If you frequented downtown Lancaster in the mid-1960s, surely you remember a gentleman by the name of Vic Rittenhouse, who sold soft pretzels from a stand in front of the Fulton Bank, in the first block of North Queen Street.

Guess you could say he was rolling in the dough.

Vic and I shared an occupation. We both sold soft pretzels.

The tools of our trade were a big wicker basket and a metal coin changer that clipped onto your belt.

If you had said “street hustle” back in the day, I would have thought you meant “walking fast.”

It’s 6 o’clock on a summer weekday morning.

I find myself in the back room of a house in the 400 block of West Vine Street. It’s a soft-pretzel bakery, with deep Dutch ovens.

I’m 12 years old in the mid-1960s. The owner, Mr. Fassnacht, said, “Help me bag these pretzels, and eat all you want.”

Then, I would leave on my route, lugging a big wicker basket full of soft pretzels.

I used to hit businesses in the west end of town, such as Raub Supply, Adelphia Seafood and Trojan Boat.

I knew what time employees’ breaks were, and I’d be waiting for them. It was 15 cents for a small bag and a quarter for a large bag of pretzels.

The next morning, I’d pay the pretzel bakery owner and walk away with the tidy some of $3, proud of a job well done and feeling rich.

Mr. Fassnacht used to set up a soft pretzel stand at Reynolds Junior High on Monday through Thursday, and at my alma mater, Sacred Heart of Jesus, on Friday afternoon, as school let out.

The author lives in Lancaster. According to LNP archives, Fassnacht Pretzel Bakery, 403 W. Vine St., regularly advertised in the 1950s for pretzel sellers who could provide their own baskets.

If you know an interesting story, please write it in 600 words or less and send it to Mary Ellen Wright, LNP editorial department, P.O. Box 1328, Lancaster, PA, 17608-1328, email it to features@lnpnews.com. Please include your phone number and the name of the town you live in.

What to Read Next