Columns

A Look Back in History: To the port of Philadelphia by way of six-horse Conestoga wagon teams |Jun 24, 2016

Historians record that there were literally a thousand Conestoga wagons from upstate Pennsylvania on their way to sell their valuable harvest to ship captains for hard cash. On almost any road leading to Philadelphia were these Red, White and Blue Conestoga wagons with beautiful homespun white covers protecting their yearly harvest and pulled by six-horse teams of Conestoga horses embellished with Conestoga bells that announced their presence on the highway.

Welcome to my World: The art of auctioneering |Jun 24, 2016

One of the things I enjoyed as a youngster, in the 40s and early 50s, was attending auctions, at a local home or farm sale, with Mom and Pop. Mostly, I was mesmerized by the actions of the auctioneer himself, Luther Welder.

BOOK BEAT - IMPACT: The Excellent Lombards by Jane Hamilton |Jun 22, 2016

The Excellent Lombards, by Jane Hamilton, is the 16th book I have reviewed for “Book Beat – Impact” and it is the hardest one to write about because I wasn’t particularly impressed with it.

The Historian: A 1720 trip down the Rhine |Jun 20, 2016

On Aug. 30, 1720 the ship Laurel, John Coppel, Master, from Liverpool and Cork, docked in Philadelphia with about 240 Palatine immigrants. It is believed that aboard that ship were New Hanover pioneers Henry Antes, his father and sister, as well as John Philip Boehm, school master, who founded and led the Falkner Swamp Reformed congregation, among others.

A Look Back in History - In defense of humility and ‘Demut’ Plain Dutch living: Part II |Jun 17, 2016

With additional Plain (German) Brethren, once called “Dunkards,” because of their unique baptism practice, this sect founded Pricetown in the Oley Hills and still maintains their 18th Century Brethren Meeting House off the modern Pricetown Road (Route 12), proudly avowed as “the oldest, unaltered Church in America.

Welcome to my World: Diamonds are a girl’s best friend |Jun 17, 2016

You might have seen the movie “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” where Marilyn Monroe sang the words: “A kiss on the hand may be quite continental, but diamonds are a girl’s best friend.

PERSON TO PERSON - IMPACT: Rodney the Pencil |Jun 15, 2016

Hello, my name is Rodney! My parents named me that after the comedian Rodney Dangerfield who had the signature line in his jokes: “I don’t get no respect.” Now listen, I have been in a pencil holder on my owner’s desk for years, hiding behind a pair of scissors, a letter opener and several pens.

Out & About: Busy as a beaver |Jun 13, 2016

My daughter and I took the boat out for short fishing trip to a local lake a couple weeks ago. As we quietly made our way to the far end of the lake, she discovered that we were not alone. Our mysterious “company” was not another boat, or angler, but a large, brown animal that was working on some tree branches at the shoreline.

The Historian - Pleasant Run: Part III |Jun 13, 2016

Concluding the series of articles on the New Hanover village of Pleasant Run.

A Look Back in History: In defense of humility and ‘Demut’ Plain Dutch living |Jun 10, 2016

Living among both the Amish people of Lancaster County and newer (1949) Colony of Old Order Mennonite Plain People at Kutztown, Berks County, many have admired their “humility” and willingness to live a Christian life in the face of automation and advanced technological ways.

Guest Column: Trends in Alzheimer’s care |Jun 10, 2016

The Alzheimer’s Association expects that there will be a 40 percent increase in the number of Americans with Alzheimer’s by 2025. The increased incidence of the disease has certainly heightened the public’s awareness of Alzheimer’s.

Welcome to my World: Father’s Day remembered |Jun 10, 2016

A special day is celebrated annually on the third Sunday of June - Father’s Day.

PERSON TO PERSON - IMPACT: Memorial Day - Rewind |Jun 7, 2016

Some of us take life for granted without knowing much about history. I must admit I am a bit slow on the uptake in many areas and therefore am one of them. Obviously, the following will be as easy for history buffs as the “loser question” Groucho Marx used to ask the contestants on his show “You Bet Your Life,” which aired on radio and television from 1947 to 1960.

Out & About: Treasured waters |Jun 6, 2016

June is National Rivers Month, including our own Pennsylvania Rivers Month. I love rivers! Who wouldn’t? They’re a critical natural resource, an important part of our history and the life blood of who we are.

The Historian - Pleasant Run: Part II |Jun 6, 2016

We have been looking at the history of the hilly, northern section of New Hanover Township known as Pleasant Run. Central to that area was Yerger’s Store.

Welcome to my World: Leading up to Flag Day |Jun 3, 2016

On June 14, America will be celebrating Flag Day. As I sat to write the history of Flag Day, I thought of my son-in-law, Michael (Mickey) Fenstermacher, of Topton. He was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran of the Vietnam War, who received three Purple Hearts and two Silver Stars.

