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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Family Home (05/29/08)

TITLE: Grohs Haus und Daughty Haus: Moving Day for Leah
By Dee Yoder


Leah looked around at the bare living room. Memories of everyday moments passed quickly through her mind, and she sighed as she reached out to clean the stain of a jelly-fingered streak from the doorjamb.

Was ist letz?” Matthew questioned as he came in the door.

“I’m thinking of the days when we first brought the kinna home after they were born. It seems like yesterday.” Leah smiled and Matthew reached out to tuck her hair back into her cap.

“Ja…the days have passed quickly,” he said. “Maem and Daet seem too young to be moving to the daughty haus yet.”

“I know. But your Daet can’t work the farm the way he used to, and they know how much we’ll appreciate the grohs haus after being crammed in this little box. Still…I’ll miss our tiny house.”

“Me, too. Ja, well, we’d better be going.”

Leah lingered on the porch and looked out over the valley. The sun glimmered on the tops of the hay rolls that were hunkered in rows in the neighbor’s fields. Cerulean blues, mustard yellows, and summer greens were the colors that painted the meadows and sky, and she felt another twinge of sadness that she would not see this familiar view after today.

The horse twitched his ears as they approached the buggy. He stamped his feet in greeting and snuffled Leah’s apron pocket as she prepared to climb the step to the seat.

“Sorry, Stormy, no apfels for you today, silly gaul,” she said as she scratched his ears.

The way to the grohs haus was not long, and when the children saw them turn into the drive, they came running. Leah grinned and waved at her bunch. The kinna’s bright cheeks and sweet smiles warmed her heart, and the sight of the big farmer’s house filled her with sudden excitement.

Matthew’s parents had already moved their things to the smaller daughty haus that sat between the barn and the main house. Matthew and Leah would take over running the farm now, and Leah would be the one to cook the meals for the farmhands and plant the big garden that stretched just outside the kitchen door. She’d spent many summers helping her schwie-mutter, Sarah, pick the vegetables and prepare to can the produce they gleaned from that rich soil, and, somehow, it didn’t seem right that it belonged to her now. She wondered if Sarah was feeling sad, too. The move was a big change for Matthew’s folks, also. Leah glanced at the daughty haus just as her in-laws came out to greet them.

“Well, Son, everything ship shape and tied up at the old haus?” Matthew’s Daet asked.

“Ja. All is clean and ready for the next family.”

Gut. Your Maem and I have got things settled in the daughty haus, and Maem has made a big batch of her chicken stew. Why don’t you get the kinna washed and ready for sobah while we bring the stew and brot over to you?”

Maem turned and pointed to the side porch of the grohs haus. “Leah, there’s plenty of tomatoes still ripening on the sill. Slice how ever many you think the kinna will eat, and we’ll be right back with the food.”

As she watched her mother-in-law walk slowly toward the daughty haus, Leah imagined she saw a little slump in the older lady’s shoulders. She thought of all of the years Sarah must have loved this old house. She jumped from the buggy and called out Sarah’s name.

“Sarah…Maem…please, wait a minute.”

Sarah stopped and glanced over her shoulder, her eyebrows rising in question as Leah approached.

“I…I just wanted to thank you, Maem. For the house and all. You kept it neat and tidy and…well…it will be a joy for us to live here.”

Sarah sniffed and pulled her daughter-in-law into a tight hug. She wiped her eyes and smiled at Leah.

“It’s been a gut haus, Leah. You and Matthew and the sweet kinna are welcome to love it and live in it as much as we once did.” Then she grinned. “Ja, well. Mind the windows in the kitchen, though. They stick on humid days.”

While Sarah went to fetch the meal, Leah walked to the side porch and carefully selected three of the ripest, reddest tomatoes. She turned and looked out over the rolling fields surrounding the house; the view here was beautiful, too. She smiled as she called her hungry kinna to supper.

