Today I discovered part of Amish Country in Central Illinois and felt myself slowing down as soon as I got off I-70 on the way to
After checking out Jurgen’s
One of the clerks there, non-Amish, was a very friendly youngish man who has lived there most of his life. He told me lots of interesting things about the Amish people he knows, such as how the bishops of each church group there are allowed to decide what is allowed and what isn’t. Since there are twelve bishops in the area, there are a wide variety of rules, such as these:
1) One doesn’t allow telephones that are hooked up to wires. However, since cell phones are not, he allows them to be used.
2) One person owns a motor boat. The bishop asked if it had a steering wheel or a rudder. Boats with rudders are okay; those with steering wheels are not.
3) Amish people are not allowed to own automobiles. However, one person leased one and figured it would be okay since he didn’t technically “own” it. But, several bishops decided that wasn’t right.
4) Amish are not supposed to drive cars but they can ride in them. So, a whole group will get together with a non-Amish friend with a van or large car, and the whole bunch of them take trips, such as into
I stopped at two fabric stores. In one of them an Amish clerk was helping several other young Amish women decide which interfacing to use when making a purse. This store carried a large amount of dark gabardine and other heavy fabrics, as well as a wide assortment of modern fabrics and supplies.
I wandered through a gift store and bought a plastic bag of blue popcorn meal – had never even heard of popcorn meal, but there are recipes on the back for pancakes, corn bread, and corn meal mush. So, I’ll try it out. They also have popcorn flour and popcorn oil.
Finally, I couldn't resist a handmade chocolate ice cream drumstick in the pharmacy with an old soda fountain.
My salesperson friend told me about a back road into
I almost hated to get back into “normal” civilization in
I’ve been interested in Amish culture since I first began making quilts many years ago. The first ones I made were of Amish design and plain saturated colors. Of course, the quilts I saw in the gift stores today were of more modern designs since I guess they sell better. However, I still love making the older kind and hand-quilting them with intricate black patterns.
I’ve also read a wonderful book by Sue Bender, entitled Plain and Simple: A Woman’s Journey to the Amish about ten times and get more out of it each time. Sue has written other books since, but that one is my very favorite.
All in all, a very good day. I loved finally being able to see actual Amish people and their farms and houses instead of just reading about them. Tomorrow, heading into