Amish Seniors

Over the next few blogs I wanted to share some of the people I met and things I learned while visiting/researching in the small Amish community of Shipshewana, Indiana last week (where my 3 book cozy series for Zondervan will be set).

If you’re familiar with the Amish, you may know that the oldest members remain an active and important part of the family and community.

One of the persons I enjoyed meeting was Shirley. She’s an 81-year-old quilter, and she still works in the store she owns with her daughter, Rebecca. Shirley was able to tell me quite a bit of the history of the surrounding area, and I would love to go back and interview her more extensively.

This older Amish gentleman was a parking lot attendant for the Shipshewana outdoor market. The market is one of the things which makes Shipshe unique. The town’s population is typically 600, but on market days it swells to 25-30,000.  Many Amish people work at the market as well as shop at it. This gentleman was there directing cars when we arrived, and he was still there working when we left to go back to our room and take a nap!

The last evening in Shipshe, we had dinner in an Amish home. There were over twenty “guests” there. Our host and her husband had bumped tables together through the kitchen and into the living room. It was tight, but we fit! This sweet, older woman cooked all the food herself, and let me tell you the dishes were piling high. I’ve been raised in the south, and it was difficult for me to sit there and eat while they “served” us, passing around chicken, ham, vegetables, and strawberry pie (yes, she grew the strawberries).

All made with no electricity. They talked to us freely, and I just wanted to stay and visit with them for a week! She was quite proud of her 40 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren. When we asked her how she managed to do so much work, she simply shrugged and smiled at her husband.

The Amish seem to enjoy leading productive lives. The elderly are respected, important parts of the community, and I was deeply touched by the time I spent with them.

If you have any questions or insights, I’d love to hear from you.


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