In 1935 or 1936 I remember visiting Dad at the
store as I liked to do when Mom would get me across the street. A very
distinguished man was in the store and my dad introduced me to him. He
was Mr. Theodore Motter, who lived in the Mundorff Hotel across the
street, and would come in the store to talk about the horse races that
were going on in the Maryland area. Mr. Motter had a glass eye and
somewhere in the conversation it was brought up. This delighted me for I
never knew of such a thing and I got curious and asked about it.
Cecil Rotering, who worked with Dad in the store
was just getting the floor swept with the wax that you put on wooden
floors to keep the dust down. As the men stood there talking I
interrupted and asked Mr. Motter if I could see this glass eye. He
smiled and in a moment had it out in his hand. As he held it down for me
to see, I reached over and tilted his hand for a better look. Yes, the
glass eye rolled from his hand and on to the floor and under a counter
before we could catch it.
As you may know, it came to rest in a pile of
dust bunnies that had accumulated under the counter. I got down and
found it and gave it back to Mr. Motter, who being the nice gentlemen he
was, smiled at me and said "I guess I will have to take it home and
wash it off good." With that he left for the Hotel holding it in
My dad was embarrassed, but he and Cecil laughed
at my over eager attempt to see something so magical. Mr. Motter
continued to come into the store and when I was there he would smile and
asked if I wanted to see his glass eye again. To this I said "no
thanks" and he would tease me through the years until his death.
The Mundorff Hotel was the center of a lot of
activity during that time and a regular patronage that would enjoy
sitting on the large porch or enjoy the barroom on the main floor. Many
a card game went on there until the wee hours of the morning and talking
the horse races was also a key activity.
I remember another time when I was older (about
9 years old) that I was helping at the store cleaning up and my Dad was
rearranging the back store room when he spotted a rat running across the
floor and under a shelf. He called to me to bring the broom and then
proceeded to keep the rat under the shelf. He instructed me to go across
the street to the hotel and ask Mr. Mundorff if we could borrow his rat
terrier dog. This dog was known for keeping down the rodent population
around the hotel.
So across the street I went and in a few minutes
returned with the dog in my arms. Dad was still holding the rat at bay
under the shelf. He told me to place the dog down on the floor beside
him and then for me to watch the door so the rat couldn't get into the
store. With that he bent over and began to push the broom toward the
rat. The rat came racing out from under the shelf and by the time my dad
straightened up and turned he saw the dog in the same place and looking
under the shelf. This was the time I heard my dad swear to high heaven
at the stupid dog that didn't even go after the rat.
I had to quickly say to my dad to look beside
his right shoe at the dead rat laying there. The dog was so fast that he
grabbed the rat and broke his neck and then was waiting for another rat
before my dad could notice. My dad was so surprised that he had to take
the dog back to Mr. Mundorff himself, with me tagging along, to tell him
of the great dog he had and this became another tale to tell during one
of the card games or when people would come into the store.
To live on the Square was once being in the
center of all activity in Emmitsburg. St.
Euphemia's School, St. Joseph's RC Church but a block away. The
Bank, the Post Office, Grocery Stores,
shops, variety stores, garages, the
Newspaper, Beauty Shops, The
Town Office, Doctors offices, Insurance offices and The Lutheran
Church and even the Vigilant Hose
Fire Company were all within a first block off the square.
Go another block and more churches, Movie
Theater, Meat Shops, Electronic stores,
The Library, Schools,
shoe repair, watch repair, groceries, feed & grain stores, new &
used car showrooms, filling stations, small factories for shoes or ready
to wear, livestock dealers, blacksmith
shops and one of the best baseball fields in all of Western
Its true, you had everything in a neat little
community and if you went 3 or 4 blocks in just about any direction you
could begin to find yourself in one of the beautiful fields, woods,
farms or by a small fishing stream.
The quiet life that was happening in Emmitsburg
during the 1930's and 1940's is now just a part of history. Time cannot
be turned back and so the memories that you share today will help recall
the pleasant life in Emmitsburg in the past.