July 22, 2011

The First Taste…

Category: News — admin @ 6:06 pm

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“And for me, it was like a new day had dawned. For the
first time as an adult, I faced the future without fear.”

—Ira Wagler: Growing Up Amish
____________________________

It’s been a bit surreal, these last few weeks. Well, a lot surreal. Quite wild, actually. You look forward to something for so long, the day arrives, the door opens, and you walk through. And gape in wonder at all that’s on the other side.

I’ve walked through. I’m still gaping in wonder.

On the great day of release, July 1st, I decided to forego the gym and head to Lancaster to find my book. In a real bookstore, on a real bookshelf. Dodging through the weekend traffic, I fought my way to Berean Christian Books, across from the Park City Mall. Figured I’d give Berean first chance, since a week later they would host my first book signing. I parked and walked in to the foyer. I might have crossed myself, even. Don’t remember.

A few signs were plastered on the front door, with my picture, announcing the upcoming book signing. Pretty wild. But not as wild as actually seeing my book in public. Then on into the store. And over to the New Releases. Scanned the shelves for that familiar green cover.

Nothing. I mean, there were plenty of new releases, lots of bright covers and flashy titles. But not my book. Drat. I approached the clerk and asked if they had it in stock. He punched some keys on his computer. Yep. But the books wouldn’t be placed on the floor until the following Tuesday. Deflated, I walked out, drove next door to Border’s. Walked in, expecting nothing. I found what I expected. My book wasn’t there either. The Borders people pretty much looked at me as if I were an alien, when I asked about it. Nope. No new arrivals that day. I walked out.

Great. The big day had arrived and was upon me. And now I couldn’t even find my own book. An author has no honor in his home town, I figured. Like a prophet doesn’t. Not that I’m a prophet, but there’s a parallel there.

I had one more shot. BJ’s Wholesale Warehouse, a few exits west on Rt. 30. They might have it. So I shifted Big Blue onto the street and fought the traffic back out. Lights. Left turns. Yuk. And then I was on Rt. 30, heading for Centerville Road. I cruised into the BJ’s parking lot. A huge place. I’m not a member, so I couldn’t buy anything. But I didn’t want to buy anything. I wanted to see my book.

I walked through the front door, and they let me in. Now where were the books? Halfway through, a vast flat table, seemingly half as big as a football field. Covered with stack after stack of books. Laid flat, piled high. Up one side I walked, scanning the titles. No book. And down the other. Halfway. Then three quarters. I scanned the countless titles. A shiver of desperation rippled through me. It had to be here. If it wasn’t, I was out of options.

And then, there it was. Stacked, kind of wedged between a bunch of others. A little pile about ten books high. Growing up Amish. By Ira Wagler.

Even in the vast flat concrete jungle of that warehouse, it was a fine thrilling moment. My first taste of my book. For sale. Right there, in public. I picked up a copy. Held it.

I hailed a skinny kid with tattooed arms, strolling by with his girlfriend. Could he take a picture with my iPhone? He agreed readily enough. And did.

The next big first taste: The book signing at Berean on July 9th. The Lancaster Sunday News published a very nice review, and during the week leading up to the date, Tyndale ran two quarter-page ads announcing the upcoming book signings. First Berean at 11. Then Costco at 2.

The morning arrived. I had asked my brother Steve to attend too, to take some pictures. Especially of the first book being signed. Yes, yes, he said. He’d be there, about a half hour early. I puttered about the house, nervous. Then, shortly after ten, I headed out. Here I come. I may have crossed myself. I don’t remember. That’s how surreal the whole thing was.

I arrived a good deal early. Sat in my truck for a few minutes. Called Steve. He was on his way, running a bit late. Ah, well. I decided to head on in. Set up awhile, and wait for people to come.

I walked through the doors into the foyer. The nice signs still hung there, signs with my picture, announcing the date and time of the book signing. And inside the store there was a nice little table. Loaded with my books. In front of the table milled a group of about ten people. All women. Some clutched my book. They were waiting.

Waiting for someone. Waiting for me.

