The Tale of the Old Table

By Joe Wolfe

My parents, Clinton and Irene Wolfe, were among the first fifty families to move to Arthurdale. Their home was F-6, which was one of the smaller Hodgson houses built on F Road. At that time, they had two daughters, Ruby and Delores. I was born in Arthurdale in 1937. In 1942 we moved further out the road to F-14, which was another Hodgson house but a little bigger than F-6.

Because I was so young, I do not remember much about the early days of Arthurdale. If my parents talked about those early days, unfortunately, I do not recall the conversation. I do not even remember seeing Mrs. Roosevelt, or hearing my teachers talk about her through twelve years of school. Perhaps other things mattered more to me and the community, such as the great turmoil of World War II.

Many people from Arthurdale not only served in the war, but there were shortages at home that people had to deal with. For instance, people could not buy a new car, because they were not being produced, nor could they buy tires or parts for the cars they already owned. It was hard work for families to keep food on the table. Then in 1950, the Korean conflict came along which added more stress. These are the kinds of things people talked about and were concerned with in Arthurdale during the years I was growing up. Very little was said about the history of Arthurdale or how it was founded. That interest has all come since the 50th anniversary of its founding.

I do remember being told that there was a lot of furniture made in Arthurdale and my family was provided with several pieces of it. I know we had two or three beds, bureaus, a large wooden cabinet that Delores still owns, and a nice wooden table with leaves on each side that folded down when not in use.

The kitchens in the Hodgson homes were very small and our table spent most of its time in the living room. Normally, when only family members were home, we ate meals in the kitchen around another small table. Frequently, uncles, aunts, and cousins would show up on Sunday and the Arthurdale table would be pulled out to the middle of the living room, the leaves would be opened up, a table cloth spread on it, and everyone would gather around that table to eat.

Other memories I have are doing school homework on the table, putting together jigsaw puzzles, and playing games around it. Since this was in the days before television, children as well as adults spent time doing other activities in the living room rather than mainly watching TV.

Because I was young and did not pay attention, I am not aware of how many other homes had a table like this one. The only other one I ever saw like it belonged to Mr and Mrs McNelis, our neighbors at F-12. It was also kept in their living room. I visited their home many times and would often see them both sitting at their table working on the daily crossword puzzle from the newspaper. They enjoyed doing that every day.

About 1978, when my parents moved from F-14 to a mobile home, I was given their table and have had it these many years. Just recently, while preparing to move to a smaller home in Ohio, I asked my sisters if we should donate the table to Arthurdale Heritage for use in the E-15 house. They agreed since that way it would remain in Arthurdale where it belongs. If any other former homesteaders read this or see the table, it would be interesting to know if they had a similar one and if they know the whereabouts of it. Perhaps someone even knows how many tables of this type were made in Arthurdale.

NOTE: Today (April 10) is Joe’s birthday. Happy Birthday, Joe, from everyone at Arthurdale Heritage!