Over the past several months, I’ve been blessed with numerous column readers who have made inquiries about variousaspects of Amish life.
Today I got the inspiration to simply write some of my answers to all of you who may be interested.
A common question I get is about “rumschpringe.” While rumschpringe is a popular topic in many books about the Amish itvaries dramatically from one Amish community to the next. In our church we do not have a period of rumschpringe for theyoung folks to go sow their wild oats. Our young people start with the youth at around age 15 or 16. We then have twocouples coordinate youth activities such as singing in the nursing homes, having work nights for someone needing a helpinghand or occasionally planning a volleyball game for them. This gives the youth the opportunity to interact with the marriedfolks on a regular basis in everyday life. So how do the young Amish people date and marry? I was on the “young side” inour community. Daniel and I started dating soon after my 19th birthday and married when I was 20. It’s as I always like totell people, “Daniel is a little older than me, so he was mature enough to balance me out! Of course there are also coupleswho are in their 30s when they marry although the majority do so in their 20s.
To Vicki in Centerville, Ohio, who asks, “What do we use to keep our food such as meat, fruit, and corn frozen?” While wedon’t have line electricity, we generate our own from a solar system. Daniel put in a solar system that powers anything weneed electricity for.
(Editor’s Note: Having travelled to Amish communities across the USA, the issue of electricity varies widely and is oftenmisunderstood by the general public. On one end, you have the “Electric Amish” and the New Order Amish Fellowship inplaces like Crofton, Kentucky; Union Grove, NC, and parts of Ohio who have electric in their homes, on the other end themost conservative Amish do not and you have many variations in the middle. Often the Amish don’t object to electricityitself, it’s connecting to the larger grid and outside influences like TV and the internet. Solar power allows the Amish to pickand choose what they want to power. Solar panels are very common on rooftops in Grabill, Indiana and increasingly inplaces like Daviess County, Indiana and Lancaster, Pa. – Kevin Williams)
Now for the question of whether I use a computer for my letters? No, I write them all out by hand. While I do enjoy writing,my handwriting has never been the beautiful script I dreamt of when I was a young girl but I’ve learned to enjoy life andwhat God gave me.
Photos are another topic I get asked about. This is a difficult topic about the Amish for people to understand simply becauseit varies so much. Our community does have some photographs. We don’t believe it is wrong to own photos or even havesome pictures taken. Our greater concern is the vanity and pride that easily get entangled in picture-taking.
Talk about Amish reminds me of the new fuah we have (a Dutch word for horse and buggy). We’ve all been really excitedabout it. Some of you may remember our pony, Sassy Sundae. We often just call her Sassy for short, though 2-year-oldAustin is constantly reminding me that it is “Sassy Sundae, not Sassy!” So call her what you want, Sassy has now beentrained to pull a cart and Daniel purchased a beautiful cart, the perfect size for our family. Julia and Austin never tire ofgoing away with Sassy and helping us drive her. Not only is it fun for the children, a pony is so much easier for me toharness and hitch up since everything is on a smaller scale.
If you have any additional questions, feel free to ask. No question is too foolish. There really are all kind of people out therewith all kind of views. Ultimately our goal is to live as Jesus taught us: be out for the good of others and join Him in Heavensome day.
Now for a good old Amish recipe. Can food be Amish? Anyway how about trying Grandma’s homemade apple pie? She hascountless pies just like this, everyone loves Grandma’s apple pie!
Grandma’s Glazed Apple Pie
1 9-inch unbaked pie crust with a top pastry
6 apples, peeled and sliced
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup butter
1 egg white, beaten
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons water
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Mix sugar and cinnamon into apples. Spoon into unbaked crust. Cut butter into slivers and place on top. Transfer top pastryto top of pie. Trim off excess dough. Lightly press outer edges together and flute rim. Cut decorative slits on top to allowteam to escape. Spread desired amount of beaten egg white into top crust, forming little peaks. Bake on bottom rack at 425for 15 minutes. Turn oven to 350 for an additional 30 minutes.
While the pie is baking, mix icing ingredients and then spread over the top of pie while it is still hot, as soon as it is out ofthe oven.
Gloria is Amish and lives in a rural horse and buggy settlement in Illinois. Readers with questions or comments can write to Gloria at P.O. Box 157, Middletown, Ohio 45042. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.