use of a walker.
Updating The Wolff`s Den is a constant operation. This summer we all pitched in to add new siding to the garage and family room. New paint theme from green to brown. Cedar shake shingles to be added to the gable peaks.
Taking the summer off from school this year. We need more time for projects, square dancing, camping, baseball and family. Still working third shift and working the overtime though.
We were saddened to learn about the passing of Mother’s only brother Jay this week. He was Arthur Jay Barrett Jr., named after Grandpa Barrett. He served in the Merchant Marine, shipping supplies to the allies across the Atlantic during WWII.
Arthur Barrett Jr
1 Jul 1918
Oklahoma, United States of America
11 May 1974
Hammond, Lake County, Indiana, United States of America
Chapel Lawn Memorial Gardens
Burial or Cremation Place:
Schererville, Lake County, Indiana, United States of America
Another trip to Kings Island in Cincinnati, and we were able to convince Carole to brave another crossing in the gondola ride. She was very courageous!
Mother was enjoying getting her flowers started at the Roberts Place house. Little upgrade projects were being done, as with all their houses in the past.
Dad was beginning to experience anxiety and depression symptoms, and was seeing a doctor to determine if any treatment was needed.
While watching Greg’s First year of minors, I became acquainted with another player’s dad, Greg Fisher. After watching a few games, we began discussing the many basic baseball fundamentals that were not being taught to these kids. By the end of the season, we decided that even we could do a better job of coaching, and agreed to apply for a minor league team next year!
A square dance friend and I were surprised with homemade birthday cakes! Looks like we may have to get the fire department on standby!
Mother and Dad with Higgins, were enjoying the new surroundings in Indianapolis.
Dad has been prescribed some anxiety medication to see if it would help. He is still working at the Indianapolis Star newspaper, but is under deadline pressures every day, and pushes himself to be perfect. Not a good combination for anxiety issues!
While waiting for a family birthday dinner at Goggie`s, Debbie and Greg decided to play a card game.
School is just around the corner as Debbie will be in the 6th grade and Greg in the 4th.
This month, Grandpa and Grandma Barrett had the first family get together since Jay’s passing.
Left to right: Jin, Gerrie, May, Dot, Marg and Grandma and Grandpa.
I am guessing that the lack of photos during this period of time is due to me taking more 35mm slide pictures and 8mm movies…sorry.
Whiz through three birthdays, four counting Esther’s, and Thanksgiving dinners, we arrive in time for Christmas. Moving our Christmas tree around from year to year has landed it in the dining room this year. Carole took up the photography work or we may not have had any tree photos!
Back in the old days of snail mail, and friends and family exchanging happy Christmas wishes, we displayed our Christmas cards on the fireplace mantle and dining room table.
Still many Christmases and dinners to attend, but Christmas morning always started at home.
Greg had time to set up his monorail train track, and show Carole how it worked before we headed off to other Christmases.
At Esther`s, we had a great Christmas dinner and gift exchange before heading off to Mother and Dad`s.
The first Christmas at the Roberts Place house with Mother and Dad. We didn`t know it would be the only one. Debbie and Greg enjoyed the fireplace there.
Carole and I enjoyed some snacks before dinner. Then Mother and Dad began talking about the house and its` location being sooo close to Binford Avenue and the noise, and with houses all around, there was no view. I sensed a move was in the works!
Continuing my studies at IUPUI, and made the Dean`s List this past year. My Purdue on campus classes and my apprenticeship classes transferred to my class credits, so I am considered a mid-term junior.
The family is still enjoying square dancing, and we travel several times a month, with our Rambling Hoosiers club, to several other clubs in the area. Debbie and Greg enjoy meeting the other kids at the dances and the pitch-in refreshments that are always on hand.
During a break in the weather, we made a trip up north to Lowel, Indiana to visit Grandpa and Grandma Barrett. They had both settled nicely into their new house and surroundings.
Most of their family lived in the nearby area, and paid them frequent visits. Two daughters and a son along with the grandkids keep a close eye on them.
Third shift at work is great. I can flex my sleep to adjust to any day or night activities in which we are involved. This is coming in handy, because last year I was appointed T-Ball director for the Franklin Little League, and with organizational meetings and tryout planning I need to be available mornings and afternoons.
Once again we have school pictures.
Greg was getting better about having his picture taken. He almost smiled this year!
A fellow worker raised miniature poodles, and had a new litter of pups ready for sale. Having lost Cappy, the kids wanted another dog, so we checked out the poodles. An apricot colored one caught our eye, and we named him Brandy.
T-Ball tryouts were held in April, and Greg was drafted by a different coach this year. We bought a regulation Tee-Ball batting post, and also practiced hitting a pitched ball this year.
Debbie was still taking gymnastics and started working on baton twirling this year.
Greg had joined a WMCA boys youth group, that had activities based off of the Native Indian culture…but not necessarily this action!
Carole and I began looking at camper trailers…big camper trailers with solid sides and a roof! We found a new 32 foot fully self contained one at Modern Trailer Sales in Anderson. They installed a wiring harness for the driving lights and a Reese trailer hitch on our 1966 Chevy station wagon. With some temporary license plates we were on our way.
This April, Mother and Dad sold the Barn House, and bought another fixer-upper on Huntsville Road near Pendleton. It set high on a hill off the Huntsville Road curve heading to Anderson.
Dad still had to tend to a long gravel drive again. This house was a long rambling ranch style, so everything was on one level for a change.
The kids, Brandy and Higgins liked the new house!
Warm weather brought out a variety of summer activities, including sidewalk roller skating.
Greg`s bike accident with the water balloons last year didn’t diminish his love of bike riding.
The weather was perfect for our traditional Memorial Day pool opening!
Greg got off of his bike long enough to cool off in the pool.
As school was out for the summer, and in between T-Ball games, we were able to enjoy an outing to Kings Island amusement park.
Of course I had to join in the fun. And, Carole even braved the cable car ride high above the park. She and Debbie were in the gondola ahead of Greg and I. And, as I was taking pictures with the 8mm movie camera, most of what I filmed was of Carole yelling at me to make Greg quit leaning out over the side! We had a great day.
Grandpa and Grandma Barrett drove down to visit and see Mother and Dad`s new house. This was pretty much a tradition with them. I always remember them driving to visit us within the first week of our moves…including the Houston, Texas move. Grandpa was 83 years old now, and had a hip replacement last year! I hope I got some of his genes!
We took our longest trip with the new camper on July 4th. We caravanned with friends to Madison, Indiana for the Madison Boat Races on the Ohio river.
While caravanning, we all had citizen band radios, (CBees) to keep in touch with each other about traffic and upcoming hills or curves…of which there were many in southern Indiana.
Back home in Anderson, the Franklin Little League T-Ball tournament was under way. Greg and his team won their first game, and went on to win the league championship. Greg was selected for the all star team, and they competed in the city tournament, winning a couple of games, but ended up loosing to the eventual city champ.
Summer turned to fall, and we decorated the family room in preparation for Debbie’s 10th birthday party.
This fall, our friends from square dancing, Bill and Sally, invited the campers to their apple orchard in Knightstown for a camp out. They set up their old cider press, and we all picked apples and the kids cranked the press. We enjoyed the best tasting apple cider ever!
As was our camping tradition on the final day, we all pitched in our remaining food for a slow cooked kettle full of hobo stew!
Winter is on its way, and our final camping/square dancing trip of the year took us to Spring Mill State Park, where we celebrated Greg’s 8th birthday. This makes the fourth state park we have camped in this summer.
We did add an improvement to our camping experiences this fall. The nice long patio awning was greatly appreciated when shade trees were not available.
We had Thanksgiving dinner at Mother and Dad’s new Huntsville House this year. The weather made it a chore to get up the long snow covered drive, but we made it.
Dad and greg took time to enjoy a board game after dinner.
Greg was a huge Miami Dolphins football fan, and his wish came true this Christmas when he got his Dolphins jacket.
In preparation for our Christmas visit, Dad was busy plowing the driveway from another snow.
We arrived safely, and the kids enjoyed the fireplace before getting their Christmas stockings.
The old kitchen clock from Felix and May Wolff`s house on High Street, still held the prominent spot on the mantle.
Carole, me, Mother and Debbie enjoyed a gift opening by Mother.
