Shirley’s Tea Towel Story


My idea of sending an invitation to all the people on my Christmas card list, to become a Guest Tea Towel 2020, proved to be not as stupid as friends suggested it might be.  I have had a number of responses, and all so different.  I am adding them in the order they arrived.  It has proved, however, a challenge to my memory.  So how do I know Shirley?  For someone with a good grasp of dates, I actually cannot remember year we actually met; but it was through work.  We are talking about a long time ago; it was in Leicester and she then moved away.

The history of our meeting is nothing compared to this Tea Towel Story!  First response “The tea towel idea is great and our contribution will arrive from our son Stephen who is a tad more technologically minded!  I have recorded mine!”.  I can honestly say that I have never received a sound Guest Tea Towel.  When I then heard the recording, with everyone laughing, I had tears running down my face.  I don’t know if it was just the story of the tea towel or that the laughter was infectious.

The good thing about Shirley’s Tea Towel Story is that she read the instructions first, so I have both a photograph of the tea towel (although there is no correct way to hold it) and also one of her holding the tea towel, also confused as to which way it should be held!  Clearly, an experienced holder of a tea towel for a photograph.

“Well, my tea towel belonged to my mother and I think it must be 50 years old.  I love it because it is completely nonsensical and maybe a Visitor to your Museum could actually translate it for us because Google Translate cannot make head nor tail of it”.  They then read the words, line by line, coming to an abrupt end when they all fell about laughing.  And this is why Shirley would like someone’s help with the translation:

“She writes so fancy like 

We can’t make her out

The barn door he locks

When the horse iss all

Don’t stand so dumb around

You act ferhecht like

Don’t horn so loud

You’ll blow the baby awake”

Having listened to this, reread it, used many forms of Google, done hours of research, I still have no idea what it is.  There is one for sale on eBay where it is described as ‘Vintage Farm – Pennsylvania Dutch – Amish Tea Towel – Ferhecht – Different Sayings’.  Does that help any Readers?  Many thanks to Shirley for the amazing tea towel, the recorded story and for making me laugh till I cried.  But I do want to know what it means!


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