August 15, 2014

The Roads of Old Bloomfield…

Category: News — Ira @ 6:30 pm

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But why had he always felt so strongly the magnetic pull of home?…
He did not know. All that he knew was that the years flow by like
water, and that one day men come home again.

—Thomas Wolfe
_______________

I thought about it, as I headed out south and west in the Charger that Saturday afternoon. It sure is a strange day, all around. In the morning, you attend the funeral of your niece’s little three-year-old daughter. And now, that was over, there in Kalona. And now, it was on to another place. An event I had long looked forward to, because there were a lot of people there I wanted to see and hang out with. The Bloomfield Amish Reunion.

It comes only with time, that a group of misfits gets large enough and confident enough to where there can be such a thing as a reunion. Or a second one, as this one was. Back when I left, in the late 1980s, probably less than a dozen renegades had done something so shockingly wicked as to leave it all behind. And set out on their own roads. The community was small then, only two districts. And when someone drifted off like I did, there was lots of talk. A lot of clucking and shaking of heads. The poor boy. He’s so lost. Let’s hope he finds his way back, even though this is the fifth time he left.

That was then. Now, the roads of Old Bloomfield are gone. At least the world you saw from those roads is. It’s no longer the obscure little Amish community in the sticks it once was. And a lot happened, as it grew during those years after I left. A lot of young people came up through, and some of them created scandals that made any wild thing I ever pulled off seem pretty calm in retrospect. No use going into much detail about any of that. But let’s just say that the Bloomfield Amish community has seen close to everything there is to see, when it comes to rebellious youth. Not everything. Daviess has stories from way back, stories that would make any face turn pale. No one in Bloomfield ever came close to trying to blow up a silo with dynamite, as some crazy wild Amish youth did in Daviess, decades ago. But still. Bloomfield has seen a lot.

The second Great Bloomfield Amish Reunion was the brainchild of one person, mostly. Ed Yoder. My nephew John was also very involved in making it happen. But it was Ed’s idea, originally. I remember him from way back. He was a problem child, an extraordinarily mean little kid. It was his energy, I think, that made him act like that. He was totally out of control. I don’t remember his parents’ names. But they moved in from the troubled settlement of Jamesport, MO.

I don’t know how much younger Ed is than me. Maybe ten years or so. But I remember a thing that happened one Sunday afternoon. Church was at our house. And that afternoon, I was out there, in the barn. Ed and a few of his friends were getting underfoot and making a lot of noise. I’m talking eight to ten-year-olds. And somehow, he mouthed off to me quite insolently. I didn’t hesitate. I just reached out and grabbed that boy. Held him upside down, and dangled him by his ankles, right there in the cow barn. And admonished him a bit about how he needs to learn to respect his elders a little better. I think Ed remembers that particular experience. We’ve laughed about it, since. He mentions it, now and then. We’re good friends now, we see things the same, politically. Which means he’s an anarchist, too. He’s a real good man, with a real nice family.

Anyway, people in Ed’s generation walked away from Bloomfield, after I did. And people after him left, too. They all have their own stories. They all went through their own hard times. I know Ed walked some hard roads. They all did.

This is how it goes, though, when you leave a place like Bloomfield. With the passing of time, you settle in, and settle down. That’s what happened, to all those kids that came after me. They settled down. Moved on with their lives, and with their families. And in time, there came a strong pull for a lot of us to go back to the place we left. Not individually, but as a group. To assemble there. To go back and reconnect. With the place and with each other.

I pulled in at the Southfork Motel around four. Right out along Rt. 63. It used to be a dive, Southfork. But John had told me it had all been redone, remodeled lately. So I took a chance and booked a room. The nice lady welcomed me when I walked in and told her my name. I’m here for the reunion, I said. Has anyone else checked in for that?