Greg received another great Miami Dolphins gift.
Then, being all bundled up, they had to take advantage of the giant snow covered hill out front.
I recognized some grumbling mutterings from Dad, about the snow and that driveway. That often indicates a need to find other pastures better suited for the times…we’ll see!
I am still going to classes two evenings a week. I get home in time to head for work on the third shift. My sleep schedule is usually to go to bed when I get home and get up when the kids get home from school about 3 PM.
School pictures for this year were brought home and again shared with family members.
With growing up in a family of picture takers, and always having a camera on him, I never did understand why Greg disliked having his portrait picture taken. No pictures with Santa and Debbie would go with him to convince him its ok to have his school picture taken. Go figure?!
We were still square dancing with some really fun people, and began to take what is called round dancing lessons.
Round dancing is a couples dance with specific steps and moves which are choreographed to a country song, and cued by the caller. The kids joined in on the lessons.
Springtime was also a time to get the camper and equipment put in order and ready to go.
Easter this year was rainy and cold, so indoor activities were planned for the day.
Greg had T-Ball tryouts this April in preparation for the teams draft. The program was new to the local Little League Organization and the league decided to try using only teenage coaches and managers. Our league was Franklin Little League and the baseball diamond and concession stand was behind the Franklin Grade School. The parents were expected to volunteer by umpiring, keeping score or working in the concession stand. Of course we jumped in with all four feet!
It turned out that our neighbors son drafted Greg and will be his coach this year. The emphasis on T-Ball was teaching the fundamental skills of baseball and not so much on winning or losing. So, lots of practice.
Spring was always a time when, as a kid, we would buy or make kites, and hope for the perfect windy spring day to lift them aloft. Debbie and Greg followed the tradition at the Barn House this spring.
Mother and Dad were still enjoying their menagerie and the relaxing fish pond. The pond started as a 55 gallon barrel with the ends cut out and buried in a soggy area. It filled with water and was used to irrigate the gardens.
The kids loved the tall swing that hung from a high branch in the tree, and being pushed real high by Grandpa!
After all that excitement, a nice relaxing nap in the rope hammock was a time to cherish.
Even with T-Ball games always being played on Saturday mornings, we still found time to go camping. Many week-ends Greg and I would get up early and drive back to Anderson for his game and then go back to the campground for the remainder of the week-end.
On one particular outing at Richard Leiber State park, we didn’t have to leave for a game because a severe thunder storm with high winds was moving across central Indiana. We were in the pop-up-tent camper with our awning staked down outside the tent flap…it was the first to go! While trying to hold the tent flap closed, we were being pelted with rain mist that was being blown through the canvas top. After much swaying and bouncing, the storm finally passed, and we set about rounding up our awning and possibles from throughout our camp sight. Maybe we should think about a regular camper trailer!?
This Summer saw the beginning of the end of The Wolffs Den Barn House. Mother and Dad listed the property for sale!
It wasn’t really a shock, because it had been discussed for quite some time. But, to actually see the listing…it left a lump in my throat.
This was the place where, after all of the moving and moving, I was finally provided with the secure roots that helped me develop into the person I am today. Those were fantastic years, and now Carole and I are starting to put down those same secure roots which will enable our family to grow and develop.
On a balmy autumn afternoon, Carole and I were alarmed to see a neighbor bringing Greg home. He had been bike riding, and some friends thought it would be fun to pelt him with water balloons as he rode by. But, in this case, they soon realized its all fun and games till someone gets hurt!
The water balloons bursting on Greg`s bike and his head, made him crash his bike on the pavement. He got a chipped tooth, scraped and cut elbow and forehead, but no broken bones! All`s well that ends well.
Debbie`s birthday included two cakes this year. Happy 9th Birthday!
Carole baked a Snoopy cake for Greg`s 7th Birthday.
Debbie was invited to a Halloween party, and had a hard time deciding on which costume to wear.
One last morning photo before the school bus comes.
Having the last Christmas at the Barn House was a little nostalgic. But, we all were in great spirits and enjoyed the day.
Dad always enjoyed Christmas with the kids, and this year was no different!
The Laws` Christmas was busy as usual with the cousins.
Our Christmas at home was a little more relaxing after the whirlwind family gatherings. We had time to enjoy some games before our big day.
Carole made square dance dresses for her and Debbie, complete with Debbie`s first crinoline!
Our Christmas morning, and not to worry, he won’t shoot his eye out! It`s a toy rifle.
As the year comes to an end, we reflect back on our progressions, and we are quite comfortable with this place and time in our lives!
Mother and Dad, on the other hand, after 20 years at the Barn House, have agin been bitten by the rambling bug! Although I lived there only half that time, it was like growing up in Mayberry and living in the Happy Days TV series. It will be missed.
During the winter months, Debbie showed interest in her electric piano and we decided to pursue piano lessons. We then found a vintage upright piano at a reasonable price. One of my fellow tool room workers had a working hobby of piano tuning and repair. He came over and checked out our piano and said it only needed a few minor tuning peg repairs. We had those repaired and then tuned and Debbie was on her way.
We decided to update the stove to match the avocado green fridge and portable dishwasher. Carole enjoyed the long phone cord I added to our land line, (our only line)!
We also decided to join some of our friends and take square dance lessons this winter. After a few months we graduated and received our Rambling Hoosiers name badges!
Mother and Dad decided to sell the Barn House and the realtor strongly suggested the property be sold as a total package, which meant Grandpa and Grandma Barrett would have to sell also. Grandpa`s arthritis in his hip was now requiring a cane or walker to help his mobility.
They discussed moving to a smaller place in northern Indiana to be near their other kids and grandkids.
Back to our other decisions this year. The UAW local agreement was settled and one of the demands that was agreed to was about to impact me. The agreement involved my tooling group and the process organization. Process engineering had a group of classified workers that built paint shields and material handling tools. They wanted to be classified tool makers and they were put in a tool maker classification following the settlement.
This affected me because as a tool and die maker I was also qualified to be a tool maker. The catch had to do with seniority which determined my shift preference options. As a tool and die maker I was on the bottom of the seniority list and that meant I would be on second shift for a very, very long time. As a tool maker I would be on the top of the seniority list, because the newly classified tool makers would have a seniority date as of the contract signing and my seniority date would be my journeyman date.
After some discussion I submitted my request to transfer to the toolmaker classification in the process engineering group. I had the option to return to the tool and die classification if I wished.
Debbie was still taking dance lessons and they just finished their spring revue. Debbie is top left.
More pictures had come home from Franklin Elementary School; Greg`s kindergarten photo and Debbie`s 2nd grade picture.
Even though Mother and Dad decided to sell the homestead, their natural instinct to constantly improve drove them to complete past planned projects. This included getting a burrow and her little one. That was the reason for the higher fence down the back field!
Adding a corral fence across the back field was in the plans.
This must have been the year of the fence, as a new fence was added to the back yard fish pond.
Not to be outdone, new fence was extended down the curve of the drive.
The finishing touch was to add and spread tons of crushed stone on the half mile of driveway.
We found out from our neighbors son that there was a youth baseball program for 6 and 7 year olds. It was T-Ball, where the batters hit a baseball off of a rubber “T” set on home plate. The age limit required the player to be 6 years old to join the league in April, so Greg would have to wait until next season to join. But, practice began!
A tetherball pole was added to the backyard playground and competition among youth and adults got fierce!
Mother and Dad were still maintaining and improving the Barn House. This included the frequent cleaning of the family room fish pond.
Dad was busy finishing building the wood awnings for the upper windows. Completed the painting and started hanging them.
My transfer request for tool maker was approved and I moved my toolbox and things to my new department 345 paint shields. My first order of business was to submit a shift preference request for day shift.
Meanwhile, unbeknownst to us, Esther had entered a drawing for a pop up tent trailer camper at the local grocery store. SHE WON! She had to decide whether to keep it or sell it. She wanted someone to get some good out of her good fortune and since we were the only ones in the family that were interested in camping; we got the honors.
I added a trailer hitch and light harness plug to the 66 Chevy station wagon and with Ester we picked up her prize! We started off with picnic lunches and a cooler for day trip outings to nearby state parks. Soon we added a propane cookstove, lantern and porta-potty for overnight outings.
