Monthly Archives: October 2014

Ready For Halloween -1960

ready for halloweenMy sister and I are back from trick or treating in 1960.  Look at the size of those Eaton’s of Canada shopping bags and they appear to be pretty full. Love my bunny ears which I am sure my mother constructed and my sister’s carefully painted on cat whiskers. 

Grade Two Class Sir John Franklin School - 1960-1961 school year- Teacher Miss Ushay- I'm on the far left in the back row right beside the principal

Grade Two Class Sir John Franklin School – 1960-1961 school year- Teacher Miss Ushay- I’m on the far left in the back row right beside the principal

We were living on Beaverbrook Street in Winnipeg that year and I was in grade two at Sir John Franklin School.  My two best friends in the neighborhood were Catherine and April. I wonder if they went trick or treating with us?

Other posts about childhood ……

The Easters of My Childhood

The Nuns’ Christmas

Good Will and Good Memories

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A “Where Were You?” Moment

Last week we had one of those “Where were you?” moments in life. You know the kind.

Miss Toews' Grade Four Class at Kornelson School

Miss Toews’ Grade Four Class at Kornelson School. I’m third from the left in the back row.

Where were you during the Cuban Missile Crisis? I was hunkered down under a wooden desk in my grade four classroom on the second floor at the old Kornelson School in Steinbach. The sirens wailed and we all ducked. We had rehearsed this many times before. We waited for the signal from our teacher Miss Toews that we could come out from under our desks and make our way home as quickly as possible via the routes we had practiced walking during previous drills.

My Grade Five Class in 1963 with our teacher Mr. Klassen. I am second from the left in the second row.

My Grade Five Class in 1963 with our teacher Mr. Klassen. I am second from the left in the second row.

Where were you when you heard President Kennedy had been shot? I was on my hands and knees in my grade five classroom at Southwood School painting a plaster of paris map of Canada. Someone from the school office came to give my teacher Mr. Klassen the news and he turned on the radio so we could listen to the media coverage while we worked. We had just come back to school after the lunch hour.

Dave is between his parents. His brother John is far right in the back row.

Dave is between his parents. His brother Paul is on the far left in the back row.

Where were you when the first astronauts walked on the moon? My husband Dave remembers. His older brother Paul was turning the family car onto the road that led to their farmhouse and was hit by another vehicle. Dave heard the crash and ran outside to see what had happened. He had been glued to the television screen ready to watch that first step on the moon, but as he raced to the site of his brother’s accident he missed it.

Mitchell School

Mitchell School

Where were you when you heard about the Twin Towers’ collapse? I was sitting at my desk in my classroom at Mitchell School. My grade four students were at music class. Another teacher came by and told me to turn on the radio. I did. That’s when I heard what was going on. I started to cry. I remember how hard I had to work to get a hold of my emotions so that when my students returned from their music lesson I would be calm and they wouldn’t be able to see how upset I was.

Photo of me doing art with children on the Winnipeg Art Gallery site

Where were you last week when you heard that a soldier had been shot in Ottawa guarding the war memorial? I was at the Winnipeg Art Gallery waiting to give a tour to a group of high school students. One of my fellow guides got a text message from a family member who works on Parliament Hill.  My colleague shared the news of the possible terrorist attack with the rest of us. 

There are certain events in history that remain etched in our minds. The events may be different for different people, but they resonant with us in such a way that we never forget the moment we heard about them. Of course, there are situations like that in our personal lives. I won’t ever forget exactly where I was when I heard my grandfather had died from injuries in an accident, or the circumstances surrounding my husband’s proposal of marriage to me. But those aren’t moments I shared with millions of other people. The shootings in Ottawa last week were.

Hopefully, the event will remain one that stands out and is remembered by us all, because it will be so unique, something that will not become a regular occurrence in our home and native land.

Other posts about remembering……

Where Were You ?

