To know them is to Love them
Let’s have an introduction to the Tompkins Family & Anna Zittel! Date 3/18/1995
And of course, we are talking about the Zittel/ Tompkins family. Anna and Karl Zittel were my ‘aunt’ and ‘uncle’ and Hilde was my ‘cousin’ by way of my Mother’s immigration to America. More specifically her coming to New York City and reuniting with an entire bunch of Muggensturmer immigrants who were already there. I try to sort all that out in Chapter 5 for you. Once again, not really blood relatives but to me they felt just like that. Here is a picture with Karl Zittel and Reuben both in it plus my mother Rosel.!
Uncle Karl was from Muggensturm and I do not know the history how he and Tante Anna were brought together. Maybe Hilde will provide us with that some day. Karl’s nick name was the German word ‘Sesselmacher’ I suppose because his trade coming to America was ‘fine carpenter’ which I interpret into what we know as ‘cabinet maker’ rather than an ordinary carpenter. Whenever there was a get together in our house of all these old country people and they spoke about ‘Sesselmacher’, I knew exactly who that was.
My oldest recollection of Karl & Anna was a visit to their apartment in Brooklyn NY. Exactly where it was or when I do not know but I was a little boy then. I can still recall the vision of walking into that ‘old fashioned’ railroad flat apartment which I believe had an old coal fired kitchen stove. Not that the stove was what made me hold the picture all these years, it was the homemade noodles hanging on strings all over the room to dry which left the big impression on me.
Left click on picture to see caption….
Hilde is about 5 years older than I and about same age as my sister Elizabeth and so they were pals back then. I don’t have childhood memories to share about them together but have some pictures to share. My memories with Hilde begin in the years that followed when we visited ‘their farm’ in the Catskills. I remember going on a visit with my Mom and getting there on a bus all the way from NYC. I remember they lived together with another family from the old country in an old farmhouse. As little as I was, I was thinking I stepped back in time when I saw that country life. That situation with the two families together did not last long as the Zittel’s moved into town of Greenville soon afterwards.
When you read Chapter 5, you will realize that there was a lengthy list of Muggensturmer couples that all came together very often in NY. They all worked and lived someplace there while making their way in the new world. They had one thing in common and that is their old country ‘home town’ and they all had relatives back there and knew each other’s relatives back there. Now Muggensturm was a subsistence living kind of place which we might equate to being ‘out in the country’. As a result, I am sure in the inner hearts of each of them, and not forgetting from where they came, made them long for a ‘taste’ of home. So, the group from my vantage point, was divided as time evolved into my COUNTRY relatives who moved out of NY city and my CITY relatives who stayed right there. Those that moved to the country were the Zittel’s (Greenville), Wyrenbeck’s (Somers), Rastatter’s (Kingston) and eventually as my Mom and Pop as part timers to Lincolndale also in Somers. All in NY. Here are some of us in about 1938.
Hilde, Uncle Karl and Tante Anna at some point became part of the country group moving to the farm and then into Greenville NY. Uncle Karl worked as a carpenter and Tante Anna as a domestic in one of the local resorts. I hope Hilde will share details of all those experience with us. Greenville was where Hilde grew up and met Reuben Tompkins and started a new life together. It was around this time that we, the Laubis family took occasional trips to the Zittel’s for a visit.
The Tompkins family eventually grew, Debbie, Rudy, Marie, and Karl. In 1962, Lynn and I were married, and she was soon after introduced to my country cousins. I must say that we became very close to Hilde and Reuben and eventually were godparents to Karl who is quite a man today. We also took trips with the family to places like the Catskill Game Farm. <====Video Link. Also have a look through some of the many pictures and then read on into a few notes from Hilde sent via email a while back. Hilde, we look forward to more of your memories.
Left Click on pic for captions…..
My memories of times long ago with you and Elizabeth go back to the Bronx. I was always intrigued with those huge buildings and how you managed to go anywhere up and down the elevators. I remember your cat, you always had the same breed of cat, nice to look at but not much for being handled too much. Then we go forward to Lincolndale. That was like my summer vacation place. I think our fathers both worked in the city and only came to Lincolndale on the week-ends. My mom and I were there to keep your Mom from being lonely, I’m guessing. We also all went to the Wyrenbeck’s We spent at lot of time there and I remember Erika’s side porch where the spiders built their webs and we would catch flies and feed it to them and watch how they wrapped them up in their web. I remember going berry picking and picking fresh from the garden, this was fun and tasted soooo good too. Then we went down the road to an old farm house that had a huge tree out front with a nice big swing. I loved to swing and always looked forward to when we had to go there. I think it was for milk. In those days we drank what was called raw milk. Much more tasty since it still had all the cream in it. I also remember the week-ends when my father arrived, he always had a big bag of assorted candies for us to share. Guess he was not thinking to much about dentist bills. That’s about it. It just came to me, the cats name was Cooper!
From Hubert again….
Much of what Hilde recalls will be complemented when you look at the Wyrenbeck’s Family input to our site. Stay tuned!
Return to Welcome Page <=== Link