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Pennsylvania Dutch: PA Amish

Male speaker interviewed by Wilfried Schabus (for Wolfgang W. Moelleken), 1984, Franklin County, Pennsylvania

County: Franklin
State: PA

The most famous Amish settlement is Lancaster County, PA. Because of a combination of pressures, including decreased availability of farmland and high birth rates, many Amish have been moving out of Lancaster County, to other parts Pennsylvania and adjoining states, and as far west as Wisconsin. The migration of Lancaster Amish is not exceptional, however; Amish people have been historically quite mobile in order to adapt to changing external circumstances, often economic. This middle-aged Amish man tells of living in four different communities in Pennsylvania and Maryland.
[Tell us a little about yourself and your background.]

Well, I was born in Lancaster County. When I was 14 years old my parents moved away from there and we moved down to St. Mary's County [MD]. I ran around [was a teenager] there and got married there. Then we moved to Gettysburg, and then we moved to Franklin County [PA]. We have a big chicken house and bunch of hogs. I go to the farmer's market three days a week. I handle a lot of money, but I haven't got any. We've got a good corn crop this year. We do all our plowing and cultivation with horses. I just built myself a new barn, and I've got my horse and buggy in there. It's not finished yet. I sell meat and cheese at the farmer's market, and eggs.

The speaker is a 69-year-old White woman with a college education from Lititz, Pennsylvania; she was recorded in 1967.

County: Lancaster
State: PA

Lititz is a town in Lancaster County, about seventy miles northwest of Philadelphia. It was settled in the mid-1700s by members of the Moravian Church who were fleeing persecution in Bohemia (now known as Czechoslovakia). For the first century of the town???s existence, only Moravians were allowed to live there. Lititz is home to the country???s first hard-pretzel bakery and Linden Hall, the nation???s oldest boarding school for girls. The current population is approximately 9,400. In this segment the speaker talks about alternative ways of healing common ailments.
Inf: Well suppose someone had a uh, a uh, an acne condition or a bad case of rheumatism or, uh, something in that order and they haven???t had much success with the doctors. They???ll go to a man at the powwow. And he will ask them for an article that they carried with them. He might give him a pencil or a knife or something. And eh, he uh, makes mysterious movements and says mysterious words over the ailment, if it???s the knee that???s bad, or the elbow that???s bad. He???ll make sort of um, gestures and mumbo jumbo, and, uh, then he tells them to go home and he says, ???At six o???clock tonight, you???ll definitely feel better.??? Or he???ll say, ???At three o???clock this afternoon, you???ll feel a sharp stab in that pain. Don???t get worried. That???s part of the treatment. Now you come back in three days, and, uh, let me see how you???ve gone along, and if necessary we???ll, we???ll powwow some more.??? He daren't charge, but they-

FW: Oh, he does that???

Inf: No, he daren't charge. That would be illegal, but he is allowed-, he will accept a gift.

FW: I see. Do they usually give gifts?

Inf: Uh, as a rule, yes.

FW: Good ones, or, I mean is it???

Inf: Well, that???s up to the individual.

FW: Uh-huh. They give it after they???ve seen if they???ve cured them, or???

Inf: Yeah, yeah. After they???

FW: Does it really work, do you think? [talking in bkgd]

Inf: Well, there are firm believers in it. And uh, some people will swear it works [FW: Really?]. Some people will go for a bad, uh, corn or a, uh, a big wart that???s on the hand or something. ???Course there???s another superstition, you have a bad wart on your hand, you uh, you tie a knot in the thread and put it in your pocket. And you forget all about it. And you go about your business in your coat pocket or your pants pocket and you pull out your change and so forth. And one day you find that that thread is gone. And then you look at your hand and you???re not-, your wart is gone [FW: Huh].

The speaker is an 83-year-old White woman with a college education from Manheim, Pennsylvania; she was recorded in 1967.

County: Lancaster
State: PA

Located in southeastern Pennsylvania in Lancaster County, Manheim has a current population of around 5,000. The town was founded in 1762 by a German settler, Henry William Stiegel, who wanted to establish a center for glassmaking. In 1764 he founded the Manheim Glassworks, later known as the American Flint Glass Manufactory. In this segment the speaker talks about her vision problems.
Inf: That???s very clever. No, my eyes are giving me trouble. I don???t know what I???m gonna do next [FW: Yeah]. They uh, he looked at it. I felt all the time the thing was crooked. So this week, let???s see, what is today? [clock chiming] [FW: Wednesday.] Monday I was down, to see him, and he straightened it. And of course it???s a little tough because the ear uh phone is attached, the Beltone [=hearing aid] is attached. He got it straightened, but I still uh, I???m not satisfied with it. I thought maybe I should have reading glasses. But he said he couldn???t give me anything better. So I guess I???ll just have to-, he said, ???Live with it.??? Guess I???ll have to learn to read???

FW: Well do you think that uh, do you think that he might give you two pairs of glasses, one???

Inf: That???s what I wanted. I wanted this because it???s very fine for distance, see it???s a bifocal [FW: Mm-hmm]. And it???s fine for distance. But I can???t read with it. And I thought he???d give me a pair of uh, reading glasses, you see. Wouldn???t improve it. Wouldn???t help. So he suggests I buy one of these uh, reading glasses. Maybe that would do it [FW: Magnifying]. A magnifying. Yeah. I have to do something because uh-, uh, this is very annoying, especially at the shop, can???t read the prices of things. They bring me a card, I don???t know whether it???s twenty-five or thirty-five, see. It???s-, you know how the cards are marked?

FW: Yes, on the back.

Inf: And way down at the bottom [FW: Uh-huh], just little, very fine num-, numerals. And I can???t tell which, whether it???s two or a three [FW: Mm-hmm]. So uh, I have to try this reading, this magnifying glass, see what I can find. ???Cause I can???t find it in Manheim, I don???t believe so.

FW: Oh, I think that that???

Inf: Do you think I can?

FW: That the???

Inf: Probably the bookstore.

FW: Yes, I???m sure the bookstore.

Inf: Maybe they would [FW: Mm-hmm]. They might, or they might get me one [FW: Mm-hmm].

The speaker is a 41-year-old White man with a high school education from New Holland, Pennsylvania; he was recorded in 1967.