Remembering Sai Wan

Remembering the Children of Sichaun

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Filed under Canada, History


My grandmother almost always wore an apron.  She put it on in the morning and kept it on throughout the day.   Grandma worked very hard in her house, garden and kitchen. She cooked, canned, cleaned, did laundry, collected eggs, separated milk, sewed and tended to the needs of her six children and her husband. Her apron was a uniform of sorts for her job as a homemaker.

My father’s five sisters

When my father and his five sisters were cleaning out my grandparents’  home, my aunts donned a selection of Grandma’s aprons and posed in them. On Thanksgiving weekend we celebrated the holiday and my Dad’s birthday in our home. 

I asked Dad to carve the turkey, and like his mother and sisters he too put on an apron to tackle the turkey. He kept his apron on to listen to us sing Happy Birthday,

blow out his candles,

and visit with his grandchildren.

Like his mother whose apron was really a sign of her care and devotion to her family, on Thanksgiving Dad’s apron signalled much the same thing to all of us. 

My Dad and his sisters dressed up in their parents' clothes visit Grandma in the nursing home. This family knows how to have fun.

My Dad and his sisters dressed up in their parents’ clothes visit Grandma in the nursing home. This family knows how to have fun.

Other posts about my Dad and his mother…….

My Grandmother was a Guitarist

He Hasn’t Lost His Green Thumb

Grandma and Embroidery Hoops


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What A Difference!

Some of you have been asking how my drawing course is going. It’s hard, but I’m making progress. Just a couple classes left to go. One of our assignments was to draw two self portraits- one from a photograph and another while looking in the mirror. I used my passport photo from 2009 for the first portrait and did the second one sitting in front of the bathroom mirror. 

self portrait 2009
self portraitWhat a difference in lots of ways.  

For another assignment we had to pick an object and draw it in all kinds of different poses. terra cotta warriorI picked a terra-cotta warrior statue we bought in Xian China.  I drew my warrior…..terra cotta warrior sketch

on a tablecloth in front of my upside down lap topclose up

in a close-updali and terra cotta warriorin front of a book about artist Salvador Daliterra cotta warrior sketch

and in my hand….

A couple more classes to go.  I’ve gained some confidence.  I certainly have overcome my nearly fifty year paranoia about trying to draw. I might be ready for another class come spring.

Other posts about art…….

Using the Other Side of My Brain

A Modeling Career

Learning to Print


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Thoughts About Children

Photo I took in Dehli India in February 2008

Photo I took in Delhi India in February 2008

It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken adults. Frederick Douglas

Photo I took on Borocay Island Philippines June 2008

Photo I took on Borocay Island Philippines June 2008

There is no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way it treats its children. -Nelson Mandela

Photo I took in Bali March 2008

Photo I took in Bali March 2008

Children are our most valuable resource. -Herbert Hoover

Photo I took in Borneo in May 2010

Photo I took in Borneo in May 2010

If we are to create peace in our world, we must begin with our children. Mahatma Gandhi

I took this photo in Tiananmen Square Beijing In April 2004

Photo I took in Tiananmen Square Beijing in April 2004

Children are the hands by which we take hold of heaven.  – Henry Ward Beecher

Photo I took at Ho Chi Minh's Tomb in Hanoi in March 2005

Photo I took at Ho Chi Minh’s Tomb in Hanoi in March 2005

Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see. – Neil Postman

Photo I took in Yalta Ukraine in June 2011

Photo I took in Yalta Ukraine in June 2011

Today our children are our reflection. Tomorrow they will be our shadows. -Maralee McKee

Photo taken in Siem Reap Cambodia in November 2004

Photo I took in Siem Reap Cambodia in November 2004

Every child begins the world again. -Henry David Thoreau

Photo I took in a Palestinian refugee community near Bethlehem in May 2009

Photo I took in a Palestinian refugee community near Bethlehem in May 2009

I will lead on gently…..according to the pace of the children.- Genesis 33:14

Other posts about children……

The Street Children of Dehli

This Woman Should Be A Jamaican Saint 

Visiting a Teacher in Borneo

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Visiting Aunt Vi

me and aunt viI visited my 91-year-old Aunt Vi in Saskatoon yesterday.  I helped her set up her diningroom  table for an upcoming birthday party for a good friend. Aunt Vi will be hosting  twelve guests.  She told me all about The Dressmaker of Khair Khana, the memoir her book club is discussing at their meeting next week.  I helped her type up an article about her volunteer work at her church over the last fifty years for the church newspaper, and she gave me a bunch of pictures she’d found in old photo albums. The photos brought back lots of memories which she shared with me. 

Me and Aunt Vi in 1955

Me and Aunt Vi in 1955

Aunt Vi had homemade cookies ready for me to sample and she sent a bag along with me to share with the rest of my family. She showed me the current needlework picture she is working on and we discussed various news items including the protests in Hong Kong.   

Aunt Vi working as a volunteer in Washington DC

Aunt Vi working as a volunteer in Washington DC

Aunt Vi who had a long career as a public school teacher, is in the process of making a memory book about the various voluntary service assignments she carried out on behalf of the Mennonite Church in a variety of locations. She’s going to an all day meeting today at her church about making congregations more accepting and  welcoming for all people.

Me and Aunt Vi 1957

Me and Aunt Vi 1957

Aunt Vi was going out for dinner yesterday evening with a friend. She told me about the flowering plant on her balcony which she’d nursed back to health through a loss of leaves and blossoms. She and I went through a book of postcards  from a trip to Europe she took me on when I was a teenager and we caught up on family news. 

We looked at photos of her great-great nieces and nephews and she told me about the family heirlooms she’d displayed and talked about at a seniors’ luncheon at her church. 

I hope if I live to be 91 I can be even half as active and engaged in life as Aunt Vi. It’s always a pleasure to visit her. 

Other posts about my relatives……

Remembering My Grandpa

My Grandparents’ Honeymoon

I’m Her Namesake

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Loving the New Bike Lane

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Filed under Health, Winnipeg

The Canadian Human Rights Museum- A Work Still in Progress

October 25, 2011

October 25, 2011

The new Canadian Human Rights Museum is just a few blocks from my home. I was going through old photos and realized that after we moved to Winnipeg in 2011, I had taken pictures of the Human Rights Museum a number of times as it was being built. It was interesting to see the progress. 

June 21, 2012

June 21, 2012

I have yet to visit the museum, since I would like to wait till the exhibits are all complete, something they are predicting for mid November. Plenty of controversy has surrounded the building of the museum and continues to do so with the recent announcement the chief executive officer of the museum has been asked to leave.  It appears the museum is still a work in progress.

July 3, 2014

July 3, 2014

There is no question however that the building which houses the museum is a piece of iconic architecture which adds something very unique to the Winnipeg skyline.

Other posts about tourist attractions near the Human Rights Museum….

 What’s Ghandi Doing in Winnipeg?

The Provencher Bridge

River Ride- Red and Assiniboine

 Grain is King


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Remembering Rudy York

dave and dad computer“Who was Rudy York?” My husband Dave asked his Dad that question on our recent visit to Ontario. Dad, who is 93, lives in the Leamington Mennonite Nursing Home. Sometimes Dad struggles to remember people and events in the present, but his memories of the past are vivid.

Dad with his ball team. Dad is the last player on the left in the back row.

Dad with his ball team. Dad is the last player on the left in the back row.

Dad has always been a fan of the Detroit Tigers baseball team. An avid ball player himself, he treated his five sons to a trip across the border every summer to Detroit to watch a Tigers’ game.

Scan 28It was a ritual he carried on with his grandchildren as well. Our sons attended Tiger games with their Opa too.

   detroit tigers capOne afternoon during our recent visit Dave walked into Dad’s room at the nursing home wearing a new Detroit Tigers cap. Dad commented on Dave’s purchase and he and Dave began talking about their beloved ball team. Dad, who no longer watches television, knew nothing about the Tigers’ performance in the 2014 season but when Dave asked, “Dad who was your favorite Tigers’ player of all time?” Dad thought about it for a minute and answered, “Rudy York.”

