book1 by fanzhongqing


									  Irene Bittinger

A Century of Adventure
     Telling Her Stories
        1997 – 1998
Table of Contents
    TABLE OF CONTENTS .......................................................................................................................................... 2
    FORWARD ........................................................................................................................................................... 4
    INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................................................................... 5
    ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ......................................................................................................................................... 6
    THE AUTHOR ...................................................................................................................................................... 7
I. STORIES FROM NIGERIA, 1930-1938......................................................................................................... 9
    MAMMY CHAIRS, TIRES AND CANDY BARS ....................................................................................................... 9
    OUR ENCOUNTERS WITH AFRICAN LIONS ........................................................................................................ 12
    A PEANUT PATCH FOR GOD ............................................................................................................................. 18
    NGGWA ............................................................................................................................................................ 25
    FIRST CHRISTMAS ............................................................................................................................................. 29
    NDOZI, THE HORSE WRANGLER ....................................................................................................................... 33
    HARLEY SAVES THE DAY ................................................................................................................................. 35
    WHEN TROUBLE BEGAN ................................................................................................................................... 40
    MY IRON CHAIN ............................................................................................................................................... 44
    TILLA LAKE ...................................................................................................................................................... 45
    ASAGU .............................................................................................................................................................. 48
    NIGERIAN MARKETS ......................................................................................................................................... 50
    NIGERIAN RIVERS ............................................................................................................................................. 53
    HAVE YOU FOUND YOUR HUSBAND?............................................................................................................... 56
    PLAYMATES ...................................................................................................................................................... 58
II. ANIMAL STORIES ...................................................................................................................................... 65
    LOCUSTS........................................................................................................................................................... 65
    GOATS OR SHEEP? ............................................................................................................................................ 67
    ANTHILLS ......................................................................................................................................................... 70
    AFRICAN ELEPHANTS ....................................................................................................................................... 71
    STUDENTS AND ANIMALS ................................................................................................................................. 76
III. FAMILY HERITAGE STORIES ............................................................................................................... 78
    THE TANNERY .................................................................................................................................................. 78
    FISHING ............................................................................................................................................................ 88
    NIGHTS AT GRANDMA’S ................................................................................................................................... 93
    HELPING THE GRANDMA’S ............................................................................................................................... 94
    LOVE FEAST ..................................................................................................................................................... 96
    AUNT AMANDA AND HER HOOKED RUGS ...................................................................................................... 100
    VACATIONING AT AUNT SALLIE’S ................................................................................................................. 104
    AUNT CLARA .................................................................................................................................................. 108
    HOMEMADE ICE CREAM ................................................................................................................................. 111
    HOBO JOE COMES CALLING............................................................................................................................ 113
    THE CAKE WALK............................................................................................................................................ 115
    HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE YEARS ............................................................................................................. 117
    HIGH BRIDGE PICNIC ...................................................................................................................................... 123
    TEACHING IS LEARNING ................................................................................................................................. 125
    THREE HOLLOWS............................................................................................................................................ 128
    VALLEY VIEW ................................................................................................................................................ 134
    FEEDING THE FAMILY ..................................................................................................................................... 139
    SECOND BROTHER SISTER SET ....................................................................................................................... 144
    A STITCH IN TIME ........................................................................................................................................... 151
IV. WORLD CAMPUS AFLOAT ................................................................................................................... 158
    ONCE AROUND THE WORLD .......................................................................................................................... 158
    WHERE'S SFAX? ............................................................................................................................................ 167
    THE SHOCK STOP............................................................................................................................................ 173
    ALI SHAN ....................................................................................................................................................... 177
    THE BELLS OF BAHIA ..................................................................................................................................... 180

WHAT DO MOUNTAINS DO? ........................................................................................................................... 183
COLOPHON ..................................................................................................................................................... 190

Irene Bittinger is an extraordinary person—

      A one-in-a-million woman who demonstrates incredible perseverance and ability, by
       starting from scratch and learning computer word processing at age 92 and then going
       on to write and publish many stories on the Internet. This is only the most recent in a
       lifelong series of equally amazing accomplishments.
      Whose stories reveal detailed and clear recollections of rich experiences across nearly
       a century of adventure—memories of travel, of food, of clothes, of places and people
       from around the world.
      Who continues to love and nurture all the people who come into her life.
      Who has maintained her love of life, her contacts with family and friends, her
       alertness and wide ranging interests despite the physical limitations that come with
       advancing years.
      Who takes good care of herself, her health and her affairs.
      Who shows love and compassion in accepting family members and others around the
       world who choose to live their lives in ways that are so very different from her own.
Irene is an incredible role model for those of us who know her. Through her example we are
encouraged to feel confident that time need not dim life’s experience nor our participation in
it. Just by being who she is she has profoundly affected many lives. Through her example,
she helps us understand what it is like to be old, to experience the frailties that come with age,
to accept gracefully and with equanimity the changes that come with each step along life’s
path—not to struggle to hold onto the past, but to go on willingly to the next stage—looking
for what challenges and opportunities life offers up to her.

This book has been specially printed and leather bound as a unique way of elegantly and
appropriately celebrating Irene’s stories and her essence. Like her, this book combines the old
with the new—the experiences of an extraordinary lifetime expressed through word
processing and Internet publishing. The rich look and feel of leather binding and fine papers
lends an old-world quality and sensuousness to the laser-printed text. Handmade books are a
rare treasure in this age of Internet ‘web’ publishing and mass production.

I believe a higher power was involved in leading me into collaboration with Ken Dallaston of
Brisbane, Australia. He is another rare individual, combining just the right mix of computer
skills—graphic design, electronic publishing and a personal love for the art of bookbinding.
His care and talent are expressed in the fine craftsmanship, as well as the artistic design
represented in both the physical book and the printed text. Thank you, Ken, for printing and
binding this book as a very special gift.

Steve Bittinger

Editor and proud grandson

The stories presented here are part of my response to several experiences I have had in the
past several years. My children and grandchildren and great grandchildren have often
requested more detailed information about their family heritage and more stories about life
during the early part of the 1900’s when I was a young girl. They also wanted to know more
about our experiences as missionaries in Nigeria during the period 1930-38. Others wanted
stories about our experiences circling the globe repeatedly with the ship WORLD CAMPUS
AFLOAT and with the tour groups we led to many parts of the world throughout the years.
There never seemed to be time or a way to get these stories recorded or written until recently.

At the Hillcrest retirement community, I have been asked to be a storyteller for a weekly
gathering of the residents. These story-telling sessions have brought many requests for
written copies of the stories to share with friends and family of the residents and staff.

At 92 years of age my hands tremble a bit and it is difficult to write easily. My family began
exploring the possibilities of securing a special typewriter or computer for me to use. Then
our friend Charles Davis brought me a used Eagle computer for me to try out. It worked so
much better than the typewriter that we began thinking of getting a newer one with more
memory and other capabilities. With the advice and assistance of Rev. Joe Vecchio, my
family bought me a new Pentium computer with e-mail capability and adjustable keyboard
and trackball mouse. Since then I have been in daily contact with friends and kinfolk from all
over the world. They continued to encourage me to write and record the family heritage and
my personal stories and memories of my lifetime to be preserved and to be shared with all
who are interested. My first efforts have been well received and I have been encouraged to
write these stories for distribution to a limited number of family and friends who have
indicated an interest. Many of these stories are especially for all who are descended from my
grandparents, Jacob and Susana Merkey, my mother’s parents. I want to thank the new
computer generation of great-great grandchildren who have been so helpful with their
frequent e-mail messages of encouragement and genuine interest.

The production of these stories has been a long process. I do not work as fast as when I was
younger! The stories represent a cooperative effort by children, grandchildren and great-
grandchildren and friends from many places. Some have worked to set up the computer,
install software, connect me to the Internet and establish a web page. Others are working to
include pictures in future stories. Some have transcribed tape-recorded stories into useable
print and still others helped in assembling and mailing printed copies of the stories. Together
our spirit of sharing and cooperation has grown and blessed us all. There are more stories yet
to be shared. We hope to be working on them in the coming months as God gives us strength
and time. We would appreciate your comments and suggestions. We encourage you to write
and share some of your stories. As we participate in this sharing our sense of the larger family
grows and the meaning and nature of our shared heritage becomes clearer.

I have received help and encouragement from so many that I cannot mention all the names of
those to whom I am so indebted. I especially want to thank Charles Davis for getting me
started on my first computer and introducing me to a whole new world just as I was starting
my ninety-second year.

Thanks should go especially to Joe Vecchio who helped set up my new computer, the modem
and printer and install some of the software and teach me how to use all these strange and
new writing and communication tools.

Thanks also to the nurses and staff at the Assisted Living Center in the Woods section of
Hillcrest who assisted me and encouraged me and put up with my late night and early
morning hours and work schedule. Thanks to the office personnel of Woods for their
generous permission to use the Zerox machine.

Thanks to my loving family, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren who have
encouraged, supported and challenged me to keep growing, learning, enjoying and sharing
life with them. Thanks be to the Author of Life for his many blessings! May we all continue
to grow and share.

Irene Bittinger,

January, 1998

LaVerne, California

The Author

Irene Frantz Bittinger
Irene was born on November 13, 1905, to Henry and Annie Frantz at Frystown,
Pennsylvania, in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country. Her father and his brothers tanned
hides and made harness and saddles. Her mother worked in the shirt factory. When
mechanized farm machinery replaced the need for harness, the tannery was dismantled and
houses were built on the site.

At home Irene helped turn the cuffs for the shirt sleelves that her mother brought home from
the shirt factory. She also was busy cooking and doing many household chores since her
mother worked outside the home and her grandmother was blind. In the winter she scrubbed
harness for her father.

On weekends, the family would travel to churches all over the area where Henry would
conduct Saturday evening singing schools.

Irene was baptized one cold March day in 1916. That morning the men of the church had
sawed a hole through the ten-inch thick ice where the baptism was to take place, but by the
time the baptism took place after worship, the ice had begun to freeze over again and had to
be broken with an axe.

After a brief attempt at farming and factory work, the Frantz family moved to Elizabethtown
so that their three girls could go to college. Besides carrying a full load at college and
walking two miles to school each day, Irene worked in a shoe factory to meet her expenses.
She also made pine needle baskets and reed trays, lamps, and waste baskets and knit sweaters
for income.

Irene determined she would be a doctor. She doubled up on her school classes, as well as
being active in many other areas of school life including the Varsity Debating Squad and
Student Volunteers. She graduated with honors but was not allowed to wear the mortarboard,
but instead wore her prayer covering. She had also become engaged to Desmond Bittinger
during her senior year.

After graduation she taught at Hegins Valley High School in the coal-mining area of
Pennsylvania. She taught physics, chemistry, French and English and three classes of Latin.
She and Desmond were married in June at the end of that year. At that time it was not thought
proper to be married in the church, so they were married outside in a little meadow in
Elizabethtown. They spent the summer serving in a home mission project in Virginia. During
that summer they succeeded in getting two feuding families to come to Bible School without
their guns.

During their pastorate at Lima, Ohio, their first child was born. They named him Stanley
since they had a great desire to go to Africa as missionaries.

In 1930 they went to Nigeria, to serve there until 1938. During those years Irene operated
well-baby clinics and tried to find ways to improve mothers ‘and babies’ diets. She
experimented with peanut milk and soybean milk. She encouraged expectant mothers to have
their babies in the mission hospital. During those years she had two babies of her own—
Pattie and Richard.

The fourth child, Marianne, was born at McPherson, Kansas, during their first residence
there. They moved to Elgin, Illinois, for a time and then back to McPherson.

During her Elgin years she wrote the Sunday School lessons for the Junior Qularterly. She
served as Director of Missions for the denomination's Women's Fellowship and wrote
programs and drama for Schools of Missions. She organized a city-wide drive to improve the
comics and big-little books sold in the city. She taught one of the classes of released time
Christian Education classes for public school children. She served as president of the P.T.A.
She prepared a large playroom for neighborhood children in the basement of her home.

During her McPherson, Kansas, years she taught French at the college and substituted for
Desmond in his classes when he was away. She was chosen Kansas Mother of the year in
1956 and was in much demand as a public speaker. She served on the Kansas Committee for
the White House Studies on Children and Youth and was a member of that prestigious
conference. Among all these duties, she was the “hostess with the mostest” and entertained
graciously and well.

In 1962 she spent two semesters in Taiwan, where she lectured and taught English
conversation at Taipei University and French at Tunghai University. During this time she
became an expert in cooking Chinese cuisine.

During her years with the University of the Seven Seas she adapted to ship life quickly. She
served as librarian and was very skilled at helping students find the information they needed.
She also facilitated the preparation of all the syllabi for the course work. She prepared and
tabulated an in-depth survey given to students at the beginning and the end of each voyage.
During her time on land she served as state president of Church Women United.

Desmond wrote several books during his lifetime. Irene did research for him, translating
several rare books from French, typing and proofreading all his manuscripts, and giving
editorial advice.

Throughout her life she joyfully shared her talents in her local church and was a role model
as wife and mother.

In her retirement years she retains her gifts of hospitality, insight, and organization. It is a
pleasure to celebrate over 90 years of a life so fully lived!

Telling our stories may be the most human thing we do.

By telling our stories we remember our past, invent our present, and envision our future.
Then by sharing those stories with others we overcome loneliness, discover compassion and
create community with kindred souls.

Pattie Bittinger Stern

November, 1995

I. Stories from Nigeria, 1930-1938
Mammy Chairs, Tires and Candy Bars
“The next Port will be Monrovia! There you will get to ride the Mammy Chair!” said the
doctor’s wife.

“The mammy chair? What kind of chair is it one rides?” I wondered.

Like so many questions I asked, the answer would wait for the proper time to be

We were passengers aboard the Wahehe, enroute to West African ports. One by one we
reached them: Dakar, Freetown, Monrovia, Abidjan, Takoradi. Next would come Accra.
At our first West African ports we had taken aboard what we were told were “deck
passengers”. These people came on as individuals and as families. They lived on the decks,
literally. When we arrived at the following port, some of them disembarked for they had
needed transportation. Some of the men helped to load and unload the ship at the various
ports; they had come as workers. All of them ate, bathed, relaxed, slept, in fact, they lived on
the deck.

The passengers, those of us who were aboard for the distance, lived in the cabins and used the
upper decks for walking, observing, visiting, and now we observed the way of life of the
passengers on the deck below.

Before we reached Accra, we rehearsed what we had learned about this country, for this was
the home of Aggery, the man we had quoted so many times. Aggery was the one who said,

“You can play a tune of sorts on the white keys of the piano, and you can play a tune of sorts
on the black keys, but to have harmony, you need to use both the black and the white keys.”

He had set up a school at Accra which was attracting a great deal of attention. This is a place
we had determined to visit.

Our ship anchored a long way from shore. There was no dock. The cargo for Accra was
hoisted overboard and deposited into small two or four man canoes. Sometimes, the cargo
landed inside the canoe and was swiftly rowed to the shore. There were several large crates
containing cars. The crates hung suspended in air for a time until four canoes could get into
position to have the box straddle the four canoes. The sea was not quiet that day but was
really very ‘choppy’. We saw one of those crates sink between the canoes as it went to the

Eventually, all the crates were unloaded or reloaded onto the canoes and rowed to shore for
the owners to take possession. We watched all that with bated breath from our positions on
the deck. We debated whether we should venture that distance. Our travelling companions
assured us they would look after Stanley while we went ashore. On an earlier trip, they had
gone and knew it was a worthwhile experience.

The crane turned and set the mammy chair into position for us to sit into it and ride to the
waiting canoe. There were two seats, like an old-fashioned lawn swing, facing each other and

suspended by a set of stout wires. We were lifted by those wires out across the side of the
ship, then lowered over the canoe. Fortunately, we landed correctly, found our seats in the
canoe and immediately the rowers hastened toward the shore. We arrived just as a huge wave
rolled the canoe on its side. In that instant I was lifted to the shoulders of a tall man who ran
across the waters to the sand and deposited me very gently at the feet of our host, the
principal of the school!

It was definitely not a dignified introduction. The Principal and his wife were accustomed to
this kind of “entrance” and were very kind. I had worn the ordinary kind of dress for a very
warm day. The tan pongee cloth was cool and airy but easily wrinkled. Now, entirely doused
with seawater, it was not airy and cool but very wet and clinging! Our hosts were prepared
and enfolded us both in large towels and took us in their car to the school. There they led us
to the bath room and presented us with a complete change of clothes, escorted us to a
screened verandah, served a delicious cold tropical fruit drink with some cookies and told us
what we wanted to hear about the school and their lifestyle here.

Meantime, one of their helpers had gathered up our wet clothes, washed them and hung them
to dry in the wind so that by the time we had finished our tea, the clothes were ready to wear,
all ironed! A quick tour of the school campus and we were on our way back to the shore

The same set of canoe men welcomed us to the canoe, on dry sand, near the edge of the water
where the canoe slid into the next wave. It arrived just at that moment and away we went as
those heart shaped paddles plied the waves for a swift ride to the ship. The operators watched
for our arrival and positioned the mammy chair for a quick transfer and lifted us above the
waves to the deck and safety, all in dry clothes. No embarrassment this time. This experience
was not a tune on a piano but it truly was a harmonious combination of black and white
working together! It was a forecast for us of what we would experience repeatedly in the
coming years!

On that day we could not have imagined that years later we would learn that the Firestone
Rubber Company would fly across this part of Africa to sow seeds for trees that would supply
the rubber for tires on the cars on the highways and roads of the world.

We could not foresee the total world situation after the devastation of the World War, nor our
own part in it. No one could predict that large corporations would assist other nations in
many ways to increase world production of goods. Just as rubber companies assisted the
production of rubber, so also the Hershey Chocolate Company funded a Program for
Teachers for West Africa. Our daddy had years of experience in training teachers, helping to
place those teachers in situations to influence the direction of culture of nations.

Young people were interested in making a positive contribution to a war torn world. Many
opportunities presented themselves. Some helped in church oriented institutions in whatever
ways they were needed. Some served in the national forests in the interests of environment.
Teachers moved with their families to Indian reservations to do what was possible to raise the
standards of living.

The Teachers for West Africa Program sent teachers into areas where the coca plantations
formed the basis of employment in West Africa. It was the hope that the living standards of
those areas would be improved and thus eventually or indirectly, more Hershey bars could be
enjoyed by more people around the world.

It has been interesting to have had a part in that process, to know the prospective teachers, to
assist in their orientation and then to follow their problems and successes. I do not know just
how many more candy bars are enjoyed as a result but I have learned to know many people of
West Africa. I have seen them further their education in their own countries, establish
institutions not only of higher learning but of higher standards of achievement in all fields.

When standards rise, visions enlarge and call for a variety of products available from sources
other than the usual ones. That brings commerce, friendships, understandings, (sometimes
misunderstandings) and an exchange and interchange of residence, romance, religion, life in
all its varieties and joys. It presents challenges also!

Our Encounters With African Lions

Varied Transportation
Once upon a time, in 1930, a young couple, whose son was two years old, decided to go on a
long trip. They started from a town in Pennsylvania taking a train to New York. There they
boarded a steamer which took them across the ocean to Europe, then a smaller ship carried
them to Nigeria along the West Coast of Africa. A river-boat tried to sail up the Niger to take
them inland but the rains had not come that year and the water level was so low that they
could go only as far as Makurdi. The famous “Tin Mine Train” took them to Jos, a city on the
plateau. They rested and waited until they found a driver with an old Reo lorry who was
willing to undertake the uncertainties of the road, travel only after the road had dried for 24
hours after a rain, and go no farther than Damaturu, the end of the road.

The other five people travelling with them were a medical doctor and his wife, and two-year
old son, and a nurse. They loaded their scant belongings, their meager supply of food for this
last leg of the journey. They knew this was the “rainy season” and accepted the rain delays
even though they were not very comfortable. All of them were delighted when they reached
Damaturu. The driver received his pay and returned to Jos. Alas! there were two Rest Houses,
a large one—already occupied by a Government Officer. The small, old one had to serve this
party of seven. When the Government officer left in the morning with his retinue of one
hundred carriers and many horses, there were no more carriers available. Even so, seven,
more or less handicapped men, appeared as our supply of carriers. Two of the more able ones
carried the boys on their shoulders. The loads were divided among the other carriers. The
women started walking with the boys and their carriers very early in the morning. They
counted on the men to arrange the details. Later, two men came with male horses that had
never been ridden, for they do not ride male horses. It was not until very much later that we
heard the story of the breaking-in of those horses.

Since the doctor’s wife was an experienced rider, she rode a little way. A rain came up in the
early afternoon and gave everyone a cooling shower. After the twenty-three mile walk, the
beaten floor of the Buni Rest House looked inviting! There was a large pot of clean water,
some wood for a fire, so we all had tea. The men felt revived sufficiently that they found their
guns and a guide took them to the ‘bush’ to find us some supper.

The guest house caretaker brought more water, some guinea corn flour, okra fresh from his
garden, an onion and a large cooking pot. He promised to bring several chickens in case the
men did not find game. Meantime, we women arranged the bedding we had, started the
process of baths as water was boiled and available. We laundered a few pieces for we knew
that we would wear the same clothes the rest of the way that we had worn since Jos. The little
boys had taken naps on the heads of their carriers and were full of energy. They were busily
playing with the children of the village. There was no need to know the language!
Surprisingly soon, the men returned with a good supply of meat for our suppers, for next
day’s lunch, and some to share with the village. While our meal was cooking, the village
chief came to call. What a grand person he was! He assured us of plenty of carriers from his
own village to care for all our needs. There would be more than enough good horses too. The
chief told us about a visitor they entertained last year. That visitor was here from England
because he wanted to kill a lion. The chief himself served as his guide and they were
fortunate to find and kill a lion in the first half day. The visitor was so overjoyed that he gave
his English riding saddle to the chief as a gift. Now he turned in my direction and said he

wanted that pregnant lady to use his saddle on his own horse, cared for by his own horse
wrangler, to ride as far as Garkida. That was the reason the horse wrangler of that Buni chief
was by my side for the rest of the miles to Garkida. I have been very thankful to that Chief
for the use of his horse and saddle and have sent him a special gift.

We needed five riding days to reach Garkida, the town where our Mission started. The Hawal
River flows by the edge of the town. When we came close to it we each looked at ourselves
and looked at each other; we did not resemble fresh recruits but rather we were quite messy
and shop worn. We certainly needed good baths and clean clothes. As we continued riding
we understood the meaning of the words we used so often, “rainy season", and “The river is
up,” far better than we realized before. The river was really up and out of its banks. We were
told that sometimes it became three miles wide. It surely seemed more than two miles wide
this morning. “It is too bad there is not a bridge!”

It was still too far away to be seen distinctly, but we did see activity and that there were a
number of people dressed in white. Then, very suddenly we saw the reason for the activity.
Almost in the middle of the river there were two sets of swimmers, each set was struggling
against the current and still being pushed farther down stream with their individual “boats".

                         “That is the reason for those tubs that we saw!”

                         “I thought you said they were bath tubs!”

                         “It depends upon where and when they are used, this time they are

By this time those swimmers were approaching the place we were waiting with our luggage.
They greeted us in friendly fashion but assumed responsibility at once. We realized that now
we were in the hands of our new friends and neighbors, as they placed me in the forward boat
with Stanley, our son, the nurse in the rear boat and filled the two side ones with luggage.
Meantime the doctor family were placed in the other boat similarly and their side boats filled
with luggage also. Our daddy would swim along with that fine young man by his side using
those gourds they have as water wings. Both of them are experienced swimmers so their only
danger would lie in the floating debris, the crocodiles, and the quality of the water. No one
could measure the number of germs of schisto or other infectious materials in that river! The
loading was completed and the ‘crossing’ began. Our ‘tubs’ settled into the water to within
two inches of the tops. I had discovered that mine also had a leak in the bottom!

                                   The crossing began. Our tubs settled in the water, we kept
                                   our eyes on those swimmers. That crossing took more than
                                   the thirty minutes that had been predicted. We did not
                                   count minutes because we were busy watching the
                                   swimmers as they approached the middle of the river and
                                   that pile of debris nearing them. We all held our breaths at
                                   one point. We thought we saw a head jump up in the
                                   water! “Was it? Oh- Oh! Did you see that?” He said,
“Boo,” I’m sure that’s what he said! “See, the crock went away.”

Finally, everyone was landed safely. There were sincere greetings all around. We were
loaded into a mission lorry and taken to the homes of missionaries for breakfast. These

people did indeed have good memories. They not only outfitted each of us with fresh clothes,
they provided plenty of hot water for really refreshing baths. We felt like new people!

Now it was time for that delicious breakfast. They served us REAL, old fashioned, delicious
oatmeal. During the meal each of us spoke often about the contrast between this meal and
those we had been eating for the last number of days. There was not much time for
discussion. We needed to have a view of the mission and get on to become acquainted with
our new homes.

 We Have Arrived
We were to live in the first house built by the two men who had started our Mission. It was a
large house with a great thatch roof. It was evident the ropes used to hold the thatch had
rotted and so the roof had slid almost to the ground. A few “windows” had been cut through
the thatch to allow light to come inside. That night when we lit the kerosene lamp on the table
to read our accumulated mail—a very strange thing happened! “Things” began to fly all
around us; some came from the walls, some from the floor, some from the ceiling—just
everywhere! There were so many we became frightened. We kept looking and wondering,
and finally succeeded in catching one of the “things.” It was approximately an inch long and
had no legs. Very soon, some of them began to drop to the floor and almost immediately it all

                                         We had had a big day and decided that this was a
                                         good time to go to bed. So we did. Next morning
                                         we saw the results of the excitement of the night
                                         before. We had placed Daddy’s shoes by the
                                         briefcase that held our passports, bills, and all the
                                         important papers one collects in travel. The shoes
were not there, the briefcase was gone, but there was the brass lock and the two brass rings
that had held the handle of the briefcase. Close to them there was a strange looking mass
about the size of a bushel basket. What we had experienced was a fifteen minute flying stage
in the development of the termites. We learned much more about them as the days rolled by.
We also learned how to speak to the people.

Language Skills
There were many visitors to our house to see who we were but especially to know this child,
what was his name? They tried to say it but he was never happy with the way they
pronounced it. One day a lad in the group suggested, Mallam Nchisu. No one ever knew or
understood why he should be called “Teacher number eight". He learned to speak the
language more quickly than anyone in our group.

Our teacher taught us to say, Wa thlima su na nginin ri? Stanley began with Wa thlimaga
ri? Our question—"What is the name of this thing?” His “What is your name?” Once, we
were learning a list of words that began to sound familiar. We were told, That is the word for
“crazy person, because you were behaving like that!” Verbs require action! During the
coming months we were getting acquainted with many words and people.

Christmas! We welcomed a new baby daughter and sister. She was born during the time of
the Christmas program. We named her Patricia, but the people named her Marangli. Now
there were Mallam Nchisu and Marangli in our home.

The Language Committee said, “You have passed the first part of your language tests.” Three
months later the Committee came to say, “Now, you must go to spend a week in a village
away from here, where the people are not accustomed to those who are learning. They will
teach you in their own way.

The very next week one of the Committee members brought the Mission truck and took us
with all the things we would need along with two school boys to be our helpers and
interpreters to the town of Gwobola. This was an interesting experience and a delightful
drive. We were unloaded, introduced to the village and the truck returned to the Mission.

Villages and Villagers
We set up our tent under a great tree near the river bank. The people of the village streamed
by to observe these strange things happening in their village. “ What kind of house is this
white one, made of cloth?” they kept asking the two school boys. “Why are there so many
things?” “How will one use these things?”

Presently, the village chief arrived and made his presentation. He made it to the father of the
children after he had taken the boy by the hand and brought him to the center of attention.
“We, the people of Gwobola, want to welcome you to our home. As a symbol of the wish of
all of us we give you these two chickens and hope that when you eat them you will all feel
the welcome we give you. We are eager to know more of you, young man, since you speak to
us so well. “Barka". The boy turned to his father, “You have just been given the ‘keys to the
city’. “He expects a speech in return,” the lad whispered. The father thanked the chief with a
brief “thank you", “Usa!”

The school boy explained to the chief and to the people that the visitor did not feel confident
to speak his thanks to the chief, and to the people, but that his simple “thank you” meant that
he was very grateful and that he was here to learn and hoped all the people would feel free to
teach him how to say things properly. They said they would be glad to help teach one who
was willing to learn.

Afterward, the people went to their homes to prepare for their evening duties and we
continued to set up our camp and eat our suppers. The children were very tired and dropped
off to sleep quickly. The school boys volunteered to watch over the camp and the children
and urged us to spend the evening with the villagers.

We were getting on well with the people. They were eager to help us, to answer our
questions, to ask their questions of us. We hoped they would sing for us. It appeared they
were ready to do that, when all of a sudden, there was a shot from the direction of our camp!
That was surely most unusual! Everyone ran instantly. The first folks to reach the tent heard
the frightened boys use the word tsingi. Consequently, they were frightened too. We had not
learned that word and were very curious and went to check on the children, but one of the
school boys quickly did the interpretation.

The school boys had eaten their suppers and sat, speaking softly, by the tent in the place
where the chickens were tied to the bed. In just a little while they heard the lapping of an
animal getting a drink. Then, there was the roar and they felt sure the Lion was coming for
those chickens. They knew the gun was there. Yes, they knew they were not allowed to shoot
it, but those two chickens and the two children were their charge. Did anyone blame them for

                              making sure of protecting those in their care? Not one person
                              spoke such an opinion. At long last we understood! Tsingi
                              meant lion! We would remember!

                              At last, the people took time for a full breath. Every person
                              there had an idea and spoke that idea out loud but not one
                              volunteered an answer. They seemed to know about the ways of
                              a lion – that there was nothing they could do about it at this
                              time. They all went home, to bed with closed doorways. We did
                              that too but we did not have any solid door.

                            Early the next morning, we heard a cough by our door. A
                            villager told us he had been so engrossed watching the
                            unloading yesterday that he had forgotten to bring in the mare
                            and her colt that were grazing close to our camp. He had gone
                            out looking for them just now and found them, but – the mare
was dead. There had been just one or two bites taken from her hip. And the colt? That was it,
“up in the tree!”

At that word everyone was alert. There was a mass parade in the direction the owner was
leading. They found the body of the mother horse, and that of the colt in the tree, where the
man pointed. The combined group shook its head is disbelief and amazement as they entered
into a discussion of what and how lions do things.

The oldest man in the group spoke for all. “This is the way lions do things. They leave the
meat for their first meal on the ground because they know the hyena and the vultures will
come quickly to clean it up. He can protect that. The meat for his second meal will keep when
it is hidden under leaves up in a tree.” “Agreed", “True". So, it was finished. With that
agreement there could be no refuting. But, wait. Who was at fault? The lion, or the owner?

The owner spoke up very quickly. “We must send a runner to the doctor at once to ask him
to bring the medicine to put into the meat and kill the lion when he comes for his meal. I am
not able to run, can someone run in my place?”

Two young men stepped out. Daddy got out some paper and wrote the message. That by-
passed the question of fault very smoothly. The youth hurried on his mission. However, the
usual group of people lingered and continued their consideration of this matter for their

Before noontime came, the voice of the motorcycle was heard. The group assembled, ready
to observe, as the doctor arrived, and with dispatch, injected the poison into the mare and into
the colt. Following his greeting and recognition of having done his job, he left on the
motorcycle again in order to complete his daily round in the hospital.

People were departing for their homes but the chief had one last word, “Remember, a lion
always starts his feast at the tail and eats forward!”

                                                          Just as they had predicted, the Lion
                                                          did come that evening and did take
                                                          a bite just where the medicine was
                                                          placed, near the tail. He died
                                                          instantly. Anyone could see that.

                                                          Another day of great excitement
was in store for Gwobola when the Mission truck arrived at the response to the second
runner with the news of the death of the lion. This time, the truck brought many of the
missionaries. Now there were six missionary children here! That was hard to believe but the
focus was still on the lion. There were many pictures taken and much discussion with the
owner and others but all conversation centered on getting that lion lifted into the truck. There
was much grunting, lifting, teasing before the beast was firmly placed and on his way.

Perhaps, it was a great community sigh of relief that went up as the entire village turned in
the direction of their homes by way of surrounding this visiting couple and their two children.

The women led the mother and her baby to the shade of a tree and began asking her many
questions. Together they learned to know each other and compared children and life styles.
One by one they took her to their homes and showed her how they lived, how they cooked,
how they cared for the little ones and all the details of their lives. She was really having a
great language lesson. The daddy and Mallam Nchisu also were learning the way of life in a

A common plan grew without formal planning, that the visitors must go by foot to visit their
neighbor villages on the following days. Many people were involved in the procedure. Two
men carried Marangli in a very strange bed. The parents said it had been used for Mallam
Nchisu earlier. They placed two loops from the ends of that cradle bed across bamboo poles
which two men carried on their shoulders. They placed two large umbrellas on the sides to
keep the sun out. There was one observation. “It seems strange to have two grown men carry
one small baby when our women carry the baby on their backs and still carry large gourds
full of water or load of some kind! Heads nodded but nothing could minimize the joy and the
good fellowship all the way of each day as these tours of the villages went on.

When the week was finished and the truck came to take them back there was keen sorrow in
the hearts of many because of separating the new friendships that had formed that week.
There were no more lions to be seen at Gwobola that week.

Some months later we were moved to open a mission station at Marama where there were
many villages and a road. We bought a Harley Davidson motorcycle with a double sidecar
in order to take the family. When we drove at night, Daddy would point to two bright lights.
Were they eyes? Daddy would say, “Those are hyenas” or “those are lions” according to the
heights of the eyes. None of them ever bothered us.

A Peanut Patch For God
Going to live at Marama was a great dream come true. The mission had requested permission
to settle in this area when the very first requests were made. The plateau in Bornu province
was then still “closed”. The mission was started at Garkida in Adamwa Province, east of the
Hawal River. Repeated requests for a Bornu site were answered in the negative until that
particular District Officer decided to allow Nggwa to be Nggwa! In 1930, there came a
tentative positive message. It gave tentative permission for the mission doctor to visit upon
request of the people, and for a builder to build a house for a couple and one for a nurse. The
Mission sent a builder and his wife plus a doctor who made frequent visits. In 1931, the
builder had the two houses ready for occupancy. Many books could be filled recounting the
hopes, the dreams, the plans, and the goals set forth by many groups in the Mission. Many
questions came to the fore; many possibilities were presented.

The nurse had arrived from the States and had received her language training; we had just
passed our language exams and were charged with getting the work of the Mission underway
at Marama. Now that the selection was made and shared, the work of definite planning
proceeded. Committee after committee met and planned the total project. Each person was
given opportunity to present background. In the final outcome, the persons ‘doing the job’
would make the decisions based upon their own preparation, experience, ability and
adaptability. These traits were considered to be of utmost importance. However, some
decisions had to be made at this time: Do the missionaries make the rules? Set the goals?
Take the leadership? What is the position of the Nigerian? How long should the missionary
remain? Should the Nigerian “take charge”? When? How soon?

Moving Day was relevant. It was The Rainy Season. Travel plans depended upon the
weather, the rivers, the roads. In 1931, the roads and the rivers depended: upon the sun!
Finally, it all worked out that we should move on a certain day.

The Hausa carriers came from Bree village. Each man walked the length of the veranda
where the boxes and loads awaited their carriers. Some of the men picked up a few of the
boxes to judge the weight against their abilities. Then, without a visible signal, each one
selected his load, went to the manager for checking, received his food fare, and began the
familiar half-jog toward the river and on toward the western horizon. We were told that the
way the carriers would go was thirty miles. I was concerned about my treadle sewing
machine. My favorite carrier, Whona, picked it up, up side down and departed at his usual
speed. He appeared at Marama that evening smiling, but his forehead—was missing.

The family went by bicycle. Each bike had a child’s seat. We needed to take into
consideration the many hazards of the season, so this transportation was chosen. We were
able to wade the waist high water in the Hawal and to carry the bicycles across the deep sand
of river bottom. Fortunately, there had not been rain the day before! The Howal River was a
small part of what it had been when we first arrived. (There were no crocodiles to be seen.)
We biked the 8 miles to the Dzuir River rather enjoying the alternate stretches of smooth and
sandy roads. The Dzuir River was not a water hazard but presented a difficult path for
bicycles and children. Beyond the Dzuir the black cotton soil was that—black and sticky.
Coping with it brought tears and objections from the children for the first time. The ‘joy’
ended there. It was black. It was very sticky!

Just as Stanley was about to begin a frustrated cry he changed it instantaneously to a
surprised “Look!”

The pickup of the builder at Marama arrived just then to rescue us. In a short minute we were
loaded into the pickup and proceeded happily. There was scarcely time to catch a breath until
the driver pointed to the left and said “Nggwa”. On the left we were passing a butte with a
village on top. It was Nggwa, the reason for the province of Bornu being ‘closed’ to us for so
long. Before we could ask about it we went around the curve of the hill and the builder said,

We had arrived! We were home! A dream come true!

Greetings were exchanged with the people who had gathered. I noticed that several of our
carriers were in the assembly of the welcomers. We were served a refreshing drink and just as
we were about to accept an invitation to inspect where we would live, we heard the whistle
and the songs of the rest of our carriers! They arrived close together, considering the steep
climb they had to do just before their arrival. They must not have slowed their pace at all.

                                         Each carrier came by the Manager and received his
                                         pay. Presently they left as a group but not until I had
                                         a few words with Whona.

                                         “Whona, what happened to your forehead?”

                                         “Tsu adi, adi wa?”(It is there, isn’t it?”) The weight
                                         of his load had pushed his forehead up across his

                                         They departed as a group to find their evening meals
                                         and spend the night. (The sewing machine was set
                                         ‘right side up’ and everything was in place.
Evidently he had not put it down all day.)

The builder and his wife were living in the house where we would live eventually, but for the
present we were to use the Store Building as our dining room and kitchen. A grass roofed
shade was built for our bedroom. The children and we slept in a row of four hospital beds
most of the nights. No one was aware of the velocity of the winds on that plateau until one
evening at supper time a sudden gust picked up the corrugated-iron roof of that storehouse.
We watched it rise about six feet, turn over, and land on the ground beside the building! The
nurse was moved into her house and felt quite established because she had placed things as
the carriers brought them in. The process of placing and storing our things was a slower
process because of the readjustment necessitated by this temporary arrangement. Additional
repacking had to be done after that eventful first night. The wind required a concentrated
composure. We spent quite a number of minutes of explanations with the children during our
first hours at Marama.

 Next day, twenty men picked up the roof, turned it, and lifted it to the top again. It was then
fastened more securely to the walls of the building. While the builder was directing the men
in that job we went to satisfy our curiosity about the deep holes in the front yard.

                                           The large boulders next to them revealed that the
                                           stones used in the building of the house had come
                                           from this same rock pile. Many rocks still
                                           remained even after so many had been
                                           removed.The area of the school lay just ahead. The
                                           buildings were not finished. We had to see! The
                                           men were at work. It was the same pattern of
                                           building used at Garkida. The men were eager to
                                           tell us about it. They had come up about four feet
                                           in the height of the wall. The rains had prevented
                                           them from working for a number of days. They
                                           were to go so-o high The walls were made of
                                           layers of mud, given a day or two to dry before
                                           adding a new layer. Yes, much of the grass was
gathered for the roof and it was being sewed into the lengths to be placed on the roof when
they got to that stage. The school benches were drying and the women would be there to
plaster them just as soon as the roof was there to protect their work. The answer to the
question of the time when the building would be finished was the familiar response to such
inquiries, a shrug of the shoulders and “Do I know?”(not impudence, only fact. )

There is that man again! We kept seeing that same man everywhere we looked. He was
everywhere at same time but never in a hurry. Always poised, dignified. I saw him walking
toward that tree again. I decided to find out. The children arrived there before I did. It was
easy to talk with him. His name was Kudiri. His age? (The indication of great age...the
pounding of the right fist into the left palm). He admitted to many years. Yes, he has lived
here, in this area. His home is..over there. No, not his farm. Tell me, why is this the only tree
in this entire area?” A long hesitation. I sat on a rock and indicated for him to sit. We both
saw my husband approaching so waited for the answer Kudiri looked us eye to eye. He had
not ever talked to white people like this before and was reticent, but we realized we were
about to hear something of importance. Many years ago, when he was thirteen years of age,
there was a great ‘trouble’ right here! They had been asleep in their beds. The entire village
was asleep. Suddenly, it seemed there was thunder, but it was not thunder. In a flash, all the
roofs of the village were on fire! There was great panic. All the fathers called for their
children, their families. My grandfather called and we ran to find him. He was being held by
a group of white men. There were more grandfathers and young strong men also held. We
tried to hide and crept among the rocks and some of us young folks kept watch to see what
was happening. I was so scared for my grandfather. I heard him cry out a few times. Then he
was quiet. It was after dark the next evening before we could learn what had happened. The
men had been chained to the tree with a metal bar around their necks and a chain between
them. There were others also who had been gathered by a group of slave raiders.

This group was to be joined with other groups but the traders never returned. This group
languished for a long time.

        That experience left a bitter memory in the village about slavery and about white men.
When the missionaries first appeared looking for a site and were led to this area, there was a
feeling of utter disgust among the villagers. To think that whites would want to come now!
Would these white people also want to make slaves of the people of the villages?

        Kudiri told them he would work for the white men for a while. He would learn all
their secrets to see if they planned to make salves or what they meant to do. He began to

report very soon that indeed there was no plan for slavery, only to educate and to have them
grow together as children of God. He gathered the people and worked with them and with the
Mission. Little by little, that fear disappeared.

        Now that we had that record from Kudiri, we determined that we would work hard to
have everyone in the Mission know that we would do nothing to harm that tree. It was to
stand and grow as a symbol to them about our attitude toward them We made the tree the
focal point and most beautiful section of the garden. We would always put the most beautiful
plants there, and make the flower garden be appreciated by everyone.

        When the local people finally overcame their feelings of hatred and mistrust of us we
went to their villages and became acquainted. We talked about the reason for the large school
building and for our presence. We talked about the meanings of the new words we were using
such as “school",” books,"“ writing", “church” and others like “class,” or “groups". A
curiosity gew along with the interest in new or different things.

The school building was finished, the contacts were made with the villages and Kudiri was
busy so, the school was ready for an opening day! It was interesting to see how many people
came to the school. Classes for the men were filled with 18-20 year olds. The girls class had
fourteen 13 to 14 year olds. There were classes also for younger ones but the distances to
school governed that group in a stricter way. Mrs. Heckman, wife of the builder of the
houses, and Elnora Schecter, the nurse, both taught; so did Desmond and I. We all had large
classes. I worked also with the children and did village visitation. When the Heckmans went
on furlough, I took some of their classes. This was the first school these people had and their
first opportunity to learn to read and write. They did not have a word for ‘book’ or ‘paper’.
The idea of writing was completely unknown in that section. Thus the idea of a school was a
great thing.

                                    When the local people finally overcame their fears of us,
                                    many of them came to the school from quite a distance.
                                    They walked a long ways over a very rocky area.

                                    It was hard to get supplies. When Garkida started, we
                                    first used banana leaves to write on with a stick to do the
                                    ABC's, then used paper later. At Marama we used paper
                                    from the start, but sometimes we wrote in the sand with
                                    our fingers until people got the idea of writing. It really
                                    does not matter greatly what way one begins, eventually
                                    one comes to the books!

                                    Because we had taught at Garkida, we had some idea of
the kind of materials to use. These were largely of our own production. We made our lesson
plans and prepared our materials with what we had at hand This was true for each class.
Desmond liked to start with a teachers’ meeting to make plans. Then everyone knew what
was expected. There was a plan, and the plan worked well.

In the beginning, we used translations from various sections of the Bible. The entire Bible
had not yet been translated. Some materials were prepared also as instructions for preparing
people for becoming a church. It was our goal to have the Nigerians ‘take on’ and ‘take over
‘the building and growth’ of the church to have it be THEIR church, as completely and
                                     rapidly as possible. There was a group of twenty-one

young men who decided they wanted to be the first group to be baptized. They solicited their
friends and spoke seriously about making it a community affair.

The discussion became a decision to utilize the unused space across from the dispensary, as
the garden for the church. One of these young men was named Pukama. He was a leader with
a lovely voice and experienced in singing the Bura songs. One day he brought me a copy of a
song he had ‘cut'. He ‘cut” (wrote) it with the hope it could be used to keep rhythm as they
worked in the “church garden". Their discussion was wide-ranging and inclusive. They
planned and then followed through by setting the time for clearing the ground on a certain
Sunday. The word went out. Many people came with their hoes. They cleared away all the
larger stones, removed the weeds and tree roots, and prepared the ground very beautifully not
only with their hoes but they prepared the minds and hearts of the workers by singing as they
worked. They sang the song Pukama was teaching. It caught on and became the theme song
for the campus.

I think I can still sing it after all these years. It was the first song I learned to sing in Bura
style of singing; One verse was sung by the leader as a solo, and the audience repeated it,
three times for each verse; finally the entire song.

“As for me, I will serve the Lord. As for me, I need life. He will save me. Forever he will
save me. Whether my father and my mother desert me, I will serve Him. He will save me.
God will stand by. He will give comfort. I will seek the Lord. “

                                      In this manner and spirit they planted their peanuts; they
                                      cultivated regularly, participated in the harvesting and
                                      selling of the crop of peanuts. There were discussion
                                      groups, work days, study classes, community
                                      conversations at all levels so that the older men and
                                      some of the school girls joined with the men in the work
                                      of building THEIR new church building. The theme
song was an integral part of each event: gathering the straw and bringing the water for the
making of the mud; mixing the mud; and carrying the mud to the site of the building:
carrying water for the builders. All this time still other groups were finding and bringing the
best and tallest grasses and best rope for the sewing of the roof. The few people left in the
villages volunteered to supply extra food to feed all the workers.

Kudiri was very busy for he was aware that these people of all these villages had a long
history of mistrust in each other, that they had no experience in cooperation. He did not speak
of his concerns very often but several times I raised a question about his anxiety and he gave
me his ‘special grin’ as his admission of the fact. There was no one who knew more of the
total experience and the “deep down” feelings of all the people than Kudiri. He had many
serious discussions with the elders of the entire area. They agreed on one important issue: that
the idea of a school, and of this school in particular was a great idea!

Finally the 21 young men passed their reading courses which included many extra curricular
activities and studies. The pre-dedication gathering met in the church building. The central
theme: “What is the Mission lifting up as the Goal for Mission in Nigeria?” As usual, Kudiri
sat in the first row seat, “ready to respond". The village elders from every village were there,
as well as practically all the adult men and many women, all students of the school, and their
teachers. The men, of the 21 group, made the presentations of the subjects, using the wording
from the book of Minutes of the Mission Meeting in Garkida.

1. There are times when decisions must be made, but who makes the rules?

2. Who makes the decisions?

3. Who takes the leadership?

4. What is the position of the Nigerian?

5. How long should the missionary stay in his job in Nigeria?

6. When and how should the Nigerian ‘take over'?

One speech had a dramatic effect. Kudiri spoke from his experience and observation. He said,
“Look, why cannot I be baptized and be a member of the church? I know I have three wives,
when I am supposed to have just one. I married those women when I was young, and this is
the way we did things then. They have borne my children, they have fed me, and I have cared
for them; We have come to love each other. I love them; they love me. Must they now go out
and be prostitutes? I want to be a Christian, but I love my wives. What must I do? That
caused a stunned silence. The elders nodded their heads. It was their situation also. The
women in the goup, had not only thought about it, they had discussed it, and were eager to
hear what solutions would be presented. The younger men had not faced that yet. After a long
wait all turned to the missionary. He knew what the Church in the States had on the Minutes.
Would they hear the pleas of this man? How would they answer his question? The missionary
realized that these people had come to know him, and his feelings, and sympathized with his
predicament. He asked the young man to reread the questions under discussion, and since this
one was not included in that listing, would they allow the missionary to contact the Board,
who would be meeting within a month, to provide an answer? Kudiri agreed, and the
assembled group also agreed.

When the first services were held in that church. “Old man Kudiri” sat on the first bench,
leaning forward with his chin in his hands, ready and frequently supplying the correct Bura
word when the minister hesitated just a bit. Kudiri was always there. Kudiri was a very good

Was that the attitude with which to begin a Church? “Look, we are starting with a peanut
patch for God. How can all of us become Christians?” These were some of the problems the
church faced. But in spite of all of that, Kudiri stood by. God knows what was in Kudiri’s
heart. God knows the heart of all the others. A tremendous feeling of support grew there and
the church at Marama has prospered through the years. Many great souls have served that
group. Pukama's song led the way for many great hymns to be ‘cut’ by other members of the
present Ekklysia Ar Yanua Nigeria. Those songs are accompanied by drums, and all of their
musical instruments. Marama has led the way in other good ways. Those who grew in that
church have gone throughout Nigeria and have built many serving churches and have been a
great influence for good for seventy-five years. Pukama's song still says: “As for me, I will
serve the Lord; Whether my father and mother desert me, I will serve Him; He will give
comfort, He will save, He will stand by! He will save!

I'm not sure what Kudiri’s last words were. I should like to have heard them. But that church,
and that peanut patch continue.

I hope the Marama church can continue to grow and continue leadership for many years to

Nggwa is the name of a town that sits on top of a flat-topped butte. There are many such
towns in Buraland. Several of them have similar histories. Sukkar is a similar town, not far
from Nggwa. and they have similar beliefs.

Nggwa lies between Biu and Marama. By the 1920s when the war ended in Europe, and after
Africa was divided among European powers, various Governors, or Lieutenant-Governors
were sent to talk to the Nigerians about what it meant to be a part of the United Kingdom.
One of the requirements was to pay taxes. These taxes were used for the development of the
country, supposedly. One of the ‘developments’ was that a District Officer was assigned to
each area. This DO traveled to each of the villages, collected taxes, and was the negotiator, if
there was a problem. He ‘kept his eyes open’ to see that people remained ‘in line’.

It was at this time that knives were taken away from the households. The only knives left
were kitchen knives no longer than four inches. Nor were Nigerians allowed to carry guns,
and they were removed if people had them. They were not supposed to have bows and
arrows, although a few people had them.They were used for hunting for their own use, but
warfare and injury with weapons were not allowed. This policy was a hardship for people,
but they had to live by it. Most of the villages in Nigeria were “conquered"- because they
complied with British government requirements.

Now Nggwa, the city on the butte, did not believe in these policies. They said “We are as
good as they are, and there is no reason we should pay taxes to them. We have cared for
ourselves and will continue to care for ourselves. We live high on the mountain. We have
land. We know where to grow our own food. We have access to water and everything that we
need. We are not dependent on anyone.” So Nggwa continued to live unconquered on their

The colonial government was not satisfied. They continued to try to collect taxes. We heard
stories from three or four different District Officers about how they had tried to take Nggwa
and had not succeeded. These were interesting stories. One D.O. told how others had been
defeated and how he had decided to carry tin bathtubs in front of his troops as shields to
protect them. This worked as anticipated, to a degree. When the arrows came from the top of
the butte as soldiers ascended, the arrows hit the tub and glanced away. But, the arrows were
much more likely to wound the feet or legs below the tub. Because the arrows were coated
with poison the soldiers were out of service, and in most cases died. One after the other the
armies that tried to ascend the Nggwa butte were turned back. The butte was almost
perpendicular for the last part and very rocky.

The people of Nggwa could hide behind the rocks to shoot down on the ascending soldiers.
When the British forces fired their guns upward. they were much more likely to hit the rocks
than the people, because of the angle of fire,

One of the British officers told us quite a story about all this. They were sure they would be
victorious by sending many people up and trying to infiltrate behind the lines, but no one has
ever succeeded.

When this part of Nigeria was designated for our mission, we were told that we could go
anywhere, except that we should be sure not to try to go to Nggwa. Everything else seemed to
be “conquered” except Nggwa. We were warned, repeatedly, against venturing there.

You know what happened next! As soon as we received the motorcycle, and after Sunday
services at other places, we decided to have a ride. We rode to the foot of Nggwa,on the road
to Biu, no one suspected anything. We drove by Nggwa with the motor revved as much as
possible. We returned quietly and just stopped. Presently, we moved on a little way. We got
off and walked around. We did much the same thing a week later.

On one of these occasions we climbed part way up the butte and remained to have a picnic.
We had water to drink and cookies to eat. We took our time to sit there so that whoever was
watching from above could see there were children, and that we did not carry guns. They
could see us as people. We did that several times. Finally, we said, “That's enough!” We
loaded our pockets with Band-Aids and mercurochrome, took our water bottles, and decided
to go to Nggwa. So we did!

We parked on the road, made a big noise with the motorcycle so they would know we were
there and then we started up the hill. Climbing the precipice, Desmond led the way, then the
children, and I came last, to make sure that everyone was all right. We got to the edge,
climbed over, but did not see anyone. Nobody spoke to us, or shouted at us. There were no
arrows shot at us. There did not seem to be anyone about. We looked around, saw all the
rocks just as we had been told—the battlements, and the spaces. Beyond them was a
cornfield. The corn was two feet or more high. We did not see anyone working in the corn,
hoeing or weeding, or picking anything. It was unnaturally quiet.

