December 2, 2008

Amish Country Letters

I took this picture this fall.  I had to wait till he was well enough past me.  Amish do not have mirrors nor photos.  No images of themselves are allowed.  So you can only take a picture from behind.  
In our small town published weekly newspaper.  There is a section that always occupies the very last page called 'Amish Country'.  The paper runs letters written by Amish community members and sent in to keep there extended family and friends filled in on important news.
I'm going to provide you a few snippets from some of these letters, the comments is parenthesis are mine.

From Mrs. Barbara Byler of Punxsutawney, PA:

Mrs. Elmer Byler, Rachel & Cora Byler were to Atlee Weavers on Tuesday had gone to help Martha pack & were planning to move next week & when we got there we found out they will not be moving so soon as someone was living in the house they were moving into.  So they can't move until the other family moves out.

(now...I found this vastly amusing.  Because what a pain in the rear that would be.  They hitch up the horse, load up the buggy in the freezing cold, go for God knows how far.  Just to find out that there will be no packing.  And what about the people who were moving....how did they find out.....a letter?  Because there is no phones, no Internet, no telegraph.  And who is the 'someone' who is living in the new house?)

she continues to write:

Yesterday was the funeral in Smicksburg for Roman Schalbach age 13. (gives family lineage)  A lot of people of this area were viewing and yesterday was the funeral.  He was kicked in head by a horse 2 wks. ago today.

(and that's the end of the letter, nothing more.  Poor little Roman.  Kicked in head.  The End.)

Miss Clara Byler of New Wilmington, PA writes:

Come on I miss your letters.

Rudy M. Byler had a little accident on Fri. coming down a big hill on Means Rd. A piece of harness came lose & his spring wagon went for the ditch & his brand new stove fell off & received some scratches & finally got it loaded up again & went on his way.

(now come on.....surely Mrs. Rudy M. Byler was not happy about her stove.....we want the real scoop here.  And Clara your still signing Miss so....maybe it's not a good idea to put humiliating misfortunes of the neighboring men folk in the newspaper.)

Its starting to sprinkle, so the ladies wash might get wet.

(folks the temperature was 20 F out max on the day she wrote this.  Can you imagine using a tub and wash board and hanging up your cloths on an outside line?)

The globe prints all letters as they are received with no editing.  They are shall we say always insightful....like blogging but in black and white.  Ummmm....no so different considering I blog in black and white.  Whatever.

13 comments:

bekah said...

I too live only minutes away from Amish country in PA!

I have always been fascinated by them and their culture. And you are totally right about the picture thing, I hate when I drive by a car of people leaning out of the windows taking pictures of the kids and women...I know most people don't know any better, but still.

Linda said...

They fascinate me too. That's one of my goals; to see their culture for myself one day.

The Wife said...

Very interesting!

On a side note, you asked what the box was on the calves. It is called a "dummy". It's only purpose is to simulate weight and release the flank strap by remote control. It weighs about 8 lbs. The bigger the calves get, the larger the dummy gets. Until they are big enough to put a rider on.

carrielt said...

I love the newspaper article. My great aunt does the "who did what during the week" news for a country paper and she sounds the same way. She isn't the brightest in the first place but then give her a pen and paper and it's a disaster! The week after our wedding she wrote, "Gene and I attended Travis and April's wedding...." April is my sister! Reading her article makes me tired!

Far Side of Fifty said...

Interesting letters, Thanks for sharing. Short and to the point I guess. But interesting:)

Claudia's thoughts said...

About five years ago Daniel Byler of new Wilmington make my new dining room table. It was in Mission style and has eight chairs. It cost 1/2 of what I would have paid at the store in Allegheny County. The English driver called me and they delivered it at my house. When I placed the order I showed the young Amish guy my map to my house. He loved that map, I just gave it to him. I love my table.

LadyFi said...

It is interesting to read of another lifestyle - a simpler and quieter one.

shesmarriednow said...

I love the Amish people. When I went to school down there we would always see them passing through town. I loved when my parents or friends came down and they were just in awe that they "existed". I think its great.

Neas Nuttiness said...

We went through several of these communities when DH was working in Pennsylvania for a year. I wanted so badly to take a picture of a family going through the "drive thru" at the bank, in their horse and buggy.

Leilani Lee said...

One very hot summer day we drove by an Amish farm on our way to an Indian pow wow and there the women were out in the garden with their long dresses and head coverings and black stockings. Sometimes I envy them and their way of life, sometimes not. I have always resisted the temptation to hang out my car window and snap pictures of them when we pass the wagons on the highway.

the cubicle's backporch said...

We have Amish neighbors and when I was younger the Amish used to baby-sit me. It's a whole other world it is.

I agree with Bekah, I've always been fascinated by them. I think it's human nature to want to improve things, so the fact that they maintain their way of life year after year is pretty amazing.

Barbara Martin said...

What a treat reading this post was. The Amish live a simple way of life that 'outsiders' should consider. We are inudated by communication through television, radio, newspapers and the internet. Can we make decisions for ourselves without referring to these transmissions? Most cannot.

Carol said...

Hello! I jsut stumbled across your blog (from readuing comments on Pioneer Woman) and I live in Ohio, just outside of Sugarcreek - and work in Sugarcreek too! most all of my neighbors are Amish, and I actually used to travel the Smickburg, PA area in my sales (dac Vitamins and Minerals for Horses and Livestock) No, I'm not here to push products, but I am here to tell you I truely enjoy the Amish community! Noah Byler (Bylers Harness and Shoe in Smicksburg, PA is one of my favorite places to drive too! They are so friendly and personable!!