Monday, April 9, 2018

Aunt Ella, Her Nieces, and Ice Cream

    Once a year we would all go to Canada to visit Grandpa Swareys and all of Daddy's brothers and sisters. It was something we all really looked forward to. Grandpas had such a cozy little house that was built beside Uncle Solomons house. Aunt Susie and Ella still lived with them. Grandma was short and plump and very cheerful. I loved visiting with her because she had a way to talk that made you feel like you were equals and could share everything that was on your mind without the fear of being secretly laughed at.

    Susie would spend most of the time cleaning vigorously or sewing quilt tops. She would let me snip the threads that held the string of sewn patches but that wasn't nearly as fun as spending time with Grandma or Aunt Ella.

    Ella was not your typical aunt. As a teenager she had polio and suffered devastating effects because of it. But she was always cheerful, delightfully humorous and an all around pleasure to know. A definite favorite to her nieces and nephews. She always had the way of viewing life from the perspective of the age group she was mingling with.

    I couldn't wait to show baby Mahlon to her. I knew she would love him as much as I did. When we arrived everyone came out to welcome us and I wasn't disappointed at how she and Grandma fussed over Mahlon. We unloaded the van and sent the driver to a neighbor who was willing to share a room in their house for him. It wasn't long before more vans came bringing more of Daddy's brothers and their families from several different states. The noise that came with them was delightful and we cousins went to play leaving the grownups to their grownup conversations.

    The day passed swiftly and the next morning brought the rest of Daddy's siblings for a family reunion. What a noisy gathering it was. The women were cooking loads of food and the men were each cranking an ice cream freezer and we cousins were having the time of our lives.

    I don't remember what we had to eat except when it came time be served the ice cream. Seven of us girls approached the line of ice cream freezers where the uncles were doling out portions of all different kinds of flavors, by the time we reached the end of the line our plates were piled high.

    We sat on a bench under a shade tree and started eating, but had barely made a dent in the mountains of ice cream when we were simply too full to eat another bite. We sat there in pure misery trying to eat it. Taking our plates to our mothers never crossed our minds as we had all been taught to eat everything that we had been served. Finally one of us got a bright idea.... at this point it should be brought to attention that Grandpas did not have indoor plumbing. They had a nice little building that accommodated four.

    We casually walked toward the outhouse bearing our heaping plates of ice cream and hurriedly scraped it down the holes. We were ready to leave when who should appear at the door but aunt Ella. She relieved our guilt by saying, "They gave you way too much. Didn't they?" She then proceeded to collect our empty plates and took them inside to be washed. She never told anyone what we did.


  1. Now that's a way of getting rid of ice cream that you couldn't eat. Aunt Ella was a gem.

    What a wonderful childhood memory.

    Have a fabulous day. ♥

  2. A heart warming and funny story. Aunt Ella was a gem.

  3. Aww - what a fun memory and a sweet aunt!

  4. Hello Mary Ann Kinsinger. I am a Pastor from Mumbai, India.I am glad to stop by your profile on the blogger and the blog post. I am also blessed and feel privileged and honored to get connected with you as well as know you and about your Amish background. It was also interesting to go through your blog post. I have been in the Pastoral ministry for last 39 yrs in this great city of Mumbai a city with a great contrast where richest of rich and the poorest of poor live. We reach out to the poorest of poor with the love of Christ to bring healing to the brokenhearted. We also encourage young and the adults from the west to come to Mumbai to work with us during their vacation time. We would love to have your children come with their friends to Mumbai to work with us during their vacation time. I am sure they will have a life changing experience. Looking forward to hear from you very soon. God's richest blessings on you, your family and friends also wishing you a blessed and a Christ centered rest of the year 2018. My email id is: dhwankhede(at)gmail(dot)com and my name is Diwakar Wankhede.

  5. I had wonderful summers at my grandparents' ranch in MT. Got to see other cousins who lived there and other ones from different parts of the country. We got to ride horses, play with the mew kittens and help in the garden. Grandma was the one who taught me how to sew on her old treadle sewing machine. There still is a family ranch in MT owned by my cousins. Fun times! Last summer we cousins had a reunion here in Colorado. Vivian Furbay

  6. This is a fun memory. Too bad that ice cream had to go to waste, but when you're full, there's just no more room. That was sweet of your aunt to keep your secret.

  7. Aunt Ella was very sweet and thoughtful. Uncles just don’t know how much little girls can’t actually eat.


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