She smiled. “Yes, there are a few. Your friend Vern has a room here.” She handed me my room key. And yes, I mean a real key. I gaped at it. A key? She laughed. That’s how we do it here,” she said. “I do all the reservations by hand, too, on paper.” I thanked her and unloaded my luggage and checked out my room. John had been right. It was just like new. Big king bed, and real nice furniture. After unpacking, I walked out to head on out to Lake Fisher. That’s where the reunion was. I chatted a bit with the desk lady on the way out.

“So you wrote a book?” she asked. Who told you that? I asked. It was Vern, wasn’t it? That guy. I think he likes to tell people he’s in a book. She laughed again. “Well, he did tell me a little bit about what you all used to do around here,” she said.

Lake Fisher is just west of Bloomfield, less than half a mile. Along a gravel road. I drove in and followed the long, winding lane to the pavilion in the back. A bunch of vehicles were parked there. Small knots of people milled about. A softball game was happening on the diamond. I walked in to the pavilion, where a few people lounged about. I saw my friend, Ed Yoder, and walked up to him. We shook hands. A few others smiled and greeted me as I walked around and shook their hands as well. I can’t remember everyone who was there, and I didn’t know everyone who was there. So if you were, and I don’t mention your name, don’t be offended.

It was a real nice place for a group like this. A large glass electric cooler sat in one corner of the pavilion, lighted and loaded with food. I soon strolled out to watch the ball game, and met my old friend and blood brother. Rudy. He walked up, smiling, and we hugged. He led me around and introduced me to the people I didn’t know. We sat on the dugout bench and talked.

Supper was to be served at 6:30. I had originally been asked to speak a few words at the noon meal, but since I wasn’t there, that didn’t happen. John and Ed asked me if I’d MC the evening meal. I’m not particularly a public speaker or anything, I said. But yeah, I guess I’d be honored. And about then, I saw him out in the parking lot. Vern. He and his lovely wife, Kim, had left earlier for their motel room to rest a bit. I had actually met them on the way in. I walked up and we greeted each other and hugged.

The women bustled about, and soon a large feast was spread on the long picnic tables. Pulled pork, crispy grilled hot dogs (I love crispy grilled hot dogs), and large array of side dishes, beans and salads and such. Ed came and told me to get things rolling, to get people ready to eat. So I stood and hollered loud to get everyone’s attention. Everyone got real quiet and looked at me. Supper is ready real soon, here, I said. But before we start, let’s all introduce ourselves. Starting in the back corner over there, stand up and tell your name and where you live. And introduce your family if they’re with you. I can’t remember how many people were there. I think the rough count later was around 150. And they all stood, one by one, or in groups of families, and told us who they were and where they live now. But not where they came from. We all came from Bloomfield.

After that was over, I had a few announcements. And I’d been asked to speak a few words. They were brief, as my words usually are. It’s really great to be here, I said. It’s also great to see all of you, so many people. A lot of you, I don’t really know. You were here after I left. Our connection is this place, this community. We all had our own journeys, and they were all different. But now, tonight, we are drawn together, here. Bloomfield is no longer the same place it was, but we all have our own special memories. And now we all are here. And I am very glad to be here with you.

I asked Orie Helmuth to bless the meal, then, and he stood and prayed. Then we ate. The food was just outstanding, all of it. It took some real effort, to plan this event, and to assemble all that food. It really did.

Afterward, we lounged around and talked. The youth went out to play volleyball. There was one thing I wanted to get done. So I walked around and bugged the others until I got us all together. And we stood out there by some trees with the lake behind us. Four of the original “Gang of Six.” Marvin, Rudy, Vern, and me. We handed our phones to my sister Rhoda, and Kim, Vern’s wife, and a few others. They took a bunch of pics. The first time in thirty-two years that the four of us had all been together in one place. And the first time in thirty-two years that we had our pictures taken together.

gang of four
From left: Ira, Vern, Rudy, Marvin

After that was over, I asked them. Do you guys want to go ride around the community together? They all agreed instantly, and we got into Rudy’s big new Ford pickup. Marvin and I sat in the back seat, Vern rode shotgun. And we headed out.

