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December 06, 1950 - Image 13

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1950-12-06

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.


WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 6, 1950 ;

TIDE MICHIGAN DAILY

WORKMAN PLAYS SANTA FOR 44 YEARS:

1 -11
Ann 2
Arbor Carpenter for , Children

* * *

« *

*k * *

* * *

* *

By BOB KEITH
A thin, bespectacled, old Ann
Arbor gentlemen .has been quietly
struggling in his basement work-
shop this week to put the finish-
ing touches on thousands of
Christmas toys.
He is Al Warnhoff, an unpre-
tentious 60-year-old carpenter
whose toymaking hobby has car-
ried him to great heights in kind-
ness to others.
* -
WARNHOFF GIVES his toys
to blind, sick or orphaed chil-
dren. In his lifetime he has pro-
duced mnore than 18,300 of the
playthings, and he has personal-
ly delivered'all of them to un-
fortunate youngsters in hospitals
and other institutions through-
out this area.
All told, Warnhoff has prob-
ably done more than any other
individualin Michigan to con-
vine the disabled or homeless
moppets that Santa Claus is
much more than a mercenary
myth.
And he has devoted the major
part of his life to that end. For
the past 44 years Warnhoff has
spent almost every spare hour
huddledover his workbench. Day
after day he comes home from
his regular job, eats dinner and
then "holes up" until after mid-
night in his basement shop at
1315 Franklin.
He designs, saws, paints and
polishes. By Christmas time he
has packed his cellar with clever
new wooden gimmicks such as
moving windmills, chairs, wheel-
ed horses and dogs that bend in
the middle.
FOR ALL HIS effort, Warnhoff
receives no financial reward. "I
don't accept money," Warnhoff
said in a way which made the
very idea seem ridiculous.
"It's really a lot of fun," he
explained. "When I deliver the
toys myself I'm able to see what
they mean to the children. It's
a toymaker's dream come true,
and the pleasure is something
money can't buy."
Although his hobby hasn't
brought fortune to Warnhoff, it
has produced fame by the car-
load. He modestly refers to him-
self as one of Santa Claus's help-
ers, but many Michigan residents
have long been of the opinion that
Warnhoff. is none other than old
St. Nicholas himself.
His toil has brought acclaim
from hospitals, clubs, newspapers,
mayors, governors and even from
President Truman.
* * *
THE PRESIDENT sent him a
congratulatory letter a few years
ago. And every year Warnhoff
goes to' see 'Michigan's governor.
Warnhoff has earned an hon-
ary membership in the Ann Ar-
bor Kiwanis Club, and in April
the local chapter of the Ameri-
can Legion "gave an award to
mom and me." ,
One year the head of the Mu-
tual Broadcasting Company pre-
sented Warnhoff with a certifi-
cate for "living the golden rule,"
A new radio was thrown in along
wit hthe citation. For Warnhoff,
king supreme of gift-givers, "it
was the only present I ever got."
THE IDEA OF making toys to
provide Yuletide cheer for young-
sters came to Warnhoff when he
was 16 years old. "A little girl in
the neighborhood got sick, so I
made her a doll crib. The doctor

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Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer-Gene Autry
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Goldilocks and the Three Bears-David Allen
Col. J-MJ-36 ...............,... $2.65
Little Black Sambo-Don Lyon
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3.

-Daily-Tom Seyferth
WHO SAYS SANTA CI AUS IS BUNK?-Surrounded by a saw-dusty accumulation of home-made toys, Al Warnhoff manages to keep in fine spirits as he heads into the
home stretch in his year-long preparation for Christmas. Warnhoff, Ann Arbor's own St. Nick, turns out thousands of toys in his cellar workship, and he gives them all
away. Here he puts final touches on two toys which will gladden some children's hea rts come Christmas morning.
. * * <* . *

Kankie and the Concertina-David Allen
Col.. ..J-39... ..............
The Gingerbread Boy-David Allen
Col. J-MJ -37 ....... ............ .

$2.25
$2.25

said I'd done more good for her
than anything else and he told me
to keep up the good work. And
that's what I've tried to do ever
since."
All told, Warnhoff estimates
he has spent eight years of his
life down in the cellar. His hob-
by rgularly consumes 49 hours
a week and more than 2000
hours a year. And he does this
on top of a day-time job in a
local lumber yard.
Warnhoff makes so many toys
that he can allow himself no off-
season rests. He always starts in
right after one Christmas and
"keeps on a-goin' until the next.
His only break comes on Sundays
when he pauses to "take mom out
to dinner."
"MOM" IS Ethel Warnhoff,
his chief consultant and mother
of their two children.
While Mrs. Warnhoff assists
in choosing colors, local civic
groups annually perform some
of the more arduous tasks, such
as sawing wood, or stuffing the
doll's beds.
Warnhoff's machinery is furn-
ished and kept in repair by an
Ypsilanti firm.
* * * .
MAKING FULL USE of his, fa-
cilities and putting pressure on
himself, Warnhoff gets his base-
ment and garagesloaded to the
ceiling by Christmas time. Then
he takes a week-long vacation-
his only one of the year-from
his regular job and sets out on a
round of deliveries.
A few of the 1800-odd toys
he makes yearly go to "kids I've
k"own" in the county. Some
go to the scores whose "Dear
Santa Claus" letters are for-
warded to him every Christmas.
But most of the playthings are
earmarked for the various in'sti-
tutions in Ypsilanti, Jackson,
Lansing and Ann Arbor where

Warnhoff's visits have become a
tradition. .
THE UNIVERSITY Hospital is
his "biggest customer" but the
State School for the Blind in Lan-
sing seems to offer the greatest
reward. "The kids run their fing-
ers over the toys and over my
face and they get so excited they
tear me to pieces. To watch them
and hear them gives me the push
sand spirib to go on," Warnhoff,
remarked.