Debbie still has her cast on for her fractured wrist. She and some of the neighborhood kids were playing in the back yard, climbing the fruit trees. In the process, one of the kids pulled her down from the tree and she landed awkwardly on her arm. No child abuse investigation!
After much discussion and negotiating, Mother and Dad purchased Grandpa and Grandma`s “Ravens Roost”. Grandpa and Grandma then moved to a house close to Aunt Virginia “Gin” and Uncle Jim in northern Indiana. Grandpa immediately started laying out a plot for next years garden!
While I was on day shift for my orientation period in paint shields my shift preference came through….no more second shift!!!
Back at the Barn House, Dad`s brother Willard “Bill” and wife Edna came for a visit. They were also making decisions on where to move. During the visit the discussion came up about the empty “Ravens Roost” and what the plans were
for it. Since they were looking for an interim place to stay and Mother and Dad didn’t know exactly when they would put the property up for sale, it was decided they would rent Willard and Edna the house for a year.
Dad and Willard did some roof repairs and other minor maintenance on the house after the move.
Debbie`s 8th birthday, how time flies! Tumbling, dancing and piano lessons, oh my!
Debbie had a very nice birthday party this year with kids from the neighborhood, school and square dancing.
Finishing up our camping for the year included a trip to Clifty Falls State Park with great scenery and plenty of hiking.
We added an awning extension to the tent camper along with a food cabinet and folding Table this year.
Many of the Rambling Hoosiers camp and have camping trailers or motor homes. Usually a camping trip is combined with a square dance at the camp site. The local campground at Anderson was Lost Lake located east off of 38th street. Debbie caught her first blue gill there.
Greg`s 6th birthday with friends was mostly in the backyard play ground with dodge ball. baseball, tetherball and the swing set.
Halloween was a time for trick-or-treat in the neighborhood and Captain America with the Fairy Princess would get their share.
My day shift hours were from 6:45 to 3:15 and I soon realized I didn’t much care for the early morning hours, especially in the winter. I turned in a shift preference request for third shift, 10:45 to 7:15. This way I had the option of going to bed in the morning and getting up when the kids got home from school, or staying up for appointments, school activities or home projects.
Greg never did warm up to Santa much, but this year we were able to finally get a Santa Christmas Picture!
Thanksgiving seemed a little hollow this year without the big Barrett clan gathering. But, other changes were in the wintery wind and before we knew it, it was Christmas. Not just any Christmas; maybe the last Christmas in the Barn House!
During the winter months, while impatiently waiting for spring weather and summer projects, we occupied some of our time playing with one of the kids games. I think this was called a spin and hop. It was a battery operated disc which sat on the floor with a two foot plastic rod extending from its` center. The disc would spin, moving the rod around in a circle about eight inches off the floor. The object was to hop over the rod as it rapidly rotated around. The person with the most successful hops was the winner. With Dad pushing down on my shoulder, I had a slight handicap!
A new discussion surfaced this winter. Mother and Dad talked about their thoughts concerning retirement. Dad wasn’t 50 years old yet, what brought this on? One of their concerns was whether we would be interested in buying the Barn House sometime in the future. Having just started our own Wolffs Den, the idea had never entered our minds. We would have to give this some thought.
We did suggest that we didn’t see how they could keep up the pace of doing maintenance and upkeep as they got older. But, that was a long way off.
While Greg was waiting to start kindergarten this fall, Debbie was enjoying her first grade experiences. School pictures were sent home this week and Debbies` first grade pictures were shared with family and friends.
Back in the tool room, talk was going around about a possible UAW strike against GM this contract year. The top priority issue was to be able to retire after 30 years of service with full pension and health benefits. Buttons were being worn with “30 & OUT” on them to support the union demands. September was the contract expiration date. Better start putting some money back!
Easter and spring arrived and the dinners and Easter egg hunts were here. Outdoor Easter surprises at Mother and Dad`s were a regular tradition.
Easter treats and a big family dinner was always on hand for the Laws` family at Esthers`. But, first you had to wash up!
With Grace staying with Esther, we have noticed several items missing from the old Pettigrew homestead. Esther and her sisters decided to clear out the the main items from the house. After all of the keepsakes were salvaged and dispersed among the sisters we noticed the old cast iron laundry kettle in the back yard. We asked if anyone wanted it and with the response being a resounding NO, we “inherited” our part of family history. It soon became our focal point flower pot.
During a visit with Grandma Wolff one weekend, she was feeling in good spirits and I asked her if she would enjoy going for a ride to see our new house. Arthritis was becoming a mobility problem for her but, she was determined not to let it keep her down.
During her visit I was able to get another rare posed photo with Debbie. One of the best pictures she ever had taken and it only took 86 years for someone to capture it!
Debbie was still working on tumbling and gymnastics and enjoyed the open air practice area of the front yard.
Dad even got into the spirit of the event!
May was also tree planting time and we had plenty of help planting the sycamore, and redbud saplings. The Anderson Mayor wanted to create a “Redbud Capitol of Indiana” and encouraged everyone to plant redbuds this summer.
Our new wheelbarrow came in handy today with six trees to plant and the flagstone stacked by the garage for another project on the way.
Grandpa and Grandma Barrett were enjoying the blooms on their wisteria that they trained into a bush.
Memorial Day saw both of the Wolff Dens celebrating by installing 20 foot flag poles in our yards. We used 2 inch galvanized water pipe which we painted white. It was then inserted into 2 1/2 inch pipe which we buried and cemented in the
ground. I drilled and tapped three screw holes into the top of the ground pipe to hold the flag pole in place. It could also easily be removed for future painting or maintenance.
The same procedure was used at Mother and Dad’s Pole raising, only Dad had a straw boss to help him.
Just one final job to finish up this month…the traditional Memorial Day pool opening!
With the trees planted and the flag proudly flying, we began another landscaping project. The shrubs outside the dining room window were surrounded by sod which reached out to the sidewalk and was difficult to mow and trim.
The solution was to replace the sod with flagstone pavers and gravel. Let’s get busy.
Mother and Dad were still working on finishing touches and additions to their Wolff Den that seemed to never end.
The carport needed a brick walkway to the sunroom entrance and a fence leading to the back yard.
We all experienced a sad period this month with the passing of Carole`s Grandmother, Grace Pettigrew. She was 93 years old and buried in the Pettigrew family plot at Mendon Cemetery south of Pendleton.
Progress continues on with the painting of the garage, work room and family room siding.
Carole took on the project of shampooing our oval braided family room rug. With the pool table as a hindrance, she decided to tackle the job outside.
Grandpa and Grandma Barrett were still working their huge vegetable garden and tending the many berry bushes and fruit trees.
Mother and Dad were still questioning what to do with the Barn House and I could tell they were getting restless. This was by far the longest they had ever lived in one place. I remember during my freshman year of high school, the conversation came up about selling and maybe moving to West Virginia. I said that if they did I was somehow going to stay in Pendleton and finish school here.
Carole and I discussed the option of buying the Barn House and both agreed it would be way more work and upkeep than we wanted. As one small example, in 1955, Dad had planted multaflora rose bushes along the edge of the drive from the front gate to the cow barn. They grew so fast that they had to be trimmed twice a year to keep them from scratching the car as we drove down the drive. This was a week long project.
Add in the pruning and care of over 55 trees, almost 3 acres of lawn to mow, dozens of flower beds to weed and tend not to mention the quarter mile gravel drive that needed stone and grading every so often. Oh, and then there was the red wood Barn House and out buildings and pond! Guess what we decided?
Even while considering selling the Barn House, additions continued. I helped Dad put in fence posts and stretch farm fence from the cow barn to the back field. This was to keep the jumping goats out of the garden area.
Pendleton was celebrating its` sesquicentennial this summer and Mother along with most of the population got into the spirit of the occasion. Mother located a period hat and had a nice turn of the century outfit made.
We have had heavy rains before, but this fall one came down that beat anything we had ever seen before. The little drainage creek that floes through the field south of the Barn House is usually 2 to 3 feet deep and 6 to 8 feet wide. It empties into Fall Creek just north of Pendleton. This flood crested to 12 feet deep and 100 yards wide in spots. This was taken from the Barn House roof, looking south toward highway 67 and Pendleton.
Debbies` birthday was this month and I guess I must have taken 8mm movies of the celebrations, because this is the only picture I could locate from that day. Go figure.
