Friday, October 30, 2015

Glimpses into Young Genius: The Early Stories of Truman Capote

The Early Stories of Truman Capote
Penguin Random House
Publication October 27, 2015
$25.00 hard cover
ISBN: 9780812998221

These fourteen stories were written during Capote's teenage years. They are brief snippets with memorable and vivid characters. It is amazing to realize that at fourteen or seventeen Capote had already discovered his voice and displayed an understanding of human nature.

The stories are about boys who enter the woods in search of an escaped convict and a school girl wracked with jealousy and spite; a frightened woman who unwittingly sends an escaped mad woman to her doom and a boy who falls in love with a dog whose boy is ill; a jaded older tramp who has a change of heart regarding his idealistic and younger companion on the road and a woman who saves a snake-bit child regardless of her own safety; a Southern African American cook goes to New York City and is homesick for the South, despite its Jim Crow laws. The characters are caught at turning points and crisis points, revealing truths about human nature.

This collection is noted as of interest to readers wanting to understand the writer and his maturing craft. But readers will find enough interest in the stories on their own.

I received a free ebook in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Robin Goodfellow's Pranks on Hallowe'en

Robin Goodfellow's Pranks on Hallowe-en

When little boys on Hallowe'en are up to some sly trick,
I hearken to their whispered plans and silently and quick,
A mischief laughing to myself, right after them I hop
And scare them 'most to death by changing to a cop.

And next I am the Goblin's screech-owl, shrieking awful loud,
Ar rise right up before their eyes, a ghost with long white shroud;
When brimstone blazes from my eyes they see a big black cat,
And home at last I chase them, a witch with peaked hat.

from A Year with the Fairies by Anna M. Scott, 1924

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Brand Luther: Marketing the Reformation

For years the newfangled printing press was only utilized by the church, for the church. Small local publishers turned out books in Latin that had little in common with what we expect in a book today, like consistent and grammatically correct word breaks. 

The development of the book as we know it was due to Lucas Cranach who created title pages with decorative elements,with the author's name prominently displayed. And he developed this format for his friend, Martin Luther, best-selling writer of the early 1500s.

Andrew Pettegree's title tells the whole story: Brand Luther: How an Unheralded Monk Turned His Small Town into a Center of Publishing, Made Himself the Most Famous Man in Europe--and Started the Protestant Reformation. The book tells the stories of a monk turned best-selling author, a one-customer book industry that found an explosive new market, and how a small town became a boom town.

I learned in my Reformation History course that Luther was a Cultural Icon, a mass-media guru who used the latest technology--and gasp, even wrote in the vernacular so non-clerics could read theology and the Bible! 

In 1513 when Luther arrived in Wittenberg he though it was a small. ugly village on the edge of civilization. Even the rival of Luther's Patron remarked, "That a single monk, out of such a hole, could undertake a Reformation, is not to be tolerated." The university printing press was the only operation in town, and its printer slow and his book inelegant. By 1543 there were six shops turning out about 90 books a year. Luther single-handedly changed the book business. How the printing industry and the Reformation were intertwined is at the heart of this book

Pettegree has a readable style and his presentation of the history and theology was not difficult to follow. Although not a biography of Luther, or a study in Reformation history, the reader will learn a great deal about both. 

Included in the book are illustrations, including the books discussed, and portraits of Luther by Cranach.
1541 Bible translated by Martin Luther, design by Lucas Cranach

I received a free ebook from the publisher in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

Brand Luther: How an Unheralded Monk Turned His Small Town into a Center of Publishing, Made Himself the Most Famous Man in Europe--and Started the Protestant Reformation 
Andrew Pettegree
Penguin Press
Publication Date October 27, 2015
$29.95 hard cover
400 pages

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Year of Lear: Shakespeare in 1606 by James Shapiro

"Shapiro effectively shows how the beliefs, fears, and politics of Shakespeare’s day were reflected in his plays. Highly recommended for readers interested in Shakespeare or British History."
– Library Journal
1606 was an eventful year in the history of England. King James, son of Queen Mary of Scotland, was on the throne after the death of Queen Elizabeth. The kingdom struggled with what it meant to have a king who ruled both England and Scotland. England's Anti-Catholic repression spurred a rebellion, the Gunpowder Plot, foiled at the last minute. All of England was shaken knowing how close they were to the destruction of government and most of London. It spurred and enforced Anti-Catholic legislation and a search for closeted Catholics, who had a pamphlet on how to 'equivocate' to sidestep direct questioning. Plus, the reoccurring Plague took its toll and closed the theaters and demon possession took even the king's interest.

