It’s the number one question readers ask: “Can you get me an Amish pen pal?”
I think it’s nostalgia, many missing the days of a letter you can touch, smell, feel. A letter that someone took the time (which is a precious) to sit down and write, maybe on fancy stationery. And what if it’s a love letter? My Aunt Annie got letters regularly from her fiancé during World War II. What about letters written home from summer camp or college? Are they all endangered?
As the Amish take us back to a simpler time, when running to the mailbox was a treat to see if some surprise is in store, I’ve been trying to slow down and write letters. I have to say, my once A+ Peterson Method of Handwriting (what I was taught in elementary school) is most likely a C- now but I’m aiming to improve. Why? Well, I find it really relaxing. Many studies in mental health show that too much high tech and not enough high touch is robbing us of peace.
So if handwriting is something that connects us to others and helps us process our emotions, as some claim, I’ve started to do this on a small scale, sending small notes of encouragement. When I say small, I mean small stationery. Maybe something you can write a few paragraphs on. This doesn’t make me feel like I’ll get writer’s cramp or that I’m not saying enough. I also have a female Amish pen pal and then letters are written to Amish friends who may only live half an hour away. (With no phones, you have to write)
I will answer the question on how to get an Amish pen pal though. It’s my “cut and paste” answer that I give when asked.
Visit an Amish settlement and make an initial contact by asking for a recipe. Amish women love to share their recipes! This is a good way to make an Amish friend, and then perhaps, you can write to each other. To find the nearest Amish settlement near you, visit www.amishamerica.com . At the top right corner is a tab called “Amish State Guide”. Click on your state and see the nearest settlement.
I have new novella (small novel of 120 pages) that just came out today called Amish Pen Pals: Rachael’s Confession. Rachael can’t tell anyone in her Troutville, PA settlement about her past sin, but she gets help from her pen pal she writes to in Smicksburg. I like to portray the Amish realistically, and many Amish have several pen pals they confide in. My Amish pen pal complains about her 13 kids and other personal things, subjects she might not talk about to another Amish woman. (They’re real people and not as stoic and set in their ways as portrayed in some books.) AND, my pen pal she gives out recipes. Oh, how the Amish love to cook and bake! So, in the novella I have recipes, too.
This series of books will give readers a sense of having an Amish pen pal, and what advice they may give about a certain women’s issues. But the books won’t take the place of a real pen pal. If you can’t find an Amish pen pal, why not have a pen pal who isn’t Amish? How about an elderly person who’s a shut-in? They have a life-time of knowledge to pass on and you’d be good company. It’s just a thought. An Amish pen pal would be great, but getting that letter in the mail that smells like paper and ink, something you can touch, that took time to write, I think is what folks are looking for.
|An Amish man shoveling snow to make a clear path to the mailbox. |
I wonder how many handwritten letters they were anticipating? ( Pic took in Smicksburg, PA)
|My new book series written with Christian counselor, Dr. Maryann Roberts, to tackle tough women's issues.|
(Men can read it too as Samuel, a main character, has a pen pal, too.)