Thursday, August 11, 2011

Grandmother's Memories to her Grandchild

Grandma Ruth Foflygen passed away last year.

She was a wonderful, strong woman. She absolutely loved me to her core and treated me like her own daughter.
I loved her, too. This blog post is dedicated to her.

On June 25th, 2000, I gave my grandma a journal called "Grandmother's Memories to her Grandchild" by Thomas Kinkade.

Every once in a while I look back over her responses and think how different life was for her growing up. A lot of people are worried right now about the economy. After reading some of her responses, it made me realize that things were a lot worse in our country during than the depression than it is right now. The American Dream is still alive and well for me. Is it for you? Personally, I've joined the Great Recovery not the "Great Recession".

Here are my grandmother's responses...

My full maiden name: Ruth Irene Dunfee

I was given this name because: I don't know.

My birth date and  place of birth: I was born in Washington, PA on September 12th, 1922.

What was happening in the world when I was born: World War I was just over and all the boys returned home.

My mother's full maiden name: Bertha Mae Allen

Her birth date and place of birth: I don't recall.

My mother's best story about growing up: Going to the one room school in her bare feet and the weather changed. She had to walk home bare foot in the snow.

One of my most precious memories of my mother: She always had a smile though she went through many hardships.

My father's full name: Primrose Calvin Dunfee

His birth date and place of birth: I don't recall.

My father's best story about growing up: He liked to talk about the Surrey with the fringe on top. It was their best buggy.

One of my most precious memories of my father: How he was always there to help me by painting, building steps or planting trees in my yard. He was also a jack of all trades. I don't think there was anything he couldn't do.

My brother's and sister's names: Nettie, Goldie, Pearl, Harold, Bob, Bill, Don, Richard, Paul, Grace, Mary, Evelyn, Virginia and Delcie.

The things we used to do together: Play baseball and hold amateur shows. We also picked berries.

The things we do together now: We are separated by great distances now but we often have family reunions.

How often I see my family: Most every day I see the ones who live near me.

I have seen God work in our family by: Saving members of the family and we also received healing. God gave me poetry and he made my son an artist.

My earliest memory of home: The big snow storms that snowed us in, and the frost on the windows.

My childhood bedroom: It was so cold we sometimes slept in our coats.

My favorite hiding place: The top of the old barn where my sister Delcie and I dreamed of what we were going to do when we grew up.

The yard I played in: There were slate steps and I used to draw pictures on them. We had a peach tree in the yard we would climb.

The street I lived on: We lived mostly in the country. It was better than having so many children too near the street.

Where I played with my friends: We played hide and seek and we also played marbles on the porch. Also we played "ball and jacks".

My favorite store and why I loved to go there: The old company store where we got big bags of candy for a penny.

Where we worshiped: An old building where they also gave us food during the depression.

Where my father worked: He painted houses, and he was once a coal miner.

What my mother did during the day: Looked after her large family and canned and made root beer and saurkraut.

The chores I had to do: Take care of the garden, chickens, and help take care of our younger brothers and sisters. We also baked bread and cleaned the house.

On summer days, I liked to: Catch tadpoles in the creek, go wading, pick wild flowers and vines.

On winters days, I enjoyed: Sledding and making snowmen and making snowballs to toss at each other.

My favorite storybook: The story of the Bible. It contains everything. Mostly it teaches us that God loves us.

My favorite poem: The Village Blacksmith

My favorite doll or toy: A little wooden doll with clothes. My dad made rag dolls out of old socks but I don't remember any special liking for them.

My favorite games: Baseball, checkers, marbles, and jumping rope.

My favorite treat: Ice cream made out of snow, and jello with bananas.

My first pet: We never had pets. There were too many children to look after. Unless you'd call the baby chicks pets.

My favorite pet: A dog that was half shepherd.

The different kinds of pets I have owned: We caught lightening bugs and kept them in a jar and we also kept tadpoles in a can.

Some of my pets' names: No names but George our pet Shepherd dog.

I always wanted a: I always wanted a Persian cat.

What an ice cream cone cost when I was young: A nickel

What an ice cream cone costs today: At least a dollar

How people dressed: We wore what we could find. We never noticed what other people wore.

How girls were expected to behave: To be seen and not heard. Also learn to sew and keep house, dress modestly and be modest.

The first person who told me about God: Mrs. Stoner who was my neighbor and later on my sister's mother-in-law, Pearl, my sister hid from her.