I strolled up to them and smiled. A few knew me. And so I stood there, chatting with people who had come to buy my book and get it signed. It wasn’t 11:00 yet. But where was Steve? Come on.

“I’m not signing any books until my brother gets here,” I said firmly. “He’s taking pictures, and especially a picture of the first book being signed.” Everyone nodded and smiled. But still, there we stood.

And then, after ten minutes or so had passed, Steve arrived with his camera. The nice Berean people even set up a chair for him, right beside mine. And then I reached for the book from the first lady in line. And signed and dated it.


The first book signed at my first book signing.

It was all a flurry of activity for awhile. And then, I sat there, with no one around. The lonely, forlorn author. Waiting. But not for long. The tide of people ebbed and flowed. I chatted briefly with many of them. Some were good friends, who took time from their busy day to honor my achievement. I smiled and talked. Posed for pictures. Steve was a busy man, both with his camera and with the customers’ cameras.

It was hilarious, really, to see the Berean people scurry about ever more frantically as book after book disappeared. They had ordered 75 copies. It was soon apparent that it would be a close thing. Some people grabbed more than one book, and I signed the extra copies to their friends. One fine young man took five copies. The most any one person bought that day.

Finally, one lone copy remained. It was already after 12 noon. We hopefully scrutinized every person who walked in. But by that time, new customers were unaware of my book and of the signing. Finally, sadly, I signed the last, lone obstinate copy and dated it, and it was returned to the shelf. More would be ordered ASAP, I was assured.

That afternoon, at two, I was sitting at a table in Costco. Three large posters, enlarged pictures of the book cover, announced my presence to the Costco world. And crowds ebbed and flowed again. Many were passing shoppers, some were my friends, again stopping by to buy a book and honor this moment. I left at 3:15. Clutching in my hands the three large posters. At least one of them will be framed.

And then, last weekend, I traveled to the blue-blood Amish community of Holmes County, Ohio. For a book signing at the Gospel Book Store in Berlin. It was all quite wild as well. I stayed with my good friend John Schmid and his wife Lydia, at their home. My home away from home, in Holmes.

Again, many of my blog readers and fans came out to see me and buy the book. I chatted with many people, posed for pictures, and signed books. Many older people spoke to me of how they had met my parents years ago. Some had stayed with us at our home in Aylmer. Everyone was most cheerful and agreeable.

It was all too good, too sweet to last, probably. And so it didn’t.

She was quite friendly as she approached. A nice Beachy Amish lady, probably sixty years old or so. Oh, she said. I met your parents many years ago. They stopped by my house, and I made a meal for them.

I smiled back. And chatted. A nice lady, indeed. And a good prospect, to buy my book. And as our conversation lulled, I asked her.

“So are you picking up a copy of my book? I’ll gladly sign it for you.”

Her face hardened into a stern mask. She had come to the signing to meet me. On a mission. But not to buy my book.

“Oh, I don’t know,” she said. “I read several sections from a copy one of my friends bought.” A pause. “Can I ask you a question?”

We were tumbling headlong into disastrous territory. Nothing good could possibly come from it. But I smiled.

“Of course,” I said.

She leaned in, her face still hard, like granite.

“Do you really believe you are honoring the Lord with your book?” She asked the question dramatically. Like she had me. There could be only one possible response. I would be forced to look away. Maybe even hang my head in shame.

I was startled. But not that startled. I never flinched from her steady accusing gaze. Never looked away.

“Of course I believe that,” I answered. “Yes, I believe the Lord is honored with my book.”

And her stony face fell. She gaped at me in disbelief. She had played her trump card. The one she knew would win. But it hadn’t. She had lost. I’ll give her credit, though. She recovered quickly. But she was shaken.

“Well,” she muttered. “I think there are some things better left unwritten.”

“And that’s your right,” I said. She turned from me and walked away.

I didn’t think about it until later, but her muttered comment was right on. Just not the way she meant it. There are some things better left unwritten. And I left them unwritten.

She was the first line of defense from a hard-core sector of the plain groups. Those who refuse to be honest about themselves or their culture. She instigated the first skirmish. She came, she confronted, she lost, and she left.

