Thursday, July 30, 2009
Right after breakfast we would go to one of the bedrooms that Mom had turned into a schoolroom. After we were done with our lessons for the day John and I were free to do whatever we wanted to.
We enjoyed playing in the snow or run out in the barn and feed hay to our horse, Jim. It was fun to let him eat out of our hands. His soft velvety lips felt good as he gently got the hay from our hands.
On the colder days we would watch Mom quilt or sew. We used to get a little chair and pull it up beside her and say. "Tell us about when you were a little girl" She would smile a little and start in by saying. "A long time ago there was a little girl with big brown eyes." John, David, and I would settle in comfortably as she told us about how she would ride with Grandpa to the ice house during the summer and how she and her sister Lydia had to take turns to go along.
It was hard to imagine her as a little girl but she was good at telling stories and before long it seemed as if we were transported back in time running along beside her as she ran to catch the school bus and shivered with dread when it turned over in a cold snowy ditch. We learned to know all her childhood friends and could see the house she used to live in just by hearing her descriptions.
One day we were once again listening to her stories as she was sewing. She was trying to get a dress done and David wanted to have some chocolate milk. She told him to wait a few minutes until she is done sewing. She had to stand up to measure something and David once again asked for chocolate milk since she was up anyway. She wanted to sit down to finish the last seam and David being a wise little four year old thought if he would pull the chair away she would fix him his drink right away. It didn't quite work the way he planned though. Because when she tried to sit down there was no longer a chair there and she fell on the floor. We all stood there looking at her in dismay. David felt really bad about it and had to cry.
Mom got up and finished the dress. But there was no chocolate milk for anyone that day.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
I am almost done but am left with several piles of things that I am hopelessly stuck in finding room for. Here is an example. Grandma Mast used to save all her old calendars and turn them into scrapbooks. Each of her grandchildren got one on their ninth birthday. I don't want to throw it away and still haven't found a place to keep it. So it lays on a pile of things that are in the same predicament.
Joining the scrapbook on that pile is a "3 piece chicken dinner" that one of my brothers made and gave to me on one of my birthdays. It is a cute wooden box with a swivel open lid when opened reveals three kernels of corn that would make any chicken happy to have for dinner.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Daddy used to give you special gifts, I remember how your eyes used to shine when you opened them and your sweet smile as you read the note he attached. I remember how you used to like the gifts that we gave to you even though they weren't very nice.
I remember how you liked that cake I baked to surprise you when I was ten. It was a hideous thing with its brownish orange frosting. I had tried to mix the coloring like the instructions said to make a lovely purple but it hadn't worked. But you seemed to think it was one of the prettiest cakes you had ever seen.
I remember when I was 11 I tried to sew a dress for your birthday. The color was pretty but my sewing ability was not, especially since I had to hurry so you don't happen to see it before it was done. You wore that ill fitting dress for a long time and never seemed to mind how dreadful it really looked.
I remember how the boys used to make things in the shop for you and how you had a shelf in the bedroom to display everything they gave to you.
I remember how even after we children started families of our own we still gathered to celebrate your birthday.
I miss you Mom. You were the best Mother a child could ever wish for and I still love you very much.
Friday, July 24, 2009
Daddy and Mom would sit up late at night and talk, and we went to Grandpa Masts a lot more often in the evenings after supper. They would send us children and Vernie into a room to play while they visited. If we came out for some reason they always quit talking and waited until we went back to our toys to resume.
One day Mom got out the suitcase and started packing. We wanted to help so she let us select our favorite Sunday handkerchief's and tuck them into a side pocket. When we asked who we were going to visit, they said they didn't know who, but we are going to go to Somerset County Pennsylvania.
Early the next morning we started off. Grandpa Masts and Uncle Eli's and John Henry's went along too. Once we finally got there we stopped at a gas station and asked where the Amish live. They gave us directions to a farm. We arrived and they welcomed us in after introducing themselves as Noah Summy's. They had a little girl named Nancy that was my age and she came and gave me her doll to play with. I could hardly believe my eyes, it was a real baby doll like you saw in catalogs with a cute little hands and feet and a real face that had beautiful blue eyes and the sweetest little mouth. It was so different from my own rag doll Sally that I played with everyday at home.
