I don’t know about you, but I’ve been in some mighty fine homes that were beautiful but sterile. Nothing beats the smell of baking bread, cookies, or cake, and the sound of laughter and chitchat. This is what I think of when I envision an Amish home, the physical center of Amish life. Most important Amish functions take place in the home, rather than recreation centers, churches, funeral parlors, or nursing homes.

Our son’s most delicious hazelnut torte!

Although the Amish use hospitals and modern medicine many Amish women prefer to give birth in the familiar setting of their home. In their last hours, most Amish wish to pass from this life to the next at home. And although a deceased Amish person is taken to a mortuary for preparation, the body will be returned for the viewing and funeral.

In this area, Amish are not allowed to ride regular bicycles.

The Amish go to great efforts to preserve their family and closeness. They choose not to have central heating, which draws their children into the warmth of the sitting/living room and kitchen to hang out and play board games. They opt out of having a telephone so people are more apt to visit them in person. They do not own cars that give the younger generation a quick getaway. And the older folks too. (Although they may hire drivers.) The Amish choose not to have electricity in their homes, to be connected to the grid that ties us English (non-Amish) together and makes using the Internet all too easy. And their one-room schoolhouses are for the most part within walking distance. For the Amish, preserving the closeness of the family is extremely important.

Laundry Day

I recall when my sons got their driver’s licenses. Off they went! Half of me was grateful I didn’t need to drive them to soccer practices anymore, but the other half missed my opportunities for real conversation. We did not allow computers in the bedrooms, so at least they had to come to our computer room where my husband often worked. This was in the days before texting. I don’t know how parents manage now.

How about you? Did you or do you have tactics for drawing your kids, spouse, or friends into your home? What is the hub of your residence? After a meal, does everyone disperse to different ends of the house to watch TV or text? Are you one of them? Maybe you’re thrilled for a few moments of solitude after a long day’s work.

What to bring your hostess when you pay her a call.

Please leave me your thoughts. Should you wish to enter to win a signed copy of either Leaving Lancaster or Pennsylvania Patchwork also leave me your email address so I can contact you if you win. USA and Canada. Winner has one week to respond.

Congratulations, Mary E., winner of the Amish-made purse and a signed copy of either Leaving Lancaster or Pennsylvania Patchwork! Thank you, everyone who left a comment! I wanted all of you to win.

Coming June 1, 2014