09 April 2016


Helen Gildzen.
Her passing really felt like a tremor in the force. Good memories just rushed back. But that was Helen. 
She was really a great great person to us growing up. Could anyone have had better neighbors? Christ, the patience of tolerating 8 kids and running into/through her yard. Footballs, baseballs, all sorts of balls, how many vegetables did we crush by going into Al's garden. Ice skating rink. Blasting tennis balls with out little home-made cannon right at their house. Pellet guns. Snowy pooping in their yard. Would've made any neighbor today absolutely CRAZY!
What a laugh too. That was the only sincere cackle I ever heard in my life.
I delivered their Plain Dealer morning newspaper for many years. Always put it in the front door.
If it ever bothered her, boy did she hide it. She couldn't have been friendlier to all of us. Tootsie rolls, Smarties, (what were the others???). She always gave us a piece of candy when we delivered things from Mom to her backdoor. She had more life in that hobbit house than any McMansion. Goes to show.
Really lucky. Thanks Dad for having our home around such great people growing up.
BTW, Didn't we share a party line with the Gildzen's? What was that number?
Let's toast to her this summer.

Larry Mahl

I  can still hear Helen calling my name, "Pammy".  It automatically triggers my sweet tooth.  As for candy, she did give out the candy cigarettes, the candy buttons (dots) on paper tape and mini-root beer bottles (in wax).  You don't see those anymore. 

Also, it was funny that she and Mom had the same name and I thought they looked alike too.  I guess I though anybody over 50 probably looked alike back then.  Now, of course, I know better....  (Mr. Ruppelt was Dad's twin.)

Finally, it was from Helen that I learned that if someone put a garage sale sign out the night before, you should find a reason to stop by before it opened to see if you could get a "pre-showing".  I will think of Helen the next time I land a good garage sale find. 

Pam Mahl Plagens

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