That first winter in New York was cold. We had a little wood stove in the livingroom that did it’s best to keep our drafty trailer warm but the warmth from the stove did not reach our bedrooms.
Mom sewed some extra big flannel night clothes for John and me, and our bedtime rituals would include snuggling on either Daddy or Mom’s lap before being tucked into our bunkbed under cozy comforters Mom had made that fall.
On one particular night it was extremely cold, so Daddy lit the kerosene space heater and set it into our bedroom. As I lay in the top bunk I could see the glow of the heater and with the added warmth I soon drifted off to sleep.
When the next morning arrived I slept right through breakfast and and by noontime my parents were genuinely concerned that I was still sleeping, after efforts to wake me up failed they had to call someone to come take them and their sick daughter to the hospital. Imagine their pain when the doctor informed them that I had been poisoned by the fumes from the heater and gave them very little hope of my survival.
God was watching over them and by evening I was awake, exteremely weak but on my way to recovery. There was a lasting consequence though as ever since that day my sense of smell is gone.
It wasn’t long before our routine was back to normal, and our evenings would be filled with various projects, puzzles, bedtime stories, singing, and popcorn. Life was good, Daddy and Mom loved and worked and played with us. What more could any child want?
Want to read more? Visit Mary Ann Kinsinger’s blog A Joyful Chaos.
Mary Ann Kinsinger was raised Old Order Amish in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. She met and married her husband, whom she knew from school days and started a family. After they chose to leave the Amish church, Mary Ann began a blog, A Joyful Chaos, as a way to capture her warm memories of her childhood for her own children. From the start, this blog found a ready audience and even captured the attention of key media players, such as the influential blog AmishAmerica and the New York Times. She lives in Pennsylvania.