Answering The Quaker Questions

FYI, THE 2019 UPDATE TO THIS POST IS HERE: Revisiting The Quaker Questions: Say What? Naked Who?

[Please note: I updated this post August 2015 to include additional links that did not show up on my original Google search when I wrote the post in June 2012.]

•  Once upon a time Zen-Den and I joined a Presbyterian Church.  At one of the New Members Meetings we answered The Quaker Questions.  Here are the three questions:

  1. Where were you born?
  2. When you were 7 years old how did your family heat your home?
  3. What person in your real life growing up influenced you in a way that makes you who you are today?

•  Curious as always, I did a Google search on The Quaker Questions.  I figured that they were probably rather standard;  but I was wrong.  I found the following links– none of which duplicate what I’d call The Quaker Questions.

•  As you probably know I’m a firm believer in the idea that: if something works, stick with it.  Therefore I’ll be answering THE [PRESBYTERIAN-ESQUE] QUAKER QUESTIONS that were asked of me years ago.  So without further nattering, I give you my answers:

1.  Ohio

2.  Our home was an old house that consisted of two apartments, with a modern addition at the back of it.  We lived in the upstairs apartment.  The original part of the house was 100 years old and heated by a huge old clunky gas furnace in the basement that sent warmth to large hissy radiators in the rooms upstairs.

The newer part of the house, at the back of the building, had a coal-burning fireplace with a gas starter [that used a really cute little metal key that my 7 y.o. self adored & wanted for her very own.]

3.  My 10th grade English teacher had a big influence on who I am today.  She believed that everyone could write well.  She was a cheerful soul who gave me the courage to express myself on paper;  she taught me how to enjoy whatever life had to offer, knowing that later I could write it down to share with other people.

•  Care to play along?  Do so in the comments below OR on your own blog.

14 thoughts on “Answering The Quaker Questions

  1. 1. Also Ohio
    2. A big old gravity feed gas furnace, replaced when I was a teen with something more modern (but the house has a coal door in the basement so there must have been something else before that).
    3. Ally Bean – the only person who ever wanted me to be happy (vs. dutiful), and who helped me enjoy the beauty life has to offer. Guess I need to thank her teacher as well.


  2. Oh, I’d love to play along on my own blog, but these days I’m so behind in my posts…So we’ll do a short version here:
    1. San Francisco (but I lived across the Bay in Sausalito)
    2. I had to think about which house I was in at 7. I don’t actually know the source of the heat. Possibly electric, possibly gas. There were forced hot air vents. I remember standing over them on chilly mornings and feeling the warm air fill out my nightgown.
    3. So many to choose from. I’m going to go with my grandmother. It’s hard to even say how in just a few words. She had remarkable strength and a sense of adventure. She loved her family fiercely but didn’t tolerate nonsense or bad manners. Or waste. I often find myself wishing I could channel her energy, and her ability to just get things done.


    • alejna,
      1. I’ve never been there. Someday I’ll fix that.
      2. I remember being in my grandpa’s house and standing on the hot air vents in my nightgown doing the same thing. Little girls are little girls the world over!
      3. What a wonderful choice. Your grandmother sounds like a good person to influence you.


  3. Never heard of the Quaker questions!

    1) Michigan!

    2) We moved to Kansas City when I was 9 months old and lived there till I moved out after college. We had an electric furnace with forced air. I have since lived in a variety of oddly heated homes but I didn’t know there was anything besides electric until I lived on my own.

    3) Besides my family, Gus Baker, my high school trig and calculus teacher. He taught me to find humor in unexpected places.


    • Zazzy,
      1. Hmmm. That big ‘ole state north of us, eh?
      2. Electric heat can be expensive. We had a home with it once.
      3. Interesting that a math teacher taught you to find the humor in things. My math teachers were not prone to frivolity.


  4. 1. New York City, borough of Queens.

    2. When I was seven we were living in a motel at the corner of 68th and El Cajon Blvd. in San Diego, CA. I don’t know what kind of heating they had there but it may have been hot water baseboard since I do not remember there being any floor registers. Heck, their may have not been any heat at all since it was California.

    3. My mother, definitely my mother with my father a close second.


    • la peregrina,
      1. NYC. That seems very sophisticated to a woman born in Ohio.
      2. Then San Diego. You sure did get to see two different parts of the country as a child, didn’t you? Not surprised that you don’t remember what kind of heat was in a motel room. Who would?
      3. Nice choice for those who influenced you.


  5. 1.Washington State
    2. I have absolutely no idea how they heated our home. We had a fireplace and maybe gas?
    3. My first French teacher was an inspiration to me; she introduced me to my fascination with language. She later became a long time colleague and friend.


    • Margaret,
      1. You never got far away from where you were born– like me.
      2. If you had been in a home with any sort of unusual heating system you’d have known it! So I imagine that your guess of something normal is right.
      3. Another person influenced by a teacher. That’s cool.


  6. 1. North London.
    2. We had an open fire until I was about 7, then we had gas central heating installed.
    3. This may sound strange, but I would say my ex-inlaws. I wasn’t actually married to their son but we were together for nearly 8 years. I knew them in my mid-twenties. so not exactly growing up physically but in all sorts of other ways. They were intelligent, articulate, well-read, well-travelled people who taught me a great deal about all sorts of things. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without having known them.
    Great post! Polly


    • Polly,
      1. Another person born in a huge city. Again I say that seems very sophisticated to me.
      2. Our coal fireplace was open. It was mesmerizing to watch.
      3. Interesting choice. I can see how they influenced you to be who you are today. It’s wonderful that you got to know them.


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