SOME CALLED IT THE POOR FARM- I CALLED IT THE COUNTY FARM ..

“I don’t remember what it was I  said one day. I must confess, from a very young age I was prone to say things without thinking. Whatever it was, it offended (her).  I was banished from the farm for a year when I was twelve.”

I don’t remember what it was I said that day. I must confess, from a very young age I was prone to say things without thinking. Whatever it was, it offended her. I was banished from the County Farm for a year when I was twelve.

What a wonderful lady! Mrs. Kelly and her husband and family came to be caretakers of the farm which was across the street from my childhood home.

Me, my tricycle and our clothesline with the County Farm in the background.

Concerning clotheslines….Your clothes to be ironed will be much easier to deal with if you hang them all on one clothesline.( Installing your clothes posts so you are getting a strong West wind will also be helpful.) When your clothes are dry, you can sprinkle them with a garden hose all at the same time. As you remove them from the clothesline, you can roll each one up in preparation for later ironing. If you cannot iron within a day or two, place them in the freezer

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I was young when the Kelly family came to live in our neighborhood. I adored the majestic old buildings easily seen from our front yard. The house was a very large, very old two story building in which elderly folks who couldn’t afford a home came to live.

Some townspeople called it the Poor Farm. But to me, it was never poor. It always displayed a dignity which deserved the regal title, “County Farm”.

When I was very young and began my visits to the Farm, there were seven people living there. A section of the large house was set aside for their comfort. Mrs.Kelly cooked the meals for the residents. One of the more able ladies, whose name was “Rilla”, helped with the table settings on the long dinner table in their special dining room.

Rilla always turned the plates at each place upside down when setting the table before each meal. First the plate, then the cup was placed upside down on top of the plate. Mother wasn’t happy when I tried to set the table at home in the same style. It seemed quite picturesque to me. I could never understand Mother’s disdain for it.

On the front side of the house, which I passed on my way to visit Mrs. Kelly, there was a porch. The older ladies often sat there in rocking chairs, watching the world (and me) go by. On one such occasion, I noticed one lady had a newspaper spread out across her stomach as she sat quietly in her chair. I asked her why she had the paper placed there and she said, “It’s to keep my bowels warm.” Now that’s a remedy I would never have thought of on my own.

The Kelly family had a grown son and daughter pursuing careers in far off parts of the country. Their youngest daughter, Jeanne, still lived at home and was soon to graduate from high school.

I don’t remember what it was I said one day, I must confess. But from a very young age I was prone to say things without thinking. Whatever it was I said, it offended Mrs. Kelly. I was banished from visits to the farm for a year when I was twelve.

It was to be a lifelong lesson. Be careful what you say. Be aware, if you can, of how the other person may be receiving your words. For the next year I didn’t follow my favorite path to the County Farm. At thirteen, I ventured a return. No ill feelings were shown toward me by Mrs. Kelly. Our friendship continued.

Many times, I watched Mrs. Kelly kneading a very large pan of dough in the County Farm kitchen.

Her homemade bread was wonderful. I now bake my own bread and would never be able to knead such an enormous amount of dough at one time. My recipe dictates kneading the dough for ten minutes. I’m sometimes able to stay with it until five minutes have passed. Mrs. Kelly would no doubt suggest to me that the bread would be finer if I followed directions.

When visiting at just the right time, the aroma of her baking bread greeted me near the kitchen door. Not far behind me, there were bread customers waiting to purchase a wonderful loaf of Mrs. Kelly’s homemade bread. As I recall, she charged $1.00 a loaf.

Mrs. Kelly’s long gray hair was always braided and carefully wrapped around her head. She never walked anywhere slowly. Always on the move, she hurried to get things done. The kitchen and her family’s living quarters were always neat. The dishes were done; everything in place. In the pantry next to the kitchen,always sat a basket of eggs waiting for customers who wished to purchase the freshest eggs in town. Sometimes, Mrs. Kelly allowed me to go the chicken coop with her to gather the eggs. I loved it.

I once observed Mrs. Kelly preparing a bountiful meal for the eight men who had come to help Mr. Kelly with the threshing. Never have I seen nor smelled such a wonderful array of food. I remember the table and men filling their plates again and again. No one ever left Mrs. Kelly’s dinner table hungry.

As years went by, Mrs. Kelly and I became closer friends.

