Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

More on family sayings

I mentioned in a previous post (maybe it was on the Fat Lady BLOG) that I'm reading books about the Amish (historical fiction) and am really enjoying them. I have really enjoyed a series that takes place in Lancaster, PA.

My dad's family started out many, many years ago in the Lancaster area and I'm finding that a lot of the sayings I grew up with are in these books I'm reading. I didn't realize that my father knew so much of the Dieutch and that the words were part of his heritage. In fact, except for a cousin of my fathers who lived in Reading, PA, whom his cousin Alberta talked about when she visited us, I didn't even think about having an Amish background. I still don't know whether daddy's family was at one time Amish, but the language that would slip out at times was definitely from the Amish.

The latest words that I recalled because I read them are dummkopff and himmell. dummkopff means dummy or stupid, and you would never call someone that, but you would refer to yourself as a dummkopff if you did something stupid. Himmell was a way of saying "Oh my goodness" -- "Himmell" also being translated God.

Dad didn't use those words often, but they came out occasionally and I picked them up and used them once in a while as well.

Another word that was used several times in the last book I read was "dotage." I realize I am now in my "dotage" and am not liking it too much (nor did the character in the book, with whom I was relating).

Added Feb. 7: I also read in one of the books that a common prayer said at the table was: "Come, Lord Jesus, and be our guest, and let this food to us be blessed. Amen." Guess what? That was one of dad's favorites -- when he was hungry.


More daylight?

My sister reminded me when she called me on Sunday -- she calls me almost every Sunday, and I look forward to the talks so much -- that we get 2 more minutes of daylight in the a.m. and 2 more minutes of daylight in the evening -- that 4 minutes per day. Oh, really?

I think the people who wrote that up were just trying to encourage me through the darkness. I have noticed very little change in the mornings. It's still dark until after 8 a.m. In the evenings, it is dark by 6 p.m., which is a little later than when the darkness descended at Christmas, but not much.

I don't remember disliking the dark when I was living in Runnemede. Of course I was much younger then and really wasn't paying too much attention to the amount of daylight. Being on the East coast the day starts at least an hour earlier than it does out here which is at the tail end, almost, of the eastern time zone. So when I got up in the morning I never noticed it being dark, and I don't recall having to walk to school at 10 til seven in the dark. Out here? I would have to walk to school in the almost dark at 10 to eight!

Complaining? Yes, I am. I want more daylight. I'm getting old and my eyesight isn't what it used to be. I need light, people. Lots of light. Physical light, that is.

I do have the LIGHT of the world, Jesus, in me, for which I am very, very thankful.


Thursday, January 20, 2011


I haven't noticed that the days are getting longer. The TV says they are, and the minutes of daylight each day have gotten longer, but...

I don't notice any difference. Could it be because we've had snow or some sort of precipitation every day since early December? And because we've had precipitation and the sun is hidden, the expanded daylight hours just aren't coming through?

I want it to be light! I don't like the winter dark.

I do, however, like our weather this year. Just enough snow to keep me happy, but not enough to give me agida. And, so far, no ice storms. Now, that's a real blessing.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Familial sayings and other things

I have just finished reading The Thorn by Beverly Lewis. It is about an Amish family, present day.

I knew my dad had some Pennsylvania Dutch background. One of the last times I saw him, he told me about that part of his family -- which I didn't know existed. He told me he was reluctant to ever talk about them because of the hexes they had on their barns and other buildings on their farm. So, that part of the family sort of disappeared from the radar screen, so to speak.

But I did find out from reading this book that some of what I grew up with -- sayings and food and prayers -- came from that background.

The word schruewwlich -- which we always pronounced stroo blick (accurate would be shroo vlick) which is not too far off from the real pronunciation was used through this book for the way the heroine's hair was always unkemp. Yes, daddy would tell us we look schreuwwlich if our hair wasn't combed just so, or if our buttons were not buttoned correctly, or our socks weren't put on with the heel at the heel, etc. This along with verschimmelled, disheveled, and just plain untidy were part of the everyday vernacular at our home. Four little kids, you get one tidied up and the other three are all apart in that short amount of time. A never ending process to get four little ones spiffied up at the same time.

I had often wondered why, when my father made coffee, he would put an egg in the bottom of the drip coffee pot. He said it made the coffee taste better, and that's the way his mother made it. Well, his mother probably learned it from her mother. Apparently, the PA Dutch folks do that because they believe it takes the bitterness out of the coffee. I have never tried it. With my luck, the egg would break and I had scrambled coffee eggs. Yuck!

And, I was amazed when on one of the rare occasions the family had an oral prayer (the Amish usually have a silent prayer at the food table) the grace they said was the exact same grace daddy taught me when I was a very young child. Come Lord Jesus and be our guest, and let this food to us be blessed. Amen.

I'm sure there was other things in the book that I missed which were common to our household.

I have to say that I enjoyed the book, and I have enjoyed other books by Beverly Lewis as well. Always a great read.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011