Posts Tagged ‘Gene Hertzler’

Estate Sale-Bringing Closure


“Mom, are you alright?  You seem so quiet and don’t have much to say.”


I was alright and I didn’t realize I was so quiet but there were many emotions raging in the depths of my soul.  There was deep sadness for the passing of my in-laws who I called mama and daddy, the sense of loss for a generation gone, the unsettledness of watching their hard-earned, well-worn stuff auctioned to the highest bidder,  the joy of seeing people who loved them want a treasured memoir to remember them by,  the thankfulness of strangers and friends saying, “I want to tell you about….”, the satisfaction of being able to purchase the things I really wanted and the emptiness of an empty yard, barren house and stripped barns. When we pulled out of the lane with our loaded truck, I couldn’t look back.





Bidding on one of the tractors.


Keeping his number handy!


 Mimi Leveille, dad and mom’s caregiver for about 2 years. She cared for them with tender love. Thank-you Mimi.IMG_6044

A friend, Wayne Steiner, who was the executor of the estate.  He did a great job. Thank-you Wayne.


 Wally Schaefer talking to Keith.


 Keith and Alivia Hertzler.




 A sign in dad’s shop



 The glass butter churn.


Every nook and cranny in the barns and shop were filled with piles and piles of stuff.  Dad could not stand to throw things away. When he would see people leaving “good things” out on the road for the trash truck he would have to pick it up-he just might need it sometime and quite often he did have good use for it.  I remember one time I had put some old clothes in the shop here in Powhatan for Gene to use for rags.  Sometime later they showed up as pieced aprons!  Dad had seen them and taken them home to mama.







 One of Gene’s toys as a youngster. I missed seeing it sold.


 A stone dad had at the back door. We are so blessed to receive it.


This little baby was born several days after daddy passed away.  They named him Oliver!  The Ackermans are related to the Hertzlers and were also friends of dad and mom-even boarding a horse at the stable.


 Our granddaughter-Lauren Hertzler.


 Our granddaughter, Emily Hertzler.


 One of dad’s hobbies was carving wooden ducks.





Dad’s collection of arrowheads he found on the farm.


Part of his collection of license plates he had posted in the shop from his vehicles.


 Judy Humphrey




 Loading up our purchases to come home.



Keith Hertzler, grandson Of Oliver and Anna Mae, with his prized purchase.  He got one of the deals of the day.


 The Farmall M. When the dairy farm was moved from Denbigh to Powhatan, this was one of the tractors that came up. Within a few years Gene purchased newer equipment and no longer wanted the old tractor. Dad took it back to Denbigh. Now, 40 years later we wanted it. It’s amazing how time changes things!




 Strapping the wheel to the rim to load it on the trailer.


Loaded and ready to head for home.


Rain barrels from years gone by. They were used to collect water to water the horses.


I liked the sign on the side of this trailer.  It reminded me that dad’s stuff is having a second chance of life and giving joy to lots of new owners.


Jill Hostetter (granddaughter of Oliver & Anna Mae), with her load of treasures.  She was really pleased she got grandma’s china set.



Gene with his second and last load of stuff!


Don’t let looks deceive you!  There is the frame of an old milk wagon on there, a bush hog, scraper blade and numerous other things.

And now as I express these feelings on paper, tears well in my eyes.  The time has come for closure and moving on.  Good-bye mom and dad.  Maybe the farm and all your earthly possessions are gone but you will be remembered by your children, grandchildren and numerous friends and neighbors.  And we will treasure the things we have to remind us of you.

My stash of treasures


Daddy carved the wooden ducks and they are signed on the bottom. Notice the unfinished one with the parts laying on the floor.  Can’t wait to get them cleaned up.


The phone is a replica of an old phone but modernized. It hung in Mama’s office above her desk.

And the light fixtures…there is a story. Daddy had four and offered them to me.  At the time I didn’t want them. Years later I decided I did and asked him about them. He gave me two but wanted the other two to put on his house.  I had my two installed on my house and loved them and was hoping some day to be able to get the rest.  I always loved his nick-nac rack and have a special plan for it.


These were silver napkin rings…these say Mr, Mrs, and Gene


The bread box was made by Gene and given to them one year for Christmas. I wanted it back!  The glassware and kitchen utensils just came as a package deal.


One of daddy’s tie clasp that says “Jesus Saves”, another napkin ring and a wood horse he made.


One of his numerous Bibles (has a metal cover) and prayer book.


Related post: Fire-November 15, 2014

Church League Veterans: Gene & Tommy

Recently Powhatan Mennonite and Red Lane Baptist played against each other in a spirited, tic-for-tac, modified fast-pitch softball game.  There was some chatter on the sidelines about something very special and unique about the game, the pitchers; Gene Hertzler, pitcher for the Mennonites, and Tommy Mann, pitcher for the Baptists.


