Amish Author Marta Perry & I REMEMBER MAMA
Here’s another I REMEMBER MAMA memory by Amish author Marta Perry:
I REMEMBER MAMA
By Marta Perry
When I was small, my mother and I were often together with no one else around, since my brother and sister were eight and ten years older than I. In those times, one of the best things my mother did for me was to tell me stories. I’m quite sure that my love of story and the fact that I became a writer can be traced by to those early days of story-telling. She told me all the normal children’s stories, of course, and she read to me often. But my very favorite stories were those she told in response to my often-repeated request, “Tell me a story about when you were little.”
My mother had what most people today would consider a hard childhood. Her parents had a small farm, deep in the country, and seven children to feed, and my mother’s father died while she was still quite young. Looking back at it with adult eyes, I’m sure they were very hard up, but that never came through in my mother’s stories. Instead, they were all about the adventures of a little girl growing up in a big, loving family—picking berries, wading in the creek, collecting nuts, being allowed to help with the grown-up activities like canning and making my grandmother’s special homemade noodles.
I loved to sit on a small stool on the back porch on summer evenings, helping to snap beans and listening to the stories of that world, which sounded so far away in some ways and yet so familiar. And in my turn I learned to help with the canning, roll out a pie crust, and finally was considered old enough to cut the noodles before they went into the boiling chicken stock. Best of all was when my grandmother came to visit. She’d take me on her lap and tell me story after story of what life had been like—sometimes remembering the stories a bit differently than my mother had!
Now it’s my turn to be a mother and a grandmother, and when I visit my grandchildren, I hear the familiar chant, “Tell us a story about when Mommy or Daddy was small.” So I oblige, pulling out one of the long list of stories of my own children, stored away in memories as bright and sharp as if they happened yesterday.
I truly believe this need to share family stories contributes to our happiness and security. Like a quilt made of hundreds of tiny patches, the story of family goes on, bringing hope and strength to each new generation.
It’s that love of family that I’ve tried to express in my current series of Amish books, Keepers of the Promise, in which a grandmother entrusts three granddaughters with the stories of their Amish family, and each one finds a promise for the future in the treasures of the past.”–Marta
Thanks so much, Marta. I also try to share family memories with my children and my great nieces and nephews so that they know what their heritage is.–Lyn
QUESTION: Do you share family stories with the younger members of the family?