But she was only the first. She certainly won’t be the last. There will be many more like her, down the road. And some won’t give up that easily.

I don’t relish such skirmishes, such battles. And I don’t seek them. But if they are brought to me, I will not back down. I will confront them. Head on. And then I’ll write about them right here on my blog. In the future, I’m thinking, I might even name names.

I’m very excited about my next book signing. It will be held on August 5th and 6th in my ancestral home of Daviess County, IN. My good friend Glen Graber, founder of Graber Post Buildings, is taking care of all the logistics. Rather rashly, perhaps, he ordered and has already received a lot of copies of my book. It is whispered that there may be as many as several hundred. If so, we’ll need a LOT of people showing up, to make even a dent in that number. So if you are within reasonable driving distance, come on over. This is currently my only scheduled signing in the Midwest. Although there likely will be others, sometime down the road.

1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Friday, August 5
Graber Post Buildings
7716 N 900 E
Montgomery, IN 47558
(812) 636-7355

12:00 Noon – 3:00 PM
Saturday, August 6
Gasthof Amish Village
6659 E Gasthof Village Rd.
Montgomery, IN 47558
(812) 486-4900

Since the book was released, this blog has seen an explosion of hits. Hundreds and hundreds of hits a day. Because Tyndale most graciously published the website address on the back cover of the book, along with the author info.

So a good many of you are getting your “first taste” of this blog. Welcome. To all of you. This site has been a good part of my world, and my connection to the world, since it was launched back in 2007. On this site, I have raged and writhed in pain. Cried out in anguish. Exulted in exuberant wonder. And healed, in time. At least partially.

On this site, my writing voice developed, the voice you read in the book. You can go back to my earliest posts, and read forward. And witness the voice as it was born. And as it firmed up and matured. All the way to the present day.

A few words of caution are in order, I think. Especially to those who may be the tormented, sensitive type, the type who walks around greatly burdened with all the tortured guilt of others’ perceived offenses. There are a few things such readers, and all new readers, should know.

Politically, I’m a libertarian. I respect no politician, except Ron Paul and his ilk. And of course, being human, he has his flaws as well. I don’t write about politics much. But I have, now and then, here and there. I whack both sides pretty much equally. Maybe the left a bit more. I don’t watch any mainstream news. None at all. I believe the current debt-crisis antics in Washington, DC are a dog and pony show. I pay almost no attention to it.

I love football, baseball and Nascar, in that order. I don’t like horses, and I think pets should mostly be kept outside the house. I don’t like cities and think they are evil pits of crime and wickedness. I won’t fly unless absolutely necessary, to avoid the TSA gropers. I’m comfortable in pretty much any setting, from a black tie event to a blue collar dive. I’m more comfortable around Joe Sixpack than I am hobnobbing with the intellectual elite. Don’t know why, really. Probably because I feel closer to my roots.

During the past four years, I have posted hundreds and hundreds of pages of words on this site. Words describing in detail who I am, where I’ve been, and where I’ve come from. And what I think, about a whole lot of things.

Somewhere on this site, there is something, some opinion, some post, some story with which you will vehemently disagree. Maybe even be offended. Count on it. I’m pretty much an equal opportunity guy that way.

Read. Recoil. Gasp in horror. Whatever. But don’t take it personally. And don’t send me scolding, accusing emails. Just don’t. And don’t be condescending. If you want to admonish, or even berate me, that’s OK. Just be honest and polite. You are free to be who you are. Respect my right to be who I am.

I’m just a redneck who can write. Keep that in mind as you peruse my blog-world.

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(41 Comments) »

  1. Ira your book is a wonderful read, your blog a real journey. Your politics…well let’s not even go there! ;~) Seriously. I was deeply moved by your life story. Thanks for sharing so freely. And as for that lady in Holmes, nothing you can do about folks like that. Your answer about what you DID leave unwritten was spot on.

    So have you thought about a sequel?

