Gladys McCullough Alexander:
Looking Back at the Long Ago


Home

Memories on Parade

Meet the Family

A Town is Born

The Growing McCullough Family

A Church Becomes a Reality

A Closing Word

The Man Called Guelcksie

A is for Arthur

The Coffin House

Poet and Philosopher -- Aged Seven

The Two Room School House

Open the Windows and Open the Doors

Sixteen Girls in White

Four Girls and Five Boys

The Poet in Hot Water

Windows Open for Edith

The Great Decision

Bo Peep

Epilogue

Notes

VOLUME II

THE MAN CALLED GUELCKSIE

No story of the McCullough family would be complete unless it carried a generous portion on Julius Guelck who joined the family when Edith was the baby and stayed more than forty years! He had left Germany to avoid spending several years in military service, and was making his way in the U.S. as a paper hanger and house painter.

When he heard about the house that Will McCullough was building at Alicia, Arkansas he cam seeking work. He got the job, did it well, and fell in love with the family.

His specific work was the big general store, and his name went up on the sign McCULLOUGH AND GUELCK'S GENERAL MERCHANDISE.

The store bordered our lawn on the south side, its front door opening on the street, a door for loading and unloading on the south side, and a small door opening into our lawn.

Discards from the store were tossed through that small door and proved to be treasures the children could play with if selected before the regular day for their removal as rubbish.

We learned to watch for pretty boxes and bright bits of paper, small bits of foil, boxes big enough to use for play houses, etc.

The store was off limits for us on Saturdays. Guelcksie was busy that day with the customers who drove in from the country. We were welcome at any other time, on condition that Guelcksie was not disturbed by our presence.

He was always patient and only occasionally dismissed us through the side door, into our own front yard. One such time was when he saw the youngest child mixing the nails in the bins. He discovered her and called out, "You are Doodleheimers and Schnickelfritzes", and sent us all through the side door.

Sometimes he let us come in during the early evening, to watch him count the money received during the day. He counted in German and tied up the coins in small bags before putting them in the massive safe in the office.

Two rooms were added to the store for him. One was a private office. The other was his bedroom. They were off limits for us at all times.

Guelcksie took his meals in the big dining room where large portraits of our maternal and paternal grandparents hung in heavy frames, tilted forward so that they seemed to look down on us as we sat at the table. Guelcksie was seated on Papa's right. Since the noon meal allowed a bit of rest time for them, children did not talk at the table. Papa and Guelcksie needed to exchange notes on the general store business, and the dozens of thing Papa managed through every hour of the day.

We learned how to count from one to seven in German. "Eine, zwei, drei, veir, fumf, sechs, sep, sieben."

Guelcksie made two trips each year to St. Louis to buy supplies for the store -- everything from building supplies to patent medicines. He always returned with fresh fruits -- oranges, pineapples and bananas. Our own orchard provided plums, apples, and small peaches in season, but we had citrus fruits only at Christmas time and following business trips to St. Louis.

Julius Guelck was educated, refined, efficient, and kind. Edith was his favorite, because she was the baby when he came to us. He called her Tom because he could not pronounce her name.

He remained in Alicia after the family moved to Little Rock, when I was ten years old. He died in 1937 and is buried on my father's right, in Roselawn Memorial Park in Little Rock. [gravestone]


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Copyright 2011 Ellen Wilds, all rights reserved. Redistribution and/or reuse terms of license. Disclaimer for this document: "Gladys McCullough Alexander: Looking Back At The Long Ago is published here with the permission of Ellen S. Wilds and transcribed by her, December 1999. The materials published here are presented "as is", without warranty of any kind to the extent permitted by applicable law, and without any promise of validity and/or accuracy."