Ruth Hartzler’s father was from generations of Brethren. Ruth’s mother, a Southern Baptist, had years of struggle adapting to the cultural differences, and always cut her hair, which was a continual concern to Ruth’s father’s family. Ruth was raised strictly Brethren and from birth attended three meetings every Sunday, the Wednesday night meeting, and the yearly “Conference,” until she left the Brethren at the age of twenty one. Ruth still has close friends in the Brethren, as well as the Amish, both groups having many similarities. Ruth’s family had electricity, but not television, radio, or magazines, and they had plain cars. Make up, bright or fashionable clothes, and hair cutting were not permitted for women. Women had to wear hats in meetings (what others would call church meetings) but not elsewhere. The word “church” was never used and there were no bishops or ministers. All baptized men were able to speak (preach, or give out a hymn) spontaneously at meetings. Musical instruments were forbidden, with the exception of the traditional pump organ which was allowed only if played in the home for hymn music. Even so, singing of hymns in accompaniment was forbidden.
Ruth Hartzler is a widow with one adult child and two grandchildren. She lives alone with her Yorkshire Terrier and two cats. She is a retired middle school teacher and enjoys quilting, reading, and writing.