Every good rule is eventually broken

Readers and writers of Amish fiction have discovered certain “rules” about the Amish–lifestyle choices that almost never vary from one Old Order district to the next, from one state to another. But the more I research this fascinating culture, the more I arrive at the conclusion every good rule is eventually…broken. During last summer’s trip to central Maine in preparation to write Living in Harmony, I found Unity, Maine challenged 3 of my long-held beliefs…two regarding the Amish, one involving my brief, past history as a 6th grade science teacher. First of all, unlike most Old Order districts, Unity Amish had built a meeting house to use for worship and social events, instead of holding services in each other’s homes. Secondly, unlike most Amish who avoid government paperwork, these farmers are gaining organic certification for their produce. And my science lesson? I’d learned every lake has a fresh-water intake flowing into it. Here’s a couple photos of Lake Unity, which has no freshwater source, other than rainwater. Glacially-formed, it only has an outtake for periods of heavy rain to prevent flooding of nearby homes. I hope you’ll look for Living in Harmony about the Amish of central Maine.

Last 5 posts by Mary

3 Responses to “Every good rule is eventually broken”

  1. Interesting..I was in Arthur Il about two weeks ago and i saw two guys who I am guessing to be Amish driving old John Deere tractors and I have seen older Amish women in walmart talking on cell phones..I am thinking that maybe they are being a bit more progressive? One Amish man said its expensive to be Amish because of the cost of appliances etc..Thank you for sharing this …


    Mary Ellis Reply:

    good point, Donna. But we Englischers tend to assume “Amish” whenever we see Plain clothing. Recently I was in central KY researching, and most Plain folks I encountered were Old Order Mennonites, not Amish. Yet the clothing looked the same to me. Around half of these use tractors and the other half use draft horses. The decision was left up to the individual bishop. thanks for commenting.


  2. Hello, I am drawn to the Amish Culture for many reason and have desire to visit Amish Community to gain education of its culture. How can I get in touch of one community to request permission to visit their culture? Especially one that has deaf patron(s) as I am deaf myself but do can lip read and speak very well. I am a christian myself and I yearn to educate myself of Amish community. I’ve been in awe with their ability to cook incredible meals, build things and it lasts for centuries! Honestly I am just plainly in awe of their skills! I hope to hear from you and I hope to visit an Amish Community someday. God Bless you!


Leave a Reply