My first Communion: At a building where church was held and they also passed out food during depression time.

The first time I knew that God was real: Years later when I found that Christ died for my sins and rose again in the resurrection.

Someone who helped me be as a Christian should: Mostly I got help from the Bible. I didn't know very many real Christians except Reverend Hight in Burgettstown.

My favorite verse as a Child: Lord teach me what to do and say And lead me lest I go astray. If I forget to think of thee, I pray dear God you'll think of me.

The most wonderful thing about my father: He saved the lives of many children during a tornado. He also saved the life of a woman who was in a car ready to explode. No one else dared go near that car.

My father was especially good at: Everything he did. He was a barber, shoemaker, painter, tailor and woodcarver.

My father let me "help" by: Taking me with him when he had papering to do. I also carried his lunch to him when he painted people's houses.

Lessons I learned from my father: He had a lot of courage and he had a lot of talents awe saw him use.

The things my father taught me about God: The world would be more wicked without God. There would be no power to restrain the wickedness!

The most wonderful thing about my mother's kitchen: The smell of bread baking and of coffee.

My mother let me "help" by: Letting me bake the bread sometimes, and help with the garden and pick berries to can.

Lessons I learned from my mother: To be cheerful no matter how hard life is to endure at times.

My mother's best recipe: She made buttermilk custard pies. I don't recall the recipe.

My mother's favorite piece of advice: To be a decent, upright person and stay a virgin until we were married.

I never told my mother: I rode on a dangerous wheel which was on an oil well. We ended up with our heads upside down.

What my mother taught me about God: She was a good person and a great mother, but never talked about God.

My most  memorable "woman-to-woman" talk with my mother: She confided in me that she'd of liked her house decorated nicer. We also talked about marriage and being careful what kind of man to marry.

The school I attended: A one-room schoolhouse.

My favorite teacher and why: Miss McSeveny. She encouraged us and took a real interest in us. We also got gifts if we excelled in any subject she taught.

My best subject in school: Reading and it still is at the age of 78.

A school event I will never forget: A little race with paper cars pinned on a board. When we got the best grades we got our car moved up and it encouraged us to try to do our best. The one who ended up at the front got a gift.

My best friend in elementary school: Mary Pochiba, Grace Hamilton and Mary Presley.

The school I attended: I never attended high school.

Growing up, my favorite songs and musicians were: Cowboy Loye and Just Plain John

Now, I like to listen to: George Beverly Shea, Jim Nabors and Ernie Ford.

Your grandfather's and my favorite song: "Say Bill Do You Remember" and "I was seeing Nellie Home"

My favorite hymn: The Old Rugged Cross

A song I want to share with you: "Where He Leads Me I Will Follow" "I Will Go With Him, With Him All the Way"

The first time I drove a car: Your grandfather insisted I learn to drive when I lived in Burgettstown. I learned to drive with the high school instructor teaching.

The first time I wore lipstick: When I was about fifteen we went to barn dances where my sisters' boyfriends played the music. This was when I first wore makeup.

The first time I voted in an election: I couldn't vote until I was twenty one. But, I never voted until years later.

My first real job: Combination housework and practical nursing. I made the huge salary of seven dollars a week. It was the most money I ever made working.

My best childhood friend: My sister Delcie and Mary Presley.

My best friend now: I'd have to say my old friends drifted away during the years. Some of them have died. Alma June Myers is the only one still living and I haven't seen her in years. That's what it means to grow old.

Being a good friend means: Sticking by them through thick and thin. Never thinking the worst of them because of what happens in their life.

Something I have learned about getting along with others: Being tolerant of their shortcomings.

You are one of my best friends because: I can talk to you when I need someone to confide in and you always sympathize and never criticize.

My first "crush": A real brilliant boy named Vincent Smotreys. He was never aware of it.

My first boyfriend: Henry Myers, Alma June's brother. He died months ago.

My first kiss: Henry Myers, Alma June's brother.

My first broken heart: When a fellow named Sam Cohanski liked my sister, Delcie, better than me.

My funniest experience on a date: When my boyfriend said "where do we go on this road" we were traveling, and there was no where to go but straight ahead.

The first time I rode a bike: I always wanted to ride a bike but never learned.

The best vacation we had as a family: At my Aunt Goldie's house in Aliquippa. Aunt Goldie died at the age of one hundred one.

My first plane trip: In Washington, D.C., a small open cabin private plane to give me a view of Washington D.C. from the air. I thought I was going to blow away.

