Monday, February 1, 2010


It was our inbetween Sunday and as usual we got up late. We were almost ready to sit at the table to have our breakfast when we heard a car drive in the lane. When we got up to see who it was we saw an elderly man who did a lot of taxi work for the Amish. Daddy went outside to see what he wanted. It wasn't long before we heard the car leave and Daddy came back inside. We immediately sensed that something was wrong. When Daddy said that Grandpa died we all started crying.

I didn't know Grandpa Swarey all that well since we lived so far away, but I still wasn't prepared to hear that he had passed on. I had been working on a scrapbook for his birthday and now I would never get to give it to him. No one was hungry for breakfast anymore so Daddy hitched our horse to the buggy and went to see if he could find someone to take care of our chores while we went to the funeral. Mahlon wasn't quite two years old yet so they asked Grandpa Masts if they could take care of him till we got back.

By mid afternoon we had the suitcase packed and all the arrangements made and were ready to go. Our driver arrived in an old green clunker car. daddy sat in front and John, David, and I sat in the back with Mom. Once we got to Canada where the speed limit was posted by kilometers he got all excited and went speeding down the road. We passed everyone else and Daddy's explanation that kilometers and miles were different apparently didn't make any sense to the driver as we rushed on into the night.

Once we got to Grandpa Swarey's a few men came out of the house to welcome us inside. As was customary, several families had volunteered to take turns to sit up all night until after the funeral. We were shown to a room where we settled down and slept the rest of the night.

When morning arrived we had breakfast with Grandma. There were lots of neighboring women and girls there cleaning the house and cooking and baking in preparation of the funeral. After we were done eating we sat in the livingroom where there were rows of chairs and benches set up. Since we were family we got to sit on the chairs close to Grandma. Other families from neighboring churches stopped by for a few hours to share their condolences and sit and visit quietly for a few hours. I had never been so bored in my life as the day dragged by.

Finally by evening Daddy's other siblings started arriving and all the cousins arrived with them. Our parents gave us permission to sit together. It was much more fun to have someone our own age to talk to. The next day we were still sitting in the living room and by now we children were all getting fidgety and so when our parents gave us permission we all went outside to play. We had so much fun that it didn't seem possible that everyone was gathered for a sad reason.

The day of the funeral arrived. As buggies started pouring in the driveway and lots of sober faced women and children dressed all in black made their way to the house I wished I would be young enough to sit with Mom and Daddy like John and David were doing. There was an older man telling everyone where to sit and when it was finally time for the grandchildren to sit down I wasn't very pleased to see I was sitting right behind cousin John.

Cousin John was big and enjoyed nothing as much as being mean to younger children. I always tried to keep my distance from him. I comforted myself with the thought that he would surely not try anything during services.

As the first minister stood up and started preaching cousin John shifted back until he was sitting on my knees. I squirmed and he sat forward a little. It wasn't long before he was on my knees again. His sister was sitting beside me, nudged him and hissed "Behave yourself!" He sat back even farther to annoy her, so she leaned over and told me to use a pin and stick it into him. he overheard and sat forward, but I prepared myself. I removed a pin from my apron belt and held it ready. The next time he would sit on my lap there would be a surprise waiting for him.

It didn't take long. As he shifted back I held the pin firmly and felt triumphant when he jumped forward. His parents happened to see the disturbance and his Dad made him go sit beside him for the rest of the services so my victory was even better.

Once services were over and everyone filed past the casket we all headed in a long procession of buggies that made their way slowly to the little graveyard. The horses walked the whole way and I thought we would never get there. Once everything was over we headed back to the house where the women from the community had prepared a big meal. It seemed nice to have everyone talking and visiting in normal tones once again. Once we were done eating it was time for us to go home again. We said good-bye to Grandma and the rest of the aunts, uncles, and cousins and started on our long trip home.


