On Saturday afternoon, April 2015 at Pomeroy Chapter house 58 Pinewoods, Ruthe Harvie revisited here home from 1942 sold to the Phi Epslion Phi Fraternity. John Pfaff, President of the Phi Epsilon Phi House Corporation was present for this historic visit. His Report:
I was in town for a long weekend doing House Corporation and other business. It happened to coincide with the chapter’s spring alumni weekend, which draws mostly younger alumni.
Around 3 PM, I was standing on the front porch talking with the other old brothers, Bob “Justa” Eckart ‘73, C-Ray Allshouse ‘70, who was on the east coast for business meetings, and KurtVanWagenen ’85, who lives in CA, but was also in town for business purposes. Larry Heiniger ‘86 was working on digging a trench over the old driveway in order to continue the privet hedge in the front yard. A small car drove up to Larry with an old lady who spoke to Larry and he directed her to pull up to the curb. She got out of the car and walked up to the front porch and said hello to us all, announcing that she was Ruth Harvie, and that she had grown up in 58 Pinewoods. Her father was Dr. Peter Harvie, chief of Surgery at Samaritan Hospital. Dr. Harvie had bought the house in 1929 and sold it to Phi Epsilon Phi in 1942, when he moved his family to a farm in Tamarack.
Ruth was very smartly dressed, very spry and had a firm handshake. We learned that she was soon to be 87 years old and was in town to celebrate her 70th reunion at Emma Williard. She went to college at Russel Sage.
We proceeded to give her a tour, or rather, she gave us a tour telling us what the house looked like when she was growing up. As soon as she entered the front door she asked about the Grandfather Clock. It turns out that her father had left that clock as a gift to the fraternity. We told her the sad story about the original clock, but then showed her our new clock given to us by Bob Jones ‘73 and Larry Mentz ‘68.
She said the entrance hall, the living room and the library were pretty much as she remembered. The wall where we used to “sign in” as pledges was one big book case and the library was wall-to-wall bookcases. The house was heated by coal and they regularly had fires in both the living room and library fireplaces.
She confirmed that the entrance to the kitchen was opposite to the first floor bathroom with a pocket door (which we discovered when we renovated 3 years ago).
The front stairway is pretty much as it was with the exception of the new walls at the top for fire protection. The first bed room on the right (Small Bore Range) was her brother’s room. The next right side bedroom (Land of Giants) was Ruth’s, and she shared the connecting bath (sink and toilet) with her brother. Across the hall (the Nursery) was her older sister’s bedroom. The next room, which we used as a very small bedroom, was originally a bathroom, and the next room (Rogue’s Den) was the master bedroom. What we knew as the Main Head on the left side in the back was the master bathroom.
At the top of the back stairs, the bedroom to the left (consul’s corner) was a servant’s bedroom, as was the bedroom to the right over the back stairs (bride’s room). The connecting bathroom was also for the servants.
We even went into the old basement, where she pointed out the window that was originally a coal chute and the area around the stairs that was the laundry room. Ruth told us that a woman came once a week to do all their laundry. Just beyond the basement exit through the bulkhead, there was a walkway, just like we have now, but it was covered by a grape arbor going back to the garage.
Ruth said there was a small orchard of about a dozen fruit trees on the property surrounding the house. She reminisced about the pine trees along the driveway and the beach trees in the side yard on the living room side. Ruth also told us there was a handy man that lived above the garage, and that there were flower beds all along the back fence.
I remember was that she said about half of the front porch had been screened.
We have Ruth’s email address. She now lives in an independent living facility in Hanover, NH. She said she would try to find some old family photos for us. As she left she was very excited and was looking forward to telling the rest of her family about her visit.
In hoc, John Leroy Pfaff ‘71