It was dusk when we returned. People were sitting around outside, around a nice big old roaring fire. John had hauled in a bunch of good dry wood. We joined them for dessert. I’m not much of a dessert person. But I was that night. My nephew David had baked several big pans of peach cobbler over the open fire. And there was homemade ice cream, too, dipped from a huge five-gallon freezer John had rented and hauled in from Arthur, Illinois. It was all just flat out delicious.

We sat around in a large circle and just communed with each other. Ed Herschberger, Vern’s younger brother, set up with a loose group of musicians. They had guitars and a banjo of some kind. Ed strummed away at a large stringed instrument as tall as he was, a Double Bass. It made the sound of drumming. And they sang and sang, as we sat around and talked outside. It was peaceful, it was very calm. And very comfortable. By 10:30, I headed back to the motel, about the same time as Vern left with his wife. Their room was right across the hall from mine. I invited them over. They brought a couple of beers, and I sipped some scotch, and we sat in my room and talked and just caught up.

The next morning. Sunday. They had planned that day, too, Ed and John. There would be a church service, out there under the pavilion. Ed Herschberger and the boys played a few real good old-time tunes, including a fast English version of the Lob Song. We all joined the singing. And then the preacher stood to preach.

John had proudly showed me the nice little sturdy podium he got made. A 4×6 pole from one of his pole barn jobs, with a chunk of 2×12 lumber slanted across the top. His brother, Glen, had nailed it together. And now, Gideon Yutzy, Rudy’s younger brother, stood there with his bible and notes. Gideon lives in Montana somewhere, with his family. And John had somehow cajoled him to make that long journey to the reunion. “We need a preacher for Sunday morning,” John told him. And eventually Gideon relented, and they came. I had not seen him in a lot of years. He looked a little grayed and older, like all of us did.

He started in, and he was a good speaker. His message. How do you deal with that big void in your heart? He was talking to a lot of people who came from places where there were big voids in the hearts. And he spoke it, a brief and simple gospel message. After that, a few more songs. And then the MC, my nephew David, asked Rudy and Marvin to say a few words. Rudy spoke first, about how he appreciated being there, and appreciated the message. And he spoke a few memories. And then Marvin stood, too. He spoke along the same lines as Rudy had. He wrapped it up with a little humor, though. “Talking to the younger ones, here,” he said. “Be careful of your actions, because one of your friends might go out years later and write a New York Times Bestseller book about what all you did.” Everyone roared. I laughed, too. “Yeah,” Rudy said. “He never even asked our permission. We want a cut of the money.” Nope, no way, I said. After that, Herman Kuhns prayed the final prayer, and we were dismissed.

But we didn’t leave. There was one more important ritual. The noon church meal. And I marvel here, some more, about all the work that went into getting everything ready. John’s wife, Dort, and the other ladies scurried about. And soon they had all the long tables loaded with the classic Amish church meal. Amish peanut butter. Homemade bread. Pickles. Cold red beets. Tubs of Smear Kase. Plates of sliced bologna. And there was even an extra, that I don’t remember from those meals. Fresh delicious egg salad. You pile all that stuff on a slice of homemade bread slathered with real butter, and you got yourself an authentic Amish church meal. And one big whopper of a sandwich. We sat and ate and feasted. And washed it all down with cups of steaming black coffee.

After the tables were cleared, most of us sat or stood around and visited. I mingled, here and there. John had told me to set out a few copies of my books, at a side table. And for a while, it looked like no one was interested. But as people started trickling out, one or two of them sought me out. I want a copy of your book, signed. So I sold a few. Gideon, the preacher, told me he wanted a copy. He had one, and he had read it and liked it a lot. But it wasn’t signed. So I signed a copy to him and his wife, Anna. He reached for his wallet, but I stopped him. You flew all the way out from Montana to bring us a sermon, I told him. The least I can do is give you a copy of my book.

