Monthly Archives: March 2023

My Home Town Front and Centre- Thanks CBC

The CBC crew in Steinbach- photo from Nadia Kidwai’s Twitter page

I’ve loved all the interesting stories about Steinbach reported by the CBC journalists who set up a studio at the Clearspring Centre this past month. I’ve learned so many new things about my hometown.  

Muslim prayers in Steinbach- photo by Ian Froese/CBC

When I was growing up in Steinbach I often heard people say we had ‘a church on every corner.’ So, I was interested to hear that another faith community has been added to the large number already meeting in the city.

Steinbach’s growing Muslim population is renting space in the Pat Porter Active Living Centre for prayers and gatherings. Up to 60 people have attended.  They hope to have a mosque of their own one day. 

Fans cheering at a basketball game in Steinbach- photo by Ian Froese -CBC

I loved the story about the Filipino basketball league in Steinbach which has more than twenty teams. Recently they decided to open their league to non-Filipino teams as well. They draw crowds for tournaments and provide a way for high school players from the area to continue enjoying the game once they graduate without having to drive to Winnipeg to compete. 

My husband Dave to the far left in the second row played on a series of men’s basketball teams in the Steinbach area for about twenty years.

Commuting to play basketball was something my husband did for decades when we lived in Steinbach. He and a group of fellow players drove to Winnipeg every week during the 1980s and 1990s to play basketball in a league there. If they lived in Steinbach now that wouldn’t be necessary, thanks to the city’s growing Filipino community and their love of the sport of basketball. 

Grace Mennonite Church Steinbach which is where I went to church as a child – the building has since been demolished

I was delighted to see that stories about the charitable spirit of Steinbach people featured four women who at one time were part of the congregation at Grace Mennonite Church, which was my faith community during the nearly forty years I lived in Steinbach. 

Madeleine Thiessen – photo by Ian Froese CBC

Madeleine Thiessen is a client advocate at Steinbach Community Outreach which helps homeless people transition into housing by providing them with all kinds of support.  Run by a board of local people, plans are in the works for the organization to construct a twenty-four-unit housing complex for low-income families. 

Lindsay Banman and Simone Penner at the Family Resource Centre which receives money from the Chrysalis Fund photo by Travis Golby/CBC

During their CBC interview, Simone Penner and Lindsay Banman represented the board of The Chrysalis Fund an endowment that provides an opportunity for women in the community to pool their money in order to give grants to charitable programs benefiting children, youth, and families. 

Since 2009 the generosity of the women who are a part of the fund has benefitted pre-schools, women’s shelters, a family resource centre, a creative arts group for children and many other local initiatives.  Simone Penner said it was a way for women to pull their purse strings and heartstrings together.

Photo of Joy Neufeld from Marjorie Dowhos’ Twitter page

Joy Neufeld heads up Soup’s On an organization based at Grace Mennonite Church that provides meals and school lunches to those in the community who need that kind of support.

In her CBC interview, Joy said the program is the busiest it’s ever been but she never has to worry about enough money to buy supplies or whether she will have the forty-five to fifty volunteers she needs each week to run the program because as she put it the community has simply ‘wrapped its arms’ around Soup’s On.

Neville Hamilton- photo from Ian Froese’s Twitter feed

When I was growing up in Steinbach the only kind of ethnic food available in restaurants was the Chinese food offered at Jimmy’s Grill. Now Steinbach has restaurants serving food from many different countries including a Caribbean cafe.

I heard all about it in the CBC interview with Neville Hamilton, who owns the Di Reggae Grill. I also learned that Steinbach hosts a Caribbean, Reggae, Afro and Latin American music festival.  

It was terrific to listen to all these remarkable stories about my hometown broadcast for the CBC audience. I appreciate how their media coverage helps bring our nation together by showcasing all the great things going on in communities across the country- communities like Steinbach. 

Other posts……….