County: Lancaster
State: PA

About 55 miles northwest of Philadelphia, New Holland is a town in Lancaster County with a current population of just under 5,400. Settled in the early 1700s by German immigrants, the area now called New Holland was formerly known as Hog Swamp, Earltown, and New Design. The town still has a large Amish and Mennonite population who speak their heritage language, Pennsylvania Dutch. In this segment the speaker talks about local use of the Pennsylvania Dutch and German languages.
Inf: This is all in German. This is all in, eh usually when the minister speaks to his congregation, he???ll speak to them in Pennsylvania Dutch. And when he reads to them out of the Bible, he???ll read German.

FW: This is High German, so he???

Inf: Yes, he???ll read it as, as it???s written in the Bible, in High German.

FW: And they can understand the High German?

Inf: Uh, yes, a great number of them can.

FW: Probably because they???ve read it so many times, I would imagine.

Inf: They???ve read it so many times, and they also have their German???English, uh, Bibles. Are you running to an end here? [FW: No, go ahead, I???ll just flip it over and finish.] And they can follow him pretty well because, like you say, they are familiar with it, and, uh, they???ll catch enough of the High German words to know exactly what he???s reading, what he???s quoting to them. But it is sort of strange when you sit and you listen to a fella and he???s talking to you in Pennsylvania Dutch and just that quick he???ll go into a quotation and flip up into the High German and then come back to an explanation or, an explanation of what he had quoted by memory.

(Side change)

Inf: Huh-, it???s uh, like I was saying, it???s a little strange to hear a man talking to you in Pennsylvania Dutch and then, all of a sudden, switch right up into the High German for a Biblical quotation and then come back to the Pennsylvania Dutch. I have trouble following them sometimes when they do this. And, uh, at first, it, it confused me completely because I just couldn???t, I just couldn???t keep after the man, you know.

FW: You speak the Dutch.

Inf: I speak it fairly well [FW: An-, and understand]. And understand it fairly well by the same degree.

FW: Yeah. Now this is something, you said, you picked up as a child.

Inf: At home, yes, my [FW: And they-] mother and father, are Pennsylvania Dutch people.

FW: They speak [Inf: Mm-hmm]. Um, were, in school, did you have a great deal of Dutch spoken among the children?

Inf: No, we didn???t have much Dutch spoken by the children in school. Very, very little. And this is what I had said to you earlier about the younger generation is not picking up the Dutch like uh, even from my generation on. Uh, we eh did not pick up the Dutch from our parents like, let???s say the older children did, before us. And in school, we had trouble. Our German teacher used to go half crazy with us because we???d sit there and we???d be trying to read German and uh, at the same time, we???d be thinking in [talking in bkgd] Pennsylvania Dutch and English.

The speaker is a 75-year-old White man with a high school education from Quakertown, Pennsylvania; he was recorded in 1967.

County: Bucks
State: PA

As its name implies, Quakertown was founded by Quakers in 1715. Thirty miles north of Philadelphia, the town was once the main stopping point for travelers between Allentown and Philadelphia; in the nineteenth century, it was home to industries such as cigar factories, silk mills, and stove foundries. Today it has a population of around 9,000 and is largely a commuter community for those who work in the Philadelphia and Allentown urban areas. In this segment the speaker talks about memories of a local ice cream maker???s product.
Inf: Well [chair squeaks], when I was a boy, about uh, twelve years old, there was an ice cream uh, manufacturer across the street from our home. And in summertime, eh my brother and I would uh, uh, sell ice cream nuggets, as they were called. And so???

FW: They???re called ice cream nuggets.

Inf: Ice cream nuggets. And he uh, he manufactured these little cubes that were about uh, an inch-and-a-half cube. Wrapped them in, uh, paper and, uh, packed them in, uh, cans. And we???d take, uh, two tubs of these uh, ice cream nuggets on our express wagon, one chocolate and one vanilla, and uh, peddle them around town for a penny apiece, ringing a bell. And the kids from all directions would come running when they heard this bell ring.

FW: Do you remember how he made them? Did he have a mold for them or something?

Inf: I really don???t know. I think he had, must???ve had a mold.

FW: It was kind of more an ice cube than it was really ice cream, wasn???t it?

Inf: Well, it was ice cream, but it was very s- [FW: Thin], skim milk, I think. It was very cheaply made and uh, I think he had uh, probably uh, molds. I don???t, don???t remember. I suppose I saw at that time, how they were made, but I really don???t recall how they were made. I???

The speaker is an 85-year-old White woman with a high school education from Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania; she was recorded in 1967.

County: Monroe
State: PA

Ninety miles north of Philadelphia in east Pennsylvania, Stroudsburg is a town in Monroe County with a current population around 6,700. Nestled in the picturesque Pocono foothills, the town was founded in 1776 by Colonel Jacob Stroud. Although the area was once known for its textile mills, tanneries, and lumber mills, a twentieth-century shift in the economy saw tourism become the primary industry. In this segment the speaker talks about parenting and the trouble with the ???children of today.???
Inf: I don???t think parents are strict enough with their children today. I think children of today have too much liberty. It isn???t what I say, it???s what my children say [FW: Mm-hmm] that goes [FW: Mm-hmm]. Now, I may be wrong. I don???t know. But I, I know that-, now for instance in the use of a family car. When our older son started using an-, car, he was told by his father, ???Don???t make any plans for Saturday afternoon or Sunday. That belongs to your mother and me.??? But that isn???t done today [FW: No]. Mother and Dad take a back seat, and Johnny has the car.

FW: Yeah. That???s right. And if he doesn???t have the car, he has one of his own.

Inf: Oh yes, he has one of his own. Now that may be all right, I don???t know. But that???s just one of the things. Then another thing???I don???t think that the teenager of today has the proper, knows the proper value of the dollar [FW: Mm-hmm]. And I think it???s because they???ve had things come too easy. I may be wrong. I don???t know.

The speaker is a 79-year-old White man with a high school education from Pottstown, Pennsylvania; he was recorded in 1967.

