Watermelon and Warm Summer Days


From left to right: Gaylen Schilling, Barb Gausman Larrabee, Stan Gausman, Susan Stutzman Hecker, Sylvia Schilling Dalzell, Patty (Stutzman) Paulus. Photo: Patty (Stutzman) Paulus

By Patty (Stutzman) Paulus

One of my best memories of growing up in the 1950s were the two weeks my sister and I spent in the summer visiting our grandparent’s farm in Woodbury. We would awaken to the mournful cooing of the mourning doves perched outside our upstairs bedroom window in the original farmhouse. We collected eggs, picked strawberries and raspberries, and helped our grandmother, Laura, roll out pie crust on the 160-acre Stutzman farm, now known as Marsh Creek.

Our family was from “the Cities,” so spending time playing in the hay barn, helping our grandmother with daily chores of washing clothes in the little white house now known as the Heritage House, feeding the cows and walking the perimeter of the farm with our grandfather as he checked the fences was a daily routine.

We looked forward to seeing our second cousins at the Woodbury Methodist Church on Sundays and attending the annual Summer Schilling Farm Picnic held at one of the farms. The second cousins would reacquaint ourselves with one another by playing many outdoor games. We would end our time together by eating watermelon as our summer treat, along with a memorable photo.

We’re all in our 70s now and are related through our Schilling grandmothers born in Woodbury. The family tradition continues as Wayne Schilling and I are both on the board of the Woodbury Heritage Society—so every month I get to see one of my second cousins!

Patty (Stutzman) Paulus is a board director with the Woodbury Heritage Society. Learn more at woodburyheritage.org.