Tuesday, November 8, 2011

This week on Jean: A very special post as Michael celebrates his very first birthday party.

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.

Michael's birthday cake was taken to his homeroom at school on October 28th. When I was making it Michael asked me to put on it Happy Birthday to his homeroom number. I asked him why as it was his birthday. He said as it was going to be the only birthday cake in his homeroom for the year it wasn't fair that it was just his birthday cake. So I did as he asked. I brought it over in the buggy about a half hour before his school closed to his homeroom. I bought the cake, paper plates, soda, napkins and paper cups. The students were happy that Michael had the homeroom put on his cake rather than just his name. Before they had me cut the cake, they sang Happy Birthday to themselves, which I thought was nice. All the students and teacher got a piece of cake and a soft drink. The students wanted to know if I could bring one in before winter break (they don't say Christmas break in the public school). I told them I would check into it, which I haven't done yet. Thought I would wait until after Thanksgiving.

On October 29th  Michael had the first  birthday party in his young  life. A couple of weeks before I had him make up a list of his friends. He advised me what food he would like and of course another cake. Michael had been to birthday parties, but had never had one. I started making up foods on Thursday for his party. After being here for Susan's birthday and us talking with him, Michael knew that not all his gifts would be worldly gifts. That most of our gifts were items he would use-not toys, games, etc. so to expect gifts from us , our Old Order Mennonite and Amish friends would be different that he might expect.

The morning of the day we celebrated Michael's Birthday, David told him he did not have to do any chores that day except for milking. Michael was shocked. David said that was one of our gifts for him. After breakfast we decided to tell Michael what we had in the cellar for him. Michael likes to play basketball and we were going to put a hoop on our barn so he could use it, but of course he couldn't use it in the winter with all the snow. So we took Michael down in the cellar and showed him the steel basketball hoop we had down there that could be used in the basement during the winter and be taken outside during the other seasons. Plus we got him a couple of basketballs. David also gave Michael some new wood working tools. Michael had been using David's when he did wood working-now he has his own. I also bought Michael some clothes for school and a gift certificate for another pair of Nike shoes. I made him an Old Order Mennonite set of clothes for meeting days, which we had in a box as Susan's gift to Michael. Michael had asked for the clothes so he would fit in at meetings. From Baby David we had a gift certificate for a shoe store so Michael could get a pair of shoes for meetings. We had to give gift certificates for shoes as Michael's feet have grown and I want him to have his feet measured before he gets new shoes-want to make sure they fit with room to spare a bit.

In the afternoon Michael's friends came. We put the gift's on a table in the living room. I think some of his friends knowing that his parents had never purchased him anything more than they had to, and that this was his first birthday party wanted more expensive gifts that they would otherwise give him. Martha and Joseph also came so Martha could decorate the cake worldly (with flowers and decoration on it) and  they could help with  the party-they also brought their children. The young folks played soft ball and one of the girls hit a baseball through our bedroom window which is on the second floor of our house. Joseph came in and told us about the window also said-they told her to run a home run for that hit. The glazier will be here Monday to put glass back in the window-we have plastic over it now. After the soft ball game we had them come into the house to eat and open presents. Joseph and Martha gave Michael a gift certificate for a pair of ice skates. We have several ice skating places on ponds and lakes in the area-but Michael had no skates but he soon will. Also, Joseph and Martha's children bought him a sleigh for when the snow falls. Our young folks gather for ice skating and sleighing during the winter. Some of Michael's Old Order Mennonite and Amish friends pooled their money together and got him a fishing rod, reel, and box. They bought them when they went on sale at the end of the summer. He also got gloves, gift certificate for winter boots, gift certificates for Wal-Mart, one boys mother made him a winter jacket, winter socks, and more. He and we couldn't believe all the nice gifts he received. Michael had tears in his eyes and thanked everyone several times. We then had cake and ice cream. After that they all decided to go in the cellar and test Michael's new basketball hoop. At milking time several of them started to go home so they all left.

Today we went over to my parents house for a dinner and a family birthday party for Michael. David's family came over, also. After dinner Michael got snow Skiis, a gift certificate for ski boots, another meetings set of clothes, Old Order Mennonite straw hat, and felt hat, (the hats came from Pennsylvania), and more. David has been teaching Michael how to hunt. In New York State you have to take courses before you can get your first license-which Michael has completed. My Dad gave Michael a brand new hunting rifle and David the bullets. Dad also gave Michael a lecture on the use of the gun for hunting only and only animals that we eat not to waste God's animals. The gun is in the locked gun rack at our house next to David's gun and my gun-yes I hunt, too. I don't hunt with David as much as I use to since we've had the children. The bullets are also locked in the case. David said to add they are not in the flour like in the movie Witness. We only unlock the gun rack for hunting and to clean the guns-then they go back in again.

When David was at a Fire Department meeting at the fire house, he happened to mention about Michael being born on October 31st and that it bothered him. One of the Amish firemen (we now have three Amish volunteer firemen) said he was born on that day, asked if it would it help if he spoke to Michael. Michael agreed so he came over and spoke to Michael. They took a walk and just talked about it. We don't know what they said, but Michael said he made him feel better. His view is different religious wise toward Halloween. He still wants to celebrate his birthday October 29th.

One thing Michael said was that he wishes he could be in one world or the other. He said it is so hard to be in two worlds. We asked him which way he would go and he's not sure. He thinks he would go our way, but then, there are things in the other world that he doesn't want to leave. We explained to him when we adopt him that does not mean that he will get out of school. On October 31st he will be 14 which means, in our schools, he would graduate in May when school ends for the school year. Us adopting does not mean he will not have to continue school until he graduates from the public school - that may be part of the adoption papers-we don't know. Martha, Joseph, David and I discussed Michael. Martha said it is hard to leave one world and take another. If he met the right Old Order Mennonite lady when he was courting age that  would help. David and I have discussed this decided that if he remained Mennonite that would mean the most to us whether it was Old Order or one of the other orders that was more liberal than ours. It would be hard on us if he went the way of the outside world.

I think Michael had a pretty nice birthday party for his first. He couldn't believe all the nice gifts that he received. Some of his gifts are in his bedroom and some are in the spare bedroom-we have to find a place for them. He will be using his winter gifts soon, we think. Also have to get him to the shoe store to use some of his gift certificates. We told Michael he should use his Wal-Mart gift certificates on something for himself-but he wants to use them for buying Christmas gifts. We will not argue with him regarding that matter-that is thoughtful of him.

If i  see there are some question's, please keep asking them. I will answer them in my next post.

Be with God,


 Amish Stories wishes Michael a happy belated birthday


Don't miss my tour of Lapp's woodworking from Lancaster county this Wednesday and Friday. Lapp's is an Amish owned business and  On Wednesday will be pictures of  its retail store and product's, then on Friday i take a tour of its wood working shop. With Amish recipes included for both post's!  Richard


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