When I graduated from high school near the top of my class, as had her own son and daughters, Mrs. Kelly invited me into the room where graduation pictures of her children were displayed on an old upright piano. She was very proud of her children. She had displayed my graduation picture next to those of her children. This was her way of showing how much she cared for me and was proud of my achievements too. There couldn’t have been any clearer proof.

After high school, I became employed in the same town in which I had grown to adulthood. Mr. & Mrs. Kelly still lived at the County Farm. Arranging to arrive for work a half hour early, I could spend time visiting with Mrs. Kelly in the County Farm kitchen. She was often baking bread for her special customers. The aroma of those wonderful baking loaves greeted me as I left my car to approach the kitchen door.

A few years later, I married and moved to a neighboring town. Opportunities to visit Mrs. Kelly were few. I often felt lonely and sad without friends I’d left behind in my home town. It was easy, as always, to share my feelings with Mrs. Kelly. She offered me the understanding of a caring friend.

After the birth of our first child in the hospital in my former home town, Mrs. Kelly came to visit me. That is the only occasion on which I ever saw Mrs. Kelly outside the walls of her home at the County Farm.

Putting her hand on my arm as she stood near my bed, she said; “Now you’ll never be lonely again.” I needed to hear that.

Time passed.

One day, while I was visiting in my former hometown, I decided to go to spend time with Mrs. Kelly. She wasn’t home. I was told she was in the hospital. Going directly to the hospital, I sat down in the waiting room. Just then, Mr. Kelly came through the inner door. He was crying. I was informed by the nurse, Mrs. Kelly had suddenly gone into cardiac arrest, and died.

Our times together had ended, but my memories of Mrs. Kelly remain in my heart.

THE SHEPHERD CALLED THEM HOME

   The OLD SHEPHERD’S Barn

 

 The quaint old man in knee high boots prepared to call them in.  

“Get behind the barn,” he said. “If they see you they won’t come.”

“How many sheep?” I asked.  “‘Bout 300, lambs ‘n all.” 

  Now, gesturing toward distant field, no movement was revealed.

Obligingly, I took my place behind the aging barn.  Waiting, watching as I hid, chuckling as I did his bidding.

Toward a crumbling fence he moved upon a trampled path. Now he stood near leaning gate and I began my wait.

With steady steps, he walked and called.

No words escaped his weathered lips, just eerie, high toned wailing sounds known only to his flock.

Behind the barn and waiting,

I peeked toward leaning gate.  All I saw were rolling fields.

He stood alone to wait.

Suddenly a far off hill was filled with moving masses; now out of sight, no movement seen.

 A quiet moment passes.

Another hill and nearer now, all racing through the fields toward Him. There, he waited, calm and still.  His presence did not yield.

Three hundred creatures fell in line behind the One whose voice they knew.  Now through the gate, into the fold, safe at last.

The Shepherd brought them home.

“My sheep listen to my voice;I know them, and they follow me.”

(John 10:27)

 

copyright©2019

Photography by Mary Anne Whitchurch Tuck

Mr. Bischoff’s Sheep

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THE JOURNEY BEGINS

Remember the promise to beloved schoolmates?
“Our class will be different. 
We’ll keep in touch and we won’t forget.”

 

Summer begins.
School years end. 
Sheltered and familiar halls of learning
will be left behind.

 It’s time to venture into the unknown future.

For some, the promised journey is exciting.
Others are hesitant 
to take this next step 
into an unfamiliar and very large world.

Emotions are deep. All paths lead to life.

Many  have traveled
along this road.

Hopefully long, 
sometimes narrow,
It is always a winding avenue. 
Complete with side trips,

choices may lead to
 higher education, 
marriage 
or family.

One decision will lead

 to service of country. All will hopefully lead to success.

 Each traveler uses his personal key 
to open the door to the future.

Ahead lie many unexpected opportunities.
Some may lead to a detour or temporary failure.

The insight needed

 to understand complicated directions
can help to find an individual’s happiness. 
 Life’s journey 

 guides us  by trial and error.

Remember the promise to beloved schoolmates?
“Our class will be different. 
We’ll keep in touch and we won’t forget.”

 Friendships of high-school and college days

 are never forgotten. 
Names may slip from mind,
  faces may fade,
 but memories of the times spent with friends and comrades 
will remain for  years. It matters not
which path is chosen.
 There will always be
 fond recollections 
 of the time of graduation.

 
 
 

The journey begins

One step 
and then another.

 

Musings of a Homemaker 

Houghton Lake Resorter newspaper – 1964
copyright©2018

Photographs By Mary Anne Tuck
 
 
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SHE LEFT ME WITH A MEMORY…

Remembering Mary

They appeared just before the service began.

