Monday, October 17, 2011

This week on Jean : A monarch in Jean and David's family passes away, and Marilyn is invited to a old order Mennonite funeral and shares what it was like.

Jean is old order Mennonite from New York State.Jean and her husband David and family live on a dairy farm, and travel their community using horse and buggy. She tells her story exclusively on Amish Stories.
So much has happened the last few days. Baby Rebecca has been transfered to another Social Services family in Rochester New York as she is in the hospital there, and it would be better if she had someone closer as her Foster Parents. Rebecca has not been eating like Susan and Baby David did when they were her age, but at first I thought it was do to the drugs that were in Mother's system when she gave birth. One evening heavy breathing started so we took her to the Canandaigua hospital and she was transferred to the children's section of Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester. We got a driver to take us up to the hospital. I stayed with Rebecca while David went home and did chores the next morning. That afternoon, while I was waiting to meet the new Foster Parents, I received a call from David that his grandmother had passed on. After I met the new Foster Parents, they drove me to our house. When Rebecca is better, we are the first in line to adopt her. If we chose not to there are several other families who would like her. David and I are still considering adopting her. The only fall back is that her Mother could claim her when she gets to be 18 or 21. It hurt so much to leave her there and not bring her home. The new Foster Parents met David when they brought me home and agreed to give us a report on how she is doing. We are also welcome to come and see her anytime we would like. David's grandmother had cancer for many years-even before her husband went (died). He had been so afraid that she would go first. The day she went she took a nap in the afternoon, which is something she did usually do. She just never woke up. David's Mother went into see why she was sleeping so long and grandmother had went. As is law in this state, they called the police and funeral home. David went to see her before they came. Grandmother went to the funeral home to be preserved . Meanwhile David and Michael made the coffin to put her in. Michael wanted to help David as he and David's grandmother had been close. She had told him before he ran away or got upset to come and see her-and he did. Not that he wanted to run away, but he just wanted to talk to her. She would tell us sometimes we were too strict on him as he was part of two worlds-the one he was brought up in and the one we live in. She would tell us to give a little,  We have tried to live by her advice. When the coffin was finished David and Michael took it over to David's parents house. After Grandmother came back she was dressed and laid out in the coffin. Word had spread throughout the family, Mennonites and Amish. People came to our home and David's parents to do chores, help clean, cook meals, view grandmother and more. On Friday, I sent Michael and Susan to school, but they were take Monday for the funeral. All weekend people came to take over our chores, cook, and view. At meeting (church) on Sunday, the funeral was announced. We even had some of David's Dad's relatives come in from out of state. David's dad was one of 15 children so there were lots of people. Some stayed at our house and other relatives houses. We invited Marilyn to the funeral and she came at 8:00 AM on Monday morning. At 8:30 there was a small funeral at David's parents. Then Grandmother was put on the horse drawn Hurst to be taken to the meeting (church). We followed in our carriages. The coffin is not brought into the meeting building (church). All of us went into the meeting and the service was held. Our service has special religious songs, the Bishop and deacons give sermons. The sermons are based on Jesus death and Resurrection-we pass from here to a home in heaven with Jesus-our body remains on earth, but our soul is gone to heaven. We sign some more songs that Grandma had chosen when she planned the funeral many years ago. When we file outside of the meeting the coffin is open so we can walk by and have our last viewing. After everyone has passed the coffin is closed and nailed shut. We then follow the Hurst to the cemetery where we have another short funeral and Grandma was lowered into the ground next to where Grandpa had been buried. After she was lowered into the ground as we passed we each put three handfuls of dirt on top of the coffin to remind us that we are all made from dust and until dust our bodies will return. As Martha was holding a dinner for us after the funeral we got in our buggies and went to her house. David's Dad had a sign as we entering Martha's house that said "Leave your tears here-outside". When everyone was inside David's Dad told everyone that we had shed out tears and done our mourning. If Grandma was there she would tell us to stop our blattneing. He only wanted to happy, cheerful, funny things or good things that she did. Everyone sort of looked at him for a minute