My mother and her sisters in 1934.
For there is no friend like a sister in calm or stormy weather – Christina Rossetti
Easter 1957 – With my sister in dresses sewn by our mother
You can fool the world but not your sister. – Charlotte Gray
My father-in-law’s sisters around 1940
A woman without her sister is like a bird without her wings. – Moosa Rahat
My maternal grandmother and her sister in 1902
A sister is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost.- Marion C. Garretty
My father’s sisters winners at a music festival early 1950s
Once sisters are grown their relationship becomes the strongest in the family. – Margaret Mead
My paternal grandmother far left with her sisters and sisters in law.
A sister is both your mirror – and your opposite. ~ Elizabeth Fishel
My mother-in-law and her sisters in 1931
Sisters are different flowers from the same garden- Author Unknown
Birthday Books- A Hundred Years Old
My husband’s grandfather and his brother during World War I in Moscow where they served as medics
To the outside world we all grow old, but not to our brothers. They know us as we always were.- C. Ortega
My grandfather and his brothers. Grandpa is in the middle.
Without a brother you are like a person rushing into battle without a weapon- Arabic Proverb
Because I have a brother I will always have a friend. – Unknown
My father-in-law and his brothers
Oh how good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity. – Psalm 133:1
My brothers at our cabin at Moose Lake
A brother is a gift given by nature. ~Jean-Baptiste Legouvé
My husbands grandparents meet with their brothers to discuss family business in Moscow during World War I
When brothers agree, no fortress is so strong as their common life. -Antisthenes
My husband and his brothers.
Your brother is your best link to your past ….Baz Lurhmann
I Love my Siblings
Terrified Times Three
I have been spending most of my time in the last couple weeks working on a history book about my husband’s parents and not getting too much else done. I am discovering many interesting things about my in-laws as I comb through family photos, diaries and records. I learned that both my husband’s father and grandfather did alternate military service in a lumber camp.
Abram Driedger is to the far left in the back row.
Dave’s grandfather Abram Driedger served in the Asov Forestry Camp in Ukraine in 1913 just prior to World War I.
Cornie Driedger is in the centre.
Dave’s father Cornie Driedger worked in a lumber camp in Montreal River Ontario during World War II.
Luxury Car A Family Story
So Many David Driedgers
I am working on a history book about Dave’s parents for an upcoming family reunion. Dave’s cousin John who is the true Driedger family historian has been helping me by providing some wonderful photographs. My very favorite is this one of Dave’s Oma Margaretha Friesen, posing with her siblings and cousins in the village of Schoenfeld where they all lived.
Dave’s Oma is standing against the tree with a balalaika in her hand. One cousin with a very fashionable hat is riding bike and Margaretha’s brother Cornelius and another man are up in the tree. I think the photo reflects what I heard so often from my own grandparents about how almost idyllic and prosperous a life the Mennonites had in Ukraine before the revolution. There was time for leisure pursuits, farming was financially rewarding, Mennonites ran profitable businesses and established good schools and enjoyed music and other cultural endeavors. And then within a decade everything had changed and this whole way of life was gone.
I think this photo was probably taken around 1913. It is a reminder that a seemingly stable and good way of life can disappear dramatically.
Dave’s Christmas Present
Thoughts on Refugees
Portraits in Hope
Filed under Family, History
I went to the Garden City Collegiate choir concert on Monday night. It was a terrific concert with many great performances. My favorite piece was Lineage by composer Andrea Ramsey. It was sung by the women’s choir. The lyrics were taken from a poem written by Margaret Walker
My grandmother Margaretha Peters in a grain field on the farm where she worked for much of her life
My grandmothers were strong.
They followed plows and bent to toil.
They moved through fields sowing seed.
They touched earth and grain grew.
They were full of sturdiness and singing.
My grandmothers were strong.
My grandmother Annie Schmidt doing laundry on her back porch
My grandmothers are full of memories
Smelling of soap and onions and wet clay
With veins rolling roughly over quick hands
They have many clean words to say.
My grandmothers were strong.
Why am I not as they?
I often think of the hard lives my grandmothers had and how despite this they remained kind, caring, open hearted women with a sense of humour. They inspire me. I come from a lineage of strong women.
