I’ve been in this world of mine some 73 years. I like my world. I have the choice of who I let in or who I don’t let in. My husband, Harry, of 33 years, is the one who gave me the idea for the title for my column. Often, after I’ve told him some common sense thing, he’ll say, “Carole, like Cliffy on Cheers (the TV show), you live in your own little world, don’t you?” I do. What woman wouldn’t want to live in her own little world!
I’m the youngest of 11 children. Mom’s first baby died in infancy. She then had four boys (now deceased) and six girls (only three living). All were born at home on a farm! When I was older Mom told me Pop and her wanted to “perfect the mold” and they finally did it with me. Thus, they didn’t have to have any more children. I made the mistake of telling my siblings this truth and they became jealous of me.
Mom also related another story to me about the sibling jealousy. Since we were raised on a farm, the children often helped in the fields during planting season. As the baby, Mom placed me in a cardboard box near the field being planted. She said the older siblings threw ground and worms in the box I was in and laughed when I ate it. I still have a fetish for worms because of their jealousy.
I was raised on a farm in Berks County, near the village of Monterey, between Kutztown and Maxatawny with five siblings, the older ones had gotten married or joined the service. My parents, now deceased, were Herb and Mary (Kohler) Christman.
I never liked farm life, but I do appreciate it now. As a teenager, I vowed I’d never even date a farmer. I felt life on a farm was too much work. Of course, my siblings, insisted, as the baby, I never worked. They lie.
After graduating from Kutztown High School, in 1958, I married a man who was divorced with to children. After 13 years of marriage, and four children, I obtained a divorce. I still had four teens to raise and was grateful for my brother, David, and his wife, Millie, who gave me a bookkeeping job with their sanitation business. They also gave me a piece of land (gave back later) to place a modular home on.
I raised my children alone for six years. In my early 40s I met and married, Harry, a high school teacher and bachelor. I moved to Easton and became a church secretary for 15 years. After retirement, we moved back to Allentown, so I’d be near my children again.
I have four children, five grandchildren, and three great grandchildren. My husband and I took his nieces and nephew and my grandchildren on mini-vacations during the summer months-at least until they were around 13 years old.
Ever since I learned to read and write, writing became my passion. I did take one writing correspondence course (before computers). My “gift of words” has been a blessing for me. I’ve been published in Grit, Capper’s, Mature Years, Trailer Life, Farmer’s Almanac, Lifestyles over 50, Good Old Days, Farm and Ranch Living, Highway News, Woman’s Life, Pennsylvania, and numerous stories in Christian magazines. Around 1954, I was the youngest reporter for the Kutztown Patriot. I reported the Monterey News which consisted of anniversaries, birthdays, or celebrations.
It is my intention for you to enjoy my future columns of happenings on a farm with 10 siblings, everyday life, sisters traditional birthday parties, raising teens, humorous stories about my husband and myself, the six and a half years my siblings and I did 24 hour care-giving to aging parents, even holidays and seasonal stories. To all my readers, “Welcome to my World!” Do let me hear from you from time to time.
Carole Christman Koch grew up in Berks County and has been published in numerous publications. She has a passion for writing and has many stories from growing up on a farm to raising children to humorous stories about her and her husband to everyday stories to season stories and more.