In this multi-column series, Susan Kovach Nemith Hinkle continues sharing memoirs of her mother, Ethel Kovach Nemith, who recalls the joys of her youth and the pride in residing in the “Concrete Borough” in the 1930s.
We continue the memoirs of Ethel Kovach Nemith, youngest child of immigrants Andrew and Zuzanna Kovach of Czechoslovakia:
Since I was the youngest child and all my siblings were grown and married, my mother would take me along wherever she went.
I went to a lot of funerals and wakes with her. Death was a part of life — a natural life event.
In this third column, Susan Kovach Nemith Hinkle, a former excellent student of this writer, takes us back to life in Northampton as Ethel Kovach Nemith, her late mother, recalled family life in Northampton during the 1920s and ’30s.
Born March 1926 to immigrant parents Andrew and Zuzanna Kovach of Czechoslovakia, Ethel Kovach Nemith was the youngest child in the family. She was born eight years after her sister Madeline, who was highlighted in previous articles.
Here are Ethel’s memories of her small-town America experience:
Mr. Chris Fatzinger was reared in Allentown, graduating from William Allen High School in 1984. In 1993, Chris started his cement career with the famous Lone Star Cement Company in Nazareth.
He recalled, “I was hired by manager Don Grammes and started in the labor gang at Plant 3, later working in the quarry and then moving to the plant as a kiln burner. I learned many skills from the late John Bruch, who passed away on the job while working with me — a very sad and emotional memory.”
In this second column in a series, Susan Kovach Nemith Hinkle of Northampton continues writing about the experiences of her grandfather Andrew Kovach and his daughter, Madeline Kovach Kress, from Madeline’s memoirs.
Susan Hinkle: We are continuing Madeline Kovach Kress’ memoirs of her father and mother, Andrew and Zuzanna Kovach, immigrants from Czechoslovakia, and their small America experience.
Recently, I was contacted by Mrs. Susan Kovach Nemith Hinkle. Susan was an excellent student of this writer at Northampton High School. She discovered a treasure of letters and memoirs from her family’s history. They take us back to an era when immigrant families became an integral part of the American experience.
I requested she write down some of these cherished memories for our loyal readers. In the first column, Susan remembers her grandfather, Andrew Kovach, from memoirs written by his daughter, Madeline Kress Kovach. They are very interesting.
In this continuing series, I am speaking to Mr. Terry Reppert about his memories of Northampton and Laurys Station. He recalls, “My mother spent many years as a waitress. Ms. Kathy Herger met my father in a Philadelphia restaurant when his ship was in port during World War II. My mom was a non-stop mother.”
In Northampton, she worked at Dute’s Lunch, 2015 Main St., across from the Roxy, and the Georgian, at 1802 Main St. Most Northampton people know police Officer George Walsh; his father operated the popular restaurant. She also used her waitress skills at the Allen House.
Mr. William Mitchell was reared in Kreidersville, Allen Township, graduating from Northampton High School in 1975. While in school, he was a member of the track team and archery club.
“I wish the teaching I experienced could be duplicated in our present school systems.” he says.
Bill enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1975 and was a member of the 548th Combat Engineers. He was stationed at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri and later at Fort Bragg.
I am up in the village of Laurys Station, speaking to resident Terry Reppert on life in Laurys. Most of my readers know Laurys is located in Lehigh County, bordered by the Lehigh River. In 2010, the census set the population at 1,243 residents.
“I attended the Ironton Elementary School and Parkland High School,” Mr. Reppert recalls. “Three of my favorite teachers were Ms. Peters, Ox Miller and John Ettinger.
“Mr. Ettinger, my basketball coach, was a perfect teacher. He could be serious and humorous.
Today, we will be visiting Laurys Park, a popular picnic and amusement area. The year is 1890. Mr. Terry Repport, a Laurys resident armed with a 1949 Morning Call and Suburban Scene News article and photographs, allows us to remember some pleasures of our past.
The village of Laurys is located in North Whitehall Township, Lehigh County, adjacent to the Lehigh River. There was an 11-acre silt island on the west bank of the river. The silt washed down the river from the coal breakers up north. It was covered with trees and 300 feet from the slate river dam.
Mr. Gerald Hahn was reared in Bushkill Township, graduating from Nazareth High School in 1967, where he was a member of the Blue Eagles wrestling team. He started a cement career at Lone Star Cement in Nazareth, recalling, “I started as a laborer in 1968 at a rate of $2.50 per hour. To improve my job skills, I attended Northampton Community College after work for three-and-a-half years, receiving training ranging from blue print reading to welding.”