Lynch Family and Lead Belly

Lynch Family by Joseph Hirsch

Lynch Family by Joseph Hirsch – 1946

Lynchings of African-Americans reached an all time high in August of 1946. Citizens across America urged President Truman to end the horror. Joseph Hirsch painted a mother and child, the surviving family members of a lynching victim. The mother holds firmly onto her active child while turning her face in grief. 

Good Night  Irene by Charles White -1952

Good Night Irene by Charles White -1952

Dave and I used to have an LP record by Lead Belly a well-known American folk and blues musician. Here Lead Belly is painted singing the classic song Good Night Irene to an admiring audience of one. The artist Charles White originally sold this painting to singer Harry Belafonte. My second name is Irene. 

Lynch Family and Lead Belly were two of the pieces that caught my mind and heart when I toured the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City a few weeks ago.

Other posts……
The Nelson Atkins Museum of Art and the Winnipeg Art Gallery

Stalking, Lunch and No Guns

Cool Stuff Outside the Art Gallery

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Filed under Art, History, Music

I Remember When…..

Church at the Mennonite Heritage Museum. I remember when I was a little girl my grandparents' attended a church like this and men and women sat on different sides of the sanctuary.

This is a photo I took of the church at the Mennonite Heritage Village Museum in Steinbach. I remember when….. I was a little girl my grandparents attended a church something like this and the men and women sat on different sides of the sanctuary.

I remember when…… a young woman who attended a church in my home town was forced to “confess her sin” in front of the congregation when she became pregnant before her wedding. Her fiancée did not have to confess.

I remember when….. I was speaking at a women’s conference at a church in my home town and they told me I would need to stand behind a special microphone at the front of the church because only men could stand behind the pulpit.

I remember when….. I made a motion at a church membership meeting in my home church that we use inclusive language rather than exclusively male language when we rewrote our church constitution and the motion was defeated.

I remember when…… a young woman in our church wanted to marry a divorced man and we had meetings for months to ‘discern’ whether this would be fine. Finally she had her wedding at her parents’ home rather than in the church building where she had gone to services every Sunday since she was born.

I remember when…… they would post lists of people who would set tables and bring food and do dishes for church suppers and there were only women on the list.

I remember when….. the women in my church were referred to by their husbands’ names. They were Mrs. Henry Janzen or Mrs. Herman Epp as if they had no first names of their own.

If you would tell any of these things to a teenager in most churches today they would shake their heads in disbelief that such a time could ever have existed.

Sometimes I wonder what I remembers.….. the next generation will write decades from now, and the teenagers of that day, will shake their heads in disbelief that such a time could ever have existed.

Other posts…….

Some Mennonites But Not All

Praying Naked in Front of the Mirror

A Photograph in the Mennonite

What Will You Be Building?


Filed under Religion

He Just Disappeared !

For several weeks now the media here in Winnipeg has carried stories about a woman who simply disappeared one morning when she went for a walk.  

JIm Thompson

Jim Thompson

The news story reminds me of my visit to the Jim Thompson home in Bangkok, Thailand.  Jim too simply disappeared one morning while going for a walk.  Thompson, an architect from Delaware, was sent to Thailand as a military intelligence officer during World War II. Enamored with the exotic locale, he returned there immediately after being discharged.

The costumes for The King and I were made of Thai silk appropriate since the story is set in Siam, the former name for Thailand

The costumes for The King and I were made of Thai silk appropriate since the story is set in Siam, the former name for Thailand

During the coming years, Thompson would successfully revive a dying art in Thailand. Colorful hand-woven silks had once been a prized part of Thai culture but by the late 1940s were gradually being pushed aside by mass production. Thompson set out to change that. Armed with samples of genuine silks made by local Bangkok craftswomen he went to New York where he caught the eye of major fashion designers. Soon Thai silk was all the rage. Valentino, the dress designer began fashioning clothing with the material, raving about its luster and texture. The costume designer for the movie The King and I used Thai silk to create the outfits for the all the actors. Big hotel chains like the Hilton and Savoy featured draperies made from Thai silk. The industry took off and continues to flourish. Today more than 20,000 families in Thailand make their living weaving silk for an international market

The Jim Thompson Home in Bangkok

The Jim Thompson Home in Bangkok

Though busy with his new enterprise in the fabric industry, Thompson was still an architect at heart, and set about fashioning a unique home for himself in Bangkok. He purchased six old teak Thai houses decorated with hand carvings and designs. He connected them all together on a thickly- treed area of jungle land he purchased right on one of Bangkok’s famous canals. Like all traditional Thai houses his stood on stilts high above the ground. Thompson proceeded to use the substantial wealth he was accruing from his silk business to fill this home with Asian art and antiquities. Soon his collection was to be envied world-wide.

Thompson shortly before his disappearance

Thompson shortly before his disappearance

Then in 1967 Thompson was vacationing in Malaysia with friends. One afternoon he set off on a walk and never returned. No evidence has ever been found to suggest what could have happened to him. Theories abound of course. Was he eaten by a tiger? Did slip down into a ravine and drown? Was he kidnapped and died before a ransom could be demanded? Did he just want a new life? His military intelligence training would have served him well in a bid to simply disappear and re-locate. The mystery has never been solved and adds an extra air of intrigue to the Jim Thompson house.

