38 responses to Rich Stevick: Why Not Everyone Approves of Pinecraft
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    Comment on Rich Stevick: Why Not Everyone Approves of Pinecraft (January 16th, 2015 at 08:20)

    Very interesting article. I think this place is high on my wife’s not-yet-visited list, so who knows, we may be heading that way ‘fore long.

    One question, though: Early in the article something was mentioned about many of the youth coming down to FL in their own vehicles. I am aware that some of the Shipshewana Amish teens own vehicles during Rumspringa, but am curious about what others might do this. I was not aware that it was widespread to warrant such a generalized “norm” as described here.

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      Liz Detrich
      Comment on Sarasota is wonderful! (January 16th, 2015 at 09:09)

      Sarasota is wonderful!

      As a nearly 20-year resident (I live in SF now), my memories of Sarasota FL were wonderful.

      Many residents on the Gulf Coast of FL are from the mid-west, many attractions such as Selby Gardens or Ringling Mansion and it’s museum are clean, quiet and in the area, in general, is very family-oriented.
      By comparison, Miami and Lauderdale/Coco Beach are visited by NY and SoCal visitors, making for a very different experience (not as family friendly as one might hope).

      The beaches in Sarasota are white powder sand, originating from limestone, and feel almost like powdered sugar. Many times, I’ve gone swimming in the turquoise crystal waters at Coquina beach and Siesta and seen dolphins or rays swimming by.

      For those who love down home cooking, Yoder’s pies can’t be beat, Der Dutchman is a very close second. If it’s a German deli you’re looking for, Geier’s Sausage kitchen can’t be beat.

      As for raised eyebrows, kids will be kids. If behavior is made to be forbidden fruit, it will be all the more attractive. If they get their ya-yas out early, it will give them the chance to return to the life that really matters, with their families and communities. Give them more credit, deep down inside, I believe they are raised with values and will make the right decision in the end.

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        Comment on Rich Stevick: Why Not Everyone Approves of Pinecraft (January 16th, 2015 at 09:21)

        Kids will be kids — and thus the reason that God gave parents to see that they stay within legitimate boundaries. Forbidden fruit — if legitimately off limits (by God’s standards) — is forbidden whether we post and enforce a Do Not Trespass sign or not. And depending upon what the particular “ya-yas” are, some of those don’t “get out” of one’s system, but form addictions and/or regrets that can scare for the rest of their lives.

        Give them credit? — you bet. But do so in a way that ignores any youthful tendency toward things that they will regret or will haunt or harm them? — that isn’t taking responsibility of one’s role as a mature adult leader/parent properly.

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          Mark – Holmes Co.
          Comment on Rich Stevick: Why Not Everyone Approves of Pinecraft (January 16th, 2015 at 09:35)

          VERY well said! I would like to share that comment with others.

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            Comment on Rich Stevick: Why Not Everyone Approves of Pinecraft (January 16th, 2015 at 11:01)

            Thanks Mark. Feel free to share away — after all, the thoughts aren’t original anyway…, but I did get them from a really good Source. 😉

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          Forest in North Carolina
          Comment on Rich Stevick: Why Not Everyone Approves of Pinecraft (January 16th, 2015 at 11:55)

          I have to admit, this whole idea concerns me. While I feel that well brought up children tend to retain those teachings as they grow up, I would not approve of one of my children going on a trip like this. I know we can’t raise them in a bubble, but it seems the whole idea here is that they are expected to go off, drink, party, and take a “vacation” from their religion and way of life.

          “But you take that to the level of full-time employment at such a young age, and you have an interesting mix of relative affluence with immaturity”

          Well said Trish

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          Liz Detrich
          Comment on Rich Stevick: Why Not Everyone Approves of Pinecraft (January 16th, 2015 at 13:13)

          To set legitimate boundaries, is of course, appropriate and necessary as a parent, I agree to do less is irresponsible.
          It seems, you presume my comment to mean that no discipline or boundaries in the household are necessary.

          As someone who employs over 100 college-aged kids a semester, it’s easy to tell which kids were given love, discipline and guidance and which ones were left to raise themselves.

          In the end, it’s all about consistency and balance. If they were raised properly, as I was in church (and synogogue for that matter) they will make good decisions and yes, bad decisions too. That’s how they learn to accept consequences for their actions. At the end of the day, once they are fully grown, it’s their life and their choices (and mistakes) to make.

          Besides, isn’t there a term called Rumspringa in the Amish culture? It sounds as if the Amish understand the need to explore as well.