An Alphabet for Steinbach -My Home Town

The House on the Highway- My First Home in Steinbach

Good-bye Irene

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Filed under Media

Talking and Listening

“Miriam Toews wrote an essential novel about a radical act of democracy in which people who don’t agree on every single issue managed to sit together in a room and carve out a way forward together, free of violence. They do so not just by talking but also by listening.”

That’s a quote from the acceptance speech Sarah Polley gave at the Oscar ceremony when she won an Academy Award for adapting Miriam Toews’ novel Women Talking into a movie script. I loved it and I can’t stop thinking about it. She went on……

The last line of our film is delivered by a young woman to a new baby and she says, “your story will be different from ours. It’s a promise, a commitment, and an anchor and it’s what I would like to say with all of my might to my three incredible kids Eve, Isla, and Amy as they make their way through this complicated, beautiful world.”

Sarah Polley accepting her award- photo from the Toronto Star

I’ve been reading Sarah’s words over and over. I want to believe they are true. I want to believe that by genuinely talking and listening to those who have very different views of the world than we do there is a chance to make forward progress towards a more peaceful planet.

Sarah also expresses her belief in a future world that will be better for the next generation than it was for ours. I hope that fervently too. Sarah named her three children in the speech but I think we can probably all think of names to substitute personally. I would list my incredible grandchildren.

Sometimes when I read the news I have a hard time believing that people will ever stop to talk and listen to each other long enough to end the killing and harming of children by gun violence, war, malnutrition, abuse and disease.

We know it’s possible to do it but can we put aside our differences long enough to talk and listen to each other and come up with workable solutions we can all support?

Sarah Polley seems to have faith we can. I want to have that kind of faith in humanity too.

Other posts…………

Treat the World Better Than It Treated You

Run Towards the Danger

What Will You Be Building When You Have to Go?


Filed under Reflections

Talking to Kids About Menstruation

The Guardian newspaper reported this month that…..Florida lawmakers are considering a draft law to strengthen state control over sex education that its sponsor says would ban any instruction in schools about menstrual cycles before the sixth grade.

My sister and I head off to school on our bikes in 1962. In the 1960s children did not receive any kind of sex education in school.

I got my first period when I was ten. I had not heard anything about what was going to happen to my body in school because it was only in 1967 that some Canadian public schools began to introduce the idea of teaching sex education or reproductive health in classrooms.

Fortunately, however, I had a wonderful wise mother who’d had a frank talk about getting our periods with my sister and me.

My sister and I with our grandmother who came to visit after our little brother was born.

I was nine and my sister was seven when my mother became pregnant with my youngest brother. She read us a book that explained everything about what was happening to her body during her pregnancy and made sure we knew about everything that would happen to our bodies when we reached puberty.

I was away from home for a week when I got my period for the first time and probably would have been scared and worried if Mom hadn’t prepared me. I knew exactly what was going on with my body thanks to her and could ask someone to help me.

I taught grade five for several years and remember two occasions when students got their periods at school and had no idea what was happening to them. They were terrified and crying and thought they were going to die.

I’ll never forget being in the school washroom with both of them trying to comfort them and explain that getting your period was a good thing. One girl was inconsolable.

Their parents had not talked to either girl about menstruation. In the school where I was teaching at the time, it was a topic discussed in sixth-grade health.

A recent article in The New Yorker claimed research shows that on average around 30% of girls are getting their first period already at the age of eight.

In my new novel Sixties Girl, a girl gets her period for the first time in one of the chapters. I consulted both a rural and city middle-grade school teacher about whether to leave that incident in the book and they both encouraged me to do so.

They told me how important it was to talk to kids about menstruation in a matter-of-fact way and that both boys and girls needed to learn it was something natural and good and normal.

I hope that Florida as well as other states who are considering changes to their sex education curriculums will take into account the importance of making kids aware of what will happen to them with the onset of puberty. It is not something that should make them scared or anxious. They need to be prepared so they know menstruation is a normal part of growing up.

Other posts…….

