|Jane Von Bergen (granddaughter)
The Frederick Moesel mentioned at the bottom of the Scranton article was Aunt Lena Christina's husband. He was a quiet, sweet natured gentleman with a mane of pure white hair, and he played the zither! I can remember the day we got word that he had died.
I was in 6th grade at the time (I think) and this was the first time I experienced a family member dying. As the article (above) says, he was a harness maker. I always loved the belt sized strap of jingle bells hanging on the wall inside the front entry at the Wheeler Ave. house! One of my favorite memories!
Carol and I used to spend
the night there during the summer. Early in the morning we would
be awakened to the sound of a woman calling "Berries, get your berries
...... fresh ..... Huckle-de-berries!" We'd run to the window and
look out to see a lady walking down the street with a wash basket full
of berries on her head!
We were told Frederick Moesel came over as a ship's hand at a very young age and the trip had been a horror causing his hair to turn prematurely white. Like Ellen said, he was quiet and kind, tall and had a beautiful full head of pure white hair. He played the zither and had some little jointed people he could stand up on it that would move with the vibration of the music. We thought that was great!!
Aunt Lena used to make and bottle her own birch beer. Usually on the day of our arrival for our summer vacation (usually two weeks each year) she would sit us down at the table with birch beer floats.
They also had a small powder room off the kitchen. The first day we were there, she would plunk herself on the john, and have us parade by. If she didn't like how we looked, she gave us a big spoon full of what I think were senekot seeds!!!
Ruth and Lorriane had
a collection of all their toys in the attic and they would let us play
with some of them. Charles had a rock and mineral collection that
lined most of the walls in the basement. He gave me a tiny piece
of fool's gold once, and I thought that was the berries!
We all have memories of Aunt Lena and Uncle Fred! Charles (their brilliant son) was away from home those years; and Ruth would entertain us with her piano playing.
I remember Aunt Lena making Tomato Soup Cake. They made their own root beer and birch beer. We loved to hear Uncle Fred play the zither. He was a harness maker, and also did chair caning. I recall seeing the long reeds soaking in water in their basement.
Once in a while we'd get a peek in their attic. It was fascinating, with everything orderly and smelling that typical "attic" smell. Out-grown toys stood in a row -- a doll buggy, an old (toy) cookstove with the "cast iron" pots and pans.
I remember the early morning deliveries of huckleberries from the women with the dishpans full of them on their heads; the clean sheets on the high bed where we watched the stream of lights from the "city" traffic run around the walls of the room as we fell asleep; the permission as we got older to walk all the way around the block, as long as we did not cross a street!! There was the blue enamel (tin) cup filled with raisins (to keep us "regular" -- as Aunt Lena was very particular about our health); the trip to Nay Aug Park (usually once yearly, and we got to swim there); sitting on the front porch evenings and being treated to ice cream when we'd hear the little bells of the ice cream vendor come down the street; the one trip to the city by streetcar when we could get a color book or cut out dolls book (1 item); the closet off the kitchen where the games were kept and we were allowed to play them (one at a time -- after the first one was put away in good order.)
Aunt Lena was the "grandma"
figure in our lives. She and Uncle Fred always remembered us at Christmas
time with a new doll, and at graduation with a beautiful pen and pencil