Wednesday, July 27, 2011

More Drinking Stories

A number of humorous family stories on my Dad's side start with the phrase, "He'd been drinking a bit." I've posted here about my Dad's maternal grandparents, Ma and Pa, Ma being Moretta Workman Zeller (3 April 1859 - 24 MAR 1946) and Pa being Gustav Zeller (3 FEB 1858 - 12 Mar 1927). Pa owned a couple of very prosperous barber shops in Western Maryland and there was money around so life was enjoyed in that way. Ma... well she just ruled her kingdom, so to speak.

Pa liked to drink. We are guessing that it might have been a tad stressful to run his barbering empire and live with Ma. So he liked to go on drinking binges, or as the family called them, "go on a toot." Don't know where that expression came from but it was around. Pa would disappear for a couple weeks or a couple of months, hire a hotel room and enjoy himself to the max.

He liked to go up to Pennsylvania but sometimes he'd just go on down to Cumberland from his home in Frostburg, Maryland, a trip of under 10 miles. Once (and probably more than once) he took a room in the Queen City Hotel. The lobby of the hotel doubled as the ticket office for the railroad station. It was grand in it's day. Sad to say, it was demolished in the 1960s for an urban renewal project, back when urban renewal trumped preservation. Here's a link to info about the old Queen City Hotel on WIKI:

The old Queen City Hotel, Cumberland MD.

Pa always took a room with a balcony. See the balcony rooms there? One time he even hired a band to play just for him. It was the Arion Band of Frostburg, still in existence and one of the oldest community bands in the USA. See info on WIKI:

Ma got a bit tired of Pa's disappearing act so she hauled his sorry self off to Chicago where his parents resided. Ma thought that should straighten him out! What she found was that Pa's father liked to drink as much as Pa did, so off they'd go! Ma and Pa's son Gus (Dad's Uncle Gus) was born there in Chicago.

Pa's father, Charles William Zeller (May 1829, Germany - 17 MAY 1901, Chicago) and mother, Mary (APR 1816 Germany - 11 SEP 1906 Chicago) are also interesting an have some family stories behind them. He was a confectioner, a candy maker, and she a diabetic. See how funny life is?

Gustav Zeller (3 FEB 1858 - 12 MAR 1927).
A very well-groomed man! It was his business after all:)

The first streetcar comes to Frostburg, MD.
See Pa, Gustav Zeller, in the lower left quadrant
in his white barber coat?

Ma, Moretta Workman Zeller
(3 APR 1859 - 24 MAR 1946)

1 comment:

  1. I love the drinking stories! My grandfather was a truck driver for Schaeffer Brewery so of course there was a bit of sampling his favorite beer in the local bars at the end of a work day. I am really enjoying your blog. I plan on writing about the Breweries in Bushwick (Brooklyn,NY) as soon as I'm done writing about this murder investigation. Keep up the good work.