Susie’s Babies

Banning Books for Kids

Include Me Please

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Filed under Childhood, Education, Health

A Chocolate Bar Map

Does anyone remember having a Neilson Chocolate bar map in their classroom? I certainly do.

I’ve found out they were a clever advertising ploy that started in the 1930s when they were offered to schools across Canada.

Horses delivering Neilson Chocolate in 1915 in Toronto – Photo- City of Toronto Archives

William Neilson was a dairy farmer from Ontario who started making chocolate bars in 1906. He died in 1915 and his son Morden took over the business. Morden launched the Jersey Milk chocolate bar in 1924.

Advertisement for Jersey Milk bars in the Toronto Transit- 1955- Photo Toronto City Archives

Some bright salesperson for his products knew kids were the prime target market for the bars and where better to reach kids than in school?

So Neilson made a deal with the Copp Clark Publishing Company of Toronto. Copp Clark sent letters to every school telling them they could get maps of Canada and maps of the world absolutely free.

On this map, Newfoundland isn’t a part of Canada yet so it must date to before 1949

Neilson mailed the maps out to the schools but they included a notice that the map could not be removed from the school and the Neilson Chocolate Bar lettering and the pictures of the chocolate bars could not be covered up on the maps.

The maps had a wooden dowel at the top and bottom. In my school classrooms in the 1960s, they were usually placed above the blackboard and rolled up when they weren’t being used to free up the blackboard space they would have covered.

Neilson claimed they sent approximately 55,000 of the maps out to Canadian schools. Schools could have their maps replaced for free if they became too worn and apparently the company updated the maps twice during the years they supplied them to reflect changes in world geography.

For many schools, especially ones in rural areas these were the only maps available.

I am not sure when they stopped making these maps but they have definitely become collector’s items. I found some online selling for $500.

Other posts………….

A Century-Old School Souvenir Book

My Grandmother’s Shoes

My Dad’s Cowbell

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Filed under Education, History, Sixties Girl

Drawing Kids Into Art Galleries

My husband Dave walking up to the South African Art Gallery

One of the things that really impressed me about the South African Art Gallery in Cape Town is they had an entire room set up especially for kids.

The artworks were all installed at a height that would allow children to easily see them and study them without craning their necks to look up.

A special sign welcomed children and told them the room was just for them.

Flying the Kite by Laura Knight

The artworks were chosen with kids in mind.

Edward and His Cat- Artist Unknown

Some were portraits of children and animals.

The Screaming Child by Irma Stern

As I looked at this piece of a child screaming I could just hear kids asking, “Why is she screaming?” “What made her so mad?”

The Story of the Money Pig by Thomas Gotch

There were paintings to intrigue. In this painting called The Story of the Money Pig a woman is telling two girls a story that may come from the book by her lap and the piggy bank on the sand obviously figures into the story. But how?

The Champion by Peter Clark

There were bright bold prints.

Untitled by Simon Jones

There were pieces with blank faces so the children could imagine themselves in the painting.

Playground by Jansje Wissema

They had included photographs that reflected the children from various backgrounds who might be coming to visit the art gallery.

In order to stay viable in the future it is important for art galleries to attract children and young people as patrons.

I thought the children’s room at the South African gallery was a unique way to try and do that and one that other galleries might do well to emulate.

Other posts………..

Kids Are Creative

Two Artists- Me and My Grandson

Warli Art- Kids Love It and You Will Too

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Filed under Art, Childhood

What’s a Crankie?

Friends invited us to a Crankie Concert on Friday night.

What’s a crankie? It’s an old way of telling stories. You start with a long illustrated paper that is wound onto two spools. The spools are loaded into a box with a viewing window. The paper is then hand-cranked while a story is told or a song is sung.

A woman operates a crankie. This is from a blog post by William Hudson that clearly explains how a crankie is made and how it works.

I remember once making a crankie for a project at school when I was a child.

The concert Friday night featured several music pieces that were accompanied by crankies. Perhaps the most moving was a song performed by an Indigenous singer and drummer named Ray CoCo Stevenson and a musician from Gimli Kael Sauerborn. The song they shared with us was Comes to Light.