Forty-two-year-old William Shakespeare had been in a lull for several years. He wasn't publishing his new plays and few of his old ones were available at the bookstalls. He wasn't appearing on stage consistently. He was a ripe old age (for those days) and he had amassed enough money to retire. Were his most productive days behind him?

Not at all. For in 1606 Shakespeare finished his masterpiece King Lear and wrote Macbeth and Antony and Cleopatra.

James Shapiro's book Year of Lear links these three plays to the events of 1606, showing how Shakespeare used buzzwords, current events, and the fears and concerns of his time. Because there is so little information about Shakespeare's life and thought, it is Shapiro's deep knowledge of the plays that enable him to link them to their times. His exploration of King Lear is most successful and of the greatest interest. Readers learn about Shakespeare's sources, how he altered and improved the stories, when they were acted, and about changes made over time. While King James quested for Union, Shakespeare wrote about a king who divided his kingdom with dire consequences.

I am no Shakespeare scholar, and knew only the basics about the Gunpowder Plot and Anti-Catholic repression. I studied King Lear three times during the course of my education, but never have read Antony and Cleopatra. I found the book very interesting and accessible, and I enjoyed it very much.

Read an interview with the author at

I received a free ebook from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

The Year of Lear
James Shapiro
Simon & Schuster
Publication Oct 6, 2015
$30 hard cover
ISBN 9781416541646

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Binding With a Flange from Caroline's Sewing Room

Caroline's Sewing Room in West Branch, MI demonstrated how to bind with a flange during the annual Quilt Walk the first weekend of October. The flange is incorporated into the binding process and gives the impression of a narrow border.

The instructions involve cutting two strips of fabric, 1 1/2" wide for the binding strip and 1 3/4" wide for the flange strip. (Use mitered seams to connect the strips to make the lengths needed for your project.) The binding strips are sewn together right sides together along the long sides.

The strips are then turned wrong sides together and pressed even at the open edge; the flange fabric will show 1/8" at the folded edge.

The binding is sewn to the back of the quilt with the flange fabric up, then folded to the front of the quilt. The binding is machine sewn with matching threads.

 Below: Back of the quilt with binding sewn on.
 Below: Front of the quilt with binding sewn on.

Below the binding is being sewn on. You can see the binding back matches the border/backing fabric of the project and the flange is in the contrasting lighter fabric.
The mitered corners will need to be hand sewn.
It makes a great effect. I am eager to try it out on some small quilt projects and think it would be great for art quilts.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Lady Fall's Harvest Ride: A Year With the Fairies

Lady Fall's Harvest Ride 
On harvest chariot piled sky high
Lady Fall is passing by
With garnered fruits and wealth untold
Of royal purple mixed with gold;

To Lady Summer's faerwell nod
She waves a plume of Goldenrod,
And as the birds fly south again
She cries, "Good bye, auf Wiedersehen."

