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The Memoir "Why I Left the Amish" shatters our illusion of an innocent, Amish childhood

The Amish have always been a part of my life. As a child, we visited Lancaster, PA frequently. Some of my favorite toys were cast iron Amish figures, complete with two children on a see-saw. Today, of course, Amish live among us on the Eastern Shore, and we regularly "brake for buggys". We have Amish markets in Crumpton, Easton and Middletown, DE. I've traveled to an Amish farm near Dover to purchase fresh milk. I even took my children there to play for several hours when the Amish kids had chicken pox- though mine stubbornly refused to contract the illness. 

My vision of an Amish childhood involves lots of animals. chores, laughter, good food and family togetherness. But I'm now reading a book that has me questioning that innocence. 

"Why I Left the Amish", a memoir by Saloma Miller Furlong, has opened my eyes to the possibility of physical, emotional and sexual abuse among the Amish.  Furlong, raised in Ohio, believes her father suffered from some form of mental illness that made him reclusive and violent. The Amish community was unable to deal with the challenges and the children were left to fend for themselves.

The plight of the eldest son is particularly terrifying to me. He was apparently sexually molested while working on a nearby English horse farm, and Furlong believes Amish boys are highly sought after by pediophiles, as they're trained to be obedient and to NOT make waves. This, combined with a physically abusive father, resulted in a young man that could easily show up on a Criminal Minds show as a serial killer.  He tortures rabbits, refusing to let his siblings feed them as he determines how long it takes them to starve to death. He sexually molests his many sisters, resulting in at least one pregnancy. Their mother is aware of the abuse - but does nothing except blame the girls for allowing the behavior.  

Attention All Writers The Delmarva Review Opens Submission Period

The Delmarva Review announced the opening of its submission period for the 2013 issue, from November 1, 2012 through February 28, 2013. Writers interested in submitting short fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction for the sixth edition should consult the Review’s website for guidelines at www.delmarvareview.com.

The Review selects original literary prose and poetry for publication in a print and digital edition. All writers are welcome. The literary review encourages great story-telling and moving poetry. Its standards are for memorable prose and poetry exhibiting skillful expression. Editors only read electronic submissions. A submission link is on the “Guidelines” page of the website.

Q&A with Great Storms of the Chesapeake author David Healey

Local author David Healey always has an eye on history, and recently he wrote a book about the Chesapeake Bay’s legendary hurricanes, blizzards, fogs and freezes. Whenever possible in the pages of Great Storms of the Chesapeake, he focused on how the weather impacted the people who lived—or didn’t live—through the storms. 


How far back does the book go?


I focused on the last 400 years, which is really the scope of European settlement here on the Chesapeake Bay. The book starts off with how William Shakespeare’s play The Tempest was likely inspired by stories about New World storms—particularly a hurricane that shipwrecked the future governor of the Virginia colony. You can imagine how these wild, wild storms captured the imagination back home in England. One of the worst storms of all time on Chesapeake Bay struck in 1667 and was quite devastating to early Marylanders and Virginians.


What was the worst blizzard here?


Though it would be hard to beat the record snowfall of the 2009-2010 winter, if you look to the 1800s there are a couple of storms that really knocked Marylanders back on their heels. For example, the blizzard of 1888 devastated coastal areas from the Chesapeake up to New England. But I think the blizzard of 1899 was particularly noteworthy for a couple of reasons. First, it was bitterly cold with temperatures in the single digits. Second, the snow lasted over several days so it was hard to dig out. Drifts piled up in downtown Baltimore and reportedly up to the second-story windows of homes west of the city. It was the cusp of the modern era with telephones and H.L. Mencken traipsing through the snow as a cub reporter, and yet we had to rely on shovels and horses to clear the roads and streets. By the time the next big storm hit in the 1920s we had cars and snowplows on trucks.


Postcards from Mr. Pish Volume 2 Is Now Available

Just in time for the holidays, Cambridge Books has released Postcards from Mr. Pish:  A Cross-Country Journal Volume 2, the third book in the educational Mr. Pish series by K. S. Brooks.  It’s currently available on Amazon.com and will become available through bookstores and other online venues soon.

Postcards from Mr. Pish Volume 2 follows the adorable Jack Russell Terrier, Mr. Pish, as he embarks on a new adventure, traveling from his home in Washington State, up into Canada, and all the way to the East Coast.  The book features full-color photographs and text about Mr. Pish’s visit to the Skipjack Nathan of Dorchester in Cambridge.

“The Skipjack Nathan is a fantastic way for people of all ages to experience a truly unique piece of Chesapeake Bay heritage,” author K. S. Brooks explained.  “We take pride in sharing gems like this with Mr. Pish’s readers.”

Mr. Pish’s books are used in classrooms throughout the United States, Mexico, and even in Scotland.  “Mr. Pish engages children on a level they appreciate,” JD Mader, writer and clinical reading specialist at The Literacy and Language Center in San Francisco says of Postcards from Mr. Pish Volume 2.  “He encourages them to take part in his explorations and learn with him.  This is an excellent book to read at home or in a school environment, as it encourages interaction and exploration...all with the wag of a tail.”

Meet David Eisenhower and Julie Nixon Eisenhower as they discuss Life with President Dwight Eisenhower

David Eisenhower and Julie Nixon Eisenhower featured speakers for Easton fundraiser Dec. 8

Regional history buffs and patrons of education and literacy will enjoy a rare insider’s view of 34th U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower as grandson David Eisenhower and his wife Julie Nixon Eisenhower, daughter of U.S. President Richard Nixon, discuss their book Going Home to Glory: A Memoir of Life with Dwight D. Eisenhower 1961-1969, on Thursday, December 8. The Joy of Reading fundraising event will support tuition assistance at Critchlow Adkins Children’s Centers (CACC).

            The VIP reception will be held at 6 p.m. at Scossa Restaurant & Lounge, 8 N. Washington St., Easton, followed by the presentation at 7:30 p.m. at the Avalon Theatre, 40 E. Dover St., Easton. Tickets are $135 for the reception, which includes cocktails and light fare, reserved seats at the presentation and a signed copy of the book, or $35 for general admission to the presentation. For tickets, call (410) 822-8061 or visit www.cacckids.org.

Love Times Three - A Peek Inside Modern Polygamy

by Cyndi Paxton Johnson

Mention "Polygamy" and people start laughing, waiting for the punch line. The guy stutters, right? I Do, I Do, I Do..... I DO! Beer lovers can indulge in the plural with Polygamy Porter, and the motto "Why Have Just One?"