We decided to walk on toward the village. There was a giant baobab tree in the middle of the
village. The chieftain normally would be sitting under this tree. When we got closer, we saw
that indeed, someone was sitting there. He made no move; he did not wave; he greeted no
one. We thought we saw a flicker of surprise when a woman addressed him, but still nothing
impressed him. He wore a blue robe, and a blue hat. His beard was white, since he was an old
man. He continued to sit there as my husband walked up to him

Desmond walked close and did all the things he knew for a proper greeting. “How are your
wives, your children, your farm?” he waited. There was no response. After he greeted the
second time, and then the third time, then I spoke to the chief! We thought we saw just a
flicker of surprise that a woman would address him. But still nothing happened. So my
husband spoke again and said.

“Are there no other people in your village? Are there some elders? Are there any children?
Are there any goats? Do you have women in this village? How can you live here without
women?” Nothing happened. Finally, my husband said, “We are your neighbors. I think you
may have seen us in the road on our motorcycle at various times. We came to say hello to
you, to greet you! The people of the other villages came to greet us and welcome us to the
area. But you did not come. Is there some reason that you did not?” At that point the chief
said “Unhh!” —just that one grunt. We knew we had been understood! So my husband said
again, “We are your neighbors. We don't speak your language very well, but we are trying to
learn. We hope that you will help us to speak properly. Good Afternoon! How are you?” He
went all the way through the rest of the greeting.

Now the chief responded. We were making progress. Finally Desmond asked, “Are there any
other men in the village? Don't you have some elders?” Then the man said “Ahun” At that
point several older men appeared and stood by the chief. And so the salutation continued. The
men of the village came, and then the children, by and by. At first the women would not turn
their backs on us, but they did come, and some of them carried babies. But the thing that was

surprising was that children and some men came down out of the baoab tree that we had been
standing under all this time. We had not seen them!

Some people came up out of the cornfields, and we had not seen them either. But there they
were. Soon the entire village had gathered. We wondered why the women with the babies
would not turn their backs. We learned later that they believed if they turned their backs, and
we looked at their children, the children would turn white. That would have been a very great
shame. It would be the worst thing that could happen to them - a great curse - if the children
turned white!

And why? They believed we came from a hole in the ground—that the sun had never touched
us. We had not been burned by the sun; our coloring had not been put on yet. That was all
right! We got to know some of the people.

Presently, after we visited a bit, we asked if they would sing for us. Oh, yes! They would be
pleased to. The chief called on a young man about fifteen or sixteen years old, who was to
lead them. We learned later that his name was Sikumta. He led the songs, he had a beautiful
voice. They sang and sang. We saw, (although we had been observing it impatiently all this
time,) that almost everyone had pink eye, ‘conjunctivitis’. The doctors had shown us how,
and we had done it a number of times, to use mercurochrome drops. We put a drop or so in
each eye, repeated it a few times, and presently the eyes cleared up.

We spoke about it. At first they responded, “Oh, no no, our eyes are fine!” They would not
have anything done. Finally when we commented that a good many of them had this
condition, we told them that we did the same to ourselves, for our eyes sometimes got that
way also. So I turned and put some in my husband's eyes, some in mine, and drops in both
the children's eyes. No one gave any indication of pain or discomfort.

Then we asked again, whether we could treat them. I thought perhaps the chief, as a leader,
would go first. But he called one of his wives to go first. She did not dare to refuse. As we put
drops in her eyes, she exclaimed, “Oh, that feels good. It is so cool! I like that.” Then there
was a rush. We used up all our mercurochrome that day and there was not enough to go
around. When we left, they followed us to the edge of the mountain and a few of them
followed us to the motorcycle. They asked us to come back and bring some more
mercurochrome. We promised that we would. And we did.

Some time later three or four men came to our home, one night. They asked to borrow some
of our tools, and we wondered what they would do with them. They took some hoes and
shovels, but mostly they took digging tools. When we went back after that, they had begun to
build a road up the side of the mountain. It was completed quite quickly. It wasn't a very safe
road, nor a very good road, but we took it to the top. They invited us to come and “sit” with
them in the village. So we took our tent, and stayed a week. It was just at the time of the full

During that week, we learned a great many things. The older brother of Sikumta was the
medicine man — not the witch doctor - of the village. He took me one day and we spent the
day walking along the edges of the farms. We returned with a load of leaves, roots, bark, and
berries. I labelled each one properly with the things he told me about what it was, and how it
was used, and how much to use. He told me how he prepared each of them. I gave those
medicines to the doctor on our mission station. He sent them on to Philadelphia where they
were analyzed. When the report came back it revealed that the use that they made of it was in

each case the proper medical procedure. The dosage may have varied, but the kind of thing
was the kind of thing that modern medicines are made of, and they were good for the

While we were in Nggwa they were so very kind to us, and we enjoyed them. They decided
they wanted to have someone come to school, and that Sikumta should be the first one to
come. They arranged to take care of his farm and Sikumta came to school. He came to
Marama and presently he brought his wife and they both went to school. They had two
children later. Their children played with our children.

After Sikumta had been in school for a week and had a chance to get the idea of what school
was and how it would be helpful, he went home. Whereupon they said, “Now Yampta must
go to school. Yampta came the second week while Sikumpta taught the people of the village
what he had learned his first week of school. When Yampta came back he taught them what
he had learned the second week of school. Eventually, we had several people in school and
schools popped up not only in Nggwa but in other villages as well. School at Marama was a
very good experience. The people there seemed to be so willing to listen and to learn.

The complete story of Sikumta and what he has done is one of those things that make one
stand in awe and wonder at what can happen to a person. The story of his family and his work
will be another story.

To finish this story!, the village of Nggwa never had to pay taxes, so far as we know. The
District Officer said:

“Let Nggwa be Nggwa!”

First Christmas
Everyone was watching Kudiri. He was acting so differently these days. He was seen
everywhere at once. He had the energy of a young man. At his advanced age one does not
expect such activity. The curiosity showed in the entire village. Entire village? Community,
area, countryside says it better!

Mwada called to her neighbor, “Dear Friend, did you see the motorcycle just now?”

“Indeed I did. Madu has been very restless today. He hummed that new song of Pukama’s all
day as he worked. He told me that we would have to measure out some of the guinea corn
and put every ninth measure into a separate “bii” (granary) for a while. We are also to plant
some extra vegetables that will mature in four weeks.”

“It is all so mysterious.”

It was not just the wives of the few leaders whose curiosity was running wild.

“Good morning students!” The school principal spoke to the assembled group, ready for a
day of study and rehearsal. “Shall we begin this very important, exciting week by going over
our new songs? First, do any of you have new songs that you have ‘cut’ during the
weekend?” He purposefully said ‘cut’ because he hoped that their own way of singing would
get the idea of the big celebration under way more quickly.

“Yes, I have ‘cut’ one that would be good for those boys who are going to be in the rear and
not seen.” “Fine. Does your song have a name? Can we all learn to sing it easily?” This
discussion continued throughout the period. It ended with the entire group singing all of the
songs, for they were all ‘native’ tunes.

The evenings, the weekends, all were filled with this activity being repeated in each of the
villages surrounding Marama. Neither the leaders, nor the people of the villages had ever
been able to meet, to discuss, to celebrate, or to communicate without some bloodshed or
tragedy. We hoped that the spirit of Christmas might become a reality to these people while
they were experiencing it.

Would we dare to bring them all together, in one place, at one time, to do one thing, together?
It was a big undertaking!

“Huva! Huva” –"Hurry, Hurry,” the voices of the fathers echoed and re-echoed in each of the
villages in that area of the plateau on Saturday before Christmas.

Each village headman had ordered everyone to attend the coming event in his village. A
brand new thing was about to happen, never had there been so much mystery, so much
curiosity on the part of each villager. The women were as excited as the men; the children as
eager for knowledge of the happening as the old and the diseased ones.

The village headman took charge of the gathering. It had been a long time since he had an
opportunity to perform his official duties with such decorum. He stood up – tall, regal! His
audience responded to this image of a leader. They planned, and agreed on their movements
when it would be their turn to arrive at the “barki", the mission, on the big day.

“Kwapchi! Kwapchi!” Three schoolgirls gathered around this lovely lass.

“May I borrow that to wear one day next week?”

“No, She promised it to me for next week!”

“Oh, Mwada, how will we decide? It belongs as much to you as to me!”

Bura girls have hard decisions to make! Common ownership within the family is just one of
those decisions. Kwapchi and Mwada took their large gourds and went for the evening supply
of water. Mwada pondered the idea of wearing the beautiful head-scarf.

“I know that I will never get to wear it. When my turn comes, it will be all worn out!”

Time solves many problems. Kudiri had been a busy man going about from group to group
making sure that everyone understood the arrangements, and the need to cooperate with good
feeling. He felt quite responsible for this wonderful development. Was it not he who had said
that he had agreed to allow these people to come into the possession of “his” and “their” tree?
Now it has become the beauty spot in the middle of the garden. He was sure everyone coming
to the barki in the coming days would stop by the tree and remember the loved ones who
perished there.

The Big Day Dawns!
There were many unsolved mysteries pondered that Christmas morning on that part of the
plateau. Even those mysteries, did not stop the clock that morning. Christmas became a great
NEW word for a great New Day in God’s world!

        The sky was bright for a time that Christmas morning, but at the usual time the
harmattan winds began to blow and the cloudy-foggy weather proceeded like other days of
this season.

There were several scenes that played out in the barki. There was a matter of seeing to it that
all the items to be used this day would be found in their proper places, at the proper time. The
man of the house made sure that his gifts to the headmen were wrapped discreetly and placed
so there need be no fumbling. He verified the vocabulary for the fourth time. There must be
absolutely no possibility of MISunderstanding. The school helpers had their individual
assignments. The equipment to allow the performance of the dialog to proceed, in exact
timing with the reading of the scripture, was very important. The rehearsals had gone well.

The one responsible for the containers to receive the offering needed a knowledge of the
customs of the villagers. No one must be insulted nor have his feelings hurt.

The people of WABARA felt their responsibility as Hosts. They were closer to the mission
than any of the villages and there was a spring with a bountiful supply of fresh water between
them and the road. The guests will have walked a number of miles to arrive at this point. The
NGGWA folks, of the “city on the hill” had to be up early to get started on the road for their
five mile walk. They had the greatest distance to travel. They represented the most
independent of the communities. They were the “town that could not be taken". They remain
to this day, the people who never paid taxes. Even Britain with all her powers, on which the
sun never set, was not able to conquer Nggwa, and was forced to concede: “Let Nggwa be

Nggwa"! This would be their very first venture out of their neighborhood after all the years of

Would that neighborhood be ready for them?

The Nggwa delegation, led by Sikumta, the singer, and the first Nggwa student in school at
Marama, accompanied the Chief Headman, he of the blue robe, the blue hat and blue beard.
They walked briskly and exultantly with every citizen and child of that hilltop, keeping
rhythm, tuned their voices with that of Sikumta. The Aga people intercepted the Nggwa
group and shared their quick-snack breakfast, even though every one was timid. The Aga
folks were very conscious of the possibility that they might be accused of planting a ‘haptu’
(hex) in the food, if anyone should become ill. They hoped to avoid that by planning in such a
way that each of them would carry two or more gourds of the food when they met the Nggwa
group in the road. There, they would share their food. Was this a pattern suggested by

Both of the groups, Nggwa and Aga, now walked on together and suddenly realized they
were walking with that song, they had come to like so well. It was called “Joy to the World".

All of them were feeling the need to wash up a bit after their servings of “diva and sukwar”
(corn mush and sauce) supplied by the good people of AGA. They arrived at the WABARA
stop and were refreshed by their supply of water; then, both groups proceeded to the
Dispensary. At that turning to the Mission, they met the PELACHEROMA group. They had
not come so far but they had to cross that field of rocks, that I struggled with each time I went
to Pelacheroma. Every one of the groups was now singing some of the native songs. The
group realized they had arrived when the entire school group with their leaders appeared by
the roadside to meet and greet them.

There was no stopping now. Excitement ran high. Presently, they arrived at our gate and we
called out each of the Headmen as they arrived, and invited them to join us, in our home, for
a little while. The larger body moved on to the school area. They were seated there as they
arranged themselves according to the plans set in their villages.

                                      We led the Chieftains into our home, had them be
                                      seated, and served them some tea. Then, according to
                                      Bura procedure, we all greeted and introduced ourselves
                                      and each other. It seemed strange that my husband
                                      should be the first one to engage these particular men in
                                      discussion. There was not time for lengthy or weighty
                                      conversation but that short time together seemed very

We took time to tell of the great gift God had given and that we wanted to share with them.
We gave them humble gifts of salt and soap. They accepted graciously and invited us to
return to their villages regularly. All of us went to the services together and participated as
the students of the school presented their version of the Christmas story.

                                       Everyone seemed pleased when the students took
                                       on the personalities of the people they represented
                                       in the scriptures and made the scenes very real.
                                       The messages came through to these people. They
                                       brought their offerings to the manger scene with
                                       feeling. Some of them had carried headloads of
                                       guinea corn, some gave chickens, some gave eggs
or dried okra, a few brought money. Finally, after others had given, an older, handicapped
woman found her way to the manger and stretched out her hand to the one receiving the
offerings and handed him FIVE DRIED BEANS. She said, “This is all I have, it was to be
my food for today.”

The afternoon was spent in playing games, some, they usually played at times of celebration,
some, the school boys were learning, like soccer, but they did not do competitive things.
There were demonstrations of their various art procedures. The emphasis was on
togetherness. Mid-afternoon saw the Nggwa people depart, with many of the other villagers
walking with them a little way, to continue their new relationships and friendships.

At the close of the day, two or three tired people meditated upon whether this way of
introducing and celebrating Christmas was acceptable to the people or to the God who gave
us the very first Christmas.

Ndozi, The Horse Wrangler
When we lived at Marama, in the early 1930’s, it was necessary for us to have two horses. In
the first place, the area was so rock strewn that bicycles and other forms of wheel
transportation could not be used. Secondly, there were no roads to the villages. We had to
hire a horse wrangler to find grass and bring it to the horses, and to care for all their needs.
Ndozi was the young man we employed for that purpose.

Ndozi lived in the village closest to our compound and was able to live at home and still do
his work. He was faithful, reliable and pleasant. He provided the horse to take me whenever
there was a medical errand.

Next to our Shop Building stood a wagon, with steel wheels which was given by a concerned
member of the church. The wagon had not been used because no horses had been trained to
do it. There was no harness because the Nigerians used horses only for riding.

The plateau location provided almost no wood for our stoves. The shrubs that did grow were
kept cut by the constant need for firewood, but there were a few large, dead trees used only
by vultures occasionally. It seemed to us that wood could serve our needs. It was too large to
be cut with the native axes.

My heritage of growing up in a harness shop came to the rescue. I bought some of the two
inch wide cloth that the Nigerians wove on their looms from cotton grown in their fields, and
made a set of harness. I thought I remembered how it was done! I needed to use a few safety
pins and some wire to get it all to work at first, but it was that cloth harness we used on the
horses to break them to the idea of pulling the wagon. The bigger task was convincing and
teaching Ndozi and a partner, Mwada, to work with the horses.

They did learn and also to use a cross-cut saw to cut down those dead trees and bring in the
wood. When we felt assured of the worthiness of the project, I took the measurements of the
harness and sent it to my father in Pennsylvania. He told his Sunday School Class about it
and they offered to pay the transportation for a set of new leather harness. My father made it,
and sent it.

The Postman in the 1930’s operated slowly. It took three months to reach us! When it arrived,
we had a good celebration for its first use. The Royers, new Superintendents for the Leper
Colony at Garkida, came to visit us with their new son.

We decided to have a picnic at the Rest House, two miles down the new road Desmond was
helping the Government Engineer to build. We asked Ndozi and Mwada to harness the horses
and hitch them to the wagon. Mrs. Royer and I, Stanley and Pattie and baby Ralph in a baby
buggy, all climbed into the wagon. The men planned to ride in the wagon just as soon as we
got under way.

This unusual happening brought out many of the villagers. They were unbelieving at the sight
and disapproved mightily! If there had been a Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals,
we would surely have been reported and probably arrested! To make two horses pull (carry)
more than one person each was unthinkable!

We got under way, the horses did not fall dead they walked along very nicely, the two men
rode and finally, even Ndozi and Mwada climbed aboard. Everyone had a wonderful time,
the horses rested while we enjoyed our picnic supper, and all returned happily.

When this tale spread throughout the mission, we heard from several people who were
involved, who told of how that wagon had reached the mission. It was put together from its
packing boxes, and loaded with bags of cement for delivery. There were no horses used to
pull it. Nigerians were to push and pull it all the way. I have never heard whether or not they
used the tongue, but they said it could not be guided or directed, there was no brake, or it was
not used. Consequently, everything possible did happen but the wagon did get to Garkida, the
cement had solidified when it got wet.

The Marama picnic experience was a happy event for the wagon, for the harness, a triumph
for the two men and a joy to the two missionary families. Ndozi’s reputation in the village
was very much elevated. A year or two later, the Mission acquired a pickup truck. An iron
frame was welded to the running board on the driver’s side to hold an extra can of gasoline
(petrol). It served as a seat for an extra passenger.

Ndozi rode in that seat one time for a short trip. He was delighted with the speed and the ease
of riding. He had been instructed to hold on tightly until the car came to a full stop. He
learned that day there is a difference between the way a horse halts and the way a car changes
from fifteen miles per hour to a full stop. The car came to the path to his house. He simply
called out,

“So, I’ll leave you here!” He did just that!

The driver stopped as quickly as possible, backed up to meet Ndozi and heard him say:

“Do these things sometimes kill people?” He had rolled over several times but was really
unhurt, thanks to a grassy spot!

Harley Saves The Day
“Aleiikum, Salaam, Aleikum!” “Hello! Is there someone here?”

“Alle, alle, I am so glad to see you! How are you? Have you been ill, or have you had an
accident? We have been looking for you for a long time!”

Our mail carrier had arrived one day in 1932 looking very haggard and trembling. He should
have returned with the mail twelve days ago. After he was seated and had a drink and rested a
moment, he was able to tell us why he was detained. He said he fared well going to Damaturu
but on his return he had succumbed to the fever. He was cared for in the home of the chief of
Buratai for all this time.

Before he could tell his story completely, he handed me the special parcel which he kept
separate because of the ribbon. When he turned it over to me I felt a premonition of some
important happening. I called the children to bring their daddy and have us all together to
open this parcel. It was wrapped in heavy paper, tied with a red ribbon and sealed with the
wax and stamp of the government. It was definitely not an ordinary letter.

My husband arrived. He examined it and we tried to conjecture what its contents might be,
but he proceeded to unwrap and open the letter. It was addressed to the Chairman of the
Mission, not to us personally. That was a relief in a measure, but it indicated official
attention. Since he was Chairman at the time, we felt free to open it.

“To whom it may concern…….” I glanced on into the contents and saw the words “
Certificate of Occupancy”. Now we could take a breath. We might have taken a dance around
the room, or jumped up and down, if we had not restrained ourselves. This was “GOOD
NEWS”, news that everyone connected with the mission had waited for all these years!

The official message was the statement that the Government had granted us the official
“Certificate of Occupancy to perform Mission Work in the Province of Bornu". It was dated
and said that this ‘paper’ was to be signed, by the Chairman and by the Secretary (officials)
of the Mission, and be returned to the Office at Maidugari, by four o’clock of the following

We checked the calendar, that would be less than twenty-four hours from this time. Stanley
ran to call Elnora, the nurse on the station, to have her share this moment. We looked at each
other in silence as realization dawned upon us.

The river was up, we could not get a Garkida person to bring the car. A runner would not
have time to reach Maidugari in the short time necessary to meet the deadline. Desmond
himself was under orders from the doctor not to ride a horse or motorcycle. Elnora had no
means of transportation. If I were to drive the motorcycle, should I risk going by myself?
What about leaving the children? Would Desmond be able to care for himself, and the
children? Our cook, Sherima, was the one who always helped Desmond with repairs, and
would be the one to go if I went but then, he was needed to look after the children and
Desmond. What to do?

Elnora arrived, read the document and shared the time of consternation. There was one thing
definite. Somehow, some way that paper HAD to get to Maidugari by four! Another fact was
gratifying: Both Desmond and Elnora were elected officials, and qualified to sign the

Certificate. One more question appeared. The Government Office was staffed by men. British
wives were not allowed in these parts at that time. Would missionary women be allowed to
make this delivery to those men?

At five o’clock in the morning, the motorcycle left Marama. Aboard were Elnora and Bukari
in the sidecar and I was driving it. We were loaded with all we hoped we might need until we
would be back to Marama again, for we were aware there were no gas stations along the way,
nor any hotels or motels. All went well, as we covered the miles I had come on horseback
when we first arrived.

I watched carefully to recognize the village of Buratai, so we could pause to express our
appreciation to that chief, for caring for our mail carrier. I had a personal thank you to deliver
to him, for the saddle and horse, he had made available to me on the earlier trip.

At three thirty in the afternoon, we rode into the courtyard of the Maidugari Rest House,
about two blocks from the Government Office. The caretaker was there and had a supply of
water and wood on hand. Bukari heated some water while Elnora and I retrieved our
necessary things. We washed up. She very carefully removed my hose, generously powdered
the blisters and sores and covered them again with proper nylons. We both dressed,
exchanged the layers of our double terai hats to have the clean side on top, put on white
gloves, and hurried toward the government Office. We had three minutes!

We knocked on the door, and a voice invited us in. Both men were seated at their desks and
both seemed to raise their heads at the same time. Their jaws dropped, their mouths opened,
their eyes widened, finally, they said,

“Where did you come from?” “Who are you?”

We explained who we were, why we had come, and presented the document saying we hoped
that all was in order. They had both arisen by this time. They accepted the paper and
examined it.

“Yes, yes, everything is in order, …..” Both hesitated and looked at each other a moment and

“May we serve you some tea?”

“Thank you, very much. We are set up in the Rest House and tea will be waiting for us when
we return,” we told them. They did inquire whether they could serve us dinner that evening,
but we assured them we would be just fine, and would need to retire to leave early in the

We knew very well that it was impossible for them to serve us either tea or meals. They
would probably lose their jobs if they entertained us. We hastened back, drank several cups
of tea which Bukari had prepared. We changed back into our ‘grubbies’ and walked to the
native market. Besides, I needed to pay attention to my legs before subjecting them to the
next period of heat next to those cylinders on the motorcycle for the 285 mile return trip.

I had worn cotton hose, my husband’s heavy wool sox, and his leather riding boots as
protection. I realized that by the time we returned, I would need time to grow several layers
of skin.

The return required the same amount of time as going did. We used our can of gasoline to
refill the motorcycle tank, our food supply served well. We carried our beds, mosquito nets,
and boiled water. I feared that we might have trouble with the bike, because Bukari had no
experience in repairs. He had worked as our cook and interpreter.

The family was happy to see us back, we were happy they had fared well. Sherima was very
relieved that we did not have a problem. There was no communication with Garkida while we
were gone. There was time now to share the good news, with the rest of the people, who had
waited for it for so many years.

Our pioneer missionary, Stover Kulp, would be more than pleased to see the realization of
another one of his dreams. When Elnora, Bukari and I drove by Nggwa on our return, I
bowed in the direction of that village, and mentally said a big thanks to them, for not hurling
stones nor shooting arrows at us on the day we climbed their hilltop. We must respect the
people of Nggwa for their independent spirit and their ability to hold out for so long a time
against the Empire.

No one can foresee the rewards of patience while enduring the frustrations of delay. To close
the books on the matter of Certificates of Occupancy, the government documents, that came
to the Mission during the years of waiting, were many. From prohibiting any work or
residence west of the Hawal, to gradually allowing community after community, to admit and
then welcome, varying stages of Mission to function, until this full degree of welcome, had
been a continuing delay and frustration.

The District Officer of Biu stopped by our home one day, and introduced an engineer. “There
is to be a road from Biu to the River.” he told us! We realized that Bornu Province was Open

The Harley Davidson did not rest. The Engineer made assignments to a group of local men.
They were to prepare the roadway. Occasionally large rocks needed to be removed. The
method he chose was dynamiting them, but he could not remain in the area for it all to
happen. My husband was asked to check on the men, to see that the drill holes were made
properly, and then to follow through on the charges.

Each evening the family had a ride down the new road. Desmond met the foreman, checked
the work on the designated rocks, placed and set the charge. Our assignment was assuring
him that no one would get into the danger zone at the time of the blast.

The Harley Davidson motorcycle made the first tracks on the new road leading from Biu after
Bornu Province was declared OPEN. The Certificate of Occupancy was, is, and will be, a
precious and valuable document in the safekeeping of the Mission.

Details on the Harley Davidson and our ownership of it are as follows:

   1932 Harley-Davidson VL with double sidecar.

   Milwaukee V-Twin motor.

   Modified in Nigeria to include a footlocker mounted over the rear wheel.

   Rack between sidecar and bike to carry 5 gallon cans of gasoline and extra oil.

   A canopy was built over the side car to provide shade and protection from rain.

   Price paid for VL - $320.

   Price paid for sidecar - $135

The VL and sidecar were sold to other missionaries in 1938. It has been sold and resold since
that time and is still running.

In 1932 Desmond and a Nigerian guide hitched a ride to Lagos to take delivery of the new
motorcycle. To my husband's dismay, the crate did not contain any instruction manual or
assembly guide. They worked all night, piecing together the motorcycle. When they finally
got it together, Desmond started it up, clicked it into gear and it took off—in reverse!

Disheartened in Lagos, he felt like quitting. After tossing and turning that night, he sprang
from his bunk, roused his helper and reversed a certain part on the bike. Now it went forward,
as it should. This time the trip home, which normally required six days, took one day.

Once back at his village, Desmond modified the new outfit to meet our specific needs. He
attached frameworks between the sidecar and the bike to carry five-gallon gasoline cans and
one of oil. And he fixed a rack over the rear wheel for a large footlocker. On top of the
sidecar, he built a canopy to shade passengers from the heat and rain.

Now the outfit was ready for duty as a mobile medical service, supply truck and school on
wheels. The Harley, with its two-seat sidecar, became a familiar and welcome sight in
Nigeria. One year we carried 40 new mothers to the hospital and back- with newborns secure
in the side-car. Once, I was rushing a patient to the hospital, and she had her baby right there
in the sidecar! The motorcycle was also used to hunt wild fowl and to supply the mission
with meat.

Because of Desmond's interest in anthropology we once used the motorcycle to study the site
of a 12th century city on Lake Chad at the tip of northeastern Nigeria. We packed in the
family, a translator and enough provisions for the whole trip.

The terrain varied dramatically, but the Harley took it all in stride. We followed an ancient
camel caravan trail across the desert; the grasslands of the plateau turned to powdery, deep
desert sands. We deflated the tires somewhat for better traction, but some times we got buried
so deep, we all had to unload and push to keep going.

Crossing a large dune, the rumble of our big motorcycle loaded with 5 people startled a 23-
camel caravan to the point of pandemonium. Interestingly, it became a meeting of two
cultures under the desert sun.

There was a bedlam of animals, loads and people. It could have been a bloody, fatal ending.
We held our breath as the camel owner and his men brought out his great camel blanket and
invited us to sit. But then he brought a container of delicious desert dates. We pulled out
cookies and some fruit.

What did we discuss? Why the leader of the caravan was very interested in our Harley. He
asked us, “why does your horse have only 3 legs?” and “Why does your horse make so much
noise when you start its heart?”

After a time of sharing, we parted as friends. We soon found the ancient city near Lake Chad.
We saw some astonishing things. We rode in great reed boats and saw mining of great slabs
of salt on the lakeshores and watched them being loaded onto the backs of animals for
transport to various cities. We were so grateful for our new conveyance that had made this
any similar journeys possible.

Sometimes nowadays I will stop while travelling along the California freeways when I spot
some motorcyclists. Now and then, I will chat with Harley riders at rest areas. I go over to
them and look at their bikes, and I find myself telling them that I used to ride. They will show
me all the newest gadgets and conveniences. It would be a joy to ride again.

Adamawa Province where we used to live has now become of some importance in Nigeria,
with its own university and hospitals. It's growth and success may be traced back to the
stimulus and assistance of the Mission—and the contributions of a certain 1932 Harley-
Davidson VL with a double sidecar.

When Trouble Began
                       Once upon a time:

                       God sat very close to people.

                       They always pointed to just about the heights of their heads, when they
                       were standing. As close as the roof of ones’ house is where God lived.
                       He loved people. They had only to ask. If they wanted a gourd, or food,
                       or clothing, or to go somewhere, they just discussed it with God. God
                       gave it to them, or showed them the way to get it.

                       They liked this.

Then one day people were talking, and this question of ‘how close is God?’ came up. An old
red woman said,

“Oh, no! I don't believe in that!

God likes us and cares for us.

But so far as his living close doesn't matter. Just because our mothers told us that when we
grind corn or go out to winnow we need to kneel so we do not touch God that doesn't matter!
See! I'll show you.”

She took her stick, she stood by her ngir (mortar) and put her corn into it. She took her pestle
in her hand and raised it up ready to bring it down and pound the grain.

Lo! and behold!

She touched God with her pestle!

God ran away!

So, now when she asked, or anybody asked for something:

God was not there!

He did not hear!

He had left!

‘They sat in trouble!’ This was an expression the Buras used,

‘We sit in trouble, Because God is not near’.

So, the old red woman was harassed for chasing God away. She finally said,

“Well, I'll have to bring God back!”

She went to bring him back.

She gathered up all the mortars and pestles from the entire village. The mortars are made of
hollowed out tree stumps, each about three feet high. She set one on top of another.

Finally, she had a great tall stack.

She said, “Now surely, God didn't go any further than this!”

She climbed upward and spoke to those who were watching and said,

“I'll go bring him.”

Then she climbed up a little higher, and said,

“I'll go bring him.”

She kept climbing all the way up until she was on top of all the mortars.

Then she said,

“Now, I'm almost where God is. All I need is one more. Go quickly and find another one and
hand it up. Then I'll touch God and bring him back.”

Somebody said,

“Oh well, that's easy. We'll just take out the bottom one here. It's not doing anything now.
Take it out and put it on top and then she can reach God.”

The old red woman said,

“That's a good idea.”

The red woman took it and was about to climb up on it, when the pile of mortars collapsed

She did not get to reach God!

Everybody was very, very sorry because now ‘they sat in trouble’.

This was the feeling throughout Buraland.

Someone had chased God away and had not been grateful for the blessing they had.

When the missionaries came, they went to visit in the villages.

I was one of those visiting missionaries. I went to Pelacheroma when we moved to Marama
to start the new mission.

Pelacheroma was just about two miles distant, but the path crossed a field of rocks.

The area was so rocky:

I could not go by bicycle;

I could not go by motorcycle either;

I had to go horseback!

Every time I went, I asked one of the schoolboys to carry the little victrola we had. It was the
size of a small suitcase, and had space for three records inside.

He loved to carry it, because he liked the music. One of these was a Negro Quartet. A good
share of the song was sung in parts.

The Nigerians loved this song and would exclaim,

“heaup?! Heaup?!”

in great surprise.

They said they could see how that little man, that sings the high parts could hide in that box.

But that great big man that sings way down low, could not hide in there also.

They asked for the song to be played again, and they marveled still more.

Presently the tone and the tune caught on and they listened for the music's sake, rather than
about “how they hid” in the box.

One of the other records was of people laughing!

Just laughing;

nothing else.

Some villagers were scared of white people. When we first came, one woman had even run
away and left her baby sitting by the fire all alone!

The baby was very frightened.

When we brought the record and they heard people laughing, their fears were calmed and
their curiosity was aroused about what might happen next.

So, I told the story of the red woman.

Slowly, they began to believe,

that God might not be so far away, after all.

When I told that story, they knew it was their story.

They told it to each other over and over again.

I ended the story by telling them that we had come to bring God back.

They were ready to listen and asked

“How?” “When?”

They were ready to hear how God would come back to the village.

My Iron Chain
We visited a group of villages in the area between Biu and Garkida. One of these, Kwajefa,
was the largest. Another, close by, was Shaffa, which was the home of a lady I learned to
know very well. She and I became close friends. She was a middle child between two
brothers and could not take advantage of gifts to the oldest or to the youngest child. She had
to go without.

One day, she was given a gift by her mother, who knew something about the longings of her
heart and her loneliness. The mother had called her in to say, “Look, this was given to me by
my mother, your grandmother, because I was the oldest daughter. The mother paused. Her
arm encircled the shoulders of the daughter as she turned to her and looked deep into her
eyes. Slowly, very feelingly, she smiled and said, “You know you are not the first child of
our home but you are the first daughter. This is your birthday moon. You shall wear the
treasure of our lives! You are the owner of The Chain! I have worn it for twenty years. My
mother brought it from the mountainside, the home of the iron. Her father, your great
grandfather, pounded that iron into these tiny links. I was told many times how he sang as he
pounded it saying, ‘you must suffer to be strong! You must feel the blows of the hammer!
You will feel pain as you develop; you must suffer to be strong! You will shine, you will
have the highest worth!’ So she received this gift of the hand made chain.

The chain was made from iron dug from one of the mountainsides in Buraland. It was heated
and pounded, heated and pounded, until there were tiny, narrow strips of iron, each link just a
centimeter long, but only a millimeter wide. It made a nice long chain. It is a wonderful thing
to wear. It is a bit heavy. It's not beautiful in terms of polished finish. But it is an indication of
something very precious that has come down through the generations from the oldest
daughter to the oldest daughter.

I was a middle child. There were several things I did not get because I was not the oldest
daughter. But, I was given this chain because my dear friend did not have a daughter. She had
a daughter-in-law, but not a daughter. I was her first choice, she said. She gave me, her good
friend, the chain. I have given it to my first daughter, Pattie. She deserves it. I hope that she
will enjoy it and use it. Some day she may pass it on to the one she chooses, whether it be her
first daughter or whether it be a first choice of someone she loves.

Tilla Lake
“Did you say the missionary carried a gun?”

“Oh, he brought one. He said he might have to shoot the crocodiles.”

“Shoot the crocodiles! Oh, No!”

That would have been too bad, but yes the missionary had brought his gun. The missionary
stood close. The priests discussed what to do. The priests said to each other, “We will go
close to the water and put out the benin seed. We will talk to the crocodiles and tell them
what they should do. Then the crocodiles will do what they want to, what they think is the
right thing. We will act accordingly. We'll see what the missionary is going to do. We'll see
what the District Officer is going to do, for he has a gun fastened to his belt. Did you see it?”


“It's not a big gun, but I know that it is a powerful one.”

So the village priests gathered by the water. The chief priest put his hand into the bag of
benin seed; took out a handful; and cast it on the waters toward the crocodiles. Many
crocodiles gathered; all their heads pointed in our direction as if they were going to come
toward us; but they did not move. They remained still; their eyes on the priest. He brought
out another handful of benin seed; cast it out. The crocodiles did not go to eat it. They let it
rest on the water. They just watched.

The next priest approached; he also took benin seed from his bag; cast it out. He did not seem
afraid. He stood there and talked to the crocodiles. He said, “Oh father crocodiles. A strange
thing is going to happen today. We hope you will understand. It is an experiment. It is not
something that will happen every day. This is something unusual. We hope you will stay
back and not harm these men.” He stood there for some time. Then he said, “Father
Crocodiles, we leave it up to you. Use your judgment.” He came back. Each priest went in

Finally, a man who did not want to come, also came forward. He stood there; his voice was
different; he looked at the crocodiles; and he began to shake. He was not used to coming
there; he did not know the crocodiles so well; and they did not know him. You know, one of
the big crocodiles began coming toward him! Quickly, one of the other priests stepped
forward, and asked them, “Father crocodiles, are you sure that is what you want? Is this just
the opinion of one of you? Did you agree among yourselves that this one should seize this
priest?” The crocodile looked at him; then took its place again; the priest came away. The
man was very frightened and very embarrassed. He had been the only one that the crocodiles
had come toward. So he went away, and was not seen again for a long long time.

The rest of the priests spoke again to the crocodiles. The chief priest addressed them:. “Now,
father crocodiles, we do not know for sure what is going to happen. These men are about to
do something. We ask you to remain our friends, and treat these people like we do. They are
our friends. We do not understand what they do all the time, they do not understand what we
do. We know you are friendly, and we know that you need to eat some times so that you take
some meat. That is all right. We understand. Now, be good to these friends of ours. Do not do

anything even if they do strange things to you. I ask you, father crocodiles, stay in your
places.” The crocodiles remained quiet.

The priest came back; turned to the white men. He said, “You saw what the crocodiles did;
how they responded. Now it is your turn. We will let you go to measure the depth of the lake,
because we too want to know. Will you do something harmful? We hope not. We hope you
will not harm our crocodiles.”

The white men looked at each other, and one of them said, “I'm going to put down my gun
and leave it here. I think that the priests have spoken well, and maybe the crocodiles have
spoken. We will trust our God to take care of us.”

The other white man said, “Well, I brought my gun, and I'm going to take it. I'm not going to
promise not to use it”

The District Officer continued, “The gun on my belt belongs there. I have promised to take
good care of it. I will not use it unless I need to. Come on men, let's get on our boat.”

They stepped on their little raft they had made from empty oil drums with boards across the
top. They pushed it into the lake; the crocodiles went backward.; they did not go away; they
did not submerge; they just went backward;. they stayed away from the men; they remained

The men rowed out, they moved this way and that. They put down their chain. They took
soundings. Finally, they said:

“Well, we thought the lake was going to be deeper than that!”

I think I heard them say it was 27 feet deep, not nearly as deep as they thought it was going to
be. Finally they came back to shore.

On land again, they shook hands with the priests, and said:

                                       “Thank you for speaking to the crocodiles for us;.
                                        thank all of your people; thank you crocodiles; for
                                        allowing us to come out on your lake to measure the
                                        depth!” That is what happened that day. The
                                        Missionaries and the District Officer took their boat;
                                        put it back into their lorry, and went to their homes.

                                         We went to Tilla Lake for picnics many times. We
enjoyed going there to watch the sunset and to think about the people who lived there. We
wondered what the future held for them. Would they have schools? Would they have
churches? What would happen to them? The beautiful green of the area around Tilla Lake
refreshed our spirits. We were careful not to put our hands in the water. We knew that the
people who came here to bathe, regularly came to the dispensary with guinea worms. The
guinea worm is a thread-like parasite with the diameter of a size 40 thread, and it travels
throughout the body. One person came to the dispensary and sat there dripping warm water
on his sore. I kept heating water for him. One end of the worm was fastened around a stick,
which he “rolled up” as the warm water facilitated the slow extraction of the worm. I did not

measure it, but there were a great many inches! I read a medical book account of a man who
took 28 yards of guinea worm from his body at one time. That is a lot of guinea worm!

We asked the people to boil their water before they drank it. Many of them did that, but they
grew tired of the work after a time. Some of them said they would continue to boil the water.
They knew it would make their village much healthier. Yes, there was water in the area, but
in some places it was stagnant. That breeds mosquitoes. Mosquitoes brought malaria here
also. We told people to plant peanuts next to their homes and plant the corn further out in the
field. When they did that they did not have mosquitoes. That reduced the number of malaria

                                      I continue to hope that Tilla Lake will continue for a
                                      long time as a source of beauty. I do not know about the
                                      souls of the chieftains. Many believed that the
                                      chieftains shared their souls with the crocodiles. I hope
                                      that the time will come when people will not poach
                                      crocodiles because they can sell the skins for good
money. They tell me that crocodile skins are used for making belts, bags, shoes, and suitcases
that cost a great deal of money. Think of the destruction of the crocodiles!!


The Founding of the Leprosarium
We returned to Garkida after furlough and my husband was assigned to be in charge of the
Leprosarium. The colony began in the early days of the mission when a group of lepers
arrived from Gardemna and other places close by because they heard that there was now a
hospital at Garkida ready to treat lepers They hoped to receive help. Dr. Robertson had
constructed a series of ten houses near Garkida to house lepers during their treatment. The
colony began with a small number but grew very rapidly. Once the word spread people came
from all over Nigeria. When our tour ended, there were about seventeen hundred. It is not
that large now because the treatments and methods have changed and have been very
successful. In the early years the treatments were painful and required lengthy hospitalization.
It took many years before progress became visible. Now home treatments are possible and
evidences of cure are quickly visible.

                Two very devoted Christian women arrived from that early
                group. Myoksa took her religious life very seriously. She was a widow with a
                grand daughter who also had leprosy. She was always very helpful to those
                who were in need. She led many people to Christ.Her prayers were beautiful,
                expressive, sincere. A part of her prayer at the dedication of the church was
                recorded by a missionary.

                 “God you are the ‘dump heap’ of the world. Every one comes to bring their
                 refuse, their garbage, and their trash. They bring the things they no longer
                 want, they drop it all on you, for you are the ‘dump heap.’ You receive it all,
                 you never object. Today, as I came to bring my garbage, I looked around to
see what kind of garbage others brought. They brought their burdens, the things they felt
sorry for. I wish them all happiness. I am going to pick up my bundle of garbage, take it
home and ask God to forgive me for the many things I have done without realizing, that have
hurt others. I will ask God to help each one of us to take responsibility for our own actions.”

Another woman, Asagu, liked to talk. She was a very great talker. She was a good leader
also, but the leprosy caused the loss of much of her voice and made it difficult for her to
communicate. I would characterize her as one who was very helpful to other people. She
continued to come to the services. She led her neighbors to Christ. She listened to the prayers
of others. She did all she could to be a good member, not only of the Leprosarium but of the
wider world.

She said,

“Yes, I know that some day the world will end and we are all going to live with God. But I
know that I will not be there then. I know that God may call me any day now. I feel sad to
have to leave my daughter, and I am sorry to have to leave this helpful place. But I’m going
to be with God! It is going to be so wonderful! I will have a chance to speak with Him. And I
will tell him all about you, all of you. I’ll tell him who you are. We will watch for you. He

and I will sit at the window and look down and see you doing this and doing that. I’ll tell him
all about it, how it’s done and who does it. I’ll tell him to keep his eye on you. I love to talk
to you, but it will be so wonderful to talk to Him. Anyway, I’ll tell him all about you. I’ll ask
him to give me a place close to the gate. Then when I see you coming, I’ll tell Him, ‘Ah,
there you are!’ He’ll tell me to take you to the special place that He has prepared for you.
Then after that, we can get together and we will just t-a-l-k and t-a-l-k and t-a-l-k.

It will be wonderful!


Stone Church at the Leper Colony

Nigerian Markets
When we first arrived in Garkida, there were a number of things we needed to learn. Life was
going to be different for us from what we were used to in the States. We learned at once that
there were no stores, So how does one supply a kitchen? How does one get goods, supplies
for the bedroom, the bathroom or the general procedure of everyday life? We were living
among people who not only survived but seemed to live happily. It was up to us to learn what
they did and how they did it. The experience was interesting, exciting, and helpful. It did not
take long to accept many parts of that way of life. We made some adaptations and proceeded
with the new activities.

                             “Shopping” was not done on a daily basis here. Early on every
                             Wednesday morning we heard people pass our house on their
                             way to the ‘market place’. It was their job to start several
                             important activities. Some set up the separate booths, places for
                             the sale or barter of the products brought.

                               The big job in the early morning was the butchering of the cow.
                               It provided the meat for the day. The skin was taken away
quickly not to attract flies. Then the meat was cut up and divided into the portions that people
normally bought. It was placed on a reed bed, about two and a half feet high. This made a
good ‘counter’. Special attention was paid to certain organs and cuts of meat.

Liver, for instance, was prized highly and was divided into small portions to make it available
to more people. Nigerian tastes are similar to those in other countries; some folks wanted
mostly fat meat; others wanted mostly very lean. They could buy that which they desired.
Some of the meat was cut into small chunks and sold to the person who operated a “snack

That snack bar consisted of a raised fire pit in which he placed his sticks of the meat and kept
rotating them so that his BAR-B-Q was well done. Many times, his wife also had a fire on
which she heated the peanut oil for frying the “Quasies” folks bought to eat with the Bar-B-
_Q meat sticks. It made for a satisfying breakfast, or snack. The “quasies” were ‘balls’ of soy
bean flour and ground onion, dropped into the oil and fried..

There were a few other snack bars in the market, depending upon the time of year, and the
size of the market, which sold roasted peanuts, hot roasting ears, sweet potatoes

Other foods available were dried okra, cucumber seeds, several kinds of dried beans, eggs,
chickens, besides the staple, guinea corn. Sometimes a goat was killed and its meat sold.
Sometimes there would be dried salt fish, depending upon whether a “travelling salesman”
visited the village.

There were a number of departments in a village market, besides the meat and the snack bars.

There was one for items made of iron: hoes, axes without handles, stirrups, arrows, knives,
some of these were kitchen knives, others were ornamented; jangles,- decorative objects
made from many materials but usually very glossy or noisy. Specialty knives for specific
tasks, e.g. gourd decorating.

An important part of the market was the cloth department. There were many kinds of cloth
available. There were rolls of hand woven cotton cloth for large robes worn by the elders, or
shorter lengths for the twelve-strip-cloth worn by the teen age girls; another for the three-strip
width for very young girls; or the large blue rolls for the prospective bride which would serve
as a cloth (dress) by day, or, as a blanket by night. Then, there was also some of the
“Manchester” cloth. This was bought by men to serve as a fancy gown for ceremonials or
weddings, or even for Market Days! The shirts, worn by the men and boys, were made by the
fathers from their own cotton, and sewed when they sat at home baby sitting, while the
women were cooking.

Other departments of the markets dealt with the sale of the handwork of women. One of those
was the “fine baskets". These were made of river reeds collected and then sewed with dyed
raffia. They were made to hold gourds in order to retain heat of the contents or of water.
Sometimes they were covered with the cowrie shells that were used formerly as money. The
women also sold some gourds they had decorated. Groups of women sat together to do the
decorating just as American women gather for Aid Societies. The patterns of the decorations
vary with each woman and with the passing times. The designs may be geometrical, or lines
of various lengths or directions but must be “very properly” done so far as the skill of the
decorating process is concerned. Gourds have become the focus of the reputation of each

Gourds grow like pumpkins but are smooth skinned. Skill is required in growing, curing,
drying, cutting and hollowing out the gourd according to the intended purpose. They serve as
plates, cups, dishes, in the kitchen and dining room; they serve to transport the great bundles
of corn at harvest; they serve as containers for as much as five gallons of water carried daily
from the river to the home; they serve as a nested set of gourds, of decreasing size, carrying
greens, vegetables, corn, purchases or collections, as shopping bags. Some gourds are quite
small and of different shapes and uses. Some are in the shape of dippers—have handles and
cups when they are cut in half. These have been used over the years for serving sauces over
the corn mush in the individual gourds.

                                   When I worked in my Better Babies Clinic I needed a
                                   good substitute for baby bottles, because of dogs and
                                   flies. One good Nigerian mother suggested the use of her
                                   gourd dippers! They worked perfectly. The hollowed-out
                                   handles were cut at the end to fit the baby’s mouth so the
                                   milk could flow from the gourds to the baby just fine.
                                   When the baby was laid across the mother’s knees and
                                   fed slowly this way, the baby learned to swallow the milk
without taking in nearly as much air as they do with the bottle!

Another department came into the market in due time. When sewing machines became
available, they were brought into the market for a “Ready to Wear” department! The ‘tailor’
took the measurements and orders of the customer, used his selection of fabric, proceeded to
sew the garment and finish it while the customer finished his shopping, or while he observed
the process!

Along with the sewing machine and cloth, there was need also for needles, thread and
scissors, but these were imported. These items branched into departments relating more
especially to women and their needs. Jewellery, including traditional items were removed
gradually from the dowry supplies such as brass beads were replaced by trade beads of glass

and plastic. The decorations of dancing costumes and other ceremonial were replaced by
imported or more modern substitutes.

The departments dealing with cooking and food preparation were always popular and
included innovative items. In our time, the innovations were enamel pans, with and without
lids. Locally made water pots, cooking pots, storage pots, religious or decorative pots for
house roof decoration were always available.

The same thing must be said about items for the bedroom, including a variety of sleeping
mats, house mats, carrying mats or bags, floor mats, and even palm leaf hats.

There was a separate department for rope; some made of grass, some of barks of roots or
trees, some of sisal and the specialty for fishing nets.

The department of wood items occupied a large segment of the market, with articles like
stools carved from tree stumps or logs, handles for tools including, hoes, axes, gourd
decoration, cutting knives; entire mortar and pestle combinations.

A very necessary department was devoted to hairdressing and cutting, as well as shaving.
Razor blades were used as the tool of choice.

In later years, additional departments were included in the village markets. One such addition
was the display of toys. They were made largely from corn stalks or odd pieces of wood, and

modes of transportation. This became a popular addition to the market and was a special
attraction to the children and youth.

A very important part of the market was the musical instrument section and contained drums,
of every variety and use from the large wooden talking drum to the small gourd–drum; string
instruments of the guitar and violin type as well as the nzinza, harmonica, flute, and horn.

                             Sales and barter of all these goods proceeded and filled the
                             entire forenoon of each market day, and even continued into the
                             afternoon hours sometimes. Much of the ‘committee’ work and
                             business matters of the village, were discussed and decided
                             while the men left their market seats to a family member in
                             order to release time for these business discussions but the
                             young folks were considered and given time for expression in
                             the form of dances in the afternoon hours.

Market day was an important day for every individual. Each village had its own appointed
day separate from the Market Day of every other village in the area. Market Day was the
Shopping Day., the Business Day, the Big Sunday, the Dress-Up Day, the Day to Look
Forward To!

Nigerian Rivers
The area of Nigeria included in the Certificate of Occupancy that was assigned to the Church
of the Brethren is very beautiful. I have visited many parts of Africa and I like them, but this
area is unusually beautiful in many different ways. I have told you stories of some lakes, of
ants and of some animals. I want to talk also about some of the rivers.

If you remember my story about our first arrival in Nigeria that we came in an ocean liner,
then transferred to a river steamer at Burutu to go north on the River Niger, the river for
which Nigeria is named. That year the river was not as deep as expected because the rains
had not come. Our boat had to go very slowly and struck the bank on one side and then the
other. It was necessary to go very slowly. We saw large trees along the banks of the river
whose roots extended into the water. When the boat passed it washed away some of the soil
and further exposed those roots that were as big as the branches of the tree. We saw many
crocodiles resting on the roots, watching for something to eat. We came close to them, but
not close enough for them to reach us.

Finally the water became too shallow to allow further northward travel, and we had to leave
our boxes on the river banks. Later, another ship with a shallower draft came with the
remainder of our boxes, but it too, had to leave them on the bank. Local people took care of
them. Then later, when the river was ‘up’ they put them aboard boats that brought them to
Yola, where we took possession of them.

If you will look at your maps you will see that north of Bukuru and beyond Makurdi there are
two towns, Numan and Yola, where the river is called the Benue. One person described the
Benue as a ‘lordly’ river because it is wide and lords it over other rivers.

What is this river that ‘lords’ it over others? It is a great tributary to the Niger River but is has
stories of its own to make it worthy of the title. The Benue drains the northeast of Nigeria,
runs through the Northern area of Cameroon and on into the regions of Chad. The Benue is a
great river and carries much water. It is rich in animal life and transports a large amount of
freight especially during the periods of high water. There are high mountains on all sides of it
that provide it with a steady and generous supply of fresh water and rich soil from which to
gather much nutrition for its waters.

In 1933 word came to us at Garkida that a number of hippopotamuses had gone ‘rogue’ and
were destroying gardens and farms of the people in a village near Numan, south of Yola, and
would we please come to help the people. After a good bit of discussion, investigation and
reference work, three of our men decided to go.

They drove to Yola and rented a large canoe with several men as guides. The canoe provided
space for sleeping and everything they would need for several weeks of living. There was a
good supply of fresh fish for their meals and for laying in a supply of salt fish.

                                                 They sailed down stream to the village that had
                                                 called for help. They heard the story and
                                                 looked at the situation. In the course of their
                                                 stay and work they were able to shoot and kill a
                                                 hippo. It was thought that would solve the

problem. Butchering that animal was a big operation! Three men worked inside the abdomen
of the animal at the same time to cut it up!

                  Hippos are vegetarians so the villagers were prepared with containers to
                  receive all of the contents of the intestines and apportion it carefully among
                  the inhabitants. Each woman desired a certain size slab of the skin to use in
                  flavoring sauces and soups during the coming year. After each use they
                  suspended it at the ceiling to receive the smoke of the cooking fires. Some
                  meat was exchanged for salt fish. One of the men brought a good supply of
                  the skin back home to make soap. One brought home a slab for making
horse quirts or whips. Each of them felt very sorry for their decisions by the time they had
kept it with them in the canoe for several days of the return trip and then in the car for the rest
of the way.

Those of us at home, knew they were arriving because we could smell them before we saw
them! When all the totals were added, the three ‘hunters’ decided that hippo hunting was not
really that much fun!

Many rivers make up the Benue system and come from different directions. Biu, Tilla Lake,
                       and Marama, three thousand feet higher than the valley, drain the
                       plateau into the Hawal and the Zongola Rivers and flow into the
                       Benue. The Gwongola river is a torpid tributary, slow and muddy, and
                       so is the Hawal. Do you remember that the Hawal was three miles
                       wide when we first crossed it? It spreads out over its banks, normally
                       about a half-mile wide, until it becomes torpid and lies still. Around
                       the other side of the mountain from where we came, there is the
                       Gwongola, which joins the Hawal, just south of Garkida where their
waters from the Tsirdiludlu Falls and drop over basalt rocks for about fifty feet into a deep
pool. They become the Gongola River there. Then, still further south, the Zongola also joins
and south of the plateau it feeds into the Benue River.