Greg had finished his first T-Ball season and really enjoyed it. Now it was time to start kindergarten and see how that goes. Debbie is ready to begin 2nd grade this school year.
I did manage to snap a shot at Grandpa and Grandmas` 57th Wedding Anniversary though.
Well, the UAW decided to strike GM since little progress was being made with the negotiations. Since I worked 2nd shift, my 8 hour picket duty was scheduled for the 3pm to 11pm shift. We were provided with picket signs stating our demands, the main one being the 30 and out obstacle. 55 gallon drums and firewood was distributed to various duty stations for our fire barrels. A lunch was served at the union hall following our shift.
When GM controlled 40% of the automotive market in the 60`s and 70`s, Guide Lamp was at its` peak. In 1970, GM was the biggest automaker and the largest employer in the world and Walter Reuther, who had been the UAW president since 1946, had a vision for all workers to have adequate health care and a secure retirement program. These dreams were in danger with his untimely death in a plane crash this spring. Leonard Woodcock would now have to play a much larger part in the negotiations.
I was still taking classes year round at IUPUI and one of my first papers for an Industrial Education class was my progress report.
With the extra available time on my hands due to the strike, my brother in law and I decided to re-shingle Esthers` roof. The turn of the century house was built with native timber which wasn’t cured and was very, very hard. Half the roofing nails bent before we could make a secure fastening. This took quite a tole on our fingers too!
The strike has drug on for eight weeks now, but our spirits are high that it will be settled before Thanksgiving.
Mother and Dad talked to Grandpa and Grandma recently about the possibility of selling The Wolffs Den. It didn’t go well. Even with their health problems, they still wanted to stay on “the farm”. Grandpa still enjoyed his winter hunting.
Thanksgiving was still a big family get together. With canned fruit, jellies, jams and vegetables preserved from their garden, the Barrett Thanksgiving was always a feast!
And of course, the ever growing kids table!
Another great thanksgiving was that the strike had been settled! The 1970 contract restored the cost-of-living adjustments Reuther had set aside three years before, instituted “30-and-out” (retirement after 30 years) and increased the, already hard fought for, healthcare benefits.
A Thanksgiving visit with Grandma Wolff. Dad had a toupee made that he was trying out.
The winter was not being kind. A snow ice storm took out our Redbud trees in the front yard.
The ice dams on the roof produced 3 to 4 foot icesicles around the house.
Christmas morning at home and we were still able to have a very nice celebration after the 10 week strike. Mother and Dad came over for Christmas breakfast and to watch the kids open their presents. The first order of business was checking out the stockings hung by the chimney with care.
This Christmas theme was action toys. Greg enjoyed his peddle race car and helmet.
Debbie finally mastered the bouncing ball and was ready to take it outside for a try.
Dad helped set up the slot track figure eight race track and compete in the action. Note Grandpa Wolffs` old Morris chair in the foreground and the movie projection screen in the background.
The Christmas tree was in the living room this year.
After our Christmas festivities wound down we headed over to Mother and Dads for Christmas dinner. Carole, as usual, was the first to check out the turkey bird!
Mother and Dads` Christmas tree was still traditionally natural whereas ours morphed into the artificial one this year. Another tradition of the Wolff tree trimming was the hanging of the tinsel. Mother would meticulously hang each strand on the bough so that both ends hung even and the tinsel was evenly dispersed on each branch! Dad, on the other hand, felt it only necessary to stand back and randomly toss the tinsel at the tree and let gravity do its` job! After much cajoling and numerous admonishments proved fruitless, Mother would rearrange the misplaced tinsels onto their proper place.
Carole and Dad had started another tradition…bickering and taunting each other. Whenever the chance arose they would jump at it.
More Christmas stockings and presents were enjoyed and then a family mirror portrait was taken, We still had the Barrett and Laws Christmases to work in. It has been a wonderful year, moving forward. Now let’s see what the coming New Year will bring our way!
Good old wintertime! We took some time out to help celebrate Mother’s birthday today. Debbie and Greg were eager to help blow out the birthday candles.
This winter gave us time to finish our interior painting and the entryway Vermont slate flooring addition.
We also swapped out some ceiling light fixtures and began hanging wall decorations. The Kitchen table we made while in Pendleton made its way to the family room. We found some heavy, ornate cast-iron bench legs and fastened pine boards to them to form a corner bench for the table. Carole selected some upholstery material and covered the benches before we fastened them to the walls.
Franklin Elementary School pihotos finally arrived and we had our first school pictures to eagerly pass around and add to the growing photo album.
March must be picture month, because we also received Debbie`s dance recital photo. She is the second from the left…the cutest one! She had been enrolled in dance class before we moved to Scatterfield and really took to it. It is developing into tumbling and gymnastics, which she constantly practices.
Easter arrived and it was time for the annual dress up time. A visit to Mother and Dad`s for an outdoor Easter egg hunt was fun for all.
Note the old quanset hut in the background and the stone fireplace Dad built.
This was just behind the sunroom addition which was added onto the den.
Dad hung a new swing on a very high tree branch down by the pond.Carole had to try it out.
A very rare photo opportunity happened this Easter when most of the Wolff clan gathered for an Easter dinner at Uncle Leopold and Aunt Janett`s House. Clockwise-Grandma Wolff, Janette, Edna, Carole, Cousin Donald, Skip, Marvin, Leopold and Willard.
Back home we continued the Easter egg hunt and Greg enjoyed his new Easter present of a tractor.
This Spring, I was still working the dreaded second shift in the Guide tool room. I had just completed my very first progressive die project as a journeyman. It was a progressive form, punch and trim die to produce a parking lamp housing. It came in under hours and cost which gave me a feeling of satisfaction. The photo is not my die…we were not allowed cameras in the plant, but it is the same type and configuration.
Not long after we ran the die in production to check it out, I was again offered the opportunity to work in Tool Design. With day shift hours and overtime, of course I accepted. So, after completing a final tooling process, (building), I was now on to start work on the beginning tooling process (designing).
With May, came many projects for the two Wolff Dens. Carole started the refinishing work on some old kitchen spindle back chairs, and Greg helped me with thatching the lawn.
Note the Best Ever milk box just to the left in the picture. Yes we still had home delivery of dairy products for a while yet!
Now over at the senior Wolffs Den, Dad was upgrading the birdbath and fence area out by the willow tree. They had located some old heavy wagon wheels and wanted to incorporate them into the fence line.
Dad also bought the 1969 sporty Volkswagen Karmin Ghia. It was a four speed, four cylinder, air cooled rear engine coupe.
Dad and I took a little trip to visit Grandma Wolff at her new assisted living residence in Indianapolis.
During a Memorial Day cookout, Esther thought she could strike a pose behind the magnolia bush and not be caught on camera! Today was also the day for opening the pool and croquet.
The kids have been asking about getting another dog. Boy, with everything else that`s going on right now do we need another project? Well the decision was soon made when a fellow worker said
he had two Scotty pups left from a recent litter. They were three months old and reasonably priced. Question answered. We named him Cappy.
Summer went along with shrub trimming, tree pruning, soffit and trim painting and several indoor projects.
The Barretts were still gardening and raising beautiful flowers.
Debbie`s first grade school year is just around the corner and she is growing literally with leaps and bounds. We decided she had outgrown her small bike and it was time for the next size up. So she was surprised with her new banana seat bike for her 6th birthday.
There was a birthday celebration at Esther’s with the Laws family and then on to the Wolff`s for more cake and presents.
During my time in tool design I was offered the salaried job to be a full time tool designer. Being a day job, I decided to try it. I could always go back to the tool room if it didn’t work out. After designing several dies for the sheet metal area they had me work with a senior designer on a plastic mold design.
However, as the slow season began to limit our work load, Guide Lamp began to layoff several salaried engineers and designers and I was included. Well back to second shift.
It was during this time that I decided to take advantage of a Purdue degree program which would give me academic credits for my work experience and apprenticeship classes. Plus Guide Lamp would pay for my tuition costs!
Greg`s birthday was celebrated with much fanfare…but this was the only photo!
On Halloween, we took the kids with their cousins trick-or-treating around the neighborhood and visits to family.
Fall was also time to head back to the toolroom from design. As much as I hated second shift, it felt good to get my hands on actually building something,,,and the overtime also helped.
