Archive for October, 2021

The Class of 1970 is Turning 70!

Back row: Gary Turner, Diana (Suter) Berkshire, Dwight Burkholder, George Lehman, John Augsburger. Middle row: Pat (Heatwole) Hertzler, Karen (Smucker) Shelly, Sherill (King) and Darrel Hostetter, Randy Kiser. Front row: Carla (Janzen) Jacobs, Elaine Strite, Bonnie (Barnhart) Shoemaker, Edith (Layman) Rhodes and Linda (Hunsburger) Booker.

Last year was the scheduled 50 year reunion for the class of 1970 at Eastern Mennonite High School. Ever heard of that pandemic called Covid-19? It had everyone in a panic so officially we did not meet although a few fearless ones met in the garage of our class mom, Diana Berkshire.

Yesterday, Saturday, October 16, we celebrated our official fifty year reunion one year late. Fifteen classmates with some of their spouses met at the beautiful home of Gary Turner. We enjoyed our time reminiscing and one well-kept secret was revealed that only those attending will ever know! It was a good one!!!

We discovered that the class of ’70 is now turning 70. We remember when seventy looked old and 50-year reunions were unimageable! They were for the old folks! We think our oldest classmate is Randy Kiser who celebrated the big 70 on October 11 (no, this is not the secret!) and was quickly followed by Karen Smucker and Phil Kanagy on October 14. Sherril Hostetter had a birthday on October 13 but she just turned a young 69 making her probably the youngest in the class. We have seven classmates that are deceased: David Neer, Bernie Christner, Grace Driver, Dennis Kauffman, Margaret (Oswald) Jackson, Ted Brilhart, and Darwin Wissler. There were 79 outstanding students in our class.

It is interesting how our conversation topics have changed through the years. Now we find ourselves talking about our health, dementia, limitations, retirement and VMRC (Virginia Mennonite Retirement Center). One couple is looking to move there in the near future. Another couple moved to the Harrisonburg area to retire. A least three of us have a parent or parents at VMRC and are now or have been caregivers for them. Most of us have buried at least one parent. Fifty years ago it never entered our minds to talk about these subjects.

Pictures of the day…….. taken by Pat Hertzler and Karen Smucker.

Carla Jacobs and Sherill Hostetter
Diana Berkshire and Pat Hertzler
Sherill and Darrel Hostetter
Jim Shelly (Karen) and Allen Berkshire (Diana)
Edie Rhodes and Linda Booker
Bonnie Shoemaker
Gary Turner
Gene and Pat Hertzler
Elaine Strite
Dwight Burkholder
Edie Rhodes, Gene Hertzler, Linda Booker and Randy Kiser
John Augsburger, Randy Kiser and Darrel Hostetter
George Lehman and John Augsburger
Elaine Strite and Gary Turner
Gene Hertzler, Edie Rhodes, Darrel and Sherill Hostetter and Paul Doctorian

Paul Doctorian was a junior when we were seniors and was invited to stop by as he was friends with a number in the class and a part of the touring choir. He even took one of the senior girls to the junior-senior banquet!!! (This is not the secret either!!!) There were many shared memories together.

I will close with one final class picture. There is usually one clown in the group. Do you see who it is this time?

Until the next time….God bless each of you as we grow old together….gracefully!

I loved the view from Gary’s house, looking out over the rolling hay field. Might I be a farmer’s wife!!!

Past Blogs:

EMHS Class of 1970: 50 Years (2020)

The Class of 1970-45 Years Later (2015)

Oh The Games We Played

Recently I posted on facebook a comment about the games I remembered playing as a youngster. The response was so interesting, resulting in a trip down memory lane for many of us. It was funny how we had trouble remember the names of the games or even how to play them. But we remembered bits and pieces. That must be a sign of our age! I didn’t remember that so many were rough and tumble, contact games that involved chasing, tagging, catching, running into each other or hitting another with a ball. Parents today would probably shutter at the thought of their snowflakes playing these games. We all had memories; mostly good and few bad. I thought I would list the games. The descriptions came from the people who listed the game.