like he was nuts and starting laughing. The happy stories started and went all throughout the rest of the day. As Martha and some of the other ladies were making the dinner they had come to the viewing but not the funeral. I don't know if I can remember all we ate but there was chicken, mashed potatoes, chow chow, pickled eggs, salads, sweet potatoes, gravy, peas, corn, different kinds of breads and rolls, and more. For desert there were cakes, cookies and pies. The most of the desert was Funeral Pie (recipe attached). After dinner we ladies helped clean up and chatted while the men chatted. We all left a little after 2:00. We thank Martha, the ladies, our Bishop, deacons and all who helped this day. Michael had always looked at David's Grandmother as his Grandmother. Before we left my Grandparents took Michael aside and told him that they knew they had a different personality that David's Grandmother, but he was welcome at their house anytime-if he had any problem, wanted to run away or just talk. He could come any hour day or night. They knew he had some hard times living our way of life and that they would be fair and not take sides. He said he would and they all hugged. I believe Marilyn has a few words to add.  Marilyn: I had never been to a Mennonite funeral before. Jean was so kind to keep with the family. When I entered the meeting (church) I was going to sit where the other outsiders had sat, but Jean took my arm and sat me with the family. Parts of the funeral were in German, but the sermons were in English due to us outsiders being there and I appreciated it. Most of the songs were in German, but a few like Amazing Grace, the Old Rugged Cross were in English. Another difference was the men sitting on one side and the ladies on the other. It was a sad time at the funerals, but yet there is hope that when our time comes we, who know the Lord, will go to be with Him. At the cemetery and the putting on the hands of dirt really makes you realize that life is only so long. One day our body will be going into the ground and our souls to heaven-we should try to live as God would want us to and do His ways. The dinner was delicious-it was served family style. I enjoyed that the dinner was full of happy stories, the work she had done and we all laughed. I hope sometime Jean does a post on what kind of a person she was. David's Grandmother use to say she was a tough old bird. From what I heard, she had a heart of gold. Jean asked me to add that the Fire Department people came to either the viewing or funeral-some came to both. They were all in their dressed uniforms. David's Dad tried to get them to come to the dinner, but the didn't so after the dinner-the ladies packaged dinners for their homes and David and his Dad went around and delivered them. Jean, David, his Dad and myself thought that was very kind that they would take the time to come to the viewing and funeral. I am sorry that David's Grandmother passed away, but I was glad that David and Jean invited me to the funeral and dinner.  Be With God Jean and Marilyn. Recipe for old order Mennonite funeral pie: 2 cups raisins. 1 cup water. Finely grated zest of 1 large orange. 1 cup orange juice 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided use 2 tablespoons cornstarch 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1/2 cup chopped walnuts 1 egg, beaten Pastry for 2 pie crusts Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Combine raisins, water, orange zest and juice in saucepan. Bring to a boil. reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Meanwhile combine 3/4 cup sugar, cornstarch, allspice, and nutmeg in a small bowl. Stir slowly into raisin mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Stir in lemon juice and walnuts. Roll out half the pie dough on a lightly floured surface. Fit into an 8 or 9 inch pie pan. Pour filling into pie shell. Roll out remaining pastry and place over pie. Seal and flute edges. Cut several slashes into top of pie to release steam. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with reserved tablespoon of sugar. Bake until golden-about 20 to 25 minutes. Serve warm. Yield 8 servings This pie will be sweet. It is served as desert at most Old Order Mennonite dinners after a funeral. Pie could be made a day or two ahead of eating. The story goes that this pie is made so sweet to allow mourners to forget, if only for a minute, the pain of their grief. Jean
On Wednesday the Ford Mustang post as Amish Stories looks back at the original Mustang. Then on Thursday the Amish Cook. And on Friday image's of Illinois's Amish settlement with a whoopie pie recipe!


I've created this website out of my own interest in the Amish/Mennonite culture and of living in the country. Its a place for people who are interested in the Amish like myself, and its also a place to share Images of the beautiful country side that is all around me. my name is Richard, and I live very close to an Amish settlement here in Pennsylvania. This site is dedicated to my mother, who had started all of this by taking me as a child to Lancaster,pa from our apartment in the Bronx projects..........THANK YOU MOM............... Richard