County: Montgomery
State: PA

Incorporated in 1815, Pottstown lies near the Schuylkill River in Montgomery County, which is located in northeastern Pennsylvania. The city has a current population of about 22,000. Prior to the post???World War II decline of the iron and steel industries, Pottstown was a metal manufacturing town with factories, textile mills, and foundries. The area is still a productive agricultural and dairying region. In this segment the speaker talks about working at a canning factory and teaching in addition to discussing superstitions that surround cures for common ailments.
Inf: Now when we worked at the canning factory, mm, we were practically all, that???s practically all we talked was Pennsylvania German in the hometown there, uh, to the people. And uh, we, uh, would injure ourself, uh. We would ta- uh take salt or something like that. We never thought of stopping working. And we never worked-, we had to go out in the fields at the morning at six o???clock. Took us one hour to drive to the fields, and then we worked, had to work ten hours, for which we got ten cents an hour. And then we come home and the, the women prepared some of the things like beans or corn and peas. And then we had to can them and we worked maybe up till two o???clock in the morning.

FW: Geez, they [Inf: No] didn???t [Inf: N???yep] get much money, did they? Inf: No, no, ten cents an hour was big wages. Of course uh, things didn???t cost as much that time, either, amongst the Pennsylvania Germans.

Inf: My first teaching in school in Bucks County, I had a boy in the cl-, in the first grade who couldn???t speak a word of English. And so I started him out uh with a little book and there was a picture of a dog. And then, ???Das is ein Hund. This is a dog, say.??? That???s the way I started him. Eh, I had to tell him it in Pennsylvania Dutch, and then we translated it in Eng-, into English.

Now of course there are tremendous superstitions of some of people of-, uh, for instance uh, you didn???t dare to get night air because night air was uh bad for you. Was unhealthy for you. FW: Give you pneumonia, wouldn???t it?

Inf: Oh, yes. And then uh things like that an??????

FW: You wouldn???t open the windows when you went to bed?

Inf: Oh no, oh no. No, no windows were open. And uh, the shades were always pulled down so the sun couldn???t get in because that hurt the papering on the wall.

FW: Oh, really?

Inf: Oh, yes. Yeah.

The speaker is a 20-year-old Black woman with a high school education from Chester, Pennsylvania; she was recorded in 1968.

County: Delaware
State: PA

Situated on the Delaware River at the New Jersey border, fifteen miles southwest of Philadelphia, Chester has a current population of around 34,000. Originally called Finlandia, then Upland, the city was settled by Swedish immigrants in 1644. In addition to being one of the oldest cities in the state, Chester was an early hub of commerce and trading and briefly served as the seat of government of the Pennsylvania Colony. In this segment the speaker talks about using hypnosis in the courtroom.
Inf: Oh, was it Archie, he was telling me about???he???s studying to be a lawyer, and uh he was telling me about this case that he read about where there was uh, he said if, if you were a hypnotist, you can hypnotize a jury into changing the verdict or something or other, like that.

FW: Really?

Inf: Yeah, and he said that it, there was this one guy, this lawyer who hired this, uh, professional hypnotist, and uh, he hypnotized a judge, and the judge changed his verdict. And someone there recognized uh, this guy to be a professional hypnotist, and they brought in eh, well e-, eventually he confessed, but I can???t understand why he confessed. If he hypnotized a judge, it seems like he would uh, indicate to the judge not to ever relinquish any Information or, you know [FW: Yeah]. I-, and he said that, well maybe it was uh, because they were gonna have another hypnotist come in and hypnotize him, but you can???t hypnotize anyone against their will, you know.

FW: Yeah, it???s true. That???s incredible, though. Eh, d-, did he like do it right in the courtroom?

Inf: Yeah. And they said that a-, if you can use hypnosis, you can do a lot of things. He said, I think it was in Spain, uh, this guy hypnotized these kids to uh, make all A???s on their grades, and they did it.

The speaker is a 48-year-old White woman with a high school education from Laporte, Pennsylvania; she was recorded in 1968.

County: Sullivan
State: PA

Founded in 1847, Laporte was named for John Laporte, then surveyor general of Pennsylvania. Though its current population is under 500, the town is the county seat of Sullivan County. Set among the lakes and mountains of north central Pennsylvania, Laporte was once a lumber and tannery center. In this segment the speaker talks about collecting different types of bottles in various places.
Inf: Well actually I???ve, I???ve looked for bottles for years. I mean probably ten, fifteen years, if I was out in the woods, I???d watch for them. Or if I was picking berries, I found them in fields, you know [FW: Mm-hmm], small ones, little ones. And I thought I had some quite nice ones until I started reading books on them, you know, looking them up [FW: Hmm]. And then I saw what I had were, were not much at all. So, we started, we???d go out to old, abandoned dumps and dig them up [FW: Hmm]. And you go quite a ways. You dig, oh possibly, I imagine sometimes we???ve gone five or six feet to find them [FW: No kidding]. And you dig them, one place that we dug, there had been a dump and they had been covered with ashes, and then they put more on top of that and I mean you???d think you were at the bottom of the pile, and you???d keep digging and you still will come up with a bottle.

And Tommy, he likes to go just about as well as I do. He???s, we get, it???s quite a thrill to, you know to be digging in the earth and dig up something that [FW: I can imagine] was partially man-made. In fact, the ones that we really are looking for, the ones that are, you don???t very often find a hand-blown bottle, you know in the [FW: Mm-hmm], something like that. But you find them that are blown into molds and so forth that are considered a man-made bottle.

The speaker is a 76-year-old White woman with a grade school education from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; she was recorded in 1968.

County: Allegheny
State: PA

Although Pittsburgh is known for steel production, it also has a long history of beer brewing. In1861, Edward Frauenheim, a German immigrant, partnered with several others to create Frauenheim, Miller & Company, a small brewery that made Iron City Beer, one of the first lagers brewed in the United States. At the time of the recording, there were as many as twelve breweries in the Pittsburgh area. Among them was the Fort Pitt Brewing Company, which the speaker references; it produced Fort Pitt Beer, one of the most popular brands in the Pittsburgh market. The speaker also talks about her son and his job at a brewery and discusses the loss of her grandchild.
FW: What???s Tommy do? You said your son, he (xx)???

Inf: He has a nice job at the brewery. He uh w-, works up in the top. He um, him and _____ sit up there. And if any of the machinery goes wrong, there???s buttons they push. So then they push this button and everything stops. He had a nice job down there. And they go-, eh, make good money, but every, seems every August they go on a s-, they you know g-, want more money, now that they want what the Fort Pitt???s giving. So I don???t know what the Fort Pitt???s paying. So he???s hoping they don???t go on strike. ???Course if they do, why [FW: Mm-hmm]. ???Course I???d never see him want for anything [FW: Mm-hmm]. He could uh, come here and even stay with me. I wouldn???t [FW: Fort-], I get along with him good, but???

