Retirement and writing – join the club!

Marianne Bahmann, a resident of Luther Crest, a Diakon Senior Living Community in Allentown, Pa., and an active member of the community’s writers club shares a story about fall (more about Ms. Bahmann below) ….


When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock …”

This dialect poem written by James Whitcomb Riley in 1883 comes to mind every fall when I see clumps of dry coppery leaves huddling against the curb.  I first heard these verses in Miss Kinsey’s sixth-grade class in Quakertown when I was 11 going on 12 in the fall of 1944.

Miss Kinsey was a scary teacher—big, strict, frowny, with a puffy body that apparently was caused by a disease called elephantiasis. I don’t remember much about that school year except this strangely worded but seductively rhythmic poem. Few people know it today; it seems to have disappeared from every modern poetry collection—and that is a shame.

As a sixth-grader brought up to speak proper English by her schoolteacher-mother, I secretly delighted in the feel on my tongue of “the kyouck and gobble of the struttin’ turkey cock” or “the clackin’ of the guineys, and the cluckin’ of the hens.” And “the rooster’s hallylooyer as he tip-toes on the fence” still tickles my funny bone. Then there is the final image of “the Angels wantin’ boardin’, and they’d call around on me.” What a statement of joyful fulfillment!

I always loved the fall because I loved school—except for a year or two like Miss Kinsey’s sixth-grade class—and its promise of bright holidays just around the corner.

Yes, “they’s something kindo’ harty like about the atmusfere, When the heat of summer’s over and the coolin’ fall is here …” This poem says it all and I feel that way, too.


Marianne Bahmann was born in Schuylkill County and is a musician by profession (voice, piano, and composition). She began writing seriously when she and her pastor-husband lived for four years at the Berlin Wall. The experience was so intense, she says, that when they returned to the U.S., she wrote a memoir, published as “West Berlin Journal” under the pen name of Eloise Schindler. She also has published a stage-fright manual called “Coping With the Limelight” under her real name.  Both are available on and through bookstores.

Luther Crest’s writers club began more than 30 years ago. The group’s original publication was the Crest Chronicle and was a combination of current Luther Crest news and original poetry, essays, and stories. The founder of the Crest Chronicle was a retired editor of The Morning Call in Allentown who moved to Luther Crest in the mid-1980s. The Crest Chronicle continues as an outlet for original creative writing—memoirs, fiction and poetry. A second publication, News Notes, appears every month chronicling current Luther Crest events, reviews of programs and items about campus flora and fauna (yes, animal life visits occasionally).

The current club includes about a dozen talented residents and meets the fourth Thursday of each month. If you enjoy writing, consider finding a local writers club or starting one of your own!

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