  • Tag, Freeze Tag: One person is it and runs to tag another. The tag person is now it and does the tagging. In Freeze Tag when you are tapped you have to freeze exactly as you are until someone unfreezes you. The goal is to get everyone frozen.
  • Hopscotch, Russian Hopscotch: Russian Hopscotch was similar to Hopscotch but consisted of 2 sets of three large squares side by side. We’d throw the rock into successive squares and hop with one foot into the squares with no rock, not touching the line or falling and pick up the rock.
  • Red Rover: Two teams line up facing each other holding hands in a horizontal line. One team says, “Red rover, red rover send dear _______ (person’s name on other team) over”. That person runs over and tries to break through the line. If unsuccessful, they have to join that team.
  • Piggy Wants a Beckon: It is a version of Hide and Seek that can go on for a long time. “Piggy wants a beckon” is what a player shouts from base when they are caught. You need to see someone that is hiding wave their stick to you… beckon…before you are free to steal away from base.
  • Dodge Ball
  • Basketball
  • H-O-R-S-E: Competition between two or more people shooting basketballs. One person would shoot a basket. The next person had to copy the exact same stanza and distance. If they succeeded they got to be the leader. If they failed, they earned an “H” and that continued until someone spelled H-O-R-S-E and they were the loser.
  • Hide and Seek
  • Softball
  • Prisoner’s Base
  • Badminton
  • Croquet
  • Horseshoes
  • Button, button, who has the button? (Or thimble)
  • No Bears Out Tonight: We would take off from the porch, run around the trees by the road and have to get back to the porch without being caught by the “bear” (another sibling), who was hiding in the darkness to chase us down.
  • Annie Over: Form two teams, one on each side of a building and we would throw a ball over the roof to the other team, while yelling “Annie over” – if they caught it in the air, they would run around the house to try to tag someone before they got to the other side of the house. If they missed it, they threw it back, again shouting “Annie Over.”
  • Mother May I: One person is “mother” and everyone else lines up in a vertical line about 25 feet away from “mother”. Mother gives each player a command. They have to say, “Mother may I” before beginning to do what mother requests such as take 2 steps forward, etc. If they don’t, they have to go back to the starting line. The person who makes it to mother first wins.
  • Kick Ball
  • Jump Rope, Run Through the School
  • Football
  • Blind Man’s Bluff: We tied a man’s hanky around our eyes and you had to find someone and guess who they were.
  • One O’clock Ghost: A form of Hide and Seek
  • Burney Ball: The person who submitted this said, “the players stood in a circle and a bouncy ball was thrown into the air. That’s all I remember”.
  • Twister
  • Old Gray Wolf: A form of Hide and Seek
  • Marbles
  • Bum, Bum (New Orleans Here I Come): We would divide into two teams. One team would figure out something to act out and tell the other team only the first letter of each word and act it out. Then the team doing the guessing would ask the questions and the team doing the acting would answer. Where you from? New Orleans. What’s your trade? Lemonade. Get to work and show us something. When guessing what they were doing was correct, the “acting people” turn and run back to their home base without getting tagged. Losers transfer to the opposite team until one team wipes out the other.
  • Football
  • Drop the Hanky: Everyone forms a circle. The player who is “it” runs around the outside of the circle and drops the hanky behind a player who picks it up and tries to catch the one who dropped it. Whoever makes it to the spot where the hanky was dropped is safe and the other has to go around the circle and drop the hanky behind another player.
  • Duck, Duck, Goose
  • Bouncy Ball: A schoolyard game where players hit a bouncy ball against a wall, using their hands. The game requires the ball to be hit to the floor before hitting the wall.
  • Run For Your Supper
  • Four Square
  • Crack the Whip

Besides all that, we caught lightning bugs, played in the creeks, climbed trees, went fishing, swam in the creeks/rivers, ice skated on the ponds, roller skated in the basement/sidewalks, sledded down the hills, walked on stilts, rode bikes on the road, slide down metal roofs, walked the top rail of the board fence, and took the gullible on snipe hunts. A lot of our friends and family had hay barns which were great fun. Those were the days when all the hay was square baled and stacked/piled in big barn. We loved to climb the mountains of hay, build tunnels and forts and swing from the rafters. Us girls did all of these fun activities in our dresses!