FW: Forty-nine, you said?

Inf: What???d you say?

FW: You said he was forty-nine?

Inf: Forty-nine.

FW: Does he have kids of his own?

Inf: He???ll be fifty the twenty-fifth of next January.

FW: How many kids does he have of his own?

Inf: He just has the one little boy. He had a little girl and she died.

FW: Oh, really?

Inf: She took sick on a uh, she was to come here on a Saturday morning, and he called me up and told me that, uh, she was sick, that eh, she wouldn???t be in. And I wanted to go out and he said, ???No, there???s no, you should come, and I???ll, she???ll b-.??? It was in the winter. And I called him at three o???clock an??? I s-, ???Oh, Tommy, I want you to come and get me.??? And he wouldn???t get me. So then at eleven o???clock at night he c-, told me, ???Don???t worry. She???ll be all right.??? And in the morning at eight o???clock, he called me up and told me she was dead. I almost died.

FW: How old?

Inf: She was thirteen [FW: Geez]. And boy that did something to him, too. So, we just???

FW: What was wrong with her?

Inf: What???d you???

FW: What???d she have?

Inf: Oh, they didn???t know. They held an autopsy and all. And Dr. _____ was gonna find out what was wrong, but he didn???t. I guess he found out, but he didn???t want to tell him so I don???t know to this day.

The speaker is a 67-year-old White man with a high school education from Honesdale, Pennsylvania; he was recorded in 1968.

County: Wayne
State: PA

Honesdale, the county seat of Wayne County, has a present-day population just under 4,500. The northeastern Pennsylvania town is known for coal mining and as the home of the Stourbridge Lion, the first commercial steam locomotive to run on the American railroad. The combination of rail transport and coal mining made the town an important shipping point in the nineteenth century. In this segment the speaker discusses the regional term skimmelton or skimmington (for variants and definition, see Volume IV of DARE).
FW: Do you know what a skimmelton is?

Inf: Yes.

FW: Tell me about them.

Inf: It???s actually skimmington.

FW: It???s a skimmington.

Inf: Names, uh it???s called skill-, uh wait a minute. In Skimmington, England, the way they serenaded a young couple when they came back for their honeymoon, was by making all manner of noises, on horns and uh, a saw they???d beat, and bring out the dishpans. And they???d keep on until they treated. It was either was some beer or some ale or a, uh sandwiches and cigars. And that was a skimmington, but it was never called, the word was corrupted to skimmelton.

And uh, the Westerners have called it a shivaree [FW: Uh-huh]. But it was a little different because a shivaree really was good music [FW: Uh-huh]. Now??? FW: Instead of just the noise.

Inf: Oh, yes, it was, no cacophony there.

FW: Have you ever heard, heard it called a horning?

Inf: Yes.

FW: That???s just a different word for it, isn???t it?

Inf: Yeah. That???s right. That???s ???cause they blow the horn, made a noise. There???s another one too, a shivaree, a horning, those things are out now.

FW: Yeah, I believe they are.

Inf: Yeah. Oh, it was fine. Everybody, many a lad smoked his first cigar. And wouldn???t forget it because it made him sick. But since one doesn???t look a gift horse in the mouth, eh nothing was said about it.

The speaker is a 59-year-old White woman with a high school education from Mt. Carmel, Pennsylvania; she was recorded in 1968.

County: Northumberland
State: PA

Like many other towns in the northeastern and north central areas of Pennsylvania, Mt. Carmel is known for coal mining. Originally part of the Coal Township, the town was established in the mid-1800s. The coal region???s influence on its residents is evident in the speaker???s comparison of descending crooked stairs to ???going down in the mines.??? The speaker talks about a trip to Chicago and the experiences she and her husband had there.
Inf: We were out in Chicago at a, a Elks Convention. So, um, they were all ordering steaks, ten dollars. So I thought, phooey, I couldn???t eat it all. So I, I ordered fresh fruit platter. Gee, it had everything from soup to nuts in it [FW: Hmm]. Strimp-, uh, strawberries, and uh, all of the fruit, nectarines and, uh, it was three and a half. But I thought, that???s better than wasting a steak [FW: Yeah, that???s right].

But it was a real plush place, you know, the-, they had one of those um, had a, a waiter and then uh, they had a, um, oh, in the movies you see them with the green satin tunic and the fed-, fez hats. Turban? What do you call those? _____, remember that nightclub in Chicago? _____? [Aux Inf: Yeah?] Where the colored boy come out in that satin outfit, the white turban and a jewel?

Aux Inf: Wasn???t that out west or east?

Inf: Yeah [Aux Inf: One of the???]. No, that was in, at, the expensive nightclub.

Aux Inf: Yeah, well that???s the one, was the hotel, east or west, I???ve forgotten what the???

Inf: And uh, oh, he had the white satins, what???

FW: What was he supposed to be, a maharaja or something?

Inf: Well, it was something like that. Then we went to see (xx). You had to get a-, make a reservation.

Aux Inf: Yeah, well, my wife embarrassed me by ordering beer. [Laughter] They didn???t know what she was asking for. [Laughter]

Inf: I don???t like fancy drinks, only whiskey sours, and I thought, well, I know what beer tastes. Yep, a dollar a bottle out there [FW: Yeah, oh, at least, yeah]. [Inf: cough] Embarrassed him [FW: Beer]. It???s a little country coming out of me. [Laughter] But, I enjoyed it. But we spent more money taking taxis to get (eats) [FW: Sure].

Then we went on tours, you know. Uh, a group of us, and they took us to all these uh, nightclubs like the Blue Angels and then the Catacombs. God, I thought I was going down in the mines. Crooked stairs and uh, you weren???t (caught) in an elevator or it rattled. And it didn???t move at all. All it did was it-, go sideways. Then we got out like a (damn fools) and start laughing. And then, and then when you get out the other end, it was a gorgeous nightclub [FW: Oh]. But when you were going in, you???d think you were going in, in the Catacombs, you know. And I thought, ???Ooh, this is crummy-looking.??? So then we kept walking and then they said, ???We???ll take you down that shaft.??? And I said, ???Oh, this is gonna fall to pieces before we get out.??? And then we came out and you had, you had to go, well, down a turn, and you finally came out to this gorgeous uh, uh garden out, uh k-, fake garden. It was good.

The speaker is a 100-year-old White man with a grade school education from Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania; he was recorded in 1968.

