August 28, 2015

Crowds, Hops, and Amish Bands…

Category: News — Ira @ 6:00 pm

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Don’t you know that you are a shooting star,
Don’t you know, don’t you know?
Don’t you know that you are a shooting star?
And all the world will love you just as long,
As long as you are
A shooting star…

–Bad Company; lyrics
________________________

It always was a pretty controlled thing, what happened on a Sunday night in my Amish world. We had what were called singings. Where the youth gathered in the home where church was that day, and ate supper, and later sang. Both in Aylmer and in Bloomfield, that’s how it went. And that’s all I ever knew, when I was Amish. Even during the Gang of Six years. We always showed up. A little loud and tipsy sometimes, but we showed up. It was only later, during the brief months of the Old Green Dodge, and later yet, during the year of the wheat harvest and the Drifter truck, that I saw and grasped it. In the older and larger communities like Daviess, there was something a whole lot different going on.

They didn’t call it a singing, at least not back then. I make no claim to know what they call it today. Back then, in Daviess, it was called the Crowd. And I honestly don’t remember that much of how it was, when Eli and I rambled through Daviess in the Old Green Dodge. I was eighteen. I don’t remember much of anything that happened at the Crowd or that we had much to do with girls, there in Daviess. Well, except maybe one. But it was the second time I came around, way later, after I had fled Bloomfield and Sarah. And returned from the harvest out west, in my Drifter truck. I remember how it was, to go to the Crowd. It was a big deal, always the event of the weekend. And looking back, those are among the fondest memories I have in all the time I ever spent in Daviess, then or later. Which wasn’t that much, really. But I’m just saying.

I stayed in a little old trailer home where my friend Eli lived with his brother. I hung out with the Wagler family, some. Worked for them, building big long chicken houses on their farms. They didn’t go to the Crowd, the Wagler boys didn’t. It was way too frowned on, in the Mennonite church they went to. I never felt that they judged me much for going, though. They kind of looked bemused. Ira was just out there, exploring. He’d come to his senses someday, they figured.

The Wagler boys couldn’t take me to the Crowd of a Sunday night, because they weren’t connected to that world, and didn’t want to be. So I had to find someone else who was. And it wasn’t hard at all. One of their cousins, and a close friend, stepped right up. And he had no qualms at all about attending any Sunday night Crowd. He went regularly, ran around all night a lot. Ron Stoll. Ritter, he was called. Still is. And Ritter gladly took me under his wing, when it came to getting to the Crowds. This was way back in the eighties. There was no such thing as cell phones. And I remember stopping at the sawmill along Cannelburg Road with Ritter, late on a Sunday afternoon. There was an “Amish” phone there, in the shack. And Ritter called around, until he got hold of someone. And found out where the Crowd was going to be. And we headed over, in my Drifter truck.

I suppose a guy like me would have been welcome, however he showed up at the Crowd, there in Daviess. Because I come from that blood, and that’s all I would have had to say. But if you showed up with a guy like Ritter, well, you were instantly accepted. Instantly. No questions asked. The man knew everyone. And no, he never was Amish. He was Mennonite. But his parents had been Amish, and in Daviess, that blood ran close, didn’t matter who had left or stayed. And when we got to the Crowd, Ritter got me right in.

And I remember the exhilaration of it all, what it was to go to the Crowd in a late fall evening. I have some vague memories of what it was like, outside, in the summer. But my strongest memories come from when I got back to Daviess in my Drifter truck. It was November. And I stayed around Daviess, for a couple of months, before heading down to Pine Craft. We’re talking 1987 here. That’s a long time ago. But I remember getting to where the Crowd was, with Ritter, after dark on a Sunday night. People mingled a bit, outside in the cold. But the main party was downstairs, in the basement.

This was all happening at an Amish home. And we wandered down, Ritter and me. It was hot down there, that much I can tell you. Heat from the stove, and body heat. It was pretty packed out down there, too. The basement was filled with young people. Amish kids. Dressed Amish and English. All having a real good time, just mingling and socializing. The talk and laughter echoed through the crowded room. Almost everyone was sipping beer, girls and guys. It wasn’t loud, though, as in people hooting and hollering and getting all uncouth. I’ve never been to a Crowd, where things like that got out of hand too much. I’m sure it’s happened, often, especially way back before my time there. But I just can’t say I ever saw it.

