Saturday, October 23, 2010


We had several different sets of encyclopedias and when ever we had spare time John could be found deeply engrossed in learning how things work and trying to build things after he understood how they worked.

By stringing wire through the attic and down through our bedroom walls we were able to have a homemade phone system in each of our bedrooms that we could use to talk to each other.

Mom and Daddy encouraged his experimenting as he made a small telegraph machine and worked on making little battery powered motors.

Most of the time I found all of his experiments and his never ending enthusiasm for his projects a little boring. Until one day when Mom and Daddy had to be gone all day doing Christmas shopping leaving John and I at home to take care of any customers and babysit Ivan and Raymond.

We hurried with all of our work so we could have the rest of the day to do what ever we wanted to. It wasn't long before John came into the kitchen for more supplies for another experiment. He thought he finally discovered how to build his own voice recorder. I dropped my projects in the sewing room and went to help him. Working at the kitchen table with Ivan and Raymond watching we were both excited when we were able to play back a voice. it wasn't the greatest quality but we knew we were on the right track. Remembering a pile of old records in the attic left there by the previous owner we went to get them to see if the machine he had built would play those.

It did and for the rest of the afternoon we listened to old songs, and Tom Sawyer. We carefully tucked everything under John's bed before Mom and Daddy came home. We had a feeling they might think we had taken experimenting a little too far and weren't ready to part with our new toy right away.

That evening at the supper table Ivan, who was just beginning to talk plainly announced that "John put a funny man who talks under his bed."

John and I looked at each other, so afraid that we would have to confess what we had been doing, and were greatly relieved when Daddy said. "Ivan, it's almost Christmas time so you don't talk about secrets." We breathed a sigh of relief and vowed we would have to be careful that Ivan doesn't hear us the next time we wanted to listen to those old records.


  1. Ivan's description of the invention was funny. Your dad was an understanding man to let you and your brother have your secrets.

  2. This is hilarious. I wonder how long (if ever) before your parents discovered John's invention.

  3. I am so amazed at your brother's inventions, being an Amish boy. Where is he now? Is he still inventing things? He ought to be if he isn't.

  4. Hello. I wanted to stop by to thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment. What a great blog you have Reading back through some of your posts, at some of your memories is so interesting. A treasure, really.

  5. I cannot believe he was inventing stuff like that. We just take it for granted but I guess when you don't have it the wheels in the head start turning! Very cool.
    Glad you two weren't found out.

  6. LOLOLOL wow I just love your stories! did your parents ever 'discover" Johns invention?

  7. What a great story!! I'm with Katie - what does he do now? Are the wheels in his head still turning and cranking out new ideas?? Thank goodness it was the season for surprises and fun secrets ~

  8. Katie, John is still Amish and with a family to provide for keeps him busy. He is working on another invention though, which if it works will help a lot of people.

  9. That brings back memories of listening to old songs and stories on the record player.
    Thanks for sharing.

  10. Was John's "funny man who talks" discovered by your parents? I'm dying to hear the rest of this story!!


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