The Amish/the Norwegians(Englishers) of Harmony, Minnesota
A place where the past comes to life....in Harmony! ...it was 1974 when several Ohio Amish families began moving to Harmony. The Ohio community of the Amish was getting overly populated. In the late 60's I visited that Ohio community in Wayne County and was introduced to some of their way of life....and was impressed by what I saw in their clothing, the craftsmanship of furniture and their food. I remember especially, the lemon pie I had. The best!
I renewed those impressions a few days ago when I took a 2-1/2 hour tour of Amish country in Harmony. We were able to visit one of the homes and talk with the woman living there and see the kitchen and living area. She had items for sale...beautiful quilts...some homemade pastries, pickels, jams, baskets, etc. She was very open and exhibited a sense of humor. Her dogs were very friendly.
We also saw many other homes from the outside and they all had items for sale....beautiful furniture, rugs (I bought a small one for my RV). The colors are beautiful, the design of birds, rainbow, and flowers.
It was fun passing the buggies and wagons pulled by the sprite horses along the road.....I guess I say fun as it is what I imagine my ancestors doing years ago ..... moving through the countryside in the same manner.
The community now consists of over 100 families and most have many children. Pictures of the people are not allowed but I did get some of the homes, some animals, their workshops, the clothes hanging on their lines, their one room school houses.....there is such a peaceful quality of the farmland and the countryside.....you will not see any lines of electricity around their homes...only clotheslines.
The children are educated until the 8th grade and only the 4 R's are taught....Reading. Riting, Rithmetic, & Respect! What a concept!
The "Englishers" and the Amish are able to combine tourism in this small town to the advantage of both. It is a double-edged sword for the Amish ....."living in the world but not being of the world."
They justify it in a meaningful way.....they are careful in the ways their crafts are marketed .... unadvertised....only persons interested in buying are encouraged to stop. Curiosity seekers are a disruption. They are constantly busy....tending to crops, gardens, chores, building. They don't want tourism to become an entrapment.
If any of you know more about the Amish and have personal experiences, I would like to talk with you. I've always loved learning about other cultures......and this is no exception.
see ya down the road.....til then...gypsymama