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Time Spent on the Lichtenwalner Farm Was Golden

We cooked and baked and learned to “act like young ladies.”

Editor's Note: On Monday, Patch contributor Peggy Heminitz reported that the Lower Macungie Commissioners have accepted a bid for the historic Lichtenwalner Farm. She generously agreed to share her memories of time she spent there as a 4H member when she was young.

The Charles Lichtenwalner farm on Brookside Road by Lower Macungie Township to Kevin Millheim for $228,000.

I had an opportunity to walk the grounds one last time before the new owner takes over—peering into the windows and wishing I could walk through the house just once more.  It brought tears to my eyes when I saw the deplorable conditions, remembering how well-kept and immaculate everything once was.

My “time on the homestead” occurred from the time I was 10 until I was about 14 years old. I joined the Macungie 4-H Club and Mary Kemmerer, the oldest daughter of Charles A. Lichtenwalner, taught cooking in the farm’s large kitchen.

She was a fantastic teacher, with lots of patience—especially with a dozen or more energetic girls learning to measure and stir and bake.  As our food baked in the oven or cooked on the stove, she also taught us proper manners and how to act around boys as we got older.

Sometimes, we would sit in the living room of the house, where beautiful hand-made quilts hung over chairs and the sofa.  It was here that she often talked about her family — her twin sisters Kathryn and Mildred (whom I discovered had been my second-grade teacher) and twin brothers Charles B. and Ben.

Other times, we would run around outside playing until our parents came for us.  We ran in and around the buildings, sometimes getting in the way of John, the hired hand.  But he would join in and chase us around the yard as we giggled and ran away faster and faster.

But one day it suddenly came to an end.

Ben was killed in a truck accident, leaving everyone in a state of shock. The entire community mourned his loss. Mary was devastated. Never again dis she have the same enthusiasm with her cooking classes.

And she no longer taught us how to “act like young ladies.” We often complained about walking with books on our head, but later we wished Mary would put those books back on top and make us walk down the hall.  I think a part her died with Ben.

Her brother, Charles, purchased the property, and after his death, it was sold to Lower Macungie Township.

Soon, these buildings will be gone forever and all that will be left is our memories.

jim August 17, 2011 at 08:30 PM
I remember as a kid, a ton of farms in this area. they are slowly disappearing. I once had Mrs. Kemmerrer for a cooking class in 4-H also. She was a wonderful teacher.
Peggy Heminitz August 18, 2011 at 11:51 AM
Yes she was. I still use some of the recipes from our 4-H cookbooks. When were you involved in the club?
Don August 20, 2011 at 02:24 AM
This reminds me of my amazing grandmother, who, on one autumn day upon visiting a Civil War encampment at Kalmbach Memorial Park in Macungie, asked politely of the Park's caretakers if she could take a short tour of their home, the former Kalmbach home...and once inside randomly mentioning how she could still almost smell her mother's perfume lingering in a room...unbeknownst to any of us until that very point, my grandmother's family had lived there for a short time before it was sold to the Kalmbach's. But it truly is interesting how we remember things, even when buildings or landmarks are no longer there, or just completely changed. Like when I was a kid playing and often getting muddy in the open fields and woods behind my parents house, which has since been torn up and turned into a "development" (and oh...all the times walking through those new homes while they were still under construction haha)
Peggy Heminitz August 20, 2011 at 11:03 AM
Funny how we can remember things, like smells, from our childhood. I can still smell my uncle's cigar from over 40 years ago!

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