The place I would most like to see: The Holy Land and Paris, France. France for the art museums. The Holy Land because Jesus walked this earth there.

My most recent trip: I haven't had a recent trip.

I think faith is: Trusting completely in God's care for me knowing He knows what is best for me.

A real Christian: A person who loves God with their whole heart and puts God first in their life.

My favorite passage of Scripture: God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him has eternal life.

God seems especially close when: I read His word. He is in His word and reveals to me what I need to know.

Someone who helps me to be a better Christian today: My daughter Janice and my grand-daughter Rachael.

My favorite verse about Faith: Whosoever believeth in God shall never die.

A goal I set and reached: I don't think we ever reach our goal completely. Sometimes there are circumstances that cause us not to be able to reach our goals.

My biggest disappointment: When my husband died without acknowledging Christ as Saviour.

Defeat can be turned into success when: We carry on with faith no matter what disappointments we've encountered.

A goal that I was proud to see you achieve: Going to college and excelling. Staying a Christian under your disappointment over your friends...boyfriends mostly.

I always thought that love was: Believing in you and helping you in all of life's trials.

God says that love is: Kindness and longsuffering. Not to envy anyone and not to be proud.

How old I was and what I was doing when I met your grandfather: I was seventeen and I worked at a restaurant called the Olympia.

I was attracted to him because: He seemed to be a clean-cut decent Christian man who led the young people in the Baptist Church.

Your grandfather proposed by: Telling me he loved me and wanted to establish a home of his own.

The day, time, and place we were married: At midnight in Hills Church which is in Canonsburg (PA)

What I wore: I don't remember what I wore.

My attendants: We were alone.

For our honeymoon, we went to: We didn't go on a honeymoon. He couldn't take time off from his job.

The first place we lived: We lived in rented rooms on the third floor. Just a kitchen and a bedroom.

Our first fight: When we disagreed on religion.

One thing we still laugh about: We didn't know anything about sex and didn't know what to do so we sat up in bed and ate apples.

Where we worship: We never attended church together since I had a real experience in my spiritual life and he differed and was a staunch Baptist.

Our children, their names and birth dates: John Jacob - April 21, 1944; Janice Anne - April 15, 1948; Brian Paul - July 27, 1958.

The thing I love most about being a mother: It's the most fulfilling experience I've had in my life.

The most difficult thing a mother has to do: Teach the children discipline and self-discipline.

An important lesson I hope all my children and grandchildren learn: That happiness that is true happiness only can be realized through faith in Christ and in service to Christ.

I know there is a God because: Even nature teaches us that there is a God because we're surrounded by all of God's creation. In addition we have God's infallible record in the Bible.

I experienced a turning point in my faith when: I realized the life I lead preaches a sermon better than any words could do.

I have experienced God's clear guidance when: I try to be obedient and do His will. Trying to walk in the Spirit rather than the flesh.

When I die, I believe that: I shall go home where I'll be welcomed by Christ. The Bible tells us that He has gone to prepare a place for us. That where He is we may be also.

My favorite verse about God: God is love.

The think I love best about your mother: She is kind, pleasant and never says a hard word about anyone. She finished raising Missy and Rachael and did all she could for them.

The thing I love best about your father: He's a hard worker and he supports his family in every way.

To be continued tomorrow...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Amish Country vacation

The Caskeys at Cherry Crest Adventure Farm!
My family and I went on a week-long vacation in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania a.k.a. Amish country last week. The boys had an absolute blast. (Mom and Dad had a good time, too.)

Some of my co-workers and friends I talked to before our trip said that instead of taking the kids to Hershey Park in Hershey, PA we should take them to Dutch Wonderland, instead. They told me that Hershey Park was more for older kids/teens and adults than little ones like Evan and Tyler.

Evan and Daddy riding the "Frog Hopper" ride
Believe it or not, I had never heard of Dutch Wonderland before this. So, imagine my surprise when we went there to see how much there was to do for us with the boys! We dedicated a whole day to the place and STILL didn't cover everything!

The weather was HOT, HOT, HOT. So, after riding a few rides and getting some "eats", we cooled off at Duke's Lagoon where the boys enjoyed splashing around in the various jet sprays and sliding down the "kids-sized" animal slides. Mom and Dad cooled off under the enormous dumping bucket and water sprays, too.