Kael Sauerborn and Ray Stevenson perform Comes to Light at the Crescent Fort Rouge Church on Friday night. You can see someone operating the crankie just behind Ray and the image has been projected onto the screen for the audience to see

The song Comes to Light is about the 215 children’s bodies that were found at the Kamloops Residential School in May of 2021. The lyrics recognize how tragic it must be for Indigenous families to learn about something like that. The song extends an offer of support and solidarity.

The lyrics that went with the images in this section of the crankie were……….. Up in the sky, they found a way to glow. Those northern lights I know are giving us the hope we need.

You can read the lyrics, listen to the song and see the crankie that goes with Comes to Light here.

A crankie can be a beautiful way to bring the lyrics of a song to life.

Other posts………

Afternoon Delight

Come From Away- A Musical for Our Time

Ten Things I learned about Carole King

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Filed under Art, Music, Winnipeg

Four Schools- Four Great Experiences- Thanks MYRCA

Since returning from Africa at the beginning of March I’ve had the privilege of visiting four different schools to connect with kids and teachers about my novel Lost on the Prairie. It’s been so much fun!

All these schools were participating in the Manitoba Young Readers Choice MYRCA program. My book is a nominee and I’m so appreciative of the way that has resulted in invitations to visit schools where teachers have organized MYRCA clubs and meet weekly with kids to talk about the books they are reading.

The second week of March I went to Clearspring Middle School in Steinbach my home town. It was my first visit to this beautiful facility that opened in 2012. I was warmly greeted in the office by Vice Principal Candace Campbell who took me to the large and brightly lit library where I was welcomed by the librarian Arlene Baldwin who helps facilitate the school’s MYRCA club of some thirty students.

Teacher Alex Nikkel is the driving force behind the club. After I had spoken to the larger group I had a chance to chat with some individual students and sign copies of the book.

Watching Alex hurry into the library on her lunch hour to greet me and the students, reminded me of my own busy years of teaching and how the public often fails to realize all the extra things teachers do to help kids explore their interests and give them personal attention.

I was so appreciative of my husband Dave who acted as my chauffeur for our trip out to Holland Elementary School in Holland Manitoba about a 90-minute drive south and west of Winnipeg.

Teacher Deanne Kuehn organized my visit. She had a special MYRCA bulletin board up in her classroom. I first spoke to all the grades 5-8 students. The younger students were about to begin Lost on the Prairie as a class read aloud.

The older students had already completed Lost on the Prairie as a class read-aloud and novel study so I spent some time with them separately since they had made a list of great questions they wanted to ask me about the book.

Since two of the characters in the book are inspired by my grandparents the kids really enjoyed looking at some of their personal effects I had brought along.

Next up was Ecole St. Avila in the Fort Richmond area of Winnipeg. Here my visit had been arranged by the librarian Paula Jasper Hall through the Thin Air Kids Festival which featured all the MYRCA nominees this year.

What a great bunch of kids in this thriving MYRCA club that meets over their lunch hour in the library. Their questions were fantastic. We talked right till the buzzer rang for class to start.

Paula had made them beautiful bookmarks that featured all the MYRCA nominees and I was busy autographing them. I felt like a celebrity!

My last presentation was on Thursday at École Munroe Middle School here in Winnipeg. Teacher Librarian Sylvia Scott organized my lunch hour visit with her grade six MYRCA club.

One of the students gave a lovely little speech and presented me with a gift to thank me for coming.

The students were so attentive and interested and Sylvia is such an enthusiastic supporter of the MYRCA program! How lucky writers are to have an initiative like MYRCA begun by the Manitoba School Library Association and supported by volunteer teachers and librarians from across the province. They work each year to actively promote Canadian books with young readers.

I’ve loved all my visits to schools in the last three weeks. Connecting with young people who have read a book you’ve written is so rewarding and is definitely an inspiration to keep on writing! Thanks, MYRCA!

