Monday, July 14, 2008

My Grandpa Ortmann

Today I was looking for something and ended up looking through some old papers I received when my Grandpa Arthur Ortmann died back in 1990. He married Grandma Tena in 1933 after seeing her only one time. The first time he met her he asked her to go for a tractor ride in the corn field. After a few rounds, he stopped, asked her to marry him, and she said yes! Imagine that!! They knelt down and prayed about it. He didn't get to see her again until the wedding day.(Don't they look somber for their wedding day! I guess that was typical for pictures back then. I love the clothes.) Grandma's gown cost $3 and they had four preachers each preach a message! They moved for their honeymoon and a niece travelled with them which Grandma didn't like.

Among the papers were letters written to "Willie". Grandpa had a column in a local paper (in South Dakota) before he was even married and went by the name Willie. He had a contest of sorts to see who could write the best essay on the subject "What Teenagers Like to Do". In this column he wrote "sermons for teens". Anyway, I read a few of the essays and found teens were the same then, as they were when I was a teen, and the same as teens are now. They were into "moving pictures", "motoring", and a few other things like listening to the radio, parties, etc.

One young man wrote: "Girls perhaps are interested in sewing, gardening, crocheting, reading, writing, gadding about, powdering faces, washing, ironing, eating, laughing, giggling, etc. Boys are most interested in working, joking, teasing, playing baseball, basketball, football, skating, fishing, etc. I firmly believe the male interests excells that of the female."

These were written in 1929 and some were written with real ink pens in very elegant handwriting. Also among the papers were a list of books he sold in his book store as a young man. Many of the books you'll find the Lamplighter company reproducing today. Being the Mennonite man he was, there was also a number of anti-war tracts and petitions. In this box of papers are also pages and pages of sermons my Grandpa preached. Some are written in the old ink pens, some newer pens, and some on the old typewriters. Some were in English and some in High German and some in both. Most had handwritten notes written in here and there.

I love family history and could talk (write) for a long time about each relative. I treasure the things I have to remember each grandparent by and look forward to the day when I can see them all again in heaven. For today, I think I'll quit here and go get some work done!

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