Looking for Eli Stolfus

In 1975 my father hitchhiked around the world.

He went to every continent and travelled carefree for about 2½-3 years. With nothing but a few bucks and what was in his backpack, he came home with plenty of stories. He has stories about being stabbed in Jamaica, arrested in Argentina, picked up by someone with a brand new Porsche in Germany (it was the 70’s, it was a big deal!) and forming life-long friendships on every continent. According to Marcus and Richie, the stories get grander as he gets older.

Then there was the story about being picked up in Intercourse, Pennsylvania by an Amish man and his family. They took home to their farm, feed him, gave him a bed and looked after him. Dad ended up staying there and working for them for a few days.

Before leaving Australia, Dad said we needed to look up the Stolfus family while we were there and to go visit them. We had no idea where to start looking, so we took the motel receptionists advice and went to the Public Library to seek some help. When I gave them the piece of paper with the name of the man who we were trying to hunt down, she looked at me blankly, raised one eyebrow and said, “You know this is like looking for John Smith, right?”

We started attacking the yellow pages and went down through the list in hope of finding this family. We ended up narrowing it down to 3 possible families in the area, so we hit the road.

I was so nervous! What was I going to say? Were they actually going to believe me? Would they kick us off their farms?

The first address we pulled up at was in Gordonville.

The lady of the home was sitting down with 2 of her kids peeling beans. I can only imagine what she was thinking when she saw the cloud of dust float up towards her in the form of a Lincoln.

“Hi, we’re from Australia and we’re looking for Ely Stolfus. He died in the early 90’s, but we want to meet his family. ”

After having a good chat with the lady and her kids, we all worked out that even though this was a Ely Stolfus’ farm, it was not the Ely Stolfus that Dad had stayed with. She even went through all of her relatives trying to match us up, but it wasn’t meant to be. Saying our goodbyes, Richie and I pretended it was the right Stolfus farm and we then gave up our search and got on the road to D.C.

In this case, it’s all about the adventure, not the destination.

We didn’t get photos of these Stolfus’, but here is some more horse and buggy photos to continue the cool Amish theme.

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