HILLTOWN — Evelyn Hunsberger Weesner says her birthday celebration this year kind of makes a full circle.

Looking back nine decades, she celebrated her 97th birthday on July 20 with a recreation of a photo taken of her in 1930.

That's when the Michigan born child and her family took a road trip that included spending about a week visiting relatives in the Perkasie area.

"On one of the farms, I was so embarrassed, my mom made me stand out in the front lawn and recite a poem," Weesner recalled.   

In the original photo, the then-seven-year-old stands behind a tractor on which Leon Bishop is seated at his Hilltown farm.

Years later, while going through a box of old photos, Weesner noticed the Perkasie town name on the back of the photo and sent it to daughter and son-in-law Cheryl and Bruce McMordie, who have lived in Perkasie for 32 years.

Weesner and her husband, Wesley, meanwhile, were living in California during their 61 year-long marriage.

"Later after I lost my husband, the kids decided that I should come and live with them so they built a beautiful room for me and now they've been my guardian angels ever since," said Weesner, who moved from California to Perkasie in 2012. 

"I love Perkasie. It's kind of old-fashioned, just like me. Everybody has the flag flying from their porch or rocking chairs out," she said. "... All the beautiful churches here, I just love it here."

It wasn't until December of last year, after showing the old photo to some visitors, that they found out exactly where it was taken, she said.

The farm has been in the family for 102 years, first as the Loux farm and then the Bishop farm, said Kevin Bishop, Leon Bishop's grandson and the owner, with wife Cindy, of the Bishop Estate Vineyard & Winery, which opened to the public in October of 2017. 

The barn in the original photo is no longer there, but was across the street from the winery on property that is owned by his mother, Bishop said. 

"Back then, Leon owned both properties," his grandson said. "He had a huckster route down through Line Lexington and over into Colmar, so it was milk and eggs, so they had chickens and dairy here." 

Although the barn in the 1930 photo was removed when he was young, some of the materials from it were kept and are being used in work he is currently doing to make a new tasting room in the barn at the winery, he said.

What's really remarkable about the photo is that Weesner ended up in the same place where she had been for only a few days at age seven, Bruce McMordie said. 

"It is all the more remarkable because of the fact that Mom was born in Michigan, raised in Indianapolis, fell in love by letter during the war, married her sweetheart and moved to California," he said. 

Weesner said she and her husband were pen pals during World War II. 

"After years of corresponding, he sent me fare on the train and I got to meet him and we fell in love and got married on Valentine's Day," she said. 

Cheryl McMordie said her father proposed to her mother before they had even met.

"I didn't say yes until I met him," Weesner said.

Before taking the new photo, Weesner, the McMordies and Bishop shared some memories.

"We're glad you came back," Bishop told her.

"Me too," Weesner said.  

comments powered by Disqus