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Martin's Family Culture

My family has a very distinctive culture.

Our family loves music. We each play at least one instrument. I play about five. We like to play music in our tape player too. We play and listen to many different kinds of music.

A recent addition to our family is a CD player. We got it for Christmas and are using it a lot. Before, when I got CDs from people, I remember thinking 'oh darn, no player.' Now we have one.

My mom is a major organic nut. She likes everything we eat to be organic and locally grown. She knows a lot of local organic farmers. She works at an institute to promote less pesticide use. We always buy our food at the Regent Market Coop. We really do adore this "little store you adore." We go there at least once every two or three days. We also buy a lot of our organic produce at the Hilldale farmers market from Hmong farmers who grow mostly organically.

We don't grow much food but we do get a big harvest of tomatoes and apples in the Fall which we make into homemade sauces. We also grow mint which we use for tea that lasts us all Winter.

We have a piece of land out in the country where my dad hunts, and we gather things from the land. We eat a whole lot of venison. We have venison stew in the winter and venison roasts and kebabs in the summer.

In the middle of the winter, we usually go out to our land and go sledding and skiing. We have developed a very funny tradition of making a snowman each year out there, even if the snow isn't suitable for making a snowman. One year we made a mud-man instead.

My dad and I are passionate fishermen as well. Sometime we fish on Lake Wingra and on Lake Mendota, but only when we're ice fishing do we fish on Lake Monona.

We have a few very old family stories that date back to the first Krome in America. Here is the underwear man story.

Wilhelm Krome came to America aboard a steam ship from Germany in the middle of the 19th century. His mother gave him ten pairs of starched linen underwear. When he got to New York he bought train tickets by selling his underwear, and did this all the way to Louisville, Kentucky. He ran out of underwear and settled there.

That story has been passed down by many generations of Kromes.

My great-great-grandfather Ventura came to America from Italy later in the 19th century. He settled in western Pennsylvania and worked in the coal industry. My grandfather's mother's side was in America since before the Revolutionary war.

We have a fireplace in our living room. We collect wood all summer, and my dad chops it and stows it in an elongated shack we call the woodshed. We have lots and lots of fires in the winter that heat the whole house and make us very happy. We like to toast chestnuts in the fire. We consume chestnuts ravenously in the winter and dream about them all through the summer.

In my family, we do not have many rules, but nevertheless we have a few. We do not have many consequences unless you count the 'don't leave coats, pants, socks, shoes on the floor' rule. You get fined five cents an item, ten cents for a coat, if it's left on the ground. We have a rule for brushing your teeth, which is 'always put your brush away in its holder when you're done brushing.' Another is 'don't play the piano when someone else is on the phone.' If somebody does something really bad, they get sent up to their room or made to sit in the gray chair, which is an old punishment.

We are Quakers except my dad, who is an atheist. We believe in Christian holidays, but don't believe in violence, killing, or even violence on TV or other media. We are not stereotypical Quakers with big black hats and bonnets, which people think of as Quakers. We do not speak with "thee" and "thy" any more, but live by the phrase "thou shalt not kill." We put that above the other commandments.

My mom sews a whole lot. She's a pretty good seamstress, and does a lot of good work on her sewing machine. More than half of the time, our dining room table is cluttered with her sewing stuff. Right now, she is sewing a large quilt for my sister. Next, she will do one for me and then, she will make one for herself of her own design.

Both my mom and dad cook. They both cook well. My dad always cooks breakfast and on weekends he cooks lunch. And, he also cooks dinner when my mom is sick or on a trip or something. It is good that we have two cooks. My dad likes improvisational cooking; my mom uses recipes she knows.

I'd like to thank my parents for encouraging me when I was taking notes and letting me interview them. Thanks.