Mother had been researching the Barrett and Augenstein family genealogy for quite some time and was now putting it into book form to publish. Mother’s printing business came in handy for the printing and publishing. Carole helped with some of the typing, correlating, and book binding to have the paperback books ready for Grandpa and Grandma Barrett`s Christmas. Of course the kids helped too!
As if Mother didn’t have enough on her plate, she had also added an antique shop in the second den.
The Barretts got together for another family photo this fall. Left to right; Marg, Walt, Gerrie, Marvin, Arthur, Hildred, Jay, Dorothy, Jim, Jen, May and Fred.
We managed to pull things together and have the family Thanksgiving at our Wolffs Den this year! The family room pool table with the ping pong table on top served for our dining room.
Of course we had to continue the traditional kids table for Debbie, Greg and the cousins.
Ahh, winter and a crisp smell of Christmas in the air. Christmas day begins at our house early in the morning. The bright photo flood lights set up for the 8mm movie camera to capture the festive mood with everyones hands over their eyes to prevent flood light blindness!
Debbie was surprised with an electric organ. It also brought back memories to Carole of when she took piano lessons.
Greg enjoyed his new Big Wheel and couldn`t wait to get it outside!
Now it was off to the Wolffs for another Christmas!
Of course we had to check out the fire truck for Greg to make certain it worked properly!
There were presents galore and a good time was had by all!
Debbie got her first camera, a Kodak Instamatic!
Mother also finished her Barrett Family Tree book and gave us a first edition
Now over to Grandpa and Grandma Barrett`s house for the Barrett Christmas dinner and the omnipresent kids table!
Then it was off to Esther`s house for the Laws family Christmas exchange and dinner.
The next day saw plenty of sunshine and the kids were out and about playing. I did get them to stop for a minute to pose for a photo.
That afternoon Dad and I went to visit Grandma Wolff. She had her Christmas decorations up for display.
We had a snack and exchanged presents with Grandma. Then it was back home and relax time with my family.
Going back to work. Still on second shift. Still working overtime. Starting the Purdue semester at IUPUI with two classes. The new year is on the way and we look forward to what`s coming our way.
Moving into our own home was the beginning of many exciting life adventures to come! One of the first priorities was to get Debbie enrolled and registered for kindergarten at Franklin Elementary School, which was just down the road at 38th street. The next item of business was to get everyone settled into their rooms and start evaluating the work needed done on the house.
Painting was determined to be number one on our long list of upgrades and maintenance needed on the house that was built in 1952.
Dad loved to paint and was a ready volunteer! He started in the living room. The fiberglass and aluminum window awnings that were over the front porch and three picture windows would eventually be removed for better indoor lighting.
Even the kids helped out with the painting and clean up! Well, kind of.
Dad was not only helping us get settled but, still working adding on to the Barn House. He enclosed the carport and created a second den and then added a new attached carport. No more room for additions the west property line had been reached!
We weren’t the only ones moving this year. Carole`s Grandmother, Grace Pettigrew moved in with Esther. Grace was a VERY independent woman. Born in 1880, she grew up around farm work and when her husband passed
away in 1938, she remained in the rural Pendleton family home, living on her own. Much of that time was spent without indoor plumbing while heating with kerosene stoves.
Several incidents preceded her move
to town with her daughter. One day a passing neighbor noticed her up on the roof! After stopping he discovered that this 85 year old lady was in the process of replacing some shingles which had blown off the night before. He was finally able to persuade her to climb down. Esther didn’t find out about this until she happened on the neighbor at the store and he relayed the story much to Esther’s surprise.
Grace was still driving her 1938 Pontiac to town for groceries and visits. On one such visit I asked how the car was doing. She said fine except the gas peddle would stick sometimes but she fixed it. I asked how she did that and she said she tied a rope to the peddle and laid the end of the rope up on the seat so when the peddle stuck she could give the rope a jerk and un-stick it. Going out to the car to check this out I was expecting to see a close line rope or a length of twine but instead there was an inch and a quarter diameter hay rope doing the job. It wasn’t long after this that she relented into moving.
Grace could be a little ornery. When Debbie was younger, Grace would tease her with the fly swatter until one day Carole had enough and grabbed the fly swatter and while shaking it in Grace`s face, told her this was going to stop…and it did. Grace was very proud of her independence and would insist on paying her five cents for ice cream when we went to Jimmies Dairy Bar.
Back at our house I was enjoying finally having a space in the utility room to organize some tools and getting some maintenance work started. One of the first things that I noticed after moving in, was out of the 5, three way light switches in the house, only one was wired correctly. How could someone live in a house for over 15 years and go back across a room to the switch used to turn a light off to be able to turn it back on? I finally managed to switch the wires onto their proper connection even though the normal practice of using a red wire was not used for the common lead.
Carole and I picked out some dark walnut paneling to install on the lower half of the entry way and dining room walls. Wallpaper on the upper half would follow a little later.
The “R” on the storm door from the previous owners would soon be removed.
We made new cornice boards for the draperies in the living room, dining room and family room picture windows.
Dad was putting a second coat of paint on our 5×10 plywood ping pong table which would fit on top of the pool table. We had many heated games on that table.
This summer also saw some new family moving into the Barn House menagerie. Mother added a new goat and her little kids. Debbie loved feeding the little kids and playing with them in the back field.
Dad built a shelter in the back field for the goat and her kids. The sheep also took advantage of the shade on hot days. But, when it was nap time Betsy would clear everyone out so her kids could rest. Greg helped keep things quiet.
On one sunny weekend we took a break from our work on the house and visited the Indianapolis Zoo. Debbie and Greg enjoyed seeing the different animals but, their favorite was the petting zoo attraction.
Grandma Wolff also found herself moving this summer. Uncle Willard and Aunt Edna bought a duplex in Westfield and Grandma moved into one side. Westfield in 1968, was just a small town surrounded by large areas of farmland. Grandma was 84 now and still living on her own but, arthritis was slowing her a bit and it was nice to have someone close.
A little Wolff history…the “Old Main” building on the Anderson College campus was taken down this summer of 1968. Grandpa Felix Wolff helped build this building after moving to Anderson from Moundsville, West Virginia with the Gospel Trumpet. Back then it was the first Trumpet Home.
Carole helped with the Pendleton Methodist Church Summer Bible School Camp, which was held atTurkey Run State Park. Debbie and Greg went with her while I stayed home and worked. As I remember it may have been a three day week end retreat.
Late this summer, Uncle Howard came by train from San Jose for a family visit and stopped by to see us and our new home. We had just moved the pool table into the family room from the garage this week. He really thought that was great!
August came and we celebrated Debbie`s 5th Birthday painting her bedroom with the color she picked out.
We were still working on other areas of the house trying to finish up before Christmas.
I was back in the tool room still working the second shift that I hated…not the work…just the hours!
September rolled around and Grandpa and Grandma Barrett were given a party to celebrate their 55th wedding anniversary. Still looking good!
With fall in the air, it was the time that they started canning and freezing fruits and vegetables from their huge garden.
October brought Greg`s 3rd birthday to our new home. He had already made a lot of new friends from the neighborhood behind us. We did find time to re-assemble the swing set in the back yard for the kids to play on.
November was Carole`s birthday and she was surprised with a birthday cake from Mother and Dad.
Thanksgivings were split between the Barretts and the Laws. This year we were at Grandpa and Grandma`s home for dinner. The aunts and uncles and cousins would all show up and the usual “kids table” was set up! I helped cut the turkey and ham for the kids.
Our first Christmas in our new home was a dream come true. We were up early and sharing the excitement of our family together on this morning seemed special.
We also had finished the addition of the walnut paneling and the textured wallpaper to the dining room walls just in time for Christmas.
We still had several Christmases to share this day.
Mother and Dad had a first Christmas too-in their second den! Their Christmas tree was traditionally set up in the living room by the stairway so, this was something special.
Grandpa and Grandma Barrett`s Christmas was next and I got some good photos with the kids.
We finished the great year of 1968, with the Laws Christmas and a visit to Grandma Wolff. Let’s see what the future on Scatterfield Road brings as we recall past events and happenings!
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.
In 1966, Guide Lamp was rapidly growing to become the largest automotive parts supplier in the world.
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?
