Yesterday, I called one of my Amish friends. I had written a story about her in Amish Peace that might be excerpted in a national magazine and I needed to see if she had photographs of her quilts that I could use.
I felt a little uncomfortable asking her for such a favor. First of all, I wasn’t sure she would even have photographs. Second of all, even if she did have some pictures of her quilts, the Amish frown on anything that would draw attention to an individual.
My policy with my Amish contacts is “full disclosure.” I have a great respect for these people of faith and I don’t want to “take” anything from them. Only to honor them.
As I was putting together Amish Peace, after I interviewed people and wrote their story, I sent a rough draft to each one for 1) permission and 2) corrections. There were times when an individual asked me to change names and identifying details to protect identity, so I did, but I still asked for written permission to use the stories.
It’s a rather slow process with the Amish…they only use the U.S. Postal service and they have busy lives. It was an exercise in patience, to put it mildly.
When my friend answered the phone in her quilt shop, I explained why I needed the photographs and braced myself for a “no.”
But yes! She did have photographs. English (non-Amish) come in and take photographs of her quilts and sometimes, she said, they mail the photos to her.
And yes, I could use them! “It’s for a magazine, right?” she asked. “They come and go, not like books. I think it sounds fine! I’ll send the pictures right out.”
These Amish. They keep surprising me!