Monthly Archives: November 2019

A Recipe Book That Brings Back Memories

My aunt has been downsizing for a move and during the process, she found this recipe book I gave her for Christmas one year. I made the recipe books with my grade three class. We put them together as a fundraiser for the Junior Red Cross. I was curious about the Junior Red Cross and found out it was an international organization for kids that operated in conjunction with the Red Cross from 1919 to 1980.

Initially, they raised funds for nurseries for war orphans but during the late 1950s and early 1960s when my grade three class was involved, much of the money Canadian school children raised went to the Crippled Children’s Fund to pay for medical treatment for children in each province with physical disabilities. Remember this was a time when the polio vaccine was just starting to be used and there was no universal health care. My grade three teacher Mrs Kihn had obviously enrolled our class in the charitable efforts of the Junior Red Cross and selling our recipe books was a fundraiser. I can’t recall how much we charged for each book but I certainly remember making them. It was a long tedious process.

We put two little balls of plasticine on our desks and stuck a pencil in each one. Then we slid first the back cover, and then each of the forty-five pages of the book and the front cover one by one over the pencils which had been placed exactly the right distance apart. When we were done our teacher carefully slid the compiled recipe books off the pencils and inserted the plastic rings to hold them together. I think we each made five books to sell and let me tell you it took a long time. We had obviously brought recipes from home that our mothers had written out and sent along with us to school. At age eight I’d certainly never made sweet and sour spareribs and I am sure little Herby Peters who went on to become the managing partner of a large Winnipeg law firm had never made date cake. Our teacher Mrs Kihn must have typed all those recipes onto mimeograph sheets and copied them all on an old Gestetner machine. Then she will have cut them apart with a paper cutter and punched holes in each sheet. A laborious task indeed! And there were forty children in our class who each made five recipe books. That’s 200 hundred recipe books Mrs. Kihn prepared for us to put together. 

My grade three class at the Kornelson School in Steinbach. I am second from the left in the second last row and Herby is in the middle of the girls in the back row. 

Mrs Kihn went to great lengths to help her students become civic-minded young people who were motivated to help others. I don’t think I fully appreciated that when I was sliding all those pages over the pencils on the second floor of the old Kornelson School in Steinbach.  Now I do!

Other posts………

My Polio Vaccines

Kornelson School Memories

Duck and Cover

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The Olden Days

I was visiting one of my education students in a grade two class yesterday and she asked the children to spell the word statue. It was a hard word but one boy got it right.
“Can you tell us the strategy you used to spell that word?” my student teacher asked.
“I didn’t use a strategy,” the boy replied. “I had seen that word before……… sometime in the olden days.”
“The olden days?” the teacher smiled. “When was that?”
“When I was five, ” the six-year-old replied. 

Our sons each had their own Walkman

For my children the ‘olden days’ are the 1980s when kids still walked to and from school without their parents, computers were big clunky things, you went to the video store to pick up movies, you played with your Cabbage Patch doll or your Rubix Cube and you listened to music on your walkman.  

My Dad on the phone taking a medical call while we had supper

My ‘olden days’ are the 1950s when we had black and white televisions, phones couldn’t move from place to place with you in the house, women were mostly stay- at- home mothers, smoking was cool, we played with Barbie dolls and we listened to music on LPs we put on the record player.

My mom and her siblings and friends going to school in a horse-drawn wagon

My parents’ ‘olden days’ are the 1930s when most Canadians lived on farms and still used horses for work and transportation, women were recognized as ‘people’ for the first time by the law of the land, typewriters were an office staple and you ordered Christmas presents from the Eatons catalogue. 

 For a six-year-old, the ‘olden days’ are one year ago. Isn’t it interesting that as we age our ‘olden days’ change? 

