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Giant twins (Gortner) page 13

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most prized means of support. Mother was a widow and there were six children. The panic of 1907 was rolling in on us like the unlocked wheels of time. These were years of hard pinching.


Yesterday (August 8, 1960) on returning from Huron Park to Detroit we were well rewarded for having taken the long way round by the town of Willow. When we turned north from the Willow Highway toward New Boston unto the Waltz thoroughfare we saw acres of buckwheat in bloom. The caressing wind set the white fields in waves, giving the illusion of watching drifting snow. The soft summer breezes carried the fragrance of these myriads of white blossoms, and we knew then they were not snowflakes.

The tiny bee noted for his unflagging industry extracts the nectar from the bloom, taking it to the hive, whether one made by man or already prepared by the bee in the bole of a tree. There he stores his food in expertly made cubicles of wax for winter's use. The bee remains mankind's best example of thrift, foresight, and the accumulated energy that accrues from an harmonious society devoted to a common task. Hovering over the blossoming buckwheat field with its millions of darting bees were huge cumulous clouds that reflected its waving whiteness, and the joyous presto movement of these earnest insects.

On Sunday June 5, 1859 a killing frost destroyed the potential harvest of Grandfather, consisting mostly of corn, wheat and oats. He plowed up his fields and sowed buckwheat, which can be sown later in the summer in the Allegheny Mountains. So the family had buckwheat cakes, sausage and maple syrup almost every meal during the following winter. Such food, however, can never be monotonous.

In the autumn of 1891 we threshed our buckwheat on Grandfather's Pitts machine, patented in 1834.

In September of 1896 father was cradling buckwheat in the field above the sugar grove. While he and brother Peter went for a drink of spring water down under the hill the writer decided to do a little cradling of his own. He cradled into his right knee, and carries a one inch scar to this day.

In June 1897 while sowing buckwheat north of the bank-barn good news was rushed to the sowers that a child was born. We dashed from the field to the house and saw brother Alvin for the first time.

In the fall of 1905 there was a buckwheat threshing on the Eggers farm at Silver Knob. On a horse sled brother Peter and the writer hauled in the sheaves from a steep hillside, so steep that the sled upset, to the log barn where Henry Eggers and Mr. Mattingly pounded it out with flails. I tried to use a flail, but my muscle coordination was too "modern" for its primitive grace. This time I whacked myself on the head.


Rev. J. C. Breuninger


Collection Location:
Ruth Enlow Library, Oakland

Original Size:
22 x 15 cms

Editor: Felix G. Robinson

Maryland, History

Western Maryland, 1750-1963

Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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