|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. |
David's parents have purchased the farm we were thinking of buying. We didn't buy it because there was not enough land with it to farm that we needed. There is the main house and an extra house on that farm. David's grandmother was suppose to live in the extra house, but she went (passed away). David's parents were thinking of renting the second house, but after seeing it and discussing it-my grandparents are going to move into the extra house. So David's parents are selling the farm they are at and my grandparents are selling their house. All my grandmother asked for was a garden she could enjoy in during the summer months. David's parents promised her she would have one. This is the fourth farm David's parents have owned and they hope the last one. They would like to be in it by Christmas. My grandparents would like to be in the extra house by Christmas. My parents feel everyone is moving away from them-so they are looking for either a farm or land over where David's parents purchased. We have purchased property from Martha and Joseph where we are planning to build a house.
At Thanksgiving Michael had spoken with my grandparents and they came to David and I. Michael would like a family Christmas Day with just David, Susan, Baby David, himself and myself. He also wanted a Christmas tree and lights for just one Christmas. We don't know why but he was afraid to ask us. Before we could protest my grandparents had already spoken to the head of our meetings (church) and seeing he was a foster child it could be allowed if the decoration were in a private place of the house. He is living in both worlds and the felt we shouldn't take everything away for him especially seeing this is his first Christmas that he is celebrating with us, His parents never celebrated Christmas. So we told Michael he could decorate his room within reason. Marilyn is giving him a small Christmas tree with lights and decorations that she has. A friend of his is giving him some window lights.
We said we would wrap our Christmas presents this year-which is something we don't do. Our way is not to wrap presents. I told him to think of what he wanted for Christmas Dinner, but he said that didn't matter as long as we were together. There will be no one but us for Christmas dinner. Usually it would be us, my parents and David's parents for Christmas Dinner. We will have that dinner on the December 26th. We asked why he didn't tell us he wanted these things. He didn't say much. My parents said we don't give like they will. At first we were upset about this worldly way, but after we stopped to think about it and pray-we agreed to do this just one year. He agreed in no Santa, elves, etc. So our Christmas will be a little different this year.
We were asked what are some of things in the outside world Michael does not want to give up. One evening we had a discussion with Michael about this-no anger-we wanted to find out how he feels and wants. Like most young people he wouldn't want to give up the car when he gets old enough to drive. Also, he would like a computer, for his school work, personal use and even farming. It bothers his that we have a television in our attic and never use it-as his school friends know what is going on in the world before he does. We find things out in the paper or from one person to another. He doesn't know if he could dress the way we do all the time-he likes to dress in modern worldly clothes. Michael would also like to have more contact with people of the outside world as that is what he was brought up in until he came to Old Order Mennonite foster homes. He is not putting down our ways-but wants friends in both worlds. We explained we have friends who in the outside world. He likes farming, but does not know if that would make him enough money in the expenses of today. He might want to go into some other work or work for someone and own a small farm.
Other divisions of the Mennonite do allow cars, televisions, computers and more. Some even allow to dress in the worldly way. They also work at other jobs aside from farming. As we have said, we would like Michael to stay Old Order Mennonite, but if he stayed in another - more modern group of the Mennonites-we could understand. We just don't want him to leave Mennonite all together. Michael wants to be able to go to movies with his friends, listen to the radio, and more-which we do not allow. We know he has listened to the radio with his friends, worked on computers at school, and more. I know he and we wish we could come to a happy center. If he were in our school, he would graduate this year and be working on our farm. He does work with David, but he would not be going on in school. This concerns us because he might change his ways and leave our ways all together. Michael says he wouldn't but he is young yet, He could go either way.
Someone asked if the Old Order Mennonite wear sold color dresses or print dresses. I wear dresses with very small prints on them like flowers during the week. On Sunday, we dress in black for meetings (church). Also we wear black for weddings and funerals. The lady getting usually wears a light sold color-like light blue, green, etc. You may see some Old Order Mennonite who still wear black all the time. When they were little that was what they wore-the couldn't wear print dresses off their property. Now we can wear prints anytime except meetings, weddings and funerals.
I also was asked why don't some Old Order Mennonite and Amish don't like to have their pictures taken. This is to us in the Bible, Exodus 20:4 "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth." That quotation from the Bible is one of the Ten Commandments. Our beliefs is in following the Bible and the Ten Commandments.
Please feel free to ask questions as I would be glad to answer them as much as I can. Richard would like me to tell about our Old Order Mennonite Christmas which I will closer to Christmas.
Be With God,
|Jeans homemade recipe for Shoo-fly-pie|