Bridgeville Events
Thursday, August 3rd, 2000

Amish family settles in Sussex
By Lynn R. Parks

Land for members of the French Amish community is growing more and more scarce. So four years ago, Sydney Levy , his wife Rexianne and their daughters Randi and Heidi left their home near the French-Swiss border and moved to the United States. They bought a farmhouse and 15 acres near Atlanta, west of Bridgeville. They renovated the 17th-century dwelling, had the electricity turned off - the Old Order of the Amish Community, to which they belong, does not permit its members to have electricity - and a little over a year ago, moved in.

Shortly thereafter, Sydney Levy died.
"It took us a little while to know what we were going to do," said Rexianne Levy. Members of the Lancaster, Pa., Amish community, they were far removed from the support system upon which members of the church depend.

But today, Levy and her daughters are planning to move to an Amish community in New York. And in the meantime, they are selling goods, produced by themselves and by other Amish people, in a small shop set up beside their home. "This rocking chair was made by a member of an Amish community in Ohio," said Levy. "The brooms were made by someone in Pennsylvania."

Levy and Randi, 13, make most of the quilts in the shop. On a warm summer day, Randi had a small quilting rack set up in the front yard, in the shade of a large maple tree, where she was quilting a wall hanging in shades of purple. "Randi has a very steady hand," said her mother. Nine-year-old Heidi does not quilt. But a colorful table covering made of looped pot holders she made hangs in the shop.

The Levy family also sells eggs from their chickens and ducks, dried herbs grown organically in their garden and on Saturdays, baked goods - pies, breads and cookies. Randi makes some deliveries in either the family's runabout or in one of two buggies. Bumper, an 8-year-old horse the family acquired in Pennsylvania, is her favorite to drive; her mother's favorite is Rex, 9.
"Some animals grow very special to you," Rexianne Levy said, smiling as Rex romped around the yard.

As there is no Amish school nearby, Levy home schools her daughters, both of whom speak French and English. In turn, the girls help out with household chores, including caring for ducks, guineas, the horses and Janet, the milk cow and soon-to- be mother.
"They have to help; I can't do it all myself," said Levy, who said that she is very seldom lonely. "We are so busy and with the time that is left, we pray and we rest. Or," she added, pushing Rex's swinging tail away from her face, "we talk to the big people like this."

Levy is anxious to move to New York, where she said she and her children will have the benefit of a community. "It is very important to have a spiritual family," she said. And once in New York, she hopes to be able to buy sheep and devote more time to making wool cloth for themselves and for sale. But, she said, she and her daughters are happy in Sussex County.

"Although we are far away from the community, we still have the trees. We still have fresh air, the sunrise and the sundown. Nature is like a friend. This still feels like home."