    Comment by Leon — July 22, 2011 @ 6:23 pm

  2. I like ya, man. Just the way you are.

    Comment by Richard Miller — July 22, 2011 @ 6:23 pm

  3. First of all it’s your fault I got no work done this afternoon- (couldn’t put the book down til it was all read!) You articulated perfectly the internal conflict I felt for years. Why was I one of the people cursed with “knowing better” and therefore doomed to live closed-in and separated from the world, yet knowing I could never do it? Thanks for sharing your own struggles and in so doing helping others with theirs.

    Comment by Kathy Marner — July 22, 2011 @ 7:25 pm

  4. It was great to have you here in blue blooded Holmes Co (red necks, white shirts & blue blood: an all-American Amish community). What a good time we had! Folks are still buzzing. I’m on my way home from Orlando where I was at a convention with Glen Graber’s daughter, his sister and his sister in law. They are all jacked (no pun intended) about you coming there next week! I hope they run out of books!

    Comment by John Schmid — July 22, 2011 @ 7:52 pm

  5. Getting more and more holds on your book at my branch of the library where I work, and that’s always fun to see. You know, I’ve followed you for a while now (well, not in person – that’s weird) but I don’t think I’ve even gone back to the beginning to read – maybe I’ll do that and catch up. I’m very much enjoying the book. Nothin’ like a “redneck who can write”! :)

    Comment by Bethrusso — July 22, 2011 @ 8:17 pm

  6. Your book signing was one of the highlights of my Holmes County stay.

    Comment by Katie Troyer — July 22, 2011 @ 9:32 pm

  7. You should name the battles and skirmishes! Battles and skirmishes deserve to be named!

    Comment by Rhonda — July 22, 2011 @ 11:49 pm

  8. I bought your book last night & just got done reading it. It was particularily interesting to me as my Mom was a huge fan of your dad, Elmo Stoll & David Luthy, pretty much the whole Pathway gang (the Pathway Bookstore in La Grange was just down the road from our house).

    I am also ex-Amish so I could relate very well with the struggles you went through. It broke my heart at the struggles you went through until you had a relationship with God & I was very happy when you found your peace. Thanks for writing your story, it is very well written & quite interesting.

    Comment by Minerva DeJianne — July 23, 2011 @ 1:54 pm

  9. I ordered your book last night from Amazon. Looking forward to reading it. I too have hosted your parents to supper in my home. Your dad was selling grain mills, unfortunately he forgot to bring the grain with him! As well. We had a great visit anyway.

    Comment by Missy — July 23, 2011 @ 4:20 pm

  10. I came across your book while shopping at Sam’s Club, and thinking about beginnning another book. I serve as a healthcare chaplain in Indiana, and have a Protestant faith background, but know very little about the culture of the Amish, Mennonite and German Baptist patients/families I have encountered. I thought it looked like an enjoyable biography which might give me a few insights into the “simple” culture of some traditions I am unfamiliar with.

    I finished the book in one sitting, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I do think I know a bit more about some of the faith practices and cultural aspects, and I also appreciated the open discussion of family dynamics and biographical vignettes. I’m planning to write a review to post on my personal blog (with very few readers!) but do share posts via Twitter and Facebook as well.

    Thanks for sharing a part of your life in the book, in an open and very readable manner.

    Peace!

    Comment by Charleychaplain — July 23, 2011 @ 5:56 pm

  11. Ira, Just finished your book today and my heart just cried for you until you found the Lord Jesus Christ. I was there so long in my life as a hungry soul empty youth; with NO ANSWERS. Absolutely none. When I got baptized as a young girl it was about the saddest day of my life. Praise the Lord He is still in the soul saving business! I found Him too.

    Comment by Iva — July 23, 2011 @ 10:19 pm

  12. I couldn’t put your book down….it described so many of the emotions I felt when we were excommunicated from the Plymouth Brethren Church. My roots went deep with this very unforgiving group and the depression I suffered as a result of their rejection went on for many years. God’s mercy has brought me out of the pit of darkness and His love rules my life. However, the lack of mercy I experienced from this church group still haunts me from time to time. Thanks for daring to share your emotions and your new life in Christ!

