Welcome to my world: Flowers do speak |Jun 28, 2017

For lo the winter is past; The rain is over and gone;

A LOOK BACK IN HISTORY: The Kutztown Folk Festival is right around the corner, literally |Jun 21, 2017

Our Kutztown Pennsylvania Dutch Folk Festival has long portrayed regional folkways that were always called “Deitsch” (Dutch), not German. A vernacular transferred here by ethnic sub-cultures living in the 18th Century Rhine Valley, though their actual ethnic lineage was German, Swiss, or French, regardless of the Rhenish tongue they spoke; but collectively and accurately known as the Pennsylvania Dutch and proudly! Us, these, native PA Dutch are a very religious lot and extremely principled people.

Welcome to my world: The origins of the Wedding Party may surprise you |Jun 21, 2017

Marriage is one of the earliest institutions and is observed in almost all societies. The wedding customs of today are based on folklore, religion, symbolism, and superstition. Our traditional wedding party refers to the people involved in the ceremony and its history has been established since primitive days, such as “marriage by capture”.

REFLECTIONS: Being a father isn’t harder than a long par-5 ... just make sure your playing partner is a loving mother |Jun 16, 2017

The big day is approaching, so let me be the first to wish Happy Father’s Day to all you dads.

Welcome to my WorlD: Father’s Day Remembered |Jun 16, 2017

A special day is celebrated annually on the 3rd Sunday of June — Father’s Day.

A Look Back In History: Legendary Mountain Mary’s voyage to America |Jun 7, 2017

A home-grown Protestant Saint, Mountain Mary became a pioneer model for anyone who lived alone in the Oley Valley, especially hard-working immigrants who were sold into servitude by greedy Colonial sea captains as indentured servants for their passage to the New World; a practiced not abolished by our Congress until 1818.

A look back in history: The Shelleys and Their Unique English Style Barn on the Hunter Plantation |May 31, 2017

One of the most beautiful Oley Valley plantations is the 1768 John Hunter plantation that also served as a wayside inn located on Covered Bridge Road, halfway between Pleasantville and Yellow House, in Oley Township.

Welcome To My World: The distinguished junk drawer |May 31, 2017

What actually is a junk drawer? In my case, it actually comes down to being raised Pennsylvania Dutch — the “shift and make do” kind. Most of us have a tendency to save things and tell ourselves, “I might use this one day.

A Look Back In History: William Penn’s legacy of Christian love & the Pennsylvania Dutch |May 24, 2017

Prior to 1727, a number of Rhineland immigrants who embarked at Philadelphia had the luxury of worldly possessions to enable them to become prosperous settlers. But after that year, those Rhinelanders that didn’t, were sold as redemptioners to pay off their passage to previous settlers.

The Historian: Oak Splint Baskets |May 24, 2017

Sturdy and inexpensive, oak-splint baskets were used in almost every kitchen and barn on the old homesteads. Prized now by collectors, these plain, undecorated, utilitarian forms tended to fall by the wayside in the twentieth century when inexpensive imported baskets, commercially made bushel and “peach” baskets, and all sorts of other containers came on the market.

REFLECTIONS: Why doesn’t gender equity apply to barbecuing? |May 23, 2017

I always have found it amusing that men, many of whom would only cook in the kitchen if they were handcuffed to the stove, are the king of the grill.

the historian: Moral Lapses of Early Pennsylvania German Clergymen — Part 1 |May 3, 2017

Very few Lutheran or Reformed clergymen immigrated to Pennsylvania along with the flood of German speaking immigrants in the early 18th century. In 1751 Benjamin Franklin despaired, “This will in a few years become a German speaking colony.

look back : Our Local Dutch Country opens up during the Federal Years |May 3, 2017

Considering the dynamic change in our region’s Federal years, perhaps the biggest change was when the United States Post Office established post offices within regional General Stores, especially the Rural Free delivery that supplied these rural villages with hardware and food supplies for the community life.

REFLECTIONS: Commercial television is precisely that |May 3, 2017

I have a hunch I’m not alone in saying that commercial interruptions on broadcast and cable television networks are more painful than dangling from your thumbs over a quicksand pit.

Welcome to my world: Celebrating Women |May 3, 2017

Although I have a husband to discuss things with, I feel it’s important to get together with women friends on a regular basis. I think “me time” is good for all women, no matter what age.

A look back in history: Jonas Day Family of Irish-Pa Dutchmen in Berks County |Apr 26, 2017

Of all the ethnic peoples assimilated in Berks County’s PA Dutch Country, none have left their ethnic image on our architectural landscape, more obvious than a number of Irish frontier immigrants.