                      The Ndiva is a seasonal river that also drains the Biu platelau. Its waters
                      form the Jafi Falls that drops one hundred feet into a pool surrounded
                      by walls of mauve and green basalt.

                      The Yedseram river is located to the north of the divide in the area of
                      the mission stations: Lassa, Mubi, Chiibbuk and others. It meanders
along the north side of the foothills of the mountains and enters the areas of Lake Tchad.

One time our Garkida group of missionaries decided to go for a swim. The clear dry season
water of the Hawal looked very inviting. It would be so good to swim in it! One afternoon we
floated down the river. Some of us were in inner tubes, some swam, and some just floated. I
was in an inner tube. At one point we rounded some rocks and suddenly felt the water flow
very swiftly. I was carried through there unable to stop myself. Our cook saw what was
happening. He knew what lay ahead. I didn't. He ran quickly along the bank to a tree and
climbed out on a limb far out over the water. As I came underneath he reached down and
pulled me out. Otherwise I would have gone very quickly by those rocks without being able
to stop. I would have become part of that Tsirdudlu, gone down over those falls, a long way
down, into a deep pit!

One time my husband went to that pit from the lower canyon and found a great big crocodile
there. It would not have been much fun to get down there with it. I'm glad the cook rescued

When we returned from that swim the doctor brought a water sample and examined it under
the microscope. He said, “Uh-0hh!” We mustn't do that any more!” And we didn't. The water
was full of all kinds of organisms that would have made us very ill. Fortunately, none of us
got sick as a result of that swim.

We have seen the Hawal River spread out. We have seen the Zongola - and the Gongola also
high and turbulent during several years and seasons. This was the area in which my husband
liked to hunt. There were many antelope when we were there. You see, previously people
were not allowed to use guns. Antelope were not easy to kill with their weapons - arrows and
four inch knives. When we and other missionaries came, there were lots of antelope, and they
were good to eat. The men liked to hunt and needed to supply the mission with meat. They
liked to pick out various kinds of horns to display on their walls. It was considered a great
accomplishment to say, “I shot that!” Now we know what has happened to those antelope.
They have been thinned out and are all gone away. There are none there. Some years ago a
few were gathered and taken to an animal preserve close to the Mandara mountains. There is
now a nice preserve where you can see antelope and other animals. They no longer wander in
the areas near the mission stations, because so many villages have been built, the population
has increased, and the antelope do not have space to run.

All the rivers we have mentioned: the Hawal, the Zongola, the Yedseram, the Benue, are
found in Eastern Nigeria and flow into the Niger. Basically there is just one river for Nigeria
and that is the Niger. It is a great river and has caused, and cost, much hardship and much joy
during many years of the past. The river has many mouths in the Bukuru region, which
prevented exploration for many years. The river continues across central Nigeria to the West
and continues beyond the Nigerian boundary to the northwest. Someday I will try to
summarize the story of its “discovery” and influence on the “greatness” of Africa in the areas
of Gao, and Timbuctu, and its opening or exiting into the Atlantic.

Have You Found Your Husband?
The message came from Lokoja, about thirty miles down the river, “We are out of supplies.”

It was necessary to fill that need. It was also time for the regular check-up of the school to get
the data for the reports. The doctor said Desmond should not go that far on horseback. He
was able to do his work at the station. At the moment he was busy with the boys in the school

I was at the hospital having a session with the class of mothers of the Better Babies Clinic.
There was perfect attendance and each one had brought her materials so we could proceed
with the analyses and then the vital signs. Each woman’s paper (record) fluttered in the wind
as it was placed on the line. How happy they were when they saw that line going up! It meant
that all was well with both mother and baby!

The Doctor was entertaining the visiting Provincial Inspector that day. Both of them had
looked in on my class for a few minutes and examined one mother who was at term. The
visitor expressed concern and indicated he hoped not to need to attend her. Both of them went
on to other wards and then were to have dinner together. I hoped not to disturb them.

An hour later, I was home caring for my own children when a runner came saying,

“ Marmbwa! Yamta is burning, come quickly!”

The motorcycle was not home, My husband was using it. I used my gong to call him from the
front yard, where I usually called him, and he would hear, even if he was in the river garden.
Then I ran and gathered my supplies thinking he would be coming.

We looked in that direction but saw no sign of him nor did we hear the motor. So I took the
bicycle and started for the village and asked the boys to keep calling for my husband and
have him follow. The boys did keep pounding on the gong repeatedly, but he was off toward
the Leper Colony by this time and did not hear the gong.

Yamta had returned home in good spirits but presently she knew that she should have
remained at the hospital, for her baby was being born. I arrived just in time. We cared for her
and her child but because the doctors had expressed such concern I felt we should take her
where they could have a second look.

Fortunately, my husband arrived with the motorcycle and we took her back, the doctors gave
her an examination and decided that pressure had caused the problem and that now all was
well. We returned her to her home. No one gave further thought to my husband’s absence
earlier when we had called. We had our dinner and planned for me to take the supplies and
care for all the other matters along the way at the same time.

Next day, I prepared the equipment and sent it along with the horse to go as far as Gwobola
and to wait for my arrival the following morning. The care of the children and the home took
the rest of the day, so that all was ready for me to leave early in the morning.

I rode the bike to Gwobola in good time, found the carriers and my horse all ready for the
trip. The chief of Gwobola had become a good friend and gladly took responsibility for the
bike until I would return. We had not far to travel until we crossed the river and then entered

the area of tall grass. I was grateful there were a number of us to make enough noises so that
any lions or other animals would leave or not bother us. By early afternoon we arrived at
Lokoja. The chief was waiting under the great tree and came forward to meet us, not to greet
us as I expected!

“Have you found your husband?” was his greeting!

I suppose I stammered, I was so surprised and could not imagine why he said that. Was my
husband lost? When?

“The drums told us you were calling him, he did not answer, have you found him?”

So that was it! The drums! Village to village! Communication!

We could relax and talk! Some of the women had prepared lunch for the carriers, I had my
lunch and then conducted all our business matters. The teacher gave me all the statistics for
the reports, got the supplies and we cared for all the concerns.

Later in the evening, the chief told me about their concern for my husband. They remembered
the time he had come to them for a similar call and check on the school. He was accompanied
by Mwada and they were afoot. He repeated the experience my husband had on that trip.

The mission was in need of meat and it was our family’s turn to supply it. He decided to
combine the Lokoja trip with a hunt so he and Mwada, the horse wrangler at Garkida, crossed
the river early and followed along the western side of it where several herds of antelope were
reported. It was rainy season and often there were floods in localized areas.

They came upon spoor and followed tracks and soon saw their game. All of the animals
seemed to be females! They searched, they followed for a long time but did not try to shoot.
The males were sure to be in the area. Darkness came, so they connected with their carriers
and made camp. During the night a storm brought a flood along the Dzuir River which was
bearing down in the direction the men had to go that day.

The flood arrived faster than they had traveled and headed them off before they could cross
back to the Hawal. They had to face it and took a chance. The horses were good swimmers
but out there in the swirling waters, with branches and debris, Mwada became scared and
climbed up farther and farther on the horse until finally his horse could not keep his nose
above the waters and drowned. Mwada was able to reach my husband and his horse and they
made it. That is how they reached Lokoja.

The chief and some of his people helped to search the next morning, when the flood had
receded, and they found the corpse of the horse with the saddle still on him, entangled in a
tree. They were able to rescue the saddle.

That memory was vivid in the minds of the people of Lokoja. When the drums told them he
did not respond when called, they were concerned.

I rode my horse back to Gwobola, through the tall grass and all the while the carriers and I
talked about the many ways friends become concerned for each other. They gave many
examples of the part drums play in communications in their country. I have been thinking
about communications at all times in all countries. How do we know who our friends are?

Stanley was eagerly looking for playmates when we arrived at Garkida. He had opportunity
to play some with Royce on the ship and during the trip to Garkida but the situation was
changing each day and almost each hour because of the travel. Once we had a house and
made it our home he was eager to have associates who would be daily companions. He found
it easy to make and have friends because of his ability to live with the question and the
answers to “What is your name?” Who ever answered that question was his friend. The group
of boys who came to see him formed the initial friendships that continued through the years.

But there was another group who formed a very close relationship with Stanley. That was the
young men who worked around our home, the ones who were responsible for him and all of
us really, for they were our interpreters.

They helped all of us do what we did, shared the conversations and were our most intimate
friends and teachers.

He spent hours by the kitchen doorstep talking with whoever came there, whether they
brought water, wood for the fires, grass for the horse, eggs to sell, or milk for the household,
all entered his circle of friends. They are the ones who learned what he had to tell, whether it
was family secrets or the contents of the books read to him.

As parents, we had employed one young man a bit older than Stanley who was responsible
personally to see that he wore his shoes, that he ate only what was properly washed, drank
only the bottled water from his own water bottle, and was protected from snakes and harmful
bugs. There was a cluster of children who came to “see” and to play quite regularly.

Just as any group of children interact, play, learn, experiment and live together, this group did
the same thing. Stanley learned so much from them and they from him, I suppose. They were
children together. As he learned, he taught us. The children taught him their language and
corrected his errors. Our language teacher hesitated to do that for us but Stanley did insist we
say things correctly, just as he was being taught. The first several months we were at Garkida
were busy with learning.

Christmas came very soon and Pattie was born into the family and became a member of the
group of children around our house. Just as he was named Mallam Nchisu, so she became
Marangli. So long as she was not able to walk and play with the group, the boys continued
much the same patterns of activity. When she was able to walk and began following wherever
Stanley went, the group became more sedentary.

We built a playhouse very close to our house with sun dried brick, grass roof and screen door.
That limited somewhat the numbers at one time. It also determined much of the activity.
They were not ready to do much paper work and the other children were not used to coloring
materials. We had a limited number of books of the kinds that age children could use and
appreciate so they did a lot of story telling.

Then we moved to Marama and the group of children changed. The villages were farther
away and the small children could not come. The school was close to our house and there was
the monkey house and Solu and Daudu, the baboons, to do a large part of the
entertaining.Pattie grew during the Marama years and the furlough year in size and maturity.
But what was very evident was the closeness between brother and sister. They depended one

upon the other in so many ways. We had to be close because our apartment on furlough was

Returning to Garkida after furlough moved us away from the former playhouse, the children
were older and much more responsible. Pattie learned to read, and some of the Bura children
were learning to read also. Games of hunting were popular with all of them, and imaginations
were keen. Sticks sufficed as substitute guns.

One day they asked permission to go part way up the ‘rock pile’ back of the shop. There were
large flat rocks on which many lizards sunned themselves. It seemed all right for the children
to go there. When they returned there was a note of excitement in their voices. The Bura
children wanted their fathers to go there.

The men did go in rather large numbers, I thought. After some time we heard their return.
Three groups, of four men each, carried a python on their shoulders—one man holding the
head of the snake out over his chest, two supported the length of the body and one man had
the tail over his shoulder and down his back. There was much singing and shouting for there
was going to be a great feast for men in the village that night!

“A feast for men only?” All of the missionaries wondered about that. The men of the village
insisted that snake meat was only for men, especially because there never was enough of one
snake for all. Now that there were three large ones, maybe, there might be a possibility that a
few women might taste some, if they would do the cooking!

Many of the women did the cooking, and tasted the meat, but many women refused to eat it
also. The men did the skinning of the snakes and proceeded with the stretching and drying
process. The skin was rubbed with peanut oil to soften it somewhat before it was stretched on
the ground and fastened with short stakes pierced through the edges of the skin, scales-side
down. The stakes were placed just a few inches apart and gave the dried skin straight sides.

The skins were given to us when dried and the men had thoroughly softened them with the
rubbing oil process. The one skin was twenty feet long, the other two about seventeen or
eighteen feet long. It is interesting to know that when we returned to the states for furlough
later and took the various skins to a Philadelphia taxidermist for treatment, he refused to do
anything to them because he felt they had not been treated properly.

We had several pairs of slippers made from those snake skins, souvenirs were cut by many
people when we exhibited them, but for the most part they retain their sizes and serve as
covers for pianos or are displayed in other ways. Stanley has told his story on snakes and
other critters in many places.

It became necessary for us to purchase a third horse so that the children could ride with us on
the safaris. That horse was a large one and was very gentle. He served well for both children
to ride him at one time. I rode behind them and they followed our daddy, who followed the
leader who was generally the chief hunter who carried the gun, in case of sighting possible
game to serve as meat for us and the carriers.

That is the way we went on the trip northward to eventually find the site for the station at
Chibbuk. Evening stories before that trip instructed all of us on procedures in case of
encountering various probable hazards. One such probability was meeting a herd of Cape

buffalo. The story told of a hunter who wanted very much to own the trophy of the skull with
the set of horns of such an animal.

He hunted, and saw the animal. He fired his shot. Instead of dropping the buffalo dead, he
became the fugitive and took refuge in a tree. The buffalo stomped around that tree until the
man finally dropped to the ground, where he was trampled by the animal until only the
buttons of his clothes could be found.

We started that safari very much aware of problems and followed the prescribed order in our
trudge across the miles. The carriers and we stayed very close together for we were going
north through hunting country. At noon we had arranged for everyone to have a period of rest
and refreshment where there was a well-known waterhole.

The carriers were the first ones to arrive at the spot so they placed their loads into the forks of
trees with their walking sticks to balance the loads. Others placed theirs in groups where they
would help each other to lift and balance them on each others heads. Our cook had opened
the chop box and was arranging the lunch when we arrived. Most of the men were heading
toward the waterhole as we rode in.

We dismounted, and allowed the horses to graze nearby. Suddenly there arose a great shout
and excitement at the waterhole which we were not able to see. We followed our prearranged
orders. My husband got his gun and readied for the attack! I got both children up into a tree
and stood guard at its base within reach of my gun. We all looked in every direction to see
where the buffalo would appear.

Alas! There was no buffalo. The men had jumped into the waterhole to cool off, to swim, and
refresh themselves and when they stepped upon a supposed log, it was not a log but a
crocodile that submerged. They never could agree or decide whether the crocodile was scared
and diving to disappear or whether he was heading toward the other swimmer! All the
carriers left the waterhole!

Presently, everyone returned to where the children and I were standing guard by the tree and
told what it was all about. The tension was broken and we had a series of good laughs, at the
would-be swimmers, but mostly at me for thinking that I would ward off a buffalo with a
single shot 30/30 rifle!

We ate our lunch and resumed the ride. Discussion now turned toward our expectation to see
the giraffe. True, a few hoof prints of giraffe were seen that day but we hoped to meet the one
that lived in the compound of Mai Maina, the chief of the area we were crossing. The carriers
moved on at their more rapid pace and allowed us to head in that direction. We would
rendezvous later in the afternoon.

Stanley reviewed what he had heard about Mai Maina from the carriers and aroused
expectations. Our daddy reminded us that Mai Maina had been taken to England with a
government couple some years earlier and had lived with them for several years. We could
expect him to speak English with us.

It was true! We were greeted at the threshold by some of his household and very quickly Mai
Maina himself invited us to enter his home. He was delighted to meet the children and took
them straight to the enclosure where the baby giraffe was kept. Its keeper did the honors of
showing all the things the giraffe would do: spread his forefeet wide to get a drink of water

from a gourd set on the ground, eat from a box high on a pole, walk around the area and even
allowed himself to be petted! Both children were as pleased as could be.

Then they were brought inside to the reception room where Mai Maina showed all of us his
great shield. It was the hide of a buffalo, standing more than seven feet high and rounded so
that it would protect a person from three sides. He told a few stories of how he had used it,
but was more eager to have us meet his wife and see her bedroom.

The wife sat in a large chair beside her bed, which was surrounded with many yards of fine
cloth. There were many colors and patterns. She was a very attractive person in spite of her
great weight. He told us how he was delighted that she was so large and she obliged by
telling of the many foods he lavished upon her.

She offered the children a gift of a twelve inch high cone wrapping a loaf of sugar. These
were the first white children she had seen and was delighted when they could speak to her
and express their thanks for the sugar in Bura which she spoke!

When we left he shared with us was basket of produce from his gardens. It was going to be a
real treat to enjoy fresh vegetables during our long horseback trip. There was cabbage, beets,
onions, papaya, lemons, oranges, and guavas. We were glad that we could present him with a
number of magazines and several catalogues, including a seed catalogue.

After six days of riding we found Chibbuk, which later became the site for a Mission station.
It is located among a group of people who love music and have produced hymns and
instrumental music for many occasions.

On the return trip we followed a different route, and avoided the waterhole and buffalo
country. It was the season of the fires set to burn off the tall grass that covered vast areas of
the bush. One night we made camp in an area of several large trees at the base of a hill. There
was water nearby to supply the carriers and our needs. We arrived in the middle of the
afternoon and relaxed by having several cups of hot tea to quench our thirst after a long ride
under the hot sun.

The bathtub had come on the trip as the container for a number of odd pieces of equipment as
well as serving as a bathtub. With a supply of water at hand, we waited patiently until the
water could be boiled and cooled, ready for baths. The village people of this area used this
particular space for their supply of tall grass for their mats for the coming season. They very
graciously allowed us to use some of their supply as shelter for our one night stay.

One mat placed in a semicircle shielded the fire area and gave us a wind-free place to eat.
Another large mat formed a circle to enclose the tub for a bath room. Pattie and I were inside
having our baths, when we heard a number of people shouting

“U’U, Marmbwa, U’U!” “Fire! Mother, Fire!”

We put our towels around us and emerged in a hurry! just as the fire swept through that space
and on to the tree just beyond, leaped to the lower branches and zoomed to the top of the tree
in a twinkling. It truly was an awesome sight for a short time. We were grateful our camp was
set on the opposite side.

Our evening campfire was a subdued time in contrast to the vigorous story times of other
evenings. The mosquito nets offered a feeling of security at bedtime. Each of the children

welcomed that safe haven. Pattie could not relax and was restless for a long time. She shared
my bed for a while, then went in with her daddy. They talked about fires, about safety and
many things. Finally, they prayed about it and asked God to protect them during the night.
She went to sleep soundly.

Royce and Philip came from Lassa and lived with us, but Gene, Harriet and Melvin lived
with their parents and joined the four children of our house, in the big vacant house next
door, to begin the Missionary Children’s School. We had no books and not much by way of
equipment, but the children were at the age of being in school, all the mothers had
assignments in mission work so I was selected to teach and care for the two boys from Lassa
in addition to my work with the Better Babies Clinic.

Those were exciting days with four children of about the same age living together for twenty
four hours a day, besides being in school together too! They could and did think of many
things to do. They thought of one project that took a good many hours of their time. They
wanted to build a tree house. There was a good tree in which to do it. They devised various
ways to accomplish their goal. There was not room enough for three boys to move about to
accomplish very much.

Floor boards were very important, they discovered, but it was not easy to keep them level in a
tree. Girls came in handy to pick up things or to hand items up to them in the tree. Pattie
became frustrated when she was the only one to pick things up. She had ideas too and wanted
a chance to express them. One day a board was not fastened securely, Stanley was the one to
step on it and fell from the tree. We took him to see the doctor for an examination. Without
an x-ray, he could not be sure that the arm was broken, so he put it in a sling until we could
be sure it was not broken.

That kept Stanley on the ground. Royce wanted to be up in the tree but not by himself. Philip
was not eager to go up since Stanley had fallen. The tree house project fell by the wayside.
By the time it was decided the arm was not broken but had a sprain, Stanley himself did not
have an interest in continuing. A fluffy white kitten arrived on the scene and absorbed the
interest of everyone.

Uncle Clarence, the builder, had a good surprise for the children one Monday morning. He
had made a slide for the school and set it up on the playground. Now that there was a teeter
totter and the slide there could be choices of places to play and things to do. Next he focused
on swings. There was a tree but it did not have a proper branch going in a direction on which
swings would be usable. So he made a proper framework for the swings. It was hard to know
about the swings and not have them ready to use.

There had been discussion but nothing had been done about it until now that several men
were available to build a wall of mud for a house with a grass roof. The boys were not able to
help on that very much but they made great plans. This was a new playhouse, placed close
enough to our house so that voices could be heard. Boards and stumps were available to make
seating benches when needed.

That house was used a great deal. When the four boys were together they used it as they
wished. When the two from Lassa were away, Stanley and his group of long time friends
used it as their special place. Both Stanley and Pattie had become avid readers and books
were their constant companions. They put those stories into their own words and became
great story tellers.

Each evening after supper while I spent time in the kitchen detailing the plans for meals the
following day, my husband read or talked about the next segment of the Bible with the
children. They had begun with Genesis and were continuing through the entire Bible. Those
stories became the subjects of discussion in the round house the next day, according to the
interpretation Stanley gave. It was a man’s world, just as it was in Bura and American
society. Men were the leaders. Pattie was allowed to take the offering and keep accounts.

Those stories were told not only in the round house. When the boarding school boys has
finished their suppers, many of them came to socialize with the group that usually gathered
by our back door. Stanley joined that group often and shared the stories he had just heard
from his daddy. Those discussions became very lively and sometimes became village
discussions, we learned later. This was true when Revelations was read. The similes and
references were unknown to these people and some of the predictions became very
frightening. That is when we heard about it. Daddy’s explanations usually smoothed and
soothed all feelings.

When we returned on furlough, Pattie received letters from her girl friends, who were parts of
that round house group. Times had become bad, food was very scarce, a famine became very
real to them. One girl wrote Pattie asking her not to let all her friends starve. Pattie asked us
help her write to Mrs. Roosevelt in the White House, who was doing so many things to help
people. Pattie told about her friends, how they lived, and now they were starving and hoped
that Mrs. Roosevelt could find some way to send food to her friends.

In just a few days Pattie received an answer saying Mrs. Roosevelt would do all she could
and that she was looking into it. The friends lived and wrote later to express their
appreciation. That experience helped to alleviate the frustration Pattie felt in attending the
schools in Philadelphia.

Both children had to take a number of tests of several kinds in order to place them in the
proper grades in the Philadelphia school system. Pattie was placed in third grade with a
teacher who did everything by numbers.

That system required the students to stand on a number, turn, step forward on another
number, walk two by two, no talking, do another thing with still another number, and so on. It
was very humiliating and frustrating. She hated school and was happy to pass to another
grade, and another more understanding and loving teacher, whom she remembers with
appreciation after many years.

Stanley held a position of leadership and appreciation in his group in Nigeria. When we
moved to Philadelphia, there were many children, from many backgrounds, in our
neighborhood. There was a different philosophy in operation. When he ventured from our
second floor apartment hoping to play with, or at least be friends with, the group gathered on
the sidewalk, he was asked a number of questions, but the determination was one of initiation
into the ‘‘gang”. They grabbed him, rubbed his face on the cement sidewalk and beat him up.
His father and I observed from our upstairs window. Neither he nor we were eager to repeat
that experience.

His more recent reaction is a memory that any ideas of leadership or of normal life were
taken from him very quickly by that experience. It was definitely a humiliation of the human
spirit. Fortunately he, too, found an accepting situation in another school, and with other
groups of boys.

Scouting, young peoples camps, mountain camping with the family, college, and other groups
have healed and inspired both Stanley and Pattie so that they have been able to give
leadership and provide opportunities for other young people to lead fulfilling lives.

II. Animal Stories
When we lived in Nigeria our gardens were very important to us because we needed to grow
the things we ate. One time we planted some corn and already had peas about four inches
high so we were looking for blossoms on the peas to come out very soon. We were in the
gardens one evening doing some weeding when someone looked up into sky and immediately
let out a long wail. “Oh no-o-” They all wailed at once as they saw a very large dark cloud
just above the tree tops coming directly toward them.

It was not a rain cloud nor a wind storm approaching. It was something much more
frightening. People were crying, shouting and waving their arms indicating their wishes for
that cloud to keep moving and for it not to come to rest here. This was a cloud of locusts.
They began to settle on the ground and before one could even say it, they covered everything
in their hopping progression. They landed on people, in their hair, eyes, mouths, and
shoulders, got into pockets, into every possible crevice. They did not just land and sit there,
they began to chew and chew and ate everything they touched.

Some of the older people who had seen these clouds in other years, gathered long stems of
grass or sticks while some of the family members ran home to bring a container of honey.
They dipped the ends of their sticks or grass stems into the honey and then touched it into the
mass of the locusts and were able to get four or more locusts to stick to the honey part of the
stick. They put these into their gourds or baskets as soon as they had broken the legs off.
There were many bushels — large baskets full of locusts gathered that evening.

It took almost an hour for that cloud to pass or to land. Many of the people had gone home
during this time because they could not endure being attacked by these locusts. Some of them
hid in their houses and tried to shut the locusts out. They found that the only way to keep
them outside was to build a fire in the house and smoke them out. The fire was good for
another project. Mothers brought out a rounded pottery piece and placed it over the fire. This
became a frying pan so that as rapidly as a group of children could break the legs off the
locusts they had gathered she would begin frying them. The aroma of those locusts frying
brought people away from the fields and pathways to the places of feasting. Standing by
watching those morsels turning from a green to a bright red, as they were turned over made
every one very hungry. The children forgot their task of breaking off legs as they savored,
more and more, this delightful treat. They had never tasted anything so delicious! The supply
was plentiful, ‘without end’. Some of the parents even reminded each other about their
memories of the sweet taste of the treat from other years.

Other years! That one thought or reminder brought a sudden shock! The memory of the
devastation, the realization that the ‘feast’ tonight meant the end of the food supply for many
months when there would be no grain to eat, no grain to plant, to buy, or to sell! Appetite
disappeared but rote movements brought another taste of the locusts but with the addition of a
bit of salt. Almost instantaneously, that memory passed from mind to mind of the older ones
as they left the room to have one more glance at the situation that was developing outside.

‘That glance transfixed the horrible sight forever upon their minds. Gone was the merriment,
gone was the laughter, gone was the bond of joy between parent and child, and gone was the

memory of that delightful aroma! The recognition of the weight of that glance was mirrored
on their faces and transmitted directly into the being of the total assembly so that the mothers
removed the ‘frying’ pan from the fire, covered the baskets of locusts that remained, and sent
everyone to bed.

The children could not understand this very sudden cessation of joy, of feasting, and of
merriment but cooperated with the orders of the parents and went reluctantly to their beds.
and slept quickly, but did not sleep very long. They groaned, they moaned, they rubbed their
abdomens in pain. The scene had changed dramatically. Where there had been laughter, now
there were moans and, screams and then, a dash for the outside!

Everything,: -the honey, the locusts, the grand aroma, that had been consumed and gulped so
eagerly, was now discharged, violently! Fast action was required to deal with the agonizing
spasms and tears. Someone called for the Doctor.

He insisted that everyone come to the hospital where they could be treated correctly. It was
the busiest night the hospital staff had ever experienced. The sick were cared for quickly. In
just a few hours calm and health were restored. The future looked much brighter by morning.
The locusts were gone.

The people remembered the locusts from former years.

They had no way of knowing the vast spread of the scourge of the locusts, how it extended
from the western coast of Africa, across the desert, all the way to East Africa and that these
came in about fifteen year cycles. They knew one thing: they did not look forward with joy to
have another experience like this one they had endured. One time is too many!

Goats or Sheep?
One Sunday morning the bell rang and we were almost ready to start for Church. Stanley

“Mother, do you see the shepherd boys coming?”

“Where do you see them, Stanley?”

“See them coming around the mountain, then look over there from Bree, and over here too!”

They were indeed coming from a number of directions, the younger boys and some girls,
herding their flocks of goats and sheep, and moving toward the church. My husband came to

“It will be difficult to hold the attention of the audience with all those animals around the
church this morning, people will be afraid for their gardens!” he observed.

I did not say very much nor sympathize with his concern for I was keeping a secret.
Yesterday, I had talked with these shepherds, in their villages and some had come to the
church with me. We had swept the space, under the big tree beside the church, and had found
a number of proper rocks to serve as seats for the boys and girls. We had discussed the areas
where their flocks could graze happily, and how they would arrange to oversee them so that
no gardens would be disturbed.

We went to the Church as usual. We found the herds in the open grassland west of the
church, grazing quietly and the herders under the tree waiting for their teacher. The others did
not say very much as they went on to their own places and responsibilities. I greeted the
young herders and complimented them upon their punctuality and success in getting the
flocks here and in place. We had our class time and they participated in the songs and lessons
very nicely. Church time came and one of the herders ran to check on the flocks and get them
back well within the grazing area. All the children were seated on the seats just inside the
front, side door. The service proceeded. Every so often, I could see the one next to the door
nudge the next one and each, in turn, left his seat quietly, went over to the herd and kept them
well within their area.

When the service was finished, I went outside with the children and watched them gather
their flocks into separate groups, ready to return home.

One by one, those goats moved to the side of this or that child. I heard no command. I was
amazed; did not understand.

“How do you do that?” I asked.

“Watch!” he said

I watched, looked and listened, but neither saw nor heard anything. The children giggled and
enjoyed a real joke at my expense.

We tried again. I heard a faint click of the tongue but saw nothing. At that click though, one
of the animals came and stood by his master!

So that was it! I watched in awe, as all the rest of the animals separated themselves from the
group and formed new ones by the separate shepherds. They did not move away but remained
and gave me opportunity to ask more questions.

‘Are all of these goats?” they all burst into laughter. “No, some are sheep.” I had more to

“I see some are more black than white; some have white heads, they all have the same kind of
hair, they look alike.”

One of the youngsters volunteered the information after they had recovered their recognition
of my ignorance. He explained,

“See, this one has its tail hanging down, it is a sheep; this one has its tail standing up straight,
that is a goat.” Simple! Why did I not know that? They have all known that for as long as
they can remember!

“H-mmm, I wonder, are there other differences?” I must learn.

The youth returned each to his own village area, to his own place and home. Each had a new
story to relate at his fireside that night.

I too had a new story, a lesson I learned about animal calls and responses, about positions of
body parts, practices of job assignments and more.

In the following days, months and years I learned many more things about these animals and
of their importance in the lives of the people.

Goats were a valuable source of cash in Bura households. Several goats were equal to the
amount of tax each one needed to pay to the government each year. Generally, the women’s
houses were built to include a pen or place for the goats, just at the foot of the bed, so that
they would keep the bed warm at night. The goat droppings were removed regularly and
saved in a special container which had water poured on it, to drain and to evaporate and
provide the household with salt. Some homes sold or used the manure as fertilizer for the

A goat also provided meat. It could be sold in the market or served at times of feasting. If a
family butchered a goat, the skin was stretched and dried, to be sold later, either in the market
or used in a number of ways within the family. The skin, now leather, would be stretched
across the cut end of a gourd to become a drum, cut into strips and used fortifying various
objects, made into sandals, or sewed to become the carrier for babies on mothers’ backs. I
used one to carry Pattie on my back.

One time we went to a large market in Maidugari. At first glance around, it seemed there was
only one kind of thing being traded in that market. Everywhere we looked, there was another
pack of goatskins being traded or sold. When we inquired, we learned that they would be
carried by camels across the desert to Casa Blanca or one of the other large cities of Morocco

Then when we traveled on World Campus Afloat we visited Casa Blanca and saw the
numerous dye pits. It was most interesting to observe the processes of treating the skins. We
saw the results when we entered several shops in the city. There we saw hassocks in many
sizes, of many colors and many combinations. We saw bags also of many sizes and colors;

some of them had sections embroidered in colors of leather. There were purses also of many
colors, patterns and sizes, as well as belts, shoes, jackets, hats, caps, and many other items, all
beautiful, useful, hand made. We did not see in those stores at that time, the great variety of
leathers from goat and sheepskins that were used in making bindings of books which we saw
in shops and libraries in many other countries.

Many sheep have lost their skins for the sake of diplomas presented to graduates in fields of
education through the years. Those diplomas have decorated the walls of the rich, of the
famous, of the celebrated, of museums, of libraries, of thrift and even of pawn shops
throughout the world.

It is interesting to speak to people about the various great books and Bibles in their libraries
and learn how many are considered valuable because they are bound with Moroccan leather.
What one thing makes it valuable, the written word, the author, or the cover? What makes a
cover valuable? Is it the sheep, its food, the skin, its method of transportation, its treatment,
or its use? “Great oaks from little acorns grow!”

As you travel along in Bura land, or any part of West Africa, you see some things that attract
your attention and you wonder what they are. They are funny looking things. Some are as
high as your knees, and some are as tall as you are—six feet! They are grayish-brown, dry,
with no leaves on them. They are just a heap of something. What are they? They are ant

                                 If you would like to know what is happening inside of those
                                 hills, you can dig and see. You will begin on the side. It will
                                 not be easy because the anthill is hard, like cement. You will
                                 discover quickly that there are channels, or roads, for certain
                                 ones of the ants. It seems cool, in there. They use an air-
                                 conditioning system. On another one of the roads, you can
                                 see the worker-ants carrying food for others: Some of the
                                 umbrella ants carry green leaves over their heads. One
                                 authority says an ant can carry thirty-nine times more weight
                                 than an elephant can carry in comparison to their size. They
                                 will not stop to look at you! They are busy.

As your exploration continues you will find that the wider road is full of the scouts and
soldier ants. See the soldier ants lined up side-by-side to protect the scouts that are in search
of water. They are using some of that water and some of the sand brought by other workers to
repair that place you damaged by this exploration of their house. Careful! Watch where you
step! That path of the soldiers leads close to your foot! So long as you keep to the side of it
they will keep on with their work. If you step into their path, they will be up your leg, just
like that! Their bite is painful!

There is a lot of life going on inside of those things. You see the workers all around, and as
you progress deeper and get close to the center near the bottom, you become more and more
aware of still another group. They are the nurses whose sole job is taking care of the queen.
She is the one that founded this particular colony. She fed the first group until they hatched
and now she keeps many workers busy finding food and bringing it to her as well as keeping
nurses caring for her every need. They would not think of taking a vacation or a nap. They
feed that queen! She lies very still. She grows very large. She grows to a size of six inches
long and about two inches wide, about the size of a pint jar. She is white in color, not dark
like the other ants. all she does is lay eggs. The growth of the colony depends upon those
eggs. The workers and nurses keep busy feeding her. Each one follows his own assignment.

Some scouts and workers go down very deep to find moisture. They tell us that in some parts
of West Africa the scouts go several hundred feet deep. As they return some of the sand from
those deep layers adheres to their bodies. When they build the outside of their ant hill they
use some of that sand and some of that water. As they repair the outside they have their own
techniques to maintain that air conditioning. The outer layer composed of the sand and the
refuse of their food dries and reflects the sun’s rays. When you pass by you see the ant hills
sparkling in the sunlight. You say, “That looks like gold!” Sometimes gold is found. That’s
how some people become wealthy.

African Elephants
Have you heard the story of the elephant being afraid of the mouse? Let us look at the picture
of this elephant. Just look at it, do not be afraid. Do you like him? Does he look angry?

                      What color is he? Is he about the size of a horse? Larger?

                      Just to make sure I would tell you the truth, I looked into several books
                      and the encyclopedia and they all say he is “the largest and most
                      powerful of all living land mammals,” “he is also among the most

                      Now, you will not be afraid, will you?

The books tell me that elephants differ among themselves just as humans do. No two people
are just alike; no two elephants are just alike, either in appearance or in behavior. The
elephant knows some things we do not know! He knows when a man is armed (carrying a
gun) and when he is not. That is just one thing we know about elephants, but there are many
interesting things about these animals.

Let's keep looking at his picture. Perhaps the thing most outstanding about him is his size.
The male is often 10 feet high at the shoulders and he weighs as much as 6 or 7 tons! (A ton
is 2,000 pounds) The female weighs a bit less; she may be 6-8 feet high and weigh 4 tons.
Make a mark on the wall - 10 feet high; another 8 feet high. It helps to see just how high that

Look again at the picture. What you see this time is his ears! See, how they stand straight out
on both sides of his head. Imagine for a second, that he is waving those ears; see how they
fan him when he is warm! But, if he sees danger and is warning you, then those ears make
you know it is time to pay attention! Of course, he hears with those ears, just like you do.
What is that coming all the way to the ground and begins up there on his forehead, above the
eyes? His Nose? The trunk? Yes, it is called a trunk and is part nose, part upper lip. See the
ridges on it? When you smile or wrinkle your nose there are ridges.

The elephant has many uses for that trunk. It holds a great deal,- just like the trunk of your
car! Remember, it is his nose, so he smells with it and breathes with it. You see why he wants
to keep it clear, (and not have a mouse in it) so he can get enough air to supply that size body!
He has another use for it. When one foot is tired and he wants to support his body, he raises
the foot and puts the trunk down to hold himself up. Handy!

There are more uses for the trunk. When he bathes he fills the trunk with water, turns the
trunk this way and that, and sprays all parts of his body. When water is scarce, he just
sprinkles the body, then sprays dust or sand over the body to keep flies and insects from
stinging his skin!

When he wants to eat he makes use of the two nipples on the end of the trunk to close in on
small things, like a peanut; he curls the trunk around the peanut, then lifts it to his mouth,

underneath the trunk. Sometimes he does that to get a small bunch of nice green grass - just
twists the trunk around it to hold it tight until it reaches into his mouth.

What are those two white things pointing forward on each side of the trunk? Yes, they are
tusks, very white, very hard; no they are not teeth, but are like your two upper teeth, called
incisors, —the sharp pointed ones on each side toward the front part of your mouth. Those
tusks grow directly out of the bones of the skull and are the most valuable parts of the
elephant. We will talk about the tusks again later, but we should mention that the elephants
use those tusks to defend themselves.

We are still looking at the face of the elephant. A very important part of the face is the eyes.
Take a good look. Remember I quoted from the books that elephants are gentle. Now look at
the eyes. They are very sad looking, gentle, but keen, alert, and observant. Those eyes do not
miss anything!

The feet! Yes. There are four of them; you do not see feet, just legs! They are almost round,
have a very soft padded bottom, so their weight rides on those cushions. There are four toes
with toe nails on each front foot, and five on the back foot, for the males; the females have
three in front and four on the hind foot.

Have you seen what the elephants do with their feet when you go to the circus? Remember,
how the trainer makes the elephant stand on one foot, lift his body way up into the air, make a
circle lifting his body up all that time, then change to use the other foot and do the same

You have talked about the ears, the eyes, the trunk, and the tusks, but these are all parts of the
head. That is what we see in the picture, but we know there is a body, a big body, all of it is
covered with skin. There is a great deal of skin on an elephant. If you look at it, just the head
has a lot of skin for it is long and flat. The skin is hairy, not like a dog, but more bristly. The
skin sunburns very easily. That is the reason for staying close to water at all times; if not
water, then he needs sand or dust to cover the skin. So, one hears of red elephants, because he
uses red earth to spray himself, otherwise he is a gray brown color.

Do I hear you ask whether he has a voice? What does he sound like? Yes, definitely, he has a
voice but he seems more quiet than vociferous! Let me explain; when there are several, or
many, close together, grazing, there is a rumbling sound, almost like a gargle, that lets each
one know where the other is located, even though they wander beyond the immediate
presence. When danger presents itself, the rumble stops. If conflict arises they throw dust into
the air, and twist the trunk; when there's a need to warn an enemy, they trumpet, with the
trunk raised into the air. That warning of a charge is seldom carried out,—in the end, he will
stop and turn. May I give an example?

Our World Campus Afloat ship docked at Mombassa and four faculty members and one
ship's officer went to visit several parks and were expected to be back on ship by seven
o’clock of a certain evening for a ten o’clock departure. We left the park about noon,
allowing plenty of time to meet our deadline. We were to return via Nairobi. Ten miles west
of Nairobi, we suddenly ran into a dead stop. No traffic moved in either direction; ahead, we
heard loud honking of horns. We crept forward to see what was the cause of the stoppage. In
the middle of a paved, two-way highway, stood a giant red bull elephant with his trunk
upright. We heard his angry trumpeting as he swayed his head to the right and then to the left.
He allowed no one, no car to pass either going or coming. He was Master of the situation! For

forty-five minutes, he trumpeted and held his ground and allowed no passage. Traffic was
tied up for many miles. Drivers tried to use the edge of the roadway, he charged in that
direction and they backed up. Finally, after all that time, he lowered his trunk, turned to one
side and walked slowly into the field and left the scene. Traffic resumed and moved quietly,
thoughtfully. We had witnessed a compromise or the surrender of a Giant! We did not feel

We have talked about what we see in the picture and those parts of his body that are so
prominent. Other parts are important but are not visible, not in a picture. There are many such
parts, but let us think of only one kind. I refer to the teeth. No, they are not located in the
trunk but in the mouth. The elephant eats a great deal and that food needs chewing. He has
four teeth in his mouth, each tooth is 12 inches long—about the size of a loaf of bread. There
is one tooth for each quarter of his mouth. Each tooth can be replaced six times. After they
are not replaced he will not have any teeth and will probably be about seventy years old. It is
then he separates from the herd and wanders away by himself to starve to death.

Those four teeth are put to good use when he eats his 500 pounds of vegetable material per
day. He eats leaves, grass, small branches and twigs by using the trunk to bring it to the
mouth. He likes best to eat in the early morning, at night, or in the evening; but he will be
eating all day when he is on the move. The elephant walks at the rate of about five miles per
hour, faster than a man walks,-about fifty miles per day. It depends upon the territory where
he is that determines what vegetable material he eats. Some people object to elephants, saying
he destroys gardens or trees. This partly true but it is also true that he is responsible for the
planting of trees.

The seeds of many trees need the acidity found in the stomach and intestines of an elephant in
order to germinate. It is found that many times there are as many as 10, 000 acacia seeds in
the stomach of an elephant. That is enough for a large orchard! In time of drought other
animals depend upon the elephant to uproot the baobab tree, twist it, and extract water for
them to drink. This happened in Tsavo Park during the great drought of the 1960's. They did
destroy some trees, many other trees and plants grew because of the seeds in the elephant

I saw some of the results of the work of elephants in Tsavo Park. The students and many
faculty of our ship spent several days in that Park. We slept in the Lodges built for tourists
right in the park, often close to a lighted watering hole. One night, my husband moved his
bed from the inside bedroom to the porch, so that he would not miss any sight or behavior of
any of the animals. During the night he felt, rather than heard, some movement. It was an
elephant leaning against the wall of the lodge, scratching an itch! My husband reached across
the wall and helped him scratch!

It was in that same park that we observed several characteristics of the elephant family. We
saw that they maintain their social order by living as extended family units. An adult female
stays by the mother elephant and acts as nanny to assist in the raising of the baby elephant.
The young remain in the herd until well into puberty. There are important lessons to learn
about their places in society, in the family, and the required behavior and responsibility for
each one at various stages. The older adult male, the leader of the family herd, is held to his
duties and he performs very well. After puberty and the learning of their lessons, these young
males are driven from the herd and live in bachelor herds until some young female comes
into heat and is ready for breeding.

Just like in human society, once in a while one or two young adults transgress the usual order
of things and become renegade. Recently, it was discovered that at least two elephants were
responsible for the slashing death of a rhino. They were severely punished for their action.

Usually, the elephant is considered to be honest, to have a strong sense of justice, to be
reliable, be obedient to the faith, to risk his own life in order to save a wounded one, to dig
holes in search of water for himself and other animals. He may become somewhat hysterical
in old age; cows are generally more unpredictable than the males as they grow in age! Some
people say the elephant is religious; that at each new moon, he returns to the river, cleanses
himself, then salutes the planets and returns to the forest. They say he lives by wit, honesty
and shrewdness.

There are other observations attributed to elephants:

   If not feeling well, he will throw grass skyward as a sacrifice.

   It is a bad sign when an elephant stamps his rear foot!

   Elephants kiss with their trunks.

   Very seldom does a professional hunter escape from an attack by an elephant.

Does an elephant sleep? Some people made a special study to see if he does really go to
sleep. They find that young elephants will sleep longer than older ones; that they lie down to
sleep for three hours at a time, younger ones for a longer time. For all daytime and nighttime
hours, adults sleep while standing.

About age 70 when their teeth are missing, and they cannot eat, they will leave the herd,
wander away and allow themselves to starve to death. For a long time it was thought they
went to the elephant graveyard. Elephants are very social creatures and grieve over loss of
loved ones. They even bury the dead with leaves and twigs. Some will stay by the gravesite
for many hours or even days.

Many possibilities of the graveyard site have been proposed but most of them have been
disproved. Masses of bones have been found to be the remains of slaughtering places of mass
killings in the days of exploration, or by poachers; some are thought to be the bones of groups
of elephants that drowned in dangerous river crossings. Recent findings indicate that in
search for water in Southern Africa particularly, the elephant has followed the river to the
ocean, crossed the last of the desert and been hurled down the steep slope into the ocean from
which he could not escape. It may be this finding that has led to re-processing the sands of
the desert in South Africa, known as the Diamond Reserve, resulting in the harvest of
millions of dollars worth of diamonds.

I want to share our observation of elephant family life in Tsavo Park. We saw elephants in
different parts of the park, but one afternoon, after teatime, our driver took us to see a very
interesting happening. We paused at the top of a hill; the driver stopped the engine. Very
slowly and quietly we rolled downhill almost to the intersection of our road and a bush path.
We waited a moment until the driver pointed to the left.

There came a procession, first two teen-age elephants acting as guards, very much at
attention. They were followed by two older males; then came several more teens, two adult,

mature females with one tiny baby by its mother's hind leg; then several younger females,
almost adult. Then came a group of teenagers. They all crosses the road just in front of us but
paid no attention to our car, crossed a stretch of grass, then a twenty foot wide clear river, and
another area of bright green grass on the opposite side. The first two teenagers seemed to
pause just enough in crossing to fill their trunks with water. The adults did not take water, the
females accompanied the baby into the grass and grazed there.

In this manner all of them passed through the river into the grass. The first two teenagers
went on to the bank where there was an elevated “bench". The first one climbed it, crossed
halfway, blew the water from his trunk on the bench and sat down. The second one followed,
pushed the first, who squealed in delight, as he slid down the ‘slide’ and headed for the river.
Meantime, the third teenager followed the second, blew his water and the second one slid and
squealed. This continued for twenty or thirty minutes with all the teenagers participating and
having a rollicking good time! Meantime, the mother and auntie took the baby into the river
up stream, bathed it and taught it to have a good drink then returned to grazing.

There must have been a signal from one or another that we could not observe and the
teenagers ceased their play, went to the river for their turns at baths and drinks, then joined
the herd when the signal was given to continue the evening walk!

Several years have gone by since that enjoyable experience and I have a happy memory of a
successful family of elephants roving a pleasant river valley of Tsavo Park, watching their
delightful teenagers grow into responsible, gentle elephants.

However, there has been burned deep into my heart something of the real value of an
elephant and I must speak of it.

Bernard Grzimek, in his book,’ Among Animals of Africa", says:

“Forty five thousand elephants used to be shot every year in the old days, computed on the
basis of the 6,000 odd tons of ivory processed annually, throughout the world. The majority
of this came from Africa, but nobody took the trouble in all these long years to inquire more
closely about these hectatombs of slaughtered giants or discover something about the
elephant's way of life. We may take it for granted that no genuinely free-ranging elephants
will exist outside the few national parks of Africa by the end of this century.”

Grizmek also tells of the work of W. Kuhme who made a close study of mating behavior
among African elephants. W. Poles watched some free ranging elephants mating in the
Luangwa Valley Game reserve in Zambia. The bull took the cow's tail in his mouth, pressed
the side of his head against her hindquarters, then moved along her flank, slid his trunk across
her neck and gripped her by the opposite ear. The cow stood there until he released her. Once
again, the mating act proper lasted only about ten seconds. Afterwards the animals faced one
another and raised their trunks in the shape of an S. Other bulls not far away came and
walked between them without being challenged. They all grazed peacefully together.

The gestation period of the elephant is 22 months; one calf is born at one time and births are
at least four years apart. All in all, we still know regrettably little about the African elephant's
needs and way of life. What makes it even more regrettable is that we shall have to find, in
the next few years, ways and means of helping these majestic and noble beasts to survive the
mounting pressures of civilization and human density. They are the true kings of the animal
world, because they fear no natural enemy, not even the lion.

Students and Animals
Years later, just before we retired, we sailed with many college students on The World
Campus Afloat, which circled the world many times. Once we went ashore at Mombasa. We
made arrangements to go to the Rift Valley, to see Olduvai Gorge where Louis and Mary
Leaky found Australapithecus Africanus, the 4 million-year-old skull. We saw many
animals on that jaunt.

Soon after entering Serengeti Plains, we watched hundreds of gnu running ever so fast along
with giraffe in their long strides, zebras all dressed in their stripes, antelopes of various colors
and sizes, each bearing their particular brand of antlers. I liked the little brown striped ones-
called Thompsons Gazelle. They had one long brown stripe along each side of their bodies.
They jumped well and their little pendulum tails never stopped their rapid swinging.

Late in the afternoon we came upon a large pride of lions, there must have been twenty of
them. The males were lying down, stretched out but they were ‘baby sitting’ the cubs. Some
of the cubs were playing with the tail of the daddy. He kept switching just the bushy end of
his tail in circles which the cubs tried to catch and bite—just like kittens play with the tail of
the cat. They rolled over and over, ran this way and that. The lionesses hid in the grass some
distance away with their eyes upon several gazelle grazing near by; the mother lions were
planning for a gazelle supper! Our driver brought the car very close so we could get our
pictures but the lions never paid any attention to us.

We moved on and saw several hippo and a few black rhinoceros grazing quite peacefully.
The thousands of animals in Ngorongoro Crater seemed to know that they were protected and
paid no attention to cars or people- so long as people remained in the cars!

In another park we saw more animals but had this different kind of experience: we slowed to
get pictures of a number of lions sleeping in the shade of a tree located near a watering place.
That ground must have been cooler for it was quite damp. Since the lions were asleep and we
were the only tourists in the area, the driver decided to stop the car. We got our pictures, felt
happy with what we saw. Then, one lion awoke, looked at us and suddenly seemed very
interested. The driver felt it a good thing to leave! When he started to move, the wheels spun
and we remained. Two of the boys hurried out to push, they did push but nothing happened.
The Lion decided to come help. That time the boys gave a big push and we moved!

A short distance away, the driver whispered an instruction. Two cubs were chasing a hyena
that was interested in them. Even though the daddy lion seemed asleep, he was very much on
duty and responded accordingly. He hastened toward the cubs just as two mother hyenas
were coming to the rescue of the hyena. The cubs returned to their spots with the lion, the
mother lioness chased the hyenas and almost caught one when the father hyena started toward
them. The lioness used her best judgment. She returned to her cubs!

We were leaving that park when we passed a clump of tall bushes and noticed some
movement within the bushes. We paused slightly, then observed the expression on the
driver’s face. “Do you want to Take time for one sight very few tourists get to see?” he asked.

If there was something we might see that was unusual, surely, we would stay. There were
eight lions separated into four groups. It was mating time and these lions participated. At
fifteen to twenty minute intervals each pair gave a demonstration of the mating and love-

making procedure of the lions. We watched for a few minutes and left. We hoped they would
live “happily ever after!”

Now, what have we learned about lions?

Lions yield the right of way

to elephants when they meet in a narrow place;

they also give ground to a rhinoceros.

The lion remains King of Beasts.

Skilled lion-hunters will not kill a lion, but

will kill a zebra to feed an old or sick lion.

The Lion figures in the Royal Arms of England, of Scotland and of Norway—countries
where they never see a live lion.

Lions are not tropical. They appear at 11,000 feet.

What we find majestic about the lion

his large jovian head,

his billowing mane, his large amber colored eyes, and

his ROAR.

It is often heard five miles away.

He roars in a standing position, his head slightly inclined, his flanks drawn-in.

His chest expands mightily like a bellows, and he stirs the dust in front of him by his

The roar affects people in different ways. Some say it causes a tingling sensation or even a
prickling sensation but not a mood of solemnity.

To be sure, the Roar is simply a luxury, like the plumes of the bird of paradise!

III. Family Heritage Stories
The Tannery
I came from Frystown, Pennsylvania in the township of Tulpehocken. This is the Indian name
of the stream that still flows through the area. William Penn gave a deed of land to the Frantz
grandfather, Mathais, I believe was his name. He came to this country in the very early
1700's. All of this history is contained in the red book that I have given to each of the four
children. [‘The Genealogy of the Matthias Frantz Family of Berks County, Pennsylvania’,
1972.] By reading the first chapter, you will be able to get the entire story. Those early
Frantz's occupied the land William Penn had deeded to them. That included this farm
between Rehrersburg and Frystown, and the Frantz cemetery, enclosed in a dark brown stone
wall. Looking west from that cemetery, can be seen the house of the family whose mother
was killed by the Indians. That is the only connection with the Indians that I have heard. On
the main road running east and west, just north of the cemetery, there is a house on the
corner. Ever since that time some member of the Frantz family has lived there. The Frantz
family pottery, well known in the area, was located here. Some of their pottery pieces are still
to be found. My sister, Laura, had some. I imagine, her son, Glenn has them now. I
understand that my mother was born in this house when her parents lived there.