At one point during the evening, Tommy meandered to our side of the field and was chatting with some of us.  He said, “That is the old man out there (referring to Gene) and I am Methuselah!”  I don’t think of Gene or Tommy as old, but in terms of softball pitchers they are well-seasoned veterans!  Even at the age of  65 and 72, respectfully,  the love of softball and pitching still flows through their veins.

Tommy doesn’t pitch much any more. Instead he has taken up professional umpiring in his “twilight years” for the JV, travel ball and high school baseball teams.  But when the young guys get in a pinch and need a pitcher, they know who to call. Even though his speed has slowed, he can still pitch a winning game!


Gene on the other hand still plays every game and is often recruited for other tournaments such as the Robby Green tournament in the fall.  A number of years ago he thought his body was telling him it was time to give up the game and retire but after two and half years his team coaxed him back onto the pitcher’s mound. I still remember that first night back.  Even though he had not picked up a softball or attended a game during his break he had a dynamite night and gave the opposing team (Lambs) a run for their money. He was back in the game.


The church league started in the late 50’s. Tommy recalls going to the games as a youngster with his Dad and Mom. It was a big deal back then as there were not a lot of other entertainment options.  They played on Lonesome Oak field behind the Village Building (old school house) in the Village.   There were no lights on the field and sometimes in the fall when the days were shorter they would have to all pack up and go to the field behind the War Memorial building where there were lights to finish the game.  At that time there were 7-8 churches in the league; Red Lane, Mt. Moriah, Methodist, Old Powhatan, Graceland, May Memorial, and several from Amelia.  Graceland was the “un-beatable” team. Their pastor, Coen Agee, could pitch windmill or anything he wanted  and you could not hit his balls. Red Lane would occasionally work some of the younger boys in for a game. He could hardly wait until he was old enough to play on the team. He clearly remembers his first game on the Red Lane Baptist team when he was about sixteen.  They were playing Graceland and he was playing second base.  He caught the ball but the rest is just a horrible memory.  When you are on the side lines watching, the game doesn’t move as fast as when you are playing!  Needless to say, he sat on the bench a good bit at first.   A few years later he started pitching and became a valuable member of the team.

Sometime in the mid to late 70’s, the school had to put in a new septic field and the church league field was dug up to put in the laterals. For about 5 years after that they played in a pasture field called Fuller Field, just off of Route 60 west of Plain View.  There were no bleachers, no lights, no manicured field and no concession stand. It was pure country with a slightly sloping  field and a sand pile for the children to play on but  everyone had a good time.   It was during this time that the Mennonite team started playing.

As the league grew it became time to find a better and safer place to play.  The Lions Club, county and churches stepped up to the plate and each provided 1/3 of the cost  to fix Ace’s Field on Skaggs road. Now the league had lights, a scoreboard, outfield fence, bleachers, dugouts, paid umpires,  a properly manicured field and a real concession stand.

Some of the earliest pictures of Gene show him with a ball and bat in his hand.  In his adolescents, he spent hours and hours each summer throwing the ball up against the concrete block barn. When he was thirteen he started playing on the church league in Newport News. Five years later he moved to Powhatan and it wasn’t until about 10 years later that his church finally started a team.  Ocassionally Gene will play first base but his love is pitching.

Gene-3 years old


12 years old

Gene play ball-1960

Tommy says they didn’t take many pictures when he was young!  He searched but could not find any pictures of his younger playing days.

Both men remember their “battle wounds” and can point to the knee, shin or spot where the ball left a big black bruise and the imprint of stitching from the ball.  One time Gene had stitches in his upper lip when it was split open from a ball.   Tommy’s worst incidence happened when a hard line ball was hit straight to the pitcher’s mound and nailed his fourth finger on his right hand.  The finger jammed and is forever crooked as a result of the impact.  Gene also remembers that incident well, he was the batter!

When Tommy started playing, the Goodwyn brothers (Pal, Art, Royce,  NB), Percy Webb, Richard White, Fred Gregory, Ted Adams, Tippy Hamilton, the Reams brothers (James & Dickie) among other old-time Powhatanians were playing. Now some of  the grandsons and great-nephews of these fellows are helping to carry on the sport.  He is glad to see the younger generation keeping the league going strong.  There are a lot of really good players and it is also a time of fun and fellowship.  Both men have weathered some turbulent times in the league with pitching rules and are very glad they have gone back to wooden bats.  It puts the teams on a more competitive and even playing field.

How long will Gene and Tommy continuing playing?  Who knows!  Sitting on the sidelines it is neat to watch them play with the young bucks and still make an honorable contribution. Tommy’s wife, Kay, said, “Because of their love of the game, these two old men just don’t know when to stop!”

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