Head of Women’s Lodge Speaks!

by Emilie Haertsch

There's another way for a woman to get inside a Grundsow Lodge.

Lucy J. Kern, the head of the Upper Perkiomen Valley Ladies Grundsow Lodge, was in attendance at Sunday’s Humanities on the Road taping. Below, she shares the story of her involvement with the first – and only – women’s groundhog lodge.

1.  What inspired you to start the first women’s Grundsow Lodge?

Twenty-seven yearsago, I was driving by the firehouse and the men were crossing the street to go to their lodge meeting there. I thought, why can’t ladies do this? It started out as a spoof of the men’s, and we held it on the same night. I asked my pastor if we could meet in the church basement. We could hardly fit all the women in! I thought it would be once and done, but it ended up happening every year, and at its height we had 320 women coming.

2.  Describe a typical lodge meeting.

It’s covered dish. We have chicken, sausage - even pickled tongue, a traditional Pennsylvania German dish! We give out door prizes, including to the oldest and youngest women present. About 13 men perform a skit for us. We also recite a Pennsylvania German poem and sing “God Bless America,” first in Pennsylvania German and then in English.

3.  Do you speak the Pennsylvania German dialect?

I understand Pennsylvania German entirely, but I have trouble speaking it. I stutter! My grandparents taught it to me, but there are few people to practice with now.

4.  What efforts are being made to preserve the Pennsylvania German culture?

Some places offer classes in Pennsylvania German now. But my area, upper Montgomery County, is changing. There are a lot of new people moving in, and not many speak Pennsylvania German anymore. That was one of the reasons it was wonderful to attend the Humanities on the Road taping, to bring people together around Pennsylvania German culture. I’m proud of being Pennsylvania German, and I don’t want that pride to be lost in future generations.