Saturday, October 21, 2017

Picture my Week

      Our mornings have been chilly, actually cold would describe them better. Everything was coated with a layer of frost which looked so pretty as the sun came up.

      Kenneth spends one afternoon a week helping out our elderly neighbor. This week that day happened to be the same one that LV wrapped up the repairs and paint job on this truck and was ready to deliver it, which meant I got to be the one to follow him to give him a ride back home.

      I love carrot cake, but as a whole, cake is not a family favorite when it comes to desserts. Rosie Mae went ahead satisfied both preferences by making "Carrot Cake" cookies. They were ridiculously delicious.

      Rosie Mae had a late night and happened to fall asleep the next day. Steven took that as a challenge to see just how many things he can pile on her before she wakes up.

      Someone dumped off a stack of old magazines. The girls had a blast going through them and removing pictures and words that they want to use for one of their journaling projects. When they happened across this page they tore it out and convinced us all to take turns having our picture taken with it.

       I don't think I ever shared the story of two little girls who were supposed to wash up some dishes before guests arrived, and how after the kitchen was sparkling and we had welcomed our out of state visitors inside, I proceeded to start preparing a meal, while LV and the visiting man went outside to look around etc. As they walked behind the house they were greeted by a stack of dirty dishes!!!! Embarrassed doesn't quite cover how I felt, but it was understood that, that will not be happening again. But look what I found this week. Steven to the rescue.

      Steven makes a cute mechanic. The weather warmed up beautifully during the day, so he ran outside as soon as he got through with his school work to "help" his Papa and Kenneth.

     And here is the stack of papers I have with the remnants of my Amish memory posts. I wish I would have continued printing the posts out after every month, but at least I have a little over two years worth here. It will make my re-writing task considerably easier.

Friday, October 20, 2017


     As a child Saturdays were a day that I both looked forward to and dreaded.
     We used to start the day off by thoroughly cleaning the entire house. Mom would give dusting cloths to John and me and we would dust everything we could reach. Then we'd each be given a wet sponge and we'd help Mom wash the windows, what fun it was seeing who could make their sponge squeak the loudest against the window panes. After that Mom would let us sit in Daddy's recliner and look at picture books while she swept and mopped the floors. That used to be a real treat as it was the only day we were allowed to sit in Daddy's chair and the books also were saved for that event.
     Once the floors were dry though the dreaded part came. It was time to do my hair. I had very long hair that was braided and put into a bun and once a week Mom would take it down, wash, and re-braid it so it would be fresh and neat for Sunday.
     We had a tall bar stool that we referred to as the "braiding chair." Mom would set it in the kitchen and call me and I would hop up on it. She had a shoebox full of special little toys I could play with while she did my hair. She would undo my braids and start brushing my hair. I would try not to cry, but after a week without having had anything done to it there were always lots of snarls and hurt dreadfully.
     She would sing funny little songs about a dancing colt and a little boy who was thankful for each article of clothing he was wearing. She'd tell stories about a sneezing  horse, a ship lost at sea, and other stories I loved all of which were special and used only during hair time to try to keep my mind off of the pain, but it was never long before I was howling.
     After the snarls were all out I would lay on the counter while Mom washed my hair and then I had to go through that dreadful brushing again and be braided. After she was done I would hop off the chair, put the box of toys away, and rejoice in the fact that it would be a whole week before I have to go through that again.
     Now was when the real fun began. It was time to bake pie. John and I would each push a chair beside Mom and watch as she measured the flour and made the pie dough it was fun watching her roll it out and fit it carefully in the pan and then watch her fingers fairly fly around the edge leaving a trail of neat little braids , but the best part of all was when she was done with her pie and she would let me have the remaining dough to roll out.
     I would carefully roll it out and then cut it into pieces and spread strawberry jam on it. Then Mom would roll them up and bake them for us until they were a nice golden brown. We'd have to wait until they cooled off a little before we could eat them. They were delicious and would almost melt in your mouth. The perfect ending to a Saturday!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

New Dreams

     When spring arrived that first year and gardening time approached my parents went looking to find an acreage they could buy.
     They found one several miles away off of a narrow dirt road, 15 acres with an old tumble down house and grown up in weeds.
     Being young and full of dreams they didn't really see the hopelessness of the property but only their visions of how they would build a home here and raise their children.
     They wanted to do the work on their own rather than hire someone to do it. Every morning after chores and breakfast were over Daddy would hitch up our faithful horse, Jim, to our spring wagon, and fix blanket "nests" for John and me on the back, and off we would go through the fresh morning air.
     The first thing they worked on was getting all the overgrown weeds and brush cleared away so they could start a garden. What fun it was helping Mom drop the seeds into the long rows. We would carefully step in her tracks in the fresh dirt and happily plant peas and onions. The rest of the vegetables would be planted later once the days grew warmer.
     In the meantime Daddy was starting to tear down the old house. He was tearing the shingles off the roof, and the ladder was just too tempting to a little girl. When Mom wasn't looking I climbed up to help Daddy. Once I was up on the roof though I was petrified, it was dreadfully far from the ground! I was sitting there at the edge of the roof when Mom spied me, she called for Daddy and then hurried up the ladder after me. Daddy came over and scooped me up in his strong arms and carried me down, Mom was almost crying which made me feel really bad, I hadn't meant to scare everyone. I just wanted to help.
     After that day they would drop us off at Grandpa Masts where we would be well taken care of, and out of harm's way. Aunt Vernie would read stories to us, push us on the swing, and help us play whatever we wanted too. Aunt Emma would let us lick her cooking spoons and watch her weave rugs, Grandma would let us dry the dishes for her and occasionally we would run out to the harness shop and watch Grandpa work. By evening when Daddy and Mom came to pick us up we were tired out and usually went to sleep tucked into our blanket nest in the back of our slow moving, bouncing spring wagon, listening to our parents soft voices and the clip clop of Jim's hoofs.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Winter Nights

