My Father’s birthday

J. Irvin Lehman

J. Irvin Lehman

My Father was born on Halloween day, 1895. I don’t think he liked his birthdate because he didn’t believe in ghosts, goblins or ghouls, and we never celebrated them in our home. I loved my father and respected him, and he loved and respected me,  but I doubt that he would have liked that his bishop son had a short career as a clown.

I introduced myself as a clown to My Joy on the first Halloween of our friendship.  I had never gone to her apartment with out her prior knowledge and invitation.  And she had never seen me as a clown.
Guess who...I knew Joyce had prepared to receive “trick or treat” guests so I felt free to get out the remnants of my clown supplies that I had brought with me from Florida and did a quick paint job of my face and stole to her place.  She was pleased and surprised. She insisted that I stay as a surprise to her grand niece and nephew.  The niece who was the older of the two was pleased to see a clown who was a friend of her Aunt Joyce, but the little boy was afraid of him.  A year later and a year older he looked forward to the encounter.


Kiwanis Kids

Last evening a loud knocking on my door took me out of my chair.  When I opened the door I found a group of children and adults with flowers wanting to treat me.

Halloween can have happy moments and this was one of them. The kids had found an old man at home to treat. The group spreading cheer laughingly introduced themselves as part of the Kiwanis Club.  I told them I was ninety years old and wished them long happy lives.

Halloween is here
day when children are treated
while wearing costumes 

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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11 Responses to My Father’s birthday

  1. Alton Longenecker says:

    I am pleased that you love your father, J Irvin. And about that clown business, how delightful and very thoughtful on introducing yourself as a clown to the Joy of your life.

  2. Freda Zehr says:

    This is such and interesting co-incidence to read this, Martin. Just today as I was cleaning out a book case, I was distracted by looking into an old LMH yearbook, J. Irvin Lehman’s picture was there with the teachers. I thought to myself, I am going to write to Martin and find out what relation he is or was, to J. Irving. So, I opened my computer, when to my surprise I came upon this. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Cleaning out old bookcases or looking at documents stored on a computer can yield many surprises.

    • Wow what a suprise to discover that you are the son of G Irvin Lehman. If this is the G Ervin I knew at EMC from 1955-57(when I graduated from EMC) then it brings back memories of sitting in his class of O.T. and learning some Hebrew!? It I am remembering correctly, he talked of “his boys” and do I remember that his first wife died and he remarried!? or perhaps I am mixed up in my memories.You are 10 yrs older than I am so perhaps I am all mixed up!? Was there another G.Ervin around EMCin those years? I graduated in 1957 and was back for seminary in 1960-61 before going to Puerto Rico under the MBM in Sept. 1961.

      • You are correct about the G. Irvin Lehman being at EMC. I was one of his students also. My father was J. Irvin Lehman and he was at EMC as director of the six week long Special Bible Term. He was a close associate of Milton Brackbill.

  4. Kathy Lehman says:

    Thank you Martin, for sharing about your Father, who I enjoyed as my “Old Testament ” teacher at LMS in 1953. But even more I loved the picture of “clown ” Martin and reading about your fun with Joy. Love you.

    Kathy Lehman

  5. Ann L. Watson says:

    Dear Martin Lehman,
    Hello from the Bomberger’s who live on the original farm by the Bomberger Cemetery in Lititz, PA. I was pleased to find your postings on line and send you greetings in the name of our Lord.
    My brother, Greg Bomberger and I enjoy history and geneology. Although our grandfather Abram Z. Bomberger joined the Moravian Church, we find we are never far from our Mennonite roots.
    May God be with you in your writings and work!
    Ann Lizette Bomberger Watson

  6. Merle Cordell says:

    I’m Merle G. Cordell, minister,bishop,school teacher, still in Marion Mennonite church where J. Irvin Lehman was pastor and my mentor. I also had G. Irvin for Bible at EMC. I didn’t have any Hallowe’en treaters visit me, but I have a conservative Mennonite group coming for a cottage meeting next Wednesday evening to sing for me acaopella . They did this two years ago. the year after my wife died. I appreciate their thoughtfulness.

  7. Grace Miller says:

    You are an absolutely awesome clown! I have always loved clowns and the bad clown news lately is very sad to me for many reasons, one being that it makes all of the wonderful clowns feel less confident & fearful. Thanks for sharing a GOOD clown story. By the way Martin, you have the perfect clown laugh!! Thanks for sharing the GREAT picture & story, and the one about your father. My grandfathers birthday was Oct 31, also. He loved to celebrate with Oyster soup. Fun memories.

  8. Lloyd Gingrich says:

    If y memory serves me correctly halloween started out as all saints day. Somewhere along the way it became celebration of witches & ghosts.

  9. Raymond Martin says:

    I remember that many years ago a young fellow told me that for him, God would look like J. Irvin Lehman. He was an LMHS (now LMS) student. I was surprised when returning to live in Lan. County after 39 years that LMHS is Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society.

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