Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

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.


No comments: