Transcript for The Sarah Price Show Episode #3: When did I start writing about the Amish?
Back in 1988 while a student of anthropology and writing at Drew University, I decided to learn more about my Anabaptist heritage. I was always fascinated with both the culture and the religion of the Amish which, as you may know, was branched off of the Mennonite religion in the 1600s. My family arrived in Pennsylvania in the early 1700s and soon became entrenched in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, courtesy of William Penn and his promise of religious freedom for those Anabaptists who emigrated from Europe.
When I was attending college at Drew University, I often spent weekends in Lancaster, parking my car and walking the backroads, sometimes sitting for hours on a hill and studying the farms. This was, obviously, before the days of laptops or cell phones so I took notes, by hand, in a little bound book. I even drew pictures so that I would remember what I saw. It got to the point that I knew the roads of Lancaster County so well that I used to try to get myself lost…just for fun!
But sitting on the sidelines has never been enough for me. Observing the farms and lifestyle from the top of a hill didn’t satisfy my desire to learn more. So I spoke to several storekeepers and merchants, trying to find a family that would let me stay with them. Finally, I connected with the owner of a local newspaper, asking for any leads.
I’ll never forget what he said to me. “You’ll never find an Amish family that will let you stay on their farm. Not only are you an Englischer, you’re also female.”
Well, I have never been one to give up easily when faced with obstacles. And I certainly don’t like naysayers, that’s for sure and certain. Work hard for big dreams. That’s my motto.
So I knew that the challenge had been set. I was determined to prove that this man was wrong: I would find a family that would let me stay on their farm.
It took a while, but I finally found a family that had an apartment over a horse shed to rent. When I arrived on the farm and met the farmer, we talked for a few minutes. It didn’t take him long to assess my character and decide that I could rent the apartment. With a quick handshake, I had found my spot, a place to hang my bonnet, if you will.
Despite being told that I could “never” do something, I persevered and had faith that God would guide me, if it was meant to be. Today, twenty-five years later, I known God led me to that farm for a reason. I have seen infants grow up, join the church, get married, and have their own babies. I have met new people and, over the years, seen many off on their journey home.
I have to confess that it is very humbling to be accepted by the community and it is something that I treasure as a great blessing given to me by God. I’m just pleased that I have been able to share my experiences and knowledge with my many readers throughout the world.
My adventures on that farm, living in the apartment, are the foundation for my book, Fields of Corn. My time spent on that farm was also the foundation for my awe and respect for both the culture and the religion of the Amish communities. I hope you will enjoy reading Fields of Corn and the other books in the Amish of Lancaster series as much as I did writing them.
Well, until next time, I pray that God continues to bless you and keep you well. And I sure do hope to see you on Facebook!