Other posts………..

Checking Out the Competition

Sixties Girl Has Arrived

Colleen is Coming

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Filed under Education, Lost on the Prairie, Sixties Girl

Storied Land-Metis, Indigenous People and Mennonites

Miriam Rudolph has created a series of prints to tell a story of the Metis and Indigenous people of Manitoba and how it intersects with the story of her Mennonite ancestors. Miriam has called it Storied Land: Repmapping Winnipeg. It is part of the Headlines: The Art of the Newscycle exhibit currently on view at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.

Each print is accompanied by a collection of articles from local news sources including the Winnipeg Free Press which describe the subject of the print.

Miriam went to the Winnipeg archives to read old Winnipeg Free Press newspapers to find stories about Indigenous people. In older editions of the paper, which she photographed she found little mention of the Metis or First Nation People of the province.

Now there are many more stories about Indigenous people in the newspaper and the Free Press has Indigenous writers and columnists. Miriam illustrates this by having the Indigenous people with their ribbon skirts and drums appear prominently in this print.

Here Miriam shows the East and West Reserves in red ink- land near Steinbach and Winkler that was given to new Mennonite immigrants to Manitoba. But this was land that Metis families also claimed as their own.

The Metis were petitioning to have official rights to the land but the rights of the Mennonite immigrants were rewarded instead. See how the Mennonites are front and centre and the Metis family at the top is smaller and in the distance?

In 1881 a railroad was built right through Winnipeg. North of the tracks smaller cheaper houses were built for new immigrants coming to Canada from other countries and later for Indigenous families coming to Winnipeg from off their reserves.

Bigger fancier houses were built on the south side of the tracks for wealthier families. The railroad tracks continue to divide Winnipeg but some recent articles in the Winnipeg Free Press suggest that moving the rail tracks might be good for the city.

This is Miriam’s print of Rooster Town. It was a settlement of some sixty Metis families that was located where the Grant Park Shopping Mall is now situated. The people who lived there had jobs and were contributing citizens of the city but were treated very rudely and unkindly by other Winnipeg people. Their community came to be known as Rooster Town.

In 1959 the people who lived there were forced out of their homes. You can see the roosters, the Metis family and the small homes in Rooster Town compared to the larger homes of other Winnipeg residents.

Mennonite Settlement in the North Kildonan area of Winnipeg began in 1928 when a new wave of Mennonites immigrated to Canada from Ukraine. Some 20,000 arrived. Palliser Furniture is an example of a business that began in North Kildonan where one of the small houses became a woodworking shop.

The land was gardening land and was valuable because properly cultivated it could provide a good supply of food to the city. It was offered to the Mennonites. People built homes and raised chickens. This print provides a contrast between the Mennonite settlement in North Kildonan to Rooster Town where people couldn’t purchase land or homes and where amenities like electricity and water weren’t provided.

In this print, we see the powerful politicians who decided a hundred years ago that an aqueduct should be built to bring water from Shoal Lake to Winnipeg. Aninishanabe people were living on a peninsula on Shoal Lake but in order to make the water flow properly to the city the peninsula was turned into an island making it difficult for the Indigenous people to get supplies.

In June 2019, an all-weather road was finally built to connect Shoal Lake to the Trans Canada Highway. Miriam shows the aqueduct in red. The road is called Freedom Road. You can see the Shoal Lake families in the bottom left-hand corner. Some Mennonite churches were vocal politically in advocating for the building of the road.

Miriam is heartened about the future of positive Indigenous-settler relations by the possibilities offered by the Naawi-Oodena land grant which makes the former Kapyong Barracks located in the Tuxedo and River Heights area of Winnipeg a large urban First Nation reserve.

The plan is to develop it into a community with homes, businesses, sports facilities, and schools. In her print, the Indigenous people are front and centre and the settler people are off to the side.