County: Wyoming
State: PA

Tunkhannock is found in Wyoming County, in the northeast corner of Pennsylvania. While lumbering was once a prominent industry in the town, other industries had strong influences in the area as well. Tinsmithing (or tinning), brought over to the American colonies by English settlers, was a popular trade beginning around 1720. It involved the process of alloying tin with other metals, such as copper or lead, as well as decorating the tin by punching designs into the metal. Young men learned the craft through apprenticeships with a master tinsmith, which the speaker discusses in this segment.
Inf: Originally when I left high school, I left uh, high school when I was uh, fourteen. We didn???t call them dropouts then. [Laughter] And uh, I went to work in a hardware store here in Dunn [sic] County, O.S. Miller???s Hardware Company, which is where Fred _____ is now. That???s been there ever since 1883. That???s, has been a hardware store. So I went to work there, I got two dollars a week. [Laughter] Not an hour. [Laughter] Nope. And uh, while I was there, uh, I had an opportunity to start to learn the tinner???s trade. When I, day I was sixteen years old, they let me go in the shop, start the tinner???s trade because Fred Fuch-, Fred _____???s uh grandfather, Ben _____, was a tinner there. And uh, then afterwards, well my folks uh, Mother went down to, on the farm, take care of Grandfather _____ because his wife had died and he felt it was her duty to, so we moved down on the farm for a year. And then we came back here.

And then I went back, with O.S., with uh (Boll Billings) and Son, which was the other hardware store. And uh, they had a tinner there. Eh, Dan _____, who had come from Elmira, and Jan [sic] took a liking to me, and he left them and went back to Elmira. And he wrote me and he says, ???If you want to learn the tinner???s trade, and you???ll be a good boy and pay attention to business, uh, I???ll give you an opportunity here at Elmira, uh in the shop that I work in.??? ???Cause he was foreman in the shop up there. So I went up there and I learned the tinner???s trade there. I finished it.

The speaker is a 74-year-old White woman with a college education from New Hope, Pennsylvania; she was recorded in 1968.

County: Bucks
State: PA

Pennsylvania was founded by William Penn, who sought a place where Quakers, also known as the Religious Society of Friends, could practice their religion without persecution. In this segment the speaker talks about Quakers in the area of New Hope, Pennsylvania, a town on the far southeastern border with New Jersey. The term Meeting refers both to a congregation and to its gatherings, held in the area Meeting House, to worship and to review business and other matters (such as members??? wedding engagements).
Inf: Oh, well yes. They, they were the fellows that had the first schools around.

FW: In this area [Inf: Mm]. What percentage of this area, would you say, is Quaker? Of the people???

Inf: Oh, very trifling [FW: Oh]. I wouldn???t know. I???m no good at percentages.

FW: But it???s uh, especially???

Inf: But there are not many anymore.

FW: Especially because, that???s because people have moved in that aren???t- [Inf: That???s right], isn???t that basically it?

Inf: That???s right.

FW: I mean it was a pretty heavy???

Inf: Quakers have died or moved away, or in the old days, uh, in the old days before my mother???s time, anyone who belonged to the Meeting and married somebody who did not belong to the c-, f-, f-, Quakers, was thrown out of the Meeting.

FW: Oh, really?

Inf: And they, uh, cut down their membership considerably and dush-, and hurt themselves badly [FW: Yes]. That was the most foolish thing that they could have done [FW: Yes]. So that did away with a good many Quakers. [Children talking, moving] And in my time, the trouble has been, and I ju-, I-, first place, the old-time Quakers, the old families are pretty well died out. The second place, those families??? places in the neighborhood have been taken up by frie-, people who are not Friends. All these farms around here, all of them, as far as you could travel with a horse and wagon in a, in a day, were Quaker, in my time. Now they???

FW: How many, how many people would you say a-, are in the Meeting here now?

Inf: We have a membership, I should judge, of about a hundred fifty, but I???m not sure about that, even.

FW: Mm-hmm. And that would take in almost to Yardley, wouldn???t it? Or would it???

Inf: You mean a hun???

FW: Uh your ma-, your tra-, the Meeting would take in almost to Yardley, would it not?

Inf: For members?

FW: Uh-huh.

Inf: Don???t know, no. There???s, there???s another mem-, Meeting between here and Yardley.

FW: Oh, there is. And there???s one in Yardley, I think.

Inf: And there???s a nice new one in Yardley, building, I mean, nice new building there. The little uh, the little old Meeting House???do you know where College Avenue is in Yardley? I guess you don???t.

FW: Is that the main avenue?

Inf: No. That main street and then College A???

FW: That, the main street, the main street???s where the new one is. I???ve seen the new one.

Inf: Yes, well, the, the, that???s on Main Street. And farther downtown in Yardley comes College Avenue. On the top of the hill is the school. It???s now an elementary school, used to be a high school when I taught there. And the Meeting House is down at the foot of that hill. It???s been changed a little on the outside, but if you look carefully, you can see that was one time a Friends??? Meeting. It is now an insurance, uh, office building [FW: Hmm]. But they changed it very little. I thought it very nice in a???

The speaker is a 66-year-old White woman with a grade school education from Hopwood, Pennsylvania; she was recorded in 1968.

County: Fayette
State: PA

Hopwood is in the southwestern corner of Pennsylvania in Fayette County, with a present-day population around 2,000. It was founded in 1791 by John Hopwood, a civil servant who left Virginia at the end of the American Revolutionary War. The area is known for mining and for producing coke, a solid carbon byproduct of coal that is used in steel production. In this segment the speaker talks about losing something important while on a family vacation.
Inf: _____ and her family and my husband and _____ and I, and a large group of friends, went to Cape May, New Jersey. Of course that???s on the Atlantic seashore [FW: Mm-hmm]. Took me in the water. One held one-, _____ held one hand, and _____, a friend of mine, held my other hand. The first wave that hit me, I jumped. The second wave that hit me, I jumped and went ???Whoo??? and blew at the same time, and my uppers went this way down in the ocean. I w-, first day of a week???s vacation, and me with no upper dentures.

FW: You mean you lost ???em, then?

Inf: I lost ???em in the ocean. I spit ???em. I fed ???em to the f-, fish.

FW: You couldn???t find ???em?

