Friday, February 17, 2006

bygone years

I went home last night to hang out with the family. Somehow I got my mom to get out the old German hymn book, which was printed in the old German lettering. We sang some of the songs we used to sing at my grandpa’s church. I was surprised my dad knew some of them and sang along too. But I guess when my parents were young; the Beachy church was still conducting their services in High German and Penn. Dutch. Typically, only the ministers and the oldest people in church would understand the High German, everyone would learn to read the High German. Yet Penn. Dutch was the language of everyday, which everyone used. I don’t know its history, just that its dialect of German.

Somehow the experience evoked memories of days gone by. The schisms were always passionate and relocated people quickly into new fellowships. Ezra was the head bishop of the German preaching church in Indiana at the time. My dad’s family left for another church when my dad was 10. They got their first family car. No seatbelts, I guess because my uncle’s spot was standing up under the rear view mirror, with his head just reaching above the dash, hanging onto the radio knobs for balance. My mom found an old Sunday School agenda dated back to just before the time she married my father. To have or not to have Sunday school was the schismic issue between the Beachy and the Amish church or so tradition has it.

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