    Comment by Dale — July 24, 2011 @ 4:19 pm

  13. This is one of the few times I wish I still lived in Indiana, but I’m a Hoosier who migrated to warmer climes. I wish you well on sales of your book, and encourage my Indiana friends to come to the book signing. Some day soon I hope to have a few extra $$ so that I can purchase your book.

    Comment by Nancy — July 24, 2011 @ 5:17 pm

  14. I bought your book early this week at Wal-mart. Finished reading it yesterday. I just loved it! Could not put it down. I’ve had a fascination about Amish life and beliefs for a good many years (near 30), found out one of my ancestors came from Bucks, know nothing about his family there. Always enjoy hearing the journey of a person to their relationship with Jesus. Your book met both of those interests.

    Comment by Elaine — July 24, 2011 @ 5:24 pm

  15. Between your dislike of horses and now the thought of (goatling) kids being led to slaughter…and of course, pets having to reside outside of the manor…

    Even though we are polar opposites, I devoured your book and now I will probably have to start attending a 12 step program for my addiction to your blog.

    Thank you. :-)

    Comment by Lori Ann — July 24, 2011 @ 8:03 pm

  16. I bought and read your book. I have encouraged my friends to pick up a copy, and linked it onto my Facebook page. Hope you keep writing, blog, books, whatever, I will probably read it.

    I will continue to keep watch for upcoming book signing events, and if you come somewhere nearby (Kentucky), I would love to attend.

    Thank you for a great read!

    Comment by Laura Miller Burress — July 24, 2011 @ 8:17 pm

  17. I think you’re great. Don’t change a thing (like you could anyway right?) ;)

    I cannot imagine what it was like to see your own book in a store on a shelf for the first time. You should be very proud!

    Comment by DJ — July 25, 2011 @ 7:50 am

  18. I’ve followed your blog for awhile and it seemed that some of the early chapters were from the blog. I quickly got over that and loved the book, even the stories I had read before. Your unsentimental, non-bitter accounts of your journey are a breath of fresh air. Although it doesn’t help your sales, I have already begun to pass the book around to friends and family.

    Comment by Stephanie — July 25, 2011 @ 9:19 am

  19. Found the book at the local Wal-Mart between some sad Beverly Lewis schmaltz. Only the spine was showing and they only had 2 copies, so I got them out and put in front of the other trash where they had better visibility. Ha Ha!

    Comment by jason yutzy — July 25, 2011 @ 4:32 pm

  20. To “redneck writer” Ira,

    Is there an NPR interview in the offing?!

    Seriously, I’m really glad that the book and you are doing so well.

    Most ordinary folks will enjoy and appreciate your writings, knowing full well that no two people will completely agree on everything. I’ve read about one third of your blog and found it to be interesting and humorous with good common sense about everyday life.

    There will always be dissenters and naysayers, usually though they just murmur behind one’s back. Either way, out in the open or in private, may the LORD continue to give you strength and courage to “stare down” the hostile public scribes and Pharisees. Hopefully they are the minority.

    Comment by e. s. gingerich — July 25, 2011 @ 4:50 pm

  21. Kudos on the Ron Paul comment! And the comment about hitting the left even harder than the “right”; it’s hard to consider the “right” as bad as the left, even though they are.

    And for the unmentioned eschatology. :)

    And for the fact that whether you eat or drink, or write, or whatever you do, you are doing it all for the glory of God!

    I haven’t bought the book yet — I’m out of the country. But I sure hope it sells well!

    Comment by Jay — July 26, 2011 @ 12:32 am

  22. Have to say I had no expectations. I was going to come to the signing and forgot. I finally bought the book last wk. and totally enjoyed it. I have to agree with you that the book really does bring glory to God. We wish you the best.

    Comment by Susan Kem — July 26, 2011 @ 9:44 pm

  23. Your book was great; I found it fascinating, gut-wrenching, and I’ll will share it with others. I have already recommended it to family and friends.

    Hope you’ll write another.

    I could understand your family/Amish fearing that you might be “led astray” from God by leaving that lifestyle. But had they prevented you from reading, studying, discussing the New Testament amongst yourselves?

