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