Grandmother Stoll

I lost my last living Grandparent around Christmas 07. Drove up to Canada from Virginia to attend the funeral. She lived in Ontario, close to the lake, at an Amish community where the Pathway Papers are published.

When I walked in the evening before the funeral, I had remembered to wear black. At my grandmother Eicher’s viewing, I walked in with my light colored traveling clothe. The whole room literally came to a complete silence until someone whispered, loud enough for me to hear, (es is da Jerry.) It is Jerry. Conversation then resumed, and I was accepted.

This evening I shook hands with the women first, since they sat up front. They again had a hard time figuring out who I was, but since I was in black they were relaxed about it until they got it straight. Many of them were my aunts, from both sides of the family.

The uncles were the surprise of the evening. Usually they are nice enough, but don’t pay me much mind. That evening they gathered around, shook my hand and chatted. Didn’t take long to figure out the reason why. My first novel, (A Time To Live) which featured many of them, had been a hit. Turns out they liked it.

I was pleased of course, as I hadn’t been certain what their reaction would be. The novel is based on my childhood in Canada and Central America, written from memory. Obviously, I made up the conversations and other details. One uncle, Matthew in the novel, said he couldn’t tell what was true and what wasn’t. Which I thought was a compliment, although it irritated him for some reason. He wanted it written either as fiction or non-fiction. I had said it was fiction based on a true story.

Another uncle, Dan Ludwig in the novel, said the others had been calling him Dan Ludwig, and that he wasn’t Dan Ludwig. When I chuckled he said, “Well. Wait a minute. Perhaps you’ll be famous some day. Maybe I’ll be Dan Ludwig then.”

The day of the funeral the roads were full of Amish, walking, driving in, black, black, everywhere. The service was nice, obviously it helps if you can understand it. The bishop, my cousin, told the story of a blind girl who had an operation to restore her sight. On the day when her mother took off the bandages, the little girl, for the first time in her life, saw. Her words to her mother, who had tried to describe the moment, were, “Mom, you just never told me everything!”

The bishop then said he believed Grossmom spoke something similar to Jesus when He first showed her heaven. With tears streaming down his face he pointed with his hand, in that preaching style so uniquely Amish, and said with great passion, “Only through the blood of Jesus.”

Anna Stoll, born Jan. 12,1912, married to Peter Stoll, Dec. 12, 1933, widowed Oct. 7,1971, died Dec. 25, 2007.

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