Living in Amish country and learning about their culture

The Amish culture believes pictures cause vanity which is not something they want.
The Amish culture believes pictures cause vanity which is not something they want.

The Amish culture has been interesting to me since childhood. This interest started when one of my stepfathers became my “father” . He was raised at the edge of Amish country so had known some of them from early childhood.

When talking to children he always got around to talking about his childhood and the Amish people who lived close to him. One of his favorite things to talk about is how his life changed but the lives of the Amish did not. He started his schooling like most of his age in a one room school house. Running water, electricity and an indoor toilet had not yet been invented. His education went to grade eight. His family was one of the first with a tractor and while he was plowing he saw the Amish still pulling their plows with horses. He got his first car in the thirties his Amish neighbors never bought one. For him it was allowed for them it was not.

Years later when first visiting then moving to Amish country things for them still hadn’t changed much. Amish children still go to school in one room school houses with no electricity, running water, and still use outhouses. For the most part they still wear clothes made by their parents or grandparents. Their teachers are not trained professionals and all are people of the faith. A few of the things that have changed are some of them ride a school bus to school and they now have scooters for fun and transportation.


Some changes

Their parents have made many more changes not only since my “fathers” time, but even from the time of my first visit to when their country became my home. It didn't take long to notice the changes. More of the machines they use have gasoline or propane motors. They use horses to pull these because their religion won't allow anything moved by a motor. More ride in the vehicles of others, and are more have friendships with non Amish neighbors.


The Amish believe they should remain separate from the world. This includes keeping their homes free from any line which hooks to what we call the grid. This does not mean they can not have friends who do live on the grid, work for people not of the faith or run businesses which cater to non believers. It definitely doesn’t mean they can’t use modern technology as long as it fits within what is allowed. When they need (not want) something many of them find a way to make it work off the grid.


The friendships are different though because most people who live on the grid see life so differently from the ways of the Amish people. We had neighbors who would walk down and visit. They always stopped at the property line until invited on. Never did they go in the house and they asked that while they were there our child didn’t play with toys which were not allowed for their children.


For me there were three downsides to living in their country. They are never in a hurry so things always had to be planned so we wouldn’t be late if one of their buggies was in front of us on a long stretch of road. The clomp, clomp of horses hooves on a paved road will wake me from a dead sleep at any time of night. Their schools ran different hours so carpooling took longer as their school got out right as it was time to drive past it.


Community

Learning about the Amish culture and the way they still hold themselves away from those who surround them is something only dreamed about as a teen. They are real people with real problems just like everyone else in the world. The one thing they have in their favor is they are part of a close knit community who take care of each other.

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Comments 18 comments

wheelinallover profile image

wheelinallover 4 years ago from Central United States Author

Most of my childhood was spent without the "perks" the rest of the world took for granted. I admire the Amish people for their way of life. I would be living a life style closer if it was physically possible.


Dame Scribe profile image

Dame Scribe 4 years ago from Canada

I love hearing and learning about others and got to admire those that actually thrive w/o all the 'tech and gadgets' :)


wheelinallover profile image

wheelinallover 5 years ago from Central United States Author

Paul, isn't it true that every type of work is hard in one way or another. For the most part in the past the Amish were farmers, now they have really diversified. They learn to build things starting in their teens, the ones who are going to be farmers also start training in their teens.


PaulGoodman67 profile image

PaulGoodman67 5 years ago from Florida USA

The Amish are such a fascinating people! I guess many of us have a yearning for the simple life, but I imagine that it is very hard work too! :-)


wheelinallover profile image

wheelinallover 5 years ago from Central United States Author

I couldn't believe when I heard the Amish population is growing. They have had communities as far west as Kansas, but I heard that one didn't survive. I have seen Amish buggies in Missouri, Indiana, Ohio and of course Pennsylvania. I know they are also in New York but didn't see any on my infrequent trips there. They have an interesting culture and I relate to them in many ways. It was rare to see an Amish man on horseback which is my favorite way to travel.


meow48 profile image

meow48 5 years ago from usa

great hub. more familiar with the hoosier brand of amish though up in Shipshewana and Goshen... forgive the spelling, please remember Quayle came from indiana, hee hee... what was that famous spelling? potatos or was it potatoes?


wheelinallover profile image

wheelinallover 5 years ago from Central United States Author

It was life changing, now I am comfortable in shorts and a tee shirt at the sixty-eight degrees this house is kept at in the winter. In the summer however the house never goes below eighty degrees. The family who live with me are always complaining about sixty-eight being cold and can't stand to see me running around in shorts. They were used to keeping their house at eighty degrees all year long. Here they don't pay the gas bill so have to "suffer" with what I can afford.


