Ah, it’s the middle of July….dead in the center of summer and schools are in their deepest slumber. On a far larger scale, I lived year-round in Oxford, Ohio for about six years. Oxford is home to Miami University with its emerald-green quads and stately red brick buildings. Those years were some of the most enjoyable ones ever for me and part of the reason (besides being in my 20s:) was the seasonal rhythms of the city. My favorite season was summer. The city’s population decreased by about 3 /4. Parking spaces were available uptown. Summer street concerts were a weekly event and the whole atmosphere seemed more relaxed. There were just enough students around town on summer schedules to keep the city functioning, but it was a wonderful 3-month respite from the craziness of autumn.
I was far from Oxford yesterday, exploring a string of relatively new Amish and Mennonite communities in Ross and Pike Counties in south-central Ohio. I’ll be posting plenty in the week ahead, so stay tuned! Beautiful country! I spotted several schools in their summer hibernation. This school is a tiny one that serves the Swartzentruber Amish settlement outside of Sinking Spring. Freshly baled hay surrounds the school, lined with a sprinkling of some Queen Anne’s Lace flowers And for good measure, some outhouses out back marked conveniently:)
Farther north, along Ohio Route 41 is the Old Order Mennonite settlement near Bainbridge.
The school is a bit more spacious to serve a larger number of students. It too awaits the arrival of the fall’s crop of students. Most Amish-run parochial schools close their doors for the term around June 1 and reopen after Labor Day. For now, Amish and Mennonite children are spending summers working with family on the farm, helping fathers in cabinet shops, mothers with gardening and canning, but the season does also bring usual youthful fun from water battles on the lawn to visits to favorite swimming and fishing holes.