Opinion

Reflections: Laughter is the bass line behind the good times in life |Jun 8, 2018

It isn’t easy being funny. Which is a shame. Because laughter is the bass line behind the good times in life. Isn’t it grand to watch people laugh uproariously? Heck, they sometimes vibrate like tuning forks.

A Look Back in History: Get fresh oven-baked bread at annual Kutztown Folk Festival |Jun 8, 2018

The quaint bake oven as it is found in the Pennsylvania Dutch region was an outstanding invention for its time, far superior to any found elsewhere in America. As European families transferred their white man’s culture to the virgin forests of Pennsylvania introducing their frontier farmsteads to the area, there was no other invention, expect perhaps the large frontier fireplaces, that intrigued the native Indians more than these outdoor bake-ovens.

Hamburg Item Early Files |Jun 8, 2018

25 Years Ago June 16, 1993 Hamburg Area High School Valedictorian is Kristine Bryant and Salutatorian is Angela Laubenstine.

Letter to the Editor: House Bill 1745 supports youth in foster care system |Jun 8, 2018

I am writing this letter regarding House Bill 1745, currently in the PA State House Education Committee. This fall I will be joining the Kutztown University freshmen class of 2022. Applying for college was one of the most difficult things I have ever done due to the lack of supports I had as a young person in the foster care system.

A Look Back in History: Colonial ‘Grossa Schranks’ and Paint-Decorated Furniture |May 31, 2018

Because few Germanic homes had closets, clothing was kept in a “Grossa Schrank” (Colonial wardrobe) made of either walnut hardwood or more commonly from a soft poplar wood or pine. However, since these Deitschers enjoyed colorful decorations, quite often the poplar wood was stipple-painted to break up the monotony of rustic pioneer interiors.

LETTER: Kudos to Boyertown Sr. High Marching Unit |May 29, 2018

“KUDOS” to the Boyertown Senior High Marching Unit and it’s director for performing a medley of military excerpts and salutes to the various branches of the armed forces. That’s what the Memorial Day parade is all about.

Reflections: Life without AC feels like life circa B.C. |May 29, 2018

We all take air conditioning for granted. Until the first heat wave of the year hits Berks County like a jackhammer and your central AC tanks more blatantly than a four-round club fighter getting his brains scrambled.

A Look Back in History America’s early hinterland houses were built of native stone |May 22, 2018

America’s early hinterland houses built of native stone were more than well-constructed abodes as they reveal the desire of the frontier inhabitants to be part of the architectural fashion of the day.

Welcome to My World: From Marriage by Capture, by Contract, to Mutual Love |May 22, 2018

Reprint (2017 Screamin Mamas) Marriage for the bride has certainly evolved over the centuries from “marriage by force or capture,” during ancient tribal days. It wasn’t unusual for a tribe, when in the process of conquering and pillaging a rival tribe, a groom, with the help of his “best man” to assist him, literally kidnapped the woman he desired for marriage.

A Look Back in History: Tribute to the late folklorist & potter, Lester P. Breininger |May 17, 2018

A veteran collector of PA Dutch redware, I was among many Berks County customers who admired the earthenware folk artistry kept alive by Lester Breininger and his apprentices in rural Robesonia. In revisiting my Lester file, I came across an old newspaper clipping of Ron Devlin’s article from the Reading Eagle where he wrote about the amazing Americana collection the late Breininger and subsequent auction and talking of Lester’s legacy.

Welcome to my World: What is a May Pole Dance? |May 17, 2018

My oldest sister, Anita, told me, “I used to go to Kutztown to see the May Pole dances. They were really nice.” It never occurred to me to ask more questions, but recently I decided to find out more about these dances.

Student Column: Serving as Olympic Buddy ‘was a truly rewarding experience’ |May 10, 2018

Meeting new people is great for everyone! Sometimes it’s just a little harder for some to make new friends.

Reflections: Do benefits from sun exposure outshine cancer risk? |May 9, 2018

Medical studies, I believe, exist in a vacuum. They’re unmindful of the past, uncaring of the future, existing only for the moment.

A Look Back in History: William Penn’s Free World Holy Experiment |May 9, 2018

Hardly had William Penn became the proprietor of the British colony of Pennsylvania in the New World, when German Protestants accepted his invitation as early as 1683 to begin a Holy Christian settlement by his “Society of Friends,” known as Quakers.

A Look Back in History: Father Time And The Town Crier’s House |May 3, 2018

Since the duty of Kutztown’s town crier was to act as the lamp lighter on Main Street and watch over the town declaring pertinent information as to the welfare of its citizens, it was important that he had a reliable time piece.

