Mary Ulrich - June 2019
Mary Ulrich was born on January 27, 1929 in Lebanon County to Elmer and Edith Dutweiler. She was one of three sisters: Verna, Mary and Ruth. She shared a big bedroom with her sisters that had two big beds in it. When her paternal grandma stayed overnight, she also shared that room. They had a lot of fun with her. One time they asked her what she did the first night she was married. She said, “I sat on the windowsill.” They would fight over who got to sleep with grandma because that person always was treated to grandma scratching their back. “If there ever was an angel, it was Grandma.”
She attended Washington School, a one-room school, in Annville. Her favorite subject was arithmetic.
Her father was a pastor and served several churches in the area, one being Manada Hill UCC. When he served as pastor at Balsbaugh Church in Hershey, he held revival services for sometimes 16 weeks at a time. People kept coming to the altar and so they continued with services. Mary and her two sisters sometimes sang as a trio for special music. Mary’s SS teacher while there was, Lily Balsbaugh. (she was a cousin to Donna Walmer’s grandmother) Small world! Mary was a teenager when they attended Mt Hope country church and folks came barefoot in their overalls. Mary’s family put their leftover pears in the trunk of the car and after church all the young people went out and ate pears. Mary’s mother was a homemaker.
They lived on a dairy farm with about 60 head of cattle. They also had horses, pigs, chickens and turkeys. Verna and Mary helped with the barn work while Ruth and her mother took care of the chickens and turkeys. They often killed, cleaned and sold them. One day a college professor stopped by. He had a Billy goat he had bought for his children and it was now too big, so he wanted to trade the goat for a turkey. Mary and her sisters rode the horned Billy goat. He was like a guard dog. A salesman came by one day and the goat met him with Baa..baaa..baa and the salesman left.
Mary took care of their team of horses, bedding and feeding them. She drove tractor and took out manure. They threw loose hay in the maul early on before they had a baler. They carried water to the pigs in buckets, washed the “milkers” twice a day, and put silage down for the cows. At harvest they made corn shucks and always were looking for the “red” ears because if you found one, you got to kiss the hired man! Once a sink hole developed in one of their fields and 2 of their horses fell in it. What a time they had using boards to get them out.
Their times of fun included dinners with some of the parishioners particularly the Graybill family. They had lots of kids and one time Mary and about 10-12 other kids all piled into a car and drove down a new road that was still closed. The Deimler family had lots of kids too and they all hunted nuts at their place.
Over in Mt. Pleasant, there was a pea hauler that ran at night. One evening Mary and her sister, Verna went over there to earn a little money. The Fies boys were there and when they introduced their friend, Dick, to Mary, she said, “Oh, he’s my cousin!” She was not interested in being matched up. Dick left for the US Army and later looked her up. They were married on April 22, 1950 by her father in the living room with only their parents attending. Her father “charged” her a fee to marry them, but Mary expected him to give it back since that’s what he did for her sister. BUT, he never did. “I guess he really wanted to get rid of me.” They couldn’t go on a honeymoon because Dick did not have ANY money and she didn’t have MUCH. Her father had given her a cow while living on the farm and she could have sold it and the calf. They lived in the summer house of her parent’s home along Route 934 in South Annville Township. Throughout their marriage Mary would often call Dick “her cousin.”
Dick worked at Hershey Chocolate for 46 years with his time in the army counting toward his years of service. Mary worked for the US Post Office in various positions throughout the area and was the Post Master at Ono for 20 years. She made an impact when she often attended regional and state conventions where just beer was served. She suggested they have coffee, tea and soda and they took her suggestion and that tradition continues.
They had four children: Janice, Richard, Eugene and Glenn. Her family now consists of 10 Grandchildren: Tim, Ryan, Erin. Jesse, Julie, Becky, Dustin, Travis, Audrey and Adam, 22 Great-Grandchildren and looking forward to number 23.
At one time, Mary was President of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Ono Fire Company. They were having a banquet, so Grace Reigel and her arrived to set up the tables. Only problem...the fire truck had not been moved out of the space, a job that Raymond Kreiser normally did. They waited, and waited and waited and he did not come. Grace suggested they move it! Well Mary know how to drive a tractor so they got in, she steered while Grace shifted the gears. Mary had to all but stand up to reach the clutch but they got it pulled out to the edge of the road and looked toward town and there was Raymond coming toward them waving his arms all excited. So they backed up and parked it beside the building. (Wonder if he was ever late again?)
She came to know the Lord at age 12 at the Annville United Christian Church. She was a Sunday School teacher for 9-12 year old girls at Manada Church. She was involved in Bible studies and at Ono she served in the nursery. Her favorite Bible verse is I Peter 5:7 “Cast all your care upon him, for he careth for you.” The Lord has been very good to me; I couldn’t ask for more.
Her advice is to trust the Lord, He knows before we do and He’s the only one to do anything about it. Do a lot of praying and a lot of thanking. You can’t do it on your own. Think before you speak.
Mary enjoys making puzzles, coloring, and reading. She still loves to bake and cook and make her family’s favorites: potato donuts and chicken corn rival soup.
Mary currently lives in an apartment at Londonderry Village. Stop in to see her, hear her stories and be blessed.
Thanks, Mary for sharing your life with your family at Ono!