Unlike Hansel and Gretel, whose mother tried to starve them and then lock them out of the house, Mother Longenecker provided well for her children and left behind, not white pebbles or bread crumbs, but hand-written notes tucked away to tag her heirlooms. Each note provides a designated recipient sometimes with a bit of family history.

1. Floral Serving Dish

Dish given to my mother from her parents, Abram and Sadie Metzler on her wedding day

Dish given to my mother from her parents, Abram and Sadie Metzler on her wedding day

FloralDishMomNoteOne of Mother’s grand-daughters will get this dish no doubt and will know its provenance, which would probably be lost forever, without the note .


2. Keepsake from Mother’s Sunday School teacher at Erb Mennonite Church with teacher Mrs. Kathryn Bomberger. The note emphasizes the biblical account of creation found in the book of Genesis and on the reverse side a quick guide to prayers, parables, and verses commemorating sacred events. You can find more of the history of the Erb Mennonite Church here, including its roots in the Swiss-German Anabaptist culture.

Ruth Longenecker_SS card_front_back_note

Mother's Sunday School Class at Erb's Mennonite Church     Kathryn Bomberger, teacher

Mother’s Sunday School Class at Erb’s Mennonite Church       Mrs. Kathryn Bomberger, teacher

For many months now, this photograph has served as the banner on my Facebook page. When I posted it, I was totally unaware of Mother’s imminent death. Now I am loath to replace it with a different photo. All the ladies are plain here, except the smiling woman seated on my mother’s left. I imagine this shot was taken after Sunday dinner at the home of the teacher.


3. Japanese Cup & Saucer

Japanese Cup 2

According to my notation in red in 1991, Annie Metzler gave this set to my mother, who notes in her own hand-writing that she was Mom’s step-mother. This vintage piece is hand-stamped Made in Japan, possibly created during the Golden Age of Japan’s trade with the United States in the 1921-1941 era.

Mother had “secret smarts” that we became more aware of recently, revealing her keen interest in the continuity of memory as she passes both artifacts and notes on to the next generation.


Do you have any family notes like these? Do you tag things you want to pass on? Here’s where to share your wise observations . . .