Photo of Miriam Rudolph from the Winnipeg Art Gallery website

If you want to know more I suggest you watch the video of a lecture artist Miriam Rudolph gave at the Winnipeg Art Gallery about these prints. She links each one with many Winnipeg Free Press articles and pieces from other media sources including Mennonite ones that provide added insight into each of her prints. She explains them in much more detail than I have and it is just fascinating.

I am giving a tour at the art gallery this morning which will include these prints of Miriam Rudolph’s and writing this piece last night was a way for me to prepare. I hope you will enjoy learning about them too.

Other posts……….

Life’s Journey and Tea Parties

The Wheat Oracle Who Wore Pants

Art from Obituaries


Filed under Art, Media, Winnipeg, winnipeg art gallery

Checking Out the Competition

I’ve been checking out the competition in the last while.

As many of you know I was nominated for a Manitoba Young Readers’ Choice (MYRCA) award last May. Students in schools across the province have a year to read all ten books selected by the MYRCA panel and then in May of this year, they’ll vote for their favourites.

I decided it would be fun to check out some of the books that I’m competing against so I’ve read most of them. Here are four of my competitors.

Taking the Ice by Lorna Schultz Nicholson is a story about a young boy named Aiden whose Dad, a professional hockey player has recently been killed in a car accident. Aiden loves hockey too but when his Mom decides to move back to her home town to care for Aiden’s grandfather, Aiden has to adjust to a new hockey team and prove himself worthy of being named the team captain.

I really appreciated the fact that Lorna included some of the problems facing the sport of hockey in Canada and that her hero exemplifies the best of the game. As the mother of two boys who played minor hockey for many years this novel really resonated with me.

I won’t lie. Birdspell by Valerie Sherrard was tough to read. The story about a grade six boy named Corbin is so heartbreaking. His mother has bipolar disorder and his father is largely absent so Corbin is left to essentially parent his mother and try to survive as best he can.

He tries really hard to handle all their problems himself but when his mother is hospitalized he is cared for by a kind adult friend, encouraged by his elderly neighbour, and shown a great deal of compassion by a classmate whose pet bird Corbin is keeping at his house. Corbin’s life at least for a time is more stable and there is hope for a better future.

They say it takes a village to raise a child and I was happy to see a village come together to help Corbin.

I know there are children who live with bipolar parents and this book will help them to feel less alone.

The story in Elvis, Me and Lemonade Stand by Leslie Gentile takes place in 1978. Truly Clarice is twelve and lives in a trailer park with her Mom who struggles to manage her drinking and hold down a job. She leaves Truly to fend for herself while she dates a string of boyfriends.

Luckily for Truly, a grandmotherly neighbour provides her with safety, security and love. The other trailer court residents also offer Truly support in various ways. The title references a lemonade stand Truly sets up to raise money to go to Vancouver to try to reconnect with her Dad. Elvis, Me and the Lemonade Stand Summer is a wonderful story and one I think adults born in the 70s will really appreciate too.

I’ve already reviewed Colleen Nelson’s terrific novel The Undercover Book List in a blog post and Peter Lee’s Notes From the Field in another and although I haven’t read The Great Bear by David Robertson I have read the first novel in the same series The Barren Grounds and am eager to follow up on the Narnia like adventures of the two main characters Morgan and Eli who have already found their way into my heart.

I just finished The Doll House and it’s a mystery tour through the past and the present in an old house that comes complete with an identical replica of itself in the attic – a handmade doll house. Alice has come to live in the house with her mother who is providing nursing care to the old woman that owns it. Alice is quickly swept up into a confusing world where she is no longer sure what is real and what isn’t.

There are ghosts and secret passageways and an element of creepiness and horror that aren’t usually my favourite in the books I read but I can see where kids will be drawn into the story and be dying to find out what is really going on.

Other posts…………..

An Amazing Birthday Present For My Novel

What a Week You’ve Had

So Much Novel News

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Filed under Books, Lost on the Prairie

Being Dr Peters’ Daughter

I was in Steinbach recently to see the movie Women Talking with our friends, and we had only been standing in line to buy tickets for about five minutes when a woman came up to me and said, “You’re Dr Peters’ daughter aren’t you?”

