Excerpts of Two Lives in One
I was born and raised in an Amish community in northeastern Ohio. With the eighth-grade education of my childhood, I acquired my GED, enrolled in community college courses, and became an Ada Comstock Scholar at Smith College. I studied at the University of Hamburg in Germany for a semester. At fifty, I graduated with a major in German Studies and a minor in Philosophy.
I was born and raised in an Amish community in northeastern Ohio and longed for the freedom I could only glimpse in the “outside world.” I was devastated when my formal education ended abruptly at the age of thirteen, yet the Amish rules were too deeply rooted to be broken. Bound by my desire for freedom and more formal education, I left the only life I knew at age twenty to go to Vermont where I knew no one.
I reveled in her newfound freedom, established a social life, and began dating a young toymaker named David. Then one Friday night, a vanload of Amish arrived at my front door, bringing with them the forces that bound me to kin and culture. My sense of having a choice over the direction of my life vanished instantly. I returned, where I felt conflicted between loyalty to my parents and community, and my longing for the freedom I'd tasted in Vermont.
I taught in an Amish school for two years before accepting the hand of love that the young toymaker offered. When I finally decided to leave again, David drove to Ohio to return me to the state of Vermont and all its freedom.
In my twenties, I married my Beloved, David Furlong, and became mother to our two sons, Paul and Tim. I baked professionally from our home in Shelburne, Vermont while raising our sons. When they were both in college, I was finally able to realize my lifelong dream of earning a college education.
I've published three books. My most recent one is titled Liberating Lomie: Memoir of an Amish Childhood. Click on the image of the book in the sidebar to learn more or to buy the book.
Part of my story was published in the PBS documentaries, “The Amish” and “The Amish: Shunned” on American Experience. I live in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with my husband David.
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