We had supper with them and went to bed. the next morning when we got up I was in for another surprise. Out in front of the house was the biggest buggy I had ever seen, with a team of horses hitched to it. The buggy had three sliding doors and four windows on each side and another small window at the back. I really wanted a ride in that buggy, but one of Noahs children rode with us in the van to show us where the church was.
Once we got to church I was very glad to be with Mom. Everything was so different. The clothes looked different and the girls all wore shiny black satin coverings instead of organdy like I was used to, and the strings to tie the coverings fascinated me. They were almost an inch wide and tied in perfect little fluffy bows right under their chins.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
For the rest of us, the rainy weather requires us to make new plans for our day. Sailor was delighted to have Wags in the house even though he was required to stay on the rug inside the door. Wags was honored to be allowed to be inside and appeared to enjoy listening to the many stories Sailor told him.
Have a saucepan or a deep skillet ready with vegetable oil heated to 350 and deep enough to cover at least half of the chicken. Carefully place your coated chicken pieces in the hot oil and fry until a delightful golden brown, turn over and fry the other side.
Monday, July 20, 2009
On Monday morning when we got to school we were greeted by Ruth Miller who had agreed to finish the term. She didn't look as if she knew how to have fun as she sat grimly at her teachers desk and looked sternly at us.
We all sat there quietly and looked at her. I started feeling a lump in my throat again, I wanted to go home or have Lydia back, I looked over at cousin Emma and she looked scared too. Finally Ruth cleared her throat and said that we need to forget we had a teacher before her and that she will be making some changes. For starters she wants the upper grade children to go take down all the art that is on the walls.
I watched as they took down all the art that we had created during happy art periods the previous six Fridays and laid them on her desk and she took them all, crumpled them, and threw them in the trash can, and stated "There, that's the last of that nonsense! We come to school to work, not to play." And proceeded to give us our assignments.
It wasn't long before it was obvious, that she didn't like cousin Marvin. He had a problem with stuttering that grew a lot worse after she started teaching. One day when the second grade was having their reading class, he was having an especially hard time with his stuttering and Ruth got very frustrated with him and told him that since he is too much of a baby to read to go back and sit in his seat.
I watched in consternation as he walked to his seat blinking back tears, and Ruth grabbed the trash can which was almost half full of crumpled papers and shavings from sharpening pencils and roughly placed it upside down over Marvin's head and shoulders. The trash fell on his lap and the floor around him as she told him he has to sit there like that for the rest of the day.
I tried my best to please her, to avoid experiencing her temper. But one day it happened. I was at the chalkboard writing my numbers when I really needed to go.... I told her. But she told me that I have to wait. Somehow I managed to wait and when recess came she didn't let me go then either because I had "lied" to her, because I apparently didn't look too uncomfortable while I was waiting for recess. After recess the first graders were once again at the chalkboard and I could hardly stand still any longer but I didn't dare ask her for permission to go and so, the unthinkable happened.
She was very upset with me then, because not only was there a mess on the floor, but our lunch boxes were kept under the chalkboard and the puddle reached her paper bag and seeped into her lunch. She made me stand by the stove to dry and when it was time for lunch she ate my lunch and said I would have to do without eating that day.
Cousin Marvin and Emma and a few of the other children came to the rescue and shared some of their food when Ruth wasn't looking.
Once the school term was over Ruth was not hired again. There were rumblings of problems in the community and so everyone decided to home school the next term.
I don't want to offend anyone, and really do appreciate that you would even consider my blog worthy of an award. But the whole award thing has become a little overwhelming. I again have seven awards waiting to be passed on from well meaning folks who have read my blog. Some have notified me through comments on my posts and others have e-mailed me directly.