Ritter and I had had a few, and I was feeling pretty good. I stood there in the hot basement in my heavy winter coat, chatting right along. And then I felt it, the waves of heat inside me. I tried to fight it off, but couldn’t. And I told Ritter. I need fresh air. A few of us walked single file toward the stairs. And I remember fading out, how it all went dark, all of a sudden. I didn’t crumple down. I simply fell straight back, right into the arms of the guy behind me. He hollered. “Ira’s passed out. I need help here.” The others turned and surrounded me. I came to, then, and mumbled vaguely. I’m here. I’m OK. And they bundled me up the stairs and outside into the biting cold night air. I remember it washing through, reviving me. We stood around in the cold outside for ten minutes or so, talking. Then we returned downstairs. I took off my winter coat. And I was fine, the rest of the night. I’ve always remembered that little incident, because had the guy behind me not been there, I most likely would have cracked my head wide open on the concrete basement floor. I could have been killed, I’ve always claimed.

Near as I can remember, Daviess only had one group of youth, and one Crowd. Maybe it’s not that way now. I hear some changes have come, in the past decade or so. But back when I was around, the Crowd was just where you went, on a Sunday night. It’s where boys and girls mingled, and coupled up. And Daviess used to have a very unsavory reputation, back then. I’m amazed, sometimes, that my Dad had enough sense to move out of that place. But in Daviess, back when I was a child, a real Amish wedding was a very rare thing. That’s because almost all the dating couples got married only after the girl got pregnant. And if you got pregnant before marriage, you couldn’t have a real wedding. You got married in a real short ceremony, on a regular Sunday, after the main church service was over. A shotgun wedding, I guess you’d call it. And that’s just the way it was. I’m not saying it’s that way now. I hear there’s been some real changes in Daviess, and I think a real, regular wedding is much more common there, now, than it used to be. But back then, it all was what it was. Daviess had a real bad reputation, among the other established Amish communities. And like Nazareth in the Bible, nothing good could ever come from there. It was a place of shame and dishonor.

And it seems strange to me. I have no memories of anything real wild coming down at the Crowd. Either I just never saw it, or I slipped through, somehow. I probably attended a few dozen Crowds, total, so my experience might have been an aberration. Because way back, in the sixties and seventies, some real bad stuff happened there in the land of my father’s blood. Crazy, wild stuff. I think there were lots of drugs floating around Daviess during that time. The wild boys often went on rampages. Terrorized the Amish farmers, their own neighbors, just for sport.

One time, a group of young toughs stopped at the farm of a man named Swartzentruber. They made lots of noise and got generally destructive. Poor Mr. Swartzentruber came out from the house and confronted them as they were cutting up his fences along the field. The “wild” youth of Daviess hooted and mocked the man. And Mr. Swartzentruber got so worked up from the senselessness of it all that he collapsed on the spot from a heart attack and died. Right there, on that spot, jeered by the local young toughs from the Amish Crowd. I mean, that’s about as uncouth as any rowdy youth could get. I don’t know who those youth were. They know who they are, I suppose. The thing is, I will not judge what their hearts were back then, from where I am today.

Those were wild days, and wild times. Once, a group of youth got all mad at my Uncle Henry (Wagler) Mealy. They were car (Block Church) people, but I’m pretty sure they attended the Crowds. From what I’ve heard, which may not be all that accurate, these guys were taking instructions to be baptized in the Block Church. Uncle Henry didn’t feel they were quite ready, yet, and he opposed the baptism. He sensed darkness in their hearts. And I think he got it postponed, somehow. The boys got all livid at Uncle Henry. They felt they were totally ready to be baptized. This could not stand, this resistance from an obstinate man like that. And one quiet Sunday night, soon after that, someone snuck in and planted a large amount of dynamite at the base of Uncle Henry’s silo. That person lit the long fuse and got out of there. The dynamite erupted and the explosion swept through the community in waves.

The silo stood firm, though. Somehow, the perp had placed the dynamite so it only blew a small hole in the concrete. I’ve heard it told that had the explosives been placed properly, all of Uncle Henry’s buildings would have been leveled, and he and his family would have been killed, most likely. The FBI came snooping around in the next few months, but as far as I know, no one was ever arrested for that crime. And I gotta say. I don’t care how wild the youth may have been in other large communities, I’ve never heard any story as crazy as that. You get mad at someone because he doesn’t believe you’re ready to be baptized, you go try to blow up his silo. Daviess blood is strange blood.

