Time is the most precious commodity of all |Oct 21, 2016

I’m sure I’m not the only one among us who has noticed that times flies.

A Look Back in History: The Warmth and Charm in Georgian Architecture |Oct 20, 2016

In a very attractive Georgian mansion, the stone mason will not just simply lay up the stone helter-skelter, but select large stones for the corners known as quoins. The 1808 Spang, 1805 Hunter, and 1815 Reiff mansions of the Oley Valley have fine quoins in their corners that make the structures imposing, as many others.

Person to Person — Impact: Many tricks ... Few treats |Oct 20, 2016

I have a reoccurring nightmare! The year was 1954 and my parents, my siblings and I were about to arrive in the small borough where we kids would see our new home for the first time. As we turned off the commercial highway in the spring, we were greeted by nice houses lining avenues and places, many of which were named after colleges.

person to person — impact : Do you have a funny bone? |Oct 19, 2016

If a group of people was asked if they had a funny bone, many people would say: “Of course I have a funny bone (ulnar nurve). It’s part of my elbow that I have knocked against walls, doors and many other objects and boy does that hurt!” But wait, I’m not talking about that kind of funny bone.

Welcome to my World: Grave Epitaphs |Oct 17, 2016

Every summer that I can remember as a kid, Mom insisted Pop drive to visit the gravesites of both the Christman’s, in Lehigh County, and the Kohler’s, in Berks County. Mom also took us on walks to the family cemetery of the Siegfried’s, from Siegfriedsdale, located near our farm.

A Look Back in History: Interesting Folk Days rooted in Pennsylvania Dutch Farmers (pun intended) |Oct 17, 2016

Pennsylvania Dutch rural folklore was important in providing Rhineland peasants with knowledge of becoming successful American farmers. Although most PA Deitsch folklore revolved around their religion, it is dubious that Grundsau Day (Groundhog Day) was purely an American idea.

A Look Back in History - Sacrificing to Prosper in a New World: The Cultural Exchange at the Port of Philadelphia |Oct 12, 2016

The interaction between Pennsylvania “Deitschers” (Dutch people) and English farmers around Philadelphia was important to both their well-being, because of the Dutchman’s language barrier attempting to negotiate commerce in Penn’s port city.

Welcome to my World:Mom Mom’s bash proves older people can have fun too |Oct 12, 2016

An invitation: Mom Mom’s Bash You’re Invited To

person to person — impact: Treasures Among Us (Part 2 of 2) |Oct 11, 2016

Last week I shared with you about meeting Bill and Marge Montgomery in church, his early years in committing his live to Jesus Christ, his music accomplishments and attending the Navy Music School. The following is additional information I learned about Bill during our conversations.

Letter to the Editor: PASSHE responds to KU prof’s letter to students |Oct 3, 2016

In a recent letter, Kutztown University professor Eric F. Johnson attempted to explain why the union that represents faculty at the 14 universities that comprise Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education plans to go on strike Oct.

ARTHUR GARRISON: Is Donald Trump the next Barry Goldwater? |Sep 30, 2016

In America, elections have consequences because they are seldom without significant political debate. This is all the more true at the presidential level. While all such elections have been significant, some have been pivotal.

A Look Back in History: The Americanism ‘Pennsylvania Dutch’ still preferred today |Sep 28, 2016

Since Colonial times our ancestors were referred to as the Americanism, “PA Dutch,” a term widely used to describe these immigrants by suburban Philadelphians, who followed the local Quaker-American colloquialism, as people today.

The Stanford Marshmellow Experiment |Sep 28, 2016

“Every choice we make is an investment in a future we cannot see.” — Alicia Britt Chole

The Historian: Dowsing — the persistent superstition |Sep 21, 2016

In these times, most of the old superstitions have fallen by the wayside, but dowsing’s many believers robustly defend this ancient practice. I am acquainted with scientists and engineers who have practiced dowsing and swear that it works for some people in finding water, buried pipes or water leaks in pipes.

A Look Back in History: The Old Order Mennonite Sect at Kutztown also preserving the Historic Oley Valley |Sep 21, 2016

Living on the Lancaster Plain for many generations, the Plain People have bought as much tillable land as their economy will afford. However, since their families are quite large, there is just not enough land available to accommodate all their offspring in farming.

Guest Columnist |Sep 14, 2016

A sense of community is important in life. We all want to belong to somebody or something.

Stoudt’s work on native rural people and folk art speaks volumes about their lives |Sep 14, 2016

As a Fleetwood kid and later folklorist living a town over from the historic Oley Valley, I was proud to have read the “PA Dutch Cultural Histories,” written by the articulate Professor-Clergyman, John Joseph Stoudt, a Dutchman who lived on the Fleetwood-Lyons Road in a very historic Georgian mansion, just outside Fleetwood Borough limits.

