Beloved Beer Stein Tells a Story

A beer stein that once decorated a hotel in the "Heights" neighborhood near Bethlehem Steel is now in the possession of local historian Lee Weidner.

It is not out of the equation to enjoy watching the cable TV show "American Pickers" if one is already involved in researching local history, but is unable to travel. Also, this writer enjoys collecting old "stuff," such as bottles representing the once-flourishing Brookfield Dairy and Hellertown Bottling Works.

Recently I had the rare opportunity to pick certain objects from Bethlehem. My favorite is a large German-made beer stein once used as a decoration behind the bar of a popular hotel, part of the "Heights" neighborhood near the entrance to the Saucon Plant of Bethlehem Steel.

During the 1930s, Paul and Julia Chulick operated the hotel with Paul bartending and Julia cooking local favorites. The stein was among six that sat on a shelf behind the bar. Probably both my grandfathers frequented the establishment, since one worked in the nearby machine shops and the other ran a hot saw. Once I owned the latter's safety glasses and a small notebook containing measurements of slicing various steel objects, but the years have taken his glasses and recipe box. Maybe I donated them to the Steel Archives, but the years have taken much of my memory, except for traumatic events.

Returning to the stein, the embossed story of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" is beautifully depicted. Below the Prince, newly awakened Snow White and all the dwarfs is found the inscription, "Schneewittchen und die sieben Zwerge," which any reader can translate. However, only the reader who is well-versed in German can translate the large-lettered message, "Trinken, Lieben, Singen Half Stets Zu Guten Dingen." The colors are beige, green, brown and blue. In my opinion, the stein is exquisite. The story persists that if a patron was able to quaff a steinful of beer, he received the stein as a dividend.

It so happens that my lifelong favorite comic strip remains "Peanuts." In one strip, Lucy says to brother Linus, "This 'Snow White' has been having trouble sleeping, see?" She continues, "Well, she goes to this witch who gives her an apple to eat which puts her to sleep... Just as she's beginning to sleep real well... You know, for the first time in weeks... This stupid prince comes along and kisses her, and wakes her up!" Finally, Linus replies with his usual perspicacity, "I admire the wonderful way you have of getting the real meaning out of a story." Enough said!


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