And there’s another legend out that I’ve often heard, but never saw with my own eyes. Amish bands. In the sixties, seventies, and maybe the early eighties, there were such things, from all I’ve heard told. Teenage guys, playing guitars and drums, churning out the hits of their times. In the eighties, it was the old rock hits from bands like AC/DC. It’s always been a thing of wonder to me, the concept of an Amish band. Because you know those kids didn’t pick up a guitar, or any musical instrument, until they were at least teenagers. They had to have the music in them naturally, because they taught themselves to play.

A funny little story I heard years ago, back in the early eighties, from an old friend in Daviess. Some years before that, an Amish band from Daviess went on down to Nashville for some sort of competition. The lead singer’s last name was (Wagler) Robin. And he and his boys whooped and sang real good. Total Amish hicks, they rocked the competition, there in Nashville. And they came home with the first prize, whatever that was.

And the story was told by the lead singer’s younger brother, who saw it all happen one day a few weeks later. A long black Cadillac pulled into the drive of their home farm. A man in a flashy suit and tie got out and approached the father. He was looking for the (whatever the name of the band was) band. They had come to Nashville a few weeks back, and he really wanted to talk to the boys in that band. The father listened, briefly. Got out his handkerchief and wiped the sweat from his face. He knew darn well what the flashy man was talking about. But he had work to do, and he didn’t believe in Amish bands.

So he told the flashy man. “Nope. I’ve never heard of that band. Never heard of them.” The flashy man looked all disappointed. “But they gave this address, when they signed up for the competition,” he protested. The father repeated. “Never heard of them.” And he turned away. The flashy man looked all disappointed. I mean, he had driven a few hundred miles to hunt down this phantom band. But there was nothing he could say, that would get him anywhere. So he got into his long shiny black Cadillac in defeat and headed back to Nashville. I have no idea if the story is true, or if some semblance of it actually happened. All I know is that this is pretty much how I heard it told, years ago.

And that’s a little bit of how it went in the Daviess of long ago. I’m thinking some of that wild blood has calmed down a good bit since then. There have been some big changes in Daviess over the past twenty years. They’re more mainstream. They have top buggies, now. I haven’t been to a Crowd since the days of the Drifter truck, back in 1987. And since those days, I have meandered a good bit, around the country. Eventually, against all I ever figured would ever happen, I settled right smack in the middle of one of the largest Amish communities in the world. Smack among the Blue Bloods of Lancaster County. I hung with the Beachy youth in those days, and didn’t pay much attention to what the Amish kids did of a Sunday night. I didn’t know if they had Crowds, or what.

And I’ve learned, since then. The Amish in Lancaster had three different things going on, or at least they did back then. (Who knows what’s all going on, right now?) Saturday night parties. Sunday night supper and singings. And after the singing, on the same farm, there was the hop. Where a real live band played. And their youth groups aren’t called youth groups. They’re called gangs. Not as in the Crips and Bloods. But in more of a benign way, like the Sugar Creek Gang in the books I read as a child.

And I’ve chatted with people over the years, here and there, people who used to attend Amish hops, way back. It’s something I never got done, though, get to a hop. I’ve never seen one. It makes me feel like I missed a valid and fascinating cultural experience, looking back.

And the other week, we got to chatting about things, there at Vinola’s on a Tuesday night after the Bible Study. My buddy, Amos Smucker, the horse dentist, and a few others. And I asked them. Do you guys remember when there were Amish bands around here? I mean, I think most large communities had them, at one point or another, but I’ve never seen one play at any gathering. Are they still around? And do you remember when there were more of them?

Well. Throw out a question like that to a small group like the one I was with, and get ready to hear some real history. And I can only try to speak what I heard in the broadest sense. I got few specific facts, here. Just a broad picture.

Lancaster County is pretty much unique, when it comes to what goes on, on a Sunday night. Or at least it used to be. Way, way back, there were just singings. Just like where I grew up. But then the community got a lot bigger, with each generation. And it was just a natural thing, that the youth divided themselves by temperament. Each time that happened, a name was born, for that group. Names like the Groffies (the first ever gang, back in the 1950s), Happy Jacks, Ahmies, Sailors, Souvenirs, Checkers, Crickets, Ranchers, Green Peas, Shotguns. And a host of others. And when a gang got too big, it divided, just like the Amish divide their church districts when they get too crowded. And so one group spawned another, and that’s why there are dozens and dozens of names out there for Amish gangs that once were.

