Mail call: Hobby store memories from Paul L. Schiding

Today’s letter comes from Paul L. Schiding, seen above at left with David Kauffman and Loretta Lauer in a 2003 photo. Paul’s family owned several York stores, including a hobby shop, and today’s letter from him tells more about them!

“Naturally, I used to help in the store from about 12 yrs. on,” Paul wrote. “Delivering groceries in my coaster wagon, waiting on customers and filling shelves and selling Christmas trees. They were the days. At the time my dad died suddenly, he was president of the AG Grocery Group. He started with the ‘co-op’ when it was the Yorktowne Grocery Stores, started in the 1930s by Mr. Jacob Goldberg, whose parents were also a home-owned business.”

Paul was also seeking to get in touch with another commenter, who it turns out is his niece, Barbara Schiding Brown!

I love helping people connect through my column – but this is a good time for a reminder that I can’t give out anyone’s personal info without OKing it with them first.

And, sadly, I don’t always have a way to reach out to people who write to me to get that approval, and this case is one of those times. So, Barbara, if you’re reading this post, feel free to reach out to me if you’d like me to pass on your info to your uncle!

Meanwhile, if anyone else has memories of Schiding’s to share, please feel free to comment!

About Joan

My name is Joan and I'm a lifelong Yorker. Throughout high school and college, I swore I was getting out of here as soon as possible. Now, a few years later, I can't think of anywhere I'd rather be. I love my town, and I hear every day from readers who love their towns, too. So please, connect with me and let's share what makes life in York County great. I'm here to help you enjoy this place as much as I do!
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4 Responses to Mail call: Hobby store memories from Paul L. Schiding

  1. Betsy Baird says:

    Do I ever remember you, Paul! And am ashamed I haven’t written to you sooner. How are you doing? I remember Loretta on the picture. Was David in the Red Lion Hobby Shop? And I certainly remember Esther Senseney!
    I started buying plastic models and paint-by-numbers in your shop. Also,
    paints for art class. .
    Esther and I would be putting sea shell jewelry together in your Red Flag
    Model Shop, later Colonial Hobby Shop, on 401 W. Market St. Also those small dishes or trays we made out of mosaics. I didn’t like the mess of that grout we used! People loved them as gifts. These mosaics can’t be found anymore. Esther and I made so many things together, and you helping us! Various Christmas decorations of all kinds. Coppercraft. I’m getting old: Can’t remember what all we made Most new crafts you got, we were into, together with the kids I played with. Remember Mike? He did some crafts I didn’t do.
    I remember one day you wanted to run across the street to a store and left me in charge of the Hobby Shop! First “customer” was Esther, reporting for work. You have written in my autograph book, “To the customer who keeps me in business.” With a hobby shop checkered flag drawn with it.
    How I loved that hobby shop! And you, Gladys, Esther were wonderful! ! A lot of other people loved the things you had, also — trains, I think racers.
    What else can you think of? Gone are the GOOD OLD DAYS OF YORE.
    I fool around with this computer too much. Would you be selling them if you
    had them now?
    My hobbies changed over the years, together with my retired age. I now do “Schrenschnitte”and make greeting cards, when I can get in the mode.
    Someplace, I have a picture of you in the store.
    Take care, Paul. I’m still living at the same place. And I MUST write to you!
    Betsy Baird

  2. Jim Fahringer says:

    It was really great seeing the picture of Paul and Loretta. It brought back fond memories of the Checkered Flag or Red Flag Hobby Shop later known as the Colonial Hobby Shop on the northwest corner of Penn Street and West Market Streets. Actually Loretta was a friend of my mom’s when they were in High School along with the Wishard girls and Alma Deveny. For many years Loretta would go out to dinner with Clearmont Bubb(who was an elementary school principal for Central York School District) and his wife, Marion who was one of the Wishard girls. I often stopped in the hobby shop.

