Spring was cautiously trying to peep through, but winter still had a grip on the land. A young married couple looked with great love at the little bundle they had just welcomed into the world. The young dark haired woman glowed with the glow of new motherhood as her handsome blue eyed husband gently cradled their firstborn. A tiny little girl. For now, their joy was complete.
They had been married for only a year. Life was good. A beautiful baby. A big successful pig farm. Friends and family all around them. They were part of the tight knit little group of Amish in a small community. They were happy, so happy, it truly seemed like all their dreams had come true.
That little baby was me. The firstborn and only daughter my parents had, five boys were added throughout the years, but we’ll come to them later.
Not long after I was born a tornado went through the area, and my parents lost everything they had. Escaping with only their lives, their baby daughter, and the clothes on their backs. The Amish stepped up and provided them with whatever they needed. But after suffering such a financial loss they sold their land and moved into a little house right next to Grandpa Mast’s big farm house.
The few memories I have of living there are only little snippets. My parents lived there for a few years and then moved to New York in the Finger Lakes Region where a new Amish settlement was starting. They moved into a little trailer on a dairy farm where Daddy would milk the cows morning and evening in exchange for rent and then had a day job at Wixson’s Honey where he bottled honey all day long. The honey all came out of the same vat but was bottled as different brand names which of course sold for different prices. (To this day whenever I buy honey I always buy the cheapest.)
In the evenings while Daddy was in the barn Mom would sit on a chair in the living room and my brother John, who was two years younger than me, and I would stand in front of Mom and she would sing the “Lob Lied” in the long slow chant like we would sing in church, she would encourage us to help by watching her mouth. At the ages of only two and four we were taught our first Amish church song. After Daddy came in we would all sing together, hymns and church songs and then our bedtime song, “Mude ich bin ich geh zur ruh Schliesze meine augen zu Vater lasz die augen dein Uber meine bette sein*
It was wonderful. I’m sure our little childhood voices were lustily off key at times, but they were always patient and I think I could safely say they truly enjoyed having us help them sing.
*I am tired I’m going to rest I’ll close my eyes tight Father (God) let your eyes Watch over my bed
Want to read more? Visit Mary Ann Kinsinger’s blog A Joyful Chaos.
Mary Ann Kinsinger was raised Old Order Amish in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. She met and married her husband, whom she knew from school days and started a family. After they chose to leave the Amish church, Mary Ann began a blog, A Joyful Chaos, as a way to capture her warm memories of her childhood for her own children. From the start, this blog found a ready audience and even captured the attention of key media players, such as the influential blog AmishAmerica and the New York Times. She lives in Pennsylvania.