And I asked. Who thought up the names? Amos looked at me. “No one thought them up. They were just born, no one knows quite how.”

Well. What can you say to that? I am fascinated, by the history of the Amish youth of Lancaster County. Absolutely fascinated, because a guy like Amos will come along and tell you things like that, right when you actually want to hear the real story told. Right when you’re wondering about it, anyway. It all seems a little uncanny, somehow.

One thing I can say, about both Daviess and Lancaster. They’re sure a lot more relaxed about musical instruments than any place I ever lived, growing up. In Aylmer and in Bloomfield, if you got caught with something like a guitar after you joined church, you were in pretty serious trouble. And if you persisted in your sin, you’d get kicked out, just like that. Excommunicated. Here, in Lancaster, I’ve been in Amish homes, just lounging around, and someone unlimbered a guitar. I was pretty startled, the first time I ever saw such a thing. This sure is a different place, I thought. The Blue Bloods are way more relaxed about a lot of things.

Anyway, back to hops and bands. I would guess the first organized bands came out in the sixties, sometime. The seventies were the heyday of Amish bands in Lancaster County. Every gang, except maybe the plainest ones, had several bands. There was one in the older group in a gang. And the youngsters pushed up, too, with their bands, to take the place of the older ones, after they went and got married. And so it went. And from the descriptions Amos told me, I would give a lot to be able to see what he saw, back in his youth.

After the singing, the hop started, The band would set up a stage on a farm wagon. Set up their guitars, keyboard, and drums. Somewhere way back, out of sight, a generator hummed. Electric instruments and speakers take juice. And the authentic thing about true Amish bands, back in the day, was that they stayed dressed in their Amish clothes. I mean, they were at the Amish singing, anyhow, dressed Amish. And so, up there on that wagon they stood and sat, in their colored shirts and vests and Amish hats. Some of them even wore their Mutza suits. I would pay good money to see and hear such a thing.

And the crowd surged around the wagon as the band fired up. And played and played and played. All bands have groupies. This has been true in modern history. And the Amish bands were no different. Amos told me. If a band member winked at a girl down in the audience, that girl would be waiting for him when the evening wound down. It had to be a giddy thing, to play on an Amish band back then. It just had to be.

The hops of that time were totally unsupervised. As in, the parents kept to themselves, and didn’t intrude at all into what all went on. And there was some real bad stuff going on. Lots of hard drinking, and hard drugs, too, in the seventies. And beyond that decade, too. I’m not judging that. Just telling it. An Amish youth in Rumspringa would leave on a Saturday night, and not get back home until late Sunday night, or early Monday morning, and his parents never pried as to where he had been, what he’d seen, or what he had done. Such a thing is simply unfathomable to a guy who comes from where I come from.

And so it went the way it went, back there in the seventies. And then, one fateful Sunday night in 1978 or ‘79, a real bad thing happened. Three Amish gangs got together for one mega-hop. The Antiques, the Happy Jacks, and the Ahmies. It was highly unusual for gangs to mix like that, and especially those three gangs. But that night, they did. They all got together on one farm, somewhere down south a ways. Upstairs, in the barn loft, the bands set up. And the place just got packed out with hundreds and hundreds of Amish youth. Boys and girls, all having a loud, large time. And then the whole barn groaned. And then one side of the loft floor just collapsed from the weight of all those people. I can’t even imagine the mayhem. And suddenly the place was filled with blaring sirens, fire trucks, and ambulances. By some miracle, no one was killed. There were lots of injuries. One young man was paralyzed, and never walked another step. The Great Barn Floor Collapse was an enormous and infamous event in the annals of Lancaster County history.

And after that, the parents didn’t sit back any longer. After that, there rose a determined and sustained resistance to Amish hops and bands. The hops didn’t just disappear. But slowly, they faded out. And soon, not every gang had a hop every Sunday night. Soon, it was maybe once a month, that a hop happened somewhere. And after the barn floor collapse, the hops were usually held separately on a Saturday night. The band members had no reason to dress in their Sunday best Amish clothes, as there was no singing to dress for on a Saturday night. And from then on, you didn’t see them up on the wagons, dressed in their Amish vests, barn door pants, and large hats. They were more apt to wear English clothes. And because a hop was a rare thing, much larger crowds showed up from all the gangs around. And the Saturday night hops just turned into one big wild party.