My great great grandfather moved to Frystown. He had a large family. It was difficult to find
work. They decided to build their home close to the church. He built a tannery and started
tanning animal skins. The leather was used in making harness for the horses that pulled the
plows for all the farm work. There were enough members of the family to operate the
tannery, so it became a family operation and remained so to the time my father and his
brothers assumed the operation. The Tannery was dismantled about the same time that my
fathers’ brothers were marrying and going into other work, to make more money, and the
transition to tractors and cars was reducing the sales of harness. The shop building remained
and harness-making work continued until about 1915.

My father had built the harness shop east of the tannery to continue the making of harness
begun at another location earlier. Then, after the birth of my sister, he built a house to be his
own home at the east corner of the lot, one block north of the old family home.

The Harness Shop
When I was born in 1905 the work of demolishing the tannery had barely begun. By the time
I was four, I can remember, there were some parts of it still remaining. There were vats still
in use in the basement The top part of the building had been removed. These vats were about
ten by twelve feet, and five feet high. They had three feet of water in them. Hemlock bark
was placed in the water and soaked with some other chemicals. What those chemicals were
was certainly not discussed with me then, but I know that liquid smelled pretty badly and was
not the kind of water that mothers preferred for bathing their children, by any means! The
men placed the skins in these vats as they came from the farmers. The farmers brought the
skins of the animals they had butchered for their supply of meat for the winter. Sometimes
the skin of a dead horse was brought. Every so often those skins were moved around so that
those on the bottom were brought to the top. This ‘soaking’ process removed the hair from

the hides. Then the hides were rinsed with clean water. Next, they were placed into a clearer
solution that did not contain so many chemicals. Later they were rinsed and placed on a stand
with an upright board, 8 to10 inches wide on a foundation about three feet square. There they
used a knife with a handle on each end to draw down over the hide on the board to cut off all
the hair. It now was as nice and smooth as a man’s shaved face! After that was done, those
skins were soaked in these vats in clean water and rinsed several more times; eventually, they
were hung up to dry.

I loved to stand on the walls of the vats and watch the men as they performed these
operations. The height did not bother me; the scenes were fascinating! My mother worried
that I would fall into the vats. I did not understand her concerns then as well as I did when my
son stood on the edge of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison to look at the trains along the

When the skins were dry and smooth, they were polished. They came out as black and glossy
as patent leather. They were rolled up and covered with heavy paper.

There were always ten to twelve rolls of this leather sitting along one side in the shop. They
were NOT ‘down in the basement’ any more, but ‘upstairs’. All of the brothers had the
opportunity to work on the leather. Each brother had his place and job to do. The younger
ones did not have as big or as ‘demanding of excellence’ assignments as some of the older
ones. They sat straddling their saddler stools. On the left-hand side there was a pulley
attached to a board below the right foot. You pressed down on that board and it would bring
the two up-right pieces of slightly curved wood together to form a vise. The lips of this vise
formed a straight line, eight inches long. Into its grip were placed, horizontally, the various
pieces or parts of the harness to be sewed Using an awl, to punch the holes, the thread was
inserted from each side on two needles. Each worker made his own thread, according to the
function of the piece. If it was not weight bearing, the thread did not need to be heavy. For
weight bearing jobs the thread needs to be stronger.

I spent many hours and days in the shop as a child. I never tired of watching my dad and the
brothers as they prepared their threads for sewing the harness. Each of them wore a denim
apron to protect their clothes from the wax and polish of the leather. They reached up toward
the great ten-inch spool of white thread, which sat on a long nail, high above the work bench.
They pulled on that thread, reaching out with both hands to have a thread the distance of two
out-stretched arms. Then they went back and forth four or five times. I remember that my dad
was able to turn that thread, take it in his hands and put it down over his leg and tear off the
thread just as if he had cut it with a scissors. Then he took the piece of bees wax and rubbed it
on the thread several times until it was well-waxed, twisted it by rolling the one end down
over his leg toward the knee, twisted it again three or four times, waxing it each time. He ran
his hands along it to smooth it. Now he was ready to sew, except that he needed to thread the
needles. He put the thread in the needles, in the eye of the needle, one at each end, so that he
had one thread with two needles.

                   He punched a hole in the leather, put the needles, two of them, one on each
                   side toward each other, not along together but opposite each other so that
                   he could pull the thread out on each side, real tightly. One stitch at a time,
                   one after another, he did the sewing so that it had the same appearance on
                   both sides. If he was making lines for the horse bridle to the buggy, he

sewed only about three inches at the end of the line to secure a snap or a buckle.

There was a good bit of sewing done and it kept all these brothers busy. There were Uncles
Josiah, Israel, David, Elias, and Amos. My dad, Henry, was the headman. His father used to
be the headman; now, he was there to watch.

Each one sewed and whistled in tune with the rest of them. Often they sang. They came to be
known as “the singing Frantz brothers.” Later on dad got a gasoline engine which he placed
in the basement and connected it to the sewing machine in the upper level of the shop. Dad
did the sewing on it. Interestingly enough, he had just one eye, but he did the sewing. He is
the one who paid for the machine. They made many sets of harness.

During the late summer when apples ripened and farmers brought their apples to the Cider
Mill just across the street from the shop, they also brought their harness to be washed and
mended. The younger brothers would be assigned these jobs. After they had mended and
cleaned the harness, they brought it to the basement. The next step was my job when I
became about eight or nine. Someone heated the water for me in a wash boiler and poured it
into a wooden tub along with a handful of washing soda. The soda took the grease off that
harness, which had been on horses while they were sweaty. There was quite a crust on the
harnesses, and was hard to remove. I put a board into the tub, on which I scrubbed the
harness with a big scrub brush; I would scrub and scrub until it was clean. Then I rinsed it in
another tub, and finally, laid it out to dry for awhile. After it had dried, I rubbed it with a
cloth, then greased and polished it until it was nice and shiny. It was ready to be returned; it
was clean and looked almost like new. It was hard work to do that.

In the meantime, dad started his gasoline engine, had that going upstairs and he sewed and
sewed much more efficiently than if he had done it by hand on the saddler stools. But it can
still be done by hand. Years later I had to do some of it. (That is another story.) This is the
way it was done at that time.

Frantz Houses
In the meantime, the demolishing of the Tannery was taking place. Some of the men would
be out there working on it. Another crew also came to assist. The walls were taken down, the
bark was ground, and the ground was turned over. The bark made very good soil additive for
the gardens, which were very good there. When the soil was ready they built three houses in a
row right next to the shop. You can still see them there today. The first next to the shop was
grandmother and grandfather Merkey, (my mother’s parents) and then Aunt Maggie and then
aunt Lydia’s house. Those houses were built so that there was a large kitchen along the side
of each house on the first floor from one side to the other. There was a place for the cook
stove. The parlor was at the front of the house. Our house had a 9x12 Brussels carpet in it.
We were the only ones with a carpet at that time. The rest of the house was carpeted with
yard wide strips of homemade rag carpet. There was someone close by who did that from cut
up old clothes woven into carpet. The carpets served for many years. In spring and fall the
carpet was taken out and beaten, and sometimes washed. The floor was scrubbed before the
carpet was re-laid.

Upstairs there were three or four bedrooms, one larger than the others. There was always an
attic. There was a basement for each house, with a cistern at the rear. It caught the rainwater
from the spouting and drained into the cistern. This water was used whenever you needed to
use soap. It was not for drinking. The clean water came from a well in the backyard. It was

good drinking water, but always hard and not very good for washing. There was no running
water or toilet in the house. There was an outdoor toilet built for each house that had to be
cared for each year too. That was the beginning of each house. Each family supplied their
own furnishings.

That was the end of the tannery, or of my knowledge of it as I was growing up. We lived
there until I was about ten.

Let's go back just a bit, to my father’s brothers and sisters. When the first grandfather came to
Frystown he built his house which was always some shade of blue all the years I have known
it. It was just about a block west of the church. It has been the Frantz home for a good many
generations. There were quite a few bedrooms and three floors. They lived mostly in the
basement level. This was the ground floor, as you walked in from outside. That is where they
had the cookstove and the table. The kitchen and dining room were together. There was a
stairway that led up from that to the next floor, to the family room, where people gathered.
Most of the living was done in the kitchen. I remember sitting on the stairway. There was no
railing, just an open stair. I have wondered a good many times how that many children could
have lived there for so many years. I never heard of anyone falling there. I sat there many
times and watched meals being prepared and people eating their meals.

Papa's Family
My dad grew up with six brothers and six sisters. Aunt Katie was the oldest. Katie, Rebecca,
and Mary were daughters of the grandmother who died after the birth of Mary. Grandpa was
remarried to Lydia Merkey, who bore Josiah, Clara, Dad [Henry], David, Elias, Israel,
Maggie, Lydia, and Amos.

That grandma died when I was in my first year of school. I was five or six. I remember seeing
her just once. I missed school that day to go to her funeral. When she died, it meant that my
dad, who was the oldest son living there (the three older girls were married and not there to
be responsible for the younger children) sort of supervised. The younger ones lived together,
they just kept on with their lives in the home but mother and dad supervised them. At this
time Josiah was married and had his family in another house. Amos, Maggie, and Lydia were
still at home, unmarried. Aunt Maggie and Lydia had boyfriends who came to see them on
Saturday nights. One night I had not had my bath yet, and I was supposed to remain in the
kitchen. I was not to be seen since I was so filthy (I guess I was!). I was not supposed to go in
the rooms where they were. But I was curious, as I am now, and I ran in there. When I came
out I was spanked and had to sit on the steps.

Lydia and Maggie had their boyfriends in our parlor and in the other room out next to the
kitchen. They did their courting in those two rooms. Now during this time while they were
still unmarried and courting they would come over to our house to do it because they were
not supposed to be alone, unsupervised, in the house. So they all felt very much at home in
our house.

I remember Uncle Sam, Maggie’s boyfriend. Sam Webber, was a great fisherman. Lydia’s
boyfriend was a worker in the shirt factory. He liked to go down the Chesapeake to Maryland
beaches and get oysters. They managed to get these oysters, (I don’t know how they managed
the transportation to get it there that fast) and put on a big oyster feed. These two men would
roll the cracker crumbs, heat up the big skillets with lard, peel the potatoes for fried potatoes,
and cut up cabbage slaw — all these good things! They would have many people. A great big

long table with all this ready to go. They would get everyone seated at the table before they
began frying the oysters. It does not take but just a minute or two to do oysters properly, and
they knew how to do it. They would serve the oysters and all the rest of the good things. That
was always a lot of fun when that happened. It was hard for mother for she had to do all the
preparations ahead of time to see that all the dishes were clean and everything was ready.

Eventually they were married, and so was Amos and they all left home. That left the house
empty. Immediately another relative moved in. A relative has always lived in it all these
years. I think that a member of Aunt Clara’s family still lives in that house. I hear that they
have changed it some, but it is still in the same place. One thing about that house, during the
early years, still true when I was growing up, was the arrangement that whoever lived in that
house would be the janitor for the church. That meant that every Saturday we needed to go
and wash the globes and oil lamps, see that the lamps were filled with oil and that the wicks
were trimmed, and the globes were shiny. Everything had to be swept and dusted.

Helping the Grandmas
There were cherry trees along the roadside between the church and the Frantz house. There
were cherry trees in the house yard. There were cherry trees on the west side of the horse
barns of the church. The cherries along the way to the church were sweet cherries; the ones in
the house yard were sour cherries. These trees were small and not very strong when it came
to climbing on them. I never could climb on them but used a stepladder. The trees along the
road were sweet cherries; along the horse barns, where the horses were tied during church
services, there was a long row of black cherries. There were many cherries to be picked in the
spring and, I can remember, going from one tree to another, picking the ripe ones and then
coming back later to pick more. All those cherries had to be stemmed and yes, seeded, and
canned. There was not much jam making, but we had to can them. That meant many steps for
youngsters to go down to the basement to get the jars; to help wash and boil the jars;:to take
care of the jar lids and the rubbers that had to go with them. Then, very, very carefully,: two-
at- a-time, to carry them back to the basement, and place them on the shelves where they
belong. There were a good many steps up and down to get all of that cared for. It was
interesting that I did that not only at our house but at Grandma Merkey’s. and at Grandma
Frantz’s also.

                            Grandma Merkey’s eyes were failing, and, at one point, she did
                            consent to go to Philadelphia to have the cataracts removed. They.
                            put bandages over her eyes and she did not like that. She pulled
                            the blindfolds off before she should have. Her operation did not
                            do her very much good. So she was blind, and sat in her chair just
                            in front of the stove, where she could see the comings and goings
                            to the shop. She could not see, but she could hear. She identified
the sounds of the footsteps, and of the various buggies so that she knew pretty well who came
and went. She could not see to set the table, or to bring things from the basement.
Refrigerators were not available at that time. You had to carry your butter, milk, and other
things up and down for each meal. Irene’s legs did those trips up and down steps a good
many times during those days. But she learned much.

Grandma and Grandpa spoke Dutch to each other. They were supposed to speak English to
us. Sometimes they did, but often they spoke Dutch to us and we responded in English and

they could understand. I have a very special feeling for Grandma’s prayers.— Tears come to
my eyes, and the consciousness of her presence is overwhelming. Every morning began with
prayers at their house. Grandpa read from the Bible and he would say a prayer in Dutch. Then
Grandma would say the Lord’s prayer in Dutch. I can remember her pronunciations in Dutch
that have always carried that special meaning for me over these years when anyone speaks
those words.

A picture on their wall fascinated me. It was about four feet long, but only eighteen inches
high. There were many smaller pictures in it. There was one of a baptism; another of Jesus by
the sea, giving the Beatitudes. Oh, there were so many things I remember of that Grandma!
She tried so hard. to do things. She felt that as a grandmother she needed to make quilts. She
tried and tried to sew those tiny pieces, triangles. She would try to sew along one side.and ask
me to look and see if she got it straight. Did she bring the needle in from the other side? I
tried to undo it and let her start over again. She was so patient, but she wondered, ‘where did
I find so many questions to ask?’ She called me a ‘chatterbox’ because I talked so much.

Mother (Annie)
My mother’s name was Annie. Annie Lily (Merkey)Frantz. One thing she used to tell us was
that she would gather quinces to make jam or pie. They very carefully saved the seeds, which
they would boil (a few at a time), to make a kind of glue which they put on their foreheads.
They made little twists of their bangs which they pasted to their foreheads. When they
combed them out, they made nice curls. I always wondered what it would feel like to paste
your hair down that way. I suppose by the time one uses a hair-setting lotion these days one
knows pretty well what it feels like.

Uncle Jacob married Annie Bross from the west end of our church district. Her father was a
deacon and they were very strict.

. They believed very strongly that you must never be without your head covering. All the
women wore coverings, little white caps. She would hardly allow her daughters to go
uncovered long enough to get their hair combed. They wore one to bed all the time. Mother
was not that strict, but she wore one most of the time. It was interesting to watch the process
of belief in that covering. Life changes, doesn’t it.?

I was telling about what each of the brothers did in the shop. There were also some things to
mention about what was happening in the house. While the house building and tannery
demolition was going on there were workmen who came in and were regularly there. I think
they even slept there. Some of them did. Mother fed all these people all this time. She was
very busy to keep food on for everyone. One of those men, Milt, was there also at the time
when the well was being dug. He was a fun-loving person, but also a great eater. Whenever
there was some food left in some of the dishes, he said “It is better to spoil the stomach than
to let any food go to waste!” so he would clean up all the leftovers. She had her hands more
than full to supply everybody.

When that work ended and the men left, only the brothers were left, each of them was
married and they went home for their noon meal and to sleep. Because we did not have so
much to do then, Mother worked in the shirt factory. Uncle Dave, Lydia’s husband, was the
manager. Her assignment was sleeves. She was good at that and made good money. Laura
knew well how to sew the cuffs on the machine at home. Ammon and I sat behind it on the
floor. He cut them apart, since they were fastened to each other. She never cut the thread, it

saved thread to do that. He would cut them apart, and I turned them. They were ready then
for Mother or Laura to take back to the factory for stitching. That helped mother to do more.
She was able to supply some of the money that was needed for extra things for the home. She
paid for the shutters that went over the windows.

                         We had green shutters and screen doors that gave her so much joy.
                         We had screens on the windows that were a big help. And then she
                         also made enough to pay for some of our clothes. We had to help on
                         that by gathering hickory nuts, chestnuts, and walnuts in the fall and
                         selling them. Sometimes we made enough to pay for our winter
                         coats. If that was not enough, the Lees company gave us a catalog
                         which we took around to various homes to get orders. We would
                         deliver their orders and get a certain percentage of that money. That
                         was a big saving.

                        My grandparents had three children: Aunt Sallie, mother, ( Annie),
and Uncle Jacob. Sallie married William Kintzel. They lived in Pine Grove. Throughout my
childhood, the most fun was to go to Aunt Sally’s because she lived on a farm. There were
always so many fun things to do there.

I don’t think I told about Ammon. When I was five he was born. Here at last was a boy. My
dad wanted so much to have a boy. Ammon was the pride and joy. More than that Ammon
had beautiful curls. Laura had beautiful curls, so her hair could be curled, but my hair was
straight and black and could not be curled. Ammon came and had curls. He was the delight of
everybody. He was able to do all the cute things that little boys can do. It was just wonderful
to have him. Ammon got to be almost five years old and he could help me to do the dishes,
which was my job. Laura could sew but I could not yet, so I did the dishes.

Well, one morning, we went to do the dishes and Ammon had something in mind he wanted
to do, so he said, “Let’s do them quickly so we can go and do this other thing.”

So he said he would help. I brought the heavy teakettle from the stove as I always did and
leaned it on one side of the dishpan and he held the other side down so I could tip it to pour
the hot water. I took the teakettle back to the stove. But instead of waiting, like he always did
until I got back, he picked up the dishpan to carry to the other side of the table. In doing so he
tilted it and got that hot water right down over his chest. He was wearing a wool suit and
heavy underwear, for it was winter. We all screamed and did what we could. But we did not
know enough apparently. We had not been trained. We did not pull the wool off., We
loosened it but we did not take it off. So the wool suit made the heat go deep into his chest.
Papa came from the shop, Ammon was crying. Just then it so happened that the family doctor
came by on his buggy outside. He stopped and came in. It was very fortunate. Some of the
skin came off of course with that blistering. The doctor put on some salve, a Vaseline sort of
thing. That was the one thing that Ammon could not take. He could take oral medicine, but he
did not like anything greasy put on his skin. Now then the doctor had to put this on.

That made it very hard for it had to be put on each day, and he always objected. I’m not sure,
if with modern equipment and appliances something more could have been done for him. He

was a pretty sick boy for awhile. And I was pretty sick too. Not for many moons did I get
back to “normal", except for what was going in my mind. I don’t know whether I could have
been held responsible for that or not. It’s one of the questions we’ll not know. But I was on
my way back to the stove with the kettle.

Anyway. He died about six weeks later. It was very very hard for my mother. It was very
hard for my Dad. Especially for my mother because this little boy was so precious. I
remember on the day of the funeral we had our morning worship in that room. And the body
was never taken away to an undertakers as it is now. The body was kept right there in the
parlor the whole time. My dad took me in his lap and he said “Now you must be the boy. You
must be my son.” I guess that is one reason that I have always done things that boys should
do and not so much what girls should do. I have tried to be a son while being a daughter.
How can you do both?

Hard Times
Mother almost had a nervous breakdown after that. She could not work in the factory. Things
were going badly. Farmers were getting tractors and not using harness. The other men in the
shop had been married and were going off to do their things. Papa tried to make a go of it by
taking harnesses to sales in the wintertime, but the harnesses did not sell. Some debts piled
up. It got pretty bad for awhile. I can remember going for a bucket for milk. I was to stop in
the shop and get three cents to pay for a bucket of skim milk. Papa didn’t have the three
cents. It made an impression that I have carried with me.

.To help solve the situation Grandpa and Grandma still had ownership of the farm. They had
not been living on it for awhile, but they still owned it. So we moved to the farm where there
would not be the pressure and the memories for mother. Papa found some men to help for
awhile, mostly volunteer. They built a long shed for little piglets that he was going to raise.
But pigs have to have something to eat. He planted a field of rape. It grew rapidly and was
good for the pigs, but they ate it all up in a hurry. And then what? So the pigs kept digging
out and running wild all over the place. Mother and I were kept busy trying to keep those pigs
back in their pens. It was an impossible job.

Laura was at Frystown with Grandpa and Grandma working in the telephone exchange. I was
going to school at Rehrersburg, quite a long walk. But I did it every day, morning and
evening. Mother was pretty much alone there on the farm. I’m not sure that was a good thing,
but she wanted it that way. At the time I did not realize it that she was pregnant.

It was that winter that I was baptized. It was a cold day.

Not so long after that one evening my dad was there. He said “I must go and get Katie.” I
didn’t understand what that was all about. But Laura was there and she knew what it was
about so she took me upstairs. When we heard what I thought was the cats. “Oh, it’s just the
cats!” But Grace was being born. She was a sweet little girl with curls. Mother delighted in
that sweet little girl.

Then Papa went to Richland to look around. He stayed with distant relatives, part of the time.
He found a job in the shoe factory. Presently we moved to Richland. That was a change
again. Now we had to pay rent. It wasn’t a big rent, but it had to be met every month. Mother
just counted the pennies so that each time there was a pay check so much could be paid on

the debt. I remember what a jubilation there was and we had a corn pie to celebrate on the
day when the last of the debts was paid. That was a wonderful time for us!

College Years
We began to save, and presently we had enough to make the down payment on a double
house. It was a larger house with a wall down the center for it meant that now we could bring
Grandpa and Grandma again. Now they were set up on one side and we on the other.

                                                   Laura went to college. Papa paid for part
                                                   of that I think. She went to Elizabethtown
                                                   to the academy and took a bookkeeping
                                                   course. That was a wonderful thing too.
                                                   She brought a boyfriend or two home on
                                                   weekends. They came to see her. We
                                                   made a chocolate cake, pickled
cauliflower, and lemonade, all these things that had to be served just right. It was quite an
experience to grow up with a big sister who had boyfriends. We got a piano. I didn’t learn to
play very much but I tried. Laura tried a little more. Then Grace came along and she really
learned to play, and she did it well. She could sing too. Laura could sing and she sang with
the men in the shop way back when. All those men were in there and they sang as they
worked. And they whistled. All in harmony. It was beautiful to hear. Men would come up to
the shop and stop and listen for awhile before they came in. Laura sang with those men. She
always sang with them. She was good.

God Gave Me a Voice
But I couldn’t sing—not very much.

God gave me a voice.

When I graduated from high school at Richland I was required to do an oration. Everybody
did. Mine was called, The Builder dies, but the work goes on. There was a young man
named Goodman who had come to the community, who volunteered to coach me for that. He
told me all the things I needed to learn about speaking in public. I gave my oration that night,
and gave it in church a few times, and have spoken it a few other places since then. Today,
May 3, 1997, came another realization of that truth. The builder dies, but the work goes on!

Today I received a booklet produced at the time of the 25th year celebration for the man who
Desmond brought to the World Campus Afloat. Desmond coached him for several years and
he went on the ship with us a couple of times. Now he has served for twenty-five years. This
April 11 they celebrated his 25 years with the ship. But it was Desmond Bittinger who started
that program. He came from Kansas to California to persuade the powers that be at Chapman
College that they should sponsor and underwrite World Campus Afloat.

We sailed on it eight or ten times more. After that we made plane flights taking parents and
grandparents of those same students. We carried five hundred students each semester. By this
time there have been many thousands of students who have gone to various parts of the

The ship song is:

Brothers around the world; Friendships across the seas,

We raise our voices high in harmony.

The world lies just ahead.

The sun will shine on each and every land, on all mankind.

Oh, there’s many a road to travel, and many a hill to climb.

But we shall reach that mountain top if it takes ‘till the end of time.

Oh, brothers around the world, friendships across the seas,

We raise our voices high in harmony.

I was supposed to send a tribute to be printed in that booklet and I did not know what to say.
Dad had started that program and he had found this man, brought him in, and trained him.
Now he has done it for twenty-five years and evidently plans to continue for twenty-five
more. The program is still going strong.

Yes, the builder has died, but the work goes on!

Good night!

I’d like to tell one more thing about the tannery. During the time it was being demolished
and while the men were working around the site we children (both Laura and I, or Ammon
and I) used to fish in the stream that flowed by. An eight inch wooden covered pipe
extended from the tannery just above the water, under the bridge and on beyond to a spring
some distance away. There were two archways, outlined in brick, that formed the bridge
above; they provided a good shady place to stand. to fish. We had to be careful, but the pipe
was big enough for small feet. Each of us had a fishing pole about three or four feet long
with a string about the same length and a hook on the end of it.

We dug some fish-worms from the garden, put them on the hook and went to the bridge to
fish. We even caught some sunfish. We called them “gold” fish, (when the sun shone on them
they were a bright gleaming gold). When they grew to five inches we were allowed to keep
them. Mother would fry them for us. We never caught enough of them to feed the family, but
it was nice of mother to fry them. It made us proud that we could really fish. We passed many
pleasant hours that way. The water was not deep and it was clear. There were a number of
fish in there, and people around. We were safe.

Laura asked one of the men to put the worm on the hook for her. (She liked fishing but not to
touch the worms nor the fish). She moved along the pipe to the wall. The shade was good
there and the water a little deeper. I went next to her and Ammon was near the bank. It was
not very long until Laura called to say that she had a bite, then quickly she raised her pole and
she did have it! One of the workmen had his eye out for us. He came at once and held the
fish for us to see; he thought it was large enough to save, removed it from the hook, and put it
in the kettle of water. Then he put another worm on the hook and Laura went back to her
spot. Ammon was concentrating on his fishing and followed a fish around with his hook and
kept getting caught on grass or sticks in the water. He was surprised when the fish jumped at
the worm on his hook! He reacted in proper fashion but the fish got away before the man
came to help.

I was very happy when I heard a footstep in the grass to see Grandpa Merkey coming our
way. I started toward him and asked him to come and help us with the fishing. We put down
all the poles and joined in begging him to help us. When all of us were talking he seemed not
to hear. I knew that he would not answer until just one spoke. We quieted.

Then Laura asked him to help us and she said, “Please”. He smiled that very special smile he
used when he would do what we wanted. I really wanted to hug him. I was so glad he would
come! Grandpa bent over, fastened the strings to the poles, picked up the things we had
there, one by one, and gave each of us something to carry, and he took the remainder. Away
we went, through the taller grass, by the gardens to the shade by the tall tree, where we were
never allowed to go by ourselves—only when Grandpa went with us. He did what he always
needed to do: adjust the strings on the poles, put new worms on the hooks, and guide us to
stand in the proper places.

It was time to stop talking. The fish do not bite when people talk! That is true! Just as I was
calling for quiet, I felt the pull on my pole. “I have a bite!” I called, and there was a really
nice big fish on my hook! Before I got over to him, Grandpa and Ammon were also pulling
one from the water. Laura did not move. She was watching her line and she was rewarded

It was not a minute before we had all the things we had brought with us in our hands and
almost ran to where we saw mother coming from having started the preparations for
Grandma’s supper and going toward our kitchen. Grandpa put the poles in their places but he
did not forget to give each of us our big hugs and tell us how proud he was of us. We were so
excited, we forgot to tell him, “Thank you”! We went back later to tell him in a better way.

Mother was busy while we fished. She always knew ‘beforehand’, what would happen. She
had fried the kind of potatoes we liked with our fish, had set out all the dishes we would
need, a proper size tablecloth, a drink and a jar of ketchup!

Now, she was paying full attention to the fish. We washed our hands, picked up all the things
she had ready and scurried off to the playhouse where we set up a real celebration for having
caught THE BIG ONES! Laura went back to bring the fish. Mother was just putting the fries
on a plate; Laura took the fork, and picked up the fish she caught first, held it up to Mother’s
lips, then reached up and placed a great big kiss on Mother’s lips while she added, “For

One other thing. By this time it was probably around 1914. The houses were all built and the
people were living in them. Grandma and Grandpa Merkey lived in one, as I have described
earlier. Grandpa decided that he would like to get one of the new Ford cars that were coming
in. So he got rid of the horse that he kept in his barn and went and bought a car. He did not
think that he would drive it, so my dad (Henry) did the driving most of the time. Finally
Grandpa wanted to learn. So Dad took him out and taught him. They did pretty well out on
the road. Then he decided to put the car away for the night. He came in around the turn and
drove into the garage he had fixed where the carriage used to be. He drove in very carefully
and when he got to the other end he began pulling on the wheel and saying “Whoa. Whoa!
Whoa!” faster, and louder. But the thing didn’t stop, because he needed to do something more
than what he had always said to his horse. He went right out through the wall of the garage. It
didn’t do the car very much damage. Some, but it could be fixed. But he did a good bit of
damage to his barn. He did most of the damage to his pride. So he never tried it after that.

I’m not sure what happened to that car, whether we got it or what happened to it. But
anyway, he had the privilege of driving his car into his garage. He enjoyed that.

Grandpa Merkey was a lot of fun. He was so different from Grandpa Frantz. If you tried to
play a trick on Grandpa Merkey, like telling him there was a mouse around his feet he would
jump up and look for that mouse. He would look under the stove and all around and he just
made a big ado about it. We would “catch the mouse” (or pretend to.) Sometimes it went up
his trouser leg. Sometimes it would be on the floor somewhere. He would have a great time
to kill that mouse. He was a lot of fun to play with. If we tried the same thing on Grandpa
Frantz we were likely to get our ears boxed, or something. He was a great one to box ears; a
very different grandpa! But Grandpa Merkey was a playful person who we liked a lot.

Grandpa Merkey was always full of stories. He could tell us hundreds of them.

Our Playhouse
Did I tell about the playhouse at Frystown? Perhaps not. It was not in the shop. It was not in
the house. But it was in the building at the back of the lot where we kept horses part of the
time, and the buggy was there too. At one end there was a place for two pigs downstairs. My

folks always kept pigs in the summer time. They fed them up, and then in the fall we
butchered. That provided our hams and meat for the winter.

There was a nice stairway going upstairs and there was a lot of space up there. It was all nice
boards and there were two windows. We played up there and had a great time. We would
clean it up each spring and put new curtains on the windows. Grandpa Merkey would make
new doll beds, and make sure that we had a proper bed for each doll. We had a dining room,
and a kitchen. I remember some of the dishes we had there, but I am not sure if they were
play or real. There was one that was a very beautiful blue glass sort of thing. It was only
about four inches across. We always had a great time deciding who would get that dish when
we served something. We kept the dishes washed. Some had been lids on other equipment,
but I remember we always had a lot of things to play with.

We made mud pies and sometimes we brought out pancakes that were left or something like
that so that we could have snacks. Grandma or mother had cookies that we could bring out.
We made believe on some things. During the summer time we would take our tin cups when
farmers would bring loads of apples to be pressed to become vinegar. While they were being
pressed the man knew just how to get the cup full of good fresh apple juice. That was so
good! We drank a lot of it during the summer. We didn’t realize at that time how good it was
for us. We then came back and played in the playhouse. It was our favorite place all summer

When school started there was not much time to play. School started early in the morning,
and in the eve we had chores to do. The playhouse did not smell bad, even though there were
pigs below. They always kept the pigpens clean, so that we were not aware of any odors at
all. It is nice for us to have memories of playhouses. Places where you were on your own and
there was no one supervising you. Places where you could develop your own initiative and do
all the imagining that you wanted to do.

Henry’s Singing Schools
Some of the highlights of our life at Frystown were the weekend trips we would take so many
times. My dad taught singing schools. He did not have a chance to go to school since he was
the oldest boy and there was not much offered by way of school there when he was a boy. He
could have gone, I think, but because he had just the one eye, it was thought that he would
not be able to learn very much because he could not see well. He was the oldest of the sons,
and could do some work, which meant that he had to work in order to make it possible for the
family to move ahead.

He did decide that he could see well enough to read and he would learn. He had been in
school long enough to learn the fundamentals. He decided on his own that he would make use
of what time and what ability he had. So whenever he had a chance to get hold of a book he
would read.

The fact that he had just the one eye had been a mystery all his life. He tried and tried every
which way to find out exactly what happened to his eye. The older ones—Aunt Becky, Kate,
and Mary—would say, “Oh, well, you had eczema.” I think it was something they agreed
among themselves to say. On the day of mother’s death Aunt Becky came for the funeral and
stayed with my folks. That night Aunt Becky and Papa stayed up and talked for awhile. Then
she finally spoke up. “Henry, there is something on my heart that I must say. I have carried it
all these years. I have had so many bad experiences in my life. Perhaps this is the punishment

that God has given to me. I don’t know. Anyway, I want to confess to you tonight that I am
the one who is responsible for the loss of your eye. When you were a baby I was supposed to
care for you. I was holding you. Something happened, and when I got up I dropped you. You
fell on the corner of the rocker which put out your eye.”

Papa was delighted to finally know what had happened. When he went to the doctor they
would ask what happened over and over. When he went to get some life insurance they said
he would be able to get double indemnity if he could tell what happened to his eye, but he
never could. Now it was too late to do anything about it any more.

Aunt Becky was greatly relieved, I think, that she had finally gotten that guilt feeling off her
chest. She went on to have a much happier life after that.

Anyway, Henry had felt through the years that he had to make use of all the ability that he
had. He got hold of every book he could and read and studied it. He finally found out from
someone how to read notes. The older hymnals just had the verses in them. Then they would
say lm, cm, sm which stood for long meter or common meter or short meter. From that they
would know what tunes matched those different meters, and they would sing that way.
Books then came out with printed notes and he learned to read and sing those.

He decided that there was nothing in the church for young people to do. People did not
usually become members of the church until they were married or older. He thought young
people should have a chance to do something in church and so he tried real hard to get
Sunday schools started, but it was a very slow process. They did finally let him have what
they called a Children’s Class. I was in that class when he started. We would meet upstairs
because there were stovepipes that went up through the attic from the two stoves in the
sanctuary. There was a little room there where the children gathered. He would teach us to
sing. We would recite scripture verses for which we got little blue tickets an inch by two
inches that had a scripture verse on it. Each Sunday we would get one and memorize it to
recite next Sunday at the little class at church. He would teach us to sing little songs like:

       An acorn hung upon a tree; just like this, just like this.

Then we had all kinds of songs: nature songs, children’s songs. Once in awhile they would
gather the children in the front to sing to the whole audience, who enjoyed seeing their
children learn and do things. So he got to the point to where on a Sunday, if there was a
meeting in the west end of the district, we would leave home about noontime after a quick
lunch. We would go down to Schubert. There was an area there where they had started
cutting trees, but left stumps about two feet high that you could sit on. He took little boards
and nailed them there to make a nice seats, which he had arranged in a kind of a circle in a
nice area. Gradually the older folks came, though they came to bring the children initially. He
led a class for us there where he taught us to sing. He taught us the notes and the hymns. It
was very nice. This was the start of the Schubert church. They decided to keep that going,
and after awhile they built a church building there. Now it is a pretty good sized building with
a lot of people attending.

I remember when we started there they had different classes. I was in one of the older classes.
The lady who was teaching did not know how to read, so we children who knew how would
be called on to read each of the verses. It got to be quite a wonderful thing as it grew. The
area was gradually cleared and people brought benches or their own chairs. We had outdoor
services until a building was finally erected.

We always liked to go over to Aunt Sallie's about three o’clock on Saturday afternoon. Papa
finished his work at the shop and put it away and came home. Then he would say, “Okay!
Let’s go!” Mother and the rest of us would say, “Go where?” “I don’t know. Let’s go down
to Aunt Sallie’s.” We quickly bathed and got cleaned up and would start out. We went down
through Schubert, then up over the mountain where we went by the famous old spring there
that had been used since the Pilgrims. We arrived at Aunt Sallie’s in time for supper. I don’t
know if they ever telephoned ahead to say that we were coming.

Aunt Sallie would always fry some potatoes and some ham; they would bring up a jar of
chow-chow, some pickles and stuff, and always Aunt Sallie's homemade bread which was so
very good. Just to watch her make it was quite a process. Usually she was just taking her
bread out of the oven by the time we got there, so we had nice fresh bread. Her loaves were
about two feet around. She would hold it on her tummy and slice up and give us each a big
slice! She had pies and cakes and stuff. We always had a good time!

We would go down to the church to have singing school. Sometimes we also met in a
schoolhouse. People of the community would come in to sing. Uncle Will had this big deep
base voice and he loved the parts where he started way down low and come way up high. He
could really roll those things along. He was great on that. Laura got so that she could lead
the singing too. It was a great experience to go there. We would listen, as we slept in that
upstairs bedroom, to the whippoorwills at night. We had breakfast there, then to church and
finally back home. Those were great weekends.

All the time that Papa was learning, he would have a book to read. About that time the editor
of the Gospel Messenger had taken a trip around the world with his wife. He related his
experiences in a book, Travels Around the World, that Papa loved and read repeatedly. He got
a lot of other books and kept learning and learning throughout his life. In spite of his poor
beginning he had learned a lot.

When I had to write for English classes I used to go to him. He had a lot of ideas, usually
very good ones. I got good grades, so it paid for me to go to him. Maybe that is one of the
reasons I don’t have much imagination now because he provided me with that. I didn’t need
to do it on my own.

I have very good memories of Papa singing and reading to us. He put a lot of spirit into his
reading and he was a great reader for children. He would act out all the parts and was great at

Nights at Grandma’s
Grandma Merkey, my mother’s mother, is the one we honor as The Grandma. I want to tell
you about a night at her house. Her name was Suzanne. Grandpa’s name was Jacob. The
cherry wood bed with the panels was made for her by her grandfather for her wedding. She
was blind for many years. They lived next to us and I used to run errands for her.
Occasionally she would invite me to spend the night. I remember when Laura and I had
supper with her, She served baked beans, corn bread, and I’m sure there was a dish of chow-
chow and a pot of Blue Mountain tea. She sat by and talked to us while we did the dishes. We
then filled the wood box with corncobs, wood and coal for a fire in the morning.

                            Then she said, “Why don’t you get out the corn popper?” She had
                            one of those little square wire poppers and some corn in a jar. We
                            popped some corn, and while the stove was hot she had us bring
                            the “sand bags.” These ‘bags’ were twelve inches square and
                            filled with nice white sand. We laid a newspaper in the oven and
                            put the bags on it with the oven door partway open, for them to
                            get warm. We brought up a pan-full of apples from the basement.
Grandpa, peeled the apples and ‘snitzed’ them with his own special knife. Snitz is a
Pennsylvania Dutch word for slicing or cutting them. He put them on a plate. Occasionally he
would take a piece of thick peeling and put it in his mouth or give us each a taste. It was just
real nice to do that. Those were nice times with grandpa and grandma. They took their turns
to keep us busy and entertained.

We then got a book we had started earlier. They asked us to read to them. Sometimes it was
the Bible, sometimes it was the ‘blue book’. By the time we had read and had eaten our
popcorn and apples it was time to take the sandbags to bed. The bedrooms were cold, for they
were unheated in the winter. We put the bags down into the covers so that by the time we
went to bed we would just drop off to sleep in a warm bed. They talked to us during the
evening and asked questions about what we had done, what we liked to do, or how we felt
about various things. It was a very nice talk time for us. We always slept soundly under her
nice heavy comforters.

In the morning, we heard grandpa going down to start the fire with the corncobs and tiny
pieces of wood. We heard him go out to the summer kitchen and use the coffee grinder,
which hung on the wall, to grind the coffee. The gray enamel coffeepot that sat on the front of
the stove until the water boiled was then moved to the back to step until we were ready to eat.
Grandpa called that it was time for us to come. We quickly gathered up our clothes, slipped
down stairs, stood beside the stove to dress, then went to the wash basin to wash our faces.
We then helped grandpa finish getting the breakfast, which consisted of bread, peaches, some
potatoes, left from the day before, which we fried with lard or butter, and added some bread
cubes. Just before they were ready to serve, we broke two or three eggs over them and stirred
them up a bit. They didn’t fry hard, but the eggs were set and surely tasted good. We added
salt and pepper to season them. Sometimes there was oatmeal, and we always had some large
molasses cookies, five inches across, to dip in the coffee. Grandpa always liked to dip his into
his cup. Some people liked to dip their cookies into the deep saucer. Almost always there was
crumb cake or union cake, which was the standard Pennsylvania Dutch breakfast dessert.
Some times there was ham. After breakfast we cleaned up by carrying the milk and butter to
the cellar, washing the dishes and then went home to help mother do the things that needed to
be done there.

Helping the Grandma’s
There were cherry trees along the roadside between the church and the Frantz house. There
were cherry trees. in the house yard. There were cherry trees on the west side of the horse
barns of the church. The cherries along the way to the church were sweet cherries; the ones in
the house yard were sour cherries, small and not very strong when it came to climbing on
them. I never could climb on those but used a stepladder. The trees along the road were sweet
cherries; along the horse barns, where the horses were tied during church services, there was
a long row of black cherries. There were many cherries to be picked in the spring and, I can
remember, going from one tree to another, picking the ripe ones and then coming back later
to pick more. All those cherries had to be stemmed and yes, seeded, and canned. There was
not much jam making, but we had to can them. That meant many steps for youngsters to go
down to the basement to get the jars; to help wash and boil the jars; to take care of the jar lids
and the rubbers that had to go with them. Then, very, very carefully, two-at- a-time, to carry
them back to the basement, and place them on the shelves where they belonged. There were a
good many steps up and down to get all of that cared for. It was interesting that I did that not
only at our house but at Grandma Merkey’s and at Grandma Frantz’s also.

Grandma Merkey’s eyes were failing, and at one point she did consent to go to Philadelphia
to have the cataracts removed. They put bandages over her eyes and she did not like that. She
pulled the blindfolds off before she should have. Her operation did not do her very much
good. So she was blind, and sat in her chair just in front of the stove, where she could be
aware of the comings and goings to the shop. She could not see, but she could hear. She
identified the sounds of the footsteps, and of the various buggies so that she knew pretty well
who came and went. She could not see to set the table, or to bring things from the basement.
Refrigerators were not available at that time. You had to carry your butter, milk, and other
things up and down from the basement for each meal. Irene’s legs did those trips up and
down steps a good many times during those days. But she learned much.

Grandma and Grandpa spoke Dutch to each other. They were supposed to speak English to
us. Sometimes they did, but often they spoke Dutch to us and we responded in English and
they could understand. I have a very special feeling for Grandma’s prayers. Tears come to my
eyes, and the consciousness of her presence is overwhelming. Every morning began with
prayers at their house. Grandpa read from the Bible and he would say a prayer in Dutch. Then
Grandma would say the Lord’s prayer in Dutch. I can remember her pronunciations in Dutch
that have always carried that special meaning for me over these years when anyone speaks
those words.

A picture on their wall fascinated me. It was about four feet long, but only eighteen inches
high. There were many smaller pictures in it. There was one of a baptism; another of Jesus by
the sea, giving the Beatitudes. Oh, there were so many things I remember of that Grandma!
She tried so hard to do things. She felt that as a grandmother she needed to make quilts. She
tried and tried to sew those tiny pieces, triangles. She would try to sew along one side.and ask
me to look and see if she got it straight. Did she bring the needle in from the other side? I
tried to undo it and let her start over again. She was so patient, but she wondered, “Where did
I find so many questions to ask?” She called me a ‘chatterbox’ because I talked so much.

My mother’s name was Annie. Annie Lily (Merkey) Frantz. One thing she used to tell us was
that she would gather quinces to make jam or pie. They very carefully saved the seeds, which
they would boil (a few at a time), to make a kind of glue which they put on their foreheads.

They made little twists of their bangs which they pasted to their foreheads. When they
combed them out, they made nice curls. I always wondered what it would feel like to paste
your hair down that way. I suppose by the time one uses a hair-setting lotion these days one
knows pretty well what it feels like.

Uncle Jacob married Annie Bross from the west end of our church district. Her father was a
deacon and they were very “strict". They believed very strongly that you must never be
without your head covering. All the women wore coverings, little white caps. She would
hardly allow her daughters to go uncovered long enough to get their hair combed. They wore
one to bed all the time. Mother was not that strict, but she wore one most of the time. It has
been interesting to watch the process of belief in that covering. Life changes, doesn’t it?

Mother (Annie)
I was telling about what each of the brothers did in the shop. There were also some things to
mention about what was happening in the house. While the house building and tannery
demolition was going on there were workmen who came in and were regularly there. I think
they even slept there. Some of them did. Mother fed all these people all this time. She was
very busy to keep food on for everyone. One of those men, Milt, was there also at the time
when the well was being dug. He was a fun-loving person, but also a great eater. Whenever
there was some food left in some of the dishes, he said, “It is better to spoil the stomach than
to let any food go to waste!” So he would clean up all the leftovers. She had her hands more
than full to supply everybody.

When that work ended and the men left, only the brothers were left, each of them was
married and they went home for their noon meal and to sleep. Because we did not have so
much to do then, Mother worked in the shirt factory. Uncle Dave, Lydia’s husband, was the
manager. Her assignment was sleeves. She was good at that and made good money. Laura
knew well how to sew the cuffs on the machine at home. Ammon and I sat behind it on the
floor. He cut them apart, since they were fastened to each other. She never cut the thread, it
saved thread to do that. He would cut them apart, and I turned them. They were ready then
for Mother or Laura to take back to the factory for stitching. That helped mother to do more.
She was able to supply some of the money that was needed for extra things for the home. She
paid for the shutters that went over the windows. We had green shutters and screen doors that
gave her so much joy. We had screens on the windows that were a big help. And then she
also made enough to pay for some of our clothes. We had to help on that by gathering
hickory nuts, chestnuts, and walnuts in the fall and selling them. Sometimes we made enough
to pay for our winter coats. If that was not enough, the Lees company gave us a catalog which
we took around to various homes to get orders. We would deliver their orders and get a
certain percentage of that money. That was a big saving.

Love Feast
When I was a little girl, each year we attended the Love Feast at the Maiden Creek Church, a
Mission Point near Reading. Close by, was the locally famous Crystal Cave; it was a very
good place to see and learn about the wonders of Caves. Many people enjoyed visiting the
cave in connection with going to Maiden Creek on a Saturday, for they always held their
Love Feast ‘over the week end’ of the third week of May. Other churches held their Love
Feasts on weekdays, but Maiden Creek liked to use the weekend. Those who needed to be
present at their own churches could leave after the service on Saturday evening.

In those days, we traveled by horse and carriage, and later by car. Maiden Creek was a small
brick church in the country. The sanctuary had the usual seating arrangement with the pews
facing a long table on one side, and a bench behind it. The local, senior minister, or Elder, sat
on the bench at the head of the table, facing the audience. The senior guest minister sat next
to the Elder, with all the visiting ministers seated next in order of their length of service in the
ministry. Thus the newest, not always youngest minister, sat at the foot of the table. The Song
Leader usually sat at the end of the first pew, directly opposite the Elder, facing him. My dad
was a Song Leader, not a minister, so he did not sit on the bench, but, many times he was
called upon to lead the singing. He liked to do that. In my younger years I sat with him. and
learned what was happening.

Much work needed to be done by many people in preparation for the Love Feast. The
deacons’ wives met about a week earlier to bake the communion bread. This special bread
needed ‘ripening’; it was made of butter, cream and flour kneaded together. Each woman
kneaded it for ten minutes, passed it on to the next and down the chain, until the dough felt
just ‘proper’ to the experienced leader. Some of the ladies who were in charge knew just how
it should be. Then it was rolled out to 1/4-inch thickness. The width of the strips was
determined by a special fork with six tines. The holes made by the tines represented Christ’s
injuries—one for each hand and foot, one for the head, and one for the broken heart. When
the bread was served at communion in the evening, the Elder suggested that breaking it into
six pieces, eating slowly and thinking about each one of those wounds would help to provide
a meaningful experience.

At the same time the women baked the communion bread, the men butchered the beef. They
removed the meat from the bones, and boiled a large amount for the broth required for the
soup. Some meat was boiled separately and served for various meals during the weekend.

On that Friday, the men prepared the tubs for foot washing and stacked them ready for use.
They bought the rest of the things required, for serving. The women and men prepared the
dishes: special bowls, the size of rice bowls, were used as ‘drinking cups’ shared by two
people. These bowls were also used for beets, pickles, cottage cheese, and apple butter. There
were also plates for bread and butter, large bowls for soup, large plates for covering the soup
bowls which also held the meat, the plates and large bowls to serve the meals other than the
communion, and all utensils. Another crew checked the pews. The pew backs became the
tabletops; a fixture served as a hinge. There was much work involved in Love Feast!

Sleeping Over
This church was multi-purpose. The Sanctuary served its usual function. The ground floor
was the kitchen for preparing funeral dinners. One thing many remember fondly: the beds! A
wall, separating the rows of beds for men from those for women, ran through the middle of
the upstairs. When one arrived he placed his bag on his selection of beds. The children used
chaff bags for floor beds at the foot of their parents’ bed. It was considered fun to sleep there.

We arrived shortly after lunch for the start of the afternoon service. The ministers were
invited to their proper places in front and all spoke in turn. The first minister would select the
scripture on which he would speak. It was never announced in advance what that scripture
would be, so no one had opportunity for preparation. Originally, it was planned this way so
that the Holy Spirit would prompt the ministers. They waited their turns to speak. Sometimes
the preceding speaker used the subject the next one was thinking of using, That was all right.
Two people said it differently.

Occasionally, opposites of the same subject! One time, we stopped there just as we were
about to be married. My husband was prepared to speak since I had warned him. The other
ministers recognized him and had him come up and take a place at the foot of the bench.
(Actually, he had been a minister longer than some of the others, but they were not aware of
that since he had come from West Virginia.) No one told him what the scripture was. He did
not know what the other men were saying because some of them spoke in Dutch. Finally
someone told him what the scripture was just before his turn to speak.

Every so often there would be a song, although just perhaps one verse. At the end of all the
speeches by all the ministers there was a time of prayer. This was a special examination
service for people to make up their minds about whether they were worthy to take
communion. Sometimes people felt they had done something not quite right and they should
not take communion. During the prayer there was time for people to examine themselves. If
someone wanted to speak or make a confession there was opportunity. I remember especially
the prayers of the minister’s wife who lived there. She was a wonderful lady who always
prayed so beautifully, so heartfelt and earnestly.

That ended the service for the afternoon. Some had to return home for chores, milk the cows,
or care for other family members during this time out. There was no supper served but
visitors were offered a snack. The deacons’ wives and others used this time to set up all the
benches as tables. Then the women put special cloths made to fit those tables and set the
tables. There was a place for the large soup bowl. On top of the soup there was a plate of
meat. The drinking bowls, forks, knives for the butter, soup spoons, bread and butter, all were
placed on the table. When the people arrived for the evening service they found their places
for the communion meal opposite each other They filled the sanctuary. One side was for men,
the other for women. The evening service always began with singing. There were special
songs used at special times during the service. We started with lively songs. People made
suggestions. We sang songs like Blessed Assurance, Marching to Zion. Later in the service
the songs were Near the Cross, Alas, and Did My Savior Bleed, and A Charge to Keep I
Have, and similar songs of commitment. There was always the reading of the scripture about
Jesus with the disciples in the upper room, followed by two more songs. The singing was
accappella, because there was no piano, guitar, or other instrument. Many churches were
noted for the beauty of their singing.

During the last of those songs the deacons prepared for foot washing. They brought buckets
of warm water to be added to the tubs with cold water at the end of each table. The next order

of service was foot washing. The men removed their coats, took the towels and tied them
around their waists, knelt down and washed the feet of the person next to them. The proper
method was to put one foot into the tub, use cupped hands to pour water down over the feet,
do not rub, just pour three times. That’s the way I was taught. As one foot is done, take the
apron to dry the feet, and scoot the tub over to the next person. The washer then stands up,
dries his hands on the apron, shakes hands with the person he just washed, kisses him, gives
him a hug and says, “I’m glad to have washed your feet. I will be your servant.” That person
then takes the apron, gets down, and washes the third person’s feet. The first person, washes
his hands in the basin provided after putting his shoes and socks back on. The tub and basin
move down the length of the table. The women do the same thing. Everyone waits until the
foot washing is completed. The deacons then take away all the tubs and basins, quietly and
quickly. No one talks, for all know their jobs. After the foot washing there is more singing.
The men who have handled the tubs move on, wash their hands, and then form a line from the
kitchen into the sanctuary to pass the large bowls of soup, covered with the plate of meat,
which the women have prepared by pouring the broth over the half filled bowls of bread
cubes. They place them on the tables starting from the far side of the sanctuary in order,
filling the proper places on the tables until each table is cared for. When every one is seated
again, the scripture is read. This is the one telling of the Last Supper in the Upper Room. The
Elder offers the prayer for the meal and the eating of the meal proceeds. In some churches
this is done without talking but low conversation is allowed sometimes.