Inf: No, I never did [FW: Oh, that???s (xx)]. One, one family came back on Sunday. They had just gone for S-, Sunday [FW: Mm-hmm]. They came back and they told the man who made my teeth what had happened. He said, ???You tell _____ when she gets back, to contact me immediately. She won???t be long without them.??? I called him Sunday night. He says, ???Come over Monday morning.??? Monday at five thirty I had my teeth. New dentures, both.

FW: That???s really good.

Inf: But I, I had a lot of fun. It took a lot of guts, so to speak, to have a good time in a bunch o-, a-, among a bunch of strangers, some of them [FW: (xx) with no teeth]. And when I had to eat meat loaf an??? ice cream and soup, everything soft because I had nothing to chew with.

FW: Stuff that you could gum to death, huh?

The speaker is a 34-year-old White man with a college education from Ridgway, Pennsylvania; he was recorded in 1968.

County: Elk
State: PA

The county seat of Elk County, Pennsylvania, Ridgway has a current population just over 4,000. Elk County was founded on a tract of land purchased in the early 1800s by Jacob Ridgway, a prominent Philadelphia merchant for whom Ridgway was named. After being convinced by one of his nephews that the area could develop into a lucrative lumber camp, given its heavy forests and location on both a creek and a river, Jacob Ridgway recruited help from a business associate, lumber baron Ralph Hindo. At the height of the lumber industry, near the turn of the twentieth century, the town claimed to have more millionaires per capita than any other U.S. city. In this segment the speaker talks about being a teacher, his students, and how he handles discipline problems when they arise.
Inf: Well, I am going to have thirty-six of them this year, and they vary from a high IQ to a very low IQ. None of them are, are really bad, a lot of them could be better than they are. Most of them won???t do what they should. But it???s going to be a good year, I hope.

FW: What about-, how about any discipline problems?

Inf: I don???t have any discipline problems. They usually are pretty good for me. They don???t act up. Once in a while they get out of hand, but after all, I think this is a normal boyhood tendency, and I don???t mind too much, as long as they don???t carry on continually.

FW: Would, uh, have you had problems in the past with any?

Inf: No. No, I had emotional children. And they gave me a lot of problems, but nothing you couldn???t handle. I don???t think. I mean [FW: coughs], I don???t know whether I handled it well, but at least I handled it.

FW: With, uh, do you send them, like, is the principal over you?

Inf: Yes. But actually, all she does is, she doesn???t supervise and she never comes down, and you don???t h-, if you have any problems, you can send a kid up if you want to, but I like to, I would rather prefer to handle the problems in my own room in my own way. ???Cause it, it???s like a father, you know, if he says, ???Well, I-,??? or rather the mother. If she says, ???Oh, wait till your father comes home, he???s going to give you a spanking,??? why, you think, she defeats her own purpose. You have to catch the kid doing it and then when he???s doing it, correct him, and then forget about it.

The speaker is a 49-year-old Black woman with a high school education from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; she was recorded in 1968.

County: Philadelphia
State: PA

Settled in the late 1600s by William Penn, the city of Philadelphia quickly grew and became a hub for trade and commerce. It served as the nation???s temporary capital until it was moved to Washington, D.C., in 1800. The city is historically significant for many events, among them the Federal Convention in 1787, which produced the Constitution of the United States. In this segment the speaker talks about her past jobs.
FW: How long have you been uh, off work now?

Inf: Oh, two months. [FW: Really?] And I???m on pins and needles. Yeah, I went for an interview the other day at state employment and the man said he was impressed with my appear-, uh, appearance and experience. And then he called up the job and they told him I???ve been off sick, which uh, was true. And then he said he thought that I wasn???t ready. And he???s not a doctor nor a cardiologist, but uh, this is an opinion that he formed, you know, after talking. And uh, this was quite a letdown, because the job didn???t pay that much anyway, just a paltry eighty-three dollars a week, you know. But I figure I???d start off on something that was easy when I start back. So hopefully, I mean sitting around I???m not used to, and it???s good I???m not rich, and maybe if I was rich I???d have money to do things to occupy me, but just sitting around not feeling well, I mean, is a bore [FW: Yeah]! Because I-I worked two jobs for three years. I was a secretary in the day and a medical secretary at night. And um, this is just frustrating.

FW: Boy, I can imagine. I guess you had t-to just completely lay off work for a while, huh? An??? then???

Inf: Two months, yeah, and uh, I think I???m ready to go back in about a week or two. So I was looking around, you know, something that I don???t have-, that???s not too challenging and I don???t have to prove a point because I???ve been working all my life and I don???t want to prove anything except if I work I???ll eat. I mean this is [FW: Yeah], I???ve come to that, you know. And um, so hopefully. ???Course there???s so many jobs around now. Until it???s not too hard, I thought, if I???m incapable, then I might as well just forget it, you know. But my doctor says I???m ready to go to work.

FW: Does it take any uh, any special training to be a medical secretary, just, just, I guess, learning how to spell all those words?

Inf: Well, I had been a practical???yeah, yeah, this is uh, a thing in itself. I had been a practical nurse, uh, during the war; I took it up as a means to an end. And um, there are some difficult words. Each doctor seems like has his little idiosyncrasy, other than just medical terms, you know, just like when you mentioned ???proud flesh,??? you get a doctor in some section of the country that, that, uh that, that uh does use this [FW: Hmm]. But it???s not that common thing.

The speaker is a 90-year-old White woman with a high school education from Mercer, Pennsylvania; she was recorded in 1969.

County: Mercer
State: PA

Mercer, settled in 1803, was at one time a flourishing merchandising center known nationally for its horse mart, as well an agricultural area renowned for potato production. The development and growth of Pittsburgh and its surrounding cities, however, halted further expansion of the town, which has a present-day population of about 2,000. In this segment the speaker talks about being a teacher and one of her hobbies, sewing.
Inf: Then my last year of teaching was the ninth grade. That was the last grammar grade [FW: Mm-hmm]. Then I got married the next fall.

FW: Where-, did you have a specialty, in terms of subjects that you taught, or did you just teach everything?

Inf: We had to teach everything [FW: Mm-hmm]. All the common studies, you know, not the high school study.

FW: Okay. You have a number of hobbies: sewing, uh, flower gardening and dancing. Could you tell me something about these hobbies? What it is you liked about them? How you went about them? What you did?

