Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sylvia's Diary: January 1802 Highlights

  • Sylvia continues her tradition of sweeping the meeting house at least once a month. 
  • In addition to attending meetings (church) three times, she attended a conference in the evening. 
  • Sylvia continued to attend a special ciphering (math) school that was taught by a Mr. Botsford in the evenings.
  • By far, Sylvia's most wrote about activity was once again knitting (15 mentions this month), followed closely by sowing (11 mentions this month).
  • In the later half of the month, Sylvia spins heavily (9 times in 11 days).
Have you been following along as I tweet my 5th great grandmother's diary? If not, head on over to@SylviasDiary and catch up on her story. Each tweet is one of her short diary entries and it is tweeted roughly 200 years later.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sentimental Sunday: Our Pew

One week after I was born, my parents bundled me up and took me to church for the Christmas service. With few exceptions, I spent the next 18 years worth of Sundays in that same church. In all those years of attending services, my family fell into a relationship that might surprise some; we sat in the same pew for roughly 15 years. In all my years, that old wooden church pew had one resting place: the second row from the back, on the right. 

From that pew, our parents watched their little girls grow in years and faith. As toddlers my sisters and I crawled around that pew with our church shoes on, scuffing everything in sight. As we grew into little girls, we stood proudly that pew when the congregation stood up to sing. Our parents even sat there proudly as we butchered one arrival song after another when we were first learning to play piano.

It was to that pew that I glanced to my parents for support during Christmas pageants, scripture readings, and even my post-mission trip testimonial. That very pew is also home to my favorite church tradition of singing Silent Night in the dark on Christmas Eve with candles in our hands. Singing that song in the special pew always takes me back to a more innocent time, when we were just little girls in dress shoes, scuffing everything in sight.

On the rare occasions that someone else sat in our pew before we arrive, I wondered if they noticed those scuffs. If they did, did they think of them as yet another project in an aging church, or did they view them with wonder and think about their story? I always dreamed it would be the latter because that pew has left an everlasting mark on my heart.

Over the years, the congregation of our church has dwindled away and the pastors have encouraged everyone to sit together at towards the front of the church. This change has been easier for some members of my family than others. Collectively we have hundreds of special memories in that pew, but for my sister and I that pew encompasses our lives in that very church. And that is why, without end, you'll always find my sister and I sitting in the second pew from the back, on the right.