    Comment by Jeanne — July 28, 2011 @ 12:16 am

  24. I got your book yesterday and can not put it down. It is some of the best reading I have done and I read a lot. I grew up ‘Beachy’ so I can understand where you are coming from. My roots are in Daviess Co. and I did not know that we were considered lower than the other communities until recently and then again by reading your book (in that case, what we don’t know won’t hurt us, I guess). My family visited your dad’s print shop when we were in Canada visiting my Uncle Homer and his family.

    I want to mention that the love for your mother is obvious in your writings. Also, your writing is helping me to understand, though not fully, why we have rebellious children. Thanks for being so honest. I will be recommending this book to others.

    Comment by Dorothy — July 28, 2011 @ 12:06 pm

  25. Enjoyed your book. Could not put it down, read it in two sittings. Would like to know what you did after you left and came to Lancaster. Please e mail me and let me know!!!

    Comment by Larry Harrison — July 28, 2011 @ 9:34 pm

  26. Hi Ira. Enjoyed your book. I kind of lost track of you until someone told me about your blog.

    Comment by Herman Kuhns — July 29, 2011 @ 7:33 pm

  27. Hello, I emailed you the other day from Japan. I finished the book now.

    I had only few knowledge of Amish way of life. You book provided me not just the knowledge of the life style but also, and this was more interesting to me, how an Amish actually led days in that kind of life.

    Now, Amish is not just a group of people living far away from us, I felt closer to Amish people. The bottom line, I think, is that we are all human being.

    Comment by Kuniaharu Shimizu — July 30, 2011 @ 11:36 pm

  28. Hello Ira, I was looking for a good book to read while visiting my husband in Delaware. I am a big fan of Beverly Lewis and her stories of Amish. Your book caught my eye and when I started I could not put it down. I connected with you and how you struggled to pray and the whole God thing. My daughter loved loved the Amish and their stories. She passed at 14 when she rejected a heart from a donor. That time in my life was hard and numb.

    I really enjoyed this story. Thanks for writing it. It shows no matter who we are and what faith we belong to, we all have problems, but God is with us.

    Comment by Lisa — August 1, 2011 @ 5:59 pm

  29. I found your book at Costco in Montana on my way home to Ontario. I live about 10 miles from Aylmer and found it very interesting to read about people and places that I know of. I actually attended an Old Colony Mennonite Communty Church as a child near the community that you write about.

    Thank you for writing clearly about the strangle hold that tradition has on individuals when it is taught and perceived to be faith rather than tradition. I have to say it is one of the most interesting books I have ever read! Best wishes on successful book sales!

    Comment by Margaret Voth — August 3, 2011 @ 3:22 pm

  30. Thanks for your well written book. I am so glad you found a relationship with the Lord Jesus and were saved by Him. That is what life is all about. Won’t you please write another book and bring us up to date on your life and walk with the Lord where Growing Up Amish lets off? You have a real gift of writing from the heart.

    Comment by Janet — August 4, 2011 @ 3:00 pm

  31. I bought your book after typing “Amish” in my Kindle. God bless you for setting truth free, no matter the personal cost. And the fantastic writing was a pleasant surprise.

    I remember quite vividly my parents leaving the Old Order when I was 10 years old and the ensuing difficulties. My father’s story is currently being written as a dyslexic illiterate Amish businessman desperate for a means to support his young, growing family within the narrow confines of the church (I found your book while doing some preliminary market research for him).

    Your father interviewed my parents for his book “The Mighty Whirlwind.” I still have a copy – that day marked history in our family.

    God is moving in Northern Indiana Amish country. Your book is very timely for the many recent seekers in our community – I will highly recommend it to friends, libraries, and local stores.

    Your writing is a gift from God – continue to use it!

    Comment by Dorothy of Shipshewana — August 4, 2011 @ 10:08 pm

  32. Just finished reading your book after receiving it through Amazon. Great reading–could not put it down–so good to read a “true” story after reading so many Christian fiction books. How about a book of your times with Ellen, before and after.

    Comment by B. Lee — August 6, 2011 @ 5:01 pm

  33. Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your book! I’d heard about it somewhere so I hopped in line for it at my local library. I grew up in Lancaster County (West Hempfield, specifically) and have always been interested in anything PA German-it’s too bad none of this history and culture gets taught in most public schools.