On a very hot August afternoon, Carole was more than ready to deliver our first child. After two false alarm trips to the hospital this month, we were both kind of in a matter-of -fact mood to get this done.
We didn`t know if it would be a boy or girl. We just wanted a happy, healthy baby!
All of the tests and checkups were positive and we were ready. We stopped by Mother and Dad`s on our way to Community Hospital in Anderson as the first labor pains started….again.
After all the ‘well wishes’ and ‘good lucks’, we headed toward the hospital as the pains increased in frequency.
We ended up driving around town for awhile, waiting on the pains to get closer together and trying not to have another false alarm. As they grew closer together we decided to check in and wait for the results. And wait and wait….it was pretty obvious as to why my area was named the waiting room! In those days that is what the father did…just stay out of the way!
1963, August 24,
About eight hours later this stubborn child decided to finally join us. A beautiful baby girl, Debra Lynn Wolff!
Carole stayed another day at the hospital, which was standard procedure then. We finally were able to head for home.
It was great to have our family home, but we still had concerns about the health issues of heating a house with a kerosene heater. Mother and Dad had discussed the issue with us and they were helping us find a different place to rent.
Meanwhile, we had a constant flow of family and friends coming to see “Little Debbie”.
All this commotion just wore us out! Then it was back to work and apprentice school for me and mothering for Carole!
All was picture perfect as we got used to no longer having a regular routinte. Fixing formula, sterilizing bottles, washing and drying diapers and walking the floor with a child that had her days and nights mixed up!
Mother had been planning a 50th wedding anniversary for Grandpa and Grandma Barrett for some time and now the date of September 18th, 1913, would be celebrated! The Park Place Church of God hosted a reception and Mother hosted another one on a later date at The Wolff`s Den for the family and friends that couldn`t attend the other.
At the Barn House pond, decorations were added for the 50th anniversary celebration.
Mother and Dad found a two bedroom house in Pendleton which they decided to buy for a future retirement investment. We could rent it at a very reasonable rate which included some sweat equity for our painting and landscaping work! The location was great! It was just down the street from Carole`s mother and just across the street was Falls Park with a playground.
We settled into the “spacious” two bedroom house and Grandma Wolff came over for a visit with Mother and Dad. Debbie seemed much more contented here in this house with its` central heating keeping us all comfortable.
Dad gave me his old Argus 35mm film camera when he bought his new Zeiss Icon single lens reflex camera. A new baby and camera equals way too many events that can not be ignored!
Our first Christmas together for the three of us was awesome! Just to be settled and comfortable was the best gift ever. Work and apprentice classes kept me busy and Carole worked non-stop getting the house furnished and decorated.
Debbie`s Christmas photo captured her bright personality!
During the winter I had started acquiring components for a stereo music system. So, for Christmas I got a Knight do-it-yourself kit for an AM-FM stereo resistor tuner. Carole helped me sort and identify parts that we soldered to the circuit board. We had parts scattered all over the formica top kitchen table we built with help from Dad`s Shop Smith. As we plugged it in and flipped the power switch and the frequency setting light came on we were so excited! But, when the Indianapolis Stereo FM station tuned in and played through the two speakers, it was awesome to behold. What a great Christmas it was.
Winter plodded along and finally gave way to some beautiful spring weather. The Grandparents and Great- Grandparents came over for a visit and Mother was able to catch us all together for a rare photo op!
Carole and I had been providing some of our sweat equity into painting the rooms over the winter and soon it would be time for the landscaping.
We had finished planting the pine trees along the front of the house and were starting on the fence. Lots of post holes to be dug
After a few weekends, the project was finished and Debbie was more free to roam.
These trees, over the years, would grow to be over 30 feet high until being cut down in 2017.
In the fall of 1963, when the new model year cars would go on display, I had been reading about a new model Chevrolet Corvair which was being released this year. It was a sporty model named the Corvair Monza Spyder and it featured a four speed, floor mount shift with a posi-traction differential. This would provide great traction combined with the rear engine design. The four cylinder engine was beefed up and a turbo charged induction system was added. It was rated at 150 horse power and when the turbo charger kicked in it had great acceleration. We had to go check it out!
Wow with wire wheels…it was awesome! Puckett Chevrolet, in Pendleton, only had one in stock and begged us to delay purchase so that they could display it a little longer. We agreed to a couple weeks and got a better deal on our 58` Chevy convertible trade.
The bucket seats and instrument panel really gave it a sporty feel. The rear engine compartment even had room for a full sized spare tire!
One early morning, we found Miss Mischief in the entry way with her newly discovered play thing.
A few weeks later, we found this doll advertised in a magazine and had a good laugh. Of course we had to have it and that was the beginning of a re-established doll collection. (Carole`s childhood doll collection was discarded by her mother during a clean out session after we were married. Nothing malicious, just thoughtless.) Little did I know that my comic book and baseball card collections would befall the same thoughtlessness!
Part of the Wolff clean out was a result of rearranging the house to make room for Mother`s new home business.
Let me back up a bit to 1959. Xerox introduced a new office copy machine that could produce copies on plain paper.
“The company had been founded in 1906 as the Haloid Company and is known today as the Xerox Corporation. In 1959, it introduced an office copier called the Haloid Xerox 914, a machine that, unlike its numerous competitors, made sharp, permanent copies on ordinary paper—a huge breakthrough. The process, which Haloid called xerography (based on Greek words meaning “dry” and “writing”), was so unusual and nonintuitive that physicists who visited the drafty warehouses where the first machines were built sometimes expressed doubt that it was even theoretically feasible.
Since Chester Carlson thought of xerography, no one has come up with a better way of making copies on plain paper. That is an almost inconceivable achievement, given the usual pace of hightechnology innovation, evolution and extinction. ”
Mother`s new printing business would be built around this new technology.
The sunroom on the back of the house would become the Wolff`s Printing and Copying Service office area. The second den, with the flat roof, would house the Xerox machine, typewriters, paper cutter, binding and packaging equipment.
The IBM Selectrix Golf Ball electric typewriter would provide font changes. A choice of 20 different fonts could be selected just by changing the golf ball type key.
HAPPY FIRST BIRTHDAY
August 23, 1964, a birthday party for Debbie and I am still unable to get a photo of her grandmother Esther. When she notices a camera come out she vanishes.
Grandma Gerrie and Grandpa and Grandma Barrett managed a photo op.
Grandpa and Grandma gave us their cherry drop leaf table as a house warming gift!
Let’s start this music awareness as early as possible!
Wow! I made beautiful music.
Debbies interests also included the flora and fauna that surrounded her while growing up.
Grandma Barrett was the horticulturalist matriarch of the family. But Debbie also enjoyed Grandma Gerrie`s flower gardens.
A riding tour of the early Spring vegetable garden from the comfort of the garden tractor trailer was a treat.
Easter, this year, was an exciting new experience to be enjoyed.
Another experience, which was not new, was also about to be enjoyed. Carole was pregnant again!
Just as with Debbie`s birth, we didn’t want to know the gender. We enjoyed the suspense. But some speculation was inevitable.
We had a beautiful daughter, so naturally we were hoping for a healthy boy. Looking at the genetic odds didn’t help much. My mother’s siblings consisted of 3 sisters and a brother. My dad had 3 brothers. Carole`s mother had 2 sisters and a brother. Carole`s dad had a brother and sister. Wow a 50-50 chance!
Another Summer roles around and not much going on but apprentice school, work and doctor appointments. We did find time for visits to the park and some tricycle lessons for Debbie.
As we headed in to Fall, I finally managed to click a sneak photo of Carole`s Mother, Esther Laws, “Goggie”.
Now on to our next installment of The Wolff`s Den!
One evening, while enjoying a grilled Spanish hamburger and chocolate milk at Tanke`s Drug Store, I was talking with Carole as she worked behind the counter. The conversation moved from topic to topic and the enjoyable small talk gave me enough courage to ask if she would want to go out for a drive sometime. She said that would be nice and I was so shocked I said ok great, paid my bill, walked out and didn`t even set a date!
I called her that weekend and we went for a ride and ended up at Jimmies` Dairy Bar for their great barbecue beef sandwiches and chocolate malts. I was even brazen enough to ask her for a drive in theater double date with some mutual friends next weekend. This was a great day!