The Historian: Travails of the Early Protestant Ministers |Apr 26, 2017

By 1750 there were at least 20,000 Lutheran immigrants and as many Reformed in Pennsylvania. There were, however, very few ordained ministers to serve them. In the 1740’s, the Reverends Michael Schlatter, Reformed, and Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, Lutheran, accepted the call from their church fathers in Europe to come to Pennsylvania as missionaries to try to organize the scattered congregations, such as they were.

REFLECTIONS: A slightly shorter shelf life |Apr 20, 2017

I recently received some literature from a funeral home about making burial plans.

wELCOME TO MY WORLD: What’s in a name? Let’s talk toilets |Apr 19, 2017

Thomas Crapper actually has a day named after him – January 27 is Thomas Crapper Day!

A look back in history The Importance of the historic Keim Homestead in American Folklife Institute’s early years |Apr 19, 2017

When the American Folklife Society in the 1970s was allowed to preserve the historic Jacob Keim farmstead outside of Lobachsville for a museum in the Society’s early days, they very much appreciated Rudy Rhoads’ wisdom and cooperation with Pike Township, as Director Shaner recalled.

From Arthur’s Policy Desk:” The Fall of Trumpcare: It was about Obama not Obamacare |Apr 7, 2017

The Bible warns that pride goeth before the fall. When Trump ran for office he said the Affordable Care Act (ACA), disparagingly referred to Obamacare, was a disaster and would collapse under its own weight and that when he becomes president he would fix it day one.

BOOK BEAT — IMPACT: ‘One Perfect Lie’ by Lisa Scottoline |Apr 7, 2017

Since “One Perfect Lie” by Lisa Scottoline contains many lies, I thought I had better tell you one perfect truth. Having written reviews of some of Lisa’s work previously, the publisher sent me an advance copy of this book, which is scheduled to be released on April 11, 2017.

Welcome to My world: Lent — a time for fasting |Apr 7, 2017

From ancient times, it was believed that the deity was appeased by voluntary sufferings of people. Since abstinence from food brought suffering, fasting became a way for people to make amends for their misdeeds.

A Look Back in History: Salvage art creations and industrious Pennsylvania Dutch |Mar 27, 2017

Among the most logical waste items on a dairy or cattle farm were the many strands of bailer twine that were left over after opening up bales for bedding or feeding hay to livestock. Usually hung on a nail in the barn feedway, said cut bale twine could not be used again by the bailing machine.

PASSHE Op-Ed: State System strategic review key to Kutztown University’s future |Mar 24, 2017

As a member of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania is part of the strategic review being undertaken by the State System—a top-to-bottom examination of the operations of all 14 System universities and the Office of the Chancellor.

Person to person — impact: Goulash |Mar 23, 2017

I chaired a committee that met monthly for a couple of years and therefore it was my responsibility to create the agenda. Instead of including a category at the end of the agenda such as “Miscellaneous,” I tried to personalize the agenda by using different words.

A Look Back In History: The rare feature of a ‘Schpriggel bar,’ still seen in a Maxatawny Township barn |Mar 23, 2017

Both Schweitzer and standard barns in the region are frequently found with a practical large earthen bank at its rear, which allowed wagons carrying sheaves of grain or loads of hay to bridge the threshing floor.

REFLECTIONS: The price of a too early spring |Mar 23, 2017

Unless you’re an avid skier or for some strange reason love to have the wicked, winter winds carve you up with an icy scythe, we can’t wait to embrace spring.

The Historian: ‘Hit and miss’ engines were a hit with farmers |Mar 10, 2017

Editor’s Note: This column is part one of an extended piece.

a look back in history: Wm. Penn’s Quakers influence on our Pennsylvania Dutch history in a nutshell |Mar 8, 2017

Our PA Dutch people who had immigrated to the American frontier were on the cutting edge of discovering New World goods and opportunities to create new Americana ways of life; not just simply copying their Old World ways, but creating exciting hybrid ones like our barns, hex signs, and rural folk art.

REFLECTIONS: Lent is doing hard time |Mar 8, 2017

We’re now in the Lenten season and loving every minute of it, right?

a look back in history: Rare Fegley and Moyer photos show life in Oley Valley’s 19th century |Feb 28, 2017

When photography was invented in the 19th century, few photographers took the time to photograph actual Folklife of people living in the Oley Valley except H. Winslow Fegley and Amandus Moyer, who lived near Lobachsville.

CHRIS FREIND: We need common sense in immigration debate |Feb 24, 2017

The immigration debate was back in the headlines. Par for the course, both parties’ spewed lip-service on the need for reform, while simultaneously killing any meaningful legislation. Comprehensive immigration reform hasn’t gone anywhere in decades, making it clear that neither party’s ruling class wanted it.