' Students Father Angered by Sour Note
3V1eDETROIT-(03)-Christmas got the youngster treated at Receiv-
an early and not very merry start ing Hospital for a welt on the
in the Lovell Jackson household. face. Then Assistant Prosecutor
Jackson asked his eight-year- John Rusinack started question-
s0son, Lovell, Jr, to sing "Jingle ing the father. It turned out
Bells." 'Jackson was aiming for the pro-
per spanking spot, but the child
Cold, wintry blasts can be for- The boy conplied, but made a ducked and got the blow in the
'hehs mistake and his father stopped face.
Igotten with the help of the speech hi.H;tre ginadmdj N hrgs"si uiak
department's many radio shows the samesmistake.aghethirdtime " charges,"saidRusinack.
which range from news broad- he slipped, Jackson hit him with 'Merry Christmas.
casts to childrens' programs. a belt.
The news broadcast, a 15-binute Jackson's wife, Josephine, had ReadDaily ClaSSifieds
show, is aired at 12:30 p.m. Mon- -'----- ----
day through Friday over WHRV.
This show is edited, prepared, and
read by radio news students,
** *
"DOWN Storybook Lane," a
childrens' program, is divided into LI AImmvc®* 8 *we *%1J

Christmas Songs-Frank Sinatra
Col. LP C1"6019 ......... .

..... $2.85

Jingle Bells-Ozzie Nelson
Col. 35786 .... , .................
White Christmas-Frank Sinatra
Col. 37152 . ..............................

79
.79

As for
taking a
Warnhoff
chance.

calling it quits and
much deserved rest,
doesn't see much.

"Everybody's been pretty nice
to me and I owe it to them to keep
on. I've been pretty sick (I can't
drink beer) and so has mom, but
the doc has been trying to get us
over it.
"I think of quitting after just
about every Christmas, but the
cellar is so bare that I get lone-
some and want to start in again.
"Then some night I come home,
head for the workshop, and away
I go. Pretty soon I forget my
troubles and I find new inspira-
tion. But most important I find
peace of mind."
Italian 1B1earS
To 0e Counted

a
T
r
.
ii
I
f
j

narrations and dramas. The nar-
rations can be heard at 5:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday
over WUOM and are rebroadcast
at 4:45 p.m. Monday through Fri-
day on WHRV. The dramas can
be heard at 5:30 p.m. Monday on
WUOM and are rebroadcast atI
8:45 a.m. on Sunday over WWJ.
The Workshop Drama, a 15-
minute show, is heard at 4:30
p.m. on Thursday over WUOM
and WHRV by transcription.

1ALF-HMUR LAUNDRY

Winter Wonderland-Buddy Clark
Col. 38600 . ..... ...........: ...... .79 ,..
k -.
easy for any child to operate!
;. ~The Columbia Q
Changer Attachment
Model 104
Plays all sizes of 331/ LP records
automatically * easily attached to
your present radio, phonograph or
television set.
508 East William
Ann Arbor, Mich.
f.<. i % ;:2% : 'ti;k:"::::;';{:; i: . ~r ": ..3

35c per washer

load

25c to d ry

510 East Williams

Phone 5540

Angell !Hall Playhouse, a half-
ROME - The Italian govern- hour drama written, produced and
ment has announced that it will acted by radio students, is heard
soon take a census of the more at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday over
than 200 brown bears who roam WUOM and is rebroadcast at 8:30
free in the 500-square-mile nation- p.m. on Thursday over WHRV.
al park of the Abruzzi, according The Red Feather show, done in
to the United Press. cooperation with the local Coun-
After the next snowfall, experts cil of Social Agencies, is heard at
will photograph bear tracks and .10:45 a.m. Tuesday over WPAG
from these determine the exact and is re-broadcast at 5:15 p.m.
number of bears in the park. Monday on WUOM.
fo- --

Ii - -

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Custom-made to YOUR measurements,
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gGifts for Christmas
WE SUGGEST -
A new Novel, Biography, Travel, Current Events or
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Books for children from our well selected stock.
Beautiful stationery by Eaton, Montag and others -
Calendars - Brief Cases - Fountain Pens
KA.Mnnnin -o hckr+;n-

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Blouses

i

GIFT SUGGESTIONS
for your
CHRISTMAS
SHOPPING
KCi .'
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I
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Slips
Nylons

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Half-slips

Costume Jewelry

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i

,Ii iI !

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