  1. That was so perfectly told from a little girl's point of view. It was sad but yes, children get BORED, like it or not. I knew you had a fiesty side to you - holding that pin good and ready for Big John - crack me up!! It's too bad it's something like a funeral that gets all the family together isn't it? What a great story ~ ♥

  2. Another beautiful story. Thank you so much for sharing.
    I like the 'pin' idea and the fact that it worked must have given Cousin John a new respect for you.

    My grandma once gave my cousin one of her very long hat pins for protection when she began courting her young man. Grandma said, "just incase you need it." That still makes me smile.

  3. I want to thank you so much for stopping by and commenting on my blog. I love to meet new people!

    You asked if I minded you using the Child Trivia for birthdays - of course not . . . have fun with it!

    Have a great day - now onto reading about you and yours.

  4. I love your treasured memories you share. They are so wonderful. We used hat pins to stop annoying 'kids', too.

    Pop over for our giveaway ending Feb. 7th ...

    Have a beautiful week.
    TTFN ~Marydon

  5. As always, enjoyed reading about your childhood memories. Sad that your grandpa died...mine died when I was 12..and right before my 13th birthday. But I enjoyed the part about the "pin sticking". Just wondering...did John ever bother you again? :o)

  6. This story brought back memories of my great-grandmother's funeral when I was about 10 years old. It was there I met cousins I never knew I had, though we didn't have much fun together despite being allow to go visit in a separate room during the wake.

    Thank you for sharing this story.

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  8. I love this story so much! Too bad for your cousin John :). I hope he learned the lesson and became a lovely and quiet young man later :) Sooner the better for his own safety ;) Although funerals and loss of dear ones arent the most joyful events of life, for children they can be source of nice or funny memories.

  9. Sticking a pin in John's behind at a funeral... Well if you don't behave at a funeral what else can he expect? Made me laugh out loud.

  10. It's hard for a child to comprehend death, and even harder to be still during the sad time. The part about Cousin John was funny!

  11. This was beautiful story. Thank you for sharing it! And also thank you for stopping by my blog. That meant a lot! :) ~Evie

  12. Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my blog...I've just read through quite a few of your posts and I'm looking forward to reading more. Amish culture has always been interesting to me and I'm enjoying reading about it from your perspective through childhood memories.

  13. Everyone else liked the pin story, well I liked the kilometer part! I live in Europe where we use kilometers and I can just imagine that driver going 130 mph, when he should have been going 130 km, which is quite a bit slower! I love your stories, please keep them coming.

  14. Thanks for commenting on my page. I'm glad I found your page, my family and I visited Lancaster, Pa last summer and started learning about the Amish, so it's great to hear your perspective and read your stories. BTW, I made the same mistake the first time I went to Canada, thank God it was in a deserted area and we were not stopped by the police =0). God bless you, Michelle

  15. what an interesting, unique blog!Thank you for commenting on my page. I will be very happy to visit your page and read your entries. I find the Amish to be very interesting. A simpler life is very desireable, and clean living a blessing.


  16. It must have been a sad time, but you tell the story well.

  17. I was so glad when you got John back; that big meanie!

    Sorry about your grandpa.

  18. I wanted to visit your blog and thank you for visiting mine. I so appreciate your visit and comments. I can't wait to start following your blog. For quite some time I have been interested in the Amish and am excited to read your stories.

    Please come visit me again.

    Have a blessed day!!

  19. What a beautiful, interesting story!

  20. I also didn't know my Grandma very well because she lived in Costa Rica, but I remember how sad I was to hear of her passing. I knew I was never gonna have a chance to really get to know her well. But that didn't change the magnitude of the sadness.

    Every time I read your stories, I feel like I'm right there and with this one I could see myself rooting for you to get that bully back and laughing a little when he got caught. hahaha

  21. Very interesting, reading memories from an Amish girls life, I must read more as I know very little about them. There are no Amish in NZ as far as I know.
    You write so well it is almost like being there with you, all the sadness and the fun and boredom too.


Thank you so much for taking time to comment. I love hearing your thoughts.