I’m a middle child of five siblings born to a Mennonite couple who had left the Amish. We lived on a farm in Plain City Ohio, and everybody helped with the chores.
Old home place
My parents stressed the pride of quality workmanship. In my mind, it’s interwoven with my religious beliefs. Along with cleanliness and working hard. Even now, after I’ve left the Mennonite Church, it’s still engrained in me and part of the reason Dianne calls me a perfectionist. I take pride in my craftsmanship. It’s just the way I’m wired, as reflected in our business motto:
Do it right the first time.
It saddens me when contractors say they don’t like pocket doors . . .
because I know they’d love them if they’d try mine.
But that’s a tangent of mine, and you’ll hear about it soon enough. So after I graduated from school an older brother mentored me in the framing carpentry business. I mastered the trade and was soon given my own crew. The experience came in handy when I packed up my new bride and moved to Phoenix, Arizona, to start up my own business.
While I still have my framing contractor’s license,
my real passion is in producing and selling my pocket door frames.
Looking back, a favorite farm memory is of this Amish pony cart.
When I was about thirteen, I transformed an old Amish milk cart into a pony cart. Before the farm had electricity, the milk cart was used by my Amish grandpa as a wheelbarrow to collect the metal milk cans from the milking barn hauling it to another building that contained cool water tubs that kept the milk cold. This cart held about six or eight cans. At the time of this photo, our milking barn had electricity and coolers.
There was no need for the cart so it was abandoned.
My brothers and I had a pony and got an idea to convert the abandoned cart into something that would provide us hours of recreation. Especially since our pony had a mean streak. Wanting our cart to be deluxe, we added the roof and shafts. About the time, my Beachy-Amish uncle had a milk truck route. He collected milk from the local farmers and took it directly to the Plain City Cheese Factory. Some of my older brothers got to help with the truck route.
For me, growing up on the farm was the best life for a kid. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. If you have interest in the Mennonites, you can check Dianne’s website. She writes Mennonite Fiction and also has a blog about Mennonites and Amish: Website
What valuable lessons stick with you from your childhood?
I welcome your questions and comments.
P.S. I have watched some Amish Mafia episodes and it’s so not true to life.