I’m not sure when the last authentic Amish hop band disappeared in Lancaster County. And I’m not saying there aren’t a few bands around. But you don’t have the authentic Amish look like the bands used to have. And mostly, from the few sources I’m connected to, Amish kids who are picking guitars these days just tend to hang out among themselves. Get together in someone’s hut with a few friends. And so you don’t have the real hops anymore. And you don’t have the real bands.

Sometime in the 1990s, a new movement came sweeping through Lancaster County. Amish gangs that were supervised, where the parents were very much involved. The first of the supervised gangs was the Eagles. I had some close friends who were members of the Eagles, and from what they told me, it sounded about the same as what I knew, growing up. They meet somewhere for supper, the youth do, and they play volleyball, and eat. And later, they sing. After the singing, there is no hop. Everyone just goes home.

And all of that is totally OK, I guess. But still. I would have loved to see the heyday of the real hop, where real Amish bands, dressed in real Amish clothes and hats, set up on a farm wagon and played and sang their hearts out.

I really would have loved to see that.

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(12 Comments) »

  1. Yes, and there’s the story from the late 80’s-early 90’s of the Amish band playing at the Paradise Village Inn, PVI as we knew it. I don’t know the band’s name, I just knew the one guy’s dad a little bit and the story stuck in my mind.

    These guys were playing along, everybody was pretty well soused. Seems like the devil made a misstep or got too eager, and the Amish guys that were on the stage simultaneously got a glimpse or vision of Satan lusting after their souls.

    All shook up, they stopped in the middle of the song they were playing and got out of there. Don’t know if they took their instruments, or if they ever went back.

    Comment by Zookyd — August 28, 2015 @ 7:30 pm

  2. Party hearty ’till you can hardly party. YA. (The motto from my youth.) :) I would have been “all in” at those wild Crowds. My thought was, how did the girls navigate? I mean I can see the boys gone missing for a day or so but surely the girls had a curfew. Anyway, like you said, I’d pay good money. P.S. I must say you are on a high roll with your writing lately. Look forward to your posts. Party on.

    Comment by Lisa DeYoung — August 28, 2015 @ 8:37 pm

  3. Even back in my wife’s parents’ day there were immoral gatherings. I know because of the tales of a group of youth that wanted to follow the Lord and shunned such parties, having their own, decent, social events.

    The other thing I’d like to say, is that there is forgiveness and healing for those who’ve had abortions. That’s an issue being opened again. It is a wider societal problem, but it is good you help us recognize the Amish – and other religious groups – are not immune to sin.

    Comment by LeRoy — August 28, 2015 @ 11:25 pm

  4. Interesting. I have heard the stories of the corn field parties and how the girls returned home through the windows and knew where the stairs creaked. I have seen them going into the corn fields too. And lives ruined. But I had not heard of the bands.

    Comment by Linda Ault — August 29, 2015 @ 9:46 am

  5. I seem to recall photos of Amish boys wearing black hats with rolled-up brims playing guitars on a farm wagon in the old book “The Amish Year”. Possibly one could be found on Amazon.

    Comment by Zookyd — August 29, 2015 @ 4:35 pm

  6. At one point, I and 3 of my siblings were all part of the “Happy Jacks”. Within that group were the “Termites”, “Crickets”, “Mod Squad”, and “Grasshoppers” – each name representing a new age group of young people coming in. I was a Grasshopper. Each of these buddy bunches at one time had their own band. The ‘Mod Squad’ was the first band to have an organ hooked up to an amp powered by the generator outside the barn along with the electric guitars and the mics. The organ and all the other gear got hauled from place to place in an old station wagon fondly known as the ‘Fleischwagen’ or Meat Wagon.

    In about a 10 year span the Happy Jacks went from starting with all driving horse & buggy, to the majority of the boys having cars, with the girls riding along. This was unusual – the girls didn’t normally ride along in the cars. Over the years, the ‘Happy Jacks’ advanced so much that parents didn’t want their children to join that group and eventually it went to nothing. The Ahmies were even more advanced.