from A Year with the Fairies by Anna M. Scott, 1924

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin

Eilis is a smart girl. She wants to be a bookkeeper but the only job she can get is working Sunday mornings at the local grocery shop. She wishes she were as beautiful as her sister Rose, but feels snubbed by the 'rugby set' at the parish dances. When she realizes her older sister has arranged for her to leave their village in Ireland for better opportunities in Brooklyn she is not excited but neither does she voice her reluctance. She us a girl who is used to doing what is expected of her.
...she was going to lose this world for ever...she would never have an ordinary day again in this ordinary place...the rest of her life with be a struggle with the unfamiliar.
In Brooklyn everything is arranged for her, the room at the boarding house, the job on the floor of a fancy shop. What no one has warned her about, including her brothers who left Ireland for England, was that overwhelming homesickness also awaited her in Brooklyn.
She was nobody here. It was not just that she had no friends and family; it was that she was a ghost in this room, in the streets on the way to work, on the shop floor. Nothing meant anything...Nothing here was part of her. it was false, empty, she thought.
She takes evening college classes to fill her mind and nights. She goes to the local dances with the other boarding house girls and meets an Italian American boy, Tony. He is a nice boy, a cheerful lad, a respectful beau. And he loves Eilis. She begins to believe she loves him when she learns that Rose has died. She arranges to go  home, planning to be away a month before returning to her new life with a promised bookkeeping job and a husband. But once home, Eilis becomes entangled and is faced with a terrible choice.

The book is quiet, Eilis is passive, the writing elegant and beautiful. In an interview Toibin said he used the memory of his own homesickness when abroad to inform Eilis. I felt her homesickness, something I know quite well. I love Toibin's writing, nothing flashy and loud, but poignant and grounded in shared, real life experiences.

Nora Webster is mentioned in the book; Nora had her own novel last year, which I reviewed here.

Brooklyn has been made into a movie! See the preview here:

I received a free ebook from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

Colm Toibin
Penguin Books
ISBN: 9780141041742

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Seeking Redemption: Corrupted by Lisa Scottoline

Bennie Rosato was one of Philly's best lawyers, capable and in charge both in and out of the courtroom. Until the day she came face to face with the only thing that could unnerve her: the past.

Corrupted, Lisa Scottoline's latest book in her Rosato law firm series, gives readers the low-down on Bennie's past, a time when she lost her boundaries between work and private life, resulting in heartbreak, failure, and losses from which she has never recovered.

Bennie's lapse in judgment thirteen years prior resulted in her being thrown off a case, and left her twelve-year-old defendant in Juvenile detention. Now he's back, accused of murdering the man who tormented his childhood. The man whose uncle once was the love of her life.

As children both her defendant and the murder victim were involved in a school fight and taken to jail and shackled. The judge who sentenced them to ninety days in juvenile detention was taking kickbacks for filling the new facility.

The boys are fiction, but the scheme was real. The novel is set in Luzerne County, PA, where two judges wrongly adjudicated thousands of juveniles as delinquent in the Kids-For-Cash scandal. Along with Bennie we learn about the impact juvie has on children's lives, how the experience creates problems that follow them, including PTSD. The lashback against troubled children after Columbine was too extreme, she argues.

Scottoline has moments of humor, like her clients the Stichin' Bitches quilting club, older women fired because of age discrimination. Her side-kick Lou is a retired policeman who knows all the good eats in Philly, calling ahead for Tacconelli's to have dough reserved for a pizza.

I first started reading Scottoline for the Philly setting. The novels are good reads, and I finished this one off in 24 hours. I really needed it after reading several nonfiction scholarly books!

Its clear in this novel Scottoline has an ax to grind. There is a lot of discussion of the law and the trial scene is pivotal. No car chases around the Philadelphia Art Museum in this book. But I think readers will relish learning about Bennie's past and meeting the one man with whom she had hoped to share her life.

I received a free ebook from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

Lisa Scottoline
St. Martin's Press
Publication date October 27, 2015
$27.99 hard cover
ISBN: 978125002793

Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Magic of Beverly Sills by Nancy Guy

The Magic of Beverly Sills by Nancy Guy

In our lives we can experience definitive moments that electrify our awareness, as if we had been merely sleeping before and were suddenly alive. Like Dorothy's arrive in Oz, our world changes from black and white to color. We are changed and our life's trajectory veers into new frontiers that previously we didn't even now existed.

Our encounter can be with natural beauty, an artistic creation, an encounter with our deepest reality, a spiritual transformation. It is a moment of magic. "You must change your life," Rilke wrote about the power of art.

