Archive for Wednesday, November 24, 2004

First-job memories

November 24, 2004

Last Sunday on the way home from church, Ada and I saw this 20-foot man waving his arms at 112 S. Main St. It was the grand opening of Babe and Grayce's Antiquables, and the big guy was beckoning us to stop. We went in, met Robert and Catherine and looked at all the neat stuff they had on display.

As I checked out the area, it made me reflect back to 1941 when it was Wendel's Garage and I had my first job working for Hazel and Ernie. I did everything from cleaning under the grease rack to digging sweet potatoes out in their garden. Hazel helped me get my Social Security number. I was 13 then, and Joann Wendel was about 5 years old. Each time I finished a job, Joann would run to Hazel and say, "Gene doesn't have anything to do." This kept me on my toes.

Eleven years later, in 1952, after the Delaware Township Fire Department started, Hazel and Ernie were reluctant about leaving their business because that's where one of the fire phones was located, and they did not want to miss a call. They were a great couple because they were involved in just about everything that went on in the community. They were in charge of the school bus service for years. Ernie was a charter member of the Lansing Lions Club. When Ada and I got married in 1950, they washed and waxed my car as a wedding gift.

Hazel and Ernie Wendel taught me a lot about responsibility at a young age.


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