and Evelyn Ott
Bud and Evelyn Ott's
hearts and lives belong here. Their family is an
institution of Emmitsburg reaching back generations, and
reaching forward. Their nine children have had (to date)
16 children, and those children have had (to date) seven
children, with another on the way.
The girls still call Bud
and sons and daughters alike all still seek his counsel
on any decision to be made. His authority over the
family when they were young was unchallenged by youth;
his authority over the family now grown is elected by
insight. Insight into how hard he worked,
the values he instilled, the deep love that drives him.
In the early years he lived during the week in
Baltimore, where the work was that fed and sheltered and
clothed them, all the while steadily increasing the
closer to home, which resulted in him finally established the business in
Westminster and brought him home every night.
Home was important to him, and
his wife Evelyn kept it as he wished it to be
kept-supper on the table when he walked through the
door, house clean, kids cleaner. Until the kids began to
add up, she worked at the shoe factory, too. Then she
stayed home, and added more children.
They met at a dance in Barlow.
Something about her just struck him, shined out over the
rest of the girls present that night. Dressed with care
without glare, she was pretty; her smile was pure glamour.
Her mystery wrapped its charm around his heart and has
held him in its magic for more than 50 years now. World
War 11 separated them for three of those years.
Stationed first at Ft. Meade in
Maryland, training for Anti-Aircraft Artillery duty took
Bud on to Ft. Eustace in Virginia, Camp McCoy in
Wisconsin, and Camp Rooker in New York before he was
assigned two years in Europe, in "Patton's
army." "Shot 'em out of the sky,' he explains.
They trained together, lived,
ate, and bunked together, fought together, and, to Bud
and Evelyn Ott on their Wedding Day E this day, stay
together. The bonds of friendship forged by these
soldiers during World War 11 still have the strength of
new. Lifetime highlights recall Army reunions and
cross-country visits that celebrated their survival of
unuttered war memories. "Guys call all the time now,
still," he says.
Travel highlights extend vastly
beyond the hearths and bosoms of old buddies, how- ever.
Pick a state, any state. Unless you chose Minnesota or
Alaska, you're a winner. Bud's and Evelyn's toes have
touched the waters of the Atlantic and Pacific, and all
the islands of the Caribbean. They've been to Mexico,
England, Germany, Vienna, Holland. A detailed
museum-size picture, Of Vatican Square commemorates
their sit to Rome for the canonization of St. Elizabeth
They once packed six kids in the
car for a Florida vacation. Leaving a restaurant one
night of their trip, another couple also on their way
out marveled to them at how well behaved the children
were. Watching the family load into a car with Maryland
tags, the man slowly shook his head and extended his
hand to Bud. "I want to shake your hand,' he said.
"I've never shaken hands with a millionaire
before." The family roared with laughter, knowing
they were as far from being millionaires as they were
Bud retired from the Nusbaum and
Ott home improvement company after 35 years. The
4000-square-foot shop in Westminster is owned now by
eldest son Buddy Ott who maintains the quality standards
of business learned from his dad. All the kids had a
turn working for Dad. Their vivid and colorful history
is painted, literally, on and in homes throughout this
town. Twin daughters Cathy and Christy can remember
painting the gold-leaf Roman numerals on the clock face
of St. Joe's church. Bobby Ott remembers, at the age of
three, painting the inside of his father's truck-windows
The importance of hard work was
always stressed to the Ott children. And saving. "It's not how much you make a year, it's how much you
save,"' intones Bob, sternly mimicking his father's
famous words. Sisters Christy and Susie cock their heads
for a moment at the memory. "He did always say
that, didn't he?" Susie similes.
An avid fisherman, Mr. Ott has
spent many pleasurable hours perusing this retirement
hobby. Golf was another interest. "But he's still
always busy, always got to have his hands in
something," Mrs. Ott says. "Her, too," he
tells. "Quilting, making afghans, Bingo, cards,
reading, flowers . . ."
Busy is an apt description of
the Ott’s. In 1970 they established a second family
business, the Ott House Restaurant. Bobby and Susie Ott
co-manage this well-known gathering place now. It's
demanding work, but that's second nature to all of them.
"You never wanted Dad to catch you standing still;
you always wanted to be busy doing something, and there
sure was always something to do," remember Dave and
Pat. But, they report, he's mellowed a bit. Now when Dad
comes in the restaurant, it's a time for talking and
The family is rich with
memories. Mr. Ott can hardly talk for i laughing as he
tells the story of Christy and Cathy playing outside on
a sled when they were little (or was it the wagon?) One
gave the other a push that sent her sister head over
sled down the hill in the yard. The scared and
screeching victim demanded, "Why for you upset
me?!" to which the culprit answered, "Why for
you get on?"
Mrs. Ott tells of a young
Buddy's wide-eyed wonder at hearing the sudden song of
locust on a drive one day. That likely occurred one of
the dreaded Sunday Drives the Kids remember so well.
"Every Sunday," Susie tells, "we never
knew where we, going. Dad just drove. But we learned a
lot on those drives." Christy nods. "He would
take us to airports, power plants, lakes, parks. We
realize now we saw a lot of life that way," she
Dad always drove those Sundays,
for two reasons. It was the old school way for the man
to be at the wheel; and Mrs. Ott didn't drive at all.
The kids recall teaching Mom to drive. It was Rosie, the
youngest daughter, who was finally victorious in the
effort. Rosie's technique was to run along side the car
giving instruction and encouragement. "My mother
always said she gave all her nerve and courage to us
kids. Well, I felt like I gave her some back that day.
Her license was waiting at Dad's place at the supper
table when he came home that night."
Their mother's spunk is spoken
of often. Never, they insist, never did she miss putting
three meals a day on the table unless she was in the
hospital.. Didn't matter whether she was sick or tired
or busy with sewing, marathon canning, or laundry.
Dinner was mandatory and it was an open table. There was
always enough for anyone who came along. "She
worked as hard as Daddy," remarks Richie.
A 52 Game Chest is a particular
Christmas memory. Santa knew how to stretch a shiny
penny, and the kids recall fondly the fun of playing the
endless games provided in that one gift throughout
Christmas Day. Their father's, "H-h-h howdy, folks!
is another favorite memory. And eating toast and cocoa.
And going to Mass. The aroma of paint.... The sound of
their dad's whistling.... VFW Easter Egg Hunts....
They are two of the nicest
people you'd ever want to meet," says Susie.
"They've always been there for us, and always will
be, and we know that. We're a tight family. I don't know
what else to tell you about them. We love them."
you know of an individual who helped shape Emmitsburg?
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