Welcome to My World: History of Mother’s Day |May 3, 2018

Reprint 1995 1st Rights to The Family Digest; 2017 Journal Plus

Reflections: Keeping Berks Heim in county hands is a daunting proposition |Apr 25, 2018

The future of Berks Heim is being awaited with plenty of hyperventilation and trepidation.

A Look Back in History: The true spirit of 1776 among the PA Dutch |Apr 25, 2018

For modern Pennsylvania Dutch people, it is very easy for us to recall our nation’s celebrated history for in a large part of American civilization, our ethnicity has always been interwoven with the pride patriotic citizens have felt.

LETTER: Time to embrace that we are Pottstown! |Apr 24, 2018

As PDIDA (Pottstown Downtown Improvement District Authority) continues to reach out to our community at large, our first focus group met on March 29, 2018, in the PDIDA Office to discuss the next five years in the downtown district.

Student Column: Brandywine Heights students speak their minds at April 20 Walkout |Apr 24, 2018

At an April 20 Walkout, Brandywine Heights Area High School students wanted to be heard again, this time in a much more inclusive way than in previous conventions such as the one on March 14, held in wake of the Parkland, Florida, shooting.

Welcome to My World: The Pain of Laughter |Apr 16, 2018

My mother died in her 80s. We, the ten children, inherited her sense of humor. We, the children, in Mom’s footsteps did anything to get a good laugh.

Reflections: Imprisoned in a single dimension by two-faced grass |Apr 16, 2018

Brown patches of dirt (OK, that’s redundant because you seldom see green patches of dirt) should know their environment, their context, their place. They have no business acting like churlish interlopers and squatting where grass once grew in my lawn.

A Look Back in History: Once consistent Pa Dutch food staples |Apr 16, 2018

Being a descendant from frugal Pennsylvania Dutch families mostly living in Berks County, many hillside farmers were hard pressed to feed their families when downturns in the national economy created not only a scarcity of jobs, but a deficiency of food in household pantries.

A Look Back in History: Colonial Fresh-Baked Bread and Hard Cider |Apr 13, 2018

As we look back over 250 years of American history, certainly nobody thinks about the history of bread, maybe hard cider, but certainly not Colonial bread. I hope most people realize the spongier type of bread manufactured today is not the same bread as yesteryear, let alone centuries ago.

A Look Back in History: A unique acculturation of English food |Apr 5, 2018

Ever since the Colonial period, PA Dutch farmers in Berks, Lehigh and Lancaster counties have counted on imports from the English port of Philadelphia, and in return, we sold our food and grain products etc.

Welcome to My World: Lesson on life from ‘Peace Pilgrim’ |Apr 5, 2018

“The way of Peace is the way of Love.

A Berks County student perspective in response to school shootings |Apr 5, 2018

Hurt, despair, betrayal. These are feelings that many students across the country feel due to the lack of action that has been taken in wake of the school shootings that are almost being normalized.

Letter: Truck traffic is over the top on Philadelphia Ave. in Boyertown |Apr 5, 2018

I am speaking as a Boyertown community member, retired PE teacher, and advocate for community wellness. I live in a neighboring township in the Boyertown Area School District very close to Route 73, and I am impacted by traffic created by the Delaware County ash trucks which travel along the main road in our community.

A Look Back in History: A birthday tribute to the father of the American folklife movement |Mar 29, 2018

With several PA Dutchmen and women approaching their 100th birthday, together with fellow aging countrymen from Europe, America’s Civilization has unmistakably become one nation under God with Liberty and Justice for all.

A Look Back in History: Surviving Frontier Log Homes in Kutztown |Mar 21, 2018

The many salmon brick Victorian homes in the villages around Maxatawny Township give one the impression that our township is a later, pre-Civil War settlement, but lurking around each corner, one may still find log houses or log cabins that have survived from early American times.

Letter: New laws won’t stop criminals from obtaining guns |Mar 19, 2018

For transparency, I am an NRA life member, hunter, father and grandfather. In response to Mr. Tatum’s March 13th article, I feel he has missed the mark. The NRA is made up of like-minded people who are gun owners for various reasons.

Welcome to My World: The Day of Palms |Mar 15, 2018

We all know palm branches were cut from trees and strewn on the streets the first Palm Sunday when Jesus entered Jerusalem on a colt. Before that time, the early Israelites used “palm fronds, leafy branches and poplars” (Leviticus 23:40 NIV) to adorn the booths at an autumn festival.

Reflections: Baseball season — when we can park the real world in right field |Mar 15, 2018

Another major league baseball season soon will be upon us as the players knock off winter’s rust in spring training. For those of us who follow the game, it’s time to be eternal adolescents once again.