Welcome to my World: Discovering the history behind Tom Thumb weddings |Sep 14, 2016

Someone asked me if I ever heard of Tom Thumb weddings at churches. The only thing I knew was a Tom Thumb was involved with a circus. I then asked my breakfast friends, if they ever heard of Tom Thumb weddings in churches.

Guest Column: Say ‘Hello’ and smile at everyone, make them smile |Aug 31, 2016

Oh my, I forgot 70 comes after 69 (Senior Moment). 70 years old, why that is almost “OLDER THEN DIRT.” No actually it is just a number.

A Look Back in History: Here and Abroad: colorful personalities interested and educated on our culture |Aug 31, 2016

A few years back when Dr. Michael Werner, editor of the “Hiwwe wie Driwwe” (translated Over Here, and Over There) German-American periodical, visited our American Folklife Institute offices in Kutztown, he was overjoyed to see a 19th Century issue of the “American Patriot” (Kutztown Patriot).

Welcome to my World: Lucky Charms and their Meaning |Aug 31, 2016

Superstitions are still with us from many cultures in our ancient past. Some of us believe in them, while others think they’re absurd. There are bad luck superstitions, like never sleeping on the 13th floor of a hotel, or walking under a ladder.

Guest Column: Small town rural life should be painted in watercolor |Aug 31, 2016

While I have lived my whole life in the suburbs, I’ve always thought that people who live in a small town nestled amidst a rural setting are blessed.

THE HISTORIAN: Fagleysville, an old hamlet |Aug 22, 2016

Fagleysville Hill, perhaps the highest point in Montgomery County, is an old landmark in New Hanover Township. Located at the intersection of Swamp Pike and Fagleysville Road, the tiny hamlet of Fagleysville extends less than a quarter-mile in each direction.

Review: Steel River’s teens deliver a rockin’ relevant musical – ‘13’ |Aug 15, 2016

Steel River Playhouse was packed this past weekend, for “13, ” the summer youth musical about a 12-year-old Jewish boy who is transplanted from New York City to small-town Indiana due to his parents divorce.

A Look Back in History: Born out of religious freedom, unique Quaker-English Rhineland German ethnic mix |Aug 9, 2016

There is no doubt that the ethnic merger of Quaker English citizens with Rhineland Farmers in Pennsylvania was an ethnic mix that was significant in founding the United States. When the British attacked Philadelphia in 1777, it was PA Dutch farmers of Lehigh County who secretly hid the nation’s Liberty Bell by taking it to Allentown and hid it under one of its churches’ foundations.

Welcome to my World: Did you miss me? A little bit |Aug 9, 2016

Reprint (2012 First Use in Highway News)

The great Northwest Passage trip — mountain time |Aug 8, 2016

June 26 — 11:30 a.m. After driving east from Olympic National Park for 2.5 hours and bouncing along a dirt road for the final 25 miles, we were nearing our destination that day — Mt.

The Historian: The peacock in his pride |Aug 8, 2016

Although not as common as the tulip, heart and distelfink, the image of the flamboyant peacock is commonly found in Pennsylvania Dutch folk culture.

Welcome to my World: Memories of Mom’s apron |Aug 5, 2016

Aprons were a very necessary part of Mom’s wardrobe as a farmer’s wife. She had to be careful not to soil the few nice clothes she had. So protecting her dresses from stains and splashes was a priority (Mom never wore slacks - she considered them sinful).

A Look Back in History - PA Dutch folk art images & scriveners in the New World: Part II |Aug 5, 2016

In trying to understand the American folk art of our 17th and 18th century Pennsylvania Dutch immigrants to the New World, one must understand the premise of how much of a religious backlash these Pilgrims were a product of during Medieval times including beheading when scribes of the Middle Ages eliminated religious texts and a stylish lettering form known as this Fraktur, among religious persecution.

BOOK BEAT - IMPACT: The Long Goodbye |Aug 3, 2016

The last book I reviewed came from a list provided in the Parade Magazine from the Philadelphia Inquirer listing the best books of the 1940s. Today’s review, The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler, is from the same source but was voted one of the 1950s best books.

The Historian - Old inns and taverns of Swamp, Part II: Swamp Hotel |Aug 1, 2016

In this area, taverns were a necessity of village life for more than 200 years. First, taverns were friendly meeting places where men, isolated on the farm, could meet, exchange gossip, learn the news and as we say today “bond.

Out & About: The Great Northwest Passage Trip - Olympic Gold |Aug 1, 2016

We recently visited the Olympics. No, we were not in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, but discovered another “Olympics” in northwestern Washington State. Our travels brought us to Olympic National Park, a vast wilderness of almost a million acres.

A Look Back in History: PA Dutch folk art images & scriveners in the New World |Jul 29, 2016

In studying early American folk art, there is no shortage of folk art documents that express early pioneer immigrants’ gratitude for reaching America in a time when many individuals still feared the world was flat, or worse, that sea serpents lurked in the troubled ocean currents enduring their lives.