The morning of Beverly Sill's death musicologist Nancy Guy listened to recordings of Sills after a break of two decades. Ms. Guy heard Sills sing for the first time in 1977 at a recital in her small Midwestern hometown; it was a turning point her her life, an experience that remained with her always. As Ms. Guy heard Sill's performances again she became invigorated and discovered a deep admiration, even love. It inspired her to write The Magic of Beverly Sills.

As a doctoral student Ms. Guy turned her academic study to the Peking Opera with a focus on context, not on music and performance. Revisiting Sills inspired Ms. Guy to break from academic tradition and focus on musical performance and the emotional and experienced meaning of the music by the audience.

"Fans" are often marginalized and dismissed. Beverly Sills created a widespread fan base that crossed class lines, inspiring people with no background in the 'finer arts." As Bubbles, Sill's public persona reached people who admired her skill, found her approachable and real, and were inspired by her optimism and determination. She became a cultural icon through her media performances, interviews, and books.

Sills married the love of her life; he was her rock and her protector. Sadly their daughter was born deaf as was their son who was also profoundly handicapped. Operatic roles allowed Sills to escape from her personal sorrows. Sometimes the roles were too close to her personal life.

As a performer Sills excelled at bringing the music alive, eliciting an emotional reaction from the audience. Even in operatic roles that were not best suited to her voice her interpretive performance moved audiences.

The book includes interviews and quotes from Beverly Sills fans. I identified with the people from working class backgrounds, the kind of folk who didn't grow up surrounded by opera and symphonic concerts. Seeing Sills in concert changed their lives.

As I read about her career I turned to Youtube to watch and her performances. The book notes that her voice did not record well, that hearing her live was very different. But seeing Sills performances was wonderful and I could better understand what Ms. Guy was writing about.

Sills was warned by her vocal coach against taking roles that would shorten her career by straining her voice. "But what was I saving it for?" Sills commented, "Better to have ten glorious years than twenty safe and ultimately boring ones."

Sills gave everything she had to her audience, and they knew it.

Opera and Me

My mother and grandmother wanted me to take up the piano. They had both quit lessons and regretted it. I started lessons at eight years old. Because I could read music and liked to sing I found myself singing alto in the elementary school choir. Choir became my first scheduled class throughout high school (along with journalism!) As a young adult I was in masterwork choirs in Philadelphia, performing the Verdi Requiem with The Mastersingers, and on stage with the Philadelphia Orchestra while in The Choral Arts Society.

In junior high my choral teacher Russell Henkle introduced us to Gilbert and Sullivan's Iolanthe . He played an LP recording while an overhead projector showed the words. He also took us to see a movie version of La Boheme. I loved stories, and I loved singing, and I discovered that opera brought both together. In later life I listened to the Metropolitan Opera weekly on Saturday afternoons and was able to see the Met perform at the Mann Music Center in Philadelphia and visit Lincoln Center in New York City to see the New York Opera.

I thank the publisher and NetGalley for the free ebook in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

from the publisher:
With her superb coloratura soprano, passion for the world of opera, and down-to-earth personality, Beverly Sills made high art accessible to millions from the time of her meteoric rise to stardom in 1966 until her death in 2007. An unlikely pop culture phenomenon, Sills was equally at ease on talk shows, on the stage, and in the role of arts advocate and administrator. 
Merging archival research with her own love of Sills's music, Nancy Guy examines the singer-actress's artistry alongside the ineffable aspects of performance that earned Sills a passionate fandom. Guy mines the memories of colleagues, critics, and aficionados to recover something of the spell Sills wove for people on both sides of the footlights during the hot moments of onstage performance. At the same time, she analyzes essential questions raised by Sills's art and celebrity. How did Sills challenge the divide between elite and mass culture and build a fan base that crossed generations and socio-economic lines? Above all, how did Sills capture the unnameable magic that joins the members of an audience to a performer--and to one-another? 
Intimate and revealing, The Magic of Beverly Sills explores the alchemy of art, magnetism, community, and emotion that produced an American icon.
The Magic of Beverly Sills
by Nancy Guy
University of Illinois Press
Publication October 15, 2015
$29.95 hard cover
ISBN: 978-0-252-03973-7

Saturday, October 17, 2015

2015 West Branch, MI Quilt Walk: More Quilts!

The West Branch Quilt Walk includes quilts made by the Rifle River Quilt Guild and other local quilters. It is always interesting to see how quilters put their own stamp on a shared pattern like this Mystery Quilt:

I loved the warm colors and plaids and stripes in this quilt.