When the meal is finished the wife of the Elder begins the process whereby the side of the
table cloth is taken by each person on that side of table and gently, carefully, folded over
everything on the table, first one side, then the other. The hymn, My Jesus I Love Thee, is
sung. The Elder turns to the one on his right, places his hand on the other one’s shoulder and
kisses him. That ‘passing the kiss of love’ continues around the room. The Elder turns to the
wife and shakes her hand, she passes on the kiss as the men did on their side

There is another song, Break Thou the Bread of Life, or Were You There When They
Crucified My Lord, and the Elder again has the prayer for the blessing for the Bread. Then he
takes one of the long strips of bread which the women baked a week earlier. These strips have
been properly arranged on trays and covered with a special white cloth. As the Elder picks up
his first piece, the assisting Elder very carefully folds back each side of the cloth so that only
one piece is uncovered at any time. Another minister follows the Elder as they circle the
room replenishing the supply of the bread. The Elder breaks the first piece, carefully
checking the six openings in each length, and hands it to the first man, usually the oldest
deacon, and gives him the rest of that strip after the man has laid his short piece on top of the
folded table cloth. Now each man breaks a piece as the Elder did for him, and passes it on to
                                         the next. The Elder turns to the women and breaks a
                                         piece for each one, not as he did for the men, but for
                                         each woman individually, until all have been served. (It
                                         must be said that this has been changed and women
                                         now ‘break for each other’ as the men do ).

                                       The scripture that is read next is that of the Crucifixion.
                                       The Prayer for the serving of the Cup is followed by
                                       the Passing of the Cup among the men and by the
                                       serving of the cup by the Elder to each woman, just as
                                       the bread was served individually to the women. A
                                       ‘moment of silence’, is observed after this. One more

song is sung, usually Blest Be The Tie That Binds, and the Benediction is said. All is quiet as
everyone walks out into the night, to their homes, or around to a separate entrance to the
church, if they are the ones who do the cleaning up of the evening.

The deacons and helpers go about their tasks as methodically as the rest of their work has
been. Things are cared for and put into place ready for the preparation of breakfast and lunch
the next day (for those sleeping in the upper floor and for members of the congregation who
desire to come). The noonday meal will consist of boiled potatoes, more of the beef, cottage
cheese, pickles, beets, and what ever else they decide. The remainder of the soup disappears
at this meal. It is taken for granted that the usual snitz (dried apple) pie is served. The
farewells are said to those departing and the local group relaxes.

Aunt Amanda and Her Hooked Rugs
Mother called Laura and me to get ready quickly to go to Aunt Amanda's house. We knew
that meant for us to check in on Grandma and Grandpa to see whether they needed any help.

“Papa will be here soon with the horses!” she warned.

Laura reminded me not to take my doll since Uncle Henry would likely have a new toy to
show us or to give us when we got there. He always liked to surprise us with the things he

We were under way and eager to hear what Papa would tell us of the plans for the trip. He
usually took the first part of the trip to tell us of all the things he wanted to accomplish and
the people we would see. This time he had an appointment to arrange for some music with his
fellow musician friend, Amos Hottenstein. We were delighted at the prospect for we knew
that would be a short and interesting stop. Now that the ‘business’ part of the plans were
settled, Mother told of her plans. “This is the day to make our selections for the rugs for the
girls!” she announced.

“For us?” both of us said at once. This sounded like a big surprise coming up!

“Yes, we will have Aunt Amanda show us some of the rugs she has made and the plans she
has for others she hopes to make, so we can see what the possibilities are, before we make
our selections. I want a new one to use in the guestroom, perhaps one that has a nice flower in
the center. Remember, that we will not get them today; we will just select the pattern and
then they will make them.”

“They? I thought she made them!”

“No, they do them together.” That sounded just impossible, a man making rugs? Men do not
do such things! Well, we should see what they would say when we got there!

“Do you see that blue house out there?” It was papa's way of having us come back to the
matter of noticing where we were.

“That is where we turn and then in just a short time we will be at the Hottensteins. Mrs.
Hottenstein insisted that all of us come inside while the men made their decisions. She had a
plate of good cookies to share with us. Mother told her we had just had breakfast and were
really not hungry, but Mrs. Hottenstein knew young folks! We enjoyed those cookies and the
cold milk. Papa told us the music matter was all ‘settled'. He indicated his readiness to leave.
I wondered what ‘settled’ meant but this was not the time to have that question answered.
Grandma wanted to tell us things, so we waited to hear.

“You will remember that I will not be able to see the things you will be looking at today. I
will not expect to have you give me all the details but I hope to be able to enjoy the
surprises.” We assured her we would share what we would see.

“Good Morning, Good Morning, all of you! I hope you had a good trip! Suzanne, it is so
good you and Jacob came along!”

“Good Morning, Amanda, Good Morning, Henry! I am glad the children invited us to come.
It is so very good to see you; it has been quite a while since we last visited!”

While the greetings were being said, we girls moved around to have Papa give us the things
we had brought for Uncle Henrys so we could carry them into the house while Mother helped
Grandma up the steps of the porch and into the house. We gathered up the coats and hung
them in the closet; then joined the circle for the conversation. Aunt Amanda sat for just a few
minutes and then invited us girls to come to the kitlchen with her to get lunch on the table.
Each of us was assigned a task and we proceeded to do it as she directed. We filled the
glasses, brought up the cream, the butter, and the deserts she had placed on the shelf. We got
to peek but did not taste! Mother helped Amanda dish up the hot foods, and kept remarking
about how delicious everything looked. We had an idea that we had guessed correctly about
the food she had prepared for us today: Ham slices, fried green tomatoes, corn fritters, parsley
potatoes, sliced pickled beets, bread, butter with the usual apple butter and ‘smearcase’
(cottage cheese), and then Montgomery pie for dessert. Of course, there was coffee and milk
to drink. Papa was the one to comment on the tomatoes for he dearly loved those friend
tomatoes! We all enjoyed each dish to the full and that pleased Aunt Amanda for she loved to
cook for a “table full"!

Everyone helped to care for the dishes and the clean-up of the kitchen.

The men folks took a minute to be sure the horses had their food then proceeded to the
workroom to sort out the things we would see and talk about. Laura and I could hardly
contain our curiosity about the expected toy! Uncle Henry pretended not to notice while he
arranged things. Then, very suddenly he said, “Oh, by the way, here is something I spent
some time putting together this week. What do you think it could be used for?”

                                                     The ladies had joined us and entered into the
                                                     excitement. He held out the neatest little
                                                     “sideboard", made from a cigar box. It had a
                                                     lovely mirror at the top, a large door at the
                                                     front bottom and had special hinges on it.
                                                     Inside, there was the celluloid cow with the
                                                     broken leg! We had played with that broken
                                                     cow so many times! It meant so much to
                                                     each of us. Many other children had played
                                                     with that same cow and no one ever knew
                                                     why, or how, it had a broken leg! It was a
                                                     dear meaningful toy and to have it now
                                                     inside this new sideboard made it all the
                                                     more valuable. Uncle Henry hastened to tell
                                                     us that we were to take it home with us, and
                                                     take good care of the cow by letting it sleep
inside that place! Our joy was complete! He had made it from something we knew little
about. Our men folks did not smoke and did not use cigar boxes. (You will know that I did
take good care of it for here is a picture of it, eighty years later!) It has been a part of ‘playing
house’ many many times through three generations.

The time had arrived for the real business of the day. It was not Aunt Amanda who ‘took
charge’ but Uncle Henry! He took out a pile of folded fabrics from a large cardboard box at
the side of the room and explained that the contents of these boxes had at one time been

heavy winter coats worn by people and finally ended in a rag bag and had gone to a rummage
sale. There, he had bought them, brought them home, ripped the seams, then washed them
carefully, folded them, and put them into these boxes according to colors and weights.

The boxes in this section, he said, contained the strips of materials he had cut and were ready
to use in making the hooked rugs. He told how he decided to cut them: on the bias, if it was a
woven material, so it would not fray; on the straight if it was not woven. He also showed us
the width he cut for the hooked rugs and how to fold each one for the best appearance. He
indicated another large box but wanted Amanda to speak about this one.

She spoke about designs: There was a stack of rugs which she unfolded, one by one, and
showed us the different patterns, colors, sizes and uses of each one. There were round ones to
fit the seats of rocking chairs. There were small rectangular ones to place inside the door to
absorb the drippings from wet shoes. There were some very heavy ones, evidently made from
work pants for areas of heavy traffic. There were rugs for a bedside to keep toes warm and
clean, made of soft materials, light in color. There were rugs of classical design for living
rooms. There were some for transition from one room to another. There were rugs to go by
the piano, or the fireplace—wherever they would serve, their design and colors would agree
with or complement the room.

There were many silent communications between us as she spoke. Some designs appealed to
some of us, others had no special meaning, but a question and answer time cleared up a great
deal. Mother had seen what she wanted so she was able to place her order after we all agreed.

Both Laura and I wanted time to talk over our selections with our parents first so it was
agreed that mother would telephone at a later time but we did select our colors today.

Attention turned to Uncle Henry again who had some interesting information to share. He
had been making, experimenting, and thinking not only of rugs, but he had been teaching and
observing other rug-makers and was eager to share some of his observations with us.

First he uncovered a number of bicycle wheels.

“Wheels?” we questioned. “For rugs?” he handed one to Laura and one to me. They were
different. Laura's had about 8 inches of weaving done on her wheel—enough to give the idea
of procedure, so she tried weaving the wheel rug. He gave Papa one that was barely started
and asked him to help me get it going. At first, I could not see what to do, but Papa explained
how to hold the strip of cloth, and go under the one, up and over the next, how to keep it taut.

“Say, this is fun!” Henry kept watching us both. He also proceeded to get other things.

Mother and Amanda were very intent on what they were examining and doing. No rags or
rugs for them! They had some fine white linens and homespun materials. Mother showed
Amanda how to do some ‘drawn thread” work and some ‘cut work’ also. There was time
enough for doing each thing just a short time because they wanted to learn so many things.
“Let us save time to have you teach me to do that tatting edging that you did on the bureau
scarf for Aunt Sallie", said Amanda. Mother promised, but she also wanted to learn how
Amanda did that new stitch on the rug she made for Lizbet's chair.

“Irene, come try this!” It was Papa with a long tool with a hook on one end.

“No, not in your left hand, use the right one.” There it was again. I always wanted to use the
left hand! This time, I was to crochet a rug made with rags. He handed me a large ball of rag
strips sewed together to make one long strip of many colors.

“This will be a very colorful rug! Is it for a play house?”

“Mine will be prettier! See the design!” Laura held up a circular cloth of a lovely gray color
and on it there were red rope-like pieces in very beautiful shapes or designs!

“What do you call that, Henry?” He explained it was an applique and that the colorful design
would be sewed on the gray with a stitch that Laura had just learned from Grandma when she
worked on the Crazy Quilt.

“I think I will want to make one like this or have Henry make it to use on the piano bench!”
Laura said.

Suddenly Papa looked up and noticed the time. He alerted all of us because it would be dark
long before we reached home. It was most difficult for me not to know what was in all those
other boxes and piles of odd shaped things on the other side of the room. Grandpa indicated
that Grandma was very tired so we agreed to leave, but my curiosity was definitely not ready
to leave those mysterious objects.

Everyone settled into the carriage for the trip, but some of us were bursting with questions
and were happy to see the grandparents nod off to sleep. We received answers from our
parents. They told us things we had heard referred to. Deciding on the kind or the design we
preferred in our rugs was the hardest decision. Could we talk about it some other days and
telephone Amanda later? Mother insisted on a decision because Amanda and Henry would
need to go to the rummage sale soon to get the types and colors of cloth.

Mother had decided on a rug about 3.5 x 5 feet. It was to have a border similar to a Greek
Key and the center would have a pretty flower. Laura decided on a type of flower, perhaps
tulips with a plain greenish border. I chose a deep red with geometric designs. Laura planned
to do the applique one herself. She made several as covers for pieces of furniture in her later

Both Laura and Mother made many crocheted rugs of various materials and sizes which were
to be used at different places. Laura made several braided rugs also and used them in her
mountain cabin. She made a very wonderful wall hanging with many materials and ideas
gathered not only from Uncle Henry's suggestions but from many sources. She was very
inventive and imaginative.

Mother made many rugs of different kinds also. I remember that she made at least one
beautiful knit rug, but her most artistic productions were her tatting and her embroidery-
drawn work combinations. I am grateful to own several of her pieces still in good condition.
They are priceless keepsakes.

Vacationing At Aunt Sallie’s
Facing me as I write is a series of photographs that bring a wealth of pleasant memories of
my childhood. It is a series of color photos from the shores of a beautiful lake surrounded by
trees dressed in the rich colors of autumn. One of those photos is a scene from the same road
about a mile beyond the lake. It is a short stretch of gray road passing two bushes and then a
tall tree whose branches overhang a barn painted in red with white trim. My memory tells me
that to the left of those trees there is a large white house with a porch extending along one
side and several more tall trees beyond the house. I think I can hear the birds in those trees
chirping, “Whip Poor Will, Whip Poor Will!”

Then comes Aunt Sallie’s voice, “Girls! It is time to go to sleep!”

I recall the years when my sister and I, or sometimes just I, spent two or three weeks on that
farm, enjoying the companionship of seven cousins, doing the chores and tasks called for at
that particular season, interspersed with wandering or lingering in the deep shade of the
woods just across the way, and munched on tender “tea leaves” or on the red berries hiding

That house always had a fascination which no other house could equal. Its size was so
impressive; the layout so different and so unique that each detail now remains clear. One
climbed the four steps to the porch, walked the length of it to the door and entered the
kitchen, just to the right of that long table with its bench behind it. To the left of the door
there were three doors full of mystery. Only one of them was open to allow a view way down
to the far, far end of a dark hallway. The opposite wall had several windows that looked out
upon another porch, and along that wall there were several objects not present in our home,
nor in any home of my acquaintance. To the far right, beyond that long table stood the stove.
It was a very large cook stove that had a large firebox. Eight round ‘lids’ where as many as
eight pots or pans could be set for cooking. At the back of the stove there was a large hot
water tank. Below the ‘lids’ was the oven. Its true size was evident when we watched Aunt
Sallie take out of it her big round loaves of bread.

There were two steps in the corner between the stove and the table. Above the steps the wall
opened with a door revealing a set of stairs that led to the master bedroom. That stairs was
not used by the family. They crossed the length of the kitchen to the open door that led down
that long dark hall. At the end of it there was a grand, balustraded stairs which led to the
family rooms upstairs. To the right of that hallway were two rooms. One was used for coats
and contained only one chair, the other was the sewing room. Beyond the hall, past the open
stair was the great parlor. It was a long room and was furnished with a number of chairs,
rocking chairs, a horsehair covered love seat, a reed organ, several parlor tables on which
stood the fancy kerosene lamps of those days. The floor was covered with two matching
‘Brussels’ carpets. There were no drapes but each window had its customary green blind,
This room was scarcely used, all entertaining took place in the kitchen.

Above the parlor, the two large bedrooms served usually as guest rooms but when my sister
and I were there, the two older girl cousins and we shared those rooms. All the other rooms,
more or less, became one grand ‘rumpus’ or play room, for we all had good times in the
evenings. We were sent ‘to bed’ fairly early, but by the time we sang all the fun songs we
knew, asked each other all the riddles, and tried the tongue twisters, the birds were telling us
about “Poor Will". We joined the birds and felt sorry for ‘Poor Will’ for that was the name of

                            the children’s father, my uncle. Surely someone as austere as he
                            had never been punished! So, we made up other words and verses
                            that entertained us.

                            The morning hours were quite different from the evenings for
                            they were needed to accomplish all the chores and seasonal jobs.
                            Some of us went to the barn and did the milking. Some of us fed
                            the chickens. Some cared for the hogs. Some brushed and curried
                            the horses, then fed and watered them. Some separated the milk
                            after it was brought to the house and then washed the separator.
                            On certain days we brought all the cream in the crocks cooling in
                            the cellar, and poured it into the churn and churned it into butter.

When all these things were done, it was time to eat. Everyone was hungry for the big
breakfast Aunt Sallie had prepared. She did not prepare it by herself. It was the rule of the
house that everyone learned to do everything. The boys took turns at all the tasks and so did
the girls. There was no discrimination! Following breakfast, the dishes were done, butter
churned, beds made, rooms cleaned, kitchen floor mopped, the cellar was cleaned, then if
anything was not finished anywhere else, it was cared for at this time.

                                     According to the demands of the season, other tasks were
                                     undertaken such as hay making, binding wheat or oats,
                                     plowing,     raking,    harvesting,   picking    cherries,
                                     strawberries, or huckleberries. Everyone was involved,
                                     except for Aunt Sallie and the one assisting her. She
                                     carried the responsibility for the next meal for all these
                                     people and cared for the infants and toddlers, depending
                                     upon the year. There were potatoes to be peeled,
vegetables to be brought from the garden, washed and prepared; canned goods to be brought
from the cellar and used in addition to the potatoes and fresh vegetables. Cakes or pies were
to be baked; custards or puddings to be prepared for the evening meal; meat to be prepared;
the table to be set and the dishes and extra items to be ready for use.

The thing that required Aunt Sallie’s personal attention, and for which she utilized the item
along the north wall in the kitchen was the ‘dough tray’. This wooden container, shaped
almost like a baby buggy (without wheels), was filled with flour. She made a depression and
into it she poured the mixture which started her bread. She mixed, she kneaded, divided it
into pans and set it to ‘rise’. By the time it had risen she had heated the oven to the proper
temperature and baked the bread. The oven held only two of her large loaves at one time and
each baking took at least forty-five minutes or an hour. She consumed more than a half day
for each baking, three or more times each week.

Bread was a very important item of each meal. Bread was always passed first of all, usually a
slice of bread was buttered, spread with apple butter and eaten before any other dish was
passed. After the meal was eaten, cake or pie was served in this manner: the entire pie was

each person cut his own serving according to his wishes, passed it to the next person around
the table, starting with the father. When one pie was finished, there was another to replace it.
Following the pie or cake, the bread was passed again and many people took another slice
and ate it, with butter and apple butter, of course.

I shall always remember how Aunt Sallie sliced her loaves of bread! She had a ‘high
stomach’, she was not overweight or fat, but she did have a high stomach. She picked up a
loaf of bread, positioned on her stomach with the top of the loaf facing her left side.With her
butcher knife on the under side of the loaf she sliced upward, made a quick cut at the middle,
and doubled one half over top of the other and served the next two people in order. Each half
of the slice was three-fourths to one inch thick, ten inches from top to bottom and five inches
wide. The flavor? Each bite wanted another!

Jelly? It was not used ordinarily. Smearcase and apple butter were the combination used
generally. Apple butter was made from their own apples and the smearcase was from their
own milk. The cheese of the smearcase was creamed with their own cream to the consistency
of the apple butter. Both were spread on the bread in thin layers, ( In another story I have told
of making cider from apples and carrying it home in a barrel, some for apple butter, some for

It would appear that too much time was used in food preparation and in eating, but when one
realizes that this was 1915 and that it was on a farm considered ‘self sufficient’, that
practically the only things that were purchased were sugar and cloth, then it is
understandable. Sugar was bought in hundred pound bags, flour was ground from wheat
taken to the mill from the farm

Aunt Sallie was my mother’s older sister, the first daughter. She was the one traditionally
designated to inherit certain articles from her parent’s estate. When Grandma and Grandpa
gave up housekeeping certain things were given to the children. The cherry wood corner
cupboard which sat in Grandma’s parlor went to Aunt Sallie and was placed in the corner of
the sewing room, just around the corner from the doorway of the coat room. She placed into
it several dishes and keepsakes that had special meaning for her. Laura and I always
remembered the two pieces Grandma had given us, the hand painted vase and the tea pot as
sitting on the middle and upper shelves. Both of us envied our cousins owning that corner
cupboard but we knew that traditionally it was in its rightful spot and we never said a word.

My father continued the singing schools he had started in the church that was built on the
hillside overlooking the lake, which was not termed a lake, but the Big Dam.

Consequently, the church was named ‘The Big Dam Church’! It held that name for many
years. There was a ridge that ran east of the church on which there were several homes. The
largest of those homes belonged to a sister of Uncle Will, who invited us to her home many
times. We loved going there for she had many unusual things but it was her method of
display that interested us. She related everything to her interest in music. She appreciated
having my father continue the singing schools and did all she could to promote them.

There were so many activities during the weeks spent vacationing with the family of Aunt
Sallie and Uncle Will that would be fun to relate but they were routine activities for farm and
country children of that time. Some of those activities continue for farm children today but
have acquired adaptations to inventions and traditions. A word we were not aware of as
children at that time has become one much used in discussions and newspapers today. It is
the word “scam". It does not seem possible that it would have applied to my life.

My parents wrote me regularly through the years. About 1945, I grew more and more curious
about one thing. We had purchased a home in a city where there was a space in the dining
room that seemed made to order for a corner cupboard. Occasionally, my parents used the

phrase, “We visited Aunt Sallie". One time I ignored my acceptance of traditions and asked
my folks whether Aunt Sallie would consider selling that corner cupboard. They responded
immediately with the reprimand, that I was not “oldest or first daughter", that my mother was
not the first daughter either, that there was no possibility that I could even faintly hope for
such an opportunity.

I accepted the rebuke as calmly as I could and remained quiet. I studied magazines and
catalogs. Ten days later there was a telephone call. My father said they had gone to Aunt
Sallie’s house to see about the corner cupboard. When they went into the cloak room to hang
up their coats, as usual, they noticed the cupboard was not in its usual place.

“Where did you move the cupboard to?” he asked.

“That old thing?” She explained. “The other week a man came here saying he was a dealer
and would we want to sell it? So, I sold it to him for five dollars and he took it away.”

Some time later we had news that Aunt Sallie had died.

The years have passed. I have pleasant memories of all the vacations spent participating with
cousins in farm chores, enjoying delicious meals I had helped to prepare, recalling fun times
of singing our own versions of songs we knew, listening to whip-poor-wills in the trees by
our window, thinking of hours spent in the woods, relaxing on moss and inhaling the
fragrance of the pine trees.

There has never been a corner cupboard in our home.

Aunt Clara
“Let’s go to Aunt Clara’s house for dinner today since this is the last chance we have before
they move!”

“We have not told her we’re coming. Should we call even yet?”

“No, she will be expecting some of us and have her feelings hurt if we do not come. She said
last Sunday that she thought some of the relatives would want to say farewell to the farm here
since so many of them have some connection with it.”

We went on to the church service as usual and were glad to see that Aunt Clara’s family was
there also. When the service was over, no one seemed in a hurry to leave but visited with
each other. Many people greeted the Keeney family though because they would be moving.

Finally, it was our turn to speak to them and she asked whether we would “come home with”
them? It was a lovely ritual quite common in the community.

Also, as usual, we shared transportation: one or two of them rode with us and some of us rode
with them. The men folks went on to the sheds where the horses were tied during the service,
while the ladies and children waited under the shade tree.

The dining table was not set, there was no aroma of a roast in the oven, no sign of
preparations for a ‘big company dinner’. We would have been surprised if we had seen any
such thing. It was not normal.

Once at home and in her kitchen, Aunt Clara was Aunt Clara! She gave instructions calmly,
directly to each individual. It was expected.

“Minnie, you and Irene, change your dresses, then take the basket on the table in the summer
kitchen, and paring knives and go to the meadow. Gather young dandelion; be sure to clean it
as you go.”

“Maggie, you and Laura, get the potatoes and peel them but let me slice them. I want to fry
them and it is important to slice them just right. You may set the table after that and get the
things from the cellar.”

“Henry, first of all, bring another ham from the attic. I want to use the ham hock from the one
we just finished for another meal this week, so bring a large one. Then, I want you to help
Aunt Annie to put boards into the table. She will show you how”.

“George and Henry, why don’t you spread that blanket on the grass in the yard and go do
your talking there, so we can get the dinner.”

“Otho and Grace, bring in some more wood so I can keep this fire going. As you go out, take
the can of chicken feed on the porch to the chickens. Then you can show Grace the new

It took just a short time to give those directions but meantime she had started up the fire and
set out two large iron skillets for the potatoes, another larger one for the ham, several
saucepans and kettles for other things she had in mind. She opened several glass jars of

vegetables and set them to heat on the stove. As soon as son Henry returned from the attic
with the ham, she picked up her butcher knife and went to the work table.

Mother was familiar enough with Aunt Clara’s way of doing things so she busied herself with
doing all the little extras that needed doing. She helped Henry with the table, she got the eggs,
sugar and vinegar to prepare for the dressing for the dandelion when the girls returned. She
stood by to transfer the ham to the skillet as the slices were cut.

By the time Laura and Maggie had finished with the potatoes, the ham was sizzling, the
vegetables were almost heated, the table was ready for setting, the bacon bits were frying for
the dandelion dressing and for the green beans. Aunt Clara took one look around, gave
directions to the big girls to do the remaining jobs: get the butter, jam, cottage cheese,
pickles, bread, fresh water from the pump, cream for the coffee.

Minnie and I returned from the meadow with a large mess of dandelion greens. Mother and
both of us looked it over, took the dishpan to the pump and washed it thoroughly and brought
it to be prepared for the table. The girls had finished filling the glasses and brought all the
dishes ready to be filled.

“Henry, you bring in the men from their naps. Yes, I knew they would go to sleep and not
talk very much! The potatoes are just about ready so let us get everyone seated.”

I still remember how it all happened at once, it seemed. Everyone was seated and the prayer
was offered. Then Aunt Clara and Maggie arose again and went to the stove. The bread was
passed, then came the ham platter with its thick slices, three inches wide and five inches or
more high. Everyone took a slice and laid his bread on top of it on the plate. Then came the
potatoes, piping hot and fried just exactly right. The green beans, corn, and pickled beets
came next. Now it was time for the dandelion. When the skillets of potatoes were removed
from the fire the pan of dressing was placed on it. It took just a very few minutes to come to a
boil and in one movement was poured on the greens and chopped hard boiled eggs and served
immediately, on the potatoes.

Conversation ended. It was time to eat! The coffee was brewing, replacing the odor of ham
with its aroma. Comments of appreciation and satisfaction came from each one. Dishes were
passed again and each one had second servings! Coffee was served, and then came the snitz
(dried Apple) pie, coconut custard, chocolate cake and a dish of sliced canned peaches.

At the time, I was not conscious of it but learned after some years that, it was “not proper” to
pass the entire pie and allow folks to serve themselves!

Then, the pie was passed, each took the size he had room for, not only of the pie but also the
cake and fruit.

Everyone leaned back in their chairs, and had a good period of conversation. The family was
together, plans were made, past experiences were retold, jokes recounted and enjoyed. It was
a great family time. Finally, Aunt Clara offered another cup of coffee. It was the signal to
leave the table.

Now, the men really did enjoy their blanket on the grass and proceeded to get a good nap.
Maggie and Laura disappeared upstairs where Maggie showed Laura her ‘hope chest’. She
was looking forward to being married before many months. Minnie and I went for a walk to

the outdoors little house that had a half moon cut in the door! Otho and Grace continued their
tour of the new animals. Mother and Aunt Clara remained seated, enjoying their coffee. Then
they put away the foods but decided to play the game with both sets of girls, and leave the
dish washing for them - whenever they would return.

The Keeneys did get moved to another home. Uncle George had been in ill health and could
no longer manage the big farm so the smaller home was a good move for them. There was a
barn, a spring with good water and a comfortable house that allowed the family to have a
more relaxed life.

Some years later Aunt Clara and my dad along with others of the extended family decided to
have a “family reunion” at Aunt Clara and Uncle George’s home. It was held on a Sunday
afternoon, so everyone could have time to drive in after church. Several of the older sisters
were farther away and would arrive to visit one of the local families the day before.

The reunion was a big success and has continued annually. This year, 1998, the seventy
second reunion will be held within just a few miles from where the first one took place. There
was emphasis upon music in that first one to continue the family interest and enjoyment that
prevailed with the singing brothers in the harness shop, “when all were young". A cousins
quartet sang at that first reunion. I was in that group but the other three are singing in the
heavenly choir now. Music has continued as an important emphasis throughout the years.

Various groups have performed from year to year but always the children have had a central
part, along with a chorus of mixed ages that continue the family idea of intergenerational
togetherness. In recent years instruments have added to the traditional acappella singing.

Aunt Clara was a gracious hostess to that first reunion. She was always a ‘people person’.
Uncle George died soon after that reunion and when her children were no longer at home, she
and Minnie served at Elizabethtown College as cooks.

Aunt Clara became ‘aunt’ to all the students. They enjoyed her cooking. She tried to please.
Two of my cousins, Dave and Alvin, as college seniors, were very much at home in the
kitchen and helped Aunt Clara a great deal. They lifted the heavy kettles for her, provided the
muscle power to ‘mash the potatoes’ and added a supply of humor to the kitchen.

Mother also helped Aunt Clara. Each springtime the Juniors served the Seniors at a banquet.
Each group wanted to serve something special, other than the usual college menu. The two
ladies helped each other at such times. Usually Aunt Clara prepared the main part of the meal
and mother did the dessert. One such favorite was mother’s coconut custard pie made from
fresh coconut and was very deep dish! One pie was cut into five servings. Each recipe called
for six eggs.

We had a large tray, the size of the stove top. It was made for drying corn. It served very well
for transporting those pies the two miles from our kitchen to the college kitchen. Mother was
glad that I lived at home and could help her make those pies. Preparing the fresh coconut for
all those pies was a big job! It was worth it all to hear the comments from the folks who ate

Homemade Ice Cream
Mother was bustling about the kitchen, overseeing the breakfast, and speaking of the
possibilities for the day, while she was doing pancakes for us. She even had me bring up a jar
of the fresh sausage we had canned to have with the pancakes. It all tasted so good and we ate
leisurely. It was Saturday, there was no school, there was no trip planned, there were no
guests scheduled to arrive, and there was not even going to be Church at Frystown tomorrow.
I was fixing my third pancake, when Mother asked whether we knew that the wild
strawberries were ripe? She had heard that they were plentiful and especially tasty this year.

“Strawberries? Ripe? May I go pick some? Can we have shortcake?” I was eager for a
response. I hurried away to tell Grandma all about it, that Laura would do her work today and
that I was going to pick berries. Then, I gathered two small buckets and my sunbonnet and
started for the church. I was not going to help wash the lamp globes today.

I walked on beyond the cemetery, along the outer edge of the church property and there were
the strawberries—red, large size, and many of them.

I started to pick just the large ones and the ones really ripe. I tasted a few, yes, they were
really good… I began to think of all the ways they could be used: short cake, sugar and milk,
jam, oh yes–ice cream! Why did we not say that this morning? Would mother agree? Let’s
see. Ice cream,…….go to the mill,….horse and buggy,….freezer,… salt,….someone to
do turning,…preparing the mixture. We did not order cream, would there be some? Better
forget it, takes more time to plan, just keep on picking the berries. Oh, look! This bucket is
almost full already!

In a short time the second bucket felt heavy and was almost filled. I had to return home to
empty these before I could get more.

Papa was coming out of the back door when I was about to enter. He was checking the large
ice cream freezer! He just smiled at my surprised look and nodded his head. He asked me
how would I like to change my dress and take the horse and buggy to Spannuth’s and get
some ice so we could make the ice cream.? I ran to the cellar to put the berries in the cool
place, then dashed upstairs to change. Meantime, papa had gathered several gunny sacks for
the ice and was busy hitching the horse to the buggy, and away I went. I almost forgot to
receive the money for the ice.

Mr. Spannuth, himself, was at the door of the mill and saw me coming.
"Good morning! How about some ice on this nice strawberry morning?” How did he know
what I wanted? He asked me whether we had already picked the berries and if they were
good. I assured him I had picked some and that I would get more when I returned. He
guessed that was the way it would be and hurried to walk with me around to the ice house.

I had seen the men pack that ice into the ice-house last winter and was surprised to see it had
not melted very much but was still all packed in the sawdust as when it was first put in there.
He brushed away some of the sawdust and exposed the ice. I was afraid it would all melt
before I could get home but he packed some sawdust around it and wrapped it in the gunny
sacks I brought, and told me to just take it home. I paid him and left. The horse knew the way
and needed no urging. I felt so grown-up sitting there in the buggy, holding on to the reins
and talking to the horse, just as though he understood what I was telling him!

Mother had called about the availability of cream and extra milk so all we needed was for me
to run over to the neighbors to get what she had ordered. Mother had a lunch saved for me
since the family ate while I was away. I picked up my buckets and ran back to get more

Meanwhile, the family was not idle. They had proceeded with the duties of the day and
arranged for the evening. All of them were busy when I returned with both buckets filled with
nice plump berries. Mother was very pleased and asked me to wash them all ready for the

It was my turn to hear the plans, and was thrilled to have had so important a part in these
plans. The others were ready to start the freezing process. Papa put the ice into the freezer
around the container that held mother’s special mixture; Laura added the salt; I was given the
chance to do the first round of turnings. Each one had a turn but papa got the turn when it
became hard to turn. He kept on until it would not turn any more. Then quickly, mother
brought the large spoon, and a plate, a cloth, some wax paper, and together they would care
for the removal of the ice cover, clean the lid, and remove the dasher. It all required several
sets of hands. Mine were ready for my assignment! They all said I was to have the honor of
receiving the dasher to “lick"!

It was time to clean up. Everyone hastened to do that and be ready for the big celebration of
the evening. I was told to go and bring Grandpa and Grandma. and very soon we saw Uncle
Israel and Aunt Mary bringing her parents, Rev and Mrs. Jacob Pfautz, coming in the front
door. Uncle Israel and Aunt Mary had been married recently.

Mother had prepared a light supper snack which we ate while the ice cream was being
‘ripened’. Then the celebration of enjoying the very FIRST STRAWBERRIES of the season
with the home made ice cream was observed in a proper fashion by everyone there. There
were plenty of berries and plenty of ice cream. It had to be finished to the bottom of the
container. There was no way to keep it until tomorrow! There was also plenty of appetite to
make it a very special celebration. There was real appreciation for many people, things, and

Hobo Joe Comes Calling
‘IRENE, IRENE, will you see who’s at the back door?” It was Grandma calling me while I
was in the cellar putting the breakfast things away.

“Yes, Grandma, I’m coming". I hurried as fast as I could to see who was there, thinking it
was very strange to have someone come at that time and to the back door. If anyone would
come to the back door, they would come right on in then call out. “Good Morning, Miss! Is
your Grandpa still home or has he gone to the shop already, or has he gone to do butchering
somewhere?” Well, this person seems to know the habits of Grandpa, I thought as I just
looked at this stranger. I hesitated and turned to ask Grandma what to do, but she evidently
recognized the voice and was coming toward the door.

When she came close to the door she began greeting the man as an old friend! She did not
invite him in but they chatted for quite some time about each one’s health, what had been
happening, where Grandpa was and how was he, how the neighbors were, who was ill, just
conversing as old friends. I grew more and more curious.

Finally, he asked about the supply of wood, did she need chips, good logs, could he help out,
for he was going to be gone for a few weeks before he would be back? Now, it dawned on me
that this must be Hobo Joe! I had heard the folks speak of him so many times.

“Get those chip baskets there along the wall!” I knew what she meant and brought three large
baskets to Hobo Joe. He smiled while he was asking her how the special mint tea was
growing. She smiled too and said,

“OH, it has grown just fine, in fact, we fixed some last evening and had some left over which
I prepared as iced tea. Irene, will you bring a large glass full to let him drink it now?” I
hurried to get the drink and he gathered the baskets and placed them on the lower step.
Grandma leaned to the side to get the axe from beside the door where it hung on a nail, and
gave it to him, then I handed him the drink. He thanked me and smiled ever so broadly. He
walked on to the woodpile with his baskets, the axe and the drink; Grandma returned to her

I was bursting with questions but she headed me off by saying, “Build up the fire so you can
fix some foods. You must go to the cellar and get two of the larger potatoes that we boiled
last evening. Then take a knife and cut two rather large slices from that ‘panhaus’, and take a
fork to get two pieces of the fresh sausage from the jar and put it on a saucer. That will be
your first load. Bring that and let’s get it started.

The fire came on quickly. The stove was hot so the skillets sizzled as the panhaus fried, the
sliced potatoes heated and browned nicely with their seasoning and the sausages browned and
were ready by the time the other things were. Now for another trip to the cellar. This time I
took a plate, fork and spoon to get several slices of pickled beets from a jar, two pickles, for
she said he liked her large pickles, some bread, butter, apple butter and cottage cheese. The
coffee was perking merrily so I could get everything in order, ready to serve. Grandma gave
instructions to have the proper containers at hand.

Hobo Joe brought the baskets of the chips and twigs and put them in their proper places. Then
he brought the heavier logs for slow heating and stacked them. Finally, the regular split wood
filled the wood supply. He seemed very pleased with what he had been able to do. Grandma

surprised me with her activity and keen interest in having everything just right for his

There was a small table and a chair on the back porch that I never saw used before this. She
brought a cloth as a cover for it. Hobo Joe accepted the towel and proceeded to the pump and
the basin there to wash up during the time I dished up the food: the potatoes with their eggs,
the panhaus and the sausage filled up the plate. The beets, pickles, cottage cheese, and apple
butter filled the smaller plate; the bread was also separate and served with the large cup of
coffee and glass of water. There was a red and white checked napkin for him also. He paused
for his prayer before he ate and expressed his deep thanks for this generous meal to Grandma
and to me.

There was to be more: I was told to place three eggs, and six molasses cookies into a box
Grandma took from the shelf for him to take for a later meal. When he had almost finished
his plate, Grandma had me take him a large serving of crumb cake and a refill for his coffee.

It seemed that this “second meal” was the time both Grandma and Hobo Joe enjoyed very
much. This was the time for ‘visiting’, for messages he was delivering for people along his
“route", recipes from special meals, experiences in other countries for he really did travel,
weather experiences and how glad he was for the covered bridge close to Frystown where he
could keep dry and especially where he could get away from the “Gypsies".

At that word, I went closer and asked him who and what the ‘Gypsies’ were. “Was it really
true that they kidnapped children? Did they take foods from the gardens? Do they remove
clothes from the lines when they are hung out to dry? Do they take chickens too?” Also, do
Hobos have signs for homes?”

He smiled a big smile at my last question. Yes, there are signs but people seldom see them.
He insisted there was a very special sign for Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Not many homes
provide so generous or tasty a meal as Grandma does! He spoke again about how their home
is special on the list of considerate homes. Then he grew very sober and was apologetic as he
spoke of the gypsies.

Yes, they are a group of homeless folks who mostly have been “unlucky” but some times
some of them take advantage of kind people. He advised us to be aware when we heard of
their approach, to not hang out wash, keep chicken houses locked, keep children in groups
and within sight or sound of parents, share what garden produce you wish to share and be
friendly instead of elusive.

Hobo Joe said his farewells in a genuinely friendly way and wished everyone good health and
much happiness. He thanked us for the box of extras and was on his way. I kept thinking I
heard him singing for long minutes after he left.

“All day I go a wandering….fol de ree, fol de ra.

“My knap sack on my back”

The Cake Walk
Saturday forenoon was busy with many extra duties, it seemed. Mother was busy in the
kitchen and was overseeing the work at Grandma’s house too. I hurried to get the things she
needed and tried to be sure that my bed was well made and the room cleaned up properly.
This was going to be a busy, interesting Saturday evening. We would be sure to have a nice


“Did you see all the activity across the street, beside the hotel?”

Just a few minutes of looking in that direction was proof that something was being prepared
there. Chairs were placed as for a band and other chairs for an audience but why was there a
vacant place all around where the Band would sit? Then, what were those tables on the one
side for? Would people eat there? There were no chairs by their side. I wondered so much
what was going to happen as I watched the preparations, but I dared not stop to watch very
long. Mother was needing things from the cellar, and all she would say was that I should
keep watching occasionally and some time in the evening I would have my answer.

It was frustrating not to know but it was exciting too. Somehow, the sight of the lovely
chocolate cake mother was frosting, the special plate on which she placed it, the fact that the
‘company’ plates she was setting out were enough only for our family, not enough for guests,
all added to the suspense.

In the middle of the afternoon the work seemed to be finished, dad came from the shop
saying he had finished. There were no more customers to be served, nothing special needed
doing at Grandma’s house, it was time for baths.

We were not going away? There was no company for supper? What was going on? My mind
was in a whirl. Baths were done in a big hurry and everyone appeared all ready for
something! What was it? No supper was cooking, the table was not to be set! It was
beginning to get dark enough to turn on the lights but that was not to happen.

Then! Papa moved over to the table and picked up the large blue glass bowl which was used
for only one thing!

“Ice Cream!!” “Strawberry for me,” Everyone called out the choices and papa walked on
over to the side door of the hotel. (He never entered the door that said “Saloon").

The sight of that blue glass bowl when he returned is one I shall never, never forget. There
were those five flutes of the bowl filled with those six-inch long cone –shaped servings of the
ice cream, each gleaming in the colors of the flavors we had chosen, blending into one
delicious looking concoction. Mother was busy cutting the cake and laying a generous slice
of it on each of the plates, she shifted quickly from the cake knife to the serving spoon for the
ice cream and gave each one his choice.

Now came the big surprise! We did not sit at the table to eat it but took the chairs by the front
window and faced the other side of the street, next to the hotel, to eat our ice cream in the
dark! Things were beginning to happen over there.

First, the Band members came and seated themselves in their chairs. Each seemed to know
which was his chair. Each took out his instrument, tried it out, blew on it and made weird
sounds as the several members did the same thing. Suddenly all the instruments joined in one
of the exciting numbers of Sousa’s famous marches.

My dad just loved that music. I began to understand why there was all the suspense, and
eagerness to have this time free, for the enjoyment of this music. We ate and finished our
treat but the matter of dishes was of no importance now. The music

was the complete fulfilment for all of us as we observed how much it meant to him. We
followed his lead and hummed along with the music; as we were observing the activity
surrounding the Band.

We watched the young couples as they arrived in their buggies, gather up the baskets of cake
plates or boxes beautifully wrapped and place them on those tables on the side I had
wondered about. Then they joined the other couples standing off to the side of the Band and
in front of the people who occupied the seats in the audience.

In just a few minutes it all came clear. The Band played a lively march, one young man led
his lady friend into the circular space and they began the “walk” around the Band and the
audience. This was the way of a “ Cake Walk". Other couples joined in and “walked” with
the music, round and round the Band until, unexpectedly, the Band stopped. It was musical
chairs time and the couple found at the selected spot went over to the table and were served a
slice of cake which they ate while the music continued, and another couple began to eat their
cake. The first couple joined the marchers again. Thus it continued until the first cake was
completed. Then the Band played a number or two, not marches, and people relaxed a bit.

Now it was time for the real contest! The couples marched, the music played; when it stopped
the couple went to the table and he had to choose the basket or plate or box which he thought
his lady friend had prepared! (He did not know that the girls had exchanged before their
friends had come for them). He was required to pay the fee for the basket or box. Thus those
two left the circle and went to the side or to another place to eat the contents of the box he
had selected.

Eventually, all had made their selections and departed. Sometimes, the Band continued
playing for the enjoyment of the audience, sometimes, the younger folks in the audience
came and made the walks and the men bought a serving of ice cream for them. The evening
was considered a success because the young folks of the area had an opportunity to be
together in an approved, chaperoned situation; the funds raised benefited the Band.

Papa was very happy to know that the twenty-five cents he had paid for our dish of ice cream
would go for the Band. He had enjoyed it so much. He was always very sorry that his Church
did not favor this kind of activity for her youth.

High School and College Years
This story is childhood experiences following the time when the family left the farm.

We moved from the farm after Grace was born, April 10, 1916, just before the close of
school, to a house Dad had rented in Richland. We arrived there as the school students were
taking final exams. The teachers did not know how to place me because Frystown had been a
one-room school and Rehrersburg was a two-room school. At first I was in fifth grade, then
they moved me into sixth. I studied for the sixth grade finals hoping to pass on to seventh
grade the following year.

Both Dad and Mother helped me in the evenings to make sure I studied properly. I passed.
After being in seventh grade for a month, the teacher moved me to eighth grade. I’m sorry
about that now for I realize that I missed much I should know. I don’t have a good foundation
in history.

Life in Richland was quite different from the farm. Now we had sidewalks and neighbors.
Fortunately, a neighbor girl, took charge of me. She was not happy with the way I walked and
spoke. She had me put my shoulders back and walk with her. Evidently I was used to taking
long steps. I walked to school with her and did many interesting things with her. We went
together to get milk each evening. Little did I realize just how much she did help me. Thanks
to her my shoulders are still square!

The 1918 Flu Epidemic
In the fall of 1918 the great epidemic hit our community. Many people were ill. Dad and I
were the only ones not affected. We went to various homes each morning to start the fires.
We shook down the ashes, added wood and coal, and heated water. We checked on food
before going to the next house. We did this several times each day It was good to know our

The church was interesting and different. The young people were recognized and had
organized a Christian Workers group, meeting on Sunday evenings. We had a wonderful
teacher who kept all these young people very active. We did many different things that
included study as preparation for the meeting. We also recited, took tests, answered questions
and spoke in public. He provided training in many ways. It was there that I got to know Mr.
Goodman who had just come to town. He was especially interested in the way I spoke and
coached me to speak better and to place my voice. He coached me through my high school
oration entitled “The Builder Dies But the Work Goes On”.

That occasion was the beginning of having me give Readings. The many Sunday School and
Missionary Meetings added an interest in developing opportunities for both young and old to
speak in public. We were given subjects or assigned material on which to speak. These
meetings were held at different churches each Sunday.

They were also great social occasions. People came for the supper and a visit in various
homes. I remember when it was our turn, when Richland was entertaining. We had twenty-
five or thirty people at noon and that many or more in the evening. It was a pretty big job to
do that. I got a lot of experience in preparing speeches, cleaning the house, preparing the
foods and serving that many people, especially when these coincided with mother’s attacks of
migraine headaches. Dad was very good at helping.

High School Years
Laura was not home. She had gone to Elizabethtown College. Grandma paid her way. Laura
took a bookkeeping course. After that she became the bookkeeper for the college and
remained at Elizabethtown. She was dating during this time. It gave me experience in helping
to prepare the special foods that she wanted to serve her boyfriend. It was something to live
with an older sister and learn what makes for good dating. How do you prepare for a date?
How does the home prepare? Do you meet the date? Does he come in or leave without ever
meeting the family? There were very strict practices about all of this. Sometimes we got to
see the boyfriend, but not often. The door opened only when she served the refreshments she
had prepared.

It was a good experience to have those three years in high school at Richland. For the fourth
year the district paid for us to attend the county high school in Lebanon. Four of the five
eleventh-grade graduates went on to Lebanon. We went on the train that passed through
Richland at 7:20 am and took about a half-hour to get to Lebanon. We walked the rest of the
way and got to school just as classes started. Another person on that same train was Ammon
Gettle, a member of the church at Richland. He went to the academy at Elizabethtown the
year before but decided to take this year at Lebanon instead of paying the high cost at

That winter was cold and provided good ice for skating and sledding. Our house was on the
hillside. Traffic was closed on that street when it was icy and crowds of children and adults
came out to sled down the hill and then walk back up the hill. One day Ammon asked me to
go skating with him. We went out to a big pond on a family farm. This was my first real date.
I was excited. Fortunately I had learned to skate earlier and we had a good time together! We
sat together on the train a good many times. We did our lessons because he had some courses
I did not have, and I had some he did not.

I took Latin and we had a good teacher during the three years at Richland. The first course
was Introduction to Latin, the second was Caesar, the third year was Cicero, the fourth year
was Virgil. That is what I took at Lebanon. I especially enjoyed Latin because the teacher had
been to Italy during the summer and she had many ideas. She formed a Latin Club, but since
it met after school I could not attend many of them. One ttime they had a banquet and dressed
as Romans in togas. We memorized the first lines of Virgil. I remember “arma virumque
cano Troiai qui primus ab oris Italia fato.” We repeated that many times. It was an interesting

Several other things happened at Richland. During the year I went to Lebanon, our physics
class spent a month studying electricity. I missed that month because my father had smallpox.
Smallpox is hardly heard of today because everyone is vaccinated. That year vaccination did
not seem to help. There were so many cases of smallpox that if there were one more, the town
would have been quarantined. Our family was quarantined, which meant that we could not go
to the store, post office, church, or school.

I brought all my books home and got the assignments from the other students on the
telephone. We lived together during this time without a chance to be separated at all. But we
had fun. Laura was ill for awhile with a case of tonsillitis. Daddy, broke out with smallpox
(he had five pox on one side of his nose, but none on the other side,) but he felt fairly well so
he went on with his work since his shop was in the house. I needed something else to do,
since my lessons did not take up all my time. Mother decided this was the opportunity for me
to learn to crochet. She taught me, although it was difficult. I was left-handed and she was

right-handed. I learned, nonetheless. She had a pattern for a beautiful yoke for a girl’s
nightgown. There were roses across the front and back, and roses around the arms. There was
a picture large enough we could count spaces. I wore this nightgown for years and years.
Eventually I had fastened three sets of cloth to that yoke and wore out each of them.

One full moon night Laura felt like playing and so did I. Grace was probably asleep. We
climbed out on the porch roof outside our bedroom window. It was quite cold, and we were
excited to be out there. We walked back and forth. Mother and Dad heard us and came,
saying, “Now look! You mustn’t be out here!” From that exposure Laura took a bad cold and
had to be in bed for almost a week. It was the wrong thing for us to do. We were quarantined
and did not have a chance to be out with other people. The grocer came and left our food on
the front porch; the meat man left meat on the front porch; the milkman left our milk on the
front porch. But no one else came. And no one came inside. We just enjoyed the food. But we
got tired of not being able to be with other people.

Beginning College
That summer I worked in the mens pants factory to earn money to start college in the fall.
They weren’t so sure about letting me go to college. One lady said, “Irene should not go to
college. She will get married some day so she doesn’t need to be educated! She’ll get married
and have children and stay at home. So why send her to college now?” That is what many
others did. Not many people sent their daughters to college. But this girl wanted to go to
college! What would you have done in my place?

That September the two girls, one the bookkeeper and the other a freshman, went to college.
Irene lived in the dormitory on the top floor in a room with a dormer window from which she
could look down on the campus. I was that girl! I remember we had a hall proctor who did
not believe in letting girls be girls. She thought she had to be very strict. She would listen
carefully as we went up and down to learn who used the stairs. The second step from the top
had a squeaky board which was her alarm clock. She took good care of it. After awhile we
learned we could go quietly down the hallway to use the other stairs. There was no squeaking
board there!

At the end of the first semester my father rented a house. He decided to move to the college
town. He found a job in a shoe factory, and he did not need to have his shop in his own home.
Laura and I lived at home and saved a good deal of money. All we needed now was to pay
for our books and tuition. Laura paid some board, two dollars a week. She was not required to
do any of the work at home. The cost of my meals came from the work I did at home: the
cleaning and the family ironing

Busy Days
For the four years of college I had a class at 7:40 am. The rest of the classes were spread
throughout the day. Extra curricular activities came after 4:00 p.m. usually. A good many of
the laboratory sessions were scheduled at 4:00 p.m. Things like student volunteers, chorus,
and men’s and ladies’ glee-club, most of the societies met in the daytime. The Literary
Society and Homerian Society met on Friday afternoon. Other activities were in the evening.
I went to class at 7:40 am and was on campus all day and spent the evening in the library
until 10 p.m. Then I went home to eat my supper.

The first semester I took Arts and Crafts, and learned how to make baskets. Reed work was
very popular and when it became known that I could do reed work, I received orders which I
filled. A good many of them were for trays. The trays were eighteen inches long, oval or
square. Rectangular trays were mostly ten inches wide with built-up reed work two inches
high around the sides and a strong border at the top. The handles were built in. These trays
covered a plywood base covered with whatever surface people wanted. One man ordered a
tray for which he brought me dried cat-o’-nine-tails. When they were fluffed up and covered
with a glass it had a beautiful tan silky texture. He laid beautiful dried flowers over that and
put the glass on top and closed it all with tape around the edges to keep it moisture-proof.

Some people wanted lamp shades; others wanted sewing baskets. One lady wanted a
birdcage. Another wanted a fernery built. I made all sorts of things, including wastebaskets of
all sizes and shapes. With the income from the reedwork I paid most of my way through
college. I also did knitting. Many people wore stoles or scarves. One lady ordered some for
her daughters made from a deep brown wool yarn, thirty inches wide and two yards long.
That took a lot of knitting, it was all a part of earning my way through school.

There were many good things I took advantage of and enjoyed at college. But typing, was
one of the classes I could not take because I took too many other courses. So I never learned
touch-typing. I chose student volunteers, chorus, literary society, Homerian society, debate,
and some gym classes. These took time, but they were very gratifying.

Higher Passions
From the beginning I started with Student Volunteers because I wanted very much to go to
Africa as a doctor. It was important that I take pre-med courses and then I got into Student
Volunteers to learn more about the opportunities. Early in the year, there was a Student
Volunteer Convention at Bucknell College. Ten or twelve of us rode the train to attend. The
speaker at the convention was Dr. Walter Judd. He spoke very emphatically and convincingly
about China. He went to China later and served for many years. He returned and served as a
Senator very effectively.

There was a Men’s club and a Women’s club. It was not a YMCA because the college was
not yet accredited. Normally, we met separately, but occasionally we had a joint meeting. We
did projects although not always together. One time the men made a rule that two people
could not go out together more than once without changing partners. If A went with B on
Sunday, then A could not go with B any other time that week unless he had first gone with
someone different. This opened the way for each of the fellows to go with each of the girls at
the college. That made an interesting observation for a number of weeks. Thus I got to know
several different fellows, but Desmond was not one of them.

