Monday, April 6, 2009

Where it all Began, Memories of a Former Amish

Spring was cautiously trying to peep through, but winter still had a grip on the land. A young married couple looked with great love at the little bundle they had just welcomed into the world. The young dark haired woman glowed with the glow of new motherhood as her handsome blue eyed husband gently cradled their firstborn. A tiny little girl. For now, their joy was complete.

They had been married for only a year. Life was good. A beautiful baby. A big successful pig farm. Friends and family all around them. They were part of the tight knit little group of Amish in a small community. They were happy, so happy, it truly seemed like all their dreams had come true.

That little baby was me. The firstborn and only daughter my parents had, five boys were added throughout the years, but we'll come to them later.

Not long after I was born a tornado went through the area, and my parents lost everything they had. Escaping with only their lives, their baby daughter, and the clothes on their backs. The Amish stepped up and provided them with whatever they needed. But after suffering such a financial loss they sold their land and moved into a little house right next to Grandpa Mast's big farm house.

The few memories I have of living there are only little snippets. My parents lived there for a few years and then moved to New York in the Finger Lakes Region where a new Amish settlement was starting. They moved into a little trailer on a dairy farm where Daddy would milk the cows morning and evening in exchange for rent and then had a day job at Wixson's Honey where he bottled honey all day long. The honey all came out of the same vat but was bottled as different brand names which of course sold for different prices. (To this day whenever I buy honey I always buy the cheapest.)

In the evenings while Daddy was in the barn Mom would sit on a chair in the living room and my brother John, who was two years younger than me, and I would stand in front of Mom and she would sing the "Lob Lied" in the long slow chant like we would sing in church, she would encourage us to help by watching her mouth. At the ages of only two and four we were taught our first Amish church song. After Daddy came in we would all sing together, hymns and church songs and then our bedtime song, "Mude ich bin ich geh zur ruh Schliesze meine augen zu Vater lasz die augen dein Uber meine bette sein*

It was wonderful. I'm sure our little childhood voices were lustily off key at times, but they were always patient and I think I could safely say they truly enjoyed having us help them sing.

*I am tired I'm going to rest I'll close my eyes tight Father (God) let your eyes Watch over my bed


  1. Loved your post and the name of your blog (A Joyful Chaos) - what a great title!! What person can't relate to that? I, too, have 3 children and am happily married (OK, 99% of the time - after all, he is human!) :) I just started my blog (silly though it is) not too long ago and am having fun with it. I can't wait to read more about you, your background and your life! Have fun!

  2. I too look forward to reading more of your writings.

  3. This story has such a sweet finish. It always refreshes me to hear a story of parents who enjoy parenting.

    Georgia Peach

  4. Grandpa Mast?

    A former boss of mine married a Mast who came from Amish parentage...interesting.

  5. I think I shall enjoy reading your story.

    Wixon's Honey... Right there on Rt 14 on the way to Watkin's Glen. Sometimes we got an ice cream cone on the way back home.

  6. I am so happy to have found this blog!! Actually, I think you found me... but then I found you. I've always admired the simple Amish life and I am excited to read your posts.

  7. i too am glad you found me and i found you so I can read more of your posts as well

    take care!

  8. Oh, this is such a beautiful story! I am going to love reading more of them! So glad to know of your wonderful blog now! :)

    Blessings to you,

  9. What a lovely beginning to a beautifully written memoire! I've just found you...but it won't be my last visit!

  10. I " discovered " your blog through a mutual friend Kathleen,the Wordsmith.
    You are being added to my must read list.
    Your writing is inspired !

  11. I was born in Geneva, myself! :) My mum and I used to do that little rhyme as part of nightly prayers (German, vaguely Catholic). Brings back happy memories.

    Going to keep reading forward, then. Cheers!

  12. I just found your blog! I am so intrigued by the Amish life. I live fairly close to the Amish in Big Valley, Pennsylvania. I am anxious to continue reading your story!

  13. Just found your blog and I do believe I shall enjoy it. You mention the finger lakes region of NY. I grew up in Canisteo and there was quite a settlement of Amish in and near Jasper. I know of the tragedy recently in that community and pray it did not affect any of your loved ones. Now I am off to read more posts.

  14. thank you for the info. i enjoyed it and am sure i will continue to enjoy. :) GOD bless you.

  15. I do not mean to be rude...just I cannot ask any Amish because there are none in my homeland.
    You write so positively about your childhood - are you still allowed to speak to your family after leaving the Amish?

    No offense meant.

    Andrea (Germany)

  16. Oh, my dear! I am starting at the beginning! Thank you for sharing your story and I will be looking forward to reading more ofo it each and every day until I 'catch up!'

  17. what a beautiful blog. I've always been intrigued by the Amish. I admire their simple life and their hard work. What church community are you part of today? I write about my faith too, and I love finding other believers in the blogsphere! I'm going to 'like' your fb page. Come visit me, if you'd like:

  18. I am so excited to finally find the time to come and begin exploring your blog. I live near Yoder, Kansas. Many Amish in the area. Many by the name of Mast!

  19. Just found your blog through Joyce/Hodgepodge! I am German - and my family also sang "Müde bin ich, geh zu Ruh ... "!! I have friends who were Amish in Northern Missouri who are also no longer in the community.... I love hearing the growing-up-simple stories. Glad I found your blog.


Thank you so much for taking time to comment. I love hearing your thoughts.