Other posts………

My Grandmother’s Childhood

My Mother’s Childhood Christmases


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Christmas Books

I’m mailing the Christmas books today.  At the beginning of December, I send each of my grandchildren a pair of Christmas socks and a special book related to the season to read during Advent.  This will be my oldest grandson’s seventh Christmas book and my new granddaughter’s first. Sometimes the books are about the religious aspect of the holiday like this one I sent last year which told the nativity story with beautiful illustrations made from rocks.  Here are this year’s books. When I taught grade one and two I had sets of poems and songs for the children to learn for every theme we studied and Christmas was no exception.  I always included some poems by Jack Prelutsky. The kids loved his rhymes. I didn’t even know Jack Prelutsky’s poem book It’s Christmas was still in print so I was delighted to find it for my seven-year-old grandson who will probably be able to read most of these poems on his own. There are touching poems in the book like the one about a family caroling and poems that make you laugh out loud like the one about getting underwear for Christmas. As soon as I read this beautiful book I knew I wanted to buy it for my middle grandchild who is three years old and just loves stories. The first thing he said when I arrived at his home in Saskatoon on my last visit was, “Grandma did you bring books?”  He knows I always come with books to read to him. He is lucky to be growing up in a home filled with books and parents who love to read. Bear and Wolf is about two very different animals who strike up a friendship and go out and explore the natural world together. Their story warmed my heart.  In a time when many people in our world are being pushed apart by their differences and are failing to recognize that we can’t take the beauty of our natural world for granted, this story shows us what to do. It has a simple text and wonderfully interesting illustrations. For my granddaughter’s first Christmas book I chose Santa’s Cookie is Missing! Anne Passchier’s colourful illustrations leap off the page in this board book about the hunt to find the cookie left for Santa that has gone missing. My granddaughter just started to crawl and she is off on her own explorations now, so I thought she’d like this book about kids who explore their surroundings trying to find the missing cookie. Guess who ends up with it?

When my boys were little we lit the advent candles on our dining room table each evening in December and then read a story from the big basket full of Christmas books I kept under the table. I am happy the tradition of Christmas book reading is being carried on with the next generation.  

Other posts…….

Children’s Christmas Books- The Classics

A Christmas Tree For Readers

I Just Won a Cache of Great Children’s Books

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Filed under Books, Holidays

Good News-Part 13

It’s true. 

Other good news stories.

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The Bombers Grey Cup Victory is Exciting But…………..

Photo by Johany Jutras from the Blue Bomber website

“Did you watch the Grey Cup?” A man in the bus shelter yesterday morning struck up an immediate conversation with me about the Bombers Grey Cup win. People at my gym were chatting about the game in every corner. During the course of the day, I overheard many excited and positive conversations between strangers as I made my way around the city. It was nice to see people connecting and talking over their common love of football and Winnipeg. I went to a Grey Cup party on Sunday where there was great food, good friends, and people enjoyed cheering the Bombers on together. 

But………. despite all that good feeling I have to say that I have quite a number of doubts about the value of having a professional football team in Winnipeg.  Here are just a few. 

blue bomber victory

Photo by Frank Gunn Canadian Press

The risk for traumatic brain injury while playing the sport is significantly high. Does all the hoopla about the Bombers encourage more local kids to participate in a sport that we know can be extremely dangerous?

Investors_Group_Field_2014Our province under the leadership of Brian Pallister forgave almost 200 million dollars in loans used to build Investors Field in Winnipeg, where the Blue Bombers play. Winnipeg is facing all kinds of challenges right now.  The city is thinking about curtailing bus services, closing libraries, decreasing funding for police services, shutting down parks and swimming pools. The province isn’t stepping up to help ………….yet they had 200 million dollars available to provide support for a field where an elite group of men throw a ball around in an entertaining fashion. 

Photo of Zach Collaros from the CFL website

The average salary for a Manitoba teacher in 2019 was $53, 302.  Zach Collaros the Bomber’s quarterback makes around $500,000. When one compares the contributions teachers and football players make towards the betterment of society and its future things seem just a little skewed. 

Photo from the Winnipeg Cheer Team Facebook page

Football is a male-only sport.  Shouldn’t we be promoting sports that give women an equal opportunity to excel and a chance to make the same kind of money men do?  The most visible role women seem to have in the Bomber franchise is as cheerleaders.  They wear skimpy outfits, don’t get paid and “cheer” the men on.  Although I am sure the cheerleaders are really nice young women they don’t necessarily present the kind of equal opportunity role model I’d like to see for young girls. 

I don’t mean to be a wet blanket.  I won’t even complain too much this afternoon when the Grey Cup Parade is going to cause delays in my bus trips between work and volunteer commitments.  It’s great to see Winnipegers feeling positive about something and maybe that positivity will give us the energy to tackle some of the big challenges our city is facing and work towards the kinds of changes it is important for society to make. 

