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Ash Wednesday, Richmond Township, Baker's Bread, handkerchief, school games, Crack the Whip, Faschnacht, ashes


A handwritten letter from Mrs. Harvey Rothermel addressed to Alfred L. Shoemaker, dated February 17, 1948. Within, Rothermel details various school games she grew up playing, including "Crack the Whip" and "Baker's Bread." She also notes traditions concerning Ash Wednesday.


Mrs. Harvey Rothermel


Alfred L. Shoemaker

Corresponds to:

Packet 205


Fleetwood, Pennsylvania


Feb 17, 1948

Fleetwood, Pa

To whom it may concern,

When I went to school more then fifty years ago, we used to play “crack the whip”- a strong person was the post and about 15 or more boys and girls clasped hands and ran around in a circle. Sometimes the hands unclasped and we fell due to the speed. This was called “Crack the whip” (Wippa-Snella).

“Baking Bread” (Brode Bokker)

The girls and boys sat on their haunches in a row. The bread baker came and put salt on our heads and gave each one a push. If we fell backwards we were not baked enough. The baker gave us a good push and we went in the oven again. We did a good bit of laughing while the baker tested the bread.

When I was young and went to school no one wanted to be the Faschnacht. The Faschnacht was the last boy or girl to arrive at schoolhouse and we all yelled Faschnacht. The same way with Ash Wednesday. The last one we called “Eschpuddle” and that one had to carry the ashes outside of the schoolhouse.

We also played drip drop the handkerchief. Boys and girls formed a ring and while going around the ring one of the girls dropped her handkerchief to the one she liked the best. He or she would chase after one another and try and catch each other and try to kiss her and she would go in the ring and start the game over. (“Drups Schnupduch”)

I went to a rural school in Richmond township and we had loads of fun.

Mrs. Harvey Rothermel


R. D. #2 Penna.


English and Pennsylvania German

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Letter From Mrs. Harvey Rothermel to Alfred L. Shoemaker, February 17, 1948



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