Pennsylvania Deitch translations:
Was ist letz: What’s wrong?
kinna: children
daughty haus: smaller grandparent’s house (next door or attached to the main house)
apfel: apple
gaul: horse
schwie-mutter: mother-in-law
sobah: supper
brot: bread

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This article has been read 2163 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 06/05/08
A lovely story. What a wonderful tradition to pass on the family home to succeeding generations—a much lost tradition unfortunately.
Laury Hubrich 06/05/08
Oh, I loved this. Very nice writing portraying wonderful people! I think I know the author, too. :)
Beth LaBuff 06/06/08
A passing on of the torch… it can be hard at times. Great work on the atmosphere and dialog in this story. I'd love to read more of this.
Joanne Sher 06/07/08
Excellent atmosphere especially, and I am proud to say I figured out what MOST of the words meant before you "translated" for me (still appreciate you doing it!). Beautifully done.
Yvonne Blake 06/08/08
I loved the Pennsylvania Dutch words! One thing the Amish have given us examples in...taking care of their parents.
We should honor our parents and repay the love they showed us as children.
Thank you for this, Dee.
Jan Ackerson 06/08/08
This is wonderful, Dee! Such richness in atmosphere and characterization. Loved it.
Betty Castleberry06/08/08
You put me smack dab in the middle of the scenery and the action, which, of course, is what a good writer does. Loved the simple Penn Dutch atmosphere, and it made me think of my own Penn Dutch Brethren grandfather. Thumbs up!
Chely Roach06/08/08
This is so good, I should just go back to beginners...
You are a brave and talented woman to execute such wonderful dialect. Loved it.
Laura Anne Harrison06/08/08
I loved this piece. The dialect, the tradition, and the atmosphere are handled beautifully. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful story.
Debbie Wistrom06/08/08
Your words put me in this setting. I loved every bit of it.

Debbie Roome 06/08/08
This a tender story with lovely description. Well done.
Lyn Churchyard06/09/08
I do not know one person who has passed the family home onto their children. It truly is a wonderful thing to be able to do. The traditions, along with the atmosphere and dialect in this story are just wonderful Dee.
Norma-Anne Hough06/09/08
I loved the way you brought the different language in. A very moving and touching tradition. Norms
Verna Cole Mitchell 06/09/08
I love Amish stories, and this is one of the best. I'd read lots more, though you managed to cover a great deal of story, character introduction, and tradition in your 750 limit. How about an Amish novel with these characters? I'd love to read it.
Emily Gibson06/09/08
Lovely story, Dee! You capture the culture and language of our Amish friends so well.
Joshua Janoski06/11/08
What a unique entry you have presented to us this week. I loved the language. I was able to interpret most of the words on my own, but I am glad that you provided a list of definitions at the end.

This placed me into a different culture which I thought was very cool. I could tell that you know a lot about this culture, and I appreciate you sharing your knowledge with all of us.
Beckie Stewart06/11/08
This was nicely done and enjoyed the reality of German speech in it.
Mariane Holbrook 06/11/08
I knew this had to be yours, Dee. Who else speaks Pennsylania Dutch so fluently? Your work keeps getting better and better and I am blessed by every entry you make. Kudos!
Sara Harricharan 06/11/08
Oooh, I liked this! I loved the character of Leah and the flavor of the italics, it added so much extra to the story! I felt sad for Sarah too, leaving the house, but it was good to have someone to pass it on to. ^_^ Nice job! ^_^
Loren T. Lowery06/11/08
Dee, are you a linquist AND a good writer? : ) Yes, I think you must be with this woderfully written piece. I think I've said this before about your writing style in that you are preserving historical traditions in a most charming, talented way. Loren
Lollie Hofer06/11/08
What a rich story full of love and tradition. The descriptions were colorful and the dialogue captivating. The characters you created pulled us right into the story. Thanks for sharing such a delightful piece with the rest of us.
Catrina Bradley 06/11/08
A great read - love the Dutch words added in, and the story is sweet and touching. Great descriptions, too. Well done!
LauraLee Shaw06/12/08
Love this so much!!!! Congratulations on 4th place overall!!!!
Sara Harricharan 06/12/08
Congrats, Dee! ^_^
Joshua Janoski06/12/08
So glad to see you take 4th place overall and snag an EC, Dee. Congratulations! :)
Helen Dowd06/12/08
Very interesting story, Dee. I'm glad you put the meaning for some of the words. They were completely unfamiliar to me. Your story is well told and gives a picture of the life this family lived. It was full of love...Congrats on your win...Helen
Marita Thelander 06/12/08
Congrats! Oh, Dee...can I come visit you and you can show me Ohio? Please? :)
Sheri Gordon06/12/08
Congratulations on your EC, Dee. Maybe this will help those recovery blahs to be a little lighter. :)

Excellent story. Love the use of both languages. Great job with the topic.
Beth LaBuff 06/12/08
Congrats Dee, for your HC and your EC! :)
Betsy Markman06/12/08
Thank you for this lovely piece. We modern folks have lost a lot, I think.
Peter Stone06/15/08
Loved the atmosphere here, especially the feel given the story by the foreign words.