Other posts…………

The Shady Area Between Violence and Non-Violence

Super Bowl Ads- A Woman’s Perspective

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Filed under Sports, Winnipeg

What’s Happening With Those T-4’s?

What’s happening with those T-4’s? I get asked that question sometimes by blog readers who have followed my adventures with a group of three friends. We have been meeting almost monthly for nearly a decade now and have visited art shows, gone mini-golfing, created art, read books, written poetry, gone to museums, walked labyrinths, solved mysteries and visited flea markets. We still get together regularly but in the last couple of years, we’ve found that just having an opportunity to talk and catch up on our lives is our top priority so our time together has been more low key and perhaps that’s why I haven’t written about us as often.

I think there are seasons in relationships and our group is in a season right now where various responsibilities and life events make it best to just find space and time to visit, share joys and concerns, and support one another.

The T-4s getting ready to share the complimentary piece of lemon meringue cake we received from the restaurant because we were celebrating my birthday

Our meeting on Saturday is a good example. We were at Pine Ridge Hollow. What a lovely venue and all decked out for Christmas! We were also celebrating my birthday because it had happened since our last meeting. I got such lovely thoughtful presents from the friends who know me oh so well. This card was made by my friend Debbie who highlights interests in my life in each square on its cover.  The four women in one square are the four of us.  Jane Fonda says that friendships with other women give us power, she calls them the ‘starch in our spine.’ She thinks those friendships are one of the reasons women live longer than men. I’ve read somewhere that women know instinctively how to nourish one another and just being together is restorative. I couldn’t agree more!

Friendships are constantly changing as are the ways we practice them. I am enjoying and appreciating this season in my friendship with three very special women. 

Other posts……….

At the Gates Again


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Filed under Reflections, T-4s

Who Loved You Into Being?

“Think about who loved you into being.”  I saw the movie A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood on Friday night. There is a scene in the film where Tom Hanks playing the part of children’s television star Fred Rogers is having lunch in a Chinese restaurant with a young troubled journalist named Lloyd Vogel. Mr Rogers asks Lloyd to just sit for one full minute and think about the people who have loved him into being.  Who are people in his life that truly cared about him and wanted the best for him? Mr Rogers asks Lloyd to think deeply about those people and feel connected to them and grateful to them.

As Lloyd begins to do this, movie director Marielle Heller chooses to freeze the film for one full minute. This means while Lloyd Vogel is thinking about the people who loved him into being the audience is encouraged, really more or less forced, to do so too.  On Friday night I could hear people in the theatre initially shift uncomfortably in their seats as the screen froze but then they got drawn into the silence and I am sure most began thinking about the people who had loved them into being.  I wiped away tears when the minute ended as did the stranger sitting beside me. I suspect there were many damp eyes in the audience.  

Tom Hanks says the full minute of silence goes against every rule of movie-making but it is perhaps the most profound moment in the film. It makes the audience full participants.

The restaurant scene never really happened in Fred Rogers life but is partially based on a true incident. When Fred Rogers was awarded a lifetime achievement award at the 1997 Emmys for his contributions to children’s television programming he asked the audience to spend ten seconds thinking about the people who had loved them into being.  He said, “All of us have special ones who loved us into being. Would you just take, along with me, ten seconds to think about the people who have helped you to become who you are, those who cared about you and wanted what was best for you in life.”  

When the time was up Mr Rogers asked the audience members to consider how happy and grateful the people who had made a difference in their life would feel to know that they had meant so much to someone.  

I thought Tom Hanks was perfectly cast as Fred Rogers

Mr Rogers’ basic message on his television program that ran for thirty-three years was that every child is special just the way they are and worthy of kindness. In order to be good human beings, we all need to have had someone who respects who we are,  shows us kindness, cares about us, and loves us into being.  Maybe many of the problems of our society could be solved if we could only ensure that every human being had exactly that- someone to love them into being.  

Who loved you into being? 

Other posts…………

Won’t You Be My Neighbour? 

Children’s Party with Aunt Olly

Getting Nostalgic and Just a Little Sad

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Filed under Childhood, Movies