Esther Royer Ayers, the fifth child of eight children, was born into an Old Order Mennonite family in a farming community just outside the town limits of Columbiana, Ohio. Since Old Order Mennonites are not allowed to marry outside the religion, surnames are very important to them. My direct surname history is as follows: Great-grandmother was a Wenger, grandmother a Lehman, mother a Rhodes.
"I attended Columbiana Public School until seventeen. At that time, my mother, disenchanted with the Old Order Mennonite religion, moved her children to the big city of Akron, Ohio. I graduated from Akron’s North High in 1957 - then promptly went to work for the B.F.Goodrich Company. I left Akron in 1964 because of my husband’s employment.
"When in my twenties and raising my two sons, I realized how differently I was raised and wondered what my childhood religion was about. I began writing down some of my childhood stories so I’d never forget them. It took me decades to put everything together. However, these childhood stories are now the basis of early chapters in Rolling Down Black Stockings: A Passage Out of the Old Order Mennonite Religion."
Esther Royer Ayers