Again I thank you for considering me, but I have decided to go Award Free. Your comments are reward enough! I really enjoy reading all of your comments. It makes the blogging world a lot more fun!
Friday, July 17, 2009
I remember chuckling over the book that was talking about the vast cattle spread a rancher had that covered 120 acres and how they had a helicopter to go from one end of the ranch to the other. At the time I was living on a 160 acre farm and knew that it only takes a matter of minutes to walk from one end of the farm to the other.
Another book tried to tell me how they needed the Jaws of Life to rescue someone that was trapped inside a buggy after an accident. They obviously never saw a buggy close up, or a buggy accident, which after a bad impact will be nothing but a pile of splinters.
I have read a few of the Amish fiction books that seem to be so popular. I won't buy any but occasionally someone gives one to me and I generally end up reading it. I always come to the same conclusion. But I digress.
Last evening we watched the movie "Saving Sarah Cain" that a friend generously gave to us to watch. I tried to put myself into a mindset to enjoy a good clean movie, but there is still enough Amish blood in me that the entire movie was ridiculous.
It left me wondering, do the coverings Amish girls and women wear, look that way to anyone who has not been raised Amish? No Amish woman would be found wearing the sorry looking rags they wore. Though I have to chuckle at the thought of anyone being behind the scenes starching and ironing coverings correctly for a movie.
And the hair. Apparently they never saw or else paid no attention how Lancaster Amish girls wear their hair. Those two things alone, had me cringing all the way through the movie. And then they had to add those juicy tidbits to show their complete ignorance. The scene where everyone was burping was downright despicable. Amish do not burp to show their appreciation of food. I have been in lots of different Amish communities and have never met any that were that badly mannered.
When Caleb tried out for wrestling and said he used to hold cows down when they were birthing, had us in stitches. How ridiculous can you get. Cows are very calm creatures who rarely ever move around much in the process of birthing, and even if they decide to stand up it doesn't hurt to do that.
Taking walks through cornfields. Why would anyone want to do that? Unless the corn isn't taller than knee high. Normal cornfields are not pleasant places to take a walk, unless you enjoy cuts similar to paper cuts on your face and arms.
They did not speak the language of the Amish, and instead used German and that wasn't very good either.
There were other things too but again I digress.
My belief that you should not write or make movies about things you really don't understand has been cemented even more firmly.
I don't begrudge anyone the "joy" of reading Beverly Lewis, and Wanda Brunstetter books, or watching "Amish" movies for entertainment. Which is why they were produced. But I will be finding other things to occupy my spare moments.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
He fixed up a cardboard box and tenderly cared for it, catching all it's food and feeding it painstakingly often. He named it Chirp and totally neglected Wags in favor of sitting beside the box and talking to his helpless little bird. But even with all it's care it didn't survive.
There was a tearful little funeral and then the search for the perfect tombstone ensued. He finally found one and brought it to the house to have it inscribed.
It now marks the spot where a little bird that was nearly smothered in love rests peacefully.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Mom would spend several days at her sewing machine making new clothes for all of us. It was fun watching her sew my dresses and try them on to see how deep the hem of the skirt needed to be.
We would count down the days until it was time to leave. It was very exciting to help pack our big black suitcase with all our new clothes, and watch as Daddy put a shiny black polish on our shoes to make them look new again. We would take a bath and go to bed. The air of excitement made it hard to fall asleep, but the first thing we knew Daddy was waking us up to get ready. Everything was dark and quiet at three in the morning. We would hurry and get dressed and fill several jugs with water to drink on the way and then wait until the driver arrived.
When the 15 passenger van finally drove into the driveway we all hurried outside as Daddy blew out the lamps and locked the doors. Since Mom had several sisters living in Canada yet, Grandpa and Grandma Mast and aunt Emma and Vernie would travel with us to visit them.
