My uncle remembers my grandparents taking in so many people that he lost track. “During hunting season our house was a zoo,” he says.
For a few dollars per person, my grandparents hosted two or three hunters per night, giving them a bedroom and maybe the backroom. The hunters marched inside with all their gear. As evening fell, early in the winter, my grandmother made dinner for everyone. They all shared a meal. The hunters talked and played and joked with the kids. After dinner, they got their equipment in order and went to bed—snoring loudly through the night.
Around 5:00 a.m., my grandmother made breakfast for the hunters, typically bacon and ham and eggs.
The meals were special. “I enjoyed the stories at night and breakfast in the morning as much as the hunting,” says my uncle.
Then they were off to the woods. If they shot a deer early, some headed straight back to Pittsburgh, hoisting the gutted carcass atop the Oldsmobile. Others, if they got a deer late, might return to the house, where my grandmother cooked up some venison. If they had no luck, they stayed another night or two.
This scene was repeated in house after house in emporium. My Aunt Della, who lived across the railroad tracks and river, took in boarders in an apartment above her garage. She tended to get the same guys year to year. I’m sure her Rigatoni and meatballs were a factor.
Can you imagine this today? Any of this?
Yes, the culture has really changed. America has changed.
Dr. Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College, executive director of The Center for Vision & Values, and author of the book, “The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis, The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor.” His other books include "The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism" and "Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century."