Judy Miller

A Touch of Amana

First I want to thank all of you who participated in and signed up for my blog during the Spring Scavenger Hunt. I generally only blog one time a week—sometimes less. My blog is a little nondescript, although I tend to blog mostly about history and the places where I set my books.

I like to give readers insight into why I choose my settings, and why I find them unique.

 For those of you who are already familiar with my books, you know that A Shining Light is my sixth and final (at least for the time being) book set in the Amana Colonies in Iowa. For those of you unfamiliar with these books, there are two series, Daughters of Amana and Home to Amana. Both series are considered independent series because the books are not tied by characters or time period. The connection is that each book is set in one of the villages that comprise the Amana Colonies. The books may be read in any order.

 VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100And since some of you may not be familiar with the Amana Colonies, I thought I’d share a little about the villages which remain one of the best places in the Midwest to experience a combination of history and fun. I’ll be there the first weekend in May to attend the Maifest Celebration, complete with parade, Maypole dancing, and lots of other fun activities. And a visit to the Colonies isn’t complete without enjoying a good German meal and a visit to the bakery and candy shop!

Amana and Rosie, Joslyn Casyle, DesMoines 125 In my books, my characters have worked at many trades that were common in the Colonies. You can still visit many of these places today. The woolen mill, a kitchen house, livery, and the museum are not to be missed.

Although I didn’t have a main character in any of my books who worked as a cobbler, leather shoes were made and repaired by village cobblers in early Amana. (125) As it became easier to purchase ready-made shoes from outside suppliers, the cobblers spent most of their time repairing shoes. The last cobbler shop closed in Amana in 1950. Amana and Rosie, Joslyn Casyle, DesMoines 124

Carl Hegert, the Middle Amana Cobbler was known for his sense of humor. In the 1930’s, he used the following poem to advertise his services in the Amana Society Bulletin, and I couldn’t resist sharing it with you.

“It’s the soles of the people I keep in view,

For I am the doctor of boot and shoe;

And I serve the living, and not the dead,

With the best of leather, wax, nails, and thread.

I can sew on a sole or nail it fast,

And do a good job and make it last.

There is nothing snide about what I can do,

Doubt not my statement, for work proves true.

I can give you a lift, too, in this life,

Not only you, but your family and wife.

A great many patients come to my door,

Worn out and run down, besides feeling sore;

Though I don’t use poultice, plaster or pill,

I cure all sick shoes, no matter how ill.”

Please take a minute and let me know if there are particular things you’d enjoy reading in the blog and I’ll try to accommodate.

“A seed is Hope, the flower is Joy.  ~Judy

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