I had been at college for a year. During the second year I was in the bookkeeper’s office
when Desmond Bittinger, a new student, came up the walk, then to the window, to start
enrolling. I was the only one there to help him. As he looked in, I asked if I could help him.
He seemed kind of flustered for a bit, and then he said “Yes, I think you may.” I was able to
answer the questions he asked. Later at the Bucknell Student Convention he asked me for a
date. I thought this was another of the rounds. It was, and it wasn’t! On the way home from
the convention we sat side by side and talked. He was one of the men’s club officers, and I
was a women’s club officer. We talked about the problem of what to do about the girls and
fellows who slipped out at night to meet. We had several cases like that and needed to face
the problem. We were together from that time forward. He was president of the student

volunteers and I was secretary, it seemed natural that officers should go on the same Sunday
deputations to the churches.

Occasionally we went in the car of Mr. S. H. Hertzler, President of the Board of Trustees and
Senior Elder of the church. Everyone thought of Elder Hertzler as the authority. He was not a
tall man, but he was very powerful in many respects. He was prominent not only at the
college and the church, but also in the business world. He spoke very slowly, deliberately,
and very wisely. When he went with us there were always four— two boys and two girls.
When five got in his little car it was crowded, but he was a tactful person. He loved to sing
and had perfect pitch. All these trips were full of wonderful singing. He began at exactly the
correct note each time without hesitation.

When he drove he was sure we needed to obey the speed limit. He did not like to go over the
limit, but he did want to go at the proper speed. Sometimes at night the boys who were
driving would try to speed up a bit to get us home more quickly. He always sat in the right
front seat with a flashlight in his hands. At unexpected times he would flash the light on the
speedometer. He only had to do it once or twice until the drivers caught on. He was so full of
jokes and stories the trip never seemed long enough for us to hear what Uncle Sam had to tell
us. His wife was Aunt Mary. They lived to a rich old age and were wonderful people. We
liked to go with him.

When we did not go in his car, we took my dad’s Ford. But that meant my mother had to
walk to church, which was not easy for her. We hesitated to take his car, sometimes people
loaned us their cars or took us. We went to many churches. We learned to know many people
and they learned to know us. Presently we were known as Brother and Sister Bittinger, for
they thought we were husband and wife. Others thought we were brother and sister and did
not think about us being a couple in love.

For the Sunday morning service, one of the four of us spoke on Missions, another spoke on
Social Purity, or Temperance. One had the prayer and offering or a statement about the
College, the fourth provided a Reading or a musical selection. We were elected officers at the
college so we tried very hard to do the right thing. However we had not been “going
together” very long when we were told to appear in the president’s office. We wondered why
this was so, but we went unafraid because we knew we had not done anything wrong. The
president asked if we thought it was proper for us to be together without associating with
someone else and not having a chaperone. We asked if there was objection. Yes, some people
had questioned it. So we told him what our plans were. His response was, “Well, you didn’t
hear what I said today.”

The story behind that was that one of the Senior girls had objected because her Freshman
sister was jealous. When Desmond found out he asked her for a date. She delayed but finally
agreed. Then just before the time of the date she was “ill.” We never heard more about it after

In due time we decided to let the information be public and had a party at our home. There
were many such parties, (not exactly such) but many gatherings held at our home. They were
very simple affairs, but they gave the students a chance to get away from the campus and they
liked that. For the party to announce our engagement we made little booklets in the shape of a
jonquil, one for each person. We had several different games during which people filled out
the booklet with the proper answers. We had a party like that for Laura and John’s

engagement. We had a class party or two and parties for different associations. It was good to
have a home away from the campus in which to meet.

One of the things that make college important, I think, is to learn to know people. You learn
what kind of clothes to wear for various occasions. You learn how to talk to people. You
learn what people think and what they say of each other. You learn how to be a social person,
how to get along in life. We cannot succeed in life without knowing how to get along with
people whether it is with a husband, wife, or a group. We need to get along. I’ve heard it said
since, sometimes eloquently, and sometimes simply, “Can’t we all get along?” Some people
call it building a bridge, some say it is looking through a window and seeing life, some say it
is happiness.

College was a rich experience for me. I learned many things. It was filled with activities, of
many hours in class, in the laboratory, in the library, and in the debating program. College
was worthwhile.

On the day of graduation our class was the first to be allowed to have caps and gowns.
Another girl and I who belonged to the church were not allowed to wear the mortar board.
The next year everyone did. Somebody had to break the ground; somebody has to stick her
neck out to make a change. How far and how often can one stick out her neck? What do you
stick your neck out for?

At the close of school that year, just before my graduation I had many orders for baskets and
things that needed to be done. I was going to be very busy that summer, so I put in extra time
to finish them as well as prepare for exams and complete the lab work to get my degree. For
the last three days of exams my eyes did not function. I was not exactly blind, but I could not
read and could not write. I had to go around and get permission to take my exams orally,
which was more difficult. I did live through it. I learned that in spite of having been
considered as one of the honors people, I did not get my ranking as magna cum laude because
I was unable to write my exams. I taught the next year following graduation at Hegins, but
that’s another story.

High Bridge Picnic
When I was a senior in college, Laura was College Bookkeeper and Grace was in second
grade. We did not have very much time for play or free weekends. Desmond and I usually
were off to some church for Sunday programs by the Student Volunteers of which he was
president and I was secretary. John always was busy in the College Store, my dad worked and
was busy in the Upholstery Shop, and mother cleaned the Bank, which was closed on

One Saturday in October, though, we all decided to have a picnic at the High Bridge. This
was a very favorite spot because of its scenery, but also because it was so unusual and
different. There was a Gap between the mountains through which the Swatara flowed. At that
place it was known as the Big Swatara. The Little Swatara flowed through the Tulpehocken
valley and we knew it for its covered bridge, swimming, catching eels and refuge for such as
Hobo Joe. The High Bridge spanned the Swatara and at one time carried railroad tracks for
hauling coal from the mines beyond that mountain.

We did not pay very much attention to the weather. It must have been cloudy and we thought
it would clear up, at least I do not believe my folks would have agreed to a picnic in the rain.
But we were well under way when the rain did come and we kept going. We wound our way
along the unpaved road, the trail to the bridge, after we had left the road that ran from
Lebanon to Pine Grove. Our road led toward Indiantown Gap.

We found the spot for our picnic. There was only a light drizzle now. Our menu centered
around hot dogs roasted over the fire on sticks. Consequently, the first order of procedure was
finding wood and starting the fire. There was no dead wood in evidence but there were plenty
of green and multicolored bushes. Desmond saw some dead branches in a tree and climbed
the tree, or tried to climb it, but did not get up far enough to reach the dead branches. We all
walked in different directions, determined to find some wood that would burn.

We tried to start a fire with newspapers but there was not enough heat to burn wet wood,
Both Desmond and John felt very much on the spot and tried everything they could think of.
We all teased them mercilessly. Finally, mother said she guessed she would have to start it.
She did! It seemed she knew just how to blow on it!

The hot fire we had going finally, warmed everyone’s spirits, the rain cleared and we had a
jolly time. At the last minute mother had mixed the basic for her favorite ice cream and we
bought some ice along the way, so we took turns turning the crank on the freezer and helping
with the fire and the fixing of the lunch.

Sitting around the dying fire and toasting marshmallows on the sticks the ‘boys’ had cut, was
a wonderful time for jokes and stories for everyone. Heating hot dogs and toasting
marshmallows were very up-to-date at that time.

Dad and mother were experiencing the possibility of boys in the family—the sons they had so
much hoped for. They were not sure just how they should react, but they were having such a
good time, their fears and questionings faded. The young men also overcame any timidity
they had and together we became one family, even though Laura and John were not officially

We had all come in dad’s Ford. At first, dad did the driving and we four young folks were on
the back seat. The Ford did not have a trunk to hold all the things we took. I keep wondering
just how we managed. Evidently, we were not inconvenienced too much for I cannot
remember those details It is important to remember the good time, the feelings of helpfulness
to one another, the sharing, the appreciation of the wonders of the outdoors we experienced
that day. Those are the things that remain in my memory from that day in the fall of 1925
until August of 1998.

Many things we dared not even dream about on that day. John and Laura continued their
courtship as tradition of his family dictated: courting for four years, engagement for four
years. He was employed by some company having something to do with milk and its
products. He grew in that organization until a very few weeks before his death at 65. Laura
learned to drive their car after that and really enjoyed going places, visiting, serving on
committees, and watching the development of their son, his family and the grandchildren.
She often wondered why she had refused to learn to drive in her earlier years.

She was glad that they had continued to return often to the High Bridge for picnics, that they
were able to watch the changes and developments in the area.

Grace does not remember so much of that first picnic but she has memories of having gone
there many other times and sharing the good times with her three daughters and husband even
though they lived in Maryland.

I regret that I have not been able to share picnics at the High Bridge with my family. We have
enjoyed many other picnics, crossed many bridges, built many fires, sometimes with wet
wood, and we have tried to build bridges of love, bridges of understanding, bridges of good
will and bridges of reconciliation.

Dad and Mother probably dreamed of the future for their family which they hoped would
include sons. They would have been very happy to know how many sons would follow in
their line: three sons-in-law; three grandsons; six grandsons-in-law; eight great-grandsons;
fourteen great-great-grandsons.

It is our hope that these stories of the past, from many parts of the great wide areas of the
world may assist in the building and enjoyment of all the bridges that are needed to erase
every Gap and to weld the Highway to Peace.

You may find the remains or the location of the High Bridge in Pennsylvania, near
Indiantown Gap Military Cemetery, and Swatara State Park. Enjoy its beauty in the time of
the fall colors! Take the Family!

Teaching Is Learning
The summer months after graduation were interesting ones of learning about the business
world, of discovering that the customer is always right. Working for the Oaklyn Tea House
provided many opportunities of meeting the public in different ways. The Oaklyn was
converted from an old stone church building into a picturesque, exclusive “chicken and
waffle dinner” restaurant. Its hours were limited, the clientele was selective.

I was assigned a variety of tasks that were new to me. I did the grocery buying, looked after
the laundry of the fine Maderia embroidered place mat doilies, of all sizes, used in the dining
room, waited on tables, managed the small ice cream booth on the edge of the campus, and in
general, served as assistant manager.

It was a privilege to work with the owner-manager, who knew good things when she saw
them. She was prepared to secure the things she wanted in fulfilling this dream Tea House.
She had furnished it with furniture from several countries and used it as a setting to bring the
finer things of life to this area. Everything we did, in detail, worked toward accomplishing
this dream.

Even though I was busy with these responsibilities, I used my spare time to find the
employment I needed for the coming year. School Boards needed to fill their vacancies. I did
not fit in at many places for I had not taken the regular teacher training courses. Fortunately,
the Hegins Consolidated Schools had an opening that seemed to fit in with my credits. I was
employed to teach there under Principal, Dr. Michael Stump.

Dr. Stump helped arrange for a very suitable lodging place with a newly widowed lady, near
the school. Her children were married, one of them a teacher. We got along together just fine.
She was happy to have someone with whom to talk, to eat, and with whom to go places. She
kept busy making many beautiful quilts.

I did not have a car and did not feel that I needed one. I had walked to college for four years
in all kinds of weather. Now, at Hegins, I lived closer to the school and was able to walk. On
the very first day of school I discovered, that there were two girls in my classes who lived
just two doors from where I lived, so we walked to and from school together quite regularly.
This was a fortunate experience for me, because conversations with them gave me many
insights into the lives of these people, and the problems of the various students.

The first day of school was a good day for me. I had not been sure just what to expect but
everyone was very kind, friendly and helpful. The students were a happy and eager group.
One young man was older but came because he wanted a second chance. He found that he
needed more knowledge in some courses. This presented a real challenge.

The classes I met that first day were seniors for one semester of Physics. They would have
the second semester in Chemistry. There were three classes in Latin: first year, Ceasar, and
Cicero. Then there was one in French and one that would alternate between English and
Spelling. This Principal believed in excellence in Spelling, so each teacher had one class in
Spelling. Classes averaged between twenty-five and thirty.

School started at 8:30 in the morning and ended at 3:30 in the afternoon. We had an hour for
lunch period. Usually I returned to Mrs. Huntzinger’s at noon and was home by 4:00 in the

evening. I graded papers and prepared lessons for the following day, First year Latin, French
and Physics had papers to be graded almost each day.

The other Faculty members were very helpful and friendly but most of them had a family and
their own circles of friends and their separate responsibilities. Hegins was a small town,
church oriented; the greater number of the men worked in the anthracite coal mines in the
area. Others, even some of the miners, were farmers.

Since this was an anthracite coal area, the taxes for the people were light, and coal paid most
of the taxes. Salaries were somewhat higher than in other areas, extra curricular offerings
were also generous; roads were good.

Weekends varied but all were satisfying. I was asked to direct the choir for one of the town
churches and that rehearsal came on Friday evenings, but I could change that to another
evening if I wanted to be away. Sometimes, Desmond borrowed his brother’s car and came to
see me or to take me back to Elizabethtown and my home. Other times, he visited me on a
Saturday or Sunday. Sometimes, my parents visited with Aunt Sallie or Aunt Lydia and the
Reinholds during the weekend and had me join them.

One weekend was different and special. It was time for the College Seniors to present the
Senior Play. Traditionally, it was a Shakespearean play. This one was Macbeth and Desmond
was playing the lead role. Dr. Stump was much interested in drama and Shakespeare was his
favorite. When he learned that Desmond would be one of the actors, he decided to attend. It
provided transportation for me that time! I had not been aware that several School Board
members also attended. Later I learned that they remembered that evening!

There were some times that I remember very well. The High School building we were using
was a temporary structure, the kind that became well known throughout the country and often
called “chicken houses". They did serve temporarily, but were not very comfortable. They
were cold; could not be heated. In wintertime when the winds blew and the snow came down,
my classroom was cold. So were other classrooms, everyone knew it was a temporary

On such evenings, it was good to sit by Mrs. Huntzinger’s warm stove and work on my
velvet comforter cover. Mother had bought pieces of colored velvet. Both Laura and I had
pieced the covers which would become comforters for beds. I had learned to do a stitch that
Laura had learned from Grandma called the crazy stitch. I did that to each seam. One
weekend at my home, mother had put it into a quilt frame, top side down.

We put the wool batting and the sateen bottom on top of that and then Laura and mother
worked on the top while Desmond and I were underneath. We used some special heavy
thread and knotted that into a comforter! That was fun!

I did some other sewing during the year also. We were to be married that spring and I made
most of my clothes. The wedding dress is one of the things I sewed. It was a beautiful white
material, looked like crepe on the one side and satiny on the other. It was a dress, not a gown!

There were many good times in the classroom during the year. Teaching three classes of
Latin requires moments of extra curricular thought and activity! Chemistry consists also of
various elements! The students and I learned to know each other as people as well as student-
teacher. We appreciated each other and our differing backgrounds and experiences. One

weekend the two girls with whom I walked, accompanied me to my home at Elizabethtown
and had a good time. Another weekend, when the mines were not working on a Saturday, the
one girl’s father took me on a memorable, most unusual trip down into the seventh layer of
the mine. There was a law, or was it tradition? that no woman was ever to enter a mine, it
would be very bad luck!

In many, many ways the year of teaching was definitely a year of learning. I learned a great
deal about Latin and French that I had not learned earlier, I learned much about Physics and
Chemistry which was not related directly to the classroom. I learned things about being in
love too.

One Friday evening Desmond decided to surprise me. We had arranged for him to come on
Saturday but he came on Friday evening after both Mrs Huntzinger and I had gone to bed. He
knocked on the front door. No one answered. That room was closed off from the other rooms
because of the cold, so a knock could not be heard. He did not want to awaken Mrs,
Huntzinger by knocking on the door below where she slept. He picked up pebbles and tossed
them against the window where I slept! He needed to toss several pebbles before I realized
what and who it was!

Another weekend, I had gone home and Desmond brought me back to Hegins on Sunday eve.
He had arranged to borrow his brother’s car to bring me, but something had come up and the
brother needed it for an errand. The car could not be gone for long. It must be available for a
possible emergency. The emergency had arisen. The car was not there. Desmond felt sure his
good friend had other plans for the evening and would be happy for Desmond to use his car,
so he brought it and took me back to Hegins. When he returned to the garage he was very
surprised to find his good friend waiting with a policeman, his brother and several other
students! An explanation from the brother, and from Desmond and all was understood and
cleared up. They were still friends!

Closing days of school are always busy and happy ones. The process of finals, of grading
papers, turning in grades, putting away the books loaned to the students by the school, and
the Commencement festivities all presented themselves as quite opposite to what I had
experienced the previous year. There was a difference also in my expectations. This year’s
would include a wedding, going into a different state, and doing something very much
different. It also included an event I had not expected. The people of the church, whose choir
I had directed, surprised me with a shower and a group gift, of a lovely tablecloth and
napkins. I have appreciated the cloth and that gesture through the many years of our marriage
and used the cloth on many special occasions.

Another story may tell of the results of the presence of Dr. Stump and the Hegins School
Board at the Macbeth play.

Three Hollows
The week of honeymoon at Seneca Rocks and Greenland Gap was over and we headed the
car toward Green County and new experiences! The rush of exams and closing school for
1928 was finished. The rainy but exciting days of Conference and the wedding seemed
almost a blur of happenings on top of one another. The slower speed through the mountain
roads into unfamiliar territory brought time for reflection and preparation. This was a time for
questions for a girl who had lived mostly in towns to learn the facts of expectations.

There would not be definite answers until after we would arrive, see the countryside, where
we would live, hear from the supervisor about our specific assignment. We did discuss the
things that would seem normal under such circumstances. An Industrial School, what exactly
could we offer? Teach basketry? Chemistry? Language? We would know very soon now.

When we drove up to the School, we were met by several boys who directed us to the acting
principal. He seemed happy to meet us and explained that they were just about to leave for a
few days and that we should go make ourselves at home in the large white house just beyond
the church, and pointed down the road. The man who would give us instructions would come
to see us.

That was an unexpected introduction. We drove on, passed the church building he had
pointed out, arrived at the large white house, and parked. After looking it over for a few
minutes, we left the car and approached, hesitatingly. They had not given us a key, nor told
us which door to enter. Simple. There was just one door. It was not locked.

We knocked. There was no response, so we entered, paused to take in the realization that it
was evidently the home of someone. There was no note of explanation, no food in
preparation, it was ready to be occupied. It was necessary to explore the entire situation, to
see where we were to sleep, where put our luggage, where we were to prepare and eat our

We found two bedrooms, the beds were dressed, clean, inviting. The kitchen was clean, the
materials for fire were at hand, towels in place, all was ready for meal preparation but there
was no food on the shelves or in the cupboards. We found a “root cellar” outside and there
were rows of canned vegetables. There was a pump near the kitchen door outdoors. It
delivered good tasting water when the handle was pumped. We would be comfortable and at

We heard a car. It drove up beside our partly unloaded car. An older gentleman with a short
white beard stepped from it and approached the house. We went to meet him but he called out
to us in a most friendly way as he encircled us in his arms to welcome us. While we sat
together in the cool living room. he explained everything: the school, the relation to the
church, this house, its occupants, our assignment for the coming weeks, the arrangements for
our salary, the situation in the three valleys (he called them ‘hollows’) where we would live
and work.

The uncertainties were gone, we knew what was expected of us and where we were to work
and with whom. We felt relieved and empowered. We got our supper and organized our few
possessions in the order we would need them and then sat to make a tentative outline of our
work. It was Saturday evening. We were to go to Shifflet Hollow first and begin with the

church service the next morning! We received directions to the Valley and the name of the
family who would be more or less responsible for us that week.

The crowd that morning was not large. In fact, there were just three families in attendance but
they were friendly and assured us that there would be more and that various situations
accounted for the absence of the people. We went to the home of the Shifflets, who were our
‘keepers’ for the week, for the day of introductions. The family of twelve children, the father
and mother surrounded us at the table in a happy atmosphere.

The mother was definitely in command in that kitchen and everything moved in an organized,
smooth way. Each one knew his own assignment and seemed very familiar with it. Each
function was accomplished without command so that the flow of conversation, of questions
and answers went on without interruption. The children teased each other and even teased the
father in the most natural joking way. I was surprised how much planning and arranging was
done during that meal, without pencil and paper, simple suggestion, delegation of assignment
by volunteering, all seemed to happen so easily.

The mother spent just a few minutes in the kitchen after the meal, then two of the children
took over for the clean-up so the parents and we started our assignments. First, the father
wanted to have us stand on the porch while he pointed his finger this way or that to indicate
who lived where and how many there were of them and whether we should expect them to
come to the Vacation School that week. As he pointed out each family, he injected in each
case, how long they had lived in that place and how they were reacting to the news of that

Just last Monday the word had come to them that there had been a ruling in Washington that
all of them would need to leave these farms, the entire area would become a National Park,
and that a highway would be built to be called the Blue Ridge Parkway. Shock, disbelief,
consternation and anger had filled the territory. Some folks went to consult with family
members in other parts, some were considering forming a delegation to call upon the
congress. To give up their homes, their farms, the ancestral home base! It was unthinkable!

Our host stood there on the porch telling us all these things in a calm, controlled voice. We
marveled at his poise, at his knowledge of the total situation, at his ability to see it all in the
light of the success or failure of the school and meetings to be held in that valley, that very
week, with the presence and the attention, of all the people of the hollow.

Presently, the mother appeared. She had given instruction to the children and was prepared to
join the three of us. He indicated the way past his shop toward the car. When I questioned
him, he told us that it was his blacksmithing shop. I had wondered about his occupations. I
would learn more as time went on. He had specific plans for the next few hours, we realized.

We called in the homes of a few older folks who had not been able to leave to consult with
the rest of the family about this new concern, some who had gone earlier in the day and had
now returned in order to be able to greet us. All were short calls, covered a number of miles,
were friendly and made us feel that the chief concern of the moment was the success of the
coming week and the willingness to do their part.

We returned the Shifflets to their home and we returned to ours with a more realistic
knowledge of what kind of summer was before us. We spent the evening selecting the

materials we had brought for the vacation school, and arranged the house to leave it for the

The people of Shifflet Hollow surprised us the next morning when we felt that we had arrived
early enough to get things in order for the day of school, but they were there before we were.
and what is more, there was a big surprise for us. We did not know that our coming had been
so widely and thoroughly announced that the county agencies decided to avail themselves of
the opportunity. The County Nurse had arrived and set up her equipment to do a vaccination
or injection of everyone in the Hollow! Some folks were to receive smallpox vaccination,
some one thing, some another.

Families arrived in total as ordered, we learned. They were checked in, sat in rows and
moved by the nurse in turn and received their particular shots. There was conversation,
greeting, and some expression of hesitancy on the part of smaller children, mostly. The
Shifflet family remained quietly on the side for a long time. Their turn came and they joined
the line, with the older children going first and the father coming last. There was much
calling out for the BIG man to show his manhood!

It seemed to us a lack of respect, but when he stood before the nurse with his arm bared, his
knees buckled and he landed on his back on the floor. Without a moment’s hesitation, the
nurse leaned over and made the injection. She said nothing, did not smile, just turned to her
table and took the next syringe and cotton swab for the next patient.

Not so with the crowd. Everyone called out, gathered around and cheered their favorite strong
man! This was not the first such happening! He was the community leader, he excelled in
everything else but this was the one thing he was not able to do. He recognized it, the group
knew it, understood but shared their appreciation of his determination, to do whatever he was
called upon to do to be a part of the total community. His sons assisted him to rise. He
thanked the nurse, nodded to the group and took his seat with the family. Another check of
the group, all had their turns with the nurse; she gathered her supplies in her bag, said her
thanks to all and made her departure.

Our school had been delayed just a very short time and we had a grand opportunity to meet
the entire population of the Hollow! Mr Shifflet lost no time to take his position, introduce us
and make the general announcement of the schedule for the daily school and for the evening
meetings. He said very simply that today (Monday) we would eat with the —- family;
Tuesday with—-, and so on for the week. There was no discussion. It was news to us. This
was evidently the way things were done!

Fathers and mothers left with the toddlers, quickly, quietly. We were in charge and expected
to take the responsibility. When my husband made the suggestion that they sit according to a
certain grouping they did that quickly and we proceeded to direct the Vacation Bible School
which we had been asked to lead. It was a wonderful week for us. The songs we selected and
used were new to them and they thoroughly enjoyed singing them. The classes went well
also. On one day two of the older boys demonstrated their position. It was entirely normal for
them to establish their personal position of being different, or considered themselves superior.
They were not prepared for my husband’s reaction to their behavior. He was not shocked or
frightened. It was the only such situation all that week.

Each night the children of the school shared a song they had learned. Each night also there
was a “story” at the beginning of the service. They loved those stories. It seemed that every

person in the Hollow attended those evening sessions. By eating lunch and supper with those
families we learned to know them and they us. It w as a good arrangement. We returned to
our home each night that week. Saturday was our day at home to do laundry, preparations,
reports, letters, foods and rest. Reverend Early stopped in briefly to receive our report. He
gave instructions about how to get to Mutton Hollow for the following week. The clouds had
moved in and gave warning of some rainy weather ahead. If that would be so, we might need
to stay at the Industrial School and use Blind Nellie for transportation.

Sunday morning was cloudy but it did not rain. We went as instructed and had a fair sized
group at church. This was a very different type of people. It was mostly older folks and small
children. We had to leave the car beside the river and walk through a wooded area, and climb
about eight steps into the church.

There were no electric lights in Mutton Hollow. Kerosene lamps hung from the ceiling by
chains like the lamps I used to wash in the Frystown Church when I was a child.

We were invited to one of the homes for lunch and appreciated knowing these people. When
it began to rain they advised us to return before the road became slippery. At first we did not
understand, but as the rain continued and we slid this way and that, we saw what happened to
this road, and appreciated their wisdom. We realized we would need to stay at the Industrial
School. We stopped at our home to gather our supplies and went toward the school. We did
much sliding, but we did reach the school that night!

Blind Nellie, we learned, was a horse. She was hitched to a buggy and took us to Mutton
Hollow. She knew the way and needed no directions! The condition of the road did not
bother her. The buggy kept us dry and by the time we arrived in Mutton Hollow the rain had
ceased. We unhitched her and allowed her to graze in the wooded area close to the church.

The children arrived and the school proceeded as in the previous week. Word of the songs
and stories had reached these folks and they expected to hear and learn the same ones, so we
repeated one or two of the favorites. One day, in the middle of school, we heard a crash and
hurried to the door. Blind Nellie had grazed too close to the edge of the riverbank and had
fallen in. Fortunately, my husband knew about horses and was able to right her and lead her
to another spot. She was not hurt and took us home through a heavy rain that came up during
the evening service.

One evening we arrived at the church early and found that there were no steps to allow
entrance. Other people arrived, looked around and found the steps “where we usually find
them”, they said. One man whispered to my husband to be alert but not frightened, he would
stand guard!

The service began with a feeling of tension on everyone's part it seemed. In a short while a
few young adults who had not been there before arrived and sat on the raised seats at the rear.
Presently a few more came and also sat at the rear. The ‘whisperer’ sat with a half turn and
had these young people in his vision. When my husband began to tell his story, I realized it
was not the one he had planned to tell. One of the young men had drawn a gun and kept
pointing it at my husband, moving it back and forth as he moved.

The climax of the story called for a rather shouted sentence. Instead, he whispered it!
Everyone was so intent on hearing that, he repeated the whisper. Everyone paused, intent on
hearing. A bump resounded in the rear of the church! The young man had dropped the gun as

he also wanted to hear! No more guns appeared that week. When the service ended, the steps
had disappeared! Several of the fathers helped each other down and within a few minutes the
steps were in place.

Meantime, the young men were required to wait also, it allowed the storyteller time to talk to
them. There was no mention of the gun. The following evening they sat in the audience so
that they could hear, even the whispers! I wondered whether they had turned over a leaf?

That Saturday the group gathered by the river and celebrated the baptism of the folks who
had decided to become members of the church. It was an unusual event for these people for
there had been no opportunity like this for a number of years. It was a solemn but meaningful
occasion for many of them but especially for one entire family, including both parents and
two grown children. as well as for a number of the children from other families. The young
men who had caused concern earlier in the week were present but very subdued and

The remainder of that Saturday was a busy time for us since we had spent the nights at the
Industrial School. We learned something of the great work done by the school in teaching the
children of the entire valley about basics of food culture, preservation, homemaking, and care
of farm livestock.

We also learned that the house we called home during these weeks, was the home of two
ladies who served as teachers and leaders in the community. They were on vacation visiting
their parents and had left the garden to supply us. We had used a few things but also had
canned the produce as it ripened to add to their stock of canned vegetables in the root cellar.
That day we did the last minute things to put everything into a condition as we had found it at
our arrival.

The third week our assignment was in the Evergreen Valley or Morris Hollow. This was a
different kind of community. We spent one night in a home whose son had grown and left
home. He was an only child, the father worked some distance away so the mother was alone
most of the time. She quilted and made bed covers which she kept spread on the bed formerly
occupied by the son. Her many quilts and comforters made that bed very high. She had
spread sheets and another quilt over the top and invited us to sleep on top of all of them. That
was a very soft bed!

The husband did not go to work on the morning we were there. She apologized for the kind
of breakfast she was serving but she said she liked to cook and since we would be there just
this one time she wanted to cook for us. We had chicken, mashed potatoes, biscuits, gravy,
vegetables, pie, cake, fruit, beverage—a feast! I believe her name was Effie.

We were beginning to feel at home with these people of the mountains. They had a wonderful
spirit and were so kindly. I gained a number of pounds just eating the biscuits the mothers
popped into the oven just as we sat down to meals. We visited those with whom we did not
get to eat so we really knew all of them. Many of the people came from Shifflet and even
from Mutton Hollow to the evening services in Evergreen Valley. They planned a big
Saturday morning and afternoon service for the final gathering. The afternoon service was a
Communion Service. The man we had met at the Industrial School on our arrival was the
presiding minister for that service. The noonday meal was a covered dish or carry in basket
dinner and was quite typical of such meals.

It was customary to enlarge the meal for the communion so for that service there were
chicken and noodles, chocolate cake, pickles, etc. The minister explained the parts of the
service in turn and when he was explaining the Eucharist, suddenly, someone outside
shouted, one of the communicants looked up also and repeated,

“They are fighting outside!”

There had been almost as many people standing outside the church as there were inside
because of the large crowd and the small church building. The presiding minister made one
leap through the open window to the outside to see what to do. My husband was not
accustomed to such proceedings and tried for the door but found himself one of many others
doing the same thing. Effie and I were side by side. At this news, she took a deep breath and
promptly fainted in my arms! Several other women also fainted.

The outdoors was a different scene. We learned eventually that a young man from Morris
Hollow had been released from jail that morning, had come home to find that his girl friend
was at the service with a young man from one of the other Hollows. The two confronted each
other, knives were brought into use, and the one was cut from middle of his abdomen clear
around to the middle of the back. His organs were dropping out, so he was wrapped into a
blanket and rushed to the Hospital some thirty miles away.

It was an abrupt and unconventional ending for a communion service. There had been such
good rapport among all the people we had met all summer. We had decided that all we had
heard about feuds among the groups or families of the mountains were fables. Now we had
seen it in action. Our schedule dictated our departure the following morning. We have been
told that the young man in the hospital regained full health!

Many years later my sister and I had occasion to drive on Blue Ridge Drive. There was a
turn-out on a curve that looked out across a vast valley and there I saw the area encompassing
the three Hollows I remembered so vividly and so fondly. If there were farms, and homes
with boys and girls there now, would they still tell me?

“I am carrying this cow down to the neighbors.”

Valley View
“We really need you to help us out. It is a bad situation!”

Mr. Early had come personally to ask me to help out in his school. The Latin teacher had not
been feeling well for some time but had now called to resign, just one month before the end
of the term. What to do? Stanley needed to have care, was my certificate valid in Ohio?
These were just two questions that needed answers. He said he would inquire into the
certificate matter. A hurried telephone call brought that solution. It was valid.

Desmond and one of our good church ladies decided they were able to care for Stanley. Mr.
Early came by to pick me up and introduced me to the school. The big problem, they said,
was the third year Latin class. They had really covered only one month's work and would be
required to cover the entire year's work in the test.

I met the class at the proper time and we checked what they were able to do and planned
temporarily what we could realistically hope to accomplish. They were very eager to receive
their grades for the course.

It worked out that they did work very hard. I tried to do everything I could, and by the end of
the month we surprised ourselves with the test results and with the amount of material we had
covered successfully. Meantime, a letter had come to our home that caused another tougher

Mr. Stump and the school board at Hegins, where I had spent my first year of teaching
remembered their trip to the College to see Macbeth in which Desmond had played. They
were in need of an English teacher and especially wanted a drama coach. Their unanimous
decision was to bring Desmond to do the job!

We checked with Elgin. There did not seem to be any improvement in the finances so there
was no possibility of going to Africa at this time. Desmond was hoping to do some teaching.
This would be close to our folks and we knew the people. We decided to accept their offer
and planned to move at the end of summer.

We were living in Lima, Ohio, serving as pastor of a large city church. We went there after
our wedding in the summer of 1927 and enjoyed our work. Stanley was born in Lima and was
now more than a year old.

Dr. Stump was very happy and moved quickly to find us a house. Desmond was to teach
some English and coach drama. They offered me a contract also as a substitute teacher for the
high school. It was even arranged that Mrs. Huntzinger would do the baby sitting for Stanley
if we so wished! We sold some furniture and moved to Valley View into one half of a double
house, not so far from the new school building.

“You have indeed carried out the plan to get a new High School Building!”, we exclaimed
when we came to see our new location. It was beautiful, near that of the former one; and now
it was Consolidated with a bus bringing in the students from outlying areas.

Just before we moved we traded in our Ford car and bought a new Chevrolet. It was a four
door coach and was serving us well. We considered ourselves fortunate to find a garage at the
rear of our home just across the alley. The owner was pleased to have us use it. He was

storing lumber enough to build houses for his children. The lumber was from the walnut trees
from their ancestral farm.

“Hello, Mr. Maurer, so you are getting to teach in the new building!”

“Hello, Miss, pardon me, Mrs., may I just say Hello, Irene?”

“Yes, surely, I am still Irene but the name is Bittinger, since you hesitated on the name!” I
answered. “This is Desmond Bittinger, my husband, he will be teaching some of the English
classes, Mr. William Maurer.”

The men greeted each other and moved down the hall to meet others of the faculty. There
were several new teachers but mostly they were the same folks who taught when I was there
earlier. They seemed pleased to hear that I would be a substitute

Desmond enjoyed meeting his classes. The students who came in on the buses adjusted to the
new environment along with the ones from the old building. There was a great deal of
exclamation over the improvements and the ‘luxury’ of having conveniences and equipment
not available earlier.

School proceeded in an orderly fashion as always at the beginning of a new school year.
Clubs were organized, athletes began having workouts, music groups met and began
rehearsals, drama group started more slowly since it was new. One feature was added which
became popular quickly. The Domestic Science Department was serving the noon day meal.

All the teachers accepted their responsibilities and were regular in attendance for the first
number of weeks. I was very glad for that gave me time to get our home set up into a good
schedule, allowed Stanley to feel comfortable with Mrs. Huntzinger, and for me to observe
the customs of the community.

I learned quickly that most of the husbands of the neighbors worked in the mines, just as did
the men of Hegins. They went to work about four in the morning. The wives were up to get
breakfasts and pack lunches. Most of them went on with their work of the day, at least until
they had helped the children with their morning preparations and got them off to school.

On a Monday morning, I observed, the wives not only remained up and about, but they did
the family laundry at that early hour.

“The wash must be up on the line by six o’clock", I was told, “before Mrs,W— gets hers up!”

I’m afraid I did not feel that kind of competition at that time of the morning! I was happy if
mine was up by ten! Our household operated on a different schedule. Our evenings went on
later than theirs and included hours of grading papers, meetings of various sorts, rehearsals,
social activities.

Desmond loved his work and enjoyed the students and their developing interests in reading
the classics. He was being handicapped by sinus problems. It was uncertain whether he was
allergic to the fumes from the coal, or whether the weather was a factor. The local doctor
referred him to a specialist in Pottsville some thirty miles distant. We needed to make that
trip on Saturdays when school was not in session.

We planned to do that again on Saturday, November 13, and Desmond took the car on Friday
evening and filled it with gas in preparation. We went to bed fairly early and had just gone to
sleep when we were suddenly awakened by the fire siren. It was just east of us one block, so
its sound was very loud! I jumped up to see that we were “surrounded” by a bright light! That
light originated from our burning car!

Two young men had observed Desmond getting gas that evening. They wore Miner’s hats
with the lights on them to siphon gas from our Chevrolet. The flames from their carbide
lights ignited and exploded the gas tank to burn the car and garage. The car was still on
warranty and insured. The greater loss was the walnut lumber which could not be replaced!
We did not go to Pottsville that day.

The Insurance Company was able to move swiftly because the car had burned in such a way
that the speedometer could be read and facilitated decisions that were needed. We bought a
new Oldsmobile from the local dealer. That fire was as much excitement as we needed for a

Just when Desmond was about to leave for school one Monday morning soon after the fire,
the telephone call informed us that I was to report for duty at school. A teacher was absent.
We notified Mrs Huntzinger and took Stanley to her house. Several girls met me at the
entrance to the school.

“Oh, Mrs. B., Mrs T— is not coming! Poor you!” So, it was Domestic Science. I did not
need to wait long for information. On our way up the stairs and to the Department, the girls
told me.

“The menu for today calls for tomato soup! It always curdles and the students will not buy it.
There is a lot of hard feeling and they blame us! Do you know how to make tomato soup that
does not curdle?”

So that was the challenge, but there was more!

“This afternoon, in the sewing class, we are to start on our dresses for Commencement!”

“Tell me more about that. How many dresses? What kinds of material? Have the patterns
been selected? Are there other garments beside dresses? What have you completed?”

By the time I heard the answers to those questions, we had used up the period for that day. I
learned that the regular teacher would probably not be back for several weeks. I knew enough
about the circumstances of the homes involved to realize that the purchase cost of materials
for these projects was a substantial amount. It was important that cutting of materials be done

I never had any classes in sewing nor in cooking except what my mother taught me. I was
very lucky at noon, the soup had not curdled, the students bought it and we needed to prepare
a second pot of it! The girls were very pleased and felt exonerated! This matter of the dresses
was different. I needed to consult with Dr. Stump.

He was very understanding. First, he insisted on thanking me for caring for the lunch hour
and the tomato soup matter. It was a point that needed to be solved. He did not think making
the dresses was too big a problem. If I agreed, he would ask Miss Emma to come work with
the girls on them. We would see how things worked out. If I could come and do the things

required in the forenoons and Miss Emma in the afternoons, all would be well. I was more
than happy with that. There would not be tomato soup each day! (Miss Emma was known by
all the mothers; they trusted her. I am not sure what her training had been in her younger
days, but she seemed to be the general problem solver for the community!)

Desmond was having a wonderful experience with his classes. He had a way of introducing
the writers and their works in his classes that was new to them, and they fell in love with the
classes and the material. They dramatized some of the works in class and then they undertook
a major drama. When it was presented to the public the reaction was so favorable that it was
presented two or three times. That led to more and more drama.

The news from Elgin was not encouraging. Stanley was soon to be two years old. We did not
want to wait much more than two years for him to have a sister. If we could not go to Africa,
this would be a good time and place for his sibling to present itself. We planned for that.

Spring arrived and with it came all the usual happenings: plays, concerts, tournaments,
exams, commencements. School Boards met and acted upon their needs and prospects. We
were offered advancements. Then, on June 2 came a telegram saying we were to sail for
Nigeria on June 28! That was a Real Surprise!

We had discovered just a few days earlier that I was pregnant. It seemed better for me to
travel pregnant than to travel with a very small child. We telephoned my parents and
informed them. The people of the Elizabethtown Church had said they wanted to supply the
support for me; the Sunday Schools of the Eastern District wanted to supply the support for
Desmond, and the Lima church would support Stanley since he was born there.

Organization was necessary to accomplish everything in the allotted time. Elgin promised to
send us the list of supplies usually taken since stores would not be available. The church
people formed a committee to stand ready to act as soon as the Elgin list would arrive. We
began to do the things on our lists. We needed to concentrate on concluding our assignments
with the school. There were tests, grades, meetings with the school board, disposing of our
furniture and car. We had to arrange for physical examinations, to receive the shots required
for Nigeria, to have our teeth checked, to do the packing and shipping, and to attend the
Annual Conference in order to be presented to the total Church for the Consecration Service.

Timing worked out well. We prepared our tests and prepared detailed lists while we waited
for the Elgin papers. They arrived on Friday so we could meet the committee from the church
that evening and with the owner of the Lumber Company on Saturday. He was going to make
a set of boxes which would be used, for packing and shipping the supplies, and then to make
our furniture in Nigeria.

The committee had been authorized to take on great responsibility. Sunday School classes
chose related groups. One class bought the set of carpenter tools, the women bought all the
yard goods for some clothes, for bed linens, curtains. One man worked with his seed
company to have an on-going supply delivered. One family donated the bicycle used very
briefly by their son who had died; a youth group gave a child’s red wagon, another worked on
the food list. Everything was finally collected at my sister’s house on the day after our school
had closed and we had moved to my parent’s home.

Several people came to share the job of packing. We added the things from our own
household. The large boxes were filled and shipped. Many questions were brought into

consideration; decisions were made quickly. The medical matters were cared for as
appointments were available. Dental matters would be attended to after the Conference.

The Annual Conference of the Church was held at Hershey that year. We met with the
Mission Board on Wednesday and had the formal interviews. We met several times with the
Board, or with individual members. We were assigned ‘appearances’ on programs, and also
for the Consecration Service on Monday, just before lunch. There were six new people and
two second termers presented for Africa on that day, there were also several for India.

Following the speeches, the reading of the names and the recognition of the Churches they
represented, all the ‘new missionaries’ were asked to stand while the audience sang the hymn,
“Speed Away". On the last verse there was the customary Chatauqua salute with the waving
of white handkerchiefs. It was a very impressive ceremony and service. It is not ever

Finally, the ‘public’ appearances and responsibilities were over. We concentrated on dental
work and completing the shots. It was amazing how many things turned up at the last minute
that just had to be done. Our personal baggage expanded, dresses were altered at the last
minute to fit in with requirements for ‘ship wear’. We transferred title to the car and other
papers, to my dad and to my sister and her husband, and said our farewells to our families.

We went by train to New York, spent the night in the home of the pastor of the Brooklyn
Church, cared for a few purchases needing to be made in New York, and met with our
traveling companions on the SS Mauretania. We were travelling third class.

Three of our dear friends who were in school in New York at the time, came to the ship to
say their farewells. After the ship sailed, we received a number of letters sent from various
groups of friends and supporters to wish us safe travels.

Stanley was given a special Birthday Party on the ship and had as guests all the other children
on the ship! I lived on soup all the way to Nigeria because my jaws were swollen as a result
of the dental work which included extraction of impacted wisdom teeth.

It had been an eventful year. Many unexpected things had happened, The people at Hegins
and Valley View were very disappointed at our departure because they had wanted so much
for us to continue teaching there. We promised to write often and tell of our experiences. We
did that. We sent regular story letters to my sister who made selections and sent them to the
newspapers of the ‘supporters’, to Valley View, and to other friends.

Feeding the Family
One of the memories of Young People’s Camps is the song we sang very often just to annoy
the cooks and sometimes accompanied it by the thumping on the table with our hands as we

“Here we sit like birds in the wilderness,

Birds in the wilderness, birds in the wilderness,

Here we sit like birds in the wilderness,

Waiting for something to eat.”

As a mother I have felt that the purpose of coming together as a family was to eat something!
What that something was varied greatly.

The food on tables in Brazil differs from that on tables in China, or Java, or Jericho. What we
like to eat in the United States is not what the children of India enjoy.

The lunches provided for WCA students when visiting the Adjunta Caves in India, were
rejected by the children there when we tried to share. They preferred their rice and curry to
our hard boiled eggs, sandwiches and oranges!

As mothers we set patterns for our family’s choices, in food and ideas, according to what we
have experienced. We give reasons for providing certain items on the menu. My mother
enjoyed cooking and prepared food she liked, and considered nourishing and appealing. I
enjoyed eating what she served and have often served the same kinds of things for my family.

That is the way traditions develop. Daily rice and enchiladas become the food of choice for
Mexican children just as naturally as diva and sukwar become the choice for Bura children
and their parents.

Since my background is that of the Pennsylvania Dutch folk of Eastern Pennsylvania, it is
natural that I should serve that kind of food. Mother taught me many things about foods: what
to serve when, and why that kind at that time. She had her set of cook books and encouraged
me not only to read them but to study them.

Cookbooks provide lessons in nutrition. My tablemates at college made me conscious of what
we were served. Plain boiled potatoes were standard fare. After 76 years I still have an
aversion to plain boiled potatoes! I have not served them to my family, except when there
was dandelion and fried ham to accompany them. The dandelion must be served warm, with
the dressing made with egg, vinegar, sugar, and water, and added to the greens just as they
are being served.

One of my sons has asked me to tell something about our foods on our many long trips. There
was some ritual connected with these trips. The entire family traveled by car. The cost of the
trip was gauged by the amount of a single fare on the railroad. Our daddy was usually a
Board member or officer of the group arranging the conference we attended. His fare paid for
a large share of the trip for all of us.

The family gathered around the table one evening to study maps. The ages and grades of the
children determined this discussion in large measure. We talked about historical events of
significance, relatives that might be visited, earlier important church events or other
interesting places along the way, and listed them as well as state parks and favorite camping

These lists were the basis upon which the final decisions were based and the route was
selected. Individual maps were important in the planning stages, but even more so, in the car
as we traveled.

Those maps answered the questions of how soon we would arrive? Where was a certain
place? Another set of lists grew as we traveled. Maps and programs in hand, the new lists
included: who had program assignments? which days? what time? Which person would be
available to prepare which meals? Clothes! Any special costumes or requirements? These
matters had been part of the original discussions. This was a checking up to insure

How we all studied history and our maps! But mother studied some extra lists, especially
cook books! It was mother who needed to be the puzzle solver and jig saw into all the lists.
The oven, the freezer, the sewing machine were kept busy. On the day before departure
everyone brought the things for which they were responsible. Usually there was a howl at the
amount of space required for ‘mother’s things!

We used a one wheel trailer on several of the trips. That was easy for there was more room.
We carried the tent, gasoline stove, folding camp beds, and their pads, sheets, pillows,
blankets, folding chairs, cooking utensils, dishes, a “chop box” containing the extras: salt,
sugar, flour, cooking oil, napkins, table cover, water bottles, etc.

Breakfast on the road was rather standard. There was an early start without eating. People
generally were wanting to sleep or doze for a time. By eight or eight-thirty we were ready to
eat. It was time for a change of position. We would open the trunk and the ice box to remove
the carton of fruit juice and the milk. There was a special breakfast bag from which we took
the spoons and individual cereal boxes, the paper cups and napkins. Each person held his
cereal, placed the cup of juice at some spot on the car and moved around while he ate. The
unused milk went back into the icebox, the breakfast bag held all the refuse- the paper cups,
napkins, juice container, and empty cereal boxes. Spoons were wrapped in a napkin and
placed in the icebox, away from flies. When a trashcan was seen along the roadside, the bag
was left there. Time used: 15-20 minutes.

The drivers changed places each hour or more. Historical markers appeared and we stopped
to read. Usually daddy knew one was coming up and had been telling the story of that event;
all listened. A picture had to be taken? Camera was ready; just a minute or three. Lunchtime
came up. It was time also to buy gas. Everyone got out to use the rest rooms, wash hands, lift
the trunk lid and bring out the lunch bag and the “kettle". If the gas station was in a town, we
kept going until we had left the town. Then, mother opened the kettle of frozen sandwiches,
which had now thawed, and placed them on paper plates with carrot and celery sticks, and
potato chips for each one. More sandwiches?

The lunch bag again received the refuse as before and was held for a trash barrel. Meantime,
the thermos served each one with the special drink mother had prepared for this meal,

accompanied by some cookies. Distance covered during the meal, fifty miles. Next order of
business: map study.

It was time for another rest stop and fruit break. The trunk revealed a bag marked, “First Day
Fruit.” All were outside the car so it was possible to have a juicy kind of fruit which served as
a drink and as a fruit. Apples or Oranges were the choices.

Six o’clock was generally the time for calling it a good day. We found a camping spot and
proceeded to ‘set up’ for the night. In the early days tourist camps were not available. Once,
enroute for Rocky Mountain National Park, we decided to set up camp for one night in order
to enjoy the daylight view of the mountains as we approached. A likely spot presented itself
beside a stream. Everyone did his job and we really enjoyed our hot meal of chicken noodle
corn soup, mint tea, bread with canned pickles and gingerbread with apple sauce. The
chicken had been prepared at home all ready for the pot and canned. The corn and noodles
were added. (The kettle of the frozen sandwiches was emptied at noon in preparation for this

One team cared for clean up, the other dressed the beds. No one was able to read the weather
from the appearance of the sky. It was cool, we were tired and slept very quickly. In the
middle of the night everyone felt cold. A strong wind had come up, the rushing stream beside
us came from snow fields. It was not summer time here! We redistributed the covers and
doubled up in beds and slept, but resolved to rethink our sleeping arrangements for other

When we drove through Denver, we found a good grocery and laid in a supply of food for
our stay in the mountains. There was room in the trunk now for it. Each person had expressed
his desires and looked forward to meal preparations and eating in the clear, fresh air of the
higher altitudes. We found our favorite spot in Glacier Basin Camp Ground, about 8,000 feet
above sea level, near Bear Lake, with the view of Hallets, Flattop,and Longs Peaks in our

The woodpile had been well supplied, wood for fireplaces was free. The Ranger program
scheduled a lecture with pictures of the high country for that evening. We did not want to
miss that!! Last night we put up only one tent but for our stay here we put up both tents and
had much more space. We kept warm all night too.

We were ready to settle into our regular camp schedule. Each team cared for its morning
chores. Breakfast had our daddy doing his favorite thing. He made the pancakes for everyone,
with the dried beef gravy and all!

“ Dad, the pancakes are wonderful. I would enjoy eating another one, but the Ranger told me
he was going to lead a group on the hike this forenoon up this mountain. I see them coming
this way now, Will you fix one more for me and save it for me to eat when we return?”
Stanley was already gathering his backpack of the supplies he needed. Pattie followed him
with her pack.

“Now I know we are on vacation!” mused dad as he poured my second cup of coffee.

Both of us enjoyed the feeling and the relaxed spirit of this place for some minutes. Then we
had an urge to return to our first camping spot in this park and decided to go there with our
lunch. We gathered up the makings for a few sandwiches and some fruit to take. Then we set

the camp in order, washed and packed away the dishes and food stuffs, covered the table
against the chipmunks, and checked the car to be ready to leave.

Richard and Marianne had long since been deeply immersed in building their system of roads
and camp sites, under the neighboring pine trees, between our campsite and the one toward
the river, so they could check their distances in keeping with the locations of the peaks they

When the older children returned they were pleased at the prospect of going to End of Valley.
We were in the car and leaving when Pattie said, “Stop, didn’t you buy a watermelon

“Yes, we have one, what are you planning?”

“Wouldn’t it be fun to find the little waterfalls where we cooled the Jello and chilled the
watermelon when we camped there before?”

“Let’s do that!” and Stanley was out of the car going to find the melon!

I hurried over to help him get the melon, the knife to cut it, paper plates, spoons, and salt. We
started again.

That turned out to be a very pleasant excursion. We found the former campsite and the stream
where there had been a snow bank. It took just a short time to weight the melon into the
stream to let it chill while we explored the area and renewed memories. In the earliest visit
here, Marianne had not been born, Richard was six months old, Dad could not walk very
much and spent his time in proofreading the manuscript for Sudan’s Second Sunup and
mother was busily typing whenever there was a moment. The thing we remembered was the

The next time we were here it was cold also, but Marianne was able to remember climbing up
beside the million waterfalls as they kept coming from the snowfield at the higher level. It
was that chilling of the melon and Jello they remembered. I think they enjoyed coming to this
place to eat another melon.

We thoroughly appreciated our time at Glacier Basin with the daily Ranger walks for both
Stanley and Pattie; the afternoon quiet times of reading and resting. Another short hike, then
a good hot supper before we built the campfire to complete the day with stories, singing, and
toasted marshmallows.

The time had come to leave this camp, to reorganize our thinking and take up the former plan
and the schedule for the Conference. We all rejoiced that one improvement had come to the
camp. We took advantage of the hot showers to wash our hair and get into the mood of dressy
clothes in contrast to the casual outfits we were wearing. Pattie needed a bit of extra attention.

Yesterday for the final hike daddy led the way to climb the hill opposite the road. He kept
pointing out a number of things and one time he spoke of a plant. Pattie backed up instead of
turning and slipped on a leaf so that she sat down on a cactus plant. It was full of needles long
enough to pierce the clothes and into the skin! How embarrassing! She had to have help to
remove those thorns!!! Her dignity was greatly offended!

Pattie rode on to Conference on a soft cushion.

Conference was a busy time. It was good to have done the planning and scheduling. The lists
were posted and each person followed the schedule, attended the sessions, performed his part
of the program, took his turn at meal duties, enjoyed the fellowship of other families also
following their schedules, rejoiced with the elections of siblings to new positions of
leadership, and made plans for the next conference.