Vern and Kim took their leave soon, too. They were driving back to their home in Tennessee that afternoon. A good long drive. Marvin and Rhoda headed out, too. And by three or so, I headed back to my motel room to rest a bit. Tonight, I was invited to Titus and Ruth’s home for supper. And tomorrow morning, I planned to meander south into Missouri.

And that was about it for that day, as far as the reunion was concerned. I’ve thought back to it a lot, that bunch of misfits who assembled back there at the Lake Fisher Park in Bloomfield. The memories are all good, and there are so many. A couple of things stand out in my mind, though, a couple of things I want to say.

The current Bloomfield Amish church, or at least its leadership, is extremely hostile to the reunion gathering. They don’t want any of us around. They strictly forbade anyone from the Bloomfield Amish to attend the event. On pain of harsh discipline. That’s a pretty big old hefty club, to keep people in line, people who would have loved to attend and hang out with family. And those people are there, in Bloomfield.

Talking now to the leaders of the Bloomfield Amish. Don’t kid yourself. A whole lot of your wounded members would love to hang out, when us misfits come around. You won’t let them. And that’s fine. It’s understandable, what you decreed, at least from your perspective. I’m not gonna get all high and holy on you. You are who you are. And it’s certainly understandable, that you just want to be left alone.

The thing is, we did leave you alone. You just can’t seem to get it out of your heads, the thought that we are getting together to talk about you and mock you. Somehow, that’s a heavy burden you choose to lug around. Yes, we did talk about our memories. We did talk of how hard the journey was. And some of our talk wasn’t all that flattering. But we have a lot of good memories, too. And we spoke those, too. Somehow, you Bloomfield people, or at least the leaders, have a real flawed concept of what happens at these reunions. I think you think it’s all one big party, one big beer bash. I heard that someone in Bloomfield even dubbed our gathering as “Woodstock, 2014.” What’s that supposed to mean? That we’re all hippies standing out there in the rain, getting stoned? Cheering wildly for whatever band is playing? It’s just totally silly, that comparison. And a little bitter.

If you know who you are, you will not need to be afraid to hang out with anyone. If what you’re living is true, it should be strong enough to mingle with any misfits. No matter where they came from, and no matter where they are. And that little truth applies to anyone, Amish or not.

The second thing I remember vividly from the reunion is this. The ride I took with my friends from the “Gang of Six” that Saturday night in Rudy’s truck. We talked right along as Rudy cruised out on the gravel roads, and turned right onto the highway. Toward the big hill that leads to Drakesville. Thirty-some years ago, we drove that same highway, up that steep old hill, in our steel-wheeled buggies.

We talked about that hill, how small it looked when you’re not in a buggy. And then we pulled into Drakesville. Rudy parked on the south side of the little square. We got out, and stood there and talked. On the north side, Bea Cormeny’s old convenience store sat huddled in beside other decrepit hulks that once were alive with commerce. It’s been boarded up for years. It looked so very small, the place where we’d sneak in of a Sunday afternoon and furtively buy a few six-packs of beer. Bea was an angel to us. I never knew her that well, she seemed old and stern to me. But she did what people did back then, when you could legally drink at eighteen. Back before MADD got all crazy drunk with power, back before all those draconian drinking laws were passed by the nanny state. She wouldn’t do it today, because she wouldn’t dare. But she did it back then. She sold us beer when we were seventeen. It was so long ago. We were so young. And I’m glad I was seventeen when I was.

And Vern stood there and spoke. The Vern of old. He told us of how he left, on that long-ago Sunday morning. He sneaked out of the house at midnight, and walked the three or four miles to town. He arrived way before dawn. He had hours to kill before he could call an English friend to come and fetch him. So he hunkered down in the phone booth, there in the middle of the square. You couldn’t see through the bottom few feet of those old phone booths. He crouched there, hidden from passing prying eyes, until the sun finally rose. Then he fumbled some quarters into the pay slot and called his friend, who came and took him to the bus station in Ottumwa. There, he boarded the bus for Valentine, Nebraska.

