Thursday, March 8, 2012

Growing up in a Family of Twelve

The Farm
Growing up in a family of twelve felt like there were kids everywhere! I was in the middle of the family, so my perception is different than my older/younger siblings. My father was a carpenter by trade. We moved three times that I remember - from a several acre, large house with a carriage barn that was in the middle of our church/school area to a back-of-beyond farm with milking cows and some truck farming.This was the farm where we had an invasion of rats that made their home in between the barn really was quite awful!

 Our second move was to a larger farm and my father went back to carperenting. But twelve kids needed something to do! We had a milking cow where we took 'our turn' to milk it by hand and chickens where we gathered and cleaned eggs by hand. Pigs - LOTS of pigs, who would occassionally get out into the yard and root it up and we'd have to chase them back in...ever try to chase pigs? Not easy! We had two LARGE gardens and my mother baked all of our bread. Cooking for fourteen people, three times a day, was lots of work but we never went hungry, thanks to the managing skills of my mother!

Our third move was into a newly built house and two months before we got married, so my stay there wasn't very long. By then half the family was married or getting married.

There's lots of memories interwined with events, some of it good, some not so good. It felt like we fought a lot in an underhand way but I also have good memories of playing 'red light, green light,' hiding-go-seek, having a 'playhouse', kick-the-can and Scrabble in the winter months. We were a game-playing family!

Having a camera was a kind of rarity, so we all feel blessed in having pictures from that long ago time!
Standing: Julia Ann, Marie
On the wagon r-l: Samuel, Rhoda, Ed, Esther
This is the first complete family picture in my files and was taken in 1950.
Back row: Marie, Dad holding Dorothy, Mom, Julia Ann
Front row: Samuel, Rhoda, Ed, Esther
l-r: Rhoda, Julia Ann, Esther
l-r: Ed, Esther, Dorothy

Standing by age r-l: Julia Ann, Marie, Samuel, Rhoda, Ed, Esther, Dorothy, baby Roy
- 1952 -
At play.
r-l: Esther, Dorothy
From the top down: Julia Ann, Marie, Samuel, Rhoda, Ed
An amish neighbor girl standing at the horse's head.

Family picture - 1956
Back l-r: Julia Ann, Marie, Samuel, Rhoda
Front l-r: Ed, Roy, dad, Dorothy, Mom, holding Lil, Ray, Esther

 Samuel died in 1958 at age thirteen from unexpected health issues and three more babies were born into the family...three boys, Paul, Mark and Elvin. They became know as Paulie, Markie, Elvie.
We numbered twelve now. The table was full!
l-r: Julia Ann, Mark, Dad, Paul, Dorothy, Lil, Mark, Ray, Roy, Ed, I was taking the picture

These little boys were busy!
l-r: Mark, Elvin
The stationwagon in the background was our family vehichle and the other car had been my grandparents car and used by the older teens. They were SO embarrassed driving it and I believe we had it only a short time when it got wrecked in an accident on snowy roads.

These two had gotten into some tar and dunked the kitties in the bucket. Mom and Rhoda are cleaning them up.

This is oldest to youngest and not all fit in the picture. I chuckle at this one! 
- the girls -
l-r: Julia Ann, Marie, Rhoda, Esther, Dorothy, Lil
-the boys-
l-r: Ed, Roy, Ray, Paul, Mark, Elvin

Today we live in Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Ohio, Indiana and West Virginia. Julia Ann passed away in May of 1981, very unexpectedly also (I'll post about those deaths another time). My parents lived till their mid eighties. We all spend a week end together once a year and I will be a great, great Aunt this year sometime...dear me, it doesn't seem possible! We've experienced God's amazing grace in places where we needed healing and we love spending time together. Every Monday evening we do a conference call just to chat. Some are having major health issues and this causes us to be very grateful for the time we do have with each other now - I love my family to bits and wouldn't trade a single one of them!


Martha said...

interesting post and pictures. priceless! :)

missionarymomma said...

I loved seeing these precious photos. You still have that same bright smile. Your son is a spitting image of your father.

Shasta @ intheoldroad said...

How wonderful...the memories and lovely pictures. Thanks for sharing!

Michele @ The Nest at Finch Rest said...

What a neat post- oh my gosh so many children!

I cannot even imagine it!

Esther, what part of Ohio is your family? I am in central Ohio - perhaps if you are ever in the area I could have you - and whatever family may be interested- over for tea or something in the future?

neat neat post.

Jody and Stan said...

Your photos are amazing. What a beautiful family and all the wonderful memories you must have had. Thanks for sharing those memorable events.

Wanted to let you know I'm having my first linky party Simple & Sweet Fridays. Hope you can stop by and visit, you have such inspirational ideas.


Faith Lapp said...

This is so interesting! I didn't realize you had so many siblings!
Faith Lapp

Inspire Me Heather said...

Hi Esther: are you getting my emails for the "what I like about your blog"? We'd like to have your reviews! ~ Heather

Lori Stokes Wright said...

I love all of your old family pictures! Thanks for sharing them.

Pondside said...

What a treasure-trove of family photos. I'm sure that 12 siblings bicker like 2 siblings X 6!...but the smiles say everything.

Kelley said...

Aren't family photos gems? Enjoyed this display of joy and treasure. Memories of a loving family.

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