We dated throughout the summer and as Autumn arrived I was getting ready for my Purdue trip and orientation. I had applied for a scholarship through the Navy`s NROTC ( Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps) program and received a grant scholarship with a 4 year active duty requirement attached. Upon graduation I would have the rank of Ensign and be assigned to the Sea Bees, a construction battalion that would give me some experience in my graduate area of civil engineering. A good match!
No cars for freshman on campus. Lots of walking to classes and town for movies and shopping. I had set up a job with the resident hall dining room prior to moving in and it began in the kitchen at 4am. I started in the dish washing area scrubbing the huge aluminum cook pots using steel wool until the surface shined.
The first thing I bought at the student center was a large umberella. Boy does it rain in West Lafayette. The next thing was an iron to keep the crease in my NROTC uniform shirts. I already had shoe polish and spit but I was always getting demerits for never mastering the high spit polish shine on my shoes. My Springfield rifle, on the other hand, always passed inspection thanks to Grandpa Barrett`s teaching me the proper way to clean my 22 rifle! NROTC class alternated between naval history-tactics bookwork and marching drill.
The campus map proved invaluable in finding my way to classes. Freshman classes were scattered from one end of campus to the other and of course the last class before lunch was the farthest away from the dorm!
My roommate was one of my high school classmates and that worked out great. I had made several other friends and we decided to join the football cheer block that was organized in the end zone seating. We even had rehearsals for holding up different colored cardboard squares to create logos and pictures during the games.
Carole and I would call each other from time to time. Being a long distance call I had to use the pay phone in the lobby. A stack of quarters was always at the ready for when the operator would break in and request a 25 cent deposit for another 10 minutes.
Thanksgiving break didn`t come any too soon! I was getting behind on my laundry chores and had the laundry bag full and ready to go when Mother and Dad came to pick me up.
The first thing when I got home was to jump in `old blue` and head to Carole`s! We went for a ride and stopped at Falls Park to talk and get caught up on our activities. Then we headed to my house for a very welcomed, home cooked meal.
Mother had kept herself busy finishing her landscape painting of the back field behind the Barn House!
Thanksgiving this year was a gathering of local family as the distant family members elected to wait for the Christmas holidays for their visit.
It had been a couple of years since Dad had bought the `58 Impala and my `51 Chevy, `Old Blue`, so he was on the hunt. In 1960, Chevrolet had introduced a new automobile to their lineup, the Corvair. It was an air-cooled, 6 cylinder rear engine compact car.
Never wanting to buy a first year model until the bugs had been worked out, he waited for the 1961, models to come out this fall. He picked out a Monza Coupe, white with red interior and a 4
speed transmission with the floor mounted shift! The `old` 1955, Nash Rambler Station Wagon was traded in, so we now had three cars–my `51 Chevy, the `58 Impala Convertible, which Mother would now drive to work and Dad`s new Corvair. Now the fact that this was the 17th car in 20 years was immaterial!
Grandma Wolff was still living on her own in a house in Park Place. She would take the bus to town if she wanted to visit the library or shop at the dime store. Her 76th birthday was on the 13th of December.
Mother, Carole and I were joining Dad upstairs in the Barn House for some hot toddies!
Dad just finished hooking up our first color TV. Very few programs were being broadcast in color and then only in prime time evening slots. OK a little TV history from various sources.
Despite the early successes with color programming, the adoption to color television was a slow one. It wasn’t until the 1960s that the public began buying color TVs in earnest and in the 1970s the American public finally started purchasing more color TV sets than black-and-white ones.
In 1950, there were two companies vying to be the first to create color TVs — CBS and RCA. When the FCC tested the two systems, the CBS system was approved, while the RCA system failed to pass because of low picture quality.
With the approval from the FCC on October 11, 1950, CBS hoped that manufacturers would start producing their new color TVs only to find nearly all of them resisting production. The more CBS pushed for production, the more hostile the manufacturers became.
On August 11, 1951, a month and a half after “The World Is Yours!” made its debut, CBS aired the first baseball game in color. The game was between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Boston Braves at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, New York.
The CBS system was disliked for three reasons. First, it was considered too expensive to make. Second, the image flickered. Third, since it was incompatible with black-and-white sets, it would make the eight million sets already owned by the public obsolete.
RCA, on the other hand, was working on a system that would be compatible with black-and-white sets, they just needed more time to perfect their rotating-disk technology.
It was RCA, however, that ultimately won the color TV war. On December 17, 1953, RCA had improved their system enough to gain FCC approval. This RCA system taped a program in three colors (red, green, and blue) and then these were broadcast to television sets. RCA also managed to minimize the bandwidth needed to broadcast color programming.
The first `national` color broadcast (the 1954 Tournament of Roses Parade) occurred on January 1, 1954, but during the next ten years most network broadcasts, and nearly all local programming, continued to be in black-and-white. Singing sensation Patti Page and her Big Record Show for CBS was the first television show broadcast in color for the entire 1957-1958 season. The live broadcast was staged in the now famous Ed Sullivan Theatre and production costs were greater than most movies were at the time not only because of all the stars featured on the hour-long extravaganza but the extreme high intensity lighting and electronics required for the new RCA TK-41 cameras. It was not until the mid-1960s that color sets started selling in large numbers, due in part to the color transition of 1965 in which it was announced that over half of all network prime-time programming would be broadcast in color that autumn. The first all-color prime-time season came just one year later.
By the end of 1957 only 150,000 color sets had been sold. Color sales were slow until the mid 1960s, when the reliability of sets improved, prices came down, and more color programming became available.
Starting in 1957 until the beginning of the 1962-63 TV season, every NBC color broadcast began with the colorful animated NBC Peacock which reminded viewers that “The Following Program is Brought to You In Living Color on NBC!” Keep in mind that NBC was owned by television set manufacturer RCA. No doubt the Peacock, which looked pretty drab on old-fashioned black and white TV’s, sold countless RCA color sets like the one shown here.
NBC was at the forefront of color programming because its parent company RCA manufactured the most successful line of color sets in the 1950s, and by 1959 RCA was the only remaining major manufacturer of color sets. CBS and ABC, which were not affiliated with set manufacturers and were not eager to promote their competitor’s product, dragged their feet into color. CBS broadcast color specials and sometimes aired its big weekly variety shows in color, but it offered no regularly scheduled color programming until the fall of 1965. At least one CBS show, The Lucy Show, was filmed in color beginning in 1963 but continued to be telecast in black and white through the end of the 1964–65 season. ABC delayed its first color programs until 1962, but these were initially only broadcasts of the cartoon shows The Flintstones, The Jetsons and Beany and Cecil.
In a display of foresight, Disney had filmed many of its earlier shows in color so they were able to be repeated on NBC, and since most of Disney’s feature-length films were also made in color, they could now also be telecast in that format. To emphasize the new feature, the series was re-dubbed Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color, which premiered in September 1961, and retained that moniker until 1969.
The relatively small amount of network color programming, combined with the high cost of color television sets, meant that as late as 1964 only 3.1 percent of television households in the U.S. had a color set. But by the mid-1960s, the subject of color programming turned into a ratings war.
Carole had started working for an insurance company in downtown Anderson. It was located in the Union Building above the Fair Store on Meridian Street.
I was back at Purdue and this semester I had a surveying class as one of my civil engineering required courses. Ninety percent of the class time was spent outside with a transit, tripod, large tape measure and an elevation rod. A very nice freshman class for the winter!
There were metal markers in the ground all aver the Purdue campus and the straight line distances and elevation differences between them were all documented. Our three man crew was given several marker numbers and we had to survey the accurate distance, angle and elevation from marker to marker. The rain, snow and ice, like the mailmen, didn`t deter us from our appointed rounds!
Still working in the dining hall and occasionally now I was assigned to the entry area to verify residents` meal passes. I also advanced to the dirty food tray conveyor belt to sort and stack dirty dishes and glasses etc. Yahoo my big advancement!
Our men`s residence hall, (we were not co-ed yet), sponsored a Valentine`s Dance with one of the women`s residence halls. It was a formal dinner dance and the hall`s social director even had to have a seminar on etiquette for all of us `hicks`!
Carole rode up with a friend and we doubled with one of my buddies. After the dance, I asked Carole if she would like to go steady. The answer was yes and I pinned her with my residence hall Excaliber Pin! The beginning of a great friendship.