 Several barn quilts were in the show.

This one noted a husband who grew up on a farm in Troy, MI...which is a mile away from where I live. All of us who grew up here in the mid-twentieth century recall when Troy was farmland and open. Today we see Somerset Mall, trendy chain restaurants, towering office buildings, and subdivisions!
A fascinating quilt-- with real miniature clothes pins!

 A pretty fabric in graduated colors was used for this applique quilt.

 Michigan is a great place for skiers, especially if you go to the UP.

I hope you enjoyed seeing the quilts!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Swedish Embroidery from 1963

A distinguished addition to our series on European Needlework
Swedish Embroidery
Seven beautiful designs imported from Sweden where, for centuries, women have proudly stitched their love of flowers on line pillows
"Tulips bloom on a background of heavy natural linen from Sweden. They are worked of simple stitches in specially dyed Swedish cotton thread."

"Summer in Sweden is a short season, golden with sunlight and filled with flowers. To keep the memory of its sunlit days alive Swedish women spend many hours during the long winters embroidering flowers."
"Apple tree, embroidered in five different kinds of stitches, is a fine example of the uses of shaded colors."

Upper left: "Lilacs and their leaves embroidered with white French knots and lazy daisies done in Swedish linen thread woven from Halsingland flax." Upper right: "Mosaic pattern in brilliant colors and varied textures in made with French knots, couching, chain, outline, satin and straight stitches." Lower: "Field flowers grow on this pillow in a veritable sampler of stitches including variations of couching and chain stitching."
"The heavy linen threads used are the very finest, spun from fax frown in Halsingland, the land of the midnight sun, where i is nourish by sunlight day and night for many months. Its long fibers take beautifully to dye; intricate effects are achieved by shading colors from their palest tone to their strongest in emulation of the natural way that flowers blossom."

Upper: "Rose basket is filled with outline stitched roses in many shades of red, fly stitched daisies, small blossoms of satin stitch and is dotted with French knots." Lower: "Spring in all its glory conveyed by delicate pastels and a design created with seven varieties of stitches including lazy daisy, long and short, French knots."

"Beginning usually with white on white outline stitch, each girl is carefully trained, so that by the time she is fourteen she is able to make her own project without help."

"In just a few weeks small groups of women will begin gathering together all over Sweden for their annual opsitta. An opsitta is the Swedish version of an American quilting bee, and as the weeks draw nearer to Christmas, the women take turns meeting at each other's homes."

"Among the gifts to be made will be many lovely pillows similar to those pictured on these pages, and the pillow that will cause the most pleasure and concern will be the fastmanskudde, for this is a very special pillow made with loving care that is given by a wife to her husband for his favorite chair or by a single girl to her best beau, often in exchange for an engagement ring. "

from Woman's Day, September 1963

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Quilts and Chive Dumpling Recipe of Aunt Carrie Ramer Bobb of Potlicker Flats

In 1961 my mom, brother and I went with my Grandparents Ramer  to visit Gramp's hometown of Milroy, PA. We visited his mother's sister Carrie Viola Ramer Bobb who had helped raise Gramps after the death of his mother and grandmother. She was a quiltmaker and my mother brought home this Dresden Plate quilt, which she gave to me in 1990.

Many of the fabrics date to the 1930s and 1940s. The quilt may have been made in the 1950s.

I love the stripes fabrics used in wonky ways.