The phone booth is gone now. Only a little concrete slab remains where it once was. Vern walked over and stood on that little slab, and I snapped a few pics. The very spot where he had sat, all cold and miserable and scared and alone, way early that Sunday morning. But he sat there for as long as it took to break out of that place, that community. He sat there because he wanted to be free.

And we talked about it, how strange it was. Vern was fifteen years old, when his family moved to Bloomfield from Arthur, Illinois. He was sixteen when he first ran away from home. And after we all returned home to Bloomfield from Valentine, Vern left, soon after that. He might have been seventeen, or close to it. He never returned. We knew him, ran around with him, for only two short years. Which seemed like an eternity, back then. It was a pretty intense and bonding experience for the six of us, that journey we took together. And right now, this moment, four of the six were standing on one spot, remembering. It was a beautiful thing. And it was kind of haunting and sad, too.

Thirty-two years is a long time. Back in the day, none of us could have imagined it would ever go that long. We could not have imagined that we’d ever see the things we’ve seen since, or that we’d ever do the things we’ve done. It was so long ago. We’re getting older now, all of us have reached and passed fifty. About the age some of our fathers were, back when we caused them all that grief.

We talked about it, standing there around the bed of Rudy’s pickup. How deeply we had hurt our parents. Especially our Mothers. It’s not like we were loaded down with tons of regret and guilt. It was just somber talk. Of who we were, and what we did. The choices we made. Of how desperately we wanted to be free, how desperately we grasped for it, no matter the cost. It was what it was, all those years ago. Nothing can ever change any of what happened.

We loaded up and headed west then, along the highway. Cruised slowly past Vern’s old home, on the right. He spoke a lot of old stories. Spoke the old memories.

Then Rudy turned left, onto a gravel road. Toward my old home place. Bloomfield is sure built up, these days. Places that used to be English are now Amish. Plus, a hundred little new homesteads have popped up, where only bare fields lay before. We approached my home place from the south, because the bridge was out from the north. And Rudy turned in. We slowly drove the half mile to the house. This is the lane I walked out of, I told them. That night I left, when I was seventeen. The heavy black bottom fields were spread out around us. The fields I used to plow.

We drove up to the buildings. The family was seated out on the deck, on the south side of the house. Rudy turned the truck around. We waved at the people by the house. They waved back. It’s not that unusual, what they were seeing. A vehicle pulling in, then turning and leaving.

Over the gravel roads, then, through the community. Over Monkey Hill, past Henry D. Yoder’s old homestead. That poor man died destitute and lonely, just like he’d lived all his life. We talked about how it all happened, how he’d moved with his family from Bloomfield to a new settlement he founded, somewhere in some remote place in Missouri. He shook the dust of Bloomfield, and spoke boldly of that shaking. He was heading out, to live right. Bloomfield was too corrupt for him. So he moved. And then he took sick and died, soon after that. A tired, worn-out man with nothing. The Bloomfield people went down to his sad little new “settlement’ and buried him. Because there was no one else to do it.

And then we drove past Bishop Henry’s farmstead. And Jake Beachy’s sawmill, on the right. Jake moved out, years ago. Ervin Mast, I think that’s his name, took over Jake’s operation. But back to Bishop Henry. He passed away from cancer, six or seven years ago. Nathan and I stopped by see him, a few months before he left this earth. He was an emaciated shell of the man I knew, but he smiled in welcome and shook my hand. “The Waglers have been well-represented in coming to visit me,” he said. The old house still stands, his widow lives there now, I think. A new house stands there, too. His son, Paul, has the home place now.

