Author Archives: maryloudriedger

About maryloudriedger

MaryLou Driedger lives in Winnipeg Manitoba where she works as free lance writer, a tour guide in the school programs department at the Winnipeg Art Gallery and a faculty supervisor for the University of Winnipeg's education department. She is a retired teacher who moved to Winnipeg after living and working in Hong Kong for six years.

Engagement Memories

I just read in the Winnipeg Free Press that Ben Moss Jewelers is going out of business. That announcement reminded me of a Saturday morning in the spring of 1973. I was sitting in a college classroom with my boyfriend Dave preparing for our upcoming exams. We were listening to the radio as we studied and an announcer came on advertising a two for one sale on wedding bands at Ben Moss Jewellers.

“That’s too good a deal to pass up,” said Dave. “Let’s go.” So with that romantic proposal ringing in my ears we set off for Ben Moss Jewelers on a city bus. We bought two simple gold wedding bands for around sixty dollars and forty-three years later I’m still wearing mine. Dave took his ring off a few weeks after we got married because the band interfered with his grip on the baseball bat. That wedding ring has been sitting in an old jewelry box of mine ever since. Luckily I married the kind of guy who doesn’t need a ring on his finger to remind him to be faithful to his partner . 

The Winnipeg Free Press reported that Ben Moss Jewelers  is having a huge going out of business sale. So if there is anyone out there who is looking for a way to segue into a marriage proposal with their sweetie this might be your answer. It worked for my husband!

We stopped at one of those photo booths on our way back to our college dorm to take this engagement photo.

We stopped at a photo booth in the Winnipeg bus station after buying our rings and took this engagement photo.

Other posts…..

Bucket List for Marriage

Chinese Thoughts on Marriage

Marriage Statistics and Bible Verses



Filed under Family

I Don’t Like Murder Mysteries But….

Murder mysteries aren’t my favourite. But after hearing the CBC’s Wendy Mesley interview her friend, the famous and fascinating Canadian mystery writer Louise Penny I decided to give the murder mystery genre another chance.

still life louise pennyI went to the library to find Louise’s first book Still Life. In testament to its popularity there was a long waiting list for the novel at the library. So I bought it instead. It had intriguing characters, a very likeable hero Inspector Gamache, and a Canadian setting poetically described. The murder victim was an artist who’d left clues to her killer’s identity in her paintings. For someone who works at an art gallery like I do, this was ideal.

louise penny public domain free useLouise Penny is an excellent writer but her novel didn’t change my mind about loving murder mysteries. If however they are your cup of tea try one of Louise’s dozen or so novels. And be sure to listen to her interview with Wendy Mesley online to learn more about this journalist turned novelist who is caring for a husband with early onset dementia. I also follow Louise on Facebook because she has some interesting posts. 

Other posts…...

The Litigators and Left Neglected

Knuckleball-Think Mennonite Corner Gas

Broken Stone



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Filed under Books

Freedom’s Child

“I like me! No doubt about it. I like you. Can’t live without out! We are free! Let’s shout about it! Hooray for freedom’s child.”

i am freedom's childThat mantra is adapted from Freedom’s Child written by children’s  author Bill Martin in 1970.  I learned it at an educational conference I attended in 1979 at the University of North Dakota. We recited it every day. 

me and bill martin

Me and Bill Martin in 1979

For a week children’s author Bill Martin and his colleagues introduced us to poetry and music and wonderful books and great children’s authors. One of the things they talked to us about was how good literature could change children’s lives by making them more open minded and caring, giving them a window into a world where people liked themselves and accepted and liked others, even if they were very different than they were.

As I  follow the American election campaign I’ve considered sending some voters and politicians a copy of I Am Freedom’s Child. They need to take to heart its message that acceptance of all kinds of people and their differences is necessary to make freedom’s dream come true. 

Other posts………..

I’m So Tired of You America

A Bible on the Ballot Box

A Fire Changed Her Life


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Filed under Books, Childhood, Politics

What Are People Saying?

Marching in the Pride Parade in Steinbach. Photo credit- Grant Burr

Marching in the Pride Parade in Steinbach. Photo credit- Grant Burr

My most popular blog post in the last few months was definitely the one called Pride In Steinbach Isn’t Something New.  It set a record for views and was shared many times.  A reader who served with me on a curriculum development committee said it provided an important counter balance to much of the media coverage of the Pride Parade. 

bully pixabay imageA fellow Winnipeg church member commented on my blog post about bullies by saying,

“Then there are our politicians. Ever listen to Question Period? The blatant bullying in the House and in the Legislature is so lamentable. Certainly not good role model material.”

