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A Breather, Chuckles from Cliff

"What are these?" I queried, opening a photo sleeve in Cliff's art studio. "Oh, my word!" I announced to no one in particular as I fingered the first picture. Then I laughed, paging through all the photos, fondly called Clifftoons my husband created in the 1980s for...

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Fleet Feet, Bossler Mennonites on the Move

For nearly four months now, we have been clearing out the house our Aunt Ruthie shared with Grandma Longenecker. My sisters and brother have been doing the bulk of the work so far. But in April help came from some members of Bossler Mennonite Church. Their assistance...

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Grandma was a Preacher

My Grandma Fannie never graced a pulpit wearing clerical robes. She did not have a theology degree either. Certainly, no one ever addressed her as a Reverend. Yet one spring day in 1951 Fannie Martin Longenecker preached to the residents at Orville Mennonite Home. Her...

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Secrets and Sass from Fannie Martin’s Scrapbook

Crimson Album, a Golden Treasure Underneath a stack of stuff in one of the bedrooms my sisters and I sorted through, a red album appeared. It was really not very crimson, but more magenta in hue. To whom did it belong? What was inside? Behold! A scrapbook album my...

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Easter 2017 with a Nod to the Kind and Civil

Easter Greetings: The Sacred, the Secular, and the Natural Many other postcards have been posted on this website since my sisters and I have been sorting through the house Aunt Ruthie shared with my Grandma Fannie. You can visit them here and here. This season I share...

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Caption Needed: Vintage Postcard

This postcard was sent to Miss Fannie Martin (my Grandma Longenecker) from Mount Joy, Pennsylvania. The postmark, dated October 15, 1909, is intact but the stamp has been cut out, deleting some of the text that would illuminate the meaning of the scene. Your mission,...

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Hilda’s Maine Send-off

A True Story Hilda lived in Pennsylvania. She had lots of friends in her hometown. Then she moved to Maine. When she left she took with her something special.   This post will tell you what and how and why. Hilda Zeager loved Lancaster County farmland where she...

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Finding Balance in a World Turned Upside Down

Balance is a good thing unless you are sitting on a see-saw and want to get off!   Vernal Equinox On Monday, March 20, both day and night were about the same length around the globe. People in the northern hemisphere experienced the spring equinox. Those in the...

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How to Make an American Quilt: Love in a Circle

How to Make an American Quilt, the Movie Women stitch quilt as a wedding gift for girl Girl doesn’t know whether she wants to get married. Women in quilting circle tell stories about life and love that fit the quilt's theme Where Love Resides Wrapped in a quilt, girl...

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Mennonite Meets Mr. Right

Her Story The title for Rhoda Janzen’s latest memoir, Mennonite Meets Mr. Right, could be recast as Egg-Head Mennonite Intellectual Meets Pentecostal Hunk Mitch. I succumbed easily to her comic style, which engaged me while reading her first memoir, Mennonite in a...

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Moments of Discovery: What’s In Your Closet?

It’s a safe bet that I’d find clothes in your closet, boots, maybe a tennis racket. But I don’t think I’d find an otter hat, a movie camera, a stack of paintings or a ruffle iron. Sorting through ninety years of accumulation, my sisters and I have found all that ~ and...

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Aunt Ruthie: Diary of a Long Goodbye

Five journals, spiral-bound, sit in my writing studio. Their pages, bowed from cargo storage on flights from Florida to Pennsylvania, contain snatches of conversation from the last nine years of Aunt Ruthie’s life. Since 2008, she has had to cope with a pacemaker...

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The Weight of Love – Heavy or Light?

Love Locks Their love, they thought, was an iron-clad statement, fixed to the grill work of Pont des Arts bridge in Paris. Etched with their initials, couples professed undying love as they tossed the key to their lovelock into the Seine. City workers in 2015 with a...

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The Lion and the Mouse Write a Mission Statement

The Lion and the Mouse Once upon a time a mischievous mouse scampered across the outstretched paw of a sleeping lion, awakening him from his nap. The king of beasts clapped his paw upon the pitiful creature that squealed: “ Please don’t kill me! The day may come when...

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Revealing the Quacks in Our Neighborhood

If you are reading this, you have arrived at my new website, marianbeaman.com - welcome! It is still a work in progress. Another introduction is in order: I have been dying for you to meet my new neighbors who live peacefully on the lake behind our patio. After 5...

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Under Construction: Women Working

Truth be told, 2 women and 1 man have been working hard to update my Plain and Fancy Girl website.  We will be wearing hard hats and steel-toed boots, not pumps, until February 1 when the new site will be unveiled....

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Clear Vision: 6 Tips from a Window Washer

Last Week Joe Schrock of TIP TOP Window Cleaning announced his arrival by knocking lightly on my door. I spotted his truck on my driveway. I had contacted Joe about cleaning the windows at our new house. They were dirty when we moved in and got even worse when...

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