Inf: Well, as I was growing up, I uh, knew nothing about sewing. My mother was so busy with other duties that she didn???t have time to teach us. And she didn???t like to sew. But my oldest sister was quite a nice needlewoman. And I didn???t, I never did any dressmaking to amount to anything, but I could make other garments. And uh, she also taught me to embroider. And that was one of my hobbies.

FW: The fancywork.

Inf: I loved fancywork. And I did a great deal of it. I uh, was efficient enough to make housedresses, but that was all. And I could make slips and??? Then when uh my children were born, I did sew for them [FW: Mm-hmm]. We couldn???t go into a store and buy an outfit. You made your children???s clothes. Made all the baby clothes and, and as they grew older, until they grew to a pretty good age, I did make their clothing.

The speaker is a 57-year-old White man with a high school education from Williamsport, Pennsylvania; he was recorded in 1969.

County: Lycoming
State: PA

Williamsport is a city in north central Pennsylvania known as the home of Little League Baseball, which started with a three-team league in 1939. The state has a long history with the sport, from accounts of ball games at Valley Forge in 1778 to notable teams from Allentown in the late 1800s to the Phillies??? 2008 World Series title. The sport of softball, which uses a smaller diamond and a larger ball than baseball, is the topic of this segment.
Inf: Well, first of all, it???s not a league, it???s an association. I???m the financial secretary. And I kinda got uh, shanghaied into this organization a few years back when, in the office we had a team, a post office team representing the office, and uh they were mm, quite accomplished. And uh, they felt that if, in the organization, that uh, maintained this ball field where they played, they had somebody in there, they???d uh have somebody looking for their, out for their interest. So uh, I made application to the association. And it???s the Williamsport Area Softball Boosters Association Incorporated. Uh, we call ourself WASBA. They were formed back in 1947 with about a half a dozen men. And they were formed with the idea to provide entertainment and softball and recreation for the young adults. They made plans to set up and have a lighted softball fien-, field and maintain it for anybody to play on, any league. In about uh fifty-three, they were successful in erecting the first lighting system on the field, the old Sweet Steel Field up in Newberry. And then uh, they were fairly successful all the way along. And that field became the home field of the city league, softball. Uh, they???re the oldest league known in Pennsylvania as an organized softball.

The speaker is a 69-year-old White man with a college education from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; he was recorded in 1969.

County: Adams
State: PA

One of the most historic places in the state of Pennsylvania, Gettysburg is the site of the Civil War???s most crucial battle, often thought to be the turning point of the war. In July of 1863, Union and Confederate soldiers clashed for three days at the Battle of Gettysburg, with the Union forces eventually winning. Of the more than 50,000 casualties, there was only one civilian death. In this segment the speaker talks about that civilian, Ginnie Wade, and her former home, now a museum.
Inf: Yes, the Ginnie Wade uh, Museum is a spot where the only woman, only person for that matter, killed during the Battle of Gettysburg, civilian. And uh, it uh, when my, uh, wife???s grandfather returned from the Civil War, he had bought uh half of the house, eh, for a home for he and his wife. They???d married, then. And then the other half later on, 16-, 1869 he finally owned the entire house. They occupied and lived there until 1885 when they built a bigger house next door. And they rented both sides of the Ginnie Wade house. Then they uh, my father-in-law, who had married into the family in nineteen-one, got the idea that uh, it???d be well to uh, uh everyone came up and wanted to see the bullet hole. So his thought, ???Well, we???ll make ???em pay to see it.??? [FW: Mm]

So uh, they opened up a museum and a s-, uh souvenir store in the one half, the half which the bullet hole was in. Never charged any admission. Was supported entirely by the sale of souvenirs. And it went on to us until uh, nineteen-one to 1960, and at that time I owned it. And we sold it and the house next door which was our home at the time, uh j-, jointly, to a firm here who, who then built the uh, local people who built under a franchise, the Holiday Inn that stands there [FW: Mm-hmm].

They saved the Ginnie Wade House, and they built a barn behind it which they call the souvenir barn. And then animated, or rather put figures in the Ginnie Wade House and restored it much as it was at the time of the battle. It was a very good paying thing. And uh supported it for years. As a friend of mine, a doctor here in town, ???Wouldn???t it a been awful if she???d only been wounded???? Well, she had been, uh the Weavers and the Millers would???ve probably starved during the Depression [FW: Hmm]. But fortunate for us, she was killed.

The speaker is a 49-year-old White man with a college education from Everett, Pennsylvania; he was recorded in 1969.

County: Bedford
State: PA

Founded in the late eighteenth century, Everett???s current population is about 1,800. Originally named Bloody Run for a battle that occurred between settlers and Native Americans, the small village was not incorporated as a town until 1860. Two years later, the railroad came to Everett, boosting the local coal mining and quarrying industries and bringing an influx of people. Despite the increased population, the area remained largely agricultural and was known for dairy farming. In this segment the speaker talks about pasteurizing milk on his farm.
Inf: After the milk is placed in the holding tank, in the milk house at the barn, I have another tank that is self-contained, mounted on wheels and pulled by a tractor. Uh, which is milk that is pumped from the holding tank in the milk house into this uh, movable tank that is on wheels. Uh, it is pumped through a two-inch hose from one tank to the other. And then uh, moved by tractor down to my plant, that is approximately five hundred yards from the milk house [FW: Mm-hmm].

Uh, it is then, uh, pumped from the tank that is mounted on wheels, through the uh, wall which has a uh, an opening in it for the hole, uh for the hose to uh, uh enter, that goes into my uh, pasteurizing vat. And uh, this vat, it uh, is uh, heated with steam. Uh, when the milk is pumped into it, it is brought to a temperature of a hundred and forty-five degrees, and held there for thirty minutes, after which it is uh, transferred through there t-, into a homogenizer at two-thousand-pound pressure. And all the fat globules is broken down, which keeps the cream from rising, or give it, or gives a cream line effect on the bottle after it is finally filled [FW: Mm-hmm].

After the milk is uh, homogenized at two-thousand-pound pressure, it passes through the line in, to a plate cooler which is uh, cooled. The milk is cooled then with well water where the milk is on one side of the plates, and the water is w-, circulating through the other side, and it cools it down to approximately fifty-five degrees. At that time it is then transferred into a, a holding bulk tank which is finally cooled down to a thirty-t-two-degree temperature and held there, before it is uh, put into the customers??? bottles. It???s, is uh, pumped from these uh, two holding tanks, uh, through uh, another hole in the wall. And uh, which is then filled by a uh, regular bottle filler that is, puts the milk at the bottom of the bottle, and fills it from the bottom to the top as uh, there is less cream, or less uh, foam rises. And it doesn???t take so long to fill the bottle.

