When spring arrived that first year and gardening time approached my parents went looking to find an acreage they could buy.
They found one several miles away off of a narrow dirt road, 15 acres with an old tumble down house and grown up in weeds.
Being young and full of dreams they didn’t really see the hopelessness of the property but only their visions of how they would build a home here and raise their children.
They wanted to do the work on their own rather than hire someone to do it. Every morning after chores and breakfast were over Daddy would hitch up our faithful horse, Jim, to our spring wagon, and fix blanket “nests” for John and me on the back, and off we would go through the fresh morning air.
The first thing they worked on was getting all the overgrown weeds and brush cleared away and start a garden.
What fun it was helping Mom drop the seeds into the long rows. We would carefully step in her tracks in the fresh dirt and proudly plant peas and onions.
In the meantime Daddy was starting to tear down the old house. He was tearing the shingles off the roof, and the ladder was just too tempting to a little girl. When Mom wasn’t looking I climbed up to help Daddy. Once I was up on the roof though I was petrified, it was dreadfully far from the ground! I was sitting there at the edge of the roof when Mom spied me, she called for Daddy and then hurried up the ladder after me. Daddy came over and scooped me up in his strong arms and carried me down, Mom was almost crying which made me feel really bad, I hadn’t meant to scare everyone. I just wanted to help.
After that day they would drop us off at Grandpa Masts where we would be well taken care of, and out of harm’s way. Aunt Vernie would read stories to us, push us on the swing, and help us play whatever we wanted too. Aunt Emma would let us lick her cooking spoons and watch her weave rugs, Grandma would let us dry the dishes for her and occasionally we would run out to the harness shop and watch Grandpa work. By evening when Daddy and Mom came to pick us up we were tired out and usually went to sleep tucked into our blanket nest in the back of our slow moving, bouncing spring wagon, listening to our parents soft voices and the clip clop of Jim’s hoofs.
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.