John and I sat on the very last seat, it was bumpy but we didn't mind. We liked kneeling on the seat and looking out the back window to watch all the other vehicles. I always breathed a sigh of relief when we were safely off the 4 lane roads. They were more than a little intimidating to me because I had heard the preachers say where the wide and broad way leads to and I was terrified if we stayed on the 4 lane long enough we would end up there.
By late afternoon we would arrive at Grandpa Swarey's and we would all climb out of the van. Grandma Swarey would come bustling out of the house to welcome us and the aunts would soon come and join her. Grandpa Masts would visit for a little bit and then leave to spend time with their daughters.
It was always noisy at Grandpa Swarey's as everyone seemingly talked at once. Since there were still six of Daddy's younger brothers and sisters still living with Grandpa's. His oldest sister, Susie lived there too but after doing her duty in welcoming us she was much more concerned about all the things that needed to be done than enjoy their visitors.
Aunt Ella more than made up for her though. She was very cheerful and had a way of talking with us on the same age level as we were. She had suffered from the dreaded disease of polio which left her crippled. In the evening Grandma would invite all of their married children and grandchildren to come for supper. It used to be fun to play with all the cousins.
Grandpa Swarey was very strict and we never dared to get too rowdy. He never did anything to correct us except bunch his bushy eyebrows together and look sternly at us which always made us quiet down. If we played outdoors we were allowed to make all the noise we wanted to.
Grandpa Swarey's had a very unique set of toys to play with. There were no animals or dolls to play with because of his convictions that they are graven images. Instead there were empty thread spools to use as animals and plenty of wooden blocks for pens. For dolls Grandma saved empty Dawn dish washing soap bottles and cleaned them and then wrapped them in little blankets. With a healthy imagination we had a lot of fun with those toys!
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Her days are filled with watching the children play outdoors ..........................
And the many things that keep her occupied while sitting on Daddy's recliner.
Thankfully no one was hurt. And they were able to pile on their tractor again and leave once the hay was mowed.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Cousin Wilmer is hitching up his horse after most of the people have left after church.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
They got the partitions up on the inside and by then their house fund was depleted, but we wanted to move in anyway. Grandpa Mast brought several five gallon pails of white paint and aunt Emma brought some coloring to tint it and they spent all day painting the plywood on the floors for us. The kitchen floor was painted a rust brown and three of the bedrooms a country blue. It was fun to watch as they would pour paint into the paint pan and then dip their paint roller in it and turn the plain plywood floor into something much prettier. When they were ready to paint my bedroom floor aunt Emma told me to come watch as she tinted the paint with some coloring she had brought along especially for my room.
I watched as she carefully put several drops of red in the paint and was delighted to see the paint turn a lovely shade of pink. I thought that surely no other little girl was as fortunate as I was to have a pink floor in her bedroom. It didn't bother me that there was nothing but stud walls all through the house. To me there were only so many more options of where to enter and exit my room and all the other rooms in the house.
Once the floors were painted Grandpa went to town with our spring wagon and came back with a load of huge boxes from an appliance store. They cut the boxes open and then took them inside and nailed the cardboard to the walls of Daddy and Mom's bedroom and the bathroom. Once they had it enclosed Mom found several old blankets and nailed them over the doors.
When Daddy came home from work he and Mom started moving in our furniture from the trailer. It was so exciting to be able to finally sleep in our new house.
Monday, July 6, 2009
Now I have had a lot of chili made by other people, and have found a recipe that we all love, but the chili soup I was subjected to as a child makes me shudder still whenever I think of it
Mom would start by frying hamburger with onions and then dump in a pint of kidney beans and a quart of tomato juice and water. Then to top it off she would pour in brown sugar. If being a sickly sweet, tomatoey, salty, thin watery mess wasn't bad enough those kidney beans totally pushed it over the limit of endurance. I would rather have skipped a meal than to eat it, but eat it I had to.
Somewhere along the line I learned to pick out the beans and swallow them like pills, which helped a lot but I still had to eat the soup.
