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A Godly Inheritance

Family histories, GEDCOMs, and treasures from a godly inheritance.

Chapter 2 - (Part 2)

Birth of the Twins

Ruth Marlene Friesen - Hague, SK. Canada


Just about that very time, June 28, 1906, to be exact, her parents had twins, whom they named Isbrand and Katharina. So young Elisabeth was assigned a full-time job to sew diapers and baby clothes on her mother's treadle sewing machine. She also helped her eight-year old sister, Anna, to wash all those diapers daily. But if anyone offered to ease their workload by taking away one of the twins, she and Anna insisted that the twins must stay.

When any travelling was done, Elisabeth, as oldest sister, got to hold one of the twins in the back seat of the buggy. Usually there was no problem. Isbrand was a quiet, well-satisfied baby, but Tina sometimes cried a lot. Once they had to leave early from a funeral and come home because of her unhappy wails. Buggy motion bothered her too.

It seems the most traumatic times of those earliest years were thunder and lightning storms. Certain such memories followed Elisabeth the rest of her life.

A man rode fast onto their yard and asked if he could unhitch his team of horses because an electrical storm was coming. Isbrand Friesen helped him.

Just as Anna was welcoming the man into their humble home, she remembered an open window and hurried across the room to close it. At that moment, a streak of lightning shot through the window, throwing the slim woman against the opposite wall where she crumpled. She was able to get up almost right away, but after that she always shut the windows at the very first sign of a storm.

In another storm a tent-shaped shed covered with a mud and straw roof, as their home was, and which was filled with wheat, was struck by lightning. It was not realized however, until several days later when Isbrand went into the shed. He found the wooden posts of the roof all splintered up and sticking in the wheat like huge daggers and toothpicks.

Every time they re-told this, God was praised that the roof had not caught fire.

Another thing that terrified the girl, Elisabeth, was to go shopping in town. Her Dad took her along one day, and dropped her off at the General store with specific instructions to the clerk to try on and find good strong shoes for her. He went to look after other business. The right shoes were found, but her Dad wasn't back right away, so she waited with growing fright. She clutched the edge of the counter with her fingers.

Elisabeth's fears increased when other people came in and talked of a lost child. They organized a search party. Finally her Dad came for her.

She also got a terrible start when she saw her first horseless carriage that day. It was driven by Rev. I. P. Friesen and had huge balls of light sticking out at the front sides.

The next day news came that the lost child had been found in a field some miles out of town, covered with insects, and almost dead.

Anna Friesen decided that her children would not go for rides until much older. Only under pressing circumstances. But after that experience, Elisabeth had no interest in town herself. In fact, she didn't go again until married.

The Friesen family was devote and closely knit. Isbrand always read the Bible at breakfast and at supper, and he had the whole family kneel around the table for prayers. He taught the children to pray as soon as they were old enough to repeat words after him. At times of stress or danger, such as a storm (and often neighbours' homes were burned down by a stroke of lightning in those days), they as parents would wake up the children, get them all dressed in case they had to flee the house suddenly, but then sit down and read calmly out of the Bible or hymn book. If things became too frightful, they all knelt and Dad Friesen would pray for protection upon them. After each stroke of lightning or thunderclap that seemed close by, he would get up and check to make sure there was no sign of smoke or fire out at the barn.

On ordinary evenings, after chores were all done, and while mother and the girls sewed, or knitted, and while the boys played, or made things of wood, their father would read aloud to the whole family. Sometimes out of the Bible, or the newspaper, or from a German children's story book he'd received as a child. They enjoyed listening to him much as we like to listen to the radio, or watch TV nowadays. It was their way of relaxing.

There was a certain piece of leather harness hanging from a certain nail that the children all knew to respect. But the impression left with us, is that discipline was a thorough training in the right way to behave and do things, so that punishment was only used for outright rebellion. Elisabeth recalled later that this rarely happened twice with any of them.

Resourcefulness was a key trait of this pioneer family. While father saw to it that they always had enough pigs and calves to butcher for meat, and chickens and eggs, he also ground their own whole wheat cereal and flour. Mother helped salt- cure the meat to hang in the granary, and put away as many vegetables and apples in the cellar as she could, to take them through to the next harvest.

She sewed clothes or knit them, often with raw sheep wool, which she pulled and twisted into yarn.

Next chapter to come... Elisabeth's Childhood. (That's my grandmother's).
Arrival of the Twins
To be continued... Moving to Chortitz

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Bouquet of Enterprises
Ruth Marlene Friesen
Saskatoon, SK. S7L 0A5 Canada