Our yard swings hung from long ropes hanging from the tallest tree, not a chain from an eight foot metal A-frame. At our home the big elm tree close to the house made for the perfect swing. We could go upstairs, crawl out the bedroom window onto the front porch roof and jump off the roof with the swing that was thrown up to us. It was thrilling, however, I never got brave enough to do that daring feat!

You can see our swing hanging at the corner of the house from the tree.

We had a good childhood. Our play was creative, competitive and interactive. We were not afraid to get dirty and didn’t worry about getting hurt. I wonder how many of today’s children know what half of these games are. The only telephone we played was the gossip game. We would sit in a line and first person would whisper something in someone’s ear and then would repeat it to the next person to the end of the line. The end result was often hilarious.

These were only the outdoor games. We had a whole arsenal of fun indoor games. That is a post for another time!

Cat On the Tin Roof-Part 2

This morning, like every morning, I heard Gene open the patio door and go “meow, meow”! It struck me so funny! He was calling for Kat and soon she came running for her breakfast.

A little later we saw her on the warehouse roof. This is a low roof with only a mild grade, and a low-hanging tree for climbing up and down. We saw her there the other day playing a game of “pounce” with the leaves.

Obviously she has not learned her lesson about roofs! She was sitting on the roof crying “meow”.

We snapped a few pictures of her looking over the edge and left her to her own devices. After a while she disappeared.

Sorry, Kat, but we are not going to play your little “come get me” game-unless you are in real trouble!!!

Other adventures of Kat:

Cat On the Tin Roof

Yesterday afternoon while Summer and I were in the store, we kept hearing this very faint, soft “meow, meow”. One moment it sounded like it was on the right, the next meow on the left, then in the ceiling, in the walls, upstairs, and under the building. We had seen a momma cat with her kitten close by earlier in the day and thought it was probably her but we wanted to find her. The meow would come and go. Our search would go and come depending on where we thought the direction of the last meow came from. Of course while we were looking there was no meow!

This morning first thing we heard it again. Meow! We walked outside on the porch of the store and out of the corner of her eye Summer saw Kat peak over the edge of the roof.

Have you ever heard the story of the “Cat On the Hot Tin Roof”? We had a cat on the tin roof but fortunately it was not hot.

Kat came to live with us this summer. One morning when we got up she was sitting on the patio waiting for us. She was a beautiful kitty; hungry and a little skinny. She must have been scouting for a new place to call home and chose us. We called her Kat until we could figure out a name. She is still Kat! Gene is her favorite human.

Kat is not a cuddly cat but does like to be talked to, rubbed and given attention. She knows how to beg for food and is a social eater. She is an outdoor cat but if she sees us eating through the patio door then she wants to eat also. She will peer through the glass door and go “meow” until there is food in her bowl.

Somehow “Her Royal Highness” got herself into a pickle. She was on the barn roof with no way down. She likes getting on the warehouse roof and playing “pounce” with a pile of leaves. But there is a tree by that roof; it is easy on, easy off. I guess she saw the store roof as a new, thrilling adventure.

When we started talking to Kat she tried to come to us. She stepped onto the steep barn roof and almost slid off the gutter above the steps.

We tried reaching her from a step stool but just could quite reach her and she took off slipping and sliding to the end of the barn. She discovered claws did not give her footing on the metal roofing!

We tried to convince her to jump into our arms. Kat seriously considered that option but just could not make that leap of faith.

Should I do it?
I want to do so bad!
Nope, no way!

Finally “daddy” Gene came to her rescue with the forklift. Summer took the elevator ride up and got her.

Kat-Kat now has her paws back on solid ground and there are no more meows coming from unknown sources. Hopefully she learned that steep tin roofs can not be climbed as they are slick sliding boards that send you scooting downward, fast!