One day I was once again sitting at the table alone trying to choke down the soup. Mom, John, and David went to get the mail and were gone for quite a while. Once they got in John excitedly told me how there had been a huge snake by the mailbox and Mom got the hoe to kill it. She took a mighty swing and chopped it's head right off, they then watched in amazement as a bewildered frog hopped out and sat there blinking at them. I'm sure thanking them for freeing it from the the horror it had been experiencing.
I didn't think it was fair, that I had to be in the house choking down nasty soup, while they had been outside freeing frogs.
The in-law in the previous post is sitting on the right, he has slightly graying hair. My husband is sitting next to him and then his brothers Vernon, Melvin, and Mervin.
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Yesterday one of my husband's brother's were here and brought pictures along for us from various family gatherings over the past year. I never thought to take our camera to these events that include Amish, because I value what little acceptance we have, and I don't have a good quality camera that allows me to take pictures from a safe distance that turn out half ways acceptable.
These pictures were taken last summer when my husband's parents had a family gathering for all five of their children and the 30+ grandchildren. My sister-in-law and her husband took turns running in the house when no one else was there to take pictures through the windows. They didn't turn out too bad even though the screens were in the way.
Here Grandpa is helping one of the little girls.
Friday, July 3, 2009
And I have discovered much to my dismay that not only does a house not clean itself, neither does it stay clean once I have it spotless, I think it is safe to say my last shreds of pride and dignity have been removed since we have people dropping by at all hours without notice.
Sunbeam is recovering, and yesterday got to enjoy a makeshift playhouse her siblings built for her on the recliner.
One of my husband's brother's and his family are coming to spend the day here today and my kitchen is still a mess.........
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
They reminded me a lot of when I was a little girl. Summer time used to be the greatest. We would lay on our backs in our yard and watch the clouds and pick out various shapes that we liked. On the warmest days Mom would let us drag her laundry tub out and fill it with water for water fights. We would climb our old crab apple tree and read books among it's branches. And there were many things we could do to help with the garden and canning.
One day when I was seven and John was five we kept getting into spats all day. Finally Mom got two plastic clothespins and gave them to us telling us to squeeze the ends while she put a dab of jam on the other end and then told us to sit out in the yard and wait until a fly sits on the jam and then allow the clothespin to snap shut.
We sat in the yard for a long time with our homemade "fly traps" but there were no flies interested. We finally gave up and went to play something else.
It was several years before we realized it had only been a clever way to put us in time out!
First up is the Bear Hug Award, from Jennifer at White Chocolate Acres
I am passing it on to Heather I am officially supposed to pass it on to five other blogs and I'm sure under other circumstances that wouldn't be a problem, but for me I can't think of anyone that needs it more than Heather. And so I'm passing it on to only her.
I read her blog regularly and it never fails to touch my heart.
- I really enjoy singing and once I start a song I have to finish it even if I'm interrupted halfway through. I also only need to hear a song two or three times to be able to sing it. (And it really bugs me to hear someone sing off-key.)
- I don't enjoy listening to other people talk about health issues, I feign polite interest but the conversation in my head is keeping me much more entertained than your bout of strep throat.
- As shocking as it may sound I do not like ketchup.
- I tend to be skeptical about home remedies that helpful people are convinced my family needs to learn. They do provide a source of humor, so they aren't totally wasted.
- I can be fairly opinionated, but I am learning to keep my opinions to myself.
- I would much rather be indoors than outside, including on vacations. The travelling parts are fun and fine, but hiking and exploring things other than gift shops..... I need to change that because my husband dreams of hiking the Appalachian Trail once the children are big enough. (My feet are crying at the very thought.)
- I love houseplants, but if my husband would quit taking care of them they would all surely die.
And now since that is out of the way I am passing it on to:
- The Mennobrarian
- It's the Dirt
- It is NOT Poetry
- Of Mice and Ramen
- Somewhere Over the Rainbow
There you have it. I have finally passed them on. Thank-you to all the kind bloggers who presented awards to me.
There are so many blogs I enjoy reading that it was hard to choose who to pass these on to!