A Look Back in History: Planting Onions and Peas on Saint Patrick’s Day |Mar 15, 2018

Among the wise and prudent, self-sufficient PA Dutch people, their Americana folk calendar has always called for the planting of onions and peas on March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day. Since Colonial times, gardeners were urged to hedge themselves against a shorter sporadic growing season in North America, a folk practice learned by early Americans who had suffered devastating, long, winter storms.

Letter: Brace yourselves for KutzPatty Day on March 24 |Mar 15, 2018

Dear Editor, Some timely advice for new neighbors in our community.

Person to Person - Impact: Do You Want to be a Mini Hero? |Mar 7, 2018

In a January column, I addressed heroes in our towns and around the world. I realize there are many types of people that can be considered heroic but I only listed a few: men and women in our military, firefighters, police officers, doctors, nurses, medics and everyday civilians who rush to others’ care in the case of an emergency.

A Look Back in History: Importance of Pennsylvania Dutch taverns and wayside inns Part II |Mar 7, 2018

With the agrarian excellence of the Germanic farmer and culinary expertise of their Dutch housewives, it is easy to understand why so many colonists, whatever the ethnicity, returned to their various homes acclaiming the fine hospitality of the Pennsylvania Dutch taverns.

Welcome to my World: Boomba can be fun! |Mar 7, 2018

When you hear a cloudburst of sounds of clang, boom, ting-a-ling, rattle, toot, jingle and thump, what instrument do you conjure up? It’s called a boomba. It’s a percussion instrument consisting of a five-foot pole on a spring base, with tambourine, cowbell, wooden block, and Swiss bells attached.

A Look Back in History: Cultural importance of our Pennsylvania Dutch taverns and wayside inns |Mar 1, 2018

During the American Revolution, patriotic farmers provided hundreds of wagons for winning our freedom with a number of six horse teams, besides the necessary flour and iron supplies from our mills and foundries in the vast Oley Valley basin to fortify our troops.

Welcome to my World: I love my husband, but… |Mar 1, 2018

It certainly is true, I love my husband, but… It’s also true we are capable –in our 70s---of doing a lot of things together, but not furniture!

SPEAKER MIKE TURZAI: PA Supreme Court oversteps authority to redraw Congressional map |Feb 21, 2018

Sen. Joe Scarnati, as the Pennsylvania Senate Pro Tempore, and I, as Speaker of the Pennsylvania House, filed an Emergency Application for a Stay with the United States Supreme Court today. Our application makes clear that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court did not have the power to invalidate the constitutional, democratically passed congressional map.

GUEST COLUMN: Rebuilding U.S. infrastructure requires better access to minerals, metals |Feb 21, 2018

For a White House often accused of being divisive, President Trump may yet bring warring parties together on a major initiative that few voters will oppose. In his ‘State of the Union’ address last month, the president declared a major priority of his administration will be the rebuilding of America’s crumbling infrastructure.

Person to Person - Impact: Most are welcome |Feb 19, 2018

As a kid, it was always fun when the doorbell rang, when it was the truck that came down our long gravel driveway outside of York, Pennsylvania, to sell groceries. In later years, the Bond Breadman (beside bread, he also sold cookies and donuts), or Mrs.

A Look Back in History:L Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles houses iconic Berks Conestoga Wagon |Feb 19, 2018

The greatest fallacy ever contrived about the Conestoga wagon was that the Waggoner sat in the wagon buckboard-fashion as he drove his team. In driving the Conestoga, the Waggoner never sat in or on the wagon bed, but always on the near left wheel horse in a Waggoner’s saddle.

Reflections: Pull the trigger on assault weapons |Feb 19, 2018

Mass shootings become indelibly seared in our memories, much like Columbine, Sandy Hook, Orlando, Las Vegas, Parkland, etc. Sadly, there undoubtedly will be more to come.

Welcome to my world: Home is where I find it |Feb 19, 2018

I attended a “Wild Women” retreat at a camp in the mountains nearby. The coordinator asked the women to bring something that represents “home” to us to be on display with a short note why it represented home.

Welcome to my World: Honoring women in history who tried to run for President |Feb 15, 2018

I kept the best candidates for president last, namely Gracie Allen and myself. We both have something in common: we love a good laugh. Here is Gracie’s story.

Letter: Government and leadership gone awry! |Feb 15, 2018

The “fact” that our government in America has gone awry at “all” levels is exposed for “all” to witness on a daily basis given resulting news reports “true or false.

A Look Back in History: Americana Chicken and Waffle Dinners of the Pa Dutch |Feb 15, 2018

As a Pennsylvania historian, I have always been fascinated with the early American iron industry in southeastern Pennsylvania where our iron ore mines were excavated by Colonists to meet the growing demand for the local iron furnaces.

opinion: Many new jobs would be created after passing ‘One Tax And Done’ |Feb 9, 2018

In response to recent Mike Zielinski column: