Meet Emma Gingerich
Like many people, I’ve read a lot of books over the years. A few have made me laugh, some cry, some have merely entertained, and some have been too awful to finish. Truth-be-told, because I’m an author, I’ve tried to finish books out of respect, but as you know, sometimes you simply can’t. As an owner of a publishing company, we see a lot of manuscripts. A colleague in the industry (Mitch Haynes), told me about a young woman’s story and sent her my way. I read the book, liked it, and shared it with my business partner. We’re a co-op, and together we published her book.
Sharing her story with the world, brought Emma peace and healing. I know this, because she’d shared it with me during a meeting prior to her contract being signed. Her freedom came with a cost; torn between loss of her family and friends. Loneliness and hardships. It’s safe to say, she endured more than her fair share.
Since the release of her book, I’ve spent time with this young lady, professionally and personally. I’ve shared painful moments with her; advised her, hopefully in a positive way. I’ve gotten to know her. For these reasons, I went back and re-read her memoir. This time I read it from a different angle. Not from a publisher’s perspective, but from a woman’s perspective. A friends perspective. I knew her journey had been a painful one, yet she had survived things that a young woman shouldn’t ever have to endure.
Her story is heartbreaking at times and inspirational at others. A young girl demonstrating such dignity, paints a picture of strength and humility, in words. Her story will help other girls in the environment from which she chose to leave; I’m certain of it. For this reason, I’ve interviewed Emma, asked questions she’s likely never answered in this forum before. That said, meet beautiful Emma Gingerich, or as we so lovingly refer to her as, “Our little runaway Amish girl.”
By Amanda M. Thrasher
Interview – Emma Gingerich
1. You left the Amish community, your family, when you were eighteen years old, have you
ever regretted your decision?
No, I have not regretted my decision. I believe it was meant to be, but I don’t know exactly why it was meant for me yet – I am slowly figuring it out.
- The day you left, your brother tracked you down, followed you before your ride arrived. He asked what you were doing, you explained, his words were, “Okay… Machts gute,” take care. Then he turned and literally rode away (on horse back). Do you remember if in that moment there was something you wished you’d said, but just couldn’t?
I have thought about that moment a lot. However, trying to say something at the time would have only made things worse. I would have either said something really hurtful or something really nice that would have given him the idea I would be back. There was just nothing I could have said to make him understand.
- Do your siblings understand why you had to leave?
No, I don’t think anyone understood why I left. Maybe my sister Sarah understood in some ways but she was still shocked when I left for real.
- Leaving the Amish community, your family, and everything that you’ve ever known, with a complete stranger, took a tremendous amount of strength and trust. Dialing the number alone, challenging, I’m sure. At what point did you know there was no turning back?
I remember when I got to the bank and the lady came to pick me up that I was thinking there is no turning around anymore. Even though I had no idea where my future was headed, I hoped with all my heart that everything will turn out okay. And it did. It could have been a disastrous mistake, but by the grace of God, leaving has helped me find true happiness. I had to learn how to live without my parents and siblings, which has proved to be difficult at times, but it actually made me appreciate them more than ever.
- Reading your memoir, some of the things you’ve experienced have been horrific. You’re a survivor. You overcame them with strength and dignity, and haven’t allowed those things to define you, (I’m so proud of you). Do you believe there will ever be a time when you’ll share those things in a type of public-speaking forum, in order to help other young women? Are you strong enough yet? Will you ever be?
I believe it is my calling to talk to the public about my horrible experience. I am just waiting for the right time and place. I hope it will happen soon. I think I am strong enough to talk about it now that I have written the book. Besides, I want other women to know there is a way to forgive and move on. That alone, gives me motivation to help others.
- Switching gears. When you were seventeen, you babysat six children, by yourself for two weeks. The youngest was eight months old; the oldest was in fifth grade. In addition to tending the children, you also had to keep the house, feed the chickens and milk cows. After that experience at such a young age, do you want kids of your own one-day? How many? Do you think you’ll be a good mom?
Yes, I think it would be nice to have children someday, but not more than two. I am also okay with the idea of not having any kids, it all depends on who I end up marrying, what our goals in life are as a couple. I don’t know if I would be a good mom at this point in my life, but I do have a pretty good sense of how I want my kids raised in the future. I would want to be a stay-at-home mom and raise them with some of the values Amish people do. Just a bit more modern though.
- Introvert or Extrovert?’
I am never the same. Depending on my mood, I can be an introvert and totally zone out with my own thing. However, when I am with someone interesting and they get my attention I am an extrovert.
- Do you have any communication at this time with your family?
I still have communications with a few brothers and sisters. I have hopes that someday the relationship with everyone will be restored the way it should be. It is all about having faith and let God be in control.
- Do you still stay in touch with the people that helped you leave your family?
Yes I have stayed in touch with the people in Missouri that helped me. I visit them whenever I have the chance.
10. I’m (Amanda M. Thrasher) an observer, quiet by nature unless I know you. If I know you, I’m comfortable. This can often be misunderstood. How would you define your personality?
My personality is quiet, and always thinking of what I can do next to make the world a place. I can also be very sarcastic and humorous if I am around people I feel comfortable with.
Emma’s work can be located at: https://progressiverisingphoenix.com/
Post by Amanda M. Thrasher www.amandamthrasher.com