“Who was Rudy York?” Dave wondered aloud. Dave is a baseball aficionado and a true Tigers’ fan so he thought he knew about all their star players past and present. He’d never heard of Rudy York. Despite Dave’s skepticism Dad insisted Rudy had been a great Tigers’ player. Dad talked about York’s hitting power. He had played catcher and first base.

That night we were at our nephew’s house and I mentioned the Rudy York conversation with Dad. Our nephew whipped out his phone and did a quick search. Sure enough! Rudy York had been a Tiger from 1937-1945. Dad would have been in his late teens and early twenties when Rudy was playing in Detroit.    

I was curious and did some research. I discovered Rudy York’s photo had been on the cover of Newsweek magazine with the headline “Greatest Slugger Since Babe Ruth.” In August of 1937, during his first month as a major league player, York broke Babe Ruth’s record for the most home runs in a month. He hit eighteen home runs and was responsible for forty four RBIs.

A Washington Post sports writer described the achievement poetically. “The booming bat of 24-year-old Rudy York, Detroit’s late entry into the home run race, spoke in tones heard around the baseball world this afternoon as one of Babe Ruth’s proudest and supposedly invincible records went crashing into discard.”

The men in the conscientious objectors camp in Montreal River

The men in the conscientious objectors camp in Montreal River

 During some of the time Rudy was playing for the Tigers, Dad was working in a lumber camp for conscientious objectors in Montreal River, in northern Ontario. baseball line up conscientious objector camp montreal riverI know Dad played on a ball team in the camp, since he has recorded the names and positions of all the players in an old autograph book.

In the lumber camp bunk house. Dad's on the far left.

In the lumber camp bunk house. Dad’s on the far left.

Were he and his fellow lumberjacks able to get newspapers to keep up to date on Rudy’s baseball exploits?

Dad was a handsome teenager

Dad was a handsome teenager

In 1937 when Rudy York broke Babe Ruth’s homerun record Dad was sixteen and living with his family on Pelee Island in Lake Erie. Stories I found online about other Mennonite families living on the island at the time include the mention of baseball games played at school and in the community. Did Dad and his friends listen to the radio to follow Rudy’s career?

Finding out that Dad had been absolutely right about Rudy York being a noted baseball player was somehow comforting to me. Even though Dad isn’t always familiar with the present when we visit him, he is still teaching us interesting things about the past.

Other posts about the Detroit Tigers……

Tiger Baseball

The Tigers Met the Yankees and We Were There

 The Detroit Tigers In The Pink



Filed under Family, People, Sports

October Inspiration

Park Bench - Photo taken in Steve Juba Park October 2012

Park Bench – photo taken on a bike ride through Steve Juba Park October 2012

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. It would be terrible if we just skipped from September to November, wouldn’t it?”  

Anne in Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables

Oak leaf taken on a walk in Saskatoon - October 2013

Oak Leaf -photo taken on a walk in Saskatoon – October 2013

Every leaf speaks bliss to me,
Fluttering from the autumn tree…
~Emily Brontë

Prairie grasses on the bank of the Red River near my home taken in October 2012

Prairie Grasses- photo taken on a walk along the river near my home in October 2012

Autumn is the hush before winter. ~French Proverb

Prairie in Herschel Saskatchewan November 2013

Prairie- photo taken on a hike in Herschel Saskatchewan October 2013

O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow,
Make the day seem to us less brief…
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst…
~Robert Frost

Red Leaf on Sidewalk-Photo taken on a walk in Saskatoon October 2013

Red Leaf on Sidewalk-photo taken on a walk in Saskatoon October 2013

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower. ~Albert Camus

Squash at a street market in Toronto September 2013

Squash- photo taken on a bike ride in Toronto October 2013

To everything there is a season- Ecclesiastes 3:1

Other inspirational posts………

The Beatitudes in Human Form

Eagle Inspiration

Wild Flower Inspiration

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