Welcome to my World: Hats galore! |Jul 29, 2016

In the early 1940s, like most children, I enjoyed dressing up in Mom’s dresses and the few hats she owned. At 70, I’m still enamored with hats, whether it’s today’s fashionable ones or the vintage kind.

Ask Esther: How can we improve our home to get the best and quickest sale? |Jul 27, 2016

Dear Esther: We are thinking of selling in a year or two. We want to do all we can to improve our home so it sells for the most money and quickly. What advice can you give to guide us in this?

PERSON TO PERSON - IMPACT: If only we could be kids again! |Jul 27, 2016

No, forget it. I will not accept the Nobel Peace Prize. However, I will let you in on a BIG secret. I have figured out why there is such hatred and violence in our world today. We adults grew up! In other words, we just didn’t stay like innocent kids.

Letter to the Editor: Kutztown Quarry Public Hearing to be held Aug. 10 |Jul 25, 2016

Dear Editor: As a follow-up to your June 16 article about the proposed expansion of the Kutztown Quarry on Hinterleiter Road, I want to inform your readers that the DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) District Mining has scheduled a Public Hearing for Wednesday, Aug.

Welcome to my World: Cake walks, now and then |Jul 22, 2016

Several years ago, my sister, Gladys, and I attended our home church, Maxatawny Union, for their annual June Strawberry and Ice Cream Festival. One of the events that day was the cake walk, with both adults and youngsters joining in on the fun.

A Look Back in History: When wheat was king in the Oley Valley |Jul 22, 2016

In 1983, when the Historic National Trust decided to register the important local examples of the nation’s early American architecture, a committee was formed by local citizens and architectural experts.

BOOK BEAT - IMPACT: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn |Jul 20, 2016

How do I make sure I vary the types of books I review? “Parade Magazine,” a small insert in the “Philadelphia Inquirer” of June 26, 2016, has helped me out immeasurably. The magazine asked award-winning author Ann Patchett to head up a group, which eventually included 17 booksellers, to comprise a list of the 75 best books over the last 75 years.

The Historian - Old inns and taverns of Swamp: Schneider’s Tavern |Jul 18, 2016

Eighteenth century taverns of Montgomery County share typical features that make them easily recognizable. Usually built of stone, they are two stories high, squareish and have attic windows in the gable ends and often attic dormers; along the front, one will almost invariably find a long porch sheltering two doors: one leading into the bar-room and the other leading into the inn parlor and family living quarters.

Out & About - The Great Northwest Passage Trip: Sand, surf and stacks |Jul 18, 2016

Drive north on Highway 101 through Oregon and Washington, and you’ll discover an unspoiled coastline that is rugged, beautiful and rich in history. This region includes miles of high, drifting sand dunes in southern Oregon, and wild rivers that flow through towering coniferous forests to the rocky shorelines of the Pacific Ocean, as you continue north.

Op-Ed: March for a Clean Energy Revolution |Jul 18, 2016

We are now in what some have termed “decade zero,” the last decade left to get a handle on climate change. Stopping it is off the table. The best we can hope for now is to keep the planet’s temperature from climbing past a point-of-no-return two degrees Celsius over what it was in pre-industrial times.

A Look Back in History: Harsh winters and immigrant survival in the New World - Part II |Jul 15, 2016

Among PA Dutch historians who have researched homes of our Palatine immigrants, the late, astute Brethren sect members, Robert Bucher and Clarence Kulp, were some of the first to call attention to the concept of central heating developed by our PA Dutch pioneers.

Prayer in the schools |Jul 15, 2016

Dear Editor: Belief triumphs over fact every time. Columnist Mary Cantell is a believer. She believes that religious prayer belongs in the public schools and was upset that Pottsgrove School Directors removed prayer form the graduation ceremony.

Welcome to my World: That part of my life is over now |Jul 15, 2016

Over the years, I’ve learned to accept whatever happens in life, whether positive or traumatic. But last month, when my 91 year old sister, Anita, died peacefully in her sleep, her death, even though it could be anticipated, affected me differently than all my other siblings’ deaths.

PERSON TO PERSON - IMPACT: One Hundred! |Jul 13, 2016

Thanks so much for having the strength to revisit me this week to conclude an article I started last week. As I mentioned, since this is my 100th column, I would like to review some of my favorites.

The Historian: Pennsylvania Dutch Dance - ‘Tavern Frolics’ |Jul 11, 2016

The German and Swiss immigrants who settled here in the 18th century brought with them a tradition of lively and exuberant dancing. Although seldom noted or written about, in the early days the Pennsylvania Dutch danced at almost every excuse.

Out & About: The Great Northwest Passage Trip - The tallest of the tall |Jul 11, 2016

This upcoming series of “Out & About” articles focuses on a trip my family and I just returned from that took us through the Pacific Northwest and beyond. We were excited to visit an area we’ve never been to before, and follow in some of the footsteps of the original Lewis & Clark expedition of 1804-1806.