Family carries on hardware business, as father would have wanted


March 21, 1996|By Judy Reilly | Judy Reilly,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

A BELL rings when you cross the threshold onto an old, creaky wooden floor. The place smells faintly of turpentine, sawdust and motor oil.

A bulletin board announces local current events and other information from the annual fashion show at the Methodist church and the spring fling at the local elementary school, to where to apply for a fishing license.

The walls are lined with work gloves, tools, razor blades, garden seeds, mousetraps, paint and craft supplies.

The owners know their customers by name.

The place is New Windsor Hardware Store, an establishment on Church Street that folks have counted on for years for everything from a new rake to getting the answer to a plumbing problem. You can buy citrus fruit from the Lions Club, a raffle ticket for a local fund-raiser or send a package through United Parcel Service at the store.

For the past 15 years, this clearinghouse of hardware and service has been owned by the Everett Ecker family, and is run by Mary Jane Ecker and her son Ed.

The elder Mr. Ecker died this winter. Although the place doesn't seem the same without his calm, cheerful presence, Mrs. Ecker and Ed are determined to keep up the store's reputation as a pocket of old-fashioned business and helpfulness to the New Windsor community.

When we first moved to Carroll a few years ago, I made excuses to go into the store. After years of living in the city and shopping at impersonal "superstores," the personal service at New Windsor Hardware and the atmosphere of the old building were a delight.

Mr. Ecker has worked at the store full time for the past eight years, although he began working there for his father while still a high school student 15 years ago. Like his father, he enjoys the comings and goings of folks he knows, and who know him.

"You help a lot of people, you meet a lot of people," he says, "and hopefully you do some good for them. I now see the sons or daughters of the people I used to wait on when I was in high school. There's always some different problem to solve."

As for carrying on the business, Mr. Ecker says that is exactly what his father would have wanted. "You just have to continue on."

Spring music

Taneytown Heritage Committee kicks off its spring season with a meeting and a musical program at 7: 30 p.m. Monday at Trinity Lutheran Church in Taneytown. The meeting is open to the public and free.

What makes this meeting special is a lecture and a concert conducted by Herb Sell, a jazz pianist and former Carroll County music teacher. Mr. Sell will present a program on the history of American jazz. He will lecture on the subject and then perform some early American jazz.

Taneytown Heritage Committee meets six times a year on the fourth Monday of March, April, May and September, October and November. Annual dues are $2.

Information: 756-2257.

New Windsor artist

New Windsor artist Marcia Leiter is showing her work as part of a women's art exhibit at Carroll Community College. The exhibit is through March 29 in the Great Hall, 1601 Washington Road, Westminster. Viewing hours are 8: 30 a.m. to 9: 30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8: 30 a.m. to 2: 30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Elmer Wolfe fund-raiser

Union Bridge residents and others who attended the old Elmer Wolfe School from 1931 to 1995 might be interested in purchasing memorabilia.

Parents at the school are selling mementos, including bricks from the original building, pottery, note cards and chalkboards.

Some blackboards include a silk-screened sketch of the school.

Prices range from $5 for the note cards and bricks to $50 for the chalkboards. A limited quantity of each is available.

If you're interested in purchasing any of these items, attend the school's Spring Fling from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the annex on Route 75 in Union Bridge. If you can't make it to the fling, call the school at 775-7133.

Money from the sale will go toward building a playground at the future Elmer Wolfe, now under construction in Union Bridge.

Pub Date: 3/21/96

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