Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the last interview I had the opportunity to do face-to-face was in March. In upcoming weeks, one of the 126 weekly interviews that were previously published will be shared with readers. This article was originally published on July 22, 2018.
Before we go any further, I need to clarify Harold J. Gaugler's name. Due to the fact that his father’s name was Harold, the family started to call him by the nickname of his middle name. So, the family and childhood acquaintances know him as “Jimmy.”
He and I are first cousins — our mothers were sisters. Our group of maternal cousins is referred to as the Marton cousins, o which I am the oldest and he is number nine of 10.
After graduating from the Phoenixville Area High School, he went to work for a paint company in town. The next year, he went to work as the Gateway Pharmacy, working his way up from the stock room to do it all, including supervisor.
Five years later, in 1983, he went to work in King of Prussia for a company that did computer repairs. When he was there the company was bought and sold several times. Due to cutbacks, he found himself looking for a new job after 18 years.
For the last 15 years, he has been employed by Indian Creek Foundation based in Souderton. This foundation provides services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Starting up in direct care staff, he now supervises two of their group homes with five residents per home. As a gentle and kind person, this job well suits his personality and talents. Well-liked by those who know him.
Music is very important to him. He has attended so many concerts and performance by so many artists he has lost count.
He is a big karaoke fan as his sister Janice. She has lived in the Frederick, Md., area for many years. Whenever they get a chance, they enjoy singing together. He has a younger brother, Ron, who lives in Phoenixville.
He has been a longtime fan of Hollywood movies of the 30s & 40s especially with stars like Cary Grant, Bette Davis, Jimmy Stewart and Katherine Hepburn.
A cat named “Maggie” is his current companion — having four different cats over the years.
Harold is a proud member of the LBGT community. He recalls the Lark Bar in Bridgeport as a family. Performing — using his voice with “fun drag” — as well as MC and backstage jobs for shows.
He remembers when at a young child I would take him to the Barn Playhouse, where he took part in community parades and watched stage productions.
He is fond of eating and especially likes extremely spicy Mexican food. He doesn’t spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I shared with him and you this quick and easy Mexican chili recipe.
QUICK & EASY SPICY MEXICAN CHILI
1 lb. lean ground meat
1 onion, chopped
2 chipotle peppers om adobo sauce
10 oz. can dice tomatoes with green chili peppers
30 oz. can kidney beans, drained & rinsed
2 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. chili powder
3 tsp. hot pepper sauce
shredded Cheddar cheese
Brown ground meat – drain. Combine meat and all ingredients with the exception of the cheese in a large pot. Cook for 30-40 minutes. Ladle chili into bowls – sprinkle with cheese – serve sour cream on side to regulate level of heat. Amount of spicy used can also be adjusted to taste.
UPDATE: Harold enjoys watching movies and series on Netflix and Amazon Prime. He continues to work 5-6 days a week during the pandemic to care for his individuals with intellectual & developmental disabilities at Indian Creek Foundation. With quarantine time at home and the purchase of an air fryer, he is becoming quite a culinary expert. He looks forward to the day he can spend time with family and friends in restaurants, karaoke bars and concert halls.