A former teaching colleague from Hong Kong read my post about deciding whether to unfriend people on Facebook I disagree with and said…”I’ve gone through much the same thought process, and came to the same conclusion – as a teacher, I can’t in good conscience encourage my students to respectfully consider diverse points of view while deleting everyone in my FB feed who I disagree with! That being said, I don’t have much patience with those who make personal attacks or express things in a disrespectful or hateful way.”

461px-President_Barack_Obama,_2012_portrait_cropWhen I blogged about President Obama’s speech to the Canadian Parliament a member of my writer’s group said she hoped Obama’s kind of sanity would prevail in our world.

gender neutral bathroomWhen I wrote about my first experience using gender neutral bathrooms a fellow member of the Manitoba Writer’s Guild commented that her partner reminded her that in the 1960s, when Judy LaMarsh became one of the first women to serve as a cabinet minister in the Canadian Parliament, she had to use the men’s washrooms because there were no women’s washrooms convenient to the House of Commons.

dave and marylou tractorWhen Maggie a member of our church in Hong Kong read my post Rural Roots she thanked me for giving her a glimpse into our family’s history.unmade bed pixabay image

When I posted about not making my bed a colleague from the Winnipeg Art Gallery teased me by calling me a godless hippie and a baseball team-mate of my husband’s said he had only made his bed once in forty-four years of marriage and hadn’t been struck by lightning yet. 

dadOne of my most viewed posts in the last couple months was the one I wrote about the death of Dave’s father.  We received messages of condolence from so many people and quite a number commented that this youthful photo of Dad reminded them of my husband or one of my sons. 

valdyWhen I posted about attending the Valdy concert at the West End Cultural Centre a highschool classmate responded he had often shared a morning coffee shop with Valdy when he lived on Salt Spring Island. 

morning index art gallery torontoI’ve had lots of interest and requests for more information about the bed and breakfast we stayed at in Toronto after posting about it.  Seems like lots of my readers are interested in staying there too. 

Guardian Angel- 1900 German postcard

A former teaching colleague from Steinbach shared three personal memories that my blog post Fourteen Angels elicited for her. 

aunt vi autograph bookThe blog post about my aunt’s autograph book prompted many comments from people who also had autograph books tucked away somewhere. 

Thanks everyone for reading my blog.  I so appreciate your interest and response.  Have a great long weekend!

Other posts that have been popular in the last months……..

Dorothy Garden

Steinbach Pride Parade- Homecoming Forgiveness and Hope


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Filed under Writing

Way to Go Sarah!

“Can I just say, to the Bernie or Bust people: You’re being ridiculous.” Those lines got comedian Sarah Silverman international attention on Monday night when she addressed the Democratic National Convention.

Photo of Sarah Silverman from Wikimedia Commons

Photo of Sarah Silverman from Wikimedia Commons

Sarah certainly left an impression during her time on the convention stage but I learned something about her this week from a colleague that impressed me more. Sarah has championed a campaign to make the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem a more welcoming place for women. When I was in Israel in 2010 I was truly upset that women had to wait in line so much longer than men to pray at the Wailing Wall because the female section of the wall was only a fraction of the size of the men’s section. I wrote about this inequality in my newspaper column and blogged about it.

Photo I took at the Wailing Wall that shows the much smaller and more crowded women's section on the right

Photo I took at the Wailing Wall that shows the much smaller and more crowded women’s section on the right

Apparently having less room to pray hasn’t been the only issue at the Wailing Wall for women. For several years Sarah and her sister Susan, who is a rabbi, headlined a movement called Women of the Wall that called for legal changes to allow women to wear prayer shawls at the historic wall and sing, pray and read Scripture out loud there just as men can. In 2013 Sarah’s sister and niece were arrested when they defied the law and donned prayer shawls at the wall. In December of 2014 Sarah and Susan lit a menorah on the women’s side of the wall even after the rabbi in charge of the wall had forbidden them to do so.