These women welcomed us to the JIm Thompson house

These women welcomed us to the Jim Thompson house and happily posed while I took their photo

Today Thompson’s home has been turned into a museum by the Kingdom of Thailand. Lovely young women, wearing Thompson designed silk skirts and blouses and fluent in many languages, guide you through the carefully preserved series of houses. 

Jim Thompson bought a great deal of Asian art

Jim Thompson bought a great deal of Asian art

Thompson is something of a hero in Bangkok. He was instrumental in boosting the economy a half century ago by introducing Thai silk to the world. Despite of, or perhaps because of, his mysterious disappearance he continues to be a financial asset to Thailand as his art collection, lovely home and interesting life story draw people from around the world to Bangkok.

Other posts about Thailand…….

Monk Chat

A Giant Recycling Project


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Extra Crispy

“Wow!”   “That’s extra crispy!”  I was giving a tour of the Olympus exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery yesterday to a group of 11 to 14 year olds. They were fantastic! They knew so much about ancient Greek mythology and they were so excited about seeing the exhibit.  One boy kept remarking that each new thing I showed them was ‘extra crispy’ so finally I asked him what that meant. He told me it means something is totally awesome and amazing. When I got home I looked it up and sure enough right there in the online urban dictionary it says…….extra crispy So if you haven’t seen the Olympus exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery yet, come on down for an extra crispy experience. 

Other posts……

Sunday Afternoon at the Winnipeg Art Gallery

What Talent! Olympus Inspired Art

The Goddess of Running Shoes and Olympic Medals

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Filed under Art, Culture, Education, Winnipeg

My Nephew! My Hero!

“Did you bring your passport?” Dave asked me after we’d been driving for about 90 minutes. I couldn’t believe it! I had totally forgotten my passport! I’d never even thought of it once as I packed for our trip. We planned to spend a couple of days at Moose Lake with my brother Mark and his wife and then cross the border at South Junction to head to Bemidji, Minnesota where Dave would play in a ball tournament. I would need my passport. 

When we arrived at the cottage my sister-in-law Kathy mentioned their son Dylan was in Winnipeg registering for his university classes and planned to head out to the lake the following day.  I called him.  Could he pick up a set of spare house keys from my daughter-in-law and then go to our condo and get my passport to bring along with him the following day? 

My nephew saved the day!

My nephew saved the day!

“Sure,” he said.  It was nearly midnight by the time he could arrange a rendezvous to pick up the keys but he headed right over to our place and found my passport. The next day he brought it out to the cottage with him and I was able to make the trip to Bemidji.  Thanks so much Dylan! You are my hero!

Other posts…..

I lost my passport

A new passport

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I Slept with a Champion Last Night

eastman seniors slow pitch teamI slept with a champion last night. Dave and I were in Bemidji Minnesota for the weekend where he was playing in a baseball tournament. Although the road to victory wasn’t easy his Eastman team won the championship on Sunday in fine style. Dave made a great catch that had him jumping high in the air. He had some solid hits and managed to avoid irritating the leg wound he got on Saturday diving for a ball.
Giroux AthleticsDave has been a champion baseball player many times before. In fact he is in the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame.  But he is a champion in lots of other ways in my books.   After the final game yesterday he drove all the way home from Bemidji so I could work on a writing project in the car that has a fast approaching due date. Then when we got home he made me his signature spicy Caesar cocktail and a homemade pizza for our supper.  Today he’s headed off to train for a new job as a Lexus driver to earn some extra cash for our travel adventures. 

I guess I sleep with a champion every night. 

eastman slow pitch ball team

Other posts about baseball in Bemidji…..

Baseball Singalong

Baseball in his 60th year

Davey at the Bat

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Filed under Family, Sports

Rumi Inspiration

mom holding newborn 1953We are born of love; Love is our mother.   Rumischool class 1974-75

Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart.  Rum

one of mom and dad's flower bedsBeauty surrounds us, but sometimes we need to be in a garden to know it.

santaBe a lamp, a lifeboat, a ladder. Help someone’s soul heal.

mom and dad in the flower gardenThere are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the earth. ~Rumi

stephen juba park winnipeg winterAnd don’t think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It’s quiet, but the roots are down there riotous. ~Rumi

marylou in laos…rush out in the rain to be soaked with the sky. ~Rumi

with students in cambodia in mayAll religions, all this singing, one song. The differences are just illusion and vanity. The sun’s light looks a little different on this wall than it does on that wall, and a lot different on this other one, but it’s still one light. ~Rumi

peralta hikeOnly from the heart can you touch the sky.- Rumi

Jalaluddin Rumi, often simply called Rumi, was born in 1207 and became a widely read Persian poet who had a great influence on Muslim writing and culture. His poetry continues to be read throughout the modern world, and he is one of the best selling poets in America.

Other posts….

On Friendship

Hiking Up to Weaver’s Needle

Hong Kong Inspiration


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