• Amish

    by Theresa Reichman

    Most adolescents who roam the halls of junior high school are in the process of deciding who they are and what they want to be when they grow up.

    They wielded their courses into a map that points them in the direction of their future life. The math nerds dream of blueprints and aerospace. The literary geeks envision themselves scrawling late into the night, a New York Times Best Seller sticker stamped smack dab in the middle of their bound and beautiful masterpiece. The jocks can practically feel the POP of the paparazzi’s camera as it flashes their faces almost instantly across the front page of the sports section. Some want to be teachers, doctors, and perhaps, among the throng of them are a few crazy kids who dream of landing themselves in the whirl wind that is the political arena.

    In junior high, I fancied none of these futures. You see, in seventh grade, I read a book. Being one of the aforementioned literary geeks, I could not read a book without becoming utterly absorbed. So upon reading a romance novel about a girl with cancer who falls in love with an Amish boy, I knew exactly what I wanted to be one day.

    I wanted to be Amish.

    I wish I were joking, sincerely, I do. But I’m not. I recall sitting my mother down one night and telling her “The Plan”. “The Plan” went something like this: I turn 18, move to Lancaster, meet a nice Amish boy with wheat colored hair and one of those adorable accents where their “W”’s sound like “V”’s and they say harsh sounding words like “Ich” and “Und” but really they’re not harsh at all. Then we get married and I become Amish.

    I will never forget my mother’s response. She never liked to burst my proverbial bubble, and in that manner she responded, “Just so long as you keep in touch!”

    She bought me Amish cook books, fabric to quilt with, and even the movie Witness. (You know, the one where Harrison Ford is all sweaty and sexy while he raises barns and gulps down lemonade in front of his Amish girlfriend.)

    One time, she and my dad even let me go to town digging up a good portion of our yard to start my own garden. I spent days churning soil, getting it just right, reading up about horticulture and the like. Then one day as I was gathering seeds for planting, I looked out the window to see a cat copping a squat in my freshly prepped garden. Yep, that’s right. A cat shit in my garden.

    I didn’t want a garden anymore.

    And so it goes: Aspirations fall to the wayside. Needless to say, the Amish thing never came to fruition. Instead of being 18-years-old and meeting a dutch boy with wheat colored hair, I was 15-years-old and met a German and Asian boy with hair the color of dark chocolate. Such is life.

    I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up – and I’m learning quickly that neither does most of the adult populous. That’s okay.
    This is what I know: I am a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend. I am a mother, a writer, a seeker, a dreamer. I am capable. And I am discovering that my peace of mind rests less on what I will be, and more on who I already am.

    • Theresa, as always a wonderful story. I love your fantasy of being Amish. Something tells me it would have ended in disaster but I could be wrong. 🙂 Your writing is delightful and always has me laughing or crying or dreaming.

        • Theresa

        • February 14, 2011 at 10:13 am
        • Reply

        Madge, your faithful readership and encouraging words warm my heart and spur me on 🙂 Thanks.

      • Heather

      • February 14, 2011 at 10:13 am
      • Reply

      I completely remember this moment. You told me, I blinked a few times and then started cracking up. You got super mad and I think this was my first self aware experience of “oh shit, it’s called acceptance”. Either way, I’m enjoying your life route. Does anyone really know what they want to be when they grow up? Not I, my friend, not I.

        • Theresa

        • February 14, 2011 at 10:18 am
        • Reply

        HA! Heather I totally have no recollection of that! But yes, I took my Amish quest quite seriously. (And I agree; the direction I took in life is much more to my satisfaction…)

    • Yep, the same thing happened to me. God damn cats! This is not your typical young girl story. Young girls are really weird! All of the girls that I knew when I was young still look as pretty as they did years ago and I just got older and older until I am what you see today. I am both a young man and a lesbian trapped in an old man’s body. Enjoyed this part of your life very much, I look forward to the next chapter.

      • Pappap

      • February 17, 2011 at 8:41 pm
      • Reply

      I’m learning new things about you all the time. I never knew you had that early desire. Nana and I lived in Amish country for about five years when I worked at Olmstead Air force depot. The Amish people were always very friendly and lived a good Christian life. However, I think you made a good choice on being a Mom, wife and future Journalist. Love you!

      • Pappap

      • February 19, 2011 at 6:40 pm
      • Reply

      Following up the above comment. Not sure if it posted.

      • Theresa

      • February 19, 2011 at 11:19 pm
      • Reply

      Pappap, I totally didn’t know that!!! But seriously though, I love you 🙂 And miss you 🙂 And I can’t wait to see you next time. Long islands, eh? I think it should happen! 😉 Maybe we can get Ashley in on it!
      You’re the best grandfather ever 🙂

      • Roxane

      • February 22, 2011 at 2:14 pm
      • Reply

      Ah, the memories. I remember that section of yard was never quite the same after replanting grass over your dug up garden. The ground was uneven, and some of the grass got a buzz-cut, while the rest grew a mo-hawk.
      As for today, I am proud of who you have become. Your daughters have stolen my heart, and to be honest, I love that you live nearby, and not on some farm in Lancaster. 🙂

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