Did I get to experience living with the Amish?
No. But I spent a lot of time trying to catch glimpses and I finally had a satisfactory encounter. I didn't take this picture either.
But I did buy the postcard when traveling through Pennsylvania as a child. I was obsessed with postcards...and with the Amish. This postcard might be 45 years old, but Amish children pretty much look like this today.
I think most people are a little curious about the simple lives of the Amish. We all wonder what it would be like to depend on a horse and buggy for transportation.
We wonder how long we could last without TV or phones or computers. I know I've always wondered if Amish children really know what they're missing.
Little House Books
Maybe I read too many Laura Ingalls Wilder books when I was young. I fantasized about cooking over wood stoves and washing clothes in a tub.
I once bought a china pitcher and bowl and put it in my room on a wash stand, so I could wash my face at night. I begged my parents to let me remove the electric sockets in my room and bring in a kerosene lamp. They said no to that.
When I was about 16, I wrote to "Ask Us" in the local paper hoping they
could answer my question about how to find an Amish family to live with for a
while. I never heard back. They probably thought it was a joke.
Over the years I had a few drive by moments. In 1984 I was driving from Missouri to Michigan with my mom. We stopped at a gas station and discovered we'd made a wrong turn. Mom reacted to the mistake in her typical fashion. "Oh well. Wonder what there is to do around here anyway."
We ended up exploring the Amish country near Arcola, Illinois. I drove and Mom sat poised with the camera in her lap. We both ooed and ahhed over each buggy and Amish clothes line. We drove through town where clusters of bonneted children played beside a sheltered parking lot, filled with buggies.
After years of observing and wondering, I got to have an actual conversation...with Amish children.
I have too much respect to intrude, but there was a sign saying Fresh Baked Goods! It was like seeing a giant welcome mat!
Baskets, Jellies, Potholders and Corn!
My husband and I carefully chose a basket and a couple potholders. We picked out some raspberry jelly and the young sisters smiled shyly. Then Don took our goodies to the car and the girls seemed to relax a little more.
11 year old Mary told me how they spoke Pennsylvania Dutch and how her friend made the baskets. I shared my story about wanting to live like the Amish when I was little and the girls laughed. Mary told me about when a magazine writer came and took pictures of their family. She promised it was okay for me to take pictures. But they still seemed very shy. I only snapped a few quick ones, when their faces were obscured.
I did not live with the Amish, but I felt good about my encounter. I was nearly as giddy when I got back in the car, filled with jelly and crafts as I did when I parachuted or rode an elephant.
Chatting with the young Amish sisters may not be as good as living with the Amish, but I think I'll give myself a check anyway! I'm all about checking off lists and this may be as close as I get!
BARBIE BUCKET LIST
I was 8 years old when I got this embarrassing Barbie diary ... about 2 years before my real DIARY YEARS. (12 years of never missing a day) I was more into Trolls than Barbie, so I stashed it in a drawer and forgot about it.
Over the years my family moved numerous times and this super mod diary ended up burried in boxes over and over. For at least 12 years, whenever I ran across it, I would grab a pencil and jot down something ridiculous on the corresponding day. It was like a never ending doodle pad, fillled with more nonsense than reflection. The penmanship and horrendous spelling makes it difficult to read today, but the best discovery is a Bucket List that began on April 27, 1974!
Click on THE BEGINNING to see the LIST and how it evolved.