I used to hate that! When I was growing up in Steinbach, Manitoba I was always first and foremost “Dr Peters’ daughter.”

My Dad was on the Steinbach School Board for many years. Dad is far right in the first row.

My father was a local physician and Steinbach wasn’t a big city like it is now. It only had a population of 3,700 people when we first moved to town in 1961. There weren’t that many doctors there either and my Dad was on the school board, a leader in his church and well-known throughout the community.

My dad with co-workers at Bethesda Hospital where he was a physician

The first thing teachers and other kids and really anyone who met me always said was, “You’re Dr Peters’ daughter aren’t you?” I hated that, especially as a teenager. I wanted to be my own person! I didn’t want to be first and foremost my Dad’s daughter. People seemed to have certain expectations of me because I was Dr Peters’ daughter. That was frustrating!

With my family as a teenager in the 1960s. I’m the oldest.

And really I was my mother’s daughter so much more than my father’s since Dad was incredibly busy with his thriving medical practice and a multitude of church and community commitments. We only really spent extended periods of time with him on family trips.

Even in the summer, my Mom went off to the family cottage with us while Dad stayed home to work. Perhaps I secretly resented all those people and causes that kept my Dad apart from us so much.

I got married in 1973 and changed my last name

Then I moved away from Steinbach to attend university. I got married and changed my last name from Peters to Driedger. I secured a teaching job in Winnipeg and lived there till I was in my mid-twenties.

With my grade two students at Elmdale School in 1982

My husband Dave and I did move back to Steinbach in 1977 but by that time I had a different last name and I began to establish a reputation apart from my Dad’s as an educator, a columnist for the local paper and as Dave Driedger’s wife.

My husband Dave with the Steinbach Stealers ball team. He went to a national championship with them. Dave is second from the left in the back row.

My husband was involved in pretty much every sporting activity the community offered and his achievements as a coach and athlete were well-known. So I was often asked, “Are you Dave Driedger’s wife?”

In 2007 Dad was the Honorary Marshall at Steinbach’s annual parade in recognition of his service to the community

I still heard “Oh you’re Dr Peters’ daughter aren’t you?” but not nearly as often. And by then I didn’t hate it nearly as much when people referred to me that way because I was beginning to realize my Dad had made such important contributions to the community and that many folks admired and respected him.

We lived and taught in China for six years

Eventually, both my parents and my husband and I left Steinbach. My parents because of my Mom’s ongoing health problems which made the proximity to the Winnipeg hospital where she received care important and Dave and me to live abroad for years and then return to Canada and settle in Winnipeg.

Of course, we still went back to Steinbach frequently because we had so many friends there but the community had gotten so much bigger and there were lots of people who had no idea who my Dad was.

I rarely got asked any more if I was Dr Peters’ daughter and really by that time, I didn’t care at all if I did, because I was secure in who I was, and had made peace with the resentment I felt about Dad spending so little time with us during our childhood.

My Dad with two of his grandsons when they were small

It turned out Dad had almost made up for his absence as a father in his role as a grandfather to my children and niece and nephews, by being much more present in their lives.

Now my Dad has advanced dementia and is in a nursing home. The staff all call him Dr Peters because he likes that. To them, I am “Dr Peters’ daughter.”

I see Dad several times a week, and my sister and I are often the only people he still recognizes. Dad and I spend lots of time together now, maybe more than we ever have.

Visiting Dad shortly before leaving for my trip

In January and February, I went on a trip to Africa and I really wondered whether Dad would still recognize me when I returned after six weeks away.

When I walked into his care unit on my first day home he was just coming down the hallway with his walker. “Hi Dad,” I said waving my hand. He looked up and his face broke into a big smile. “My daughter! My daughter!” he called out excitedly.

At that moment I was happy. Happy to be Doctor Peters’ daughter.

Other posts……….

My Dad Is…………

My Dad’s Trees

Wraggling Along


Filed under Family