There aren't a lot of gold-watch jobs left in the world – very few of us spend 30-plus years at the same employer – and of those gold-watch jobs remaining, probably none are in the restaurant business.

There aren't a lot of gold-watch jobs left in the world – very few of us spend 30-plus years at the same employer – and of those gold-watch jobs remaining, probably none are in the restaurant business.

Except at Schmidt's Sausage Haus of German Village.

Theresa Marklstorfer was the restaurant's very first employee, hired in June 1967 before the restaurant even opened.

You know I like to use this space to share fun history lessons I'm getting as I learn the comings and goings of German Village.

When Geoff Schmidt introduced me to Theresa a couple of months ago I said, "That's a column."

Theresa humored me and sat down for a tour of her long career on Kossuth Street.

Theresa was the first employee that George Schmidt hired when he opened the original Sausage Haus in German Village in 1967.

George pulled a bit of a raid on what he recognized as a great employee. Theresa waited tables at Plank's before she started for George, and George ate lunch at Willy Plank's place on a regular basis during his shifts at the packing house.

You might remember, Schmidt's is celebrating 125 years in German Village, and the beginning of that legacy was J. Fred Schmidt's Meat Packing House, opened in 1886.

When George decided to shift gears to the restaurant business, he approached Theresa about joining him.

"I'd worked for Plank's for four years and I told George I'd try it and if I didn't like it, I'd go back," Theresa said.

Theresa has been in the United States since June 1, 1955.

She and her husband and daughter moved from Germany's Bavarian region, seeking a life better than what Germany had to offer after the war.

Wagenbrenner Construction offered her husband a job and that's what brought them to Columbus.

The genuine German accent that Theresa maintains to this day makes her that much more of a fixture during her continuing lunch shifts at hostess on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays at Schmidt's.

In 1965, she spent two months helping George prepare to open the business, helping to choose silverware and flatware.

She started in the kitchen as a pastry cook, so yes, Theresa was part of the creation of the Schmidt Cream Puff.

"I came in the morning and worked until 3 p.m., then went home and made dinner for my family, then came back and made the pies and puddings for the next day," Theresa said, remembering the early years in the kitchen.

She's also credited with Schmidt's German potato salad recipe, although she recalls that the one served today isn't the first recipe she presented to George to try.

"To this day, we have Theresa taste-test all new recipes for authenticity," Geoff said.

He said he recalls a long set of tit-for-tat pranks he and Theresa used to play on each other when he was just getting his start in the family business.

"I had a yellow VW and Theresa would go out while I was working and fill it full of beer barrels so I couldn't leave because I couldn't get in the vehicle!" Geoff said.

It's the family atmosphere that keeps Theresa coming back, she said.

In fact, she brought her daughter and granddaughter through the business at various points in their employment history.

She is very much part of Schmidt family, as well.

"It has changed quite a bit over the years, but still the whole family works here. I remember when (youngest Schmidt sister) Sandy was 3 and I would pay her a quarter to stir the pudding," Theresa said.

She hasn't forgotten a moment of her 45 years, it seems in talking to her.

And it's clear she loves both the job and the family the Schmidt's name represents.

I'm honored to have met her.

Shiloh Todorov is director of the German Village Society.