A few more miles, then we approached Marvin’s old home. I looked for it, in the field west of the house. It’s a little mud hole, now. The pond where Titus dived. The place where he took his last steps, ever, on this earth. There it is, I said. And Marvin and Rudy told us their vivid memories of that night. The house loomed, then, and Rudy pulled in. No one seemed to be around. Marvin’s younger brother, Elmer, owns the farm now. And it was at the same place, the old hitching rail where I tied up my horse, when I came around so many times, hanging around with my friend all those years ago. The shop and barn looked about the same, too. Everything in good repair. Rudy slowly edged out of the drive, and we headed east to the Drakesville Highway.

We had one more stop. Rudy’s old home. His father, Dave, used to have a harness shop. A place where we’d all hang out when we could. He sold shoes and boots, a lot of general stuff like that. I bought more than a few pairs of work boots there. The place is built up a bit now, we saw as we pulled in. The old house was torn down years ago, and a new one built. Rudy’s cousin, Harley, bought the place from Rudy’s Dad. Harley died from cancer a few years back. His widow now lives there with their children. Rudy talked his memories. Of all the big old trees in the front yard, only one remains. After a few minutes, we left, down the highway, and off to the right onto the gravel road. We’d made a big circle. And now, back to the park and the reunion.

Dusk was settling into darkness when we got there. People lounged about in little knots in the pavilion and around the crackling fire. Rudy parked the truck, and we walked to join them.

My sister Rhoda met us in the pavilion. “How was your ride?” She asked, smiling.

It was a good ride, the four of us agreed. It was real good, I said. It was a ride we waited thirty-two years to take.

And only later, when I was mulling over things, it came to me, where we had been on that ride. We had traveled the roads of Old Bloomfield again that night.
**************************************************************

I can’t hardly believe it’s that time of year again. The Great Annual Ira Wagler Garage Party is just around the corner. Once a year, I invite a large group of people to my house, for a cookout. Once a year, I spread wood chips on the floor of the garage. Set up a rickety little bar I picked up years ago at a yard sale. And fire up my charcoal grill, to cook up the finest sausages from Stoltzfus Meats. Guests are instructed, along with their invitations, to bring along salad or dessert. All kinds of wild and delicious food always shows up. It always balances out pretty well, amazingly, what people bring. Well, it has so far, anyway.

And every year, the crowd keeps expanding. This year, I fear there will be a serious parking shortage. A pretty good handful of first-timers claim they will be attending. And one friend I’ve never met, other than on Facebook, plans to truck all the way in from Missouri to be here. I’m very much looking forward to meeting him and hanging out.

I’m looking forward to all of it. It’ll be a big bash. For one night. And then it’ll be over for one more year.

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(14 Comments) »

  1. Ira, your ride with Vern, Rudy, and Marvin had to be like traveling in a “Time Machine”. It is always exciting to read real stories about real people. What makes your life story exciting, is that you have people to relive it with.

    Comment by Warren — August 15, 2014 @ 8:08 pm

  2. It is great that you were able to take a trip down Memory Lane and have friends to do it with. It sounds like it was a positive experience, something of a life review, with no regrets. Happy for you that it turned out so well. Enjoy your Garage Party.

    Comment by Rosanna F. — August 15, 2014 @ 8:17 pm

  3. As much as I like the folks in our Amish community and I do, it really comes down to the fact that they exhibit cult-like behavior. Preventing someone from assembling with another outside their culture is dead wrong and hurtful for everyone. Like you said, people should be confident enough in their values to accept others who differ. But I think it has more to do with the kids. They don’t want them to make any connections to the outside. For fear, they will run off like y’all. Otherwise, as an English person, I have many good things to say about my Ambos. I don’t want to bad mouth them. So, it’s a complicated subject for me. Anyway, glad you had a nice time at here. Come back when you can stay longer.