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            Comment on Rich Stevick: Why Not Everyone Approves of Pinecraft (January 18th, 2015 at 16:21)

            What do you mean by “college-aged kids”? I have spent a lot of time with college students, both during and after my time as a college student. I have known two or three that were children. The rest were adults.

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        Jonathan Edwards
        Comment on Elaboration (January 16th, 2015 at 14:32)


        Perhaps there is room for a bit more elaboration. For example: What percentage of Amish disapprove of Pinecraft? And to what extent? I believe quite a few communities would excommunicate (without question or discussion) a member that went to Pinecraft for more than a stop-and-see visit. In fact, I would not be surprised to hear, in a sermon or during Zeugnis, graphic parallels drawn between Pinecraft and certain cities from Biblical times. Babylon is the first one that comes to mind.

        Perhaps Pinecraft could be called an Amish Dubai, just without the tall buildings.

        I think there is more ‘unapproved’ behavior occurring in Pinecraft, and much more (and stronger) opposition to the ‘community,’ than a person would realize after reading this piece. But I am glad it wasn’t a tell-all. And I don’t want to come off sounding critical. It is impossible to get everything said in such a small space. I just think that many Amish people are completely ashamed of the place, wish it didn’t exist.

        If the word ‘Amish’ means anything more than liberal Mennonite/American Evangelical, then Pinecraft probably doesn’t qualify.

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      Comment on Rich Stevick: Why Not Everyone Approves of Pinecraft (January 16th, 2015 at 12:40)

      Both Lancaster PA and Holmes County OH have youth that own vehicles during their Rumsppringa years.

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    Naomi Wilson
    Comment on sun and citrus (January 16th, 2015 at 08:22)

    sun and citrus

    My husband and I spent the early years of our marriage in MIami and Ft. Lauderdale. I have no desire to go back there, nor to spend money on a fancy vacation. But as I sit in a chilly house with a runny nose and terrible sore throat, with fussy children who have the same, a couple weeks in Pinecraft sounds wonderful!

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    Comment on Raised Eyebrows (January 16th, 2015 at 08:31)

    Raised Eyebrows

    Hi Rich. Wow, I didn’t know there could be raised eyebrows from some within the Amish culture but, it doesn’t surprise me. Thanks for sharing. And I enjoyed the pictures, too.

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    Trish in Indiana
    Comment on Rich Stevick: Why Not Everyone Approves of Pinecraft (January 16th, 2015 at 09:46)

    I had never thought of the difference full-time employment at such a young age makes culturally. When I was growing up, the market for the kind of part-time jobs frequently held by teens was a bit tight, not nearly as bad as in recent years, but still enough that I felt better about not working and leaving the jobs open for classmates whose families needed the money more than mine did. Of course, this meant that kids whose parents were poorer than mine often themselves had more money to spend on “fun stuff” than I did; my parents would be able to send me to college, but in the meantime, that meant that popcorn at the movies could be a stretch. I did a little babysitting, and it was enough to buy the occasional album in those days of vinyl. I was used to the teen years as a time when you have very little that’s really “yours,” because that’s how it was for me, but for some of my friends, it was the first time in their lives that they had disposable income.

    But you take that to the level of full-time employment at such a young age, and you have an interesting mix of relative affluence with immaturity. I confess I would feel more comfortable if the Amish considered their young people to require chaperones until they were over 18, no matter that they had earned their own money.

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    Tom Geist
    Comment on I Was Just There!!!! (January 16th, 2015 at 09:48)

    I Was Just There!!!!

    Ok, I physically was not just there, but one of the perks of being English is that you can use the computer to go there.
    Want to bring this story home a little more?

    Go to Google Maps. In the search area put in ” Graber Ave, Pinecraft, Sarasota Springs, FL ” and hit enter. From there you can
    zoom in or out, but that’s just the overview of the area. Instead, if you look over the top of the “+” (the plus sign on the bar you use to zoom in or out with) you will see the little google guy that you take and set on the road near the location you selected. From there you can move down the road looking at all of the houses. Neat!

    My apologies to all of the real computer people out there that could explain this better than I have.

    Tom in Lincoln…. or was that Pinecraft. 🙂

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      Marcus Yoder
      Comment on Rich Stevick: Why Not Everyone Approves of Pinecraft (January 16th, 2015 at 14:02)

      Hey Tom have any turkeys attack you lately? I see some of your visits in the budget.
      Marcus Yoder

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        Tom A Geist
        Comment on Rich Stevick: Why Not Everyone Approves of Pinecraft (January 16th, 2015 at 16:46)

        Turkey Attack…

        LOL Marcus, those turkeys were awesome! Such big birds that acted more like guard dogs than birds. When the scribe was with me they were fine, but when I went to the car and then back to the house the one slapped me with it’s feathers… I just laughed.
        The scribes there were awesome to meet as well. =)


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      jeff baker
      Comment on Being here is even better than the pictures (January 17th, 2015 at 08:54)

      Being here is even better than the pictures

      Tom, I used to do the same google thing looking at all the pictures of Pinecraft. Since I moved to Florida the experience has been great. I am a 45 minute drive away from Pinecraft.

      Thank you, Liz Ditrich – I am going to check out Geier’s sausage kitchen today.

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    Debbie H
    Comment on Rich Stevick: Why Not Everyone Approves of Pinecraft (January 16th, 2015 at 12:48)

    I live and grew up in Daytona Beach, Fl. When I was a teenager Daytona was the place to be for Spring Break. It was Party City for college kids for about 6 weeks. I would head to the beach after school and yes I skipped a few days to be with the college crowds. My upbringing and values kept me from joining in with the drinking crowd and partying. I think it was more like watching. Observing an unknown life style. During bike week and race week we were not allowed to go to the beach or near the tourist sites as it was considered wild and dangerous. Maybe it is because of the values I was taught or because I was a local but I never wanted to change or experience that lifestyle, even for 2 weeks. I think it is an individual thing, maybe the persons personality but it seems that some stray and some do not no matter how they are raised.

    I was planning to go to Pinecraft this Spring but not sure that will be possible this year, maybe this summer or next Spring. Main Reason I want to go is to visit the quilt shop since I am a quilter.

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    Comment on Rich Stevick: Why Not Everyone Approves of Pinecraft (January 16th, 2015 at 14:48)

    Great article! One word I like to use to describe Pinecraft is “unique,” because it is. I have spent some time there and it has a very peaceful atmosphere, even though you’re in the city. People visit on street corners, enjoy the games and the beach. I never witnessed anything “wild” going on, though. If kids wanted to find trouble, they could find it away from the neighborhood, I suppose. The young people I saw either played volleyball, went to concerts in the park, or were at the beach.

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      Comment on I've been there but I also haven't :) (January 16th, 2015 at 17:44)

      I've been there but I also haven't :)

      Lynette I happened to visit Pinecraft a couple of years ago in the “dead season”. It was right before things began picking up for autumn-winter. No doubt a different environment than say right now or what it sounds like you’ve experienced. For that reason I feel I’ve both been to Pinecraft, and haven’t been to Pinecraft 🙂

      Thankfully I had a great tour guide who took me around to many spots of interest, arranged lunch, as well as some very nice visits with some of the full-timers down there.

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    Naomi Wilson
    Comment on Rich Stevick: Why Not Everyone Approves of Pinecraft (January 16th, 2015 at 15:02)

    Debbie, your comment reminds me of my own high school and college years. Even though I looked and acted much more conservative than “the crowd,” it doesn’t change the fact that I was living in very deep sin. When my husband and I met, we each thought the other was “too conservative.” : ) We never would have partied at Daytona Beach! But that doesn’t mean we weren’t living a life that would require much repentance later on. If we were now raising children for the world, we would be pretty confident that we could raise them to be wholesome individuals. But as believers, the temptations for our children are much greater, and the stakes are much higher. I pray that God would guide us more and more into his wisdom in the upcoming years!

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    Comment on Rich Stevick: Why Not Everyone Approves of Pinecraft (January 16th, 2015 at 16:07)

    I was just talking to an Old Order Amish cousin of mine that lives in Haven, Kansas about Pinecraft. Another cousin of ours goes every year Nov till spring, and I asked if she ever went. We were painting our old farmhouse as we were talking (we do our best talking when we’ve got a project going on), and she said that Pinecraft is pretty boring. Just getting together with the ladies and playing games and quilting. It dawned on me that her and I do have our most fun when were doing something, usually a work type project, but fun nonetheless. And I can’t picture her playing shuffleboard all day.

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    Comment on Rich Stevick: Why Not Everyone Approves of Pinecraft (January 16th, 2015 at 23:33)

    For every article like this, maybe there needs to be one that explores the life of those young people who stay home and faithfully live out the Amish ideals? You won’t read about these youths in the “Sheriff Reports” section of the newspaper, nor see them driving a motor vehicle during Rumspringa. You may find them behind a teacher’s desk 55 hours a week, at youth singings, in the barn milking. Or, having personal devotions.
    It doesn’t make exciting stories … you know, to tell about the 19-year-old boy that gets up every morning at 5 a.m. to work in the furniture shop sanding chair spindles every day. He goes home and spends time with his family, playing with his siblings in the evening. Then he goes to bed and repeats the above scenario every working day. He never drinks, doesnt have a cell phone, shuns bad company, always wears Plain clothes, comes home in a timely manner at night.
    That kind of lifestyle doesn’t sell on reality TV.
    Those kind of youth do exist, though. And they dont seek to be in the limelight, so you have to look for them … in places besides Pinecraft.

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      Mark – Holmes Co.
      Comment on Rich Stevick: Why Not Everyone Approves of Pinecraft (January 17th, 2015 at 08:46)

      Very well said P.C.!!!

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      Naomi Wilson
      Comment on Rich Stevick: Why Not Everyone Approves of Pinecraft (January 17th, 2015 at 15:27)

      “That kind of lifestyle doesn’t sell on reality TV.”

      Too bad. If tv programs consisted of well-behaved Amish youths going about their daily jobs and chores, I would make sure to have my children watch it!

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      Forest in North Carolina
      Comment on Rich Stevick: Why Not Everyone Approves of Pinecraft (January 17th, 2015 at 15:58)

      “That kind of lifestyle doesn’t sell on reality TV”

      Hope it remains that way…..


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      Comment on A response from Rich Stevick (January 18th, 2015 at 11:20)

      A response from Rich Stevick

      P.C., Rich said he was having an issue with his internet connection down in “Florida Amishland”, but asked me to pass on a response to your comment. He said he was glad for the interest in this discussion.

      From Rich:

      Thanks, P.C., for your thoughtful comment on how often writers on Amish topics focus on the prurient or sensational at the expense of the typical. Your thoughts are spot-on. For me, an example of implying that the extreme is normative was Lucy Walker’s “Devil’s Playground,” an expose of the wild end of the Amish Rumspringa. My criticism of her work was not so much with her subject matter, an important fact of life for a significant minority in many large settlements, but rather her failure to clearly point out that the excesses she documented were not representative of the majority of the Amish Youngie.

      Those of us who study Amish life, such as Amish education or the adolescent experience, and then try to depict our findings always struggle with the issue of balance, and with not romanticizing, sensationalizing, or demonizing. But truthfulness also requires that we do not avoid areas that may cause discomfort to our readers, our focus group, or ourselves. For example, I deal with a number of sensitive subjects in my study of Amish youth: deviance, drug use, drinking, vandalism, bed courtship, premarital sexual behavior, and early pregnancy, just to name a few.

      However, the majority of what I write focuses on the relatively mundane and every-day–child rearing, education, work and leisure, singings, dating, preparing for and joining the church, serious courtship and marriage, etc., etc. Again, thanks for raising an important point.


      BTW, in my less than humble opinion, I believe that books written by authors under the auspices of the Young Center Books in Anabaptist and Pietist Studies have truly worked hard to provide a “fair and balanced” coverage, to quote Fox News 🙂

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        Comment on Rich Stevick: Why Not Everyone Approves of Pinecraft (January 19th, 2015 at 00:54)

        Rich, I hope that my comment wasnt taken by you as a personal thing. My grump was general, not towards you.
        I know full well the deviant side. I live smack in the middle of a district here in Coshocton County with a deviant reputation. I can take photos from my living room windows of deviant Amish activities.
        Yet, the problem is, I cant take too many photos of the non-deviant activities, because they are not displayed so easily. Perhaps the school teachers that walk past my house every day, with their long dark dresses and big black bonnets (compared to the oranges and hot pink dresses, with slits up the side and tiny doolies for coverings). My point is that the deviant is so much easier to spot that it becomes easy to forget that the non-deviant exists.
        Thanks for your posts! I’ll try not to be too much of a grumper. 🙂

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          Comment on We are neighbors (almost)! (January 19th, 2015 at 09:35)

          We are neighbors (almost)!

          P.C., Coshocton County, OH–we have actually been neighbors since our moving to Holmes County in May. Look us up when you get to the big cities of Walnut Creek, Mount Hope, or Berlin. We can do breakfast, lunch, or gawking around together when we get back from Pinecraft 🙂 (Get my email or phone # from Erik.) Rich

          BTW, I enjoy reading your perspectives and no offense taken. Proportion, emphasis, and honesty in research and writing are issues I deal with constantly. If you can get hold of a copy of wife Pauline’s book, “Beyond the Plain and Simple: A Patchwork of Amish Lives,” (Kent State University Press)I’m guessing you would enjoy her take on Pinecraft in her chapter ‘Plain-peoples’ Paradise.’

