The News was delighted to receive a number of fond memories from Ron and Marcia Lofts, including ‘Marcellus Remembered) written by Marcia and sister Linda’s great great aunt Joanne Dutcher Maxwell. Joanne was a frequent visitor to Marcellus during her childhood. Marcia, Linda and their father, John, are all MHS grads: John in ’42, Marcia in ’68 and Linda (Newell) in ’72. Below is an excerpt from Aunt Joanne’s memories. . .
Excerpts from Pa and Mamere
Joanne Dutcher Maxwell – 1996
Great great aunt of Marcia and Linda Hirshey
As the first grandchild, I (Joanne) got to name my grandparents and they were “Pa” and “Mamere.”
The house in Marcellus was where the Dutcher family spent our vacation until Pa died. I was there every summer between 1938 and 1943 and even went to school in Marcellus to finish first grade.
Dad talked about how first Pa would drive to Chicago to pick up the family and take us all to Marcellus for Dad’s vacation.
“We’d just dump you and Jamie with Pa and Mamere, and your Mother and I would go fishing or to the farm and do what we wanted. He even gave me his car to drive and I acted like it was owed to me because it was my vacation. I remember making them sick with worry because we stayed out all night fishing and never called. What an a** I was.”
Pa was good to the Dutchers. He loaned them money several times. When we moved to Downers Grove, he loaned Mom and Dad the money to buy a car, and of course, vacations in Marcellus were free.
You could say that Main Street in Marcellus was two blocks long when Pa and Mamere lived there. That would be from the lumber yard near the railroad tracks, up past one of the world’s smallest [libraries], the main row of stores, and on past the G. W. Jones Exchange Bank. That’s a full block and two half-blocks.
On the busies intersection, the corners were occupied by Ste[a]rn’s Department Store, The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, The DX Gas Station and Ingersoll’s Drug Store.
Terrill’s Meat Market and The Marcellus News office were down the street from Ingersoll’s. The bank was on the other side of the street, down from The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, whose name was in bright gold against a black background.
Stern’s had a feature fascinating to a child. The store was equipped with a system of overhead trolleys with baskets that carried money from each counter to the glassed-in office on the second floor. You paid at the counter, the money went into the basket and it was zipped up to the office, which sent back any change and a receipt.
The back outside wall of Stern’s became a movie screen on some Saturday nights in the summer, when outdoor movies were shown. The farmers would line up their horse-drawn wagons, and we’d sit on bales of hay to watch the movies. This was a major event for me because it got dark very late in the summer. Pa took me to the movies a couple of times.
Ingersoll’s had an ice cream fountain and small round tables with chairs with wire backs. After church on Sundays, we would go to Ingersoll’s for ice cream. Pa and Mamere had sundaes and I would have a chocolate soda. I really believed you couldn’t have a sundae unless you were an adult.
Some Sundays, Cousin Walter and his family came to visit Pa and Mamere, “Uncle Will” and “Aunt Juno” to them. Mamere would serve lemonade and pie or raspberries and fudge. Cousin Louise would remind John and Malcolm, Water’s youngest sons, not to get the fudge on their white pants.
Walter was Pa’s brother John’s son. I never knew Uncle John and dimly remember Aunt Bertha, John’s wife. Walter and Louise had four children: Helen Jane, Winfield, John and Malcom. [John is the father of MHS grads Marcia Hirshey Lofts and Linda Hirshey Newell] John and Malcolm got the task of entertaining Jane and me. John is eight years older than I am, and Malcom was two years younger than John.
From the Local News section of The Marcellus News, June 15, 1933, which mentions both Walter and Malcolm Hirshey.
Sometime during each summer, the Gypsies would come to Marcellus and stay by the ballpark. They came in three or four colorful horse-drawn wagons and would go around town asking to tell fortunes or looking for handouts or, maybe, work. Those were the only times I remember when the doors were locked. When the Gypsies were in town, I played inside or on the proche and could go outside only with Pa or Mamere.
I never played very far from their home. Marcellus had, and still has, a Memorial House that in those days was always open. We played ping-pong there, and one took out and put away the paddles and balls on an honor system.
To be continued. . .