Above: Aunt Carrie Bobb in her later years. Below: Aunt Carrie behind my Grandfather Ramer when Carrie was 52 years old and Gramps was 24.
Sidney Bobb, great-grandson of Aunt Carrie, has two of her quilts as well; a Drunkard's Path and Grandmother's Flower Garden.
Carrie was born June 14, 1875 in Milroy, PA, daughter of Joseph Sylvester Ramer and his second wife Barbara Rachel Reed Ramer. My great-grandmother Esther Mae Ramer was her younger sister. Carrie married John Edward Bobb. She lived next door to her daughter Pearl when I met Aunt Carrie and Pearl. Aunt Carrie still had an outhouse. And yes, there really is, or was, a Potlicker Flats in Mifflin County near Milroy! Its on Laurel Creek near U.S. 322. The 2010 census showed 172 residents.

Gramps wrote letters to Lewistown Sentinel columnist Ben Meyers. In 1960 he wrote, "We had our dinner at Cousin Pearl's (Mrs. Lobiah Gonsman) up at Potlicker--two roast chickens and all the fixins. Aunt Carrie was spry and talkative--at 85 years." In 1961 he wrote, "Overnight at 86-year-old Aunt Carrie Bobb's home and a typical Pennsylvania Dutch dinner at cousin Pearl's and Abe's home."

March 17, 1963 the We Notice That column was all about Carrie. She had asked Ben Meyer to share her letter:
Dear Ben:
Will you print this in your column? I am a guest at the County Home, and Mifflin Countians can be proud of their home.
Mr. and Mrs. Wagner run the farm and the home and they are wonderful people and I love them dearly.
And the nurses are all grand and I love them, also the women cooks and their helpers.
In this way I want to thank the fire companies and churches and all the other organizations for their lovely Christmas gifts and treats and services throughout the year.
Also the hairdressers for their gift. They are doing a wonderful job.
I am a little handicapped. I can’t see or hear very good. Too bad. I will be 90 years old June 14 and I am I fairly good health and I thank God for that. Love to all people.
Mrs. Carrie V. Bobb
c/o Mifflin County Home
P. S. Ben, I am going to send you a receipt for chive dumplings soon. Yum, yum! Wish I had three!

Ben replied in his column, 
Dear Carrie Bobb:
Thank you so much for your very sweet letter! It stirred us deeply. And we’re quite sure all the members of We Notice That family will enjoy it too. 
Just to read your letter, then reread it, maybe a couple of times, ought to act as a great morale booster for many who, though in a much different situation and environment from yours, have never learned to count their blessings, but gripe and complain about their lot. You set us all a good example by practicing the “contentment that is great gain,” as one inspired writer expressed it. Wealth, social prestige, power—none of these can be favorable compared to one’s being happy, content, and grateful just for the little things, the things that money can’t buy. 
And another, thing, Mrs. Bobb. You’ve learned how to overcome or rather how to combat loneliness which is one of the greatest problems among elderly folk. For those up in years, the most common cause for loneliness is neglect, even when living with relatives, but more often when living in an institution. Older people tend to feel outdated, deliberately cut-off by those from whom they expect love and friendship. Changed attitudes of families towards parents and grandparents in recent years has resulted in increased loneliness among the aged. But in your case, Mrs. Bobb, its evident you still enjoy the companionship and care of your loved ones. They come often to call and to take you out for a visit, yes, even for an overnight stay or longer.
We believe you had lived alone for years in your little home at Potlicker Flats till advancing years and frailties made it impractical to continue going it by yourself as winter approached again. And so it was last fall, with your own choosing and consent, you welcomed and accepted the transfer to your present quarters. The basic human desire to be with a loved one, to be understood, to be loved, to feel wanted, needed and cared for—these needs you now find are furnished in your present environment. There you have your own individual room, too. 
Thanks again, dear friend, for your mighty welcome letter. It’s quite remarkable. But then you are quite a remarkable woman. Not only are you active, having a keen mind, but most of all the appreciation you feel for others, your zeal to enjoy things so much! We hear too your room was so filled with presents at the holiday season, it prompted you to say, “I never before had such a wonderful time—it would take me a whole year to consume all these goodies!” So the thankfulness you expressed to all the different groups who do much to lighten and cheer the County Home Guests, it comes bubbling out of your appreciative and grateful and loving heart, Mrs. Bobb!
As for the chive-dumpling recipe, we’re looking for it. We’ll keep working up an appetite for the feast. Meanwhile, as the Psalmist said, Mrs. Bobb, “Be courageous and may your heart be strong.”