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    Comment on Not all Amish go to Pinecraft. (January 17th, 2015 at 11:59)

    Not all Amish go to Pinecraft.

    This is very interesting topic….
    Right now there are 16 Old Order Amish single boys and girls , 8 boys and 8 girls from Holmes County Ohio on the way ,on a large cruise ship to Hawaii where they will tour all the islands, and come back to Ohio.
    There are also some Old Order Amish single girls from Northern Indiana going on that same cruise….
    Two of the boys I work with are on that load, so it is first hand.

    And no , not nearly everyone goes to Pinecraft or Sarasota , as recently I visited with an Old Order Amish man who is around 70 years old here in Holmes County , has plenty of money ,,, but guess what he told me…He said, ” I have not been outside of Ohio, and actually not out of these three counties.”

    • I’m guessing the Hawaii trip is unchaperoned Nelson?

      That’s pretty amazing that after 70 years the gentleman hadn’t been beyond three counties, Amish or not. I guess some people just feel little urge to ramble.

      You could also take that as a strong endorsement for the quality of life in that community. Hey, maybe the Holmes County Chamber of Commerce could quote him in promo material 🙂

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      Tom A Geist
      Comment on Rich Stevick: Why Not Everyone Approves of Pinecraft (January 19th, 2015 at 14:52)

      That is interesting about the 70 year old gentleman. I assume that means he doesn’t have family/relatives outside of those 3 counties to go to wedding, funerals, sick visits, baptisms and family get together’s for. OR maybe the reason he is rich is because he didn’t take any of those trips.

      I remember as a child my mom telling me that a garbage truck had been stolen. At that point in my life we wondered how that could ever be because when they came by our alley they only did a few miles an hour, so we assumed that’s how they all moved all of the time.

      The same thinking goes in some peoples thoughts when they think of slow paced Amish people in a buggy. The truth is a few of these folks travel more than English people do, and good for them if that’s what they want to do.

      Tom in Lincoln

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        Jonathan Edwards
        Comment on Rich Stevick: Why Not Everyone Approves of Pinecraft (January 20th, 2015 at 14:15)

        I heard of a young Amish man from Lancaster who took a ship to Europe and made his way to Ukraine where he helped at the MIM mission in Kyiv for about two weeks. Sounded like an adventure. And edifying as well.

        But since I just came down out of the High Atlas Mountains perhaps I don’t have all the details straight.

        By the way Erik…how did your family visit to Poland turn out?

      • That’s what I was wondering Tom…it seems like every Amish person, given the typical huge families, would have a reason at some point to leave their community, at the least for a wedding or funeral.

        I’m going to remember your garbage truck analogy. I like that.

        Jonathan I am actually still there/here 🙂 Going well, will be back in Feb.

        That young Amishman’s trip does sound adventurous, especially given the news over the past year from Ukraine. Poland just evacuated a small Polish population from eastern Ukraine. Other than that I don’t watch too much news lately though so I’m not up on breaking events.

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    Jim Cates
    Comment on Not Everyone Approves of Pinecraft (January 17th, 2015 at 15:55)

    Not Everyone Approves of Pinecraft

    Reading over the comments about Rich’s post, I see several that reference (at least indirectly) the morals of Amish youth. One of the fascinations for me is to compare the 1st and 2nd editions of Rich’s book “Growing Up Amish.” They are not all that far apart years written, but the material in the 2nd edition clearly reflects the dramatic changes that have occurred and are occurring for Amish youngie. Whether one perceives it as a) temptations or b) challenges depends, I suppose, on point of view, but it is mind-boggling to recognize the cultural shift that is inevitably creeping in, and that is so ably addressed in his writings.

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    Alice Mary
    Comment on Rich Stevick: Why Not Everyone Approves of Pinecraft (January 18th, 2015 at 15:45)

    How about interviews with Amish adults who made the choice (or, “mistake” as some here consider it) of spending time in Pinecraft in their youth, yet went back home, and embracing the Amish culture & lifestyle, married, had children, and are now considered to be “good” Amish people. As with many English youth, whose parents/church/religion looked askance at certain behaviors (etc.), I’d venture to guess most returned to the “good” side (if anything mankind does is truly “good” 🙂 ).

    Alice Mary

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