Plans? Mothers and dads were thinking of a different kind of plans from those slumbering or
simmering in the minds of the teenagers! Who was to say what hopes or dreams were

Second Brother Sister Set
1937 was a productive year in Nigeria. Many projects were under way and doing well. The
gardens produced a daily supply of delicious vegetables; there were enough papayas for each
of us to enjoy one half of a large one for breakfast; the pineapples had grown to maturity and
supplied us with enough to send to the other stations and also fill all our jars. The Better
Babies Clinic was prospering. The acceptance of Medical Doctors and prenatal care had
become a fact of life for the immediate community of Garkida and was spreading rapidly.

When we returned after furlough I was shocked to find that there were no children under five
in the village. I visited in home after home and heard the same story. There had been an
epidemic of flu in the area and all the children had died.

Dr. Robertson had succumbed to yellow fever on his way home for furlough and the
Government had made a grant of money to build a Women’s Ward for the Ruth Royer Kulp
Hospital in his honor. Stakes were driven into the ground and a stout colored string outlined
the site. The space inside those strings became the hub of much activity while the walls rose
to the roof.

One by one the women of the village became pregnant. One by one their husbands spoke to
my husband and asked permission for their wives to become a part of the clinic! I fastened a
string from one side of the proposed building to the other and on it I clothes-pinned a paper
with each mother’s name.

We met weekly and recorded vital signs, weight, urinalysis results, doctor’s comments, A
colored line was drawn from one week’s set of figures to the next. They recognized very
quickly the correlation between the direction of the lines and the state of their own health.
This made it easy to teach the lessons of health, nutrition and emotions that were so
necessary. Interest almost became competition one day when the women realized that my
own name was on one of the records blowing in the wind, on that line of records, and the
doctor took my vitals along with theirs.

The weeks passed into months and one by one the babies were born. Fears of the hospital
were overcome as the new babies and their mothers returned home with accounts of
happiness with the hospital experience.

Finally, December came and on the fourteenth day at four in the morning my baby boy was
born, and at eight of the same morning, another boy was born to Kubili, my very active and
able assistant! Some weeks later, there was a call to see all the babies that were born in the
community that year.

The doctor brought the hospital records, I brought my records of the Better babies Clinic and
we compared. There had been one death of twins born three months prematurely. There was
no incubator nor any means of caring for babies born so prematurely. Consequently, they
died in spite of everything we could do.

The first printing of the first book of the New Testament was delivered from the printers that
week, and we used those copies to serve as Birth Certificates. These were the first indicators
of age in that part of Nigeria where no one knew for sure how old they were. Putting together
these two happenings, we announced a Baby Dedication day at the church for the following

Surprise Sunday would have been a very appropriate name for what actually took place.
Fathers and Mothers came to church together. In some cases the father carried the baby in his
arms, up on his chest. If the mother carried the child, she carried it not on her back under the
cloth as usual, but in her arms, where the new shirt could be seen. Instead of mothers sitting
in the rear of the church, they came to the very front seats. The church building was filled to

The Minister proceeded with the service to the time for the dedication. He read the names of
the father, mother and child giving the dates of the birth. Each family group stood for a
moment and was seated. The names and numbers continued to fifty. There was a gasp of
realization that here were fifty live children and only one set of twins had died! People looked
at each other almost in disbelief, nodded agreement, and saw the truth of their

The minister picked up one copy of Matthew, read the name of the child born on the date
inscribed in it, both parents brought the child forward, to receive his own copy, of the first
book, of the Bible, in his own language.

Our own Richard was one of those fifty!

Is it necessary to say that after that church service there was much socialization? Most of the
people had not realized that each baby had received two shirts when he left the hospital, that
the parents had bought additional shirts for two cents each, so there were enough shirts for
changes to keep the baby dry and warm at all times.

There was also much discussion about the Book, its importance, their ability to read it, the
determination to teach the child to read it, and the value of knowing the exact age of the child
in the future. There would be no need of identifying the birth with the rainy season or the dry
season. Change had come to their community!

Richard was a new name. They had not heard it before except one group of boys in a class of
History, which also was a new word for their “once upon a time” or “wachi, wachi”. That
class was learning of a great leader called Richard, the Lion Hearted. There was a word they
knew, it was familiar, it seemed relevant. Richard, tsingi! It was the word we learned on our
first safari in Gwobola! Lion, tsingi!

This was the reason I was served that special menu during the first days of Richard’s life. The
Chief of each village around, brought the largest rooster he could find as a gift to my
husband. Kubili coached Sherima, our cook, on exactly what I must eat, on which day,
according to Bura tradition and practice. One day it was the breast for the area of the heart,
one day it was the thigh or drumstick for strength to walk long distances, or wings for speed.

The mothers had already learned many details of childcare in the Clinic so the daily ritual of
the baby bath attracted those who hoped for children in the future. Stanley and Pattie
answered innumerable questions about their lives and so became the best teachers.

Richard was only six months of age when we needed to leave Nigeria because our daddy had
suffered too many relapses from the germs and viruses from his many travels through the
country. The words yellow fever, dysentery, malaria and shistosomiasis were very familiar to

I made a bassinet of Nigerian reeds for Richard. The carpenter drilled holes in the plywood,
used as a base for it, and also fastened stout handles from wood he bent for carrying it.
Richard slept in it when we left Garkida and wherever we placed it on the way to Jos, or the
train to Lagos, or on the ship to England.

One day we took him in our arms to visit Winchester Castle. It was a cold day and typically
foggy but worries about the weather were of small concern when we were fortunate to see the
present Queen Elizabeth being assisted into her coat, then come down stairs and enter the car
to take her twelveth birthday ride. Stanley and Pattie were more impressed by that view than
Richard was.

The following day we visited a number of historic sites and were in the area of St. Paul’s
cathedral. It was there we were introduced to Welsh Rarebit. All of us enjoyed it so much, it
has become a favorite dish in each of our homes.

We had an experience on the ship from Lagos to Europe none of us have forgotten. My
husband and Stanley occupied a cabin at the top of the stairs, with the baby buggy tied to the
rail of Stanley’s bunk. It was kept there in readiness for walking the deck. Pattie, Richard and
I were in a cabin at the foot of the stairs, next door to the dining room, so that Richard could
sleep in his bed while I cared for the older children during mealtime. My husband’s trays
were served in his cabin.

When we sailed in equatorial waters, the seas were so calm the captain allowed time for
painting the sides of the ship and decided to turn off the engines for a time. It was time for
Richard’s morning bath. All the equipment needed was strewn across the bed and he was in
the bath water, when I heard the ship’s horn. My only thought was of an emergency.

Baby clothes, baby food, blankets, life jackets for each one, all were gathered up and I
hurried to the other cabin to get them properly outfitted also. Then together we hurried to our
Station and encountered the Captain. I kept wondering whether we had brought everything
we were supposed to bring.

The Captain gave us one glance and immediately realized what had happened and felt very
remorseful! He had neglected to warn me about his orders to stop the engines to allow the
painters to do their work. After apologies and offers of assistance, everyone enjoyed a good
laugh and had a dish of ice cream.

Richard had an eventful early life. His parents traveled too much for the calm upbringing of a
child! At Philadelphia in the Buckingham Place apartment his bed was in the bathtub when
we had guests. At Elizabethtown, he loved his red wagon but kept falling or having bumps on
the back of his head much of the time. When his parents spoke at churches in Texas,
Oklahoma or Nebraska, he slept in his car bed just outside the window at the front of the
church so his mother could hear if he cried.

Then, when we moved to Kansas and his baby sister was born, he was a very happy boy and
spent many hours riding his tricycle and showing his little sister how to do things. His delight
was going to the back door of the neighbors and ask, “Grandma Murray, do you have a

She was a wonderful grandma, gave him just one and always asked him to check whether it
was good for him to have it at that time?

He looked forward eagerly to the time when he could attend school. There were a number of
children in the neighborhood who started school at the same time he did. It was fun for
Richard but a sad time for Marianne, who now needed to play without her brother. She
looked forward to his return each day when they could share time together.

It was War time in the forties. Schools were urged to sell War Bonds. Teachers did what they
could to influence the children to think of doing their parts to “Save us from the Japs”. Some
teachers drew caricatures on the blackboards, posted pictures of Japanese from the papers and
terrified the children in many ways.

One evening my husband returned from the office and found our front walk covered with
swastikas drawn with chalk. He called me to come and see it. Richard came with us and was

“See them? Do you like what I did? If you like them I can draw them at the other houses

“Where did you learn to draw these pictures?” we asked.

He proceeded to draw several others and added the caricature glasses and rows of teeth, so
popular at the time. He thought they were all so pretty. It was time for a series of real life

There were three students in my husband’s classes at the college who had come from the
internment camp in southeast Colorado. We had become good friends and invited one of the
girls to come to our house for tea the following day. When she arrived we explained what we
had in mind and she was happy to cooperate. When Richard returned from school and came
into the room, we introduced her by name and said she was from Japan.

He fled to the kitchen and hid under the table. Presently, he peeped into the room and backed
out again. Soon, he re-entered very cautiously. Without interrupting her conversation she
rolled the ball across the floor in his direction, he returned it on the reflex. She rolled it again,
he hesitated and looked at her for a moment and returned the ball.

They played other games and each had a good time. She stayed for supper, she told her
Japanese good night story and helped tuck him and Marianne into bed for the night. We had
many discussions and heard the repercussions of his reports of them in school. There were no
more swastikas nor any other “pretty” pictures. We made sure to entertain many people of
various ethnic backgrounds and enjoyed knowing more about other people and how they live
and what they believe.

Marianne’s childhood was different from that of Richard for we did not travel across the
ocean but we did travel between states and visited many churches and camps during the
summer times. When she was six months old and we were leaders in the Iowa camp she was
the star attraction. She was photographed, voted upon and entertained by the young folks.

During the school months her life centered upon the family. She was the youngest and
perhaps was spoiled by each of us. She became a part of the discussion, whether it was with
the adults or with the children of different ages. Her chief delight was her kittens and cats.
They became a large part of her life

On Sundays I usually worked with the High School group but taught the class of
Grandmothers in the mornings, at their request. They wanted me to work with their
grandchildren in the evenings and volunteered to care for my children during that time. So,
the grandmothers came, served supper to the children, and put them to bed later in the
evenings, while I tried to lead the youth in visiting other churches, or doing volunteer work of
many kinds.

Both Richard and Marianne learned to accept the grandmothers and looked forward to the
stories and games each one taught them. In later years both of the children were able to do
odd jobs for these grandmothers and find mutually profitable experiences.

One winter there was much snow. Walks needed to be shovelled frequently. It was fun to
watch the snow falling, it was fun to walk in it. When there was enough of it, roll it and make
snow men. All of us participated.

One afternoon, I was watching what was going to be a snowman, I thought. I was called aside
for a little while and returned to see there was not a snowman but a lion! I had to catch my
breath! Why a lion? Richard, the Lion Hearted! There were a number of lions built with snow
that winter.

When springtime came and the weather was warm, the children of the neighborhood wanted
to play out doors. There were seventeen children in the block without any of them crossing a
street. Sometimes all of them brought out their wagons or tricycles, whatever had wheels.
They formed themselves into a train, or a caravan. Once they added cardboard boxes or their
own imitations of covered wagons and followed a trail.

Two of those children lived next door to us, but the other children had not seen nor met the
father, since they had moved in just recently. On the day of the wagon train, just as the train
was passing our house the leader stopped because a car stopped at the driveway. A man
stepped out of the car, squatted down and embraced the two children who had quickly left the
train to run over to meet their daddy. Suddenly, it dawned on everyone: the policeman was
the daddy of Nancy and Sonny!

It was a two-way surprise! The police had not realized there were so many children living in
that block. There were children living across the street also who wanted join this group but it
was a busy street, there was not a traffic light, and mothers did not allow the children to

Marianne’s cat had a litter of kittens; Nancy loved one of those kittens and finally was given
permission to keep it. Two days later, the kitten ran into the street at the crossing to follow
someone. A passing car did not stop for the kitten. Nancy prepared a beautiful casket for the
kitten with cotton, flowers and her favorite toy. Richard dug a grave in our flower garden and
all the children attended the funeral for the kitten. Our daddy officiated. Nancy mourned for
that kitten for many days and brought fresh flowers to it each day.

Soon after the death of the kitten, the police came by when all the children were out on the
sidewalk, stopped and gave an effective lecture on safety and immediately installed a four
way stop sign. Just a few days later, I saw that police Chief step from his car in their back
yard, and sit on the back step. He covered his face with his hands and sobbed for a long time.
He was the one who had to pick up a little boy after a car had not stopped at a four way stop!

Just after that sad day, Richard was very happy to invite all the children into a different play
place! We had worked as a family to do the job. It was ready for use. What had been a dark
dreary cellar was now a bright playroom. There were chairs, tables, magazines, coloring
books, toys, all sorts of things. Richard and Nancy, the oldest of the group, were the teachers
and called the children into session, kept order, declared a recess for refreshments at mid
forenoon or afternoon, cleaned up the room before dismissals. Everyone had a good time.

The mothers took turns providing kool aid and cookies. There were interruptions: one day
there was a migration of turtles from west of us going toward the river. Some of those turtles
were studied for a number of days to find out what they would eat, when they would sleep,
and all the things children needed to know, until it was time for them to join their companions
in the migration down by the river.

Craftwork was suggested by Highlights, and other Magazines for children. That summer
passed very quickly and provided valuable experiences for the children and for the parents

Some years later, in another back yard, Richard and his sister built a lion, a rhino, and a
leopard with snow, sprinkled them with water, allowed them to freeze, sprinkled and frozen
again! They remained in our yard a long time!

Scouts, athletics, bicycles, school, girls and travel gradually and consistently occupied the life
of Richard. Climbing mountains, with or imitating the older siblings in climbing, became a
major issue for Richard. He had built in or ingrained into his being a need for adventure
which led to a one hundred mile bicycle ride in one day, then a bicycle trip around the state of
Florida. This included a venture of sight seeing of Havana by boat with a friend. It ended by
having to ship the bicycle home from Florida in a mattress box because of tires hopelessly
punctured by sandburs and a telephone call from the bus station in Kansas City requesting a
meal of pork chops and mashed potatoes when his bus would arrive at McPherson.

He also pursued the survival issue of “mountaineering”, to the ‘nth’ degree. He studied and
researched the matter until he felt properly prepared. Then he set out, alone, to prove to
himself that it was possible to mountain hike from Dream Canyon to Grand Lake and back to
Estes Park. He did it. He has not undertaken a similar expedition since then but has retained
his love of the mountains. The yearly vacation and family reunion brings his family to a
favorite camping spot to climb, to share experiences and strengthen family ties.

Marianne continued her love of kittens and cats. One of her favorites found herself most
comfortable in a loved rocker in the living room. When a frequent visitor came to our home,
he always chose that rocker also and enjoyed it until the cat entered the room. She crept
behind the rocker, lifted her right front paw, with claws extended, and silently ‘attacked’ the
visitor in the space between the seat and back of the rocker! He relinquished that seat to her

One evening during a party at our home, that cat jumped out of a brown shopping bag and
announced the engagement of Pattie and Irven!

Another time, Marianne’s favorite, Ichthiyol, was about to have her litter of kittens. Marianne
was a Girl Scout at the time. Several of the girls’ mothers were hesitant to discuss matters of
‘the birds and bees’ with their daughters, but were willing for them to spend the night at our
house for a supposed ‘Slumber Party’.

There was not so very much sleeping done during the night but each had a first hand
experience and knowledge of the birth process of kittens. The mothers called individually to
thank me for the experiences their daughters had, and how that had relieved them of their
own responsibilities.

The climbing of mountains became habitual to the family. When Marianne became old
enough to climb with the family, she joined in and all of us could enjoy the adventures
together. The older children were married and away for some of the vacation periods and just
the two younger ones climbed with the daddy and me. On a mountainside one day, suddenly,
Richard turned and called with disbelief!

“Mother, You are climbing a mountain!”

We climbed up Backbone and across to the top of Hallets’ Peak that day, and inscribed
Marianne’s and my names in the book in which the rest of the family had written theirs in
other years. She was a good climber and had trouble having enough oxygen only on top of
Long’s Peak when she went with Richard, Irven and her daddy.

Athletics was not Marianne’s delight, but she became one of the Cheer Leaders during her
High School days. She also had fun, good associations and experiences as a member of the
flute trio in College.

One evening my husband was asked to do a special lecture and wanted me to accompany
him. We had an agreement with the neighbors that we would look out for each other’s
children on such occasions. Both Richard and Marianne had extra assignments of lessons for
the evening and seemed happy to be on their own. We enjoyed our evening together and were
delightfully surprised when we returned.

The kitchen table was covered with cupcakes of pink, blue, green, purple and yellow! The
entire kitchen was spotless! After we were gone Richard remembered that it was his turn for
“show and tell” at school. He found the ingredients he needed in the cupboards and mixed up
the batter, baked the cup cakes and iced them. Marianne was his assistant. This was before
the days of ready mix for cakes!

During the years that my husband taught classes in Marriage and Family, he was asked many
times for the recipe or instructions on how to insure having a family of a boy then a girl, and
later to have another boy and girl. We recommend that every daughter should have an older
brother and that the first set be enough older than the second, so that the first pair can serve as
baby sitters for the second. Parents may remain young by this method!

A Stitch in Time
It was War Years time in 1918 and people were beginning to understand some of the
conditions that soldiers on the Front Lines and in supporting roles were enduring. There was
no radio nor television to actually show the scenes but reporters gave accounts that were
published in magazines and in some newspapers. The people in small towns did not generally
receive daily news but relied on the short items in Semi-Weekly papers. Consequently, there
was not the hysteria to arouse strong feelings.

There are always a few citizens who are alert to the wider scope of national and international
affairs. One such family lived in our community. The wife was a compassionate person and
gathered the girls about the ages of twelve to sixteen and explained the condition of
American soldiers in the War. She recommended that we learn to knit, and make blankets for
the soldiers.

She was very persuasive and efficient. I was one of the girls in that group who met in her
home and learned to knit. She did teach us, not only to knit, but to want to be concerned and
useful citizens. Each one of us made the four-inch squares from all colors of yarn we found in
our homes. Our mothers were happy to bring out used or unused needles to match the sizes of
yarn we used.

Our meetings included discussions of war conditions that went far beyond the situations of
the soldiers. We learned geography, travel methods, the names of people and how they
related to people in our town, and something about the home life of the people where the war
was being fought. It all was a tremendous eye opener for us. Visibly, we had learned to knit,
our squares were sewed into blankets, they were sent to the Army. Ideas were planted in our

Life returned to normal in the community after the war. People did their work; the children
attended school. Some people caught colds, some became ill with smallpox. In fact, there
were so many cases of it in our town that if there had been just one or two more, the town as
a whole would have been quarantined. Even my father, who had remained healthy during the
flu epidemic and had cared for many folks, contracted smallpox. He did not become very ill
and was able to continue his work, but he ‘broke out’ with five ‘pox’ on one side of his nose,
none on the other. In addition he had a number of the ‘pox’ on his face and a few on his body.
But, we were quarantined for thirty days.

I was quarantined with the family, like other households which also were confined, and not
allowed to attend school. I did have my books and regularly did my homework to keep up
with the classes. My mother very wisely taught me to crochet during this time. She had me
follow a pattern to crochet a yoke for a nightgown. It was a challenging undertaking, but I did
eventually finish crocheting it, fastened material to it and wore out three sets of material
sewed to it.

During the summer of 1922 I was thinking about college. I worked in a factory to earn some
of the money needed, and on the preparation of clothes. The crocheting project became a
reality. I remembered how to knit and made several sweaters. One was a tan one with long
sleeves, and included blue one-inch square inserts in the ribbing section at the lower edge.
The other was a rust color, made of lightweight yarn. It had short sleeves and sections of

Hand knit sweaters were very popular and I was asked to knit several sweaters for other girls
at College. I had also knit a navy stole and others wanted some like it. Knitting for others
gave me a bit of income. One lady wanted stoles for her two daughters to measure two yards
long and thirty inches wide.

Most of my time was used in weaving baskets during all of the college years. I had taken a
course in basketry during my freshman year and then just continued filling orders. It was
interesting work and paid for the expenses.

Mrs Huntsinger, with whom I lived while teaching, did a great deal of quilting. While she put
in her stitches during evening hours, I stitched on my velvet comforter. Mother taught me to
do a number of ‘crazy stitches’ usually used on ‘crazy quilts’. I had put the pieces together by
sewing machine and now did the crazy stitches along the seams.

One weekend in early spring when I went home for the weekend, four of us knotted the
comforter. Mother and Laura put in the stitches by tying the threads from the top, and
Desmond and I did the tying from underneath. It was a fun exercise for an engaged couple!
That comforter served the family well for many, many years

Many varieties and numbers of stitches came into use in our home in Lima, Ohio. Window
curtains, table cloths, aprons, clothes, costumes for plays at Church, tea towels, embroidery
for gifts and bazaars, all required stitches. Special loving stitches went into the making of
baby clothes for our first child and thereafter for each of our children.

After the pressures of the packing and assembling all the items put into the boxes that were
shipped to Nigeria, it was comforting to enjoy a period of travel and learning the new things.
Since our boxes were delayed because the rains had not come as usual, we had time to study
language and to decide what kind of furniture we would make for our home.

When that wonderful day when their arrival came and we unpacked the boxes, we rejoiced
over the treasures provided by those Sunday School classes. There was material for curtains
for the windows and for doorways without doors. Casual, hot weather wear needed to be
sewed, things we had not anticipated as needs arose regularly.

The Mission had supplied one important item when we arrived, which was to be replaced.
Mosquito nets were definitely not a luxury. One of my early tasks was the making of nets for
our beds. Cotton netting 48-60 inches wide was cut into 60-inch lengths and sewed together
so that the bed would be encircled. Then a muslin top was attached and a strip 24 inches wide
sewed along the bottom to be tucked under the mattress. Loops were sewed into the corners
and intermediate spaces to fasten the net to upright poles or frames made to fit.

We learned, as the years passed, that we had much freedom of movement when we fastened
the four beds together and enclosed the whole in one net. We were able to attend the children
without being exposed to mosquitoes!

All cloth left over from any one project was saved and used in multitudes of ways. In the
Better Babies Clinic we needed many baby shirts and blankets. The flannel squares sent by
church groups were very helpful but there were never enough of them. The bags or boxes that
contained all the ‘leftovers’ were in much demand. We sewed those pieces into larger units in
crazy quilt fashion and made them into the baby shirts.

Our boxes had been made by a planing mill to serve as the wood for our furniture. Husband
and wife worked together in making it. There were some needs that did not match those
boxes. One time the District Officer gave permission for us to cut a mahogany tree. Desmond
and a Nigerian went out to find a suitable one. They cut it and had it dragged to the shop.

They prepared a sawpit and trained two men to saw that tree (log) into boards using a long
crosscut saw, one man standing below and the other on top. Desmond drew lines on the log to
indicate where the cutting was to be done. All seemed to be well. Desmond was called away
on an emergency but the men were to continue their job.

The saw stuck, and work stopped until I could go to the rescue. The saw had to be filed,
sharpened. I had never done that before but it had to be done! Finally, the boards lay on top
of each other and there remained the two sides of the tree, sawed on one side, rounded on the
other. I had an idea! Rockers? The one ‘sawyer’ was very clever with his axe and said he
would be willing to try.

Using a few straight boards and the rockers Anjikwi carved, we came up with the frame. I
went to the market and bought a supply of Kapok pods, had one of the women who carried
water for us, to roll out the seeds and fluff the kapok, then upholstered the rocking chair. For
the final cover of it I used some of the beautiful cretonne sent by the home church.

One of the necessities of a nursing mother is a good rocking chair!

The Nigerians grew cotton in their farms. They spun the cotton into thread, used their looms
to weave two-inch wide cloth, and made their garments, sewing the strips together. We talked
to them about weaving a wider strip and thus saving time and cotton but “it has always been
done this way” was their reply. One of the missionaries ordered a handloom that would
produce cloth twelve inches wide. Several of the missionaries tried to weave. I learned and
wove with thread bought from England. The Nigerians were definitely not interested and we
moved to Marama, so the project was dropped for that time.

I used the cloth I had woven with a lovely design and made dresser scarves.

When it came time for a short vacation, we decided to go to the former mission station at
Gardemna. The buildings were still usable. The man, who supplied us with milk, said he
needed to take his herd to the salt lick near Gardemna. We thought that was a timely occasion
for we needed to have our milk supply. He took one half of the herd for the week at
Gardemna to supply us, and the other half supplied the missionaries at Garkida.

It was a week of change, a time of re-creation. I took my supply of wool yarn and started to
knit the sweaters for Stanley and Pattie that we would need eventually when it came time for
furlough. The local tailor became very much interested and decided to knit for his son.

He had on hand a supply of cotton thread he was going to use for weaving. Instead, he
prepared to make his ‘yarn’ of similar weight to what I was using.

He tied the end of his yarn to a tree, walked on to another, fastened it there and continued on
to several more until he must have gone a mile; there he turned and returned along his route,
until he had achieved the thickness he desired. He asked me to hold the yarn where he began,
then he went to the first stop. He twisted in one direction and I twisted in the other, rolled it
up from my end into a ball until we had rolled up all of it into a continuous thread.

Next, he went to the bamboo grove and cut a number of stalks. He cut the bamboo into the
lengths including the rib in one end. He took those bamboo sections to the river and began
sanding them until he had achieved the sizes he desired, pointed at one end and the knob on
the other.

He was ready to knit! I helped him cast on the required number of stitches and showed him
what to do. He had observed me more carefully than I had suspected, so he proceeded with
his own knitting very well. Both of us lengthened the garments we were knitting a number of
inches that week. He arranged his affairs so that when we returned to Garkida he came with
us to complete the garment, cast off at the sleeve ends and round the neck.

When he had finished it, he had his wife and their son to come to Garkida and they attended
church on Sunday. His son wore the new knit shirt and was the attraction of the day! He had
many friends who insisted he visit their homes. The friends wanted to have shirts like that for
their sons!

Many sets of bamboo needles were sanded the next week. Many balls of cotton yarn were
made up. I had many requests to show those men how to knit. Why should I teach them when
Mwajim knew how? he was a good teacher and I stood by to work out designs, to help start
and then cast off.

The word spread. The men had found a new pastime, a new kind of garment for the family.
Not only was it new, they discovered that these shirts knit in one piece actually used less
cotton, and wore much longer than the ones made from the strips of cloth. Their imaginations
went to work. Presently they knit many kinds and sizes of garments.

When we were driving down the road to leave for our furlough, a man waved to us from his
home and urged us to stop. He brought his knitting and desired help. I looked at it a long
while trying to decide what it was. He was knitting a long stocking. There would be a seam
from top to the heel but I was to show him how to turn the heel!

I am not sure how many people learned to knit. Evidently it was one of those things whose
time had come. I learned that bamboo needles are excellent and have used many of them. I
used them to knit the baby blankets for the bassinet.

A school for sons of Moslem chiefs of villages was started at Garkida. Wives and babies
came with some of those men. There was a request for those men also to learn how to knit.
Some had come from areas to the north where they did not have access to bamboo. It was
decided to use heavy wire from the shop, cut to the proper lengths, so that group learned on
the stiff wire needles. Some of them wanted to use the brightly colored yarn they found in
their home markets. They also wanted to make caps for the babies.

Consequently, another design was called for by all the knitters! How to knit toboggan caps
with a tassel on the top! No matter how many projects had been begun, or at what stage they
were, there are always people who will continue and advance beyond the original spot.

The time came when we had to leave for furlough. Richard was old enough to travel;
arrangements were made, household things were disposed of. The doctors were very definite
in their statements that Desmond should not try to return to Nigeria because of his health

We settled in Philadelphia after a summer of convalescing, visiting churches and camps, and
relating to our families more closely. Our daddy enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania
and the children started in the public schools. We found a second floor apartment on
Buckingham Place

In Philadelphia
Just around the corner there was a Yarn Shop. The window display was very attractive and
had a sign saying they offered help for any project if the yarn was bought in their shop. This
was my opportunity! I bought yarn to knit a sweater for Richard. They were very helpful for I
wanted to learn as a true beginner so that I could teach others correctly! I learned to do the
raglan sleeve! I made the leggings, then the cap, mittens, and an overcoat with inverted pleat
in the back, collar, knit-in buttonholes and all.

Richard grew into that outfit during the year and I learned to add to its size as needed. That
set of knitwear served not only him, but a number of children in other families for a long
while. The knowledge has been a blessing to me in many ways. I have also knit a number of
garments that went into the CARE packages sent by our church to areas of need.

It was helpful for me to knit while the children were learning to drive the car in later years. I
could sit in the back seat and knit instead of pointing out the coming red or green lights,
which I saw long before the ‘driver’ could see it. It was one way of not being a back seat
driver! Besides, some needy child was profiting.

I kept knitting sweaters, scarves, mittens and gloves while the children were growing. When
Pattie was in college, argyle sweaters were in vogue. I knit one for her and one for Irven after
they became engaged. It was another adventure for me. Then followed one with a patterned
yoke for Richard, in junior or high school, which he continued wearing until his children
were almost junior high age, I think. I knit a lightweight sweater or vest for Stanley with a
diagonal design.

Children grow, fashions change, seasons come and go but clothes of one kind or another are a
necessity no matter where one lives. It is true for all families. Mothers are alert to these
changes and needs. Some families use fine materials and many changes of outfits for their
children. Sometimes they see an opportunity to enjoy a favorite garment for an extended time
by passing that garment on to someone they admire whose size is similar.

Our family was fortunate enough to be recipients for such garments a number of times. A
slight adjustment often was all that was needed. It was economical also to buy yardage, and
sew garments. Patterns usually are very self-explanatory and I tried to follow them making
adjustments and improvisations. When I look at albums I can see that we did a good many of
them. The girls told me that other girls wore this or that and we would try to imitate if they so

Occasions and events called for costumes or special outfits. Halloween was one. All Schools
Day called for May Pole costumes, or cheer leading for whatever the girls decided, Junior
Prom, Senior Prom, dances, plays, all needed proper attire. Mother’s sewing machine was
kept busy.

When Pattie went to college, we made a dress form to fit her so that I could continue to sew
her clothes as I had been doing. That form was a great help. One time I needed to use it for
someone other than Pattie.

Stanley and Vivian were to be married and her mother was planning to do her dress but just at
the time she suffered a broken bone and was not able to meet the obligation. I was honored to
be asked and made her wedding dress using the form in a major degree. It was a white
organdy material in a series of sections in the skirt. The dresses for the attendants were made
according to the same pattern. I did Pattie’s in pale blue and Marianne’s in yellow.

That Christmas vacation we went to Chicago and shopped for Pattie’s wedding dress
material. She knew just what she wanted but we had a hard time to find it. She chose her
pattern and I tried to follow instructions. Some of the attendants had their dresses made and I
made some of them. When I look at the pictures now I wonder how I ever had courage to
undertake that assignment. There were so many scallops.

We made baskets for the attendants to carry, and had the Conservatory in Chicago to grow
Gloriosa Lilies for the wedding bouquet, going away corsage, and cake top because this was
the flower in the table centerpiece when Pattie was born at Garkida and was her favorite
flower. I also made her going away suit to match the material of the suit Irven had made for

We moved to Kansas that summer and I needed to sew only for Marianne. She was in girl
scouts and grade school so needed the seasonal events clothes. My time was occupied in
many ways by college activities but called for many stitches of many kinds from time to time.
I tried to fit into needs as circumstances arose.

At various times I helped the wives of married students by providing temporarily, the much
used bassinet first used by Richard. I also helped a group of the wives to knit men’s socks.
The Industrial Arts Department held classes in which people of the community participated
doing basketry, tray decorating, jewellery, and such arts. They asked me to teach the sections
on basketry and reed work.

One older couple made a number of wastebaskets or flower-pot holders to take on an
extended trip and use as hostess gifts. They must have made more than twenty of them of
different kinds, shapes and sizes. An engaged student couple made the flower baskets for
their wedding.

I did not sew the dress for Richard’s bride. She was a Home Economics major and sewed it
herself. For their wedding, I made a table cloth with appliqued satin bells outlined with
iridescent sequins. That cloth was used by numerous folks for various occasions, adapting the
color of the cloth underneath.

The children returned home at Christmas. One year I undertook a project of embroidered
matching outfits. Checks were in vogue, so I used check material in separate colors for each
family and did cross stitch designs in the checks. As I remember, Stanley’s family had brown
check with maple leaf design on shirt pockets and around the bottom of Vivian’s skirt. I am
not certain now of the colors or designs of Desmond’s and mine, but Marianne’s were of gray
with Greek Key design done in black. Pattie and Richard and their families were in Nigeria at
the time. All the skirts were fully pleated and required time for the cross-stitching.

Usually Christmas gifts included a number of handmade articles for the family members,
whether knit or sewed. Baby blankets were in that list as the grandchildren came into the
family. Then also there were the sweaters and caps or berets as needed. Hairpin stitch knitting
and spool crocheting became popular among the younger crowd and among the day campers
in the park just across the street from our house. I usually helped them with crafts.

When Marianne was married, her dress was made by a dear friend of hers and the attendants
bought their own or their mothers made them. Richards and Patties were in Nigeria. Stanley’s
two sons served as candle lighters. There was not much home sewing for me to do for that
wedding. We purchased the dresses that were needed.

In 1965 we retired from McPherson and began our association with World Campus Afloat.
Desmond had various assignments and so did I. At first he was chairman of Faculty and I
served as a Counsellor. Both of us were kept busy whatever the assignment or titles were. I
determined that instead of being seated and appearing to wait for folks to come to speak to
me, I would be “occupied”, so I began knitting afghans.

The first ones were of three-inch squares made on a loom and then put together to make up
the afghan. This process was never obtrusive and was a source of conversation. The jobs had
different names over the years, the patterns for the projects varied, the voyages circled the
continents or the globe, the students were different each semester but their goals were very
much the same and the afghans changed colors and numbers.

When we retired from the ship I continued doing afghans, either crocheting or knitting them.
I have made at least one for each of the four children, one for each of the ten grandchildren,
and either an afghan or a project of choice for the fourteen great grandchildren. I have not yet
done one for the new great-great grand daughter. But I have done afghans for wedding or
graduation gifts for several of our ‘adopted’ grandchildren.

No matter who the expected or intended recipient of the afghan or garment was, each item
was done with love stitches, most of them were accompanied by music from many lands. If
the articles were to speak, they would be heard in many languages, with an abundance of
intonations. Let it suffice that I hope each one was a stitch in time! I hope that those stitches
have been woven together in such a way that they have begun binding the words, the feelings,
the songs and the prayers of all the world into one glorious colorful afghan!

IV. Circling the Globe
Once Around The World
“Do you have a globe? Is it there where you can study it? Good! We will need it as we travel
on together.”

“First, find the place where you live. Now, find New York, for that is the place where we will
really begin our journey.”

“You are not ready to go? You need to finish the thing you are doing? Yes, I understand. I
will be sure to tell you all about it and keep you informed as we go.”

We boarded our plane and flew to Frankfurt, Germany. There was time between planes for us
to get some exercise and walk in the park in the city. Fortunately, we were there for the six
o’clock Sunday evening bell concert. I had heard that concert on another visit and hoped to
enjoy it again.

Leaving Frankfurt at dusk we saw the glow of the sun on the snows of the Switzerland
mountain peaks. There was Mount Blanc and the more pointed peak of Jungfrau, and all the
other peaks. Darkness closed in and we relaxed.

Our conversation centered on the country over which we were flying. This was the country
Hannibal wanted to rule in 216 B.C. It was a very different country now from the one he
knew. We thought about him, and the 100 elephants he had gathered in northern Africa and
brought them to cross the mountains. Did he know it is shaped like a boot?

My husband shared the experience of one of his students during the War when his group
“held” the position of a monastery in the southern part of Italy. I had become drowsy but that
story awoke me and allowed me to hear several historical accounts of this region. We crossed
the width of the Mediterranean and much of Northern Africa. I wanted to see some of the
Sahara Desert.

A friend told me that the desert is so large that in constructing maps, one can place all of the
United States inside this northern part of Africa. Since we were flying south we would be
covering a distance equal to crossing all of the United States from the Canadian line
southward across the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and on into Mexico. That
gave me plenty of time to see the desert several times!

We crossed more than half of the desert to arrive at Kano, Nigeria about midnight. A taxi
took us to a hotel for the rest of the night. I was so glad that I had packed some clothes for
warm weather! This was the place to begin wearing them. Our taxi driver gave us a good tour
of the city and knew the answers to many of our questions.

Most of the city wall was still the original one but it had been repaired and the gates enlarged
for modern vehicles to pass through. There were six gates to allow access to the city. The
original walls were wide enough for six horsemen to ride abreast. One sight intrigued us. It
was the number of tall green pyramids of something. The driver said they were peanuts! They
were in bags four feet high and four to five feet in circumference. Thousands of those bags

were piled up to form each of these pyramids, and there must have been thirteen or more of
them. How many peanut butter sandwiches would that make?

There were also buildings containing other products which would be shipped from here to
other parts of the world for processing. Yes, he said the peanuts would be made into
margarine, soaps, oil and such things. The transfer and handling of these products assembled
from the countryside provided modern Kano with a lively economy.

We did not have enough time to see as much as we wanted because our schedule demanded
that we move on to Yola. We had been looking forward to this stop. Before the plane touched
down, we saw our son and the family waiting for us! It was great to come this far and actually
see them. David was walking!! They all looked well. Presently we were in their car and
rolling on toward Biu!

We had come home! It felt like it had been yesterday instead of twenty five years. We paused
along the roadside in Biu when we saw a lady selling a gourd full of mangoes and proceeded
to buy them. She said they came from the trees at Marama. She recognized me! She had been
in my class! I had planted those mango trees! All this was a surprise to the children, they said,
as we continued the few miles to Waka.

It was our turn to be surprised. Waka was the Secondary School and had been started since
we were at Marama. Our son was a teacher in this new school. The campus looked like a city
with homes for the teachers and for the married students, because the wives were also
students as well as the children. In addition there were the school buildings, the chapel and
the dormitories for the unmarrieds. They were happy to show us all around and to meet all the

One visit was of special meaning for us. Richard took us to greet the Chief of Biu. This Chief
greeted my husband as ‘father” and asked him to be seated on the Chief’s throne. When he
was a small child he had come with his father to Marama many times. He and Stanley had
spent hours on the cement floor of our kitchen racing the two-inch metal cars my sister sent
to Stanley. He had gifts for us: an embroidered hat for my husband, and a bushel sized basket
of large onions for me! Sara Ann was happy to receive the onions for I could not take them
with me. But I did appreciate that gift, it was a very proper gift for a woman. They would
supply seasoning for many meals.

Another visit was nostalgic and very pleasurable. They took us to Marama, the mission
station we had started. We saw all the developments, and many of our former students and
neighbors. The tree in the flower garden had grown taller, stronger and was still a real
memorial to Kudiri’s grandfather, and the others who had been sacrificed in the name and
practice of slavery. We were greeted as having returned from the dead; some folks
remembered how ill my husband was when we left.

That evening we went on to Garkida, where Pattie, Richard, Gary and Susan were born and
where Jill would soon be born. There were many things to see and many people to meet. We
had spent a number of years here and tried to do many things. We were expected to move on
to the Theological College and Agricultural School where Pattie and Irven along with Jerry
and Lois had begun a great project that has blossomed beyond their hopes.

We were housed in a very nice small house Pattie and Irven had built with the expectation of
our living in it for an extended visit. Unfortunately, Irven had contracted Lassa fever and had

to be flown to Chicago for treatment. It meant the end of their stay in Nigeria. We did get to
see the work and meet many of the people involved.

We saw the individual homes for the students. Here also, husband and wife were both
students preparing to go to the villages as pastors and teachers. They learned to use oxen for
plowing, animal care, varied crops and crop rotation, as well as irrigation for increasing food

Richard returned us to Yola but Sara Ann did not come because it was close to the time of the
birth of their new baby. This time the plane took us to Jos where we changed to one that took
us eastward to Khartoum. and gave us opportunity to see more of the desert. That night we
had an unusual treat.

We saw where the White Nile, coming from the south beyond Lake Victoria, gathers the
waters along the way to join the Blue Nile, which begins in the east toward the Red Sea,
where the high mountains of Ethiopia catch the rain, now join to form the great Nile. To be
able to see that on a full moon night was indeed a treat. It was worth coming all that distance
to see that sight!

The following day, we flew along the Nile into Egypt, as far as Cairo.

Generally, people come here to see the Great Pyramids, the Sphinx and the Museum, but our
flight did not include them this time, and we had a short flight to Jerusalem.

We did take time to see where Jesus was born in Bethlehem, to walk from the Mount of
Ascension through the Kidron Valley, past St. Stephens Gate, along the via Dolorosa to the
Temple. It was a very warm day but it was a rewarding afternoon.

We came so rapidly that you may have lost your breath. Let us stop to catch it and have a
look at your globe to see how we came. We looked at it in New York. Starting from New
York, follow the route of the plane to Frankfurt, south across Italy, the Mediterranean, to
Kano, Nigeria. Now circle around to Biu, and Yola where we visited the mission stations and
our son’s family, then back to Jos to Khartoum, east to the Nile, to Cairo and on to Jerusalem.
You see, we have come from the continent of North America, crossed Europe, then from west
to east of Africa, and now we are about to enter the continent of Asia. I hope you feel young
and vigorous and very cool. You are free to remove your sweater and any other wraps that
keep you warm. Leave them in your baggage for later use. At this point we are about to go
into the Arabian Desert.

Our ticket destination this time is Baghdad. Note the spelling – it is not Dad Bag but it is

Baghdad sits on the union of the Tigris and the Euphrates Rivers, like that of the union of the
Niles. It was warm here, really warm, in fact it was hot. We sweltered during the hours we
waited in the office to receive our permit to visit Nineveh to see the Hanging Gardens of
Nebuchednezzar and the Fiery Furnace in which Daniel had that great experience. (It was in
that office we learned about Red Tape as practiced in that country, but we did finally receive
the permit!)

Before we began the hundred mile trip, the taxi driver wrapped himself into a water soaked
towel. We saw a countryside that once was a veritable garden but under the heat of that day,

and the drought of the season, there was no green plant to be seen. We saw no animals except
one lone camel. We did walk the length of the hanging garden, what remained of it, even
though the heels of my shoes sank into the asphalt walk that remained there, to the special
enclosure of the Firey Furnace. We even descended into it. (The heat was turned on that day!)

That evening we had a delightfully cool stroll along the riverside to observe the life of the
city. All of the beach area was strung with electric wires with bulbs suspended above small
tables for two that were occupied by pairs of men playing checkers. Along the walkways
there were scores of vendors frying fish and selling to the players. The aroma filled the air
and enhanced the appetite. Children played on the sand between the players and the river’s
edge. It was so calm and peaceful!

Karachi held many surprises. There was much color evident. The taxis were highly decorated
but quite efficient. The women impressed us with graceful and colorful saris. The streets were
filled with workers and craftsmen who worked in leather and metal. We were not prepared to
do much buying but determined that some day we wanted to avail ourselves of the expertise
of these workers.

A few hours and a number of miles do make a difference in weather conditions, we learned
during the next twelve hours! Everywhere we have gone on this trip it has been warm and
dry. Baghdad was especially dry but when we left Karachi, all that changed. The Monsoon
season had begun in India!

When we left the plane we needed to wade in water four and five inches deep to get into the
airport. Some missionary friends met us there and took us to their home for the night. They
showed us around Bombay some and pointed out various sections and homes of people we
knew. On that drive in the evening we saw the lovely Victoria’s Necklace! It is the drive
around the harbor showing the twinkling lights reflected in the waters. Beautiful!

One day another friend accompanied us on the train going north to visit a number of the
mission stations of our church. Everywhere we went we were honored with fragrant flower
leis. It is such a beautiful way of showing hospitality. They showed us the kinds of work done
at each station: girls and womens’ schools, medical work, crafts and technical work. The
animal prominent in the families here was not the goat, as it was in Nigeria, but was the water

We wanted to get into other areas of India and so we traveled some by train by ourselves. The
hospitality of the people became a reality on those trains. They realized we were unfamiliar
with their trains and tried in many ways to be helpful.

We visited Delhi, the capital, and admired the famous Taj Mahal, and the Red Fort. We went
also to Jaipur to see the beautiful brass work with the inlay of bright porcelains. Boys sat by
the fathers and grandfathers to rub and polish that brass all day long, every day. A short jaunt
to the top of the hill there gave us a glimpse of Amber. I was impressed by the decorative
architecture where the women folk kept out of sight but where they could see what was
happening in those castles.

The flight to Benares, the Holy City on the Ganges, was one I had read about and an
experience I felt was necessary in order to understand the philosophy of caste, death and the
hereafter. We were instructed on behavior patterns for tourists before we arrived. Those
instructions helped us to understand: the beggars at the entrance, the burning ghats near the

river where the relatives of the departed could drop the ashes into the river, the tall chimney-
like structures where some corpses were placed for the birds or vultures to carry the souls of
the departed to heaven, the Ganges River filled with hundreds of people bathing and
immersing themselves to wash away their sins, and the crowds on the steps saying their

That evening we went to see all that we had not seen in India. We had been told that in
Calcutta we would see everything that was to be seen in India. We were accustomed to take a
walk in whatever city we were after dinner each evening. We started to do that in Calcutta but
the hotel people advised against it because it would not be desirable.

Our venture thirty feet beyond the door convinced us they were correct. People lay down on
the sidewalks to sleep; they had no other place. Many died on the sidewalks or in the street
and special wagons came by in the morning to gather the ones who had died in the night.

We retired to our room to get what rest we could that night. On our drive to the airport in the
morning we understood about seeing everything. Traffic was heavy, very heavy. Taxis and
cars filled the roadways but trucks crowded in and so did elephants pulling elongated trailers
loaded with long poles of heavy logs or bamboo. The elephant trainers walked beside each
elephant and kept up a steady stream of conversation in an effort to keep the beasts calm.
Horse drawn carts passed loaded with oranges, bananas or other fruits and some came by
loaded with what looked like large thick pancakes which were actually loaves of bread.
Occasionally the large black limousines of the wealthy appeared in the middle of this stream
of traffic.

It was good to sit in one’s seat to take a deep breath and relax even for the short flight to
Rangoon. This is the country that was Burma and is now called Myanmar. Several years
earlier we had a student from Rangoon who invited us to visit him in his home. They
arranged for a hotel room for us but insisted on taking us to meals in various restaurants that
served excellent Chinese food. The father always ordered!

One morning there were two telegrams: One said their son, was very ill at Purdue University
in the States; the other said our son, Richard, was very ill in Nigeria. The mother took us to
the Peace Pagoda, where she gave the offering to the priest. She suggested that she would
pray for our son and we should pray to our god for her son. We did that, both sons recovered
quickly, we learned later, when mail could catch up with us.

The Peace Pagoda has a tall cone-shaped roof, covered with gold leaf. That afternoon, they
took us to a park to see the celebration of the Festival of the Buddha’s Tooth. We saw
hundreds of people carrying bouquets of flowers moving toward a small temple. Beside it
stood a small Indian elephant very much decorated with brightly shining paints, silver
ornaments and flowers. People surrounded him and sang, in honor of the Buddha’s tooth. It
was encased inside the glass surrounding the altar of the temple.

Another day, the family formed a caravan of red cars to take us to see the temple of the
Sleeping Buddha. It rained heavily most of that day, but did not dampen the spirits of the
events planned and carried out, including a very wonderful lunch served at someone’s home
along the way but catered and delivered by jeep by one of their favorite restaurants.

After the lunch and the visit to the Sleeping Buddha, they took us into an unusual temple. At
the door, the mother gave the offering to the priest, and we all passed by a great bell

suspended from the ceiling. It must have been 6-8 feet in height and at least five feet wide,
bell shaped, made of one inch thick brass. At the far edge of the bell she paused, so did we.
Then the priest gave a resounding tap to the edge of the bell nearest to him. We thrilled as we
heard the vibrations sounding and resounding across a long series of hills and valleys
extending from that hilltop for miles into the distance. I think we heard those vibrations for
many minutes as we almost held our breaths.

I own a small replica of that bell and delight in its reverberations!

Did you see the movie, “The King and I”? Do you remember those temples with the lovely
bells tinkling around the edges of the roofs? You will think of the Temple of the Jade
Buddha, the Temple of the Dawn, the Broken Dish Pagoda. You know that one time a king
ordered a large set of dishes. It was shipped but the ship sank. The dishes were mostly broken
by the time they were brought to the surface but the people of Bangkok, saved all the pieces,
built the temple, covered it with plaster and then embedded the dishes in the walls of the
temple. They pieced them together as they placed them to form the cups, saucers, and plates.

Canals serve as streets, boats serve as the cars, but the people live life in a dainty fashion.
They served a delicious, dainty dessert to us. It was made with coconuts, four inches high,
two and one half inches in diameter, filled with a frozen cream mixture, topped with a tiny
umbrella, and served with a straw!

We went to the ticket office to pick up the local fare for our next destination, the man said,
“You cannot go there from here!”

It sounded final. I did not say anything but brought out our overall ticket which definitely
indicated that we were scheduled to do just that. The airline was indicated. The fare had been

Reluctantly, he picked out the local tickets and gave them to us. Very soon a small plane for
18 passengers appeared and we flew to Siem Reap. Another passenger joined us to get a taxi
to drive us to Anghor Wat.

We had been told that we would see something interesting at Anghor Wat. We came to see
what it was.

The taxi delivered us to a motel-restaurant (French Speaking) in late afternoon. There was
time for an exploratory walk before dinner.

It appears that at one time this entire territory was filled with large stone castles but they have
fallen into disrepair and are now overgrown with all kinds of tropical growth. A short
distance beyond our motel there was one such ruin with a path leading in our direction.

We followed it to the bridge across a canal filled with waterlilies of many colors. Each side of
the bridge had piles of stones, numbered for placement into specially designated places. At
the far end of the path was the entrance to the former castle. It was partially cleaned and
dismantled in preparation for the replacing of the stones we had seen. There were no workers
at this time whom we could ask for the story.

We wandered on and on into the forest and saw evidences of many more such ruins. Birds,
monkeys and other forest critters had made their homes in these ruins at one time or another
and had left the remains of their lifestyles. Vines, shrubs, even trees had grown into or out of

the cracks and crevices. There were a number of residences of present human inhabitants to
show us that present life was meaningful.

At the far end of the path where we had begun our walk, we found a school for Buddhist
monks. The families of some of these men lived near by. A few years later, we learned to
know one of those families very well when they came to our area as refugees following the
Vietnam War. The son had been one of those monks. He has become a banker in this country
by this time.

After the walk we heard the story of Anghor Wat from the motel manager. I am glad that we
persisted in our effort to include this visit on our journey. The visit was not finished. Our
room smelled so fresh, the air was perfumed by the variety of blossoms. We decided to leave
the bathroom window open during the night. Early in the morning I was awaked by some
sound, I was unable to identify. When we arose to investigate, we found a great elephant
grazing outside that window. He looked up when we spoke to him but continued his breakfast
until his master arrived to put him to work, carrying more of the stones lined up on the

When our plane flew in a circle across Angkor Wat we saw the several rebuilt castles and the
entire expanse of that kingdom. It became a dot in the expanse of green rice fields we saw
below our plane window for many miles. All of Vietnam looked especially green when we
thought about the Sahara, the Arabian Desert and the crowded streets of Calcutta.

There was not much time to think about past scenes. Hong Kong was approaching!

What a change and what a difference! The countryside was so level and so green! Suddenly,
we were descending to the water level between the mountains! Hong Kong really was a city
built into the very edges of mountains. Our plane descended to a runway and airport built up
into the waters of the bay.

By this time we had become accustomed to hearing communication taking place in languages
other than English, so the use of Chinese did not seem strange. In fact, we were surprised to
hear English spoken by many people. A man wearing a straw hat called out our name. He
introduced himself as the father of Fred Wu, one of the students at our college.

He helped us with our luggage and took us to a car with a driver. He explained that the Mayor
of the city had to be away on a business trip for some days and had called Mr. Wu to offer his
car and driver to use for our transportation while in Hong Kong. Why?

Mr. Wu, the Mayor and my husband all were members of Rotary. We were very surprised at
such kindness but grateful for the service too. There had been a hurricane of unusually large
proportions just a very few days before our arrival. Mr. Wu was able to take us to view some
of the areas damaged by that storm. He had placed us in a hotel, and accompanied us to
several meals. He had been a dealer in fine linens and knew the commercial world very well,
so he took us to the merchants he knew to have us make our purchases of clothes we would
need during our days of teaching in Taiwan.

One evening he and Mrs. Wu took us to a Grand Restaurant, a ship, for a wonderful Chinese
Dinner. First we went into a room with many tanks of various kinds and sizes of fish. They
wanted us to select the fish we were to eat but we asked them to choose. Then we were
ushered into a grand room for the dinner. They had made a good selection.

We did not realize then just how many times we were to enjoy other dinners either in that
place or among good Chinese friends; how many times we would see Victoria Peak, ride the
ferry to Kowloon, or browse the shops of Hong Kong.