DTroth profile image

DTroth 5 years ago from My Little Hole In The Wall, HubPages, USA

LOL! It's not funny that YOU were freezing your buns off. It's funny the way you said, "what I called warm." (:

Yah, 30 feet away is not very far.


wheelinallover profile image

wheelinallover 5 years ago from Central United States Author

The road was 30 ft away and the window was always open, winter and summer. My wife couldn't stand being what I called warm.


DTroth profile image

DTroth 5 years ago from My Little Hole In The Wall, HubPages, USA

Holy cow. You either lived right next to the road or you had very little insulation in your walls...or BOTH! (:

Now that you've shed a little more light on the matter, I can see why the "clomping" would be a MAJOR drawback. ...and probably right when you'd finally drift off to sleep too...then comes the CLOMP CLOMP CLOMP! ...jeeez...

That would totally suck. Is that the Amish version of young people "thumping" their deep bass stereos in their cars in the middle of the night? I think I'd still rather hear the clomping of horse hooves. (:


wheelinallover profile image

wheelinallover 5 years ago from Central United States Author

D My day there started at 5:15 am and many nights didn't end till after midnight. Two things I learned in that marriage. Never marry a woman who has to have a television in the bedroom and have it on all night. The other is never have the computers on the other side of the wall where you sleep. The clomp, clomp was heard over both these background noises.


DTroth profile image

DTroth 5 years ago from My Little Hole In The Wall, HubPages, USA

Hi Denna,

It's me again. I love this Hub. We always just "visited" Amish towns, but I never really thought about what it would be like to live next to them. Yes, it would be painstakingly slow to be stuck behind a horsedrawn buggy, but personally, I kinda like the "clomp clomp" of horse hooves...on any surface. Even in the middle of the night since I don't usually sleep much anyway. (:


wheelinallover profile image

wheelinallover 5 years ago from Central United States Author

Many people take vacations from the grid and most of them say they don't miss the conveniences (chuckle chuckle) The truth is most of us are now dependent on grid, computers, cell phones, and this house wouldn't survive past nap time without the television sets. So unless you are raised Amish good luck.


Motown2Chitown 5 years ago

What an interesting hub! I would love to see another down the road that expounds even more on this fascinating lifestyle. I sometimes wish I had it in me to live "off the grid" as it were, but as a child of the late twentieth and early twenty-first century, I know I would find that very difficult. Great job. Up and useful!


wheelinallover profile image

wheelinallover 5 years ago from Central United States Author

Other than their training (which is done lovingly) in gestalt the Amish children are just that, children. They do have a simpler life and are more active than the others who live around them. I think the inquisitiveness in all children is brought out more with simpler lifestyle. The way I was raised was even simpler than these children, yet at the same time harder. I have seen for many years the similarities and differences.


Joy56 profile image

Joy56 5 years ago

I live in Ireland, and when i went to Buffalo to attend my sons wedding, we visited the Aimish. I could not believe what i saw. I wanted to stay a while, and get to know them, especially the children. They had such a strange fascination. I would love to know more about them. Thanks for your insight


wheelinallover profile image

wheelinallover 5 years ago from Central United States Author

So far my hubs have all been from personal experience which is why I don't have many. My actual experience goes much further than what was written. I admire them, believe in many ways their way of life and living is better than the general population of this country.


Gypsy Jane profile image

Gypsy Jane 5 years ago from Florida

It's very nice that you had a chance to live so close to, and learn so much about, this very interesting group of people. Voted beautiful for being such a unique and personal story:)

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