Wrote this on a Megabus ride back to Montreal. I put this fiction (totally foreign to my blog, until now) together on Pages on my iPad and then realized I wasn’t able to make it look as nice in WordPress. Originally, as the power was dying on my iPad, I posted a link to a Pages-formatted version of this Ted’s Sunday blog. You can click on the link and it will open with the online Pages software. The image immediately below is of the mid-17th century marriage record from Switzerland that represents the 2nd generation of our known Daetwyler geneology (Melchior and Maria). I am the 11th generation in the Daetwyler line. The basis for my fiction below on how the Daetwyler family came to be Anabaptists is my visit in 2010 to Wittwil (now part of Staffelbach) in the present canton of Aargau, CH. On my last night of 3 spent there I began to climb a winding road leading up a pastured and forested hillside. I wanted to see what was further around each bend, but finally I had to turn back. In later research, I found that there is a small community, Bottenswil, that is on the other side of that hill. This community (image below) likely holds the key to our line of the Daetwylers becoming anabaptists.
The fictional story below doesn’t tell a complete story – it’s just a start that hints at one possible way that Daetwylers might have become engaged with the anabaptist believers in Bottenwil who were known to worship in secret in gatherings in the woods on the Sabbath. See TSB04 (to be published next week) for more understanding of the roots of the Daetwylers anabaptist heritage.
About the dialogue in my fiction: Based on the growing season for Swiss chard and the marriage record (below) that we have for Melchior and Maria (June 17, 1661), this fictional story would likely have taken place in 1660. As a frame of reference, William Shakespeare lived from 1564 to 1616, so if Melchior and Maria spoke English, which they didn’t, the dialogue might sound like a Shakespeare play, or like the King James version of the Bible, completed in 1611. I really didn’t work too hard at making dialogue that fits the historical period, but you may note that I finished off the blog with a rhyming couplet – Shakespeare’s way of saying “End of Act”.
In TSB04, we’ll have a discussion about who was the Dettweiler ancestor in our line that first became an anabaptist follower of Jesus. My two candidate couples are Melchior and Maria (stars of this story) or their son, Samuel and his spouse, Maria Dudli. But for now, let’s consider Melchior and Maria, and give them their day in the sun:
This is how it all began for us. How Christ sought us out in the Zofingen country, Staffelbach, in the hills of what later was included in Canton Aargau when it joined the Helvetica Confederation better known as Switzerland to the rest of the world.
It was a love story that spread by word of mouth in those forested hills. On a Sunday, Melchior had come for the first time, up the road mounting the high hills above Staffelbach. From this road, a turn into the forest, following der Ürkebach. Then the crevassed rock where a small trail led further, away from the stream and into denser growth.
“Will you marry me or do you just like our Swiss chard”
This was his wife’s country. When he had courted Maria they had come this way often, stopping by the crevassed rock with a greenery that sprung out, attracting his eye. “I like this place, let’s stop here”, she had said. Then in that direct way of the Stamms she had turned her head, her eyes sparkling, “will you marry me, or do you just like our swiss chard?”
Her father sold vegetables passing from farm to farm with a cart pulled over the hilltop from their Bottenwil farm . It was odd for someone to go out selling when everyone had much the same garden and should already be amply supplied. But, Sylvester, his father, understood the economics. “He has daughters. You might study his load and then ask for that which he has not. You’ll be pleasantly surprised what that might produce.”
But, it had taken him a while to catch on. Grubs had eaten the leaves of the chard, so finally he had needed something that his own garden wouldn’t supply that season. “Could you supply me my chard this year?”, ventured Melchior.
“Yay, but…nay I left it all in my garden” the vendor replied. “But my daughter Maria might come across the hill and bring you some. She’ll be glad to take leave of the care of the house.”
His father, upon seeing the cheerful Maria the next day, let it be known as he fetched his son from the stables, “If that girl doesn’t bear me grandchildren, I’ll be right disappointed with you”. Make sure you be a gentleman and see her back home.
Once he was on the Stamm land, her father had taken him aside and invited him to pass next Sabbath with them. “You look the hard-working type, but a man who doesn’t rest despises God and is as a pagan. I’ll have none of that if you want to court my Maria”.
“No, sir!” Seeing his opening: “I’ll displace my rest of the morrow and join with yours wherever you might observe it”.
A pause from Stamm and then: “Ah you’re a fine one, a prompt listener. There’s a place north of the stream where we go to hear from God. You’ll mark the trail by the green-crevassed rock. For you, that rock is Christ, follow the narrow path and you will find life and rest from your labours.”
And so he found the rock, near stream of water pure.
This, a great launching, on the morrow, to be sure.