Where I’m from


Ok, I’m going to be a total dork, I am so happy and hooked on Amish Mafia. When people first started asking me if I was going to watch it I laughed and said no way, that looks stupid and fake. Then my husband had it on one day, I got drawn in and the rest is history.
I’m not Amish, I’m not even Mennonite. I’m a PA Dutch Lutheran. I grew up in a household where PA Dutch was spoken to me and around me, but I am by now means fluent. My mother is and so are her sisters and brothers. Some of my cousins are. When I was three or four, I think I could say more in Dutch than I can now. My paternal grandparents also spoke it, but my dad doesn’t speak it at all. I remember being told things in Dutch and being able to respond in action, but not conversation. Like if my grandfather asked me to go get something from the cupboard I would be able to understand and do that.
Most of my friends from my actual town are Dutch. Our school district was very big, so my friends I met in high school were more likely to not be Dutch as it spanned two counties and the further out you get the less Dutch you get.
I’d be very doubtful if any of my friends in school could speak it either.
Our parents just didn’t teach us, their parents and grandparents spoke it all the time at home and to each other, but they kind of ended it with our generation, and I don’t really know why.
A few years ago my cousin and I were talking about how since we have become parents we find ourselves telling our kids what to do in Dutch, and not intentionally, odds and ends words just pop out in conversation,and somehow we remember.
I never wanted to have that accent like you can hear on Amish Mafia, which is how many of my relatives sound, so I tried hard to not pronounce words that way. I didn’t want people to think I was a dumb Dutchy, as I’ve heard it been said or a person who never got off the farm. So I never paid any mind to it. We would eat Dutch foods for dinner,but I didn’t really go out of my way,in announcing my Dutchness. My close friends knew from coming over to my house. It was just something to be Dutch but modern Dutch not old fashioned like my mom’s generation.
Flash forward to now. I have kids, and my culture and language are going awafy fast. I have been collecting books on Dutch culture and history, taking my kids to “farm days” and back in the day kind of things to show them their heritage, I have been trying to speak and remember more and teaching my kids bits and pieces of language and tradition, because it reminds me of home. It reminds me of where I am from, it makes our little area of the world unique. Now I see the people on Amish Mafia and PA Dutch is being spoken and shown all around the country and it’s cool. To someone not familiar with the Amish and the language it must seem so strange in modern day America to see this totally different lifestyle and old German-Swiss language. But it makes me happy and it makes me smile. That’s where I come from- shoo fly pies,chicken pot pie,lettuce and hot bacon dressing,cope’s corn, ham and string beans, corn pie with milk, red beet eggs, pepper cabbage,AP cake,schlop cooka, farmers markets on a Friday night,Boomba, dancing in pig troughs at a wedding,crazy superstitions,pow wowing- that’s me, that’s my people and I love it.

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