This past week I’ve been together with four of my aunts. Last Thursday night I went out to dinner with my Aunt Louise and Aunt Nettie. The two of them were just back from a trip to Holland to see the tulips in full bloom and they told me all about their adventures, the things they learned, the people they met and the sights they saw. I told them all about my weekend in Saskatoon celebrating my grandson’s birthday. Aunt Nettie and Aunt Louise have always shown an interest in my life and that of my children. I enjoy spending time with them. Aunt Louise and Aunt Nettie came to visit us when we lived in Hong Kong and we had a marvelous time showing them the city.
While I was in Saskatoon last weekend I visited with my Aunt Viola who is turning 95 in December. The personal care home where she lives was hosting a mother-daughter tea. Since I no longer have a mother and Aunt Vi has no children of her own the two of us went to the tea together and had a lovely time.
Four of my aunts dressed up in their mothers old kerchiefs and aprons. From left to right Aunt Helen, Aunt Margaret, Aunt Mary and Aunt Nettie.
On Sunday I went to see my Aunt Margaret in the Winnipeg nursing home where she lives. Aunt Margaret is a person who ‘thinks outside of the box.’ She is very knowledgeable about what is going in the world and has opinions of her own. It is always a pleasure to visit with her.
Some of you might remember the post I did about my Aunt Mary who I had a chance to visit in Kansas in March.
When we lived with the Hopi First Nations people for a year I learned that in their language the word for your mother and your aunts is the same.
Since I lost my own mother I have developed an even greater appreciation for my aunts who are interested in me and care about me and family.
Aunt Vi’s Autograph Book
The caboose tipped over! I was visiting my 94 year old Aunt Viola in Saskatoon on the weekend and she told me a story about a time her family was in an accident on the way to a wedding.
My aunt Viola and my mother Dorothy. Mom is on the right.
My aunt and my mother were asked to sing a duet at the wedding of their hired girl Tina. Tina was a recent immigrant from the Soviet Union. My grandparents had a farm in Drake Saskatchewan and my grandfather often offered to go to the train station in nearby Humboldt or Lanigan to pick up new immigrants from Mennonite communities in Russia when they first arrived in Canada. If they didn’t have relatives or friends to stay with he would bring them home till they could find work and a place to live. This happened with Tina, but she stayed on for quite some time and my grandparents gave her a job helping with the housework and yardwork. Besides her own four children my grandmother was also caring for her aging mother and blind brother-in-law, so Tina’s help was appreciated.
Eventually Tina met a man whose last name was Buhler and they decided to marry. My mother and my aunt were both very musical and Tina asked them to sing at her wedding. My Aunt Vi said this was a little unusual because normally their parents sang duets together while my mother accompained them on the piano, but Tina wanted Viola and my mother Dorothy to sing so they agreed. My grandmother would accompany them on the organ.
The Schmidt family poses beside their caboose. My Aunt Viola is to the left of her youngest sister Leila and my mother Dorothy is to Leila’s right. Behind them is my Uncle Earl and my grandparents Peter and Annie Schmidt.
The Schmidt family set off for the wedding in their horse drawn caboose, although my aunt said they usually referred to it as ‘the bus.’ The weather had warmed a bit and the roads were slushy and muddy and a real mess so my grandfather decided to go cross country across the land of their neighbor Hugo Bartel because his fields were still quite snow covered. As they sailed across the field the thin runner of the caboose cut into snowbank and the caboose tilted and then tipped right over. Everyone was thrown from their seats. No one was hurt too badly but my mother bumped her eye and it quickly became bruised and swollen.
The North Star Mennonite Church where the wedding took place.
The family righted the caboose and continued on to the North Star Church. My mother and my aunt still sang at the wedding, although my mother was sporting a black eye during the performance. Aunt Vi remembers that Tina had requested the song Keep On the Sunny Side a popular hymn written by Ada Blenkhorn in 1899 so that’s what they sang.
Later when the family looked back on the accident they remembered it with humour and often laughed about how they tipped over so suddenly and how my mother sang such a positive and upbeat song with a black eye.
A Passport of Her Own
Wash Day Tragedy