Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Amish Community in Ethridge, TN

 We had a opportunity to go to Ethridge, TN and visit an Amish community for a field trip. It is about an hour and twenty minutes from us, southwest of Nashville.
 We rode horse drawn buggies from farm to farm within the community. Out of respect we were unable to take photos. Each home puts a sign at the road listing what they have for sale. The would either have a small building like a concession stand or it would be on their porch. Each had jams, salsas, pickled okra, peanut brittle, fudge, baskets, pumpkins, vegetables, and some had wooden toys. The prices were great. I got three small pumpkins for $.50 each. At Walmart they were around $2. I got a butternut squash to try for $.50, some peanut butter fudge, green peppers 3/$1, tomatoes $.79 a lb. The peppers smell amazing, and the tomatoes were vine ripened and juicy looking.
 We covertly took these photos going down the highway on the way home.

We giggled at this! She is drinking a McDonalds drink. We tried to guess whether they went through the drive through with their buggy or parked in the parking lot. Both are just funny.

Things we learned:
Amish are from the Switzerland area and of German decent... a lot of photos depict them from Holland since they are Dutch. The Germans were called Deutch, and it does not mean they are from Holland.

No photos. They will get mad and run you off if you try to take a photo. (Didn't have to learn that personally, our guide made it very clear not to do it and how offensive it was)

They start school at age 6 and go through 8th grade or their 14th birthday. No one goes further than that, they then work... the boys with their father and the girls with their mother.

No one can join the Amish order, you have to be born into it. If you leave the home you are shunned and your parents may never speak to you again. You cannot marry outside of the Amish either.

They go to the doctor and chiropractor in town, they do not have an Amish doctor. They do practice home treatment and remedies when they can.

The only rubber tired vehicle they are permitted to ride in is a bus. So, if they need to travel they take their horse carriage to Nashville and catch the bus there.

They bathe once a week.

They speak Pennsylvania Dutch in the home until they go to school. In school they learn English. They speak German (Pennsylvania Dutch) to each other, but know English to converse with us.

Everyone who is not Amish is English because of the language we speak. If a French person moved or lived near them they would still be English. Not sure how true or far that one goes.

Many English people live within the community. They will never be a part of the Amish community.

There are 300  Amish families in Etheridge, TN. They are broken into 12 church groups.

They do not have a church building. They take turns hosting services at each other's farm. The host feeds the church that day and they go get benches for everyone to sit on.

When we would drive up to a farm and get out to shop their wares Amish children would come to look at us. I think we all were as much a "show" to them as they are to us. All were barefoot, the boys in hats and little dark suits and the girls in their dark dresses and bonnets. The little boys looked like little men.

Boys start going with their father each day to work around age 2. They are given jobs to do and quickly learn how to work.

At age 14 a boy/girl can be hired out... sometimes to English people to help build fences or preserve the garden. All money goes to the parents until the child is 18 or 21 I forget which.

Horses can pull a cart and poop while walking at the same time!

Horse poop really really stinks... pee-you.

1 comment:

heysparky said...

I grew up only a couple of hours away from the Amish community in Ohio. One of the things I've learned is that the differences between the various sects of Amish are tremendous. Some don't fuss at photos. Some even permit their teens to have car and live outside the Amish rules so that they can make their own decision to embrace the Amish community as their own. Some permit electric lights in their barn. It sounds like sect you visited in TN is pretty strict. It's fascinating though, isn't it?