     That first winter in New York was cold. We had a little wood stove in the living room that did its best to keep our drafty trailer warm. Even so the warmth from the stove did not reach our bedrooms.
     Mom sewed some extra big flannel night clothes for John and me, and our bedtime rituals would include snuggling on either Daddy or Mom's lap before being tucked into our bunk-bed under cozy comforters Mom had made that fall.
     On one particular night it was extremely cold, so Daddy lit the kerosene space heater and set it into our bedroom. As I lay in the top bunk I could see the glow of the heater and with the added warmth I soon drifted off to sleep.
     When the next morning arrived I slept right through breakfast and by noontime my parents were genuinely concerned that I was still sleeping, after efforts to wake me up failed they had to call someone to come take them and their sick daughter to the hospital. Imagine their pain when the doctor informed them that I had been poisoned by the fumes from the heater and gave them very little hope of my survival.
      God was watching over them and by evening I was awake, extremely weak, but on my way to recovery.
      It wasn't long before our routine was back to normal, and our evenings would be filled with various projects, puzzles, bedtime stories, singing, and popcorn. Life was good, Daddy and Mom loved, and worked, and played with us. What more could any child want?
      There was a lasting consequence to the poisoning though, ever since that day my sense of smell is gone.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Where it all Began

    Spring was cautiously trying to peep through, but winter still had a grip on the land. A young married couple looked with great love at the little bundle they had just welcomed into the world. The young dark haired woman glowed with the glow of new motherhood as her handsome blue eyed husband gently cradled their firstborn. A tiny baby girl. For now, their joy was complete.
    They had been married for only a year. Life was good. A precious little baby. A big successful pig farm. Friends and family all around them. They were part of the tight knit little group of Amish in a small northern community. They were happy, so happy, it truly seemed like all their dreams had come true.
     That little baby was me. The firstborn and only daughter my parents had. Five boys were added throughout the years, but we'll come to them later.
    Not long after I was born, a tornado went through the area, and my parents lost everything they had. Escaping with only their lives and their baby daughter. The Amish stepped up and provided them with whatever they needed, but after suffering such a financial loss they sold their land and moved into a little house right next to Grandpa Mast's big farm house.
     The few memories I have of living there are only little snippets. My parents lived there for a few years and then moved to New York in the Finger Lakes Region where a new Amish settlement was starting. They moved into a little trailer on a dairy farm where Daddy would milk the cows morning and evening in exchange for rent and then had a day job at Wixson's Honey where he bottled honey all day long. It might not have been his favorite job, but as he likes to say, it was his sweetest.
     In the evenings while Daddy was in the barn Mom would prepare supper and if we had to wait on Daddy to come in and eat she would sit on a chair in the living room and my brother John, who was two years younger than me, and I would stand in front of Mom and she would sing the "Lob Lied" in the long slow chant like we would sing in church. She would encourage us to help by watching her mouth. At the ages of only two and four we were taught our first Amish church song. After Daddy came in we would eat and then prepare for bedtime. We'd all sing together, hymns and church songs and then our bedtime song, "Mude ich bin ich geh zur ruh Schliesze meine augen zu Vater lasz die augen dein Uber meine bette sein."*

*I am tired I'm going to rest I'll close my eyes tight Father (God) let your eyes Watch over my bed

Monday, October 16, 2017

Begin Again

    When I started my blog eight years ago, I approached it with the vision of having a little spot to record my memories for our children to read and keep.
    Having left the Amish a few years prior, I wanted our children to still have a clear picture of what their heritage was, and I tackled the task day by day sharing the memories I had of my childhood, growing up, getting married, and what led us to eventually leave the Amish.
    Along the way I made many blogging friends who enjoyed popping in to journey along memory lane with me.
    Yesterday I opened my blog and noticed there are hundreds of missing posts. Upon closer investigation it appears every post I had labeled as Amish, is gone.
    I'll admit I felt violated and upset, and debated quitting my blog entirely, but after some thought I have decided not to give up that easily.
    To rewrite everything looks like a monumental task at the moment. Thankfully the first few years I always printed out each month's worth of blog posts just in case something were to happen with my blog and I lose everything, so that will help.
    Plans are to once again start at the beginning and share the story of a shy but happy, little Amish girl and the journey that brought her to where she is today. Still happy, but no longer Amish.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

October Days

I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. ~ Anne Shirley

We've been thoroughly enjoying fall this year. The cooler temperatures, the lovely colored leaves, the nostalgic yet somehow eager atmosphere. What's not to love?

Kenneth, Rosie Mae, and I took a little day trip recently. The fall scenery was gorgeous and I got to thoroughly enjoy it from the passenger seat. (Still having to pinch myself occasionally that we have a child old enough to drive, and drives well enough that I can relax in the passenger seat even out on busy interstate highways!)

We stopped at a rest area along the way where Kenneth and Rosie Mae climbed up these stairs to enjoy the view from the top of the mountain, while I opted to not do the stairs and instead occupied myself with taking pictures of them and the various plant life growing beside the trail leading to the stairs.

We couldn't have asked for a prettier day for our little excursion, and we were able to make some lovely memories. That it happened to be October just added that sprinkle of perfection on an already fun outing.