Not Married, but Connected

Conrad and Jill

Joyce and I have mutual family interests. Since my son Conrad and her daughter Jill are married, we have common interest in Conrad’s two children.  They are our grandchildren. We are interested in Scott Hochstetler and his wife and two children.  Scott is Joyce’s nephew and a choral director of Goshen College. So Joyce and I share  events in the Sauder Concert Hall.

Scott, his daughter and Conrad’s daughter at Jill’s birthday

Scott often performs in the crowded hall. Joyce and I usually sit in the fifth row, but a friend and I persuaded Joyce to sit in the balcony where we could see the faces of the audience. As we began to move up the balcony I was introduced to a “Martin” woman from Lancaster County. I asked questions, as Mennonites do, and quickly learned that she is the daughter of Ed Martin who is the son of Paul H Martin who is my first cousin. Paul is five years older than I am and lives at Landis Homes.

Laurel Martin, Paul’s daughter

After meeting Jessica I searched face book for family faces.  A day after our meeting I scooted past the side board (a Greencroft eating place) and happened with face book memories to see Paul’s daughter seated at a table. We recognized each other as relatives and chatted for a while. Another person who will take greetings to cousin Paul.

In his earlier life, Paul had researched his family history and wrote a book about his father which he called, The Times and Tunes of a Mennonite Song Leader – Father’s Best Friend”. His best friend was his songbook This is a fantastic account of the life of Jacob Eby Martin, Paul’s father and my uncle.  It is an ebook downloaded by clicking here.

Roger Martin, Paul’s son

Today, (11/4/2017) Joyce and I attended the memorial service for Verna Birkey the wife of Luke Birky.  The Birky children and the children of Paul and Dorothy Hackman Martin grew up together in LaJunta, Colorada  where Verna practiced nursing and Paul was pastor of the Mennonite Church.  Several of Paul’s children came from Pennsylvana to the memorial service.

Most readers will likely know that I am playing the Mennonite game of making connection through relationships.  In browsing for this post I discovered that a Goshen College alumna has created a Mennonite card game that he is marketing.  To have the joy of playing it click here. I am not kidding!




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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4 Responses to Not Married, but Connected

  1. Mary Bew says:

    I enjoyed the information on the Mennonite game. I can see adaptations to this for personal, small group use. I have maternal cousins surnamed Chilton. Rich in cousins!
    About Conrad. I remember your telling me about holding him when he was a small boy, looking out at the stars. You said something enlightening about the scene. Conrad said, “I’ll have to ask my teacher about that.”

    • The conversation with Conrad took place when he was in kindergarten and we were living on the second floor of a house on the ridge/hill behind EMU. We were observing the morning sun at breakfast time and I began to explain that the earth was revolving and moving around the sun, and since it didn’t appear to be that way he decided to inquire of his kindergarten teacher.

  2. Freda Zehr says:

    I resonated with your post here, Martin, as I experience the same type of thing since I moved here to VMRC. After being here for two years, It is so interesting to discover how I am connected in some way or other to persons I have known for these two years, have known, eaten lunch with, attended church with, etc. and then one day as we talk, I realize that we connected in some way by our past. Again, I must tell you how much I enjoy the things about which you write and the things you share with us all.

  3. Kathy Martin says:

    Martin, that is amazing that you (1) just happened to sit next to Jessica at the concert and (2) that you talked enough that you made the connection when you had never met before!!
    It was nice also that you could connect with Laurel and Roger and Sharon at Verna Birky’s memorial service. All four of Paul’s children came together from Pennsylvania, but Ed didn’t make it to the service because he was stuck with a car breakdown. 🙁
    We really wish that we could get you and Paul together! There aren’t many first cousins still living.

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