In 1965 Lynne wrote about a family reunion with folks bringing Aunt Carrie scraps. He waxed philosophically about life being like a patchwork quilt.
Well, we have stitched on another vacation patch to the crazy quilt of life. At the Richfield Ramer Clutch several widely scattered cuzzins brought bags of patches for Aunt Carrie Bobb of the Mifflin County Home, who has another Postage Stamp Quilt underway. 
Aunt Carrie sews on this quilt between times devoted to folding sheets and towels for the guests and writing 10 letters each week. This year the patches came from Bethesda, Camden, Annapolis, Indianapolis, Sinking Valley, Allen Park and Berkley, etc., etc.-and a crazy assortment they were to be sure! 
Yet when a quilt is complete there is some manner of symmetry and form to the total, be it a Dresden Circles, a Field of Diamonds, a Double Wedding Ring or just a plain Postage Stamp. 
Such is life! Patches added willy-nilly, seemingly with no central purpose, yet the total displays an amazing degree of purpose. A quilt is hard to see because we look at the patches, just like it's said we can't see the forest due to the single trees. 
The way the patches are being added, daily and yearly, in the USA makes it very nigh impossible to see the 'quilt', which though never finished, may have some form and sense ultimately. We should not be too critical of ourselves or of our children since our grand-pappy's grandpappy sewed in some patches as 'crazy' as they came! The patterns never change, generation after generation.  

I am not sure if only Milroy Countians called the quilt I own Dresden Circles. I did find that Amy Smart of Diary of a Quilter has a post on Dresden Circles here. Field of Diamonds is made of hexagons like Grandmother's Flower Garden, but the flowers are a diamond shape.

In 1966 Ben Meyer wrote,
One evening there came a knock on the door. And who was there but a lady bringing some samples of her famous chive dumplings which we’d mentioned before in this column. She was Mrs. Pauline Saddler of Milroy. It seems that once a year she and Mrs. Carrie Bobb get together for a cooking spree. They spend a large part of a day to produce their favorite dish—fried dumplings seasoned heavily with chopped chives. The reason they turn out so many dumplings is because they’re not selfish. They like to share their good things with others. And the gift delivered to us was just one of many they distributed to their friends. If we’re not mistaken, Mrs. Saddler and Mrs. Bobb produces 90-odd dumplings in one batch which was enough to full their own needs and to share some with other folks. The 90-year-old, spry Aunt Carrie Bobb as all her friends call her) has given us the recipe for this intriguing dish. Here it is:
Aunt Carrie's Chive Dumplings Recipe
  • Take two parts chives and one part parsley. A big colander full. Wash and cut up into small pieces. Fry a few minutes to soften with small amount of shortening and salt.
  • Then break three eggs over it. Cook till eggs set. Take off stove. Put in a pan to cool. Then make dough as for pie crust only not as short.
  • Roll out dough in squares about six inches long and three or four inches wide. Put the chive mixture in between two squares. Then turn and pinch the sides together so no water gets in. Make them kind of flat till they look like an oversize ravioli.
  • Drop them slowly, one by one, into pot of boiling water, but not on top of one another. Like you do in dropping squares of home-made pot pie into the pot.
  • Boil four or five minutes. Then remove from pot and fry them in a pan with shortening till both sides are nice and brown. When they are browning, you can refill the pot with another round of dumplings and be ready to repeat the process. After they are browned, the chive dumplings are ready to eat.
They may be eaten hot or cold. Some like ‘em hot, some vice versa. If you like ‘em hot and there are some left over, warm them in a pan over slow heat and a little shortening and a small sprinkling of water. Makes them as good as new! 