John, Tyler and Evan in front of roller coaster
Sidebar: Here's a warning to parents who haven't gone there, yet: The huge, black enclosed, twisty waterslide allows you to take your little ones on the raft down the dark slide with you. I wouldn't take them on there, again. It was COMPLETELY dark inside the water slide. Because it was so hot outside, it was actually a little hard to breath (at least for me). Tyler rode with me. Evan rode with John. John and Evan went first. Then, Tyler and I followed them in our raft. Tyler freaked out the whole way down. And, I couldn't blame was freaky going down that dark slide, especially with the sudden drops at some points (lucky I didn't eat right beforehand). Evan also said he didn't like the slide. That it was too scary. The only person who did like it was John. The only thing that this huge waterslide had going for it in my eyes was that it did not have "holes" between the steps going up to the slide. That is one of my irrational fears...falling through the "holes" in steps. But, I digress...

Evan is turning into a little roller coaster aficionado. He absolutely LOVED riding the roller coaster at Dutch Wonderland. First, he rode with John. Then, after he got off of the roller coaster with him, he made me ride with him. Evan has the best "roller-coaster" faces I've ever seen. By "roller-coaster" faces I mean those pictures they take of you and charge you an astronomical price to purchase (okay...I exaggerate...NOT astronomical, but you get the point). And, yes, I buy the pictures. Why? Did I mention Evan's "roller-coaster" faces?!

What I liked about Dutch Wonderland is how they weaved in the "country" feel into the amusement park. It has a creek in the park where you could feed the ducks. You could take "gondola" and boat rides on the creek. There is a little park-like setting near the creek with little arched bridges and flowers.

The National Toy Train Museum (and Tyler...bottom right)
In addition to all of the kiddie rides, they had various shows you could attend at different stages throughout the amusement park. We were particularly interested in the Thomas the Tank Engine Show. Evan and Tyler watch Thomas the Tank Engine on the television at home (and on DVD).

As a matter of fact, if you like trains or the history thereof or the toys thereof, then Amish country is the place to be. We visited the National Toy Train Museum in Strasburg, PA where we saw elaborate little towns with trains encircling them. The boys were able to reach and push the buttons to make the toy trains run.
Evan and Tyler looking at the toy train exhibits

Near the National Toy Train Musuem is the Red Caboose Restaurant where you can eat inside a real red caboose. They even have train cars you can sleep in (motel)! We didn't stay there. But, perhaps next trip...

While you enjoy your home-style food in the Red Caboose Restaurant, you can stare at all of the knickknacks you want to buy in the adjacent gift shop.

All the "Americana" crafts were too much for me to resist. I purchased a cute little framed star with a black steel star holder and a star (see a theme forming here) piece of pottery. The boys were eyeing up all of the toy trains and tools.
Strasburg Railroad passenger train
The Caskeys in front of the Strasburg passenger train
If you stay long enough outside of the Red Caboose Motel & Restaurant you will see an "old-style" (my wording) passenger train go by.

Tyler napping on train
We rode on the Strasburg Railroad and took in the sights along the 45-minute ride. Well...John, Evan and I took in the sights. Tyler...he took in a much-needed nap!

During the train ride, the conductor (no...not George Carlin...may God rest his "Mr. Conductor" soul) talks over the loud speaker about the area, its history and the sights.
Mommy & Evan (yes...he's winking; no...I didn't tell him to)

Evan and Tyler climbing on net
Conveniently, the train passes by the Cherry Crest Adventure Farm (which ended up being the next place we "needed" to see!). The Cherry Crest Adventure Farm has loads of things for little and big kids to do. My husband's favorite (and new personal mission) was the "Amazing Maize Maze" Corn Maze (say that ten times fast...Amazing Maize Maze Corn Maze...Amazing Maize Maze Corn get the point) covering over 5 acres! Apparently, we thought we were super maze experts who could start the maze at the end of our time there with only an hour and a half until closing time. No dice home slice! Tyler wasn't having that. Luckily there is a "quick exit" for those who cannot figure their way out or having screaming child in tow (not that I know from experience or anything...). ;) Evan and Daddy marched on forward without me and Tyler and emerged at the end, not victorious, but just out of time because the place was closing. John is now on a personal mission to return and complete the maze (now THAT'S good marketing!). Of course, there was MUCH more to that place than just the maze. There were wagon pulls, "bull" rides, climbing nets, miniature log cabins to build, air balloon jumping, kettle corn...mmm....kettle corn (sorry...Homer Simpson moment...).
John Riding Bull (official Native American name...)

Google+ Followers