In the past women had to read and pray silently at the wall

In the past women could only read and pray silently at the wall

Sarah and the Women of the Wall’s protests worked! In January of this year the Israeli government announced that a mixed gender prayer area at the wall would be created and women would be allowed to pray, read Scripture, sing,wear prayer shawls and light menorahs at the wall.

Sarah Silverman was a Bernie Sanders supporter in the Democratic primaries but in an article in the New York Times she is quoted as saying…..”I will vote for Hillary with gusto, as I continue to be inspired and moved to action by the ideals set forth by Bernie.”

Hillary Clinton is lucky to have a fighter with a sense of humour like Sarah Silverman on her side. Sarah has a proven track record of fighting for important changes that give equal rights to women.

eldery man and woman at the wailing wall in jerusalem

In the past men and women had to go to separate places to pray at the Wailing Wall

I wasn’t sure I needed to visit Israel a second time but it might be worth it just to pray again at the Wailing Wall since it is now a place where men and women are regarded as equals as they always have been in the eyes of God. Thanks Sarah!

Other posts……..

Inequality at the Wailing Wall

An Inclusive Canadian Anthem

I Never Got Used to the Guns

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Filed under israel, Politics

Happy to Pay Taxes For This

On Monday Dave and I went on a twenty kilometre  bike ride.  On our journey we drove through Kildonan Park. It was a hot day and the pool in the park was crowded with kids.  I stopped to take a photo because it made me happy to see all those kids outside being active and having fun together.  I was glad my tax dollars were paying for that opportunity.  

kildonan park poolAs I give tours to kids at the art gallery this summer I have come to realize just how many great programs are in place to help families get their children involved in worthwhile healthy activities during the months they aren’t in school.  Many tour groups come to the gallery from schools, community clubs and government sponsored programs across the city that offer fun and educational activities in summer to kids for free or at a very nominal fee.  I am glad my tax dollars are paying for this too.

If we want a healthy society we need to have  future generations of citizens who are happy, active, curious, educated and hopeful. I am glad my tax dollars are helping to subsidize programs and places that try to encourage those things in kids all year long. 

Other posts…….

I’m Glad My Taxes Are Paying For This

I Don’t Want a Tax Break


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Filed under Childhood, Education

Aunt Vi’s Autograph Book

“When you’re in the kitchen frying meat, remember me and my big feet.”

My aunt's autograph book

My aunt’s autograph book

Last month  I was helping my ninety-three year old Aunt Viola sort through some of her keepsakes. We came upon an autograph book she received as a gift in 1934. It was filled with messages from her school classmates.

aunt vi autograph book Before the advent of school yearbooks, autograph books served as a way to remember the young people with whom you had attended classes. And it certainly had served that purpose for my aunt.  first page of autograph bookI went through the book with her and she remembered almost every  person, telling me what they had done after graduation, whom they had married, where they had lived, what careers they had pursued and what kind of families they had.  forget me notShe recalled tidbits of information as well about their academic abilities or schoolyard behaviour from more than seventy-five years ago. 

teachersAunt Vi had also included a list of all her teachers from grade one through to grade twelve.

 Some of the messages in her autograph book were very funny, like the one that opens this blog post……..

funny autograph

Or this one………when you are old autograph

Others offered words of wisdom or adviceadvice autograph

Some of the poems in the autograph book didn’t apply to my aunt at all, like this one, since my aunt never married. wedding cake autographOthers did apply to with purposeAunt Vi has lived her life with purpose.  She had a long career as an elementary school teacher.  She has traveled the world.  She has served as a volunteer in her church and community in a myriad of roles. She has maintained close ties with her family and has boxes full of guest books that record messages from the literally thousands of guests she has entertained in her home. 

Aunt Vi with two of her schoolmates

Aunt Vi with two of her schoolmates

I so enjoyed looking through Vi’s autograph book. There were messages from her classmates written in German, others contained lines of poetry, some conveyed  spiritual truths and each reminded my aunt of someone who had played an important role in her school life. Here’s a couple of my favorite autographs. wood chip
parlor lamp
There was one autograph that made me cry. It was the one my mother had penned in her big sister’s autograph book in 1938 when she was thirteen years old. Mom writes about always remembering her sister. Sadly my Aunt Vi is now the only one in her family left to remember. My mother and Aunt Vi’s other two siblings have all passed away. mom's autograph


Other posts……

Autographs from a Conscientious Objector

Aunt Vi

Visiting Aunt Vi

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Filed under Family, History