Thursday, September 18, 2008

Trip Musings 2

In the Menno/Amish world, it's all about connections. It's especially so around Kalona, which has hundreds of Amish and Mennonites, so there's lots of news and drama, but is rather insular and isolated, so that you either know everyone else in the community or know someone who does. Privacy, I gathered, is hard to come by--everyone seems to know everyone else's business and no one seems to think there's anything wrong with this. My sister once overheard a conversation in which two Beachy-Amish women were discussing the distressing fact that there was obviously something going on at the funeral home and they didn't know who had died. Amazing, Rebecca said, that this person actually died without asking their permission.

So, yeah, it's all about your pedigree and who you belong to and who you know that knows someone else. Which is why my cousin's son, Lee I think it was, applied for a job and said he's Adam's Mahlon's LaVern's Lee, and was hired.

I listened to Aunt Vina and Mom talking and jotted down snippets of conversation from the middle of their stories:
"de Cheff Roop Laurie yidda shweshta"
"us Check Bondraya's yidda maedel"
"da Henry sei boo Calvin vohnt ins Henry's ald haus"
"du vaysht us Yoni Esha maedel? . . .oooh no kommt de Minerva raus, un ooooh, no hot's mol gmacht, un do wah's Yoni Esha maedel!"

Translations don't do justice to the Aunt-Vina intonations but here they are anyhow:
"Jeff Ropp's wife Laurie's sister"
"Jake Bontrager's daughter"
"Henry's son Calvin lives in Henry's old house"
"You know Joni Esh's daughter?--oooh then comes Minerva out, and ooooh, then it did make, and here it was Joni Esh's girl."

Rebecca has been out of the Mennonite loop long enough that she's not that good at all this, especially with spending all those years overseas. But I get so excited about connections it's embarrassing.

Quote of the Day:
"I missed you so bad while you were gone. I didn't have any tea in the mornings--that was the main thing."
--Jenny, who honestly wasn't trying to deflate my ego


  1. For some reason I love connections too.. Lets there anybody you grew up with, that I would know?? :)

  2. Yes, I love those connections! Did you know Jeff Ropp is my sister-in-law's grandpa?! My son just went to Bible School, and I always tell him to ask who his friends parents are. Thanks for blogging -- it brightens my day!

  3. My daughter and son-in-law grew up side by side, essentially, not knowing each other. Our families did not know each other, but apparently just about everyone else in this little community crossed both of our families' paths. As they get to know each other better, they learn that they are two trees growing side by side, with roots intertwined.

    One of the funniest stories is that his grandmother and her boss were close friends and volunteered together, so saw each other often. Friends from Young Life and the church youth group set my daughter and her husband up. So his grandma and her boss all of a sudden were talking about the 'boyfriend' and 'girlfriend' of these two and saying "I hope she's good enough for him." and "I hope he's good enough for her." Only to find out that the he and she were each other's grandson/employee....

    I think, when we get to heaven, it will be neat to see the "back tapestery" of the connections we didn't know we had and how God used people... and how connected we REALLY are!

  4. Talking about writing in PA dutch...Today I stuck my head into the attic and saw a box labeled "alt cha". It made me smile.

  5. Your post made me giggle. I'm from Appalachia and it's the same there. I had gone to elementary and junior high in Michigan but we moved back to Kentucky when I started high school. Every.single.time a boy asked me out, my mom and aunt would figure out how we were related. And we always were -- somehow :-( Even if it was distantly.

    We also had generalizations about particular families. "You walk like a Stidham" was not so complimentary but was apt. My grandpa was a Stidham and I've always tripped over my own feet, walked into doorways instead of through them, and banged various appendages almost constantly. I was once recognized by someone who had never met me, because of the way I walked. "Why, you gotta be [so and so's] daughter!" And he was right :-) Is that common among the Menno/Amish?

  6. Yes, Kim, that sort of thing is very common among the Amish/Mennonites. From the Slabaugh nose and chin to Aunt Vina telling a story and then saying, "Well, he was one of 'Henry D's' boys" and catching Mom's eye with a significant look, like they both knew that explained everything.