Highlight: Friends and Memories


A News Flash:   Miriam Beachy, widow of John Beachy,  died yesterday morning in the Goshen Hospital. Her husband, John predeceased her.  On January, 1987 Miriam became editor of the Proclamation, newsletter of the Southeast Mennonite Conference.

John was also active in the conference and other institutions.  The Old Fool visited him when he was in the Greencroft Rehab and John spoke to him in a very kind, almost prophetic way.  It was as though he was giving a blessing.

On Mon, Aug. 13, 2012, Miriam sent the following note by email to the Old Fool:

Good morning, Martin,
I believe I have followed and read through your highlights. I enjoy
reading them because they stimulate my thinking. I left my thinking while doing the morning work to send you a note. I think this is a very interesting and meaningful thing you are creating. You know so many people and it may draw and influence as many people as your books!
I think it’s great that you are a part of the group that is involved in
bird watching and bird walks. I believe that has to stimulate your hope for the world and other God missions.
Thank you much for your “thinking” and back to my morning work.I am glad and amazed at all the new thinking your mind and your wisdom are urging the rest of us to explore.
Gratefully, Miriam

A Political Word Sojourners Magazine notes Genesis 1:27: “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” and urges Christians to vote in support of human rights, dignity, and gender justice.  No person is illegial. Create pathways to citizenship. Support restorative justice in the U..S. prison system.  Zero tolerance for tortue and trafficking. Invest in girls.  It’ll change the world. Respect woman. Equal pay for equal work. Religious freedom is a human right.  $1,200,000,000 is the amount households headed by undocumented immigrants paid in personal income taxes in 2010 (along with $8.4 billion in sales taxes).  Source:  Immigraion policy Center

Yesterday noon The Old Fool went to the Men’s Fellowship at College Mennonite.  (Women are welcome, too)  He sat at table with Paul Huntsberger.  They began to talk about the past and the Martin clan.  He asked, do you know Paul Martin?  He further clarified that he was talking about Paul H. Martin who had been a  pastor in Colorado, and married to Dorothy Hackman.  He’s my first cousin, exclaimed the Old Fool.  He was also the Paul H. Martin who had served as pastor of the Bahia Vista Mennonite Church in Sarasota in its beginnng years.  Paul Huntsberger and Paul H. Martin had been room mates at Eastern Mennonite College (University). 

The featured speaker was Merle Sommers.  He recounted his youthful years and as a teacher in the Mennonite school in Puerto Rico. He talked about many  of the places that Rachel has been talking about as she tells stories of her recent visit to Puerto Rico.

After they had been  married for many years his wife to Merle’s dismay asked for a divorce.  He reported that their church could not understand this event, especially when he married his current wife, Rebecca.  So, they decided to move to Sarasota, Florida.  He was soon asked to teach Spanish in the Sarasota Christian School.  In addition, he enjoyed singing in church and community choirs. 

The Old Fool remembers Merle as a volunteer grounds worker for Sunnyside Properties that was a retirement home for The Old Fool and Rhoda. (We lived there for about ten years and left reluctantly for family warmth in Indiana.) Now Merle works for Oaklawn  Psychiatric Center in Goshen. 

The Old Fool’s collection; toad in center

Merle’s Rebecca became a leader among Mennonite women.  The Old Fool was present for her farewell speech in Sarasota.  She began by saying that she couldn’t take all of her stuff to Goshen, so she decided to give some of it away.  Her first gift was to the Old Fool, a ceramic toad.  He brought it to Goshen, even though Rebecca could not.

 Need I remind you that you will find more of these wonderful people in my books

The next post by the Old Fool will likely be stories and pictures from Rachel’s trip to Puerto Rico.

About Martin Lehman

I was born 92 years ago, the son of a Mennonite pastor and organic gardener in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At age 10 I was baptized as a member of the Marion Mennonite Church. I own the "Old Fool" moniker because I want to walk the Jesus Way even though the world and much of the church takes me as a fool for doing so. In my life I have moved from being a young conservative to an elderly radical. I tell that story in My Faith Journey posted on my website.
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2 Responses to Highlight: Friends and Memories

  1. Mary Bew says:

    You are reminding me of Merle, whom I knew from Sunnyside and Bahia Vista Mennonite. He gave me a coffee-table size book of Mennonites with a hammer. Sorry I can’t remember the title. After studying it, seeing familiar faces/names, I passed it on to our thrift store, to tell of the mission to our customers.

    And Becky. What a delight and what an enfluence, as she shared her gifts. I too was at the “Good-bye” event and received a momento.

    • Your pictures have arrived showing progress on the chapel at Sunnyside. Thanks for the buliten and notes. So very thankful for you and Bob, and that Bahia Vista Mennonite keeps adapting. evolving and growing.

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