 He carried a small pillow under his arm. 
 I wondered why.

 Together they sat in the front pew, listening attentively.

 One Sunday, as the service ended, Mary’s husband stood to leave.
 The pillow he had carried under his arm now lay on the church pew
where he had placed it.It showed two dents from his hipbones.

 A World War 1 veteran,
 Don had been gassed during the time of his service
 to our country. 
He was frail and attentive and attended the worship service with Mary
 every Sunday. 

I would never have known Mary
 had it not been for attending the same church as she and her husband, Don.
She was a faithful worshiper

Together, the two entered the sanctuary each Sunday.

 Leaving quietly without conversation, 
they offered a nod and smiles
 to those who greeted them.

Mary was a tall woman.
 On Sunday morning, she was always attired in her Sunday best.

 In winter, a bandanna around her head
 saved her from the cold and rain. 
Old-fashioned rubber boots protected her from the elements
 when necessary.

 

Mary would never know the lasting impression
 she made on my life, and surely on the lives of others.
 Her faithful love of the Lord, deep affection for her husband and two sons, and respect for the flag of our country was a lesson for many if they would only observe.

She never served on a committee at church, but attended every meeting. Having no vehicle,
 she walked the distance to the meetings
 from her home,
 a mile away at that time.

 One special meeting was scheduled to discuss the building of a new church. 
It was held on a summer evening.
 We gathered in the basement of our old church,
 and Mary was there.

The idea of our small congregation taking on this large project had been discussed for some time.
 During a moment of quiet in the meeting,
Mary reached in her old worn purse, pulling out a wrinkled bill.
 As she laid  it on the table, she said,

“There’s your first dollar”.
 The project was underway.

One January morning, 
church services were cancelled due to a blizzard.
 It was dangerous to ask the parishioners to venture into the storm.

I felt warm and cozy 
as I sat in my living room
 watching only a few cars driving down the highway.

Then I saw Mary.

 She was walking toward church, 
carrying her Bible.
 The ever present cold weather scarf 
was tied under her chin.
 Her long wool coat now offered protection from the blowing snow.
 I felt ashamed.
 I didn’t live as far from the church as Mary.

 I had a car.
Mary was walking.
I was relaxing in my nice warm house.
 The scene has stayed with me for many years.

Recalling another dreary day, as I was driving home,
 I saw Mary walking in the heavy rain.
Carrying her Bible, she was heading toward home.

 I stopped to give her a ride and asked her where she’d been. 
“I was at a Bible study at the church”, she said.

 As she climbed out of the car in front of her house,
 the rain was increasingly heavy. Thanking me for the ride, she walked over to their flag pole. Carefully retrieving our American flag from the pouring rain,
she folded it, and took it into her home.

Mary’s  favorite saying was; 
“God knows all about it!”

Reverend Jim once commented,
 “If it were possible to ride into heaven on someone’s coattails, 
I’d choose Mary.”

 

I hoped that Mary would have enough room on those coattails
 for me.

“God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble”
(1 Peter 5:5 NKJV)

Unattractive,

    Uneducated,

          Uninformed.

Not practiced at correctness,

  Mary lived her life     

One

Simple

Uncomplicated day

At a time.

Never indulging in self-satisfaction,

Nor pursued by dreams of personal success,

Her simple life was unadorned with expectations.

Knowing no pretense

Mary cast her lot

With God.

God first

Love

Worship

Prayer

Service

Family second

Love 

Prayer

Care 

Service

Country third

Love

Service

Prayer

Respect

No unexpected event

No shortfall

No misfortune

Could cause her simple faith

To waver.

“God knows all about it,” Mary would say,

With a countenance that displayed

Unflappable peace.

Her life was uneventful

Her faith unshakable.

Her example unforgettable.

Never doubting the unquenchable supply

Of God’s love and care,

Mary lived to the fullest

The abundant life

Of a saint.

Her legacy to those who knew her

Was a trail of unerring discipleship

On her way to eternal life with God.

March 31, 1996

copyright©2018

Photographs By Mary Anne Tuck

memoriesaremadefromthis.com

A GIFT TO BE SHARED

Ann was healed and she was in heaven!
The Holy Spirit was giving to me the knowledge of her healing.
I received the confirmation of her new life 
as a gift.
It is a gift I will remember and cherish all the days of my life.

