Friday, June 8, 2012

10 Things I've Learned About the Amish ~ Guest Post

My name is Beth from The imPerfect Housewife, and I'm excited to do a guest post on Mary Ann's blog today. It's fun to talk "Amish" with others who share the same interest! She and I have gotten to know each other over the past couple years and yet have never met in person. However, I do consider her one of my dearest friends. Thanks to the gift of modern technology (e-mail, Facebook, snail mail, etc.) we have become psychologists, cheerleaders, comforters, and teachers to one another. "Why do the Amish..." is something she's heard a million times, and even though there is no standard answer that encompasses all Amish, she gives examples of how things were where she was from and what she knows of other Amish out there. She's never told me, "Enough already!" when out of the blue I'll ask a weird question that I just never thought about before like, 'So do the Amish wear deodorant?' and she's had to learn about all kinds of little intricacies of life being "English" as well. (And yes, they did wear deodorant where she was from - don't tell me you weren't curious. :)

We have an Old Order Amish community about an hour and twenty minutes from my home in St. Louis, in Bowling Green, Missouri, and that's where my husband I go for little weekend getaways. The community is right outside town and they keep pretty much to themselves - no Amish restaurants, Bed & Breakfasts, or that kind of thing. It's close enough to St. Louis and yet far enough away that it's still a vacation but completely out in the country. My husband's friend from work and his wife bought a former Amish home up there that they're converting little by little. So far, just electricity and running water, but no indoor plumbing. It's a beautiful home and they keep inviting us to stay there but I told them I'm pretty sure I'm busy every day until they get bathrooms inside, oh and probably air conditioning.

The Amish community recently had their annual auction to raise money for their schools there and that is the most fun an Amish-obsessed person with a camera can have. I can't speak for all areas, but here they don't like people in their faces and don't like to pose (I think that's pretty universal, Amish or not) but they don't mind pictures from a distance or when someone's not looking - and I've got a great zoom for a cheap camera. And yes, they like to see the pictures to see if they know anyone, which is a crack up to me. That being said, some of these pics are from the auction and some are from other times we've been there and here's what I've learned about these Amish:
1. The price of hats. I never gave it much thought. Straw in the summer, wool in the winter. Well, we were in a shop there that sells hats and this was a little surprise:

Wool hats - $83.99! Whoa horsey. I asked how much the straw ones were...$9.99. 
2. They have a great sense of humor. Saw this sign in the same shop as the hats:

3. They like their pies to be cute and they know how to sell. We've seen this in other areas as well and let's face it, who wouldn't rather buy a cute pie?! I would.

4. They don't all play with faceless dolls.
The woman at the shop (Clara), whom we've come to know from going there several times, loves to talk and she's a mom who's been through it all with 12 kids (or is it 13?). Her daughter helped us one time and when I saw Clara later I told her her daughter helped us (we'll call her Hannah - that's not for anonymity but because I have no idea what her name is). Clara said, "Oh she hates to help out in the shop and I just tell her, 'Too bad'." Hmm, I can relate. I would've given her a high five if it wouldn't have been too weird. Anyway, she sells these faceless dolls and I asked her if Amish little girls really only play with faceless dolls? Nope, not there anyway. She said they played with whatever was there and had some of both.

5. Buttons vs. Pins on little girls.
  I know that little girls can have buttons until a certain age but then need to switch to pins. To me, an outsider, it's one of those 'I don't get it' rules - buttons are OK for men and children but not women. Of course I had to ask why can't women have buttons and my answer was, "I don't know." Well, okee dokee, good enough for me.

6. They're sentimental.
This is on the porch of the former Amish home our friends bought. I'd say the Eichers lived there. That's a big name in Bowling Green - Eicher. This just warms my heart and they wanted their baby's prints in the concrete. CUTE!

7. Teen guys love to look cool in their shades.
When you got it, you got it.

8. The older generation will always impart their wisdom.

9. Child care is share and share alike - at least on auction day.

10. Everyone needs a best friend.

And one to grow on...I learned that in all those Amish fiction books that take place in Berlin, Ohio, it's pronounced BERlin, not BerLIN, like in Germany.

As the Amish themselves always say, they're just like everybody else, and in so many ways they are. It's also fun to see the little ways that they're different as well though. Thanks to Mary Ann for having me post today ~ it's fun to share with new readers! Have a great day ~


  1. Great guest post, thanks for sharing :)

  2. Wonderful post...I must admit I was curious about the deodorant also :-)

  3. An old family doctor told my sister that his Amish patients never have cysts under their arms because they don't shave their armpits nor wear deodorant. Most of his Amish patients were Swartzentruber Amish.

  4. Ach! Beth I could have told you that about Berlin, and someday I'll teach you how to say Ephrata. ;)

    Great pics! So proud to call you and Mary Ann my friends, too.

  5. I bought my boyfriend a new hat (his was getting a bit floppily after 10 years' wear) at Flying Cloud Hats while passing through Lancaster, PA. I think it was $75 for a wool hat. He decided it's too good for his everyday wear and is still wearing his old hat, keeping his nice new wool hat for special occasions like weddings.

  6. Great post! So, that's why Mose said BERlin when he visited OH the other week on Amish:Out of Order on NatGeo! I've always called it BerLIN.

  7. A really great post with great writing and Images, and there are cheaper Amish hats available with the only thing being they are mostly made In China. So that hat is a very Important part of the person wearing It, and anything with less that good quality will not do. Have a great weekend folks and again a great post. Richard

  8. Thanks, for the great post. Yep, I wondered about the deoderant!

  9. Ughhh....I read (and watch) everything Amish I can get my hands on and the one remaining question I had was the 'button/pin' thing. I just don't get it!!!! My hubby has a logging business and delivers wood to some sawmills close to our house. Maybe someday I'll get brave and ask them....maybe they'll have an answer :)

  10. Wow, such an interesting post...thank you. I am also very interested in the Amish and have read several books about them. We once visited an Amish community in Iowa where I had the best meal I have eaten in my entire life! We used in live in the St. Louis area for several years (East in Fairview Heights, IL) but I had no idea there was an Amish community so close. There is sure a lot we can learn from the Amish!

  11. What a great post! Thanks.
    greetings from The Netherlands,

  12. Great post...I enjoyed it very much...blessings to you both.

  13. How fun to come over here and read your post Beth! Loved the picture of the older man, imparting "wisdom" to the younger boy. My kids call it a "Life Lesson"! Gotta love it!

  14. Well, it's about time I get over here to post a comment! I'm surprised at my advanced age, I could remember to get here at all ;-) Great photos and info delivered in true Beth style... and Mary Ann encourages you!!! So glad you are friends!

    Here in NY, in St. Johnsville, some wear deodorant and some don't. I think this community is originally from Indiana but I may be wrong about that. I love visiting with them at a greenhouse one family has but not on a hot, humid day :-)

  15. Hi

    I recently discovered your blog. It's so interesting!!

    Greetings from Belgium.


  16. Very interesting. Loved the pictures. I found you because I googled the deodorant question. Thanks for the great info.


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