Editor’s Note: Jane Elizabeth Martin is a multi-talented Mennonite mom in Pennsylvania who has remained Plain while embracing the internet age. She uses her talents to provide clothing to those within her faith and those of other creeds who are simply seeking attire that is more modest than what is generally offered in mainstream markets. Jane is also an author who has penned a short, sweet memoir about her Mom. Her Mom is nickedname “Bubblegum Betty” and grew up in Depression-Era Pennsylvania Dutch country. I came away from the book longing for the simpler more wholesome era that her mother’s generation represented. The clothing that Jane Martin makes is beautiful and plain. You can shop her Etsy store, the "Mennonite Mom", and look at the beautiful selection of hand-made clothes and purchase Bubblegum Betty here.
Amish365.com recently conducted a Q &A with Jane:
AMISH365: What inspired you to write Bubblegum Betty
JANE MARTIN: Our parents stories tell us our family heritage and preserve memories. Memoirs create a thankfulness for our parents . Not all experiences may be easy, they had struggles just like we do now, knowing these stories can help us understand the lessons that our parents learned through life's experiences. My mom had such a interesting journey growing up, I thought why not write it down! I also have fond memories of taking notes for this book while she told me her stories, we laughed a lot and had serious moments of recollection too!
AMISH365.com: In addition to being a memoir, there are a few family favorite recipes in back of the book, do you have a favorite?
JM: The Snow Garden Recipe is my favorite because I have found memories of my mom making this for us children. I remember watching it crystalize and grow daily. Good old fashioned fun!
AMISH365.com: And can you describe your Mom’s cooking style?
JM: My mom cooks just like a typical Mennonite cook with a dash of this and that! Another favorite is my mom's cooking is "First Grade Pudding", this pudding got its name when my older brother Ray was constantly asking for it in his first year of school.
AMISH365: I love the descriptions of the world that your Mom grew up in….what do you think is missing in today’s world compared to what she had then? They had less, but they seemed ‘richer’ in some other ways…can you talk more about this?
JM: The era that my mom grew up in was coming through some economic challenges, although the people were poor, I believe they were more grateful for the small things in life. Small things like family time, new puppies, creative play without many toys and of course grateful for a small piece of bubblegum! These were the days when people sat on their porches and parlors and visited with family and friends, and this was a blessing! Would you like to go back to those times? Let me know why or why not in the comments!
AMISH365: In your clothing business, who are your customers? Mainly Mennonites? People from all religious spectrums? (caption: above is a peach-colored cape dress in Mennonite style)
JM: My customers come from many different backgrounds. Most Mennonite women will sew their own clothing and for their family, so I get only a few customers from my own people. I've found out that there are many plain dressing people who are not affiliated with a plain church, to name a few some homeschooling families, plain Baptist and Quakers have come to my shop.