    There was a time in my home that 7 of us siblings were running around at the same time. There was a guitar or some other instrument under every (boys) bed. Each of the boys had a car, but we never brought them home. We either parked them at a place in town or in a field somewhere and hoofed it the rest of the way. I was the first to get a motorcycle. From about 2am to 5am on any given Monday morning, my Mom would listen for seven distinctive footsteps going up the stairs – she knew each one – and when she knew the last one was in she could finally go to sleep.

    Comment by Amos Smucker — August 30, 2015 @ 9:42 am

  7. I remember seeing a program called “Devil’s Playground” or Devil’s something or other and I was truly shocked to see the drug and music scene amongst the Amish youth. Of course, you never can believe what you see on media but from the sounds of your writing…

    As a parent you think if you raise your kids in the church, if you spend time with them, teach them right from wrong, discipline them appropriately, basically love them in the best way you know how, they will turn their backs on drugs, alcohol, or things that you frown upon. I suppose to some degree it helps…maybe a lot, but there’s nothing sure fire. God gives us all that very dangerous thing called free will.

    I have to admire the kids that performed in these bands. The organization, technical skills, planning, musical ability-Wow!…it took some doin’ to get these shows going. Talk about an educational experience! And minus the drugs, it sounds like a good time for a young person.

    Thanks for writing. Glad everything went well in Germany. God bless you and be with you. Oh, happy belated. Hope it was a good day for you.

    Comment by Francine — August 31, 2015 @ 1:12 am

  8. Enjoyed this one, except that it kinda scared me. Oldest grandson just turned 13. Our family is not Amish, and it seems that we’re genetically loaded for addictions of one kind or another. I just hope our grandson, whom I love dearly, survives his particular form of Rumspringa. The crazy way people drive around here–well, the idea of his getting behind the wheel is enough to keep me awake many a night at 3 AM, and it will be several years before he even thinks of driving. I’m too old for this. Way too old.

    Comment by forsythia — September 2, 2015 @ 11:53 am

  9. I enjoy your writings but was very disappointed in this post. I grew up Old Order Mennonite in New Holland and went to school with Amish. We could hear the music from their gangs late into the night. It grieves me that someone wants to take pleasure in their sins. I am glad to hear that things are changing for the better in some of the gangs. Romans 1:29-32.

    Comment by Rachel — September 5, 2015 @ 9:58 am

  10. There were gatherings in the late 60’s and 70’s called Florida Reunions.They happened around Labor Day,usually some where in the Midwest,and were intended to bring together all the Amish kids who had spent time in the Sunshine state.The one I and one of my little brothers went to was in ’76 or’77 in the Fort Wayne ,Ind area,Cherabusco or something like that.A gun club property had been rented by the locals.Some small time area bands were recruited,some may have been Amish boys for all I know.A rental box truck was loaded with libations,mostly case beer and I remember seeing that being dumped into new metal live stock watering tanks along with a lot of ice.A cover charge at the entrance gave you access to all the fire water you could handle and it was on.3 days of almost non stop party and it was a party.Right down my alley.The Amish ministers in my home area used to warn us to stay away,it made me want to go all the more.Some of that good old teenage rebellion going on.I have a copy of The Devils Playground,it is a documentary of the struggles of some Amish youngsters in northern Indiana.It appears pretty real and I identify with a lot of it.I’m grateful to my God for free will,thru that He has allowed me to make choices and grow spiritually,sometimes very painfully. And He has been watching over me from the beginning, years before the realization that my life style was slowly killing me and that getting sober was the answer.I don’t regret the past and neither do I want to close the door on it,for it is the key to understanding and helping others.Been there,done that,those so called negatives can be turned into positives and I really get that.And life rolls on..what a ride..God doesn’t make any junk..its all good…enjoy it..peace to all..

    Comment by lenny — September 7, 2015 @ 4:14 pm

  11. What I love about your stories is that they seem to roll merrily along at an even keel when all of a sudden there is something exciting happening. I need to read your writing very carefully so I don’t miss the explosions or barn collapsings.

    Comment by Carol Ellmore — September 11, 2015 @ 8:04 pm

  12. Ira, you would have loved to have been at some of the hops and hoedowns I was at in the seventies. They were just as you described, guys in full Amish attire strumming away. I faintly remember hearing about the Great Barn Floor collapse but that was after I had gone “English”. I was not aware that hoedowns have become almost extinct because I don’t have much interaction with the young Amish folks anymore. Anyway, Ira, thanks for that interesting blog.

    Comment by Jon Fisher — September 20, 2015 @ 12:54 pm

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