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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.

I have been asked about how the Old Order Mennonites collect money for the bills of the sick or other medical  bills. Twice a year the deacon appoints men to go from Old Order Mennonite, and  from  home to home. The person that comes to our house has a bag in which we put the amount we feel we can give. Unless someone writes a check no one knows how much anyone gave. It is between David, I and God. Only how much and to whom it goes is known to the deacons and Bishop. Some cases we know about because of hearing of illness or accident to our people, but we do not know how much they receive. If we should need help all we have to do is go to a deacon or the Bishop and tell them of our need. Usually somehow they find out before we go tell them and find out how much we need or just come and give us money. We do not have to pay this money back. When they come to our house for collection the next time-we give what we can.

When I was young I wanted to grow up, get married, have children and have beautiful house with flowers around it with a white wooden fence around our property. Well most of it came true, I am married, have children and have a house with some flowers round the back and front of it. Well  the house is  not white and I don’t have a white fence around it. My mind did not change much when I graduated from school. I wanted to learn how to sew, cook, clean house, knit, embroidery, crochet and quilting. I never thought of leaving Old Order Mennonite. Sometimes I wondered what the non-Old Order Mennonite people did, but not enough to consider leaving.

When I got about 17 or 18 I wanted to know what was going on in the outside world. Some of my friends were doing it so I got with them and would go get someone with a car to drive us in to Canandaigua. There we could go to the movies, shop, drink alcohol (I did that only once), some smoked cigarettes (I did that only once, too) and more. Some even dated those in the outside world. David, at that time, drove a car that he had, so he thought, hidden from his parents. After we were married and were talking of our times outside with his parents, his parents told him they knew about the car shortly after he got it. I had known David in school, but never thought of knowing each other until he got the car. I was walking home from one of the stores in Gorham and he gave me a ride near my house. As we didn’t want out parents to know he had the car he left me off down the road a little way and I walked home. After that we started going together. We went to Old Order Mennonite parties for the young people and we also ran around in his car. Neither of us ever thought of leaving Old Order Mennonite. When we got serious and David asked if he could court only me, we realized that it was time to drop our outside ways. David sold the car. I got rid of all the items I had obtained that were not of our way. The horse and buggy became our mode of transportation unless we had to go to a place away and we called a van to drive us

I was 20 and David was 21 when he asked my parents permission to marry me. We were married in the house we now live in. Throughout this week we have had up and down on whether to buy a farm we liked a great deal. And in fact we use to go by that house when were courting and saying we would like to own it someday. Anyway, we are not going to buy it. We are going to build our new house. As David has heard me giving this to Marilyn over the phone, he said our new house will be white, with flowers around it (maybe have to wait until next year), and a white wooden fence around it. So I will have my dream house with my husband and children in it. We still haven’t decided when our new house will go up. Maybe in the fall.

The one thing I would like to do is travel. We have been to some states visiting friends and relatives,, but there are still places I would like to travel, too and that is not our way as Old Order Mennonite. It is all right to visit friends and relatives. While you are there you can visit places like we have been to Hershey, Pennsylvania and the candy factory. We finally got to visit Niagara Falls when some friends of ours that have moved away agreed to meet us half way and Niagara Falls was about it. We also have been to Ohio, Indiana, Kansas and more. But there are still lots of places I would like to go see. Some I know I will never see. I don’t think about that a lot, but that is something I would like to do.

We heard on Michael, our foster child. He seems to being giving his current foster parents a hard time as he wants to come back to our house. Social Services thinks the week and a half with us gave him the impression of a home he never had. The foster home he is at now has children plus foster children. We have two children younger than him and for some reason he liked our house better. We would love to have him back again, but we must wait to see what court will do regarding his parents. Once that is settled, we may be able to have him back. I am sorry that he is giving his current foster home a hard time.

Be with the Lord, Jean

New post on Thursday from the Amish cook. And a brand new post on Friday  from the Intercourse Heritage festival part 2, includes a history of the town of Intercourse Pennsylvania.

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