Friday, August 1, 2014

Ohio Amish Country

I'm just back from a week's vacation in Ohio.  I had such a great time, visiting with my long-time friend Robin the first half and my parents the second half.  An added bonus was to get to spend time with all of my siblings as we just happened to be in Ohio the same weekend.

First, like a good tourist, I had to have a ride through Amish country (primarily Tuscarawas county).  Of note were two small school houses, a traditional hayfield (piled up the old-fashioned way rather than the more commonly-seen shrink-wrapped round style), lots and lots of purple martin houses, multi-generational farmhouses, built attached to each other, lack of power lines, and of course, the Amish themselves, riding bicycles home from work, or traveling by horse and buggy.  I tried to photograph them only from inside the car, in an attempt to not be too obnoxious, but it was probably obnoxious anyway!

This schoolhouse was so cute, with its little bell tower on top, but sadly, it reminded me of Nickel Mines and the horrible tragedy that occurred at their schoolhouse.

 School playground and outhouse 
(Robin pointed out to me that there were separate outhouses for the girls and boys.
 I did not get both in the photo.)

 Purple martin????  (I hope so!)

Robin also showed me a phone booth (looked almost like an outhouse) in one front yard.  They wouldn't put an outhouse in the front yard, and they cannot have phones in the house, but they would not be breaking any rules by having a phone booth for use in the yard.  There are some strange loopholes!  My nephew just spent several weeks of his summer in a cross-cultural program with an Amish family in PA and another in OH, and he said many houses are now wired for electricity (to meet code), but it is not connected.

We also passed a rather large outdoor gathering, possibly a wedding, at one house.  Boys were playing ball in the yard, adults were gathering in tents, the women and girls had on solid but pastel-colored dresses.  Buggies were I didn't dare take any photos, but it was neat to see.  Robin mentioned that she had a relative who had attended an Amish wedding in the past, and the "English" guests (non-Amish) ate first, then the plates were scraped (but not washed) and the Amish ate next.  

It's an impressive ideal to carry out in this modern era, and I appreciate sneaking a glimpse into their corner of the world.

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