    Anyway, I learned some bits about the Amish I was unaware of before-I never thought much about their regional differences, for one thing. I also appreciated your tone, which was very fair, even towards folks who’d caused you pain in the past. I wish more “mainstream” books dealt with issues of faith in such a straightforward manner. I guess admitting humans need God in their lives isn’t a popular position anymore.

    Maybe someday I’ll get back to Lancaster when you’re having another book signing – til then, I’m checking out your blog.

    Comment by Tara — August 6, 2011 @ 10:30 pm

  34. Loved your book, have long loved reading your blog, congratulations on having your book published and on your good find in the warehouse-type store! If you ever end up signing books near me (elsewhere in Ohio) I’ll be sure to stop by. Thanks for having the bravery to share your story and for having the talent to write it in such a way that you even made me cry!

    Comment by Leasie — August 7, 2011 @ 3:30 am

  35. Mr. Wagler,

    I found your book on Amazon and loaded it on my Kindle. I knew very little about Amish society. I found your book fascinating, well written and hard to put down.

    And now I see that you are a Libertarian and an Ayn Rand fan. As a long time Libertarian, I was especially pleased with your comments regarding Ron Paul. I just got back from Freedom Fest in Las Vegas. Perhaps you might consider being part of the Freedom Fest agenda for next July? I think it would be interesting to hear how someone who grew up Amish came to appreciate an atheist like Rand and to politically be a libertarian. But, of course, a background steeped in self-reliance and self-responsibility would lend itself well to libertarian principles.

    Congratulations on your book. The good reviews on Amazon that caught my eye are well earned.

    Carol Chappell
    Atlanta

    Comment by Carol Chappell — August 7, 2011 @ 11:55 am

  36. Just picked your book up in Costco in Wenatchee, WA. 1/2 way through it now. It was hard to put down to go to sleep. I was born in Fairfield, IA and got out an atlas to see where Bloomfield was located. I was suprised to see that they were so close! My Dad was military and we just came back from Germany in the summer of 1973. I remember Parsons College and all the “hippies” my great aunt’s were renting out room to. Must have been quite a contrast! I don’t have time today, but hope to peruse through the archives soon. Thanks for the book!

    Comment by Patt — August 7, 2011 @ 4:13 pm

  37. Hello. I’m from Pittsburgh, PA. I just read your book, and enjoyed it very much. I’m looking forward to being a new follower of your blog. Best of luck in your success!

    Comment by Dana S. — August 16, 2011 @ 6:47 pm

  38. In all your travels did you ever make it to Texas??? Thoroughly enjoyed the book and wish you would do a book signing in my small town of Cleburne, Texas or somewhere close to there.

    Comment by Debbie — August 18, 2011 @ 4:23 pm

  39. Quite by accident I saw your book at Walmart and glad I did. I really enjoyed reading it. My husband and I have loved visiting Holmes County for over 20 yrs. and go as often as we can.

    I hope to get my book signed one day. I also hope there is a second book and look forward to it.

    God Bless,
    Bonnie from Toledo, Oh.

    Comment by Bonnie M — August 24, 2011 @ 12:09 pm

  40. I got your book from Glen Graber. I to could see myself in so many ways in your writings. My fame is leading the lobe song in John Schmid’s first dutch tape.

    Comment by Robert Bender — December 13, 2011 @ 10:45 pm

  41. What a special day! You are very good at promoting yourself which is great. I’m sorry that woman had to interfere with such a blessed time in your life. It’s always nice to be validated, especially when you just exposed your innards for the world to see. Personally, I just don’t see where you have been oppositional toward the Amish. All of your statements were “I” not “they” or “them”. For goodness sakes, doesn’t each person, walking this earth, have the right to tell their own story? You are honoring God in every which way in this book. I, also, believe you are helping many people, especially those who have left the Amish and have been shamed and denied love from their families. Oh, the whole thing makes my head spin.

    Comment by Francine — December 5, 2012 @ 11:10 pm

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