Part 2 of Jeans post will be next Tuesday May 17.
Thank you so much for your responses on what I wrote last week. As we had planned, we met Marilyn at a rummage sale so she took us to her apartment and showed us Amish Stories on her computer. She wanted us to see what Richard had put on. We are honored that you would be so interested and had so many questions to ask. I would like to explain to you that not all Mennonites are Old Order Mennonites. Where we live there are Mennonites that dress like we do, but are allowed to drive, have television, computers, etc. Also, there are other Mennonites who dress like you, children go to public schools and go to college, and more. So I want you to know that I am telling you of Old Order Mennonites,not new order Mennonites.
David and I were reading the newspaper a week or so ago where a girl had written about the clothes her Mother buys for her. We had to laugh a little as clothes have changed with about every generation with us. Back when our grandparents were our age they wore and still ware solid color dresses mostly black. With our parents, the ladies could wear clothes with prints on them at home, but if they went into town they had to wear the solid colors. We wondered what ladies will be wearing when Susan is grown up. So things change with us too. On Sundays services, meetings, Funerals, Weddings, Baptisms,and in mourning we still wear the black. Our dress, bonnets and apron all match in color and material. Underneath our bonnets are our white prayer caps that tie at our chins. At home and when going to town, rummage sales, etc. I wear a dress with patterns on it. Most of colors are brown, blue, black, burgundy with flowers on them. The prints must be small -usually flowers. We are not allowed to have collars on our dresses. With our dresses we wear solid color shawls . On our dresses we use buttons on the back. In our local Old Order our dresses may be no higher than ten inches from the floor. Some other Old Order Mennonites must be lower-some have their dresses no higher than five inches off the floor. Another change is stockings-my grandmother wore stockings, my mother pantyhose and I wear knee-highs always black. At home, in town or going to rummage sales, auctions, Farm Markets, etc. we wear sneakers. Anytime we wear black we wear black shoes-I wear loafers, but my grandmother wears oxford style tie shoes-again change. I make my own dresses, bonnets, shawls, and prayer caps myself.
For the same times I wear black David wears black trousers, vest, shoes and socks with a white shirt, and suspenders. His trousers do not have zippers or pins but buttons. David also wears a black coat with a standing collar and buttons to close it. When working on the farm David wears jeans with solid color or plaid long-sleeved shirt depending on temperature and suspenders. His jeans are usually store purchased because some stores at most times are less expensive than buying the material to make them. Everything but his shoes, jeans and suspenders-I make. When David walks out of our house door he must have a hat on his head. His hats are black (all year around), with a three inch brim that must be nylon or felt. These hats are purchased. I hope I answered the questions you wanted to know about our dressing, but if I didn’t please ask.
Our daughter Susan, will be starting her first time in school this August. She will be in first grade. Susan will go to a Old Order Mennonite one room school house not far from our house. Children go up to the eighth grade in our schools and graduate. After they graduate the boys learn a trade and the girls do housework, cooking and baking, sewing, quilting and more. We have to keep records for the State of New York until they are 18 so the state knows they are learning. I don’t know if that is throughout the state or just in our county,I think it is state. We believe that our school house would be better for Susan than public school. I am not saying anything against the Public School. We have never been there. Both David and I went to Old Order Mennonite Schools and we feel more comfortable with Susan going there, and when the time comes, David will be going to our old order school. Our schools must meet New York State requirements and the children must take tests to see that what they are learning measure to what the state requires.
I guess I am answering some of the questions out of order, but I am going by the list. Yes, some our children can be give birth in our homes. Susan was born in our home and because of the chance of problems when our son David was given birth the doctor decided we should go to the hospital-which we did. What is a little funny is Father and Son David were born in the same hospital.
We do have medical insurance to a point. When it comes to going to the doctor’s office, dentists, chiropractor, etc. we pay for them ourselves. If we go to the hospital by ambulance we pay for that. Once we get into the hospital-it is paid for. We really have two Mennonite Insurances. In our Old Order Mennonite we have men that the deacon appoints take a collection to our homes twice a year. It is a bag and we put in whatever amount we feel we can afford. Unless we write a check no one knows how much we contribute. Also, the Mennonites have their own insurance like a company. This company is run by all order Mennonites. We pay premiums and we have coverage. You could get full insurance, or like we did just the hospital. David and I feel that we can pay most office calls but the hospitals bills could be a problem for us especially with two children. We know that if we had a bill and could not pay, then the other Old Order Mennonites would help pay it. the rates of the insurance is reasonable to us and this insurance is approved by Old Order Mennonite.
Yes, Old Order Mennonites allow outsiders to join-but very few do. I am trying to say this without hurting your feelings. We have people that come and live among us and leave. If you have lived in a world with cars, computers, radios, television and much more it would be hard to convert to the Old Order lifestyle and leave all that behind. I have only known one case where someone wanted to convert and did. He was Old Order Mennonite and she was not. They started courting, but he told her he would not leave the Old Order Mennonite. She came and lived with a family among us and converted. That was about ten years ago and they married, own their own farm and have children-now, but that is rare. If you wanted to convert the first thing I would suggest is that you go to one of our services. Move in an area close to the Old Order Mennonites and see the way we live. Sometimes our Bishop recommends people go to another Mennonite order that allows some of items we don’t – such as cars, computers and more. David, just suggested that maybe the first way to start would be to try not use some of the items we don’t use and see how you get may out without them-like maybe the television-then the music-and so on. Jean…………. Part 2 next Tuesday May 17.