A Look Back in History: Johannes Bieber folk art |Jun 3, 2016

As a Pennsylvania German historian and a collector of PA Dutch folk art, I was nostalgic when I received a phone call from John Eden’s children from up in Rochester, New York, when they let me know that this talented artist at age 92 passed away.

Financial Column: Making money management unmistakable |Jun 1, 2016

The U.S. consumer is awash in financial information and tools in preparing for their financial future. An Internet search of the words “financial planning” generates millions of Web hits.

BOOK BEAT - IMPACT: Most Wanted by Lisa Scottoline |Jun 1, 2016

Oh no, I’m addicted! Yes, I know I reviewed Lisa Scottoline’s last book entitled Every 15 Minutes just 10 columns ago. Sorry, I just plain enjoy her novels. When I started Most Wanted, I was going to read the book and write about it in months to come.

Out & About: Happy snappers |May 30, 2016

“Go ahead, I dare you,” my brother Jimmy snickered to me. “It won’t hurt you,” he said staring at the gnarly-looking beast from the deep, which had just crawled out of the lake.

The Historian - Pleasant Run: Part I |May 30, 2016

No one knows where the name “Pleasant Run” originated, but it surely refers to the stream called Deep Creek. Pleasant Run is the hilly area in the north end of New Hanover Township, but don’t go looking for it.

Welcome to my World - It’s the little things that make family memories: Part II |May 27, 2016

Holidays Like me, everyone I know loves to open Christmas presents.

A Look Back in History: American acculturation of the Pennsylvania Dutch |May 27, 2016

Nowhere in America is there a Germanic “Cultural Island” of ethnic PA Dutch people than in the historic East Penn, Oley and Great Valleys of Pennsylvania, “The Dutch Country,” where there are Germanic Hex-sign barns, Colonial clay-tiled bake ovens and farm buildings still exude the quaint folklife of Europe’s Rhine Valley.

PERSON TO PERSON - IMPACT: ‘Something the Lord Made’ |May 25, 2016

Two months ago my wife, Barb, and I were invited to lunch at the home of friends with several other people. One fellow, an excellent conversationalist, discussed some of the articles I have written with me.

Ask Esther - Buying and selling: When to begin looking for a new home |May 25, 2016

Dear Esther: We need a larger home and have just begun thinking through selling and purchasing. Should we begin looking for what we may want to buy before we sell ours?

Out & About: Time to fly |May 23, 2016

The small, white butterfly leisurely flew across my yard, like a stone skipping across a pond. It didn’t seem to be in any hurry, but then again, I’m not sure what its “hurried flight” looks like, or if it even has one.

The Historian: The craft of the weaver |May 23, 2016

For more than a century after settlement, linen and tow were the predominant fabrics of early Pennsylvania. Linen is produced from the long fibers of the flax plant, tow from the short fibers. Most farmers planted about two acres of flax each year in the early spring, which supplied enough fiber for their new clothing, towels, table cloths and other household uses such as cheese sieves, ball cheese covers and wrappers for market butter.

Transforming the CCRC into a Healthy Life Plan Community |May 20, 2016

For the past 53 years, May has been a month when Americans have celebrated the contributions of older Americans in our society. First celebrated as Senior Citizens Month, May is now designated as Older Americans Month.

Welcome to my World - It’s the little things that make family memories: Part I |May 20, 2016

Some families have traditions that have been handed down from generation to generation. Other families make up their own rituals as they grow together as a new family. Either way, it’s a way families celebrate togetherness.

A Look Back in History: The founding of the American Folklife Institute (Part II) |May 20, 2016

Thus, early American village trade fairs among the PA Dutch were a common occurrence in the springtime when craftsmen, after long winter months, wished to market their trade items locally instead of sending them to the distant Philadelphia urban market.

PERSON TO PERSON - IMPACT: The Girls - A Mystery |May 18, 2016

Six years after Barb and I married in 1967 we went house hunting. All the houses we looked at seemed a bit rich for our pocketbook. We were ready to discontinue our efforts for a while when Barb found a house listed in the classified ads as “For Sale by Owner.

The Historian: The Indian of Swamp Creek |May 16, 2016

Immigrant Peter Faust settled along the Swamp Creek in Upper Frederick Township about 1750. One of his descendents, Samuel Faust, at the turn of the 20th century, was one of the leading citizens of the area, an ex-member of the state legislature, a prosperous farmer and active in local political and educational affairs.

Out & About: April showers bring May wildflowers |May 16, 2016

Their names can be unusual... Names such as Spring Beauty, Bloodroot, Trout Lily, Dutchman’s Breeches, Virginia Bluebells and Liverwort. They begin blooming as early as March, and continue through June, but if your timing is off, you’ll miss seeing them altogether and have to wait another year to witness these delicate, spring wildflowers.

