Reflections from Fran: “Mr. Wolff”

With the kids, 1951

“Mr Wolff.”

…Occasionally, someone calls me that. Whenever that happens, I feel compelled to “correct” them: “Mr Wolff is my FATHER, you can call me Fran.”  When my father passed in April 2016 at 95, it felt to me like everyone called him “Mr Wolff.” You see, he had outlived almost all of his contemporaries. And the odd thing about that is that slowly but surely EVERYONE becomes younger than you. Eventually, you get to the point where there’s no one left calling you by your FIRST name. So, my father found himself in the uncommon situation where everyone, regardless of position (Doctors, Lawyers, Priests, etc.) knew him as Mr Wolff.

Obviously, there was a time when my dad wasn’t “Mr Wolff”, and simply “Ken”, but that was before MY days.

Snowmen in the Orchard, 1956

(My wife tells me I’m not getting any younger so eventually I’ll start being “Mr Wolff”. But, in the mean time, I’ll happily hang onto “Fran” just as long as I can.) It’s been two years this April since my dad passed. So I thought it the perfect time to include some photos of the man most knew as Mr Wolff.

With our bee hives, 1931

Farming gave my dad a lifestyle where he was able to be outside more than he was inside, which was PERFECT for him. He LOVED the outdoors! No matter what time of year it was, Spring, Summer, Winter, Fall, he preferred to be outside. He could only “tolerate” being inside for so long before he needed to slip outside to “recharge.” He spent all the free moments of his youth backpacking, hiking and camping across the Northeastern US.

Dad & Mom, Wedding, Sept 10, 1949

He and my mom were married outside. For their Honeymoon they went canoeing and camping at Saranac Lake, NY. My parents were great together in that everything my dad wanted to do was outside, and my mom was always a willing accomplice!

With his “Retirement Gardens” 1995

And in his later years, you still could not keep that man inside. So, as he finally started to retire his passion turned to gardening. I say started to retire because farmers DO NOT retire quickly. Certainly never on one specific day. Retirement tends to be more of a “decade-long thing.”

His love of gardening starts, Age 2 1/2, 1923

So, for years, all the gardens around the store were planted and maintained by my dad as he eased into retirement.

With his pet cow Moosie, 1933

I’ve heard it said that everyone gets their own personal version of heaven. If that’s true, my dad is up there, definitely OUTSIDE, and probably still doing some farming and gardening! (Kenneth R Wolff Dec 7th,1920 – April 13th, 2016.)

Dad & Mom, 60th Wedding Anniversary, Sept 10, 2009