Elmer Troyer's Memories:
My memories of Grandfather and Grandmother Schrock and the old farm go back to the late (18) eighties and the early (18) nineties of the last century, as my own family moved away from Indiana in the spring of 1895 when I was ten and a half years old. However, the following winter we visited for a few weeks in Indiana and that was the last time I saw Grandmother. A few years later, I think it was in 1901 and we were living in Lincoln, Nebraska, I saw Grandfather for the last time. The Brethren Church held their Annual Conference there that year and Grandfather, with some more of the relatives, visited us at that time. I do not remember too much of that.
My memories of Grandfather and Grandmother and the old place during the period before we left Indiana are very clear. The farm with it's buildings, orchard, garden, and all, I can remember, in many details, as clearly as if I had seen them only yesterday. Grandfather was a good farmer and kept his place clean and in good order and the buildings in good repair. I can remember spending many hours on the farm, sometimes playing with the cousins that lived near. The Cripe and Weaver boys were near my own age.
One of my earliest recollections is of the several rows of Concord grapes that were north of the house and how I would sit beneath those vines when the grapes were ripe and eat my fill. To this day I have never eaten grapes that tasted as good as those.
Much of the interior of the house I remember. The large kitchen, which was also used as a dining room, the big cook stove and big wood box, and the long dining table with ever so many good things to eat. A boy would never forget that. One thing I remember is that there most always was a dish of stewed dried fruit, apples, pears and cherries, grown and prepared on the farm. It was delicious. I can still see Grandmother and Aunt Sade busy with the cooking and other housework. The living room was cheery with its large windows and comfortable on the coldest, stormiest days with its large wood burning heater. I also see Grandfather, his hair as white as snow as long as I can remember. He would be sitting in the old leather upholstered chair with the German family Bible on his knee. He would read German and his prayers and blessing at the table were in German. His blessing before meals always ended with the words "ewegkeit, Amen". That word "ewegkeit" puzzled me until later I learned the meaning of it.
One of my most cherished memories is that of an incident that occurred when I was eleven. It was at the time of our visit after we had moved away. We were at Grandfather's and he had to make a trip to Middlebury and took me along with him, driving there with the horse and buggy. After finishing the business that took him there, he asked me into a store and there bought me the first necktie I ever had. Of course, it was a red one! Was I proud of it? I remember well the day of Aunt Sade's funeral and the many relatives and friends that attended.
Grandfather must have been very kind to this livestock although I am unable to remember much about them. I do recall one incident that may have been the result of his kindness to animals. We were living in Goshen and like many families in those days, kept a horse and buggy. Ours was a beautiful little black mare and not having a great deal to do was always quite fat, in fact, so much so that out on the road it took a great deal of urging to make any time. Mother frequently drove the mare over to Grandfather's and, naturally took the small fry with her and that would be one time that the mare did not need to be urged. I am sure it was be cause she knew that Grandfather would put an extra measure of oats in the feedbox for her. My brother Frank, at that time, would use the mare and buggy as young men did in those days, to see his girl. One Saturday night, as was the custom, he went to see his current girl friend. She lived outside of town a short distance toward Middlebury, I think. He tied up the mare and after spending the evening pleasantly, we hope, left the house but could find no trace of the mare and buggy. On coming home and consulting with the folks, it was decided that the mare had in some way become untied and made her way to Grandfather's place. And that was the way it turned out. She had found her way over, gone up the lane to the buildings and made her way around the barnyard, up the ramp to the big barn door, turned around and gone down the slope beside the ramp to the gate that gave entrance to the back barnyard and stable; then out again and over the same route time after time. Finally someone in the house heard the noise. Grandfather arose and went out and, of course, recognizing the mare, unhitched her, put her in the barn and, no doubt, gave her the good feed that she was looking for, whether or not she deserved it.
Aunt Lula would be able to tell how Uncle Will drove into the mill race one night while on his way to see her before they were married.
I could not conclude without a tribute to those two fine ladies, Aunt Nan and Aunt Lulu. How very well they have carried on in the family tradition. We hope the same may be said of our generation.
- In the first paragraph -the years eighties and nineties were referring to the 1880's and 1890's.
- In the fourth and fifth paragraph - I am not sure who "Aunt Sade" is. I find no one by that name in my Family Tree.
- The seventh paragraph refers to Aunt LuLu and Uncle Will - Will was the 10th and youngest child of Yost and Martha, Lulu Vandersten was his wife.
- Fourth paragraph: ewegkeit is German for Blessings)
- Elmer David Troyer was my maternal grandfather.
Mary Post Warren
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