A Look Back in History: The founding of the American Folklife Institute |May 13, 2016

The American Folklife Institute, located in Kutztown, became the idea of Richard H. Shaner, only after talking with his friend and mentor, Dr. Alfred L. Shoemaker, who along with Dr. Don Yoder and J.

Welcome to my World: Conveniences, gadgets and appliances |May 13, 2016

When I was a youngster, we had one radio, a small record player (given to us), a refrigerator, an outside toilet (which was used in summertime), the inside bathroom used in winter, a dial telephone (with a shared party line) and one car (which only my father drove).

PERSON TO PERSON - IMPACT: Phillie Phanatic - Innocent or guilty? |May 11, 2016

Major league baseball is so “balled up” in statistics that it could drive you nuts (and I don’t mean peanuts) if you tried to remember even a small percentage of them. I don’t know why anyone would have an advantage by knowing the record for the slowest time for Tater Trots (amount of time it takes for a player who hits a home run to circle the bases, totaling 280 feet).

From Arthur’s Policy Desk: Trump stands victorious and perhaps historical |May 9, 2016

In 1860 the Republican Party, at a contested election, selected Lincoln as their nominee. They also established that the party supported the limitation of slavery to the south and opposed its expansion in the west.

The Historian: Decorated interior surfaces |May 9, 2016

Most of the colonial era emigrants who settled in New Hanover and the surrounding townships during the colonial era (1720-1775) were Germanic, and with them they brought the Germans’ love of color and decoration.

Letter to the Editor: Shallow or deep thinking |May 6, 2016

Dear Editor: I am beginning to understand that the past days of political parties seem to be becoming obsolete. Of the age of having been a member of most parties, I now consider myself an independent, voting for what political party I consider to be the party of life and the one that follows our Constitution and, most emphatically, the right to free speech.

Letter to the Editor: Mother’s Day |May 6, 2016

Dear Editor: This Mother’s Day, May 8, many of us will celebrate the powerful bond between mother and child.

A Look Back in History: The American Folklife Movement Part II |May 6, 2016

The American Folklife Institute journal, published in the 1970s was enamored in the field research of United States folk culture, architecture and antiques, mainly recorded throughout the greater Delaware Valley with area of expertise in Americana achievements and agrarian life, past and present, in its early years.

Welcome to my World: A-Mothering Cake |May 6, 2016

In England, Mothering Sunday, the fourth Sunday of Lent, was a day when young people who lived away from home while working as apprentices or domestics received a holiday to visit their parents. It was a day not only to visit their home church with gifts, but also to visit their own mothers carrying gifts of flowers, candies and usually the traditional Simnel or “A-Mothering Cake.

PERSON TO PERSON - IMPACT: Looking for a ray of sunshine |May 4, 2016

I suspect that each of us has had a cloud hanging over our head at one time or another. The cloud may have been caused by a present a young child really wanted but did not receive. As we reach senior high school, that cloud may be a big test we don’t feel we are ready for or a rejection notice from the college we applied to.

Financial Column: Fixed annuities: A solid choice for retirement income |May 4, 2016

For years, Americans have looked to the stock market to help meet their long-term retirement needs. Unfortunately for those near or in retirement, market gyrations can wreak short-term havoc with even the best designed pension funds, 401(K) plans and individual retirement accounts.

The Historian: Black walnuts in local folk culture |May 2, 2016

The venerable black walnut trees have so far escaped the blights, insects and droughts that have all but destroyed some other local species.

A Look Back in History: The American Folklife Movement |Apr 29, 2016

With such a culture and region of storied past, academic folklife studies emerged worldwide in the wake of post-WWII modern lifestyle, created when natural fibers were replaced by new synthetic materials and mass produced commercial foods changed man’s traditional way of living.

Welcome to my World: Bonding with our baby |Apr 29, 2016

My older sisters, Anita, Jannetta, Mary Alice, Dorothy, Gladys and I, Carole, never expected to have any more babies at our age. After all, we ranged in ages 40 to 55. But, we ended up with one anyway - our very own mother.

PERSON TO PERSON - IMPACT: Happy Mother’s Day - ‘Linking’ with Art |Apr 27, 2016

As a tribute to each of the mothers reading this column around Mother’s Day, I would like to thank you for your love, care, nurturing, patience, training and so many other great qualities you exhibit during the raising of your children.

Ask Esther: Should we put our home on the market before it is show-ready? |Apr 27, 2016

Dear Esther – We are working on getting our home ready to sell. We really wanted to have a for sale sign up this spring but have found that our “to do” list is not complete. Should we put it up for sale anyway, hoping it won’t matter?

The Historian: Singing schools were everywhere |Apr 25, 2016

Singing schools were institutions of local culture that have almost completely disappeared from historical record. In the 19th century singing schools were everywhere: in church and public school buildings, meetinghouses or wherever a group could assemble.