The speaker is a 74-year-old White man with a grade school education from Union City, Pennsylvania; he was recorded in 1970.

County: Erie
State: PA

Despite its location in an agricultural area of Pennsylvania, Union City was an industrial town from early on, with an oil refinery that opened in 1862 and factories, plants, and mills that continue to operate today. The current population of the town is around 3,000 people. This speaker discusses his fondness for a historical figure and reviews his family???s military involvement in various wars, both on and off U.S. soil.
Inf: Abraham Lincoln was a tragic figure. You know, they were building, uh, industry, there???s very few colored people in the North, see, they???re all in the South, they???d been brought over here for the cotton peel [FW: Mm-hmm]. In order for him to get his second election, he had, uh, cotton, he was a good honest man, my giant, Abraham Lincoln was, but he had to play politics, uh with the big, with the big boys, and they paid, paid him, uh, in return, he gets the niggers free, so they could get ???em up here, Emancipation, they could get ???em up here to work for ten cents a day, in big industry, you see what I mean? [FW: Mm-hmm] That???s the true story of it. Now, my gr-, my grandfather was right on the Washington, he was in the Civil War, eh, my, he, here???s my war, my family???s war record. I???v-, I???ve got it, it???s all authentic right here. The Pequot War in 1678 [sic], and my gr-, Ab-, Abraham, gentleman, 1777, and Abraham, my, my grandfather, w-, uh War of 1812 and my own, my own grandfather, my great-grandfather my gr-, my grandfather was in sixteen-one to sixteen-four [sic] in the Civil War, and I was in the World War, First World War seventeen to nineteen and then I was in the, the Second World War, here, uh 1941 to 45.

FW: What???s that say under the picture of Uncle Sam?

Inf: That???s, that???s that???s your Uncle Sam. Old Uncle Sam himself, he wants to know what kind of a man are you. Are you a man or a mouse or a long-tailed rat, you gotta be one of the three, see [FW: Mm-hmm]. That???s right. That???s, that???s one of my sayings, that, you???ve been wondering about saying, I alway-, that???s what I always say. There???s three kinds of animals, you know, a man is, he???s either a man or a mouse or a long-tailed rat. Th- [FW: Mm-hmm], the trouble with the United States right today, we???ve got too damn many mice, and long-tailed rats. Haven???t got any men that???ll stand up and knock the p-, hell out of some of these birds that???s trying to cut our country down.

The speaker is an 84-year-old White woman with a grade school education from St. Clair, Pennsylvania; she was recorded in 1970.

County: Schuylkill
State: PA

Settled in the early nineteenth century, St. Clair is a town in northeastern Pennsylvania. The area???s industry has long been based on a combination of coal mining, lumber, and manufacturing, following the discovery of a tract of iron ore in the 1830s. Perhaps due to the large amount of mining in her area of the state, the speaker is particularly worried about the consequences this industry might have on the earth.
Inf: Well, you know the planets draw an awful lot of-, and they put out a lot of cosmic energy [FW: Mm-hmm]. And that cosmic energy, that push, that terrible push on the earth, on the atmosphere, would naturally push the earth down. Now very, not that we could see it, understand [FW: Mm]. But it was noticeable at the time. And uh lots of people, well some of the scientists talked about it as almost uh, wondering whether we were gonna escape annihilation at that time. Oh, there was great talk about it.

FW: Do you, you remember this?

Inf: Yes, indeed, I do [FW: Uh-huh]. Yes, sir. But now the, it???s coming out all right and, uh, the one fear now we have in the world today is that in penetrating so deep into the earth for oil and uh, for metals of all kind, that they don???t penetrate the iron band that surrounds the inside of the earth. There???s an iron band, the scientists claim, surrounding the earth, that holds us together. And if they go too deep, they???re warning these comp-, the scientists are warning these men not to go, these um, oh what will I call them, men that are, that want to make more money out of, out of the earth. They???re warning them, don???t go too deep or too hard in that iron band, or we???ll crumble up. Well, isn???t it natural? Isn???t it natural? How many planets have crumbled and, and fallen that we don???t know anything about, but they have fallen. Look at the meteors. They???re off of planets [FW: Mm-hmm]. So, I???m wondering whether it???s worthwhile living much longer than this [Laughter].

The speaker is a 22-year-old Black woman with a college education from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; she was recorded in 1970.

County: Philadelphia
State: PA

Settled in the late 1600s by William Penn, the city of Philadelphia quickly grew and became a hub for trade and commerce. It served as the nation???s temporary capital until it was moved to Washington, D.C., in 1800. The city is historically significant for many events, among them the Federal Convention in 1787, which produced the Constitution of the United States. In this segment the speaker is concerned with family matters and talks about getting ready for a new baby.
Inf: Um, yes. I think right now since we???re going to have a new baby, that???s been my main project for this month because uh, my daughter now has a double bed, and she had a canopy bed and all. So like we need to, in order to make enough room for a crib and all the accessories, we???re going to have to change everything around. So that???s why I plan to get bunk beds. And since I found a great bargain at the, pa-, uh my aunt???s old bed, my cousins and all are all through with them. We???re going to paint the bunk beds, I hope, hot pink [FW: Mm-hmm] and turquoise. And these are going to be the curtains for the bedroom [FW: Aww]. And I wanna pick up the colors in here so like one of the beds would be this shade of pink [FW: Mm-hmm] and the other one would be the turquoise. And the crib, I want a pale, I want this shade mixed to be a little bit paler than that. And it must be a boy. Now, it???ll just ruin everything if it???s not a boy. [Child in background: No baby!] And then the walls I plan to do in yellow. And so those basically would be the three colors I plan to use. And I think there may be a little, I don???t know, I think I???m thinking about making lavender throws for the uh, bed or pillows. Something like that.

FW: Are you making the, the draperies yourself?

Inf: Yes, uh they???re all finished now. Curtains are done. And let???s see, the painting, if my husband will stop procrastinating, will get done soon, I hope. And um, the rest of the furniture we???ll just do as we go along. [Child in background: I don???t want a baby!] And let???s see, what else is in there? There???s so many purchases that have yet to be made, which I haven???t quite accounted for where the funds are coming from.

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