In 1967 Carrie again wrote to Ben Meyers, a long letter full of remembrances of people from Reedsville's past. She concluded,
I am almost 92 years old, but I have a good memory. As I said, you can print what you want. I am almost blind and awful hard of hearing. Otherwise I am good. I can go up and down stairs and I help a laundress fold sheets at the County Home. You reported those chive dumplings I made last year with relatives and friends in Milroy. Well, it’s the chive season again and we cooked up some more. With best wishes to all the readers, 
Mrs. Carrie Bobb, Mifflin County Home
P. S. I used to live at the foot of Seven Mountains, alongside the Lakes-to-Sea cabins. Excuse poor writing, Ben.
Aunt Carrie died in 1971, six months before my grandfather died.
My Ramer Family Tree

Mathias Roemer, born September 1746 in Wesphalia, Germany and arrived in America in 1765. In 1756 the Greenwich Twsp, Berks Co. tax lists show Mathias Reamer. By 1790 he settled in Maxatany, Berks Co, PA and appears as Matthew Rehmer. He appears as Maths Reimer in Upper Mahontongo, Berks Co PA in 1810 and  in 1820 as Mathias Remer. He dies in 1828 and is buried in Pitman, Eldred Twsp, Schuylkill Co, PA,  listed in the Abstract of Graces of Revolutionary Patriots. Mathias married Maria and they had children Catherine, George, Issac and Nicholas.

Nicholas Roemer was born in 1791 in Greenwich, Berks CO., PA. In 1814 he married Maria Mattern, whose father was in the Revolutionary War. Maria's ancestor Peter Matthorn came from near the Matterhorn in Switzerland and arrived in America in 1751. Nicholas died in 1831 and is buried in Pitman, Eldred Twsp, Schuylkill Co. PA. He may be the Nicholas Roemer who was a Union soldier during the Civil War. They had children Salome, Caroline, George, Joshua, William, Issac, Madelena, Catherine and Joseph Sylvester. Nicholas died in 1867.

Joseph Sylvester Ramer was born in 1832 and died in 1900. His first wife was Anna Kramer and they had children Daniel, Anna Sarah, Robert, Joseph Karner, William E., Oscar William, Ida B, and John. Anna died in 1870. In 1871 he married Rachel Barbara Reed. They had children Anna Verona (married Charles Smithers), Clyde Oliver, Howard Jacob, Carrie Viola (married John Edward Bobb), Emma J, Esther Mae, Charles Perry, and Marcia Etta.
Joseph and Rachel Reed Ramer
Believed to be Rachel Reed
Esther Mae Ramer
Esther Mae Ramer was born in 1880. She had child Lynne Oliver Ramer in 1903; Harry Shirk was the father.

'Essie' and son Lynne
In 1908 she married Lawrence Zeke Harmon. By 1910 the census showed they were divorced. My mother told me that her father was not allowed to call Esther "Mother." Since the above photo shows a proud mother, she may have hidden that she was Lynn's father from Lawrence and when he discovered the truth their marriage failed. But that is just conjecture.
Lawrence Zeke Harmon
Esther Mae died in 1912. Her mother Rachel Barbara Reed Ramer also died in 1912. Lynne Oliver Ramer was raised by his aunts Anna Verona Ramer Smithers and Carrie Ramer Bobb. Lawrence went on to marry two more women, both recently widowed.

Lynne married Evelyn Adair Greenwood (see My Lancaster Greenwood Family) and their children were Joyce Adair, Nancy Jean, and twins Frederick Donald and Lynn David.

Joyce, Nancy, Don and Dave, 1945 in Milroy, PA
Joyce Adair married Eugene Vernon Gochenour and their children are Nancy Adair (me) and Thomas Eugene.

Lynne met the man who was to become my husband at a Fourth of July picnic at my family's home. Six days later we lost my grandfather.
He is