The little Elizabeth (Lizzy) came into the world silently. Her parents were Swartzentruber Amish, the strictest sect of Amish. Her life would be difficult, but there would be a few items of great beauty in among the thorns. A few years down the road her mother died. She was old enough that it affected her. Further down the road she got a step mother, Lovina.
Her father repaired buggies for a living. Life on their small farm was harsh but they were used to it. They had very few nice things and treasured what they had. The pitcher was one of those things. It set in a small cupboard and was never used. Lizzy looked at it occasionally and one time when they were doing the dishes she saw it and said “That pitcher is the one thing I would like to have.” Unbeknownst to her Lovina (her step mother) was around the corner and heard her say it.
Life went on for many years. Lizzy met Dan, a ruggedly handsome bull of a man and they raised a family together. Lizzy (my mother) forgot about the pitcher. They left the Amish and were shunned by both of their families. Not even allowed to eat at the same table. We visited occasionally, I can remember spending nights there, but there was the ban between my mom and her parents. After getting married to Lizzy’s dad Lovina had two sons, Andy and Levi. Levi was mentally handicapped and later on Andy accidentally shot him dead.Lizzy’s dad died eventually so all of the property belonged to Lovina. Andy was now the only living son of Lovina’s and when she died everything went to him. He had lived on the farm and he and his wife Edna took care of Lovina in her sunset years and she left everything to them. The house and the farm, everything. Lizzy was shunned by her parents so she didn’t expect to get much but it would have been nice to have something. It was just another tough thing in a series of tough things and she got over it.
Years later Andy’s wife Edna got cancer and her health declined rapidly. My Parents went out to visit her and Lizzy was sitting with Edna on her death bed when Edna revealed to her that Lovina had wanted her to have that little pitcher. Edna told her to take it home with her.
I can imagine what this means to my mother. In spite of the Amish shunning, Lovina cared about her enough that she wanted her to have that pitcher. I stop by my mom’s house for coffee on Fridays after work. My dad died last fall and my mother is going through all her stuff, sorting and getting rid of a lot. She showed me the pitcher Friday and told me the story behind it. It is about 3″ tall, ideal to put cream into for coffee. I don’t think it has been used in the last 50 years. Here in the middle of this harsh life we have one object of great beauty.