It is time to welcome another new contributor the series with the first post from her archives, here is Marian Beaman. In this post Marian shares some of her own family dinners across the generations and illustrates how important this bringing together of family members is so important.
Family Dinners: Keeping the Spark Alive by Marian Beaman
Are family dinners important? What about empty nesters? Families of one? Do family dinners protect against the effects of teen drug use and cyberbullying? Writer Melodie Miller Davis in her recent blog post “How do you keep family dinner?” got me thinking about recent research on the topic.
In her post, she refers to Columbia Casa Family Day, a national initiative to remind parents that they have the “power to help keep their kids substance free.” Cornell University researchers also have discovered that shared meals may help prevent eating disorders. An article in Time asserts that teens benefit from interaction with their families and find security in the shared, predictable ritual of family mealtime possibly preventing early drug use and the effects of cyber-bullying. However, there is also research that claims such effects are overstated or not verifiable.
Whatever the case may be, the faster the pace of our lives and the more insane world events become, the more I long for the sweet spaces of serenity that sharing family meals can provide.
The Longeneckers and the Metzlers, two strands of my family line were oblivious of any such research but carried on the ritual of family meal time together. Here is a post from the Metzler gatherings, often picnic style.
Family dinners can be very large as seen here in Grandma and Aunt Ruthie’s house with twenty, mostly Bossler Mennonite Church friends, gathered around their huge dining table.
Whether large or small, indoors or out, dinners require preparation. My sister Jean and her family provide some of the “raw material” from a shared meal at Mother’s house.
Years ago if we didn’t visit Pennsylvania, I shared holiday meal making with my sister Janice, who lives just 2 ½ miles from us.
And then the over-flow table with the kids . . .
Any excuse for a party! Besides birthdays, Fourth of July can be a cause for celebration too.
One of us, who loved everything about entertaining from meal preparation to talking and eating around the table, will be missing this holiday season and every meal in between, our Mother Ruth Longenecker, hostess extraordinaire.
How have family dinners marked your family history?
My thanks to Marian for sharing her family memories in these photos.. I have not included all of them and you can see more at her original post: http://marianbeaman.com/2014/10/04/family-dinners-keeping-the-spark-alive/
©Marian Beaman 2014
About Marian Beaman
At one point as a teacher at Lancaster Mennonite School, I was addressed as Sister Longenecker. Then I turned fancy and became Beaman after marrying a blue-eyed, blonde-haired German boy from Washington State. His original artwork often appears on my pages. I wrote about our unlikely meeting here.
My love of books, along with a connection to students and colleagues, has made my years in education pure joy. I have spent more than 40 years teaching, finishing my career with 21 years at Florida State College in Jacksonville.
Writing dovetails with reading and teaching. My academic writing includes a multi-colored array of topics, ranging from “A Thousand Acres: Not King Lear in a Cornfield” for the American Popular Culture Association and “It’s Not Easy Being Green, Wal-Mart and Me,” recounting my neighborhood struggle to keep large oaks and tall pines from biting the dust.
Former Mennonite with a Writing Habit
A dream came true when I presented and published “God: Myth and Mystery from the Romantics through the Twentieth Century: Informing Global Religious Conflict” in magical Oxford, England. In 2011 Bedford St. Martin’s textbooks published “Facilitating Cooperative Learning,” the mantra of my most effective teaching techniques.
Now in my Third Act, I’ve embraced creative non-fiction with “Gutsy In Ukraine,” published in Sonia Marsh’s My Gutsy Story Anthology (2014), Volume 2. In September 2016, my story “Making Love Edible: Lessons from Fanny Martin Longenecker” was published in The Mennonite magazine.
Since beginning my blog in 2013, I’ve uncovered nostalgic photos, letters, and artifacts from my two Longenecker homes in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, many of which are featured here on my blog.
I publish my blog Plain and Fancy Girl on Wednesdays. Whether you are a commenter or reader only, I appreciate your noticing. Scroll down and subscribe to my weekly blog.
My work in progress is tentatively titled Tomato Girl, a memoir that reveals family secrets. I don’t think the title quite fits my story. You can contact me to make a better suggestion or offer a comment.
Connect to Marian
Facebook: https://facebook.com/marianbeaman (All my weekly blogposts are published publicly on Facebook.)
Rifflebooks: https://www.rifflebooks.com/profiles/136032 (I have published 111 book reviews on this site.)
I am now looking for archive posts for the festive season.. short stories fiction and non-fiction, food and recipes, humour, memorable Christmas’s etc. Please send one or two posts to firstname.lastname@example.org.. I will be resuming the regular archive series in the New Year. Thanks Sally.