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Reading, Thanksgiving, Harvest sermon, blood-shot eyes, earrings, bull band, newlyweds


A handwritten letter from a descendent of Peter Derr addressed to Alfred L. Shoemaker, dated December 15, 1949. Within, the author provides information about folk cures, Harvest Home services and the tradition of "serenading" newlyweds with loud music.




Alfred L. Shoemaker

Corresponds to:

Packet 103-1


Reading, Pennsylvania


Reading Pa Dec 15 - 49

Dear Mr. Shoemaker

I miss you here in Reading. I think I have the answers to some of your questions which I read in the Reading Eagle.

Such as Thanksgiving day is

Bade Dawg a day of prayer

Harvest Home service Arn Breddich.

The papers for lighting candles pipes or starting fire, my aunt Polly, who would be 130 yrs old, called them litser not lutser a lutser is a lantern.

I twisted many for her she was my Gode. God mother

Her husband uncle John Holzman 1 time County Treasurer was my Pedder.

He never wore an overcoat always a shawl they both smoked cigars and always had 2 horses hitched in the carriage when they went visiting or to church.

Jared Fidler and his father Dan Fidler both wore gold ear rings and were made out of 1.00 gold pieces a cure for blood shot-eyes, and wore blue or smoked glasses in the summer.

My grandfather Peter Derr made them.

When I was a young fellow about 12 or 15 yrs I run with the older boys and in for everything.

The Bulls-Gike, this was a heavy store box about 3 ft wide 5 or 6 ft long - 4 ft high with shbar kedda strung inside and outside will smeared with rosin on the open top and played with a 2+4 rosined scantling about 10 ft long. Pushed and pulled across the box by about 4-6 fellows.

The idea was to sneak close enough to the window of the newly weds but not close enough to get ducked with was not always water.

De Sie Gike was constructed about the same only smaller instead of chains they used all sizes of strings of sleigh bells these bands could be heard 4-5 miles on a cold winter night.

The music stopped at the request of the married couple when we were invited in for cider etc. otherwise the band played on.


English and Pennsylvania German

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Letter to Alfred L. Shoemaker, December 15, 1949



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