Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Soul and Spirit of the House

"Their house....was a gigantic, rambling three-story affair with gabled roofs, numerous chimneys, a screened porch, and a large balcony overlooking the spacious garden where the children played.  They dug caves and climbed trees and put up tents.....

"There were animals in the house proper as well.  One room in the house became a zoo for the children's pets, which included rabbits, guinea pigs, turtledoves, squirrels, lizards, and snakes, and a natural history museum for their collections of birds' eggs and mounted beetles and butterflies.  The two eldest girls had another room set up as a dolls' house, and on the first floor the three eldest boys had a workshop, complete with a carpenter's bench.

"Their mother presided over the well-appointed home; the staff included a governess, a nursemaid, a housemaid, a parlor maid and a cook.  Upstairs was the schoolroom, with desks where Paula taught the children their lessons....

"Paula Bonhoeffer had memorized an impressive repertoire of poems, hymns and folk songs, which she taught her children, who remembered them into their old age.  The children enjoyed dressing up and performing plays for each other and for the adults.  There was also a family puppet theater, and every year on December 30--her birthday--Paula Bonhoeffer put on a performance of 'Little Red Riding Hood.' This continued into her cold age, when she did it for her grandchildren.  One of them, Renate Bethge, said, 'She was the soul and spirit of the house.'" 

                           --from Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy (Eric Metaxas)

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