    I remember Loretta or Paul’s wife telling me that their friend was the “Good Samaritan” who came out of the Elk’s Home on North George Street and called the police for me and stood guard with me after being stabbed on the streets of York one night in the late 1970’s.

    I often visited this wonderful Hobby/Craft Shop from about 1966 until it closed – I believe somewhere around the very late 1980’s or early to mid 1990’s when it moved to the 1700 block of West Market Street. In its day, it was THE hobby/craft shop of York, PA.

    I often purchased those large sheets of colored beeswax and rolls of wicking to use in my 4th Grade Classroom to wrap two -tone sheets of beeswax candles. At Christmas time I would get green and red sheets and my students would wrap them around the wick and take a pair of them home for a Christmas gift for their parents. Actually when these sheets were wrapped properly around the wick, the candles would burn about as long as a regular candle. At Valentine’s Day I would buy pink, red, and white beeswax sheets and students would wrap a pair of two-tone candles as a Valentine gift for their parents. The store also sold one -pound blocks of sun bleached pure beeswax or natural beeswax. I bought many pounds of that wax over the years. We would melt the wax in a double boiler over a hot plate in my classroom and students would form a line and hand dip wicks into the hot wax. After about 30-35 dippings, they would have a candle of regular thickness. One time I bought a huge chunk of pure Bayberry wax in the store. It must have weighed about 20 pounds or more. This was not just scented Bayberry wax, this was pure bayberry wax made from the berries of the plant. Actually there is nothing better than pure beeswax and/or bayberry wax candles. First of all, they smell absolutely wonderful. Secondly, they can be buffed with a soft cotton cloth to a wonderful shiny luster. For years we made candles from a mixture of Bayberry wax and beeswax. When I was transferred to another school I had to pack everything up for the move. On the last day of school I told one of my students to take what remained of the huge chunk of Bayberry wax to my car. I also told him to put it where the sun would not shine on it. He placed the chunk of Bayberry wax on my rear dash right under the rear window. The hot June sun beat down on the Bayberry wax all afternoon and melted it. The wax seeped deep down into my vinyl seats and I had the most Christmasy smelling car until I traded it in for another car.

    This hobby shop also helped to turn me on to making heritage wreaths. These beautiful pine cone, nut and pod wreaths were hanging around the store. I believe Paul and his wife made these wreaths. Not only did I start to make them, but I also had every one of my 4th Grade classes, from 1970 until 2004, make them each year for a Christmas present for their parents. I bought the green wire frames and the rolls of florists wire at this Hobby Shop also. I would also buy artificial green and red fruit to decorate the wreaths. In addition Paul often had an interesting variety of pods, seeds, and pine cones that could be purchased for making heritage wreaths. I probably bought more than two hundred cans of clear lacquer or Krylon to spray my students’ wreaths over the years. That is what is probably wrong with me today as a result of breathing in the fumes of these spray products.

    Another wonderful craft I discovered by visiting this hobby shop was the making of jeweled Boutique Christmas ornaments. The store sold many different kinds of Christmas tree ball kits. Customers could see the finished product from these kits openly displayed around the shop. I think that Paul and his wife may have made the balls that were displayed. I probably made a hundred of these special jeweled Christmas balls.

    I will forever remember Mr. and Mrs. Schiding and Loretta and the wonderful hobby shop where they worked and how much it influenced and enriched my life and my students’ lives.

  3. Bonnie Douglass says:

    This is great. I am Paul’s caregiver and I will print these responses and give them to him. He will be delighted to read them. He is now 93 and doing quite well. He has an awesome collection over the past 60 years of WWII and WWI prints of all the aviation they used back then.

  4. Bunny Bromley Aaron says:

    I worked at Colonial Crafts with Paul, Gladys and Loretta while I was in college, before I moved to Atlanta. They were some of the happiest work experiences of my life. I have thought of them often. Please send my best to them and feel free to contact me at the email address I have provided.


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