 
 
 

Remembering  Ann

A gift to  cherish….

Ann lived a short distance from our house.  
 She and her husband moved to the neighborhood
 from the southern part of the state 
where she had worked in a factory and he had been employed
 as a heavy equipment operator.
 Now retired, they spent their time caring for their home.
 They had no children and were deeply devoted to each other.

Plain looking and soft spoken,
 Ann had the proverbial heart of gold. 
Her graying hair was not stylishly fixed
 in the fashion of the day.

 

Each year she raised a beautiful circular flower garden 
with a birdbath in the center
 surrounded by colorful flowers.
The garden prospered under Ann’s tender care.

 

Ann and her husband were always nearby,  lending a helping hand
 when one was needed. 
 Appearing on a summer’s evening to visit for a time,
 there was always encouragement for us in planning our young lives,
 with an offer to help in any way they could.

 

Ann unwittingly helped me to acquire a taste for sauerkraut. 
I could never abide the bitter taste no matter how I tried. 
 One day, I stopped by her house. 
The wonderful aroma in her kitchen caused me to inquire
 about what she was cooking.
 Her answer was sauerkraut. 
I shared with her my utter dislike for it.
Ann suggested I should add brown sugar 
and a couple of quartered apples to the sauerkraut as it cooked.
 What a difference that combination made.

 

Perhaps there’s a lesson here. 
It may be the LACK of seasoning that causes bitterness
But the ADDITION of something sweet
 changes bitterness to joy
 and gives us a new appetite for life.

 

One day I was told Ann was in the hospital for stomach surgery.
 The results were not good. 
She had cancer and nothing could be done.

 

Ann came home to spend her remaining days
 in her own bed in her own home,
 surrounded by things and people she loved.
 By this time, Ann was in her late sixties.

 

Life for me, at that time, 
had been completely turned around
 by the joy and knowledge of the Holy Spirit. 

The Bible was exciting. 
Scripture was leaping off the pages of the Bible, to me,
 as it had never done before.  
I prayed incessantly for Ann’s healing. 
 I had faith and prayed for more faith 
and more understanding 
and always
 for the complete healing of Ann’s body.

 

Time passed and healing was not evident.
 I searched scripture for more information.
  There were many passages for guidance.
 1Thess.5: 27 “pray without ceasing”.

 

The disciples asked Jesus
 why they had not had a healing for someone
 by praying for them.
 Jesus responded; Matthew 17:21 
“this kind does not go out
 except by prayer and fasting.”
Further (in Mark) it is noted He said to them.,
“This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting”.

 

For the first and only time in my life, I fasted.
 I prayed without ceasing for 24 hours. 
The fasting directed my complete attention to the prayer,
 to Ann, 
and to the Spirit of God.

I was confident that Ann would be healed. 
She was not.
 A few weeks later, Ann died. 

I questioned God, my faith, and myself.

Ann was a devout Catholic.
 Her funeral was held in the local Catholic Church.
 Our family sat in the back of the church 
quietly observing the unfamiliar funeral rituals.

 

I was sad for the loss of my friend, Ann. 
The words of the service fell on closed ears and a heavy heart.

Suddenly I was amazed.
  I felt a great feeling of joy welling up within me.
 I was overwhelmed with the knowledge being given to me. 
 Ann was healed.
 She was in heaven.
 The promises of God were fulfilled. 
“I go to prepare a place for you. Where I am you will be also.”

 

Ann was healed and she was in heaven!

The Holy Spirit was giving to me the knowledge of her healing.

I received the confirmation of her new life 
as a gift.

It is a gift I will remember and cherish all the days of my life.

 

A Gift To Be Shared

One treasures the people in life who made a difference 
in the way we lived then and now.

I would not have identified Ann as such an important person,
 until my experience at the time of her death.

 

I now believe that God called me to Ann’s friendship
 so He could show me

His Way.

It’s hard to explain my experience the day of Ann’s funeral.

The feeling was instant, intense and oh so joyful.

I’ve shared my feelings of the experience
 with friends and family.
There is no way to convey 
the intensity of the joy I felt 
as I sat quietly in the back row of an unfamiliar church 
during an equally unfamiliar funeral service. 

 Maybe that was part of God’s plan too.

 

Belief in Ann’s healing 
and belief in life after life
 in a perfect state of being
 will never change for me.

 

It truly is A GIFT TO BE SHARED

 

copyright©2017

Photograph By Mary Anne Tuck

memoriesaremadefromthis.com