Adolph and Emily Hafeman are no strangers to welcoming people to Wellesley Township. Since 1969, when they moved to the area from Waterloo, they have thrown their doors wide open and invited visitors in, first when they owned a grocery store in the village and then when they operated a bed and breakfast out of their home.
So it is no surprise that they have been chosen to give out a few more smiles and waves, this time as the parade marshals for the Wellesley Christmas Parade.
“We will be riding in the fire truck,” said Emily with a laugh. “At our age. Can you believe it?”
The couple made perfect sense as a choice for parade marshal, said parade committee member Jean Horne.
“They have done so much for Wellesley,” said Horne. “They invite people to walk on their trails, and they’re just really lovely.”
And their open invitation to walk on the trails is just one of a long list of ways in which the Hafemans give back to the community.
In 1969, after a career shift for Adolph, the couple bought a store in the village. For 18 years they greeted customers and got to know their neighbours. When the time came for the store to close, the Hafemans decided to play host again and began to offer rooms for rent in their home; their bed and breakfast has been in operation since 1988.
“When we had the store, we had people around us every day for 18 years,” said Adolph. “And all of a sudden we were sort of cut off. It was so rewarding to have such nice people coming and visiting our home.”
The B&B has become so popular that in the summertime there are only a handful of days when the couple does not have guests in the house. Some stop in on their way to the Stratford Festival, while others enjoy the close proximity to the St. Jacobs markets. Others just come to take a break from their busy city lives and smell the flowers that the Hafemans have planted in their yard.
Families have come to stay, groups of friends have slept a night in the Hafeman home and they have even hosted a few weddings.
“It’s neat because some of the weddings we have held have been for the grandchildren of people we served back when we had the store,” said Emily. “And visitors are always welcome to come by and say hello if they’re coming through town. We tell them to come in for a cup of coffee and some German cake if they can fit us in.”
But their generosity and community involvement doesn’t stop there.
Adolph is one of the founding members of the Wellesley ABC Festival. Emily has been with the ABC board for 27 years and volunteers with the horticultural society. They donated the antique red sleigh that carries Santa through the streets of Wellesley each year. They’re both members of the Wellesley and District Board of Trade, volunteer at their church, and sing in the St. Paul’s Church choir.
“It’s fun,” said Emily. “You shouldn’t fence yourself in. We like to keep our horizons as wide open as we can as far as physical ability allows.”
As of next May, the Hafemans will be keeping their eyes open for new opportunities; they have decided to retire from the bed and breakfast business.
“We have done this for a long time and we decided that this might be a good time to retire from this,” said Emily.
“We will see what else life has to offer.”
Next up: greeting Wellesley visitors from the inside of a fire truck during the annual parade, an experience that both of them look forward to.
“I just suppose we will have to work on our wave,” said Emily.
The ChristmasTyme in Wellesley parade takes place in the village on Dec. 10 at 6:45 p.m.