The Nephews Visit Part Two
Greg delighted in simple things like peeling an apple without breaking the peel. We had a little contest and he tried to do it and he did pretty well, but I could do it time and time again. His son said, "that doesn't look to hard" and he tried without success. Greg said to me, " show him again, Aunt Gloria" I did it time and time again for them. It was a source of amusement for Greg. lol.
I worked during the day and Cathy cooked and did the dishes and made sure the children were clean. It was my first time of having someone help me with the house, and it was heaven. Greg stoked the wood stove for me, so that I could actually sleep. It was the first and only time that I was not stoking the wood stove every hour or two, and then going to work the next day.
We had cookouts, made bon fires at night and soaked up what could be, if life were different for me than it was.
I hated when it was time for them to leave but knew that they could not stay forever, although I think Greg wanted to. Our lives returned to our "normal" when they left.
I still had the Amish, my work as a Nurse Manager and I was the Historian for my small village. I had kind of fallen into that job by visiting the local celebration days and getting to know the present Historian Adelaide Steele. She was an awesome older lady that was so eager to have anyone show interest, much less someone that had a working knowledge of research and documentation. She and I became good friends. I wanted to harness every thought she had in her mind. It was full of historical antidotes of the people and of life. She was there when the Amish first came to town and she documented every sale of a home or land to them. It totaled over a million dollars when they came.
This Ordnung ( Order) was the strictest of all of the Amish Sects, the Schwartzenruber clan. They spoke German and they conducted all of their business within the culture itself. They made their own clothing, grew their own food, governed their own crimes within the group, and they dealt with the English by selling all of their handiwork in outside little booths. A lot of it was on the honor system.
A jar or locked box with an opening on top was there for you to pay for what you might buy and I never heard of anyone stealing this jar or box.
They did not allow their picture to be taken and any dolls that were made did not have faces because they felt a photograph may take the spirit of the person away. They were superstitious and that was ok with me, because I grew up that way. Salt over your shoulder, dropping a fork and someone was coming, cut a wart off and pin it to an old stump, dousing for water with a forked stick, cures for warts by touching, and so many more from my German and Scottish immigrant parents of many years ago. Some of the things had stuck through the generations and we were exposed to them on a regular basis.
Turpentine on sugar for a tummy ache, tallow for the lips, Castor Oil, poultices for the chest for colds to name a few. The Amish are mostly independent of the English and I am so happy that I was afforded a peek into their lives. Their homes are beautiful inside with the most amazing furniture that they make themselves. Their homes are really clean and children do have toys to play with after their chores. The children are quiet unless spoken to, as I was when I was a child. They do use corporal punishment for infractions and the children are taught to have manners. They pretty much keep to themselves but do shop in the supermarkets, especially the younger generations and they work 6 days a week.
When it is time for the church gathering, you can see buggy after buggy clop clopping down the road in their Sunday best. I miss this sound very much. They are friendly but very private hardworking people. They like to laugh and have fun too. If you pass by their one room school houses during recess, you will see the children laughing and running to play. I am so thankful that I was afforded this look into their lives because I learned so much about the quiet way they lived and worked.
Meanwhile my life continued. Karl drank and continued to injure himself time after time. One time he hit his thumb with the ax and came inside to show me. The blood was pooling in the thumb and I grabbed the first pressure dressing I could find, a kotex, and I wrapped it around his thumb and took him to the ER once again. They knew him by name there and one of the doctors said, "what did he do this time?" Karl held up his thumb and I thought the Dr was never going to stop laughing. He said it was the best field pressure dressing he had ever seen, as he laughed his fool head off. Karl was not sober enough to be embarrassed. I had long gotten over my embarrassment of the situation and was gaining strength.
Two years from that time, I ordered a propane heater for the kitchen. My husband was mad but said if he could put it in, then it would be ok. One more bitterly cold year went by and I called Hacketts and asked them to send out a service guy to put in our heater. I ordered two huge propane tanks and it was in the house and running by the time Karl got back from his drunk.
We were warmer, for the first time in 15 years. We had a working bathroom, heat in the house, and then as luck would have it, I became very ill. I was a Registered Nurse for only 7 years, when my life drastically changed again.
Our almost 20 years there, the many breakdowns of the cars, the accidents that narrowly had us escape with our lives, the struggle from having one income, the lack of help at home, the endless hours of stoking, shoveling, bringing in wood , baling the septic tank and working took its toll on me and I paid for that with my health.
I had been a Nurse, a Deputy Historian then Historian of our Village, a mom, a wife and then I was just sick..... I could see no way out of my predicament but God could....
Sometimes I say that getting sick was the best thing that ever happened to me. It forced me to make a decision that my oldest daughter had been begging me to make for years. I was leaving the North country and my home. I thought my heart would break clean into, but as it turns out it not only survived, but it flourished in Florida.
My husband left me because I had gained weight under the medical regime to save my life, I lived in a little RV on my daughters land and for the first time in 33 years, I was in charge of my life. It was a heady experience and allowed me to heal a little away from the negative and abusive influence of my husband. I learned to care about myself for the first time. My daughter helped me so many times in my life and she is doing it once again. She never forsook me and continues to be my hero, as she has all my life. She gave me something to be better for.
I can't thank you all enough for reading these snippets from my life. It shows such honor and caring for another and I am so glad that it was me. I Love you all so much and pray that life will always treat you kindly. Always, Kimmee