The time had come for us to arrive and assume our duties. My husband had been granted a
Fulbright Professorship at the University of Tunghai at Taichung and at the University of
Taiwan in Taipei. I was to teach French at Tunghai and coach students in English at Taipei.
There was a period of Orientation for all of the Fulbright people for a week before we would
go to our various assignments. It was a most interesting week, followed by a year of
fascinating experiences. All that, or some of it, will wait for a separate story.

It was a year that we shall remember for many reasons and in many ways. The people we
met, the ones we worked with, the schools in which we served, the places we visited and the
experiences there, as well as the places themselves and the scenery shall remain a treasured

Was it really nine months ago that we flew out of Hong Kong on our way to Taiwan? Now
we left Hong Kong again for our flight homeward! We crossed or saw many islands when
suddenly the voice of the Captain told us to look down to see where the United States had
dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. We could not help but think of our Hatsuko who hid
in a culvert that morning and escaped the tragedy to so many of her fellows. We were happy
to think of her having spent years with her family and teaching in the States. Presently, we
descended into Yokohama, Japan. The name took me back to my college days at
Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania. Our President then, Dr. H.K.Ober, sailed to Yokohama for the
World’s Sunday School Convention.

The things he spoke about that had impressed him about this city prepared me to experience
the exciting things we would see on this trip. The harbor was a very busy place. I needed
some time to absorb what I saw. They were building a landing field and airport and adding to
the dock space by removing the mountain into the sea! It looked easy! A moving belt did the
job, I was told.

Another experience made this a memorable visit for us. A couple had come from here to
Taiwan as visiting professors. We learned to know them in Taiwan and received an invitation
to visit their home and University in Japan. We spent our Japan Sunday with them at
International Christian University. After church they had arranged for a potluck dinner. There
were twelve couples of them and they served twelve dishes representing their twelve
countries. Can you imagine the conversations of that day?

Later that same day we had a meal with a young couple of our own church who were in Japan
under an international agency. They demonstrated for us how the Japanese have meals, seated
on cushions around a table, at floor level, with the feet on a heater, the table cloth serving as a
blanket around the legs! (Psst — the feet all go into a square opening in the floor under the
table where the heater is located!)

There were so many places to visit and so many things to do, it would have been great to
have more time here. It was necessary to have a look at the calendar. It indicated in no
uncertain terms that in just two evenings from this time, we would be, or should be, in our
home in Kansas entertaining the senior class and then participating in the full round of
Commencement activities. In accordance with the time zones, we will have one day in

Hawaii to rest up, to review the sights, sounds and scenery of each mile we have covered in
circumnavigating this globe.

From Kansas, then New York the route has taken us to Europe, south to Waka and Yola in
Nigeria, Africa, skipped by Egypt, and onward to where we walked in the Holy Land,
endured the heat of the Firey Furnace at Nineveh, waded the waters in Bombay, mourned
with the relatives of the departed at Benares, waited patiently for traffic to move in Calcutta,
shared the vibrations of the temple bell in Burma, roamed the forest at Angkor Wat, felt
refreshed with the view of the green of Vietnam’s rice fields, thanked the mayor of Hong
Kong for his kindness, and the Fulbright Foundation for a wonderful school year in Taiwan,
marveled at the ingenuity of the Yokohama engineers, shared delicious food with the
International Faculty at the Japan International University, renewed our energies in Honolulu
to unite with our families at Wichita and completed the 25,000 mile circle by unpacking and
storing the luggage.

Where's SFAX?
When we sailed with World Campus Afloat on the ship UNIVERSE we had many
adventures. Some were planned as a part of the curriculum. Some were caused by world
events that have become part of History and matters for the United Nations to resolve. Some
have become concerns for others who traveled on that ship. This particular voyage was no

We began that voyage in the usual way by loading the five hundred students, forty some
Faculty, assistants, and our oriental crew under the direction of Captain Koo, and sailed
uneventfully across the Atlantic into the Mediterranean ports. As usual, we stopped at Rome,
visited St. Peters, and received the blessing of the Pope. Many students were delighted to
have their Rosaries or other items blessed by the Pope.

All classes were meeting, assignments were made and the process of learning, by seeing first
hand, was becoming a reality. Actually seeing history unfolded to all of us was a tremendous
experience in itself. The novelty of “class on a ship” had become reality and seeing Rome as
a city with living people and ordinary citizens and not as inhabited by Nero, or da Vinci, or
Michelangelo and their associates was also an unfolding. There was much to be discussed,
marveled at and thought about.

Eating real Italian pizza, walking in the Forum, throwing a coin into the fountain, gazing at
the sculptures, fainting from extended upward looking at the Sistine Chapel ceiling, climbing
the Spanish Steps— all had now become reality, no longer wishful dreams. There had to be
midnight discussions!

Students lined the decks as we sailed south along Italy’s coast for a view of Vesuvius, as we
passed Naples, and heard their Professors point out the beauty of the Blue Grotto, and the
wonders of the Amalfi Drive. Several men talked about their experiences during the War in
this “Toe of Italy". There was not time to answer the call for dinner because the Messina
Straits were in view, no one wanted to miss it.

Fortunately, the Universe was allowed to vary her speed according to the program of studies,
so there was time for a good sleep before Greece. We docked at Pyrrheus and heard that the
U.S. Navy also anchored there. The ship’s officers would make the proper connections in due
time but our first order of business was leading the students to the buses arranged to take us
to Athens for our tour of the city. We saw the Royal Palace, photographed the Guards, and
visited the Museum. This proved to be the highlight of this part of the day. After lunch we
climbed the hill above the city; some experienced the slippery rocks of Mars Hill; then
climbed on to the top by way of overlooking the theater and carvings remaining in the
surrounding wall of that hillside structure. The imposing Parthenon at the top brought forth a
multitude of exclamations.

“It is much larger than I imagined!”

“I was told that it was white, but It is much whiter than the books show it!”

“What happened to the one end, only part of the roof remains?”

“Do you see the pillars, they are larger at the bottom than the top?

Everyone attended the evening “Sound and Light” program. This was especially set up in
English for the students and was a part of the ship program. That narrative answered the
questions that were asked during the day and gave a great deal of historical information.

When we returned to the ship after the program, we learned that many of the U.S.Navy boys
had come to visit and to have an opportunity to socialize with American girls! A rather short
time was allowed for that, Their Sargents-at-Arms rounded up their men but most of them
insisted on the opportunity of saying “Good Night to Grandma", and there were two! Mrs.
Long and I were at the gangplank. Some of the boys had to come back for a second kiss and
hug! It had been a long time since they had one!

The second day students chose their destinations according to their special interests or
majors’ Some went to the arenas where the Olympics began, some to the various
amphitheaters to learn about acoustics and architecture, some to plays, others visited the
university and made friends there.

The time schedule did not allow a visit to the Islands on this voyage. The sights were set for
the Holy Land, but again for a stay of one day for the Jerusalem area and one to travel as far
as Jericho. We docked at Haifa, where we viewed the golden dome of the Bahai cathedral.

The route to the Eternal City, as it is sometimes called, reminded students of the Bible stories
they had heard, of the trees, of their history lessons, and of the things their Professors on the
ship had asked them to be conscious of.

The students traveled in buses and visited places according to their special interests: Dome of
the Rock, Via Dolorosa, Garden of Gethsamane, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Galilee, Tiberias,
Jordan, Dead Sea, Qumran, Masada.

Our nights were spent in several kibbutzim, where we enjoyed air conditioned rooms, hot
showers, wonderful meals, and dancing with the Hebrew youth who used their own songs and
dances These evenings proved to be so much fun they lasted into the late hours. Those dances
and songs were repeated on the ship many times in the following weeks.

The subject of ‘adventure’ was raised after this port. After all, what is an adventure? There
were many responses. Both faculty and students declared that life aboard this ship was truly
an adventure! There was not one negative vote on that question. We sailed away from Haifa
with a good feeling on the part of everyone. We would have just several hours of one day to
delve into the great Continent of Africa at Alexandria.

There was a shifting of gears! Just the word, Africa, called for a separate set of descriptive
words. Would there be time to make that shift? Would the question of Race be spoken,
expressed, implied? Were the Faculty prepared to meet the challenge? How much did all
these people know of Africa? Such were the questions my husband and I pondered as we
retired after we left Haifa.

During the morning hours we approached the Island of Cyprus. Some of the people had
served in Cyprus in refugee camps and were eager to pause, if only for a greeting. It was
arranged to visit a camp, and greet the children. It was a new experience for many of us.
There was some hesitancy in granting or securing transportation to visit further and answers
were indecisive. We sailed away in a questioning mood.

The Mediterranean was calm, the air was balmy after the heat and dust we had just endured.
People were tired, relaxed. The prospect of a few hours in Alexandria did not sound very
exciting. Why could we not go to Cairo?

Soiled clothes were being cared for, journals were in evidence, letters were written to parents,
small groups gathered in listless conversation, the Faculty were mostly in their cabins
preparing or reviewing their notes for the next day- Alexandria.

Suddenly, all lights went out! We were in darkness. We wondered what was happening. After
just a moment, in the darkness, the voice of the Captain came on.

“Do not try to turn on lights! We have just received word to move on incognito, that means,
‘no lights’.”

A thousand thoughts, questions ran in our minds. We were stunned. We waited. Fairly soon
that same voice spoke again.

“We have word, Israel is at war! We are to “Get Lost!” Then “We are to proceed to SFAX!”

I happened to be in our cabin and had maps at hand and a flashlight. I studied our location.
Fortunately, I caught a glimpse of that strange combination of letters. Yes, there it was, but
what will we do there? Before I could start to think of an answer, the door opened. My
husband and a group of students and some Faculty appeared.

“Where’s SFAX? Dr. B, Mom B. Where’s SFAX?”

While the door remained open and a very dim light glowed in the hallway I could hear
repetitions echoing up and down the ship,

“Where is SFAX? Where is DR. B? Why should we go to SFAX?”

“Let me gather a few notes and I will meet you on the Ballroom Deck!”

The word spread instantly, and everyone appeared in the dark, They sat in a circle to hear.
The Faculty came also, each one meditating about the material he would teach in that place,
wondering about the length of time we would be detained there.

My husband explained that no one knew just what the situation was but that it was a
wonderful opportunity to become acquainted with the great ‘question mark continent’. Africa
is shaped like a question mark. He had said enough to arouse curiosity and that those
interested in astrology might take advantage of this total darkness of our surroundings to
study the stars. Would they follow the Professor prepared to do this, move to the top deck by
the stack, and be in position for their first lesson.

The Art Professor gathered his group on another Deck; the Music people also met and so on
until all were involved. After some time elapsed, Dr.B again assembled the group. He had
time to arrange a speaker system, some light connection, and was able to address the entire
group to share information.

“He reminded all of the group decision, that all are learners and this is an opportunity. Let us
agree to use it as such. Africa, the whole of it, lies just ahead. Little was known about it
because of its geographic formation— its one hundred mile wide, gently sloping coastline

encircled the continent, then tropical rain forests made access difficult to the tall mountains
that also surrounded practically all of Africa. Waterfalls prevented invasion by river. The
center of the continent has been a bowl holding the water, from the higher mountains of the
north that rushed through the great desert to accumulate in the central section, in the Lakes of
Tchad, Victoria, Tanganyika, Nyasa and Karibe. There is the story of a high civilization,
immediately south of where we are, centered in Timbuctu, which was connected with seven
great universities and their exchange of professors. The first surgery for removal of the
cataract was done at Timbuctu long before such advances were known in Europe. One
important book to hear about is the Tarrikh es Soudan. It was written in Arabic and translated
into French by O. Houdas in 1308. Some of its amazing tales tell about the travels of the
king, the roads, the postal service, the abundance and uses of gold. There is also a discussion
of trade, trade routes, and the desert. The open savannahs of Central Africa, are involved with
wild life, the period of exploration, and the matter of slave trade. There were discoveries –
where, what, and by whom? How old is the desert? Which section of Africa is most
important? Shall I raise more questions? Do you want to know more about this continent,
beginning at SFAX?”

Dr.B. stood quietly for a moment. He wished there were enough light for him to read the
facial expressions of his listeners! The numbers of possibilities mentioned rather
overwhelmed everyone. Small groups gathered in quiet discussion but all felt the enormity of
their own future discoveries. Gradually, the students drifted toward their cabins for the night,
the officers made plans for probable procedure.

Morning light gave no indication of war. We had been instructed not to turn on radios, and
not to make telephone calls. All was quiet; the bridge had made no announcements. Breakfast
was served and eaten. Then, slowly, we steamed into SFAX. No passenger ship had entered
this port for fourteen years. There was no welcoming pilot boat, no crowd lined the dock.
There was a cargo ship in port unloading some red, dusty material that covered the entire
country and seaside with thick, red dust. We learned later that it was iron ore shipped from
Darwin, Australia.

The interchange of communication between the officials on the dock and the ship consumed a
long time but finally we were tied up. No customs agents arrived to check the passports nor to
process any of the usual formalities. Presently, the word was given that we might unload and
go into the town if we wished. There were no directions given but when five hundred youth
and adults are given freedom to ‘leave’, they will leave!

In a very short time every one learned several important things:

We could not buy cokes!

We could not buy stamps nor mail letters.

We could not buy coffee!

Our money was worthless, it could not be exchanged.

The prospect looked hopeless, until the Chief Purser came from the ship and met the Port
officials. The scene changed very quickly! The Hotel, the Post Office, the café and all
businesses were “Open for Business” and cokes, coffee, exchange all were ready and

Meantime, my husband and I took advantage of the inactivity and reverted to our Nigerian
habit of meeting people and learning what was happening. We found the native market and
wound our way in and about the various booths, handled the things for sale and inquired the
prices. We spoke to the people in the market who were buying. We learned the price of the
meat being butchered and sold, the cost of a large bundle of mint they used for tea. There
were several families outfitting the children for school. Mothers were buying the vegetables
for the day’s meals. A groom was buying a ring for his bride! It was an exciting time, some
folks spoke English, some spoke Hausa! We communicated!

As we returned to the ship and spoke to the groups, we learned that all were able to change
their money, to buy most of the items they wanted and were learning about the town, about
this country. Some of the young men had found fellow students who played basketball!

“Can we set up a game?” they asked.

“Sfax is not so bad", they decided.

I looked at my husband and smiled. We understood. How often we have been reminded to
say, “When you come to know a fellow,

Know his joys and know his cares

When you understand him

And the burden that he bears

Then you come to love him better

Than you loved him yesterday”

When the passengers and crew assembled that evening, there was a calmness, a gaiety we had
not felt before this time. All were eager now for ‘adventure’! A great window had opened and
we were ready to see and to enjoy the scene before us!

The Music Department people interpreted the mood in the same way we did and decided it
was appropriate to launch into our Theme Song:

“Brothers around the world,

Friendships across the seas,

We raise our voices high, in harmony

The world lies just ahead,

The sun will shine,

In each and every land,

On all mankind".

We sailed out of the SFAX harbor that morning in a completely different mood from that we
had when we approached the day before. We needed to say “goodbye” to the basketball team
and remind them we had a date for a game! (We played that game, they won!)

Some of us have returned to Africa several times since then: the sun still shines, the waters
flow into the lakes, discoveries are being made, and friendships grow!

The Shock Stop
On one voyage of the World Campus Afloat we had stopped for several days at Capetown for
our visit there and to take on an Inter-Port Lecturer. He was Moses, of the University at
Freetown and was going to prepare all of the students and faculty of the ship for our stop in
West Africa at Freetown.

Moses proved to be a very personable man and endeared himself to everyone so that we all
looked forward eagerly to get acquainted with the people and the culture of the western part
of this great country.

The distance from Capetown to Freetown is enhanced because there are so few ports along all
of that coastline and the time on board was longer than usual. We were prepared for a useful
time ashore and most of the students were on the deck as we approached the shore. They saw
the pilot boat approaching and then watched him board to take his place on the bridge with
the Captain and his helpers. His job was to bring the ship in safely and tie up in the port.

Our Officers noticed that the pilot was partly inebriated and felt uneasy. That fact became
more evident by the second for he was directing the ship to proceed too rapidly in view of its
size. The officers all remonstrated but he insisted they be quiet. The captain finally stomped
his feet and called for a reduction of speed. The pilot spoke sharply and ordered others off the
bridge saying it was his job and he knew what he was doing. His lack of judgment, his
inebriation, all showed up at that moment for he had missed the time to turn the ship and our
bow crashed into the dock, with a shudder and rending sound.

People on the decks who were observing, lost their footing and fell to the decks, those in
classrooms slid to the walls and many fell, the galley was all upset, the dining room lost
many dishes as they crashed on the floor, the library books scattered; pandemonium reigned!
I was in my office trying to finish up, assembling the papers I was processing and found
myself, papers, equipment and everything all in a corner on the floor. Everyone wondered
what had happened and rushed out.

It did not take long to discover what the people on the shore were staring and pointing at in
horror. Our bow had an opening the size of a VW car torn into it, just above the water line!

I am still wondering what it was the Captain said to the pilot! Many things were said by many
people to many others; it is not known whether anyone remembers just who said what and
when! Whatever plans had been made, were changed!

The gangplank was lowered so that those on board were able to come down to the dock to see
for themselves just what our condition was. Certainly, continuing the voyage did not seem
possible. Many options were considered: Should we notify the ship’s owner and arrange to
fly the students home? That would mean the end of the program. Should we fly in engineers,
supplies and equipment from some other country to make repairs? (It was not easy to
discover what country could supply us, nor how much time was required.) What academic
programs could we utilize? There were a thousand ‘unknowns’.

Many committees assessed the problems, many theories were proposed, but amidst all the
confusion, someone brought out a bat and a ball. Students and some of the local folk began a
game on the docks. Coaches organized their gymnasium classes on the dock also. Moses
assembled the Sociology students and they went to his classroom in the local University. He

even invited some students to his house for supper and the evening! The Captain and his
people learned there was a Pakistan engineer living there. There was three-fourths inch steel
in sheets which might be cut and welded, with their acetylene torches, to rebuild the bow of
the ship. It would be a comparatively slow process, but it would be possible!

Accordingly, the engineers proceeded to build the scaffold on the bow of the ship and
proceeded with their job. The academic program of the ship kept to its schedule and
proceeded with adjustments as needed by the situation. Athletics continued on the dock
instead of the deck, etc. The music Department took advantage of a bus and took the students
into villages, set up their recorders and asked the people to demonstrate their songs, dances
and instruments. The ship students studied, practiced and recorded these songs and dances so
that they could continue using them on the ship and teach them to succeeding students.

The Sociology group worked with and under the direction of Moses to enrich their
curriculum. The Art Department likewise chartered a bus and learned from the artists in the
towns in the vicinity about the various art forms and schools of West Africa.

The philosophy and Religion groups learned that this was the town from which Samuel
Crowther had originally come and took advantage of the special harvest and celebration days
in progress at the Crowther church. The presence of the Bishop visiting at this time from Jos,
Nigeria enriched that program.

       The wife of the Mayor of Freetown had traveled to other countries and had studied the
processes and art there in order to teach the women to do things which would elevate their
economies. She brought to the shipside each day a cart loaded with her materials. She
provided for sale items of her own work in tie dying, stenciling, and batik. These items
appealed to the group on the ship and sold easily and readily.

        Daily, my husband and the Captain consulted with the engineer, as they observed the
progress of their work, continuing twenty-four hours per day. These men never stopped to
rest. Sometimes the prospect was discouraging, sometimes optimistic, but was there an

        A ship Inspector was called to come from Europe, or from wherever he needed to
come, to inspect the work done by these people and he gave his ‘o.k.’ for us to proceed when
the time came. One further thing needed to be done. Since the steel was cut and bent into the
proper curves of the ship, it was feared that since it was wintertime and we were headed for
New York, we would probably encounter the winter storms. If just one strong wave should
strike and damage the patch we could possibly sink in just a few minutes. So, enough time
was used to pour tons of cement, inside, behind the patched section, to support it. Everything
was put in order and we sailed toward the Azores. There we would have another inspection,
and then cross the Atlantic, to reach New York in order to allow our students to be home for

        Each day the Captain and my husband inspected the “patch” to check for leaks. Each
day it held. One day the Captain told my husband that we were going to run into a storm. He
had given orders that started us in the direction of Bermuda but going that way would delay
our arrival time. A few hours later, the Captain came into our cabin, aroused my husband,
and, together they went again on inspection. They had discovered there was a leak!

        We had begun to experience the storm. Should we alert the students? It had been our
policy that the students were told the true situation whenever there was any problem. Rumors
are deadly on a ship! The students always were told the truth. Another reading on the storm
revealed a decrease in velocity. Meantime, the bridge had alerted other ships in the area of
our position and direction but also of our condition. This alert was broadcast every fifteen

        When the Captain felt that we had passed the point of danger from the storm, he
directed a northward direction again and ceased the broadcasts of danger. He said we would
now be able to reach our New York appointment. The students were called and told of what
had been done. They approved.

       Final examinations were taken and graded. All the last minute details were arranged.
There was time for the students to gather and express their feelings about the voyage. For the
most part, they felt that the Freetown experience had added richness, depth, and an element of
maturity they would not have experienced otherwise.

        There was one activity on this voyage different from any previous ones. On the first
school day, we had all students fill out a lengthy survey. The Faculty were not allowed to see
a copy of the survey and it was removed from students immediately after they had finished it.
At the very end of the voyage the same survey was filled out by the students again. The two
were compared and summarized. Two years later that same survey was again given to the
same students and that compared with the first two sets. A computer should have been used
for these first surveys but was not available then. A slide rule and adding machine were the
main tools used.

        The survey was used some years later and then analyzed and compared with the first
ones. Several people have received higher degrees based on this research. It revealed some
interesting facts. I will list just a few of them to indicate the value of the kind of education
offered by the ship program.

1. Their knowledge of the world, its governments, history, customs and economies had
   doubled during the voyage.

2. Those who came aboard with the most knowledge improved the most.

3. Almost all increased in their knowledge in these same areas in the two years following
   the voyage.

4. Most of the students were accepting of other people and their ideas.

5. They were liberal in their religious understandings. This increased as they visited other

6. They were conservative economically. This remained the same as they traveled.

7. They were liberal in ideas of sex, marriage and the family. The values of the family
   became clearer as they traveled.

8. They were liberal politically. They remained liberal.

This is the story of just one port in one voyage out of the average of seventeen ports in each
semester voyage from the fall of 1965 until the spring of 1998 for 500 students each voyage!

Ali Shan
During our year in Taiwan as Fulbright Professors at Tunghia University in Taichung we
learned a great deal about the Island. Since my husband taught in the field of Sociology and
Anthropology many opportunities were presented for us to get into places of special interest
to us.

One of our family hobbies has been mountain climbing. We learned that Taiwan was a
mountainous country with one especially high and important mountain. It is located at the
southern tip of the country and has had an interesting history. Its name is Mt Yu or Ali Shan
and is 14,114 feet in height.

This mountain was the scene of controversy during World War II in the time of the Japanese
phase. Because its height gave it a commanding position it was important to both sides. I
remember that during that war the papers told us about the importance of a great tree on that
mountain in which there was placed a special fortress to determine the success or loss of
either side.

At a lower altitude there are twin lakes which also have had a significant role in the history of
the Island. Twin Lakes were the historical center for much of the career development and life
style of the population in that region. It centered around the life of Wu Feng, whose entire life
story was being researched and studied that same year. The results of the study became public
in the form of a movie that was released during the time of our visit.

My husband and I had an unusual privilege to learn about all this because we lived in the
house usually occupied by a Chinese Professor who was on leave to study in the States that
year. He had entrusted the key to one room that contained his stored possessions, including
some very rare, old manuscripts, to a student in my husband’s class. He was also the one I
was assigned to tutor in French, so that he might qualify for his studies in Harvard the
following year.

When this student learned of our interest in Wu Feng and the region, he retrieved one of the
ancient manuscripts in his charge, brought it out, unrolled it inch by inch and read it in
Chinese, interpreting it to us as he proceeded. We took careful notes on the entire manuscript.

The President of the University learned of our interest and graciously sent his car and driver
to take us to Chiayi to visit the Wu Feng Temple and to learn more about this man and his

That was such an outstanding experience we determined to make other visits and learn more
of his other experiences and contributions. Accordingly, arrangements were made, maps and
schedules were studied, reservations were made and Easter vacation found us “on our own”,
without interpreters, seeing and learning all we could about Wu Feng country!

We rode the train from Taichung to Chiayi. What a delight! It was so comfortable. They
served us hot tea in glasses, and revealed true hospitality. Then we boarded the narrow guage
railway for the climb. No one had told us what to expect; we were glad to be completely
astounded. A great part of the trip took us inside the mountain, across countless trestles,
switchbacks, through tunnels, over bridges, to emerge near the Twin Lakes.
 Out in the open, we were able to see some of the switchbacks used to gain altitude. We also
saw some of the forest, from which an unknown number of cryptomeria logs had been taken,

during the Japanese occupation, and transported on that same railroad which had brought us
across these miles. We were told that the tall stumps, which we saw remaining, would also be
cut at ground level, carried to the mills and sawed at an angle to be made into desk tops three
or four inches in thickness.

We have seen many such Board Room table tops with the irregularly shaped edges so typical
of the cryptomeria. The Japanese had cut the trees at the thirty or so foot level, now the
Taiwanese were cutting them as low as possible to make the diagonal cuts as long as

The transfer to another carrier at Twin Lakes gave us opportunity to scour the countryside
where Wu Feng had grown and dispensed the herbs for his medications. We saw where he
had endured the storms, the earthquakes and landslides, and where he had eventually given
his own head to serve as the sacrifice to end the traditional head hunt. No more heads have
been sacrificed to bring droughts to an end since the time of Wu Feng.

There was more for us to experience. We rode another train to the top of Ali Shan where our
room was reserved in the landmark hotel. Beside the hotel still stands the great tree which
served as the “fort” during the Japanese phase of the War. The guns hidden among the foliage
of that tree had influenced strategic decisions. The guns were silenced long before we arrived

We did not read Chinese calligraphy. We had not read the advertisements and were not aware
that this was the weekend for honeymooners to spend the night in this particular hotel. Our
‘room’ was made up like others of traditional Japanese arrangement. Our tatamis were spread
on the floor separated from the others by the paper thin walls. Sight was obscured but not

At three o’clock in the morning all of us arose and went with our flashlights to the top of the
mountain. Young and old climbed together for we each hoped to see the Easter sunrise from
the top of Mt Yu, (Ali Shan). We were among those who experienced the first rays of the
morning sun before anyone in other countries would do so. Some folks were Christian, some
were Buddhists, some were representatives of other religions or professions, but we all saw
the same sunrise, each one had his own experience according to his own feelings and

To watch the sun rise at 14,114 feet elevation is an experience to remember!

We descended the way we had come; we tried to imagine the scene as Wu Feng and his
family had seen it. Our view was different but the memory of what he did will linger with us
for a long time. We paused again by the temple dedicated to his honor. We returned to our
home among the bougainvillea and found an invitation to attend a movie the following
evening in town. The movie was titled “Wu Feng, Companion of Head Hunters”. It had just
been completed. It recounted what we had learned and what we had seen.

My husband wrote up the story as he learned it from the early manuscript and combined some
of the details we had learned first hand with some of the facts from the movie. He wrote it in
English and the President of Tunghai decided to use it as an English reader for the elementary
students in the school operated by the University. It was printed by the University but set into
English print by a man who did not know a word of English. He used the hand method and so
the m’s often became w’s, the n and u were interchanged, etc. It was a proof reader’s joy!

That joy is remembered along with scenes of tree-clad hillsides throughout Taiwan, slopes of
straight lines of tea plants, homesteads of the traditional Chinese house with the attached
apartments of each of the extended family members, the fragrance and sight of the millions of
azalea plants blooming along the waterways of Taipei, memories of boat trips on Green Lake
with students, Chinese New Year's Dinners in a home and in the Hotel in Taroko Gorge,
happy times on hikes or drives in Yang Ming Shan Park, delightful times at Sun Moon Lake,
frightening trips from Taipei to Hualien looking down 2 700 feet into the depths of the ocean
underneath, then feel the welcome to a table spread with piping hot spring rolls and a pot of
hot tea!

The Bells of Bahia
The itinerary of the World Campus Afloat that semester called for us to sail south along the
west coast of South America, through the Straits of Magellan and north along the eastern
coast. We enjoyed delightful visits in each of the ports before we came to Bahia. Some of our
student body were not especially excited about this port but it was felt they would appreciate
the stop when they realized just what had happened here.

Our Public Relations person had done a good bit of research and arranged for an unvarnished
presentation of the historical facts. The city fathers and tourist agencies cooperated. First, we
had a very good tour of the city and then they gave us opportunity for the detailed study we

The city tour gave us a present-day view of the area of the slave market. They told us how the
slave ships left Africa from Goree Island and came to this port. Later we would see where the
unloading took place before the slaves were brought to this part of the city for the formal

Somehow, the vision and story of the Slave Market, remained in the consciousness of the
students so that they could not fully appreciate the magnificence of the cathedral and the
museums we saw after that. There was a great deal of gold displayed in several buildings but
the history of Spanish and Portuguese wealth so evident in this city made little impact upon
the students.

In the afternoon we were taken to the seaside building where we were the recipients of the
good wishes of the City Fathers in a very large room inside the high walls of a great old
building. When we were admitted there were two things that caught our attention. One was
the large table laden with tropical fruits, colorful foods arranged with flowers that made a
delightful sight!

The second sight that imposed itself was the railroad track underneath that lovely table. It
extended from the door in the wall to our left as we entered, and extended to the right far
beyond our sight. That narrow gauge railroad track has left a lasting impression in my mind.
The lecturer told us, as he opened the door, how the slaves were forced from the ships to
cross a seventeen-foot length of plank to enter this building. They were placed into the “cars”
on the tracks and taken to the “holding tanks’’ for the preparation for the slave block. He
wondered whether we remembered having passed through the area of the slave market!

A unanimous “ Yes” arose from the student body!

I could only imagine what that “preparation” meant to those slaves!

I know many people who might have been some of those slaves. I know their life style, their
happiness, their freedoms, their pride and self esteem. I remembered the stories of Kudiri and
his grandfather. I remembered the story he told of the tree and what it meant to the people of
the Marama plateau. I remembered the account of the experiences on those slave ships for
those that traveled from Goree Island to Bahia, and I shuddered when he used the word

Another official stepped forth at that point and made a very nice statement of welcome to the
city and how they hoped we would return and spend a longer time. It was sincere and well
spoken. He turned and presented their city gift to us.

“This gift to you is a ‘Set of Bells’ and is called “the Prize of Freedom”, he explained.

“When a woman is bought as a slave, she is assigned to look after the well being of a certain
number of rooms. After a probation period she is given a key chain to wear as a belt. If she
does her work well, she is rewarded at the end of five years with the gift of one of these bells.
When she has received five of the bells she is given her freedom.” He said this was true not
only for women but for men also. “Now, when you display this gift, as anyone does with a
gift, the proper way is this: Reserve a space, like a small table top, cover it with red satin,
place the bells with the holder at the top right hand, allow the bells to spread out individually
below that. Do not place anything else on the table.”

“Further,” he added as he turned directly to me as the representative of the school group.
“Since you already have a collection of bells, we desire you to continue your accumulation of
bells by accepting this Twelve Bell Prize of Freedom.” He handed me the bells. The rest of
that day remains a blur in my memory. (The bells are not the shape and form of traditional
bells but are in the shapes of tropical fruits: pineapple, guava, cashew, passion fruit, mango.)

That evening our ship sailed away from the shores of South America, heading eastward and
northward, across the equator toward the shores of West Africa. The Bells of Freedom were
on display for a number of days and in a number of ways. There were discussions at many
levels. One question arose about the spelling in the name of the bells. Was it correct to spell it
‘prize’ or should be it ‘price’? Another discussion centered around the word ‘freedom’.
Should the words ‘price’ or ‘prize’ be used in connection with the word ‘freedom’? Good
subjects for academic discussions on a voyage between these two continents.

Crossing the equator always calls for special ceremonies and observances in maritime history
and in practice. King Neptune holds sway during these ceremonies in recognition of his
Royalty! A few hours of relaxation and gaiety improved the academic atmosphere!

The question arose in our cabin that evening: “Does anyone remember the sight of the
seventeen glaciers we saw on the Sunday afternoon before we entered the Straits of

That was a very welcome and happy thought when one is crossing the equator! Icebergs
would cool and refresh the air considerably!

It was interesting to see how many students were curious about my bell collection after that
experience in Bahia. One question that came to me over and over was, “Are all your bells
connected with the subject of slavery?”

I was glad to answer that question in a different vein. There are so many, many kinds of bells.
Sometimes There was a group wanting this answer; sometimes a single individual. A good
many times I told of my ‘football’ bell.

“When we first went to McPherson College, we learned that it was common practice for
Faculty members and their wives to attend the games. There was no football played when we
were students, and there was soccer in Nigeria so I had not become acquainted with the game.

Other spectators cheered and called out various things for the players to do. I wanted to be a
good sport and do what was necessary to support our boys, but had not learned the proper

One day a few of the players called on me and brought me a gift. A favorite teacher was
retiring and left his spirit of sportsmanship in the men’s dormitory! He gave them his much
used hand-bell, which he had preserved from his public school teaching days. It had lost its
clapper, so the boys used their ingenuity and chose what was at hand, to fasten the nut from a
bolt-and-nut from the toolbox. This was the gift they brought me with the suggestion that I
use it when I attended football games!

I accepted the gift gladly and have used it over the years at the games. The nut as clapper has
always provided a chuckle!

I have another bell, which I considered many times as the one to use at games to arouse
support for a team of players. It is the camel bell. It was brought to me from Arabia and
produces a sharp, harsh clang that demands attention! It is about seven inches high and four
inches in diameter made of a combination of brass and iron with a leather strap fastened to
the ring top. Originally, I am sure, it served successfully to lead a string of camels through a
desert sandstorm to safety. Its clamor would be heard above the bluster of the storm.

In sharp contrast to these bells, there is a series of copper bells just two and one half inches
high, in proper bell shape. I watched them being filed until their ‘ring’ paralleled the notes of
the musical scale. They were made to hang from the necks of sheep, in Ioannina, Greece. We
were enjoying a picnic lunch, in the shade of a tree, beside a river spanned by the Queen’s
bridge. The bridge is a beautiful arch built of stone so that the walking surface is stairs. I was
not able to learn its exact age other than “it is very old!”

While we were enjoying lunch, our host kept asking us to listen for something. We did not
know what to expect until he caught its first sounds. It captured our imagination with its
harmony and music. A flock of sheep approached around the bend of the river, followed the
pathway across the bridge to the shade of a great tree, across from where we were sitting. The
sheep spread out along the edge of the water, where it collected in quiet pools, and assuaged
their thirst.

Meantime, the shepherd moved among the sheep to examine whether there were any
scratches, sores or matted wool. He did another inspection to test the harmony of the bells
and used a file from his pack whenever he found a bell that was slightly off-key. He filed it
until he was satisfied there was harmony! It was then he allowed the sheep to graze, or to
drink, or to lie down in the green grass. He withdrew his own lunch from his knapsack and
relaxed in their midst.

I shall always remember the faint tinkling of those bells, all in harmony, and the sight of
those sheep climbing the steps of that graceful bridge that brought us the music of the bells in
contrast to the velvety tones as they grazed or slept under that tree.

It reminded me of Edgar Allen Poe’s,

“to the tintinnabulation that so musically wells from the bells, bells, bells!

And Charles Lamb said, “their music is bordering nearest heaven.”

What Do Mountains Do?
I grew up in Tulpehocken Valley and we crossed Little Round Top many times, between
1905 and 1915. We hiked its trails and drank the clear cool water of its springs. It was a part
of the chain described by the author of the Pennsylvania State song, when he called these

“verdure clad hills and mountains, rich with abundant store”.

Tourists in great numbers flock to the area to enjoy the sights of fall colors

“when the frost is on the pumpkin and the fodder’s in the shock”.

My mother told us about the many times she and her friends had climbed Little Round Top
and had picnics there. I taught in a high school in a valley north of it and have pleasant
memories of that area.

During my college years I listened many times to a song extolling the beauties and glories of
the hills of West Virginia,

“with their summits pointing skyward, like a Prince Emmanuel’s land”.

The lyrics were a powerful courting tool. I had to see for myself. I was convinced. A
honeymoon near the base of Seneca Rocks, in 1927, included climbing those famous rocks,
another climb on the slopes and cliffs of Greenland Gap, exploring a nearby cave, which had
not yet been officially open to the public, and hiking along trails overflowing with mountain
laurel and gorgeously colored rhododendron.

Later, we joined friends at Blackwater Falls where many in the group demonstrated their
swimming and diving skills by diving from the rocks at various heights into the pool at the
base of the falls. We enjoyed a delightful picnic in the cool forest area, where they told me,
the three great men, Harvey Firestone, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, came regularly to
camp while they shared and discussed important issues on their minds.

We sailed to Nigeria in 1930 and were sent to open a new Mission Station at Marama on the
Biu Plateau, following our period of language study. There was a tall, square rocky peak, said
to be home to several families of baboons, standing above the plateau, and looming over it.
Occasionally, a few of those baboons ventured to the valley, below us, to help themselves to
peanuts, or guinea corn. They even vandalized some homes. As a result, there was so much
fear of them that no one ventured to climb Marama Mountain.

One day my husband and visiting young missionary felt the urge to climb a mountain and
Marama served as the challenge. They climbed and were not threatened by the baboons until
they attacked the final cliff. Even then, the baboons retreated a short distance to observe
every move. The visitor was definitely a mathematician. His lunch was a small tin of cherries.
As he ate, very thoughtfully, he spit out each seed by saying,

“There goes another sixpence that is part of the cost of transporting my daughter’s layette
from the ship to Garkida!”.

To my knowledge, not many people have climbed Marama Mountain since that time. These
two men did determine its height and had it recorded officially.

At the close of our first tour of service in Nigeria, we spent a number of days at Lassa for the
doctor to treat my husband. The morning of our departure from there a messenger brought me
a cable saying my mother had died very suddenly. Our trip was delayed until the following
day. We arrived at the first river just a mile from Lassa. It had rained the day before, and the
water did not seem to be a problem, and the villagers pulled and pushed us across fairly
easily. We were using the mission pick-up and it was built rather high.

There were three streams we needed to cross, so our pioneer missionary, who lived at Lassa,
decided to accompany us. When we reached the second river, we accepted help from the
local villagers, to have twenty men to pull on a strong rope fastened to the front of the car,
and as many to pull from the rear, to keep us from drifting down stream because of the force
of the water. Stover, the pioneer missionary, took off his helmet and placed his dry
handkerchief on top of his head, along with several other things he wanted to keep dry.

Our two children stood on the seat of the car, I was to do the steering, my husband held on to
the upper rear of the car and Stover led from the front of the car. We proceeded down the
bank, into the water. The floor boards swirled up and presently floated out the window, were
rescued by a villager and returned later. The water flowed across the window openings of the
doors, then rose to the top of the steering wheel, but we were pulled to the far side and did
our dripping on comparatively dry land.

Stover knelt down, allowed the water to drain from the gear box, wiped this part and that of
the engine with his dry handkerchief. The engine started and we went on to the third river.
Fortunately, it was not deep and there were people to pull the rope! This time the engine
started again but ran very intermittently. Both men tried several times to ‘repair’ it but
eventually it refused to start.

The daylight hours had been used and darkness was about to fall. We opened the last several
tins of food we had and fed the children. My husband decided to stay by the car and hoped he
might be able to get it to run. He was not physically able to walk any distance. Stover carried
Stanley on his shoulders, I carried Pattie on my back. We would try to reach the mission at
Pella, which lay some miles beyond us. It was operated by another agency.

As we walked, Stover told me of his ordeal during the early days of the mission: of leaving
his wife in England for her to study tropical medicine, of her eventual arrival at Garkida, of
their joy in expecting a son, of establishing their dream home, and then of the death of both
mother and son at his birth, and of burying them in the spot on the hillside behind our house.
He changed his tone and spoke of the help he received by reading a book which had been sent
to him. He spoke about the emotions and perspectives connected with his ability to cope and
render the kind of leadership he has exerted throughout the years. This walk together in the
dark, each carrying a burden, was a time of sharing for each of us and meant a great deal to
me that day and since that time.

We walked through the thunder and lightning display on the mountains to our left for that
illumined our steps. Our spirits rose when we saw the buildings of the mission ahead, but we
saw no lights. The guard-caretaker met us to confirm that the resident missionaries were gone
to a conference. Supplies were locked, the beds were there but bedding also was locked. He
and his wife did have some milk and they would be happy to fix us some tea, if we liked!

We were ‘under cover’, did have some hot tea and were very tired. It was good to have bed
springs to lie on and to rest. In the morning, the caretaker and his wife provided us some
guinea corn mush, milk, and hot tea. About noon, we heard a car. The missionaries returned,
expressed their sympathies with our situation, their apologies at not having been able to assist
us the night before, and their joy at having us as visitors.

At that moment another car arrived. My husband had sent a runner to Garkida last night
asking them to send help. This car had come to supply that need. They had brought food for
us, repairs for the car. We expressed our appreciation to our hosts and hastened on our way to

During our stop in Lagos on our way back to the States in 1938, the doctor there said that my
husband would probably never walk again but would live in a cast extending from his neck to
his toes. Consequently he was a ‘bed passenger’ in the ship. He was able to walk some and
the doctor in Chicago was a bit more encouraging.

He advised us to get into a cooler climate so that the germs that caused his illness, would be
frozen! Accordingly, we purchased a one-wheel trailer, a tenting outfit and set out for
Colorado and the Rocky Mountain National Park. There, we chose the highest elevation for
our campground, End of Valley.

We were grateful many times over for the heavy comforters and warm blankets we had. It
was cold for us and difficult to keep the children warm at all times. Fortunately, they were
healthy and very active. Our faithful camp stove kept us supplied with hot foods and drinks.
A snow bank very close by made a good refrigerator, and even chilled a watermelon for us!

Each forenoon the Park Ranger included the children in his nature walk. My husband worked
diligently on proofing the galley sheets for his manuscript, for what became “Sudan’s Second
Sunup”, and I typed the material to accompany that work. During the second week of that
experience, he began to take short walks.

Those walks increased in length and his strength increased also, by the end of our four weeks,
he was climbing with the rest of us to the 8,000 foot level! A year later, we returned to the
park and lived at the 8,000 foot level and he climbed higher. It seemed that he was proving
that cold temperatures were a good cure for him.

One day in 1948 we set out as a family and walked, hiked, climbed, through meadows
blooming with daisies, Indian paint brush, elephant trunk flowers, columbine and on to the
shale slopes of Specimen Mountain. We paused to rest as we studied our maps to locate Mt
Ida, Taylor Peak, and, of course, our favorite, Longs Peak, with its square head and snow hat.
Plans were made that day eventually to scale most of those Front Range peaks. Before we
descended, each of us inscribed our names in the book we retrieved from the cairn on top of
Specimen, 13,000 feet high.

Those plans did work out, year by year, summer vacation after summer vacation, as the
children grew and were able to accomplish the climbs. Longs Peak was always a challenge
and one by one, each of the four children, and then also the in-laws had their turns of scaling
that giant. There was enough of real danger to challenge the most stalwart, and the thin air of
more than 14,000 feet to test lung capacity.

There were occasions during those years of climbing when I wondered who really ‘suffered’
more, the climbers who always recounted the tales of the ‘near mishaps’, or the mother who
drove the car and waited during the long hours for their descent at trail’s end?

I enjoy studying maps. The countries of the world are so varied and so similar. I have many
good memories when I turn the pages of a book of maps of the world. I see the names of
cities and cannot refrain from underlining those that I have visited or have friends living
there. I see the names of mountains and have a very close look to read the altitude. Mentally,
I place it in a list of the mountains some of our family has had some experience with or has
climbed, and make the comparisons.

Then, I read a book about the animals of the world, and make a mental note of how each one
relates to the place where I have seen such an animal. Immediately, a panorama of the
mountain or the countryside floods the page and I remember what the means of travel was,
who was in the group, what we ate and where we slept. Interesting!

One voyage of World Campus Afloat took us to Australia in 1967. We had spent a long while
at sea without a port. The Captain declared a ‘free day’ for the crew that included a dinner for
them. It was also a day away from the ship for Faculty and students. Buses contracted for the
day took us to the Katoomba Mountains. The trip gave us a view of how the countryside of
Australia changed from the coast at Sydney, through the suburbs, and into the countryside
with its small towns, and into the mountains themselves.

In one village, we paused to allow our students to watch a game not well known in the States.
Our students were fascinated as they observed this game of Cricket. It was started in
Australia and then engaged England in inter-continent tournaments until there is an Imperial
Cricket Conference related to England and many other countries who play regularly. The
uniforms, the playing field, the game procedure all was very interesting.

Our noonday meal was served in a hotel at the peak of the hill or mountain, in a large circular
room with a rotating floor. Our tables lined the circumference of the room, the sides of the
room were open to the outside. That fact allowed an unusual view along one side, to an
abrupt drop into a deep chasm. Misty waterfalls steamed the rim, vines streamed in all
directions to outline the massive ferns arising from the bottom.

A group of students invited my husband and me to join them in a ride for a unique view of
the foliage. They took us around the side of the hotel to seats in a car and ushered us into the
front seats. They took seats behind us, and then I saw the tracks! This was not a roller coaster
but the tracks led to the very rim of the vast opening! Was that a snicker I heard behind me?

We fastened seat belts, the car began to move. Not forward, but downward, and still farther
downward, on a steep slope until we reached the very edge! Were we going to drop, go still
farther? The car paused right there. The view was just overpowering, we held our breaths.
There are no words to describe our feelings of awe! Presently, the boys called to us.

“Are you O.K.?” “You are not screaming!”

The car began to lift slowly, moving upward and backward, we were given a longer view!
What an exhilaration! I shall never forget. I owe those students a big debt. It remains a lasting
memory. Besides, I acquired a bell that day with the inscription “Katoomba Mountains”.

In the summer of 1982 we made a trip with a group of parents, grand parents and friends of
the students with whom we had sailed on the Campus Afloat. Some of them wanted to see the
places and hear the stories their children or grandchildren had seen and heard. We traveled
mostly by air and had landed at Nairobi, then we used the bus to Mt. Kenya or (aka).
Kirinyaga, 17,058 feet high. We had a rest stop in a village on the Equator, and were able to
buy a few souvenirs to commemorate the occasion.

Some of the people in the group were surprised at the excellent, modern accommodations we
found at Mt. Kenya. One or two of the men needed to borrow neckties to be allowed in the
dining room in the evening! There was a program of dances put on by a local group that
evening. The grounds were spacious and allowed a number of wild animal species to roam

The main attraction was the view of the mountain itself. No one seemed to be inclined to
climb it, even though we were located on its slope and marvelled at its height. The surprise
was the amount of snow in spite of being right on the equator.

Then we went on to the Ark, some distance north, but it was located in a National Park where
wild animals are protected. There was a large waterhole in the middle of the forest, with the
Ark, (building-hotel), on the edge of the pond.

We entered the Ark on the second floor by way of an aerial walkway from the road, some
distance away. That floor consisted of our bedrooms (cabins) and a large viewing room with
glass windows on two sides, and a glass enclosed porch. There was no sound above a whisper
on that floor in order not to disturb any animal at or near the waterhole.

The dining room was on first floor, or the basement, and had no windows or doors to the
outside. Ordinary speaking voices prevailed on this floor but no loud laughter. There was
good food and the discussions centered on the kind or number of animals each one had
observed at the waterhole. The List was constantly being consulted. Everyone had been given
a page on which to keep his record of what, when and where they had observed the various

Some folks were able to stay up all night to see the animals, but most folks took catnaps
alternating with keeping watch. We said our farewells to the animals after an early breakfast.
We turned toward the south, determined to see more animals in the country where they lived.

One of the sights we wanted very much was of the mountain, higher than the one we had
visited. Kilimanjaro at 19, 340 feet was the goal. We had several tourists who were
Midwestern farmers. They made comparisons of the crops they found in Kenya with those in
their respective states. The sisal crops and the tea were new to them, but they were eager to
learn more about each of them.

Of course, the sight of the snows on the mountain were a big attraction but at this point, they
deferred to the lions, the rhinos, the giraffe, zebra, gnu, Thompson’s gazelle and all the birds
and animals they saw in Ngorongoro. Some mountains stand as stony peaks, some mountains
are covered with snow, and some mountains gain recognition because they serve as homes to
animals. Ngorongoro illustrates that beautifully.

As we approached the Kilimanjaro area we saw Meroe Mountain close by. It is the one
everyone came to know when they watched the movie, Born Free, which told the story of the

Lion. On our trip through this area in 1966 our chauffeur told us that he drove one of the cars
used in making that film. He knew when and where to look to see the different animals in
unusual places.

Table Mountain, above Capetown, retains a special spot in my heart for a different reason.
When we first looked up at it in 1967, the Tablecloth was spread,- there was a cloud resting
on the top of the mountain. We were travelling with the students on Campus Afloat as a
mixed race, sex, age, religion, and interest group. The ladies of the Womens’ Club of
Capetown had arranged to serve as guides on the student buses. When they learned that we
would travel in mixed groups they told us that the blacks would not be allowed on the buses.

“We travel as a group or we do not travel”, was the simple response. Our entire group did the
sight seeing, and the Womens’ Club served as guides. I have a picture taken on Table
Mountain of one of our very outstanding students from Indianapolis, Indiana. He stands on a
tall rock, overlooking Capetown, his hand outstretched, palm down. I have labeled it,

“O, Capetown, Capetown, how oft ——?”

It was just a short time previous to this that Dr. DeBakey of Capetown had performed the
surgery of the first heart transplant and all of us were eager to hear more about it. Efforts had
been made to have him lecture to us but it seemed he was not available.

One of our Freshman girls had brought her bicycle on the ship and usually spent time
exploring the various ports. In Capetown, she did her own tour of exploration. During her
lunch time she met the secretary of Dr. DeBakey, told her about the ship and school, about
our efforts to learn all we could about each country. She spoke of our disappointment in not
hearing Dr. DeBakey.

A trip to the ostrich farm was scheduled for the following day to leave immediately after
breakfast. Instead, we were called to the Student Union Room where Dr. DeBakey spoke to
us. He was scheduled to perform surgery at that hour but decided to speak to us. He remained
for a Question and Answer period. After that, we went to see the ostriches!

We flew on to Port Moresby, New Guinea in 1981. There we took an 18-seat plane for Mount
Hagen on Mt Wilhelm. There was no road from Moresby to Mount Hagen. Mr. Martin flew
regular flights over this route by flying half way around the mountain, along but over, the
Sepik and landing up a steep slope to the ‘landing spot’. The slope served as brakes, there is
no level space for an airstrip! The same slope serves as take-off also.

A live pig in a cloth bag was part of the cargo on our flight! Mount Hagen lies at the 14, 390
foot level but the mountain itself is 14, 973 feet. Our pilot told us that if we had an accident
we would land on the mountainside, and would probably not be rescued, because there is no
road, the forest is dense, there are no other planes. It was a sobering thought. He had been the
lone pilot for the route for a number of years, had never had trouble.

The chief of Mount Hagen was then a young man with two small children. He delighted to
show us two things that were his pride and joy. The most important was the son born early
that morning. We were ushered into his home to see. The second was the brand new Singer
sewing machine, arrived the previous day.

The middle of the road-pathway of the village was strewn with banana leaves on which was
drying the first picking of the coffee beans! No problem! There was no traffic!

The mother of the chief arrived to welcome us. She was wearing a full string of curved boar’s
tusks. Only she was allowed to wear that, the son wore a lone tusk on a string around his
neck. She was happy to meet me as another grandmother. I treasure a picture of the two of us.
It was she who guided us to see HER community.

There was one stop on the trip returning to Port Moresby. It was there at Goroko, we saw the
group we see on TV that is responsible for the SingSing. It is also home to the Mudmen, but
our interest focused that day on the three pigs in the bags we brought from Mount Hagen.

One of our passengers is a music teacher and she carried with her a number of recorders
which she wanted to share with school children there. She wondered how she might
communicate with the children. When we were approaching the building, we heard singing.
The class was happily and wholeheartedly singing, “Red River Valley” in English!

She distributed five or six of the recorders and showed them just once how to play them.
They turned and played while the rest of the group sang “Old McDonald Had a Farm”! The
school group continued singing and playing as we walked to our plane. The recorders added a
jubilant and gratifying lilt to the music. I wonder about the number and qualities of the
replacements to the recorders on that mountain!

A part of the West Virginia song I learned to sing was,

       “If o’er sea or land I roam,

       Still I’ll think of happy home

       And the friends among

       Those West Virginia Hills”

Those words and verses continue to have a message for me. The lover boy, with his dimple
and his curls, shared his hills, his family and all his loved ones with me for more than seventy
years. He shared his vision, his hopes, his dreams, his life, with the children and me. Since
1991 his remains lie on the hilltop across from the old family farm, beside a green pasture
where cattle graze peacefully, in the same plot with other family members, and is surrounded
and covered with his precious laurel and rhododendron blossoms.

       “I will lift up my eyes unto the hills”.

<Text to be written>

Ken Dallaston


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