Amish laundry line. Photo by Henry H. Hershey

Amish laundry line. Photo by Henry H. Hershey

I like the honesty of this website name: Not Quite Amish.

Here’s the explanation of the name from the home page:

Maybe you’d like to be Amish…but not quite. You want more peace in your life, in your home, in your family, and in your heart. You want to try a new recipe and pick up a needle and thread. You want to learn to simplify and care for God’s green earth (and teach your children to do the same).
We’re on that same journey. You’re not alone in your quest. We’ll be opening our hearts and homes, too. I believe that together we can find inspiration in all things Amish (and a few that are “not quite Amish”) and enjoy their simple lifestyle in ways that are quite unique to our own lives.

I was intrigued enough by this idea that I accepted the offer to write a monthly column there. I did a guest post on frugality and my first column on rugs. Every month, on the 21st, I will contribute new posts on the themes of simplicity, peace, and frugality.

Today, May 21, it happens that my contribution to Not Quite Amish falls on the same day that I post my own weekly essays here. So I invite you to visit my post featuring my brother Henry’s photography.
If you have read Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World, you know Henry as my childhood playmate:


Shirley and Henry, Sunday morning, 1956, the Spahr Farm

Shirley and Henry, Sunday morning, 1956, the Spahr Farm. Photo by Barbara Ann Hershey

As Henry grew older, one of his hobbies became photography. You can learn more about how that happened by reading this post at Not Quite Amish. Henry took the photo of the Home Place that I used in Blush. Here’s the original version showing my sister Linda running down the hill, the tiny figure on the lower right:

The Home Place, 1965, photo by Henry H. Hershey

It’s no great surprise to anyone who knows my mother that her children are storytellers and photographers. When my 63-year-old brother takes his camera out into Amish country, where he still lives, he does so with memories of of the sights and sounds of his own childhood in his head and heart. When asked for captions, he goes back to the King James Version of the Bible. Please step over to NQA and enjoy Henry’s lovely photos from the land that gave him birth and has been his home all his life. Continue reading and view Henry’s lovely photos here.

Do you have a hobby from your youth that you are picking up again in adulthood? Tell us about it!

Shirley Showalter


  1. Marian Beaman on May 21, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    I have read and enjoyed both of your posts on “Not Quite Amish.” Do you realize you mimic in your writing career the metaphor of the re-purposed soap, using every scrap and sticking the pieces together to make something larger, never wasting an ounce. Well, that just popped into my mind.

    Thank you for introducing me to brother Henry as Photographer. Either I didn’t know or notice the acknowledgement before though I have admired the banner and his other contributions. What a gifted family you have; I know you appreciate them!

  2. shirleyhs on May 21, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    Ha! I love the image of all my little soap pieces cohering. I’ve noticed that they stick together better when I squeeze them. 🙂

    I do appreciate Henry — and Sue and Doris and Linda. Each of them have artistic talents: cooking, hospitality, singing, storytelling, writing, and photography. As we age, we each gravitate to our original gifts, don’t you think?

    You are certainly doing the same with Plain and Fancy. And you can double your wallop when Cliff adds his art!

  3. Laurie Buchanan on May 21, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    Shirley – I hope you’ll always remind us — your weekly blog readers — when you have a column over at Not Quite Amish. I’m heading there next to see Henry’s work (who I remember quite well from reading your wonderful memoir.

    You asked, “Do you have a hobby from your youth that you are picking up again in adulthood?”

    I’m an avid hula-hooper! Different from my childhood hoop, my adult hoop is weighted and covered in a “neoprene-like” material. It’s really fun to do with music from an “oldies” station.

  4. shirleyhs on May 21, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    You know, Laurie, I was given two hula hoops for my 65th birthday last year. It’s time to bring them up from the basement and practice! I’m inspired by your example and would love to be better at hooping now than I was then.

    I so admire your agility and flexibility — and of course your enthusiasm.

    Thanks for the vote on doing a post here when I do a post on NQA. I’ll try to do that!

  5. Laurie Buchanan on May 21, 2014 at 7:18 pm

    Shirley – I promise that you’ll love it! I do three 5-minute sessions a day (morning, noon, and night). Give it a whirl (pun intended)…

  6. shirleyhs on May 22, 2014 at 8:26 am

    Okay, Laurie. You’re on!

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