We love to do things for our Amish friends in Pennsylvania. The last fun project was to send them a Peacock in the dead of winter. You can read that story here: Trip to East Coast, Amish Friends & Pigs.
That trip was in 2009. While we were talking to Susann, Andrew S. Kinsinger's Daughter, she told us that she did not have a picture of her Father. The Amish do not believe in having their pictures taken. It has something to do with the "false images" from the Bible.
For the last 2 1/2 years I have been looking for a picture of her dad. I've looked at the archives of hundreds of newspapers as I knew that one time, when he spoke to the US Congress over the Amish not paying into the Social Security system, a newspaper photographer took his picture with a long lens and put it in the newspaper.
We’ll after that exhausting search I found a black and white picture a little larger than a postage stamp in a newspaper from Titusville, PA newspaper dated August 8, 1978. We also found a story that my mother was quoted in. It has a date of June 13, 1995 with the same picture. Here is that story:
A. S. Kinsinger: Amish Leader
A brief obituary for Andrew S. Kinsinger appeared in the New Era last month. It did not say Kinsinger was one of the most influential men in the Old Order Amish community. It did not say he served as spokesman for the church on education, Social Security and other topics.
Jean Ellen Chinea now of Huntington Beach, Calif., was Kinsinger's driver for many years. She lived in Lancaster County at the time and drive Kinsinger from his Gordonville farm and print shop all over the United States.
She remembers Kinsinger as a "humble" man who talked comfortable with church leaders and educators and representatives of the government. Because of his humble and intelligent approach to various issues, Chinea says, Kinsinger often got his way.
As "superintendent" of the Amish schools in Pennsylvania for many years, Kinsinger argued for the Amish belief that children, should attend school only through the eight grade. Chinea recalls state education officials' initial reluctance to go along with that.
They told Kinsinger that surely he would agree that an exception could not be made to the state's educational rules.
"It is not up to me to agree." Kinsinger said, according to Chinea. "It is up to the church and the bishops."
He eventually got the educators to see the church's point of view.
Kinsinger at one time served as the chairman of a three-man national steering committee for the Old Order Amish. He was a primary church spokesman against paying into Social Security and for establishing a special alert system for Amish in case of another TMI-like disaster at a nuclear facility.
“He spoke from the mouth, from the mind, from the heart," says Chinea, "and with the knowledge of the Amish Church that people had to respect.
Kinsinger would have been 75 in July. Mrs. Chinea will be 75 in July. Prior to Kinsinger's death she had planned to come to Lancaster to celebrate their birthdays.
We took the newspaper clippings to Thailand with us this spring and in Pattaya we had Mr. Yut at his oil painting and frame making gallery put this small picture on canvas. He did a great job by asking me the color of his hair and then working to a place that I said: "Yes, that is him!"
After a few days of drying he removed it for the wooden frame that the canvas was stretched onto and packed it in a round tube so we could fit it in our suitcase.When we return we tried to reach the framer I had been using for years but he had gone out of business. Our economy has wiped out a lot of good small man businesses.
My sister told me about the frame shop that had done a lot of framing for her recently and we took the canvas to George at Best Frames in Costa Mesa.
He re-stretched the canvas and framed the picture for us. When he was complete I noticed that the frame was not the exact framing wood we had picked out. He looked at it and apologized asking if we could wait a few more days so he could get the exact match of framing material. We said: "Of course, as this was a special gift for a special friend." He was very understanding.
We picked up the framed picture this morning and it is beautiful. He even bubble wrapped it and made a paste board box to ship it in. Thank you, George.
We did remove it from the box so we could take some pictures of Andrew S. Kinsinger as it is the only color picture of him in the world, until now.
We will send it to Susann Kinsinger tomorrow with a letter and this story. We are sure she will be surprised.
We hope she does not get into trouble with the Amish Church. We hope she will not as she did not ask for it. We did it on our own and sent it to her with our love and best wishes.
Andrew S. Kinsinger was a wonderful man. I am grateful that I had met him and his wonderful family.
Please remember: "The plain and simple life is the best! God bless us all!”
Terry and Daeng