This page by Trudy Rummel Myers
Remembering a Belsano Mom,
Martha (Paul) Rummel
Where does one start to condense 88 years of life into one simple story? I'd like to talk about my mother, Martha (Paul) Rummel, who spent most of her life in the Belsano area, and the later years of her life, to present, in Colver. (Webmaster's note: Mrs. Rummel may be remembered best by some area residents as the one-time proprietor of the Triangle Restaurant in Belsano, circa late 1960's-early '70's.)
Mom married into the Belsano Rummel clan. At the ripe old age of 38 she became a widow with nine children to raise alone. The oldest was 17, the baby just six months old when our father was killed in a freak sawmill accident in 1952. The J.T. Rummel Lumber Company was owned by our grandfather, and worked by all the Rummel sons, who eventually inherited the business after J.T. passed away.
I don't know if it was unusual in those days for "mixed" marriages; i.e., Protestant/Catholic; but my mother was a devout Catholic and made sure, even after Daddy died, to see that we practiced our Catholic faith. I could go into great detail about that, but only have so much room in this article.
You can imagine that it must have been difficult financially for her to afford to keep such a large family alone. Social Security benefits weren't all that great in those days. But her faith in God, and her resourcefulness, kept everything intact. Of course, the community was kind at times with their offerings, and thankfully social programs had come into existence with some little aid. By that time, two older brothers had joined the military, and generously sent her money to help raise the little kids. The proudest thought I have of my mother is that she never felt the need to pity herself and go on Public Welfare. No sir! What did she do? She found herself a job and went out to work. There were times when she would take on a second job, tending bar or baking pizzas; especially around the holidays, to be sure there was money for Christmas, but primarily she worked in the dietary department at the Ebensburg Center. After her retirement from there, she volunteered as a Foster Grandparent for many years.
One thought that always remains with me was how she cold make something from nothing. As a child, I "saw" that there was nothing in the house to eat. Yet, in no time at all, she'd have a beautiful and bountiful meal put on the table for us. I often wondered where she hid all that food, because I never saw it. And with so many kids, they always had a ton of friends over. There was always enough to go around. Everyone was welcome. The house was always full of boisterous laughter and vitality (mostly my brothers and their friends). Many Army buddies passed through our portals, too.
My favorite times were when she'd have a few days off from work and we'd come home from school to find that the house had been redecorated. She'd start early in the morning, and by the time we got home, the dining room or living room would be covered with fresh beautiful wallpaper. And I'll never forget the time she had a "picture window" installed. That was a real highlight. But the best part was that she ordered a set of sheer criss-cross curtains to dress it up. We were all in awe when she told us she paid $25 for the curtains! A huge sum. But, Mom being Mom, got her $25's worth out of them. They were like an icon in our house. They stayed there for many years, through many washings, and were always sparkling white.
In my own life, I became an accomplished seamstress. The spark for that love of sewing came the year that I was going to make my Confirmation. We were required to wear a specific "uniform" for the ceremony. I came home from school one day, and there was my mother at the sewing machine. I'd never seen her use it before. I asked her what she was doing. As though I should have known, she matter of factly said, "Well, I'm making you a skirt for Confirmation." She had no pattern, just a large piece of fabric. Like magic, a skirt developed. I never forgot that; the image is still burned in my mind today.
She also inspired my love for politics. She was a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat and took an active part in local political happenings. Because of her direction, the very first paying job I ever had in my life was in the political arena. And that experience set me up for the rest of my public careers. She's always been a great inspiration to me. And always my main cheerleader.
My mom led a "colorful" life, and at 88 she's still "colorful." She is the mainstay of our existence. She is still our bulwark, and that's where we run (even in our own old age) to get advice. If you've got something bothering you, call Mom. Her outlook on life is hilarious. Erma Bombeck will never be dead as long as my mother is alive. Once you tell her your problem, you'll walk away laughing and think, "Why did I even think that was a serious problem?" Her children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren all still go to her for advice and consolation. She is revered in our family, and knowing that age is creeping up, leaving little time in the scheme of things; we will all be devastated when we no longer have her. Our matriarch will be gone.
Speaking of my mother's humor, I dare say that if our family didn't inherit any other genes from her, we all at least inherited her humor. We all agree that in all the travails of life, our sense of humor, and the faith in God that she instilled in us, are what get us through even the toughest of times.
Mom was a women's libber before women's lib was in vogue. We often asked her why she never remarried. Her stock answer has always been, "I tried that once. Do you actually think I'm ever going to have a man tell me what to do again?" She often gives the Almighty Father advice, and says, "I wonder what He'd do without my help?"
At 88, she is still active in church and community affairs, though she is basically confined to her apartment in the old Colver Hotel. Her heart is wearing out, but she's proud as a peacock of her pace maker. She has circulatory problems and is in pain much of the time. Her fingers are bent and tangled from arthritis, but that doesn't stop her from crocheting lap robes for patients at Laurel Crest, and afghans for kids in the Juvenile Detention Center. She makes baby blankets and donates them to Mom's House for mothers with new babies. She even had a campaign going to send stuffed bears to Bosnia. Although she can't get out to church or church functions anymore, she stays active by doing clerical work for the church at her kitchen table, and sells chances to raise funds for worthy causes. If she can't sell you in person, she mails them to you, and basically demands that you send her a check. Naturally, she's always the highest seller. Who's going to tell her "No"? And I know no other person who spends more money on postage and greeting cards than my mother. She thinks of everyone. No reason is too small for her to send (even to people she doesn't know) cards of inspiration and prayer.
It is said, "Cast your bread upon the water and it will return to you a hundred-fold." Mom lives on a very fixed income, but that doesn't mean she's in need. There is no poverty in her life. She has made so many friends over the years, and has done such wonderful things for people that she is actually overwhelmed with care packages. She graciously accepts their gifts, and then when no one is looking she packs them back up and gives them to people who need it more than she does.
I don't have an appropriate closing for this tribute, but if you've read this far; I'd like to make a request. Mom's 88th birthday is July 18th . Her address is: Box 396, Colver, PA 15927. A card would make her day (postage stamps included would continue her "missionary" work). And if anyone is more inspired, she accepts donations of yarn so she can continue her crochet work for what she calls "the old people," and the babies.
I am proud to have been named after her. I too am Martha D. (Rummel).
TRUDY (Rummel) MYERS
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