    Comment by Lisa DeYoung — August 15, 2014 @ 9:56 pm

  4. Lovely.

    Comment by Pizzalady — August 15, 2014 @ 10:13 pm

  5. Enjoyed hearing about your reunion. Heartwarming!

    Comment by Deb — August 15, 2014 @ 11:10 pm

  6. This was beautiful and sad; thank you for sharing about the reunion and your trip down memory lane. I pity the Amish who limit their lives and have no clue how joyless they are, and how much they have lost.

    Comment by Lynette Sowell — August 15, 2014 @ 11:37 pm

  7. Very nice, Ira. Reminds me of the great song by Roger Miller and Willie Nelson. Old Friends.

    Comment by Tom — August 15, 2014 @ 11:55 pm

  8. Great read (: A lot of work to set up Bloomfield reunion but well worth the effort! Want to publicly thank everyone that showed up and made Bloomfield Amish Reunion another roaring success!

    I too remain perplexed over the Bloomfield Amish community’s dogged persistence this event is a drunk fest..Nothing could be further from the truth! We come in peace and you are all cordially invited to come! Perhaps we will have Scott Spurgeon advertise it next time so everyone of our Amish friends will have ample opportunity to plan on attending.

    Comment by John Wagler — August 16, 2014 @ 12:34 am

  9. Thank you for sharing such a touching experience. As one who
    left a cult-like denomination, I completely agree with your words to the Bloomfield Amish. It is a sad thing that they cannot see the freedom in the way you and others have chosen to live. I hope you all have many more wonderful reunions to come.

    Comment by Jenifer — August 16, 2014 @ 10:22 am

  10. Great blog, Ira. I was just with Ed Herschberger in Arthur last week. Wish I would have known he had such a dubious past. :-) The boy knows how to play music and how to raise a family.
    Thanks for taking us along to your reunion.
    (I must admit that I’m usually on my best behavior when I’m with you. A NYT best seller could hurt my fundraising efforts.)

    Comment by John Schmid — August 16, 2014 @ 3:57 pm

  11. It is said, leave the past behind, but I think we should all embrace our past and remember it fondly, even the bad times. After all it is what made us who we are now. Your memories sound like good memories, especially riding in the truck with your friends. It is great to travel back to places we once lived, or to be someplace that reminds us of our past, because it is like a visit home, and all are alive again in that memory.

    Comment by Carol Ellmore — August 17, 2014 @ 2:44 pm

  12. A great piece of writing, to me about going back to where I came from and realizing how the mists of time have changed the perspectives. Of realizing I have grown up, even tho there were times when I didn’t want to, of my mind sometimes still seeing people as they were then, of youth and innocence and lots of optimism, not really having a clue about life ahead.

    It’s sad that the Bloomfield Amish church wouldn’t allow the members to attend the reunion. It’s all about fear and control, two things that don’t work well with us humans who want to live fully. Live and let live, I say.

    Comment by Lenny — August 17, 2014 @ 6:13 pm

  13. It’s nice to read about folks from hometown. I too left (English) but as you said it’s what made us who we are and feel I learned alot from there. Learned too that people can be close-minded but it’s due to ignorance not stupidity. If it’s different to them it’s crazy. but to us it all makes perfect sense. Glad you have the chance to meet with others and share the fun times. We can’t all be alike. What a dull world if we were. Thanks for the wonderful insight and making me remeber when the first Amish came to Milton, Pulaski and Bloomfield/ Drakesville area. Liked to touch base sometime.

    Comment by Theresa Stoker — August 18, 2014 @ 7:34 pm

  14. Oh well, Ira, the Amish are who they are. I’m sure it was no surprise to anyone that the bishops put their foot down. But what do you care? You know who you are. Other peoples’ opinions of you are none of your business.

    Now, for more important matters. Chargers. Look, you’re a single guy with no mouths to feed, why not treat yourself? A Charger for the snow free months and Big Blue for those cold, slippery days. Life is short, Ira.

    By the way, Happy Birthday! Give or take a few days.

    Comment by Francine — August 25, 2014 @ 1:51 am

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