This is the story of my life. I am Frank Kuhn. I lived in Palonka, Hungary until 1911 when I came to the United States of America to find a new life. In 1911, I was working with a Catholic priest in Palonka when I was sent to get a gas bottle to put the bubbles in the beer; however, I didn’t have any money to buy the gas bottle. Because I had no money, I was accused of stealing a twenty dollar gold piece. I was innocent. After I was accused of this crime, of course I offended and hurt, I took my bicycle and clarinet and left Hungary without anybody knowing, not even my parents.
When I left Palonka, Hungary, it wasn’t safe for me to sleep out in the open when night came. I didn’t want anything to happen to me, so I dug under a hay stack and hid my bicycle I then, “climbed” into the hay stack, feet first. I was completely covered and it was hard to breathe so I had to make a little opening for my nose and mouth so I wouldn’t suffocate. I spent the night that way and continued on to Germany the following morning.
When I finally arrived in Bremen, a port town in Germany, I wired my grandfather, Conrad Kuhn, and asked him for money so I could go to go to either America or Africa. Grandfather Conrad gave me money to go to the United States of America, and on December 22, 1911, I sailed from Bremen, Germany on the ship, Neckar and landed at Ellis Island, New York. I was registered as Ferencz Kuhn in the Ellis Island immigrant registry because the Ellis Island immigration workers had a difficult time understanding me due to my accent.
In the January of 1912, Mary Fritz arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where we met. Later, we got married and settled in Trenton, New Jersey, at 524 Columbus Avenue in a quaint little house. In Trenton, I entered the ice cream business with my partner, Anthony Brener, who I am distantly related to. I remember, during those years in Trenton, I got the idea to put ice cream on a stick and dip it in chocolate. Nobody ever had that idea before, and it was great! But, I didn’t patent the idea, and my neighbor stole it and got the credit.
Again, I was offended and hurt. My ice cream business with Anthony Brenen ended up failing. I entered the furniture business and moved to a house on East Lehman Street, near the intersection with 7th Avenue, in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. There I started a business in the soft drink and beer market because my furniture business failed, just like the ice cream business in Trenton. A little while after that, I bought my first warehouse, which was on Guilford Street in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. In this business I made my profit. Later, I moved from my house near 7th Avenue, to a house closer to the warehouses.
As I had said, Mary Fritz and I had married. We had two sons, Anthony Conrad and Frank Joseph. Anthony was known as Anton or Toni. In 1928, I took my family and went back to Palonka to visit some of my family who lived there. On the fifteenth day of October, in 1928, I set sail with my young family to Bremen, Germany on the S.S. Stuttgart. In Palonka, we visited my sister, Nina, her daughter, Maria, and Nina’s two sons Haunts and Mauts, and my brother-in-law, Matthias.
Over the years, my two sons grew up and married. Frank Joseph married Charlotte Smith in 1938 and in September of the same year, they had their first child, Shirley Kuhn, who is my oldest grandchild. Frank Joseph and Charlotte had three children, Shirley, Frankie, and Rodney. On June 6, 1939 Toni married Ruth Light. They had six children, and raised another child, Patty, but they did not legally adopt her.
Over the years, I took care of my dear mother, Eva Brener. Sadly, in 1945, Mary, my beloved wife died. Two months later, I married a close, family friend whose husband had fallen in to a hot caldron of dye and died several years before. Her name was Theresa. Theresa and Eva did not get along and when I brought my sister and her children to America, I bought them a house under an agreement that Mother would live with them. Mother lived with Nina, Maria, Haunts, and Mauts until she died, two weeks before her eighty-eighth birthday.
It was in the year 1952 when I paid for Nina, and her three children to come to America. Maria and Nina had been in a concentration camp during World War II and Matthias, Nina’s husband, had been killed by the Russians. Nina and Maria escaped from the concentration camp and hid in a cornfield. As they were walking along, they came to a fork in the road and they didn’t know which way to go. Russians might be down one of the roads. So Nina and Maria prayed and asked God to show them the way. When they finished praying, they looked up and saw a little boy coming down one of the roads. They decided that the road with the boy must be safe, because if the Russians were on that road, the little boy would be dead. Then, a blind man took Nina and Maria to Haunts and Mauts who had been working while Nina and Maria were in the concentration camp.
I was pretty laid back throughout my life, and I didn’t give up when things got bad. Because I left Hungary, I met my Mary. After my neighbor stole my idea for the ice cream on a stick, covered in chocolate, I moved to Lebanon and there, my sons met their wives and I became successful in the soft drink and beer business that I called Clicquot Club Bottling Works. I have many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren. If I had not been accused of stealing or had my inventions stolen from me, my descendants would not be living and breathing in Pennsylvania to this day.