Check out the other adventures of Kat:

Henny Penny Wonky-Wackers

Just when we think we have heard it all, answered all the questions….. we hear some more!!!

  • Hens are not chickens.
  • Are the chickens unisex?
  • If they are unsexed, does that mean they can’t go out and run around with the rooster?
  • Are the baby chicks humanely hatched?
  • A hen can lay eggs then “change” into a rooster.
  • Not all breeds lay eggs. (Answer: All breeds lay eggs. Bantams lay smaller eggs)
  • Their hens lay multiple eggs a day. (Answer: hens can only lay one a day at their peak. Every hen will not lay every day.)
  • A rooster has to be neutered to not have babies.
  • Hens can’t lay eggs before one year old. (Answer: hens start laying by 20 weeks or 5 months of age.)
  • Hens can’t lay eggs without a rooster. (Hens lay just fine without a rooster. A rooster is needed if you want the eggs fertilized.)
  • Roosters have to be a year old to fertilize eggs. (Answer: by 5 months they are fully mature.)
  • Green eggs are lower in cholesterol. Green eggs are higher in cholesterol. (There has been no proven data on this. Just wishful thinking.)
  • White eggs are better than brown. Brown eggs are better than white. (Answer: the color of the egg shell has nothing to do with the quality of egg; it is what they eat. The more grass and natural foraging they do, the richer, more flavorful, and darker orange the egg yolk. Typically backyard chicken owners like the hens that lay brown eggs and the commercial farmers like the white leghorns because of their smaller bodies, feed conversion and higher egg production.)
  • Only chickens lay eggs. (Answer: Turkeys, guineas, ducks, geese all lay edible eggs).
  • Debeaked chickens can’t eat right.
  • One backyard chicken owner bought his eggs from me and threw the ones from his into the woods. He can not eat something that comes from his pets.
  • Another chicken owner buys their eggs from the store. They say it is disgusting how their chickens lay eggs!!! They didn’t want to know how store bought eggs came to be!
  • You can’t eat fertilized eggs or they taste different. (Answer: you can not taste any difference in a fertilized egg. Most times you can not even tell.)
  • A lady wanted a hen that lays chicks, not eggs, and neither did she want a rooster.

Folks, we just can’t make this stuff up!!!

Hen House Talk: Interesting True Facts

  • Did you know that you can tell the color of the egg the chicken will lay by their ear lobes? Chickens with white ears lobes lay white eggs. The ones that are dark, red or brown, lay brown. The Araucanas that lay tinted eggs are greenish or blueish in color.
  • There is a gland in a hen’s eye that is light sensitive that determines when a hen lays eggs. When the days start getting shorter, she molts and stops laying eggs. Yes, she loses her feathers in the fall or winter. When the days start getting longer, she feathers out again and starts laying. You can counter this by having a light on a timer and extending the daylight hours to 18 hours so there is no variation in daylight hours. It is best to have it come on in the early morning so that the hens rise with the light but go to roosting naturally. They can not see in the dark.
  • Chickens sleep by roosting on a roosting rod. Their leg joints lock so that they do not fall off.
  • Baby chicks can go three days without food or water after they hatch. The last thing that happens before a chick hatches is that the egg yolk is absorbed into the body providing them nutrition for about three days. That is the reason they can be shipped through the mail.
  • The reason they nip and cauterize the beaks on hens is to prevent pecking and cannibalism. In small flocks this is not an issue but the bigger the flock and more confined the area, the more they bully and are cruel to each other. The pecking order is extremely strong and if they draw blood, particularly in the rectum area, they will literally degut and kill the “picked” on hen.
  • Do not feed egg shells or toss an egg to the chickens to eat. They love eggs and you are introducing them to something they love. They will start breaking their own eggs and eating them and it is impossible once it starts to break them of the habit. You have to get rid of the offending bird.
  • You can not mix different ages of chickens together until they are 5-6 months of age. Before that, the older birds will pick on or kill the younger birds. If a hen hatches chicks, she needs to be separated immediately from the flock with her young ones or the other birds will kill them. The exception is if they are free range and the mother hen can separate herself from the others and protect her chicks.

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