Tonight I will answer a few more questions that were asked on my blog in early October.
Nancy asked: I would love a chance to read your book. What do you think is the percentage of Amish who decide to leave the order?
Nancy, I am going to refer you to the Amish Studies website for the answer to this question. Their claim is that the retention rate is around 85 percent. This is an average for all the Amish communities, but the actual rate in each community varies. Judging by the Geauga County Amish Directory from 2006, I would say that my home community's retention rate is higher than 85 percent. I counted 175 people who had left out of 2,500 families. I've often wondered if the stricter communities have higher or lower retention rates.
Anon asked: I would love to read your book & try to realize why you would leave your upbringing. I do realize of Amish leaving during their running around time but when did you leave & why?
Anon, I hope you've had a chance to read my book. , If so, you know that the belief that young Amish people are given a conscious choice about staying or leaving their community during their rumspringa years is a myth. I left twice — the first time I was twenty, the second time I was twenty-three. I was a member of the church when I left both times. If you want to know why I left the Amish, I think you'll have to read my book. (If you don't have a copy of your own, your local library may have one.)
Joanne wrote: What recipes or dishes do you miss? I ask this because every now and then I really miss a dish that only my grandma used to make for me…even my own mom can't make it like grandma did. I wonder if there are any that you miss and would love to have again.
Joanne, this is an interesting question. There are a few things I miss from different people in my community. I wrote about Olin Clara's Peach Pie here
. My mother made really good bread, but I think mine is very much like hers, so once in a while I make some. I also miss my aunt Ada's baked beans; my grandmother's stuffing; and my mother's elderberry jelly and pickled beets made with maple syrup. I make most of these things, though I've not done baked beans or elderberry jelly in a long time. I'm getting hungry!
From Snowflakes to Hotcakes wrote: I was wondering how your Amish childhood has influenced the way in which you celebrate the upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays? (I do know that the Amish around where I grew up celebrated them, but much differently than we did, and I wondered if you keep it more like when you were growing up, or if you have gone more to the modernized, commercialized end of things.)
Snow, I've actually written the answer to this question here
. I always wanted to have a Christmas tree as a child, though we weren't allowed to have one. Cutting, decorating, and enjoying a Christmas tree each year is one of my favorite traditions. I also really enjoy putting out the creche every year — this one
that David made.
I wish everyone a wonderful week.