Lancaster farming. (Lancaster, Pa., etc.) 1955-current, February 26, 2000, Image 54

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iMiicasler Fanning Staff
What’s it like growing up
without electricity, without a
car, and without television?
Lots of fun is the answer for
Lydia, Erma, and Ephraim. The
three are the children of Mervin
and Sylvia Allgyer.
They are Amish who live in
Christiana in Lancaster County.
Lydia is 6, Erma is 5, and
Ephraim is 3.
If you go to their home, the
children come running to ea
gerly greet visitors. They call,
“Hi! Hi!” Smiles spread across
their faces and their eyes sparkle
with delight. They enjoy having
Surprisingly, “Hi!” is about
the only word the two youngest
children can speak in English.
In their home, as in all Amish
homes, the families speak Penn
sylvania Dutch instead of Eng
When Lydia entered first
grade this year, she didn’t know
how to speak English. At the
one-room Amish school she at
tends, the lessons are taught in
English. To learn a new lan
guage while learning to write,
add, and subtract sounds diffi
cult. But Lydia, like many other
Amish children, had no trouble
learning English. Within a few
months, Lydia could easily talk
in English.
However, during recess and
lunchtime, the children are ex
pected to talk in Pennsylvania
Dutch. The government has a
special agreement with the
Amish that allows them to
retain their culture as long as
they are taught the same basic
lessons in math, reading, and ge
ography that children in the
public school system receive.
Although they do not have
electricity, Amish homes are
much like those of their English
speaking neighbors. Their
house, heated with a woodstove,
is warm and cozy.. Registers in
the upstairs bedrooms allow
some of the heat from the down
stairs to come up through the
opening. That means it isn’t
freezing upstairs but it is cooler
than the bedrooms in most
homes that are heated with oil,
coal, and electricity.
The beds have lots of blankets
and comforters to keep the chil
dren warm.
Propane gas is used to operate
the cookstove, refrigerator, and
hot water heater. That means
that Amish homes have running
water and a bathroom. Because
they live in an older farmhouse,
the bathroom only has a small
shower. The children take baths
in a large Rubbermaid storage
box used for a tub.
Although the children do not
have cars, they like to go away.
In fact, almost every morning
they awaken, they ask; “Where
are we going today?”
They travel by horse and
buggy. The horses used to pull
the buggy are like pets. The
horses are so tame that the chil
dren ride horseback on them
around the fields. Sometimes the
children walk underneath the
horses bellies. The parents don’t
want them to do that because
some of the newer horses are not
as trustworthy as the older
horses, which sense they need to
be very gentle around children.
The children usually wake up
about 6:30 in the morning and
go to bed at 8:30 in the evening.
During the day the girls like
coloring and workbooks. Al
though Erma doesn’t go to
school, she writes her name and
all the numbers. She taught her
self numbers by copying them
off the calendar.
Although many Amish girls
like to play with dolls, Erma
never cared much for dolls.
When she was 3-years-old,
Erma broke her wrist. Her dad
said that happen because Erma
was “monkeyshining” on the
Erma likes helping her
mother with chores around the
house. She likes to help in the
garden and she likes helping to
Amish schools only go to the
eighth grade. After that, the
□ 1
Potatoes grow under the ground To harvest them,
farmers must first use a machine that digs them up
Then a conveyor belt gently scoops them up &
loads them into a truck
Some cars actually run on potatoes Companies in
Colorado & North Dakota, for example produce
ethanol fuel using cull potatoes
Brown Humor
• WhAT kiNd of potatoes CATch tlheir own food?
S' ■ Did you know you can qET ARRivEd (or qßowiNq too MANy potatoes?
Making artwork with potatoes is great,
inexpensive fun Potatoes can be used as stamps
With the help of on adult, children can use a
butter knife to cut a potato in half and make a
stamp Draw a geometric shape in the center of
the cut edge of the potato - a circle, square,
Then carefully cut the outside edge off, leaving
the raised shape in the middle of the potato half
Growing Up Amish
children work at home and go to
school for three hours a week
until they are 15 years old. From
eighth grade until they are 15
years old, the students need to
keep a diary that records their
daily activities. This is part of
the agreement between the
Amish and the government in
making special exceptions for
Amish schooling.
Although the Amish do not go
to a church building, they do
have church. About 30 families
take turns gathering in each
other’s homes for a Sunday
morning church service held
every other Sunday.
The parents of the Allgyers
said that the Amish church
keeps growing larger and larger.
When it expands to about 40 to
SO families, the group is divided
to form another church. In 1960,
the Allgyers said, there were
only 30 church districts in the
county. Today there are 160.
No phones are allowed inside
Amish homes. Instead they have
what they call a community
phone, which is shared by seven
Amish families living in the
area. The community phone is
Tin inskJl sc oop on Amirica' s Favoritt VequAbk, rhf Potato Bitouqht to you by youß
1 Thtv like io see ihe pRCNth (rv 2 FisU'n Chips 5 It's ovllcd EXCEediNC, tUe Spul limjt 4 He dfspEßMEly wanted * scoop
Harvest Fun Featurlnq tHe Potato
kept in a building outside the
The Amish do not allow pho
tographs of themselves or their
children to be taken so this story
does not have pictures of Lydia,
Erma, and Ephraim. If you
happen to see Amish children in
town, say “Hi” to them, but re
member the younger ones usu
ally do not know English.
This isn’t a problem if Amish
children play with English
speaking children. The Allgyers
Kids Leant About Germs
(Centre Co.)-Pennsylvania
schools project, Fight Bad is
part of a nationwide campaign
to promote awareness of food
safety to prevent incidents of
foodborne illness that affect
33,000 Americans each year.
Fight Bad familiarizes stu
dents in Pennsylvania’s middle
and high schools with key prin
ciples of food safety: hand wash
ing, proper cooling and storage,
sufficient heating of food during
MR Potato Head According to Playskool Inc, the
Mr Potato Head doll was born in 1952 and was
introduced to his wife, Mrs. Potato Head a year
later The two honeymooned in Boise, Idaho and
have 12 children In 1987, Mr Potato Head Quit
smoking & gave up his pipe to set a good example
for children This ageless toy has enjoyed a renewed
popularity in recent years
It can then be dipped in finger paint and the image
stamped onto paper to create one-of-a-kind
Another fun activity is to use all sorts of
edible supplies to make their own Mr or Mrs
Potato Head creations Fruits and vegetables make
great works of art Toothpicks can hold things
together They can work in teams to foster
cooperative learning skills.
/ /
I *'/
say that when English speaking
neighbors come to visit, the chil
dren have lots of fun playing to
gether and speaking the same
language doesn’t keep them
from understanding each other.
For children, growing up
Amish is just like growing up in
other homes. The children are
happy, they love their parents,
their brothers and sisters. They
like playing outside and inside.
They learn to color, read, and
preparation and avoiding cross
The project provides hands
on activities-for example, the
hand-washing lesson incorpo
rates Glow Germ, a fluorescent
compound that glows under a
black light. Teachers can apply
it, shake some students’ hands
as they enter the room, then turn
out the lights to illustrate how
germs pass from person to