Finishing up the winter months of this semester and looking forward to Spring Break and getting back home.
After completing the first year of engineering courses, I found myself questioning whether this was the direction I wanted my life`s career to head. I really enjoyed the hands on surveying class and the math but the outline of the civil engineering profession left few hands on opportunities for the engineer.
I spent the summer wondering about this feeling but decided to continue on next year and see how things went.
Carole was still working for the insurance company and I worked around the Barn House helping with projects and maintenance. I enjoyed working with my hands and learning how to do fix and repair things around the house and on my car.
Back to old Purdue for my sophomore year. My high school friend and roommate from last year decided to pledge a fraternity so I was assigned a new roommate for this year. We got along fine and became good friends.
I was still working in the residence hall kitchen but, not so much washing and cleaning this year. Seniority is great!
My NROTC unit held their Commandant`s Welcome Dinner Dance this fall.
After the dance we went to the Memorial Union and had a friend take this picture at the grand piano.
I had the 58` Chevy convertible on campus for this week and it was a pleasant balmy evening so we went to the Lover`s Cliff and put the top down. Under the spell of the moon and stars I began to discuss with Carole my career concerns for the future.
We also discussed the idea of getting engaged this December. Minutes turned to hours and soon the sunrise was beginning to show! The decision was made to put any decisions on hold until the end of the semester.
The family still had a very Merry Christmas despite the bombshell I dropped on the holiday. I had to inform my parents of my decision to drop out of school, find a job and get married in June. Also I needed to figure out just what kind of a career I really wanted, all the while trying to convince them that Carole was not the one wanting me to quit school.
After the storm settled down and Mother made the statement; “But Skip, you know we don`t believe in divorce.” we gathered our calm and I gave my misgivings about college and the fact that “No I did not know, at this time, what I wanted to be” but, I did know that I loved Carole and together we would figure it out.
Carole`s mother took it all in stride and said she was sure it would all work out for the best. She just had a wedding to plan, no big deal! Let`s have something to eat.
Mother wanted me to bring my NROTC uniform home for a picture. Little did she know,at the time, that this would be the last chance to do that.
The hardest part of dropping out of school when I returned was having to meet with the NROTC Commandant and justifying my intentions to forfeit my partial scholarship! In his gruff Marine Corps manner he proceeded to blitz me with questions. But, surprisingly after our discussion, he wished me well on my future endeavors and was certain all would be fine!
School over for now and my last paycheck in my pocket , I came home and started looking for work, any work. Dad had noticed an ad in the Indianapolis paper for United Parcel Service wanting help.
Soon I was working nights, loading semi trailers with packages to be shipped out the next morning. The pay, $2.50 an hour was good for that time and the working conditions were not bad!
Carole had changed jobs and was now working for American States Insurance company in Indianapolis. Mother and Dad were driving through Pendleton on their way to work and picking Carole up and dropping her off at her job on the way to drop Mother off at her work. With Carole and I saving all that we could toward our June wedding time flew by and spring was there before we knew it.
We decided to live in an efficiency apartment building on North Meridian street in Indianapolis, the Frontinaque. The first month`s rent was paid for June and our hide-a bed, maple rocker, end table and clothes were moved in.
June 3, 1962, a bright sunny day and all the plans and preparations for this wonderful wedding are coming together! The Pendleton First Methodist Church was the site. Family and friends were gathering. Carole was getting the finishing touches on her gown. Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue makes all your wishes come true!
Fix that garter!
Everything just perfect!
The most beautiful sight I had ever seen!!
The first married kiss!
The reception line and Grandma Wolff!
We were very nice to each other!
Acknowledging the wedding gifts!
The happy couple and the stunned parents!
Old-fashioned rice in the eye!
We borrowed the Impala for our honeymoon trip to Motel 6-T-7!
Then Monday we were in our own apartment in Indianapolis and back to work. Carole could now take the bus straight down Meridian Street to work downtown. The world was our oyster!
Grandpa and Grandma were still gardening like crazy and Grandma Wolff was still renting a house in Park Place.
One happy blissful weekend we were going to have a couple over for lunch and some cards. I was still in bed with my clothes scattered all over the efficiency apartment as time was approaching for our guests to arrive. Carole warned me for the last time to get up and put my clothes away or she would start taking pictures and show them to my mother! Yeah right!!
OK, OK I`m Up! Geese!
We had finally paid off the wedding rings, the Corvair we bought from Dad and our hide-a-bed. So now it was decided we better get a dresser and chest of drawers to have a place to put our clothes so this wouldn`t happen again. (Like that really solved the problem.)
I had been working for UPS for eight months now and there was no sign that a day shift position would open up anytime soon. A friend told me about his new job at a finance company as a manager trainee and he said they were still hiring and some college background would be beneficial. The pay was a little better than I was making at UPS and it would be a day job.
I went for an interview and was hired as a manager trainee and I would be working out of one of their downtown branches. Little did I realize that the phrase “working out of”, was a literal translation! I started as a glorified bill collector in one of the worst sections of Indianapolis.
Carole and I were doing fine and decided to move “uptown” to the newly renovated Meadows Apartments and a three room apartment. I was working ten hour days and usually Saturdays and was the top “collection agent” at the branch. I was being trained to be a skip tracer, which I found to be interesting because it followed the line of being a detective.
This winter Carole began having stomach problems and nausea and her boss was really giving her a hard time. Our family doctor was still the one in Anderson so, we were making trips there for doctor appointments which meant some missed work.
Now, my boss was complaining, even though my workload was always finished before I left for the doctors appointment. We were informed by the doctor, at one such appointment, that Carole was pregnant! This of course was no excuse for absenteeism. We discussed Carole`s stress at work and I adamantly told her to tell her boss to stick it and quit!
As fate would have it, within a couple of weeks, I was fired the day after returning from a doctor`s appointment. Well, Hell, this wasn`t going the way we planned!
Carole`s Mother offered her front room to us until we got back on our feet. No jobs, no money and a child on the way. Things can certainly take a different path than the one chosen! We graciously accepted her offer and we set about making a new game plan.
I did a pre-interview at Guide Lamp Division of General Motors for an apprenticeship. I was put on a callback list for the apprenticeship test to be given in late January.
We made do in the crowded four room house. There was a laundry room on the back of the house which really helped out.
We got our first good break when Guide called and asked me if I would want to start work on production while waiting on the test date. Wow did I ever! I started that week in the die cast molding and trim department. The foreman told me that I was probably hired because Delco Remy was also looking for apprentices and Guide was afraid I might go there and apply. I didn`t care. I had a job!
Our future was looking a little brighter for Christmas as Grandma Wolff came for a visit.
Our first Christmas! Not in our own place but, we were together and things were looking up!
A week after taking the two hour apprenticeship test, I was offered an apprenticeship at Guide. I could choose among training for a millwright, electrician, pipe fitter or tool and die maker. The experience I received at my grandfather`s machine shop with the hands on work helped me decide on the tool and die trade.
My class would go to the Anderson Apprentice School two or three nights a week for four years. While doing this we would work and learn along side journeymen machinists, tool makers and die makers. We also were required to serve some time in the tool design department, which was a salaried classification.
One of the journeyman grinders that I was working with happened to have a small four room house for rent in Huntsville and made me a great offer to rent it.
We just moved in, whew!
One full, action packed, journey defining, glorious year and we made it! Our life hadn`t gone as planned but the new plan would define our future life together.
Esther co-signed on a Sears Account so that we could buy a new stove and clothes washer. We had a clothes line hung up in the back yard for now. Before long, August, we would need both for the many baby diapers to be laundered!
Dad traded the 58` Chevy convertible in on a 1963 Chevy Impala convertible at Puckett Chevrolet in Pendleton. When I found out, I went to Mr. Puckett and asked if there was any way I could get a loan to buy the 58 Chevy. Since Dad was such a good customer and Mr. Puckett wanted to keep the family customer base, he let me make payments directly to the dealership.
Any day now. We couldn`t stray too far from Community Hospital, so our entertainment was cookouts and short drives through the country.
We had several false runs to the hospital with early labor pains! We were so excited to have this baby and find out if we had a beautiful girl or a wonderful boy!
The Wolff`s Den adventures continue with kids and houses. Stay tuned for more!