EDITORIAL: A tribute and thank you to Albert Boscov |Feb 24, 2017

We admire. We respect. We love. We thank you.

NATHAN BENEFIELD: Reinventing Pennsylvania government |Feb 24, 2017

Imagine if Stephen King had written “Green Eggs and Ham.” What if Dr. Seuss had penned “The Shining?”

From Arthur’s Policy Desk: Trump’s Order and the Ninth Got it Wrong |Feb 21, 2017

Columnist On February 9th the political drama of President Trump’s executive order took an old turn when his opponents translated a political fight into a constitutional question and thus dragged the courts into the ring of battle.

Look back in history: King George III of England was actually a German! |Feb 21, 2017

A few years back when the PA German Society and the offices of the American Folklife Institute hosted a modern Germanic television film crew to televise our current PA Dutch territory for an European Broadcasting Company, we were glad to meet local PA Dutchmen, some of which were Palantine Germans, who came from New Jersey and were celebrating their 300th anniversary of arriving in America.

Reflections: Albert Boscov had a heart of gold and the golden touch of King Midas |Feb 21, 2017

The injection of energy and the infusion of personality that personified Albert Boscov were as remarkable as his marvelous accomplishments that will remain vivid in the folds of time.

Letter to the editor: Guatemala, Jan 7-14 |Feb 20, 2017

I have said for years that it is a shame that everyone could not have been exposed to the farming community. I think that adds something special to our character. Similarly, others have suggested that serving in our military would add to their character.

The Historian: Clothing the family |Feb 17, 2017

During the 18th and first half of the 19th centuries, clothing the family as well as providing fabric for such things as bed sheets, ticking, pillow cases, hand towels and table cloths was, as we would say, “labor intensive,” and no small undertaking to the already burdened farm wife.

Reflections: Bread may be good for the soul but not the body -- depending on the ingredients |Feb 15, 2017

When Jesus Christ taught us the Our Father, one of the signature lines in the prayer was: “Give us this day our daily bread.”

A LOOK BACK AT HISTORY : Hex signs theory dispelled in a pinch (since 1950s) |Feb 15, 2017

Dr. Alfred L. Shoemaker, celebrated authority on Pennsylvania Dutch hex signs, noted these (hex signs) folk art symbols were found locally on Christian made fraktur birth and baptismal certificates (Taufscheins).

Welcome to my world: Sally, the Pianist |Feb 15, 2017

Just recently, Sally Anderson, joined our breakfast group. Sally told us, “I lived in California for 28 years and moved back to Pennsylvania in 2015, because I wanted to be closer to my daughter and five grandchildren.

A look back at history: An amazing creativity in folk art developed in the New World |Feb 7, 2017

Here in the New World in a land of plenty, pioneer immigrants had the resources to develop an American style of folk art never dreamed about in the Old Country, hence the creativity of these Rhinelanders blossomed into an amazing folk art form that was nurtured by freedom of religion and free private enterprise, thus becoming American Folk Art! Although the Plain Dutch, such as the Amish and Old Order Mennonites, seldom engaged in bold colorful folk art as seen by the Church PA Dutch, both groups were known for their religious folk art writings, known as Fraktur, in the 17th and 18th Centuries.

Klees’ Award Winning Book is The Bible on the Pennsylvania Dutch |Jan 27, 2017

In 1950, Fredric Klees had published his award winning book, The Pennsylvania Dutch , which covered the entire Dutch Country with architectural sketches to illustrate his chapters, similar to Alliene DeChant’s style (covered previously), which no doubt influenced her.

Letter to the Editor: School Property Tax Elimination Bill raises concerns |Jan 27, 2017

Senate Bill 76 – The School Property Tax Elimination Bill, may be introduced as soon as this week. State Senator David Argall, the sponsor of the legislation, has stated that his goal is to have the law passed and implemented as early as July 1.

Carole Christman Koch: President’s Inauguration firsts, traditions, and more: Part 2 |Jan 22, 2017

Part 2 Franklin Pierce, in 1853, accepted his presidency, but was still in mourning. Just a few months prior to the ceremony, the Pierces lost their 3rd and last child in a railroad accident, that both witnessed.

Reflections: Waiting for a cancer cure is like waiting for Godot |Jan 22, 2017

We have been waiting for a cure for cancer for what seems an eternity.

PERSON TO PERSON – IMPACT: Tension |Jan 20, 2017

Sometimes, the simplest things in life create tension in you. A few days after Christmas I took our car to be serviced at a dealership. On the way, I passed close to the store that sells my favorite donuts.

Reflections: January settles over us like a shroud and smothers us |Jan 11, 2017

January, at least to me, is the worst month of the year. Indeed, it’s the ultimate meh month.