Resident recalls meeting with ‘township treasure’
To the editor:
Several weeks ago I had occasion to visit Gamauf Farm and Hardware store, just a “spitting distance” from the Copley Township square. As I entered the store, it seemed much like I remembered it. I’d last been there some 60 years before. Oh, some of the tools on display were more modern, but generally everything from the bins of seed to the stuffed animals hanging from the eaves and the antlers and wild animal skins on the wall was just the same.
Then I caught sight of the man himself. Addie Gamauf. Addie, with his brother Paul, had operated the farm equipment and supply business from this store for almost a century. Paul had become ill and died years ago. Addie was now nearly blind, but there he was, standing behind the old wooden counter next to a roaring wood-burning stove, waiting to greet the next patron. Although his hair was a bit thinner and his back slightly bent, he looked just as he did so long ago when I had last seen him. I attended Copley High School then and lived on a farm with my parents. I introduced myself to Addie, and he immediately recalled in amazing detail the events of those years past, my having played football at Copley High and my frequent visits to his store for farm equipment and supplies or just for advice about farming and livestock.
But this was just a preface to a recitation of history. Nonstop, Addie recounted in detail the early days of Copley Township. He recalled his own days playing football for the high school, and described lovingly the old school buildings. He recounted with fondness the names and whereabouts of the early Copley residents. There were the days when the Gamauf store was the hub of the area’s primary activity, agriculture. The store was the center for the sale and service of tractors, parts and all manner of farm and outdoor equipment and supplies. But then he lamented how with time industry and new housing development had gobbled up the farmland in Copley. In a voice of sadness he noted that there remains today only two “working farms” in the township. But then, once again, he brightened as he described with great pride the new Copley High School and the remodeling and additions to the old high school building and its conversion to the middle school.
As I left, I noticed from my watch that I had just spent more than an hour listening to one of the most fascinating lessons in history I had ever heard.
Addie Gamauf is truly a Copley Township treasure.
James Hinton, Bath