Obituary of Elfrieda Dyck
Elfrieda Dyck (née Gossen)
November 27, 1926 – January 25, 2024
We celebrate the peaceful passing of our mother Elfrieda Dyck (Gossen) on Thursday, January 25, 2024, at the United Mennonite Home in Vineland. Elfrieda dedicated her life to her Lord Jesus and lived her life serving others.
Mom was born November 27, 1926, in Gross Tokmak Ukraine. She and her family endured many hardships in Ukraine. She immigrated to Canada with her mother and three sisters in 1948. She was married to Jacob Dyck in Kitchener on Feb 16, 1952. Jake and Elfi had 3 children, and she stayed at home to raise the children. Her life can best be described a life of service, not because she had to, but because she wanted to serve others. Elfi was very active in church work as a Sunday school teacher, Sunday school choir Director, VBS organizer, choir Director, president of the ladies group, strawberry social organizer, overseer of the quilting and piecing together all the tops of the quilts for her quilting bee ladies, organizer of the Fleisch Piroshki baking for the MCC sale plus many other tasks.
Mom loved her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. When they came to visit, even at the end, she would light up and hug them. She enjoyed playing games with them and making wonderful meals and baking. Mom also loved camping, adventures and travel.
Mom is predeceased by her husband Jacob and survived by 3 children and their spouses, Elvera & Bill Reimer, Eleanor & Paul Cash, Walter & Sherry Dyck and by 7 grandsons and their spouses, Jamie, Michael, Nathan & Philip Reimer and Carl, David & Joshua Dyck and by 18 great-grandchildren.
She is predeceased by her sister Anni. She is survived by her sisters Herta and Margaret.
The family would like to express their gratitude to the many PSWs, Care Staff, and Nurses, who attended to her over the past five years.
To honour Elfrieda’s memory we are holding a celebration of her life on January 31, 2024 at the Vineland United Mennonite Church at 12 noon, followed by a fellowship lunch. We would be honoured if you would attend.
Where: Vineland United Mennonite Church, 3327 Menno St. Vineland
When: Wednesday, January 31
10:30 – 11:45am Visitation
12 noon Celebration of Life service
Please join us!
Elfrieda’s interment will be at 11:30am on Thursday the Parkview cemetery in Waterloo.
Yes, our mom loved flowers, but she was also very frugal, and she worked enthusiastically to better the lot of people around her and people overseas. Therefore, we ask that in lieu of flowers you choose to make a generous donation to one of her favourite charities – MCC – Mennonite Central Committee.
Mom wrote a wonderful account of her life from her years in Ukraine to the first years in Canada. If you’re interested, please read on.
My Life Story - Elfriede Dyck
I, Elfriede (Elfi) Dyck, née Goossen, was born on November 27, 1926 in Gross Tokmak, Ukraine. My parents were Margarete (Rita), born Rempel, and Heinrich Goossen. My father's job caused my parents to move around a lot. He was the chief accountant of various towns. He also often had to travel to other towns to help with their year-end financial statements when he had finished his own work. He even went to Moscow on occasion and once Mutti was allowed to go along. I remember they brought back all sorts of goodies for us on that trip. Even a fur jacket which Mutti was very proud of. Later, on the trec westward out of Russia she would use it to keep our little sister, Gretchen, warm.
While we lived in Prishib in the early 1930’s, Dad's stepfather came to us from Gnadenheim and to ask if he and grandmother could live with us. Their large land holdings had been expropriated and they were to be sent away. We had a big house, but there were only 2 rooms. The bottom floor was used as a stable. My father told his dad that we could not take them in because we did not have enough room. Grandfather went away very sad. My mother saw him go and asked my father what grandfather had wanted. Upon hearing the story Mutti had grandfather called back and my grandparents both moved in with us. It was certainly cramped, but we were all together. I have many good memories of this time when my father's parents lived with us.
I do not know exactly how long they lived with us, I only know that the times were very hard. Food was scarce. For breakfast we always had cornmeal pancakes. My oldest sister, Anni, who was 6 or 7 at the time wrote at a poem about it: "water cakes, water cakes, please just go away. Bring us another cake, that will make us fat." My grandparents had no teeth, so all of their food had to be made very fine. I still remember seeing them cut open pumpkin seeds with a scissor to get the seeds out. Then they would cut the seeds up very fine as well so they could eat them.
I still remember one St. Nikalaus day. That morning we searched all over for our shoes, but could not find them. At last we found them, likely after being given a hint, high up in the clothes closet. Oh, what Joy! The times were very tough so the treats we found in our shoes were all the more special.
Grandmother died in February 1933 while still living with us. I remember she had such cravings for peppermint cookies. I have no idea where Mutti got the flour from, but she baked a few cookies for her. Grandmother ate only one peppermint cookie, then said that the children should eat the the rest. After that she died.
That same year (1933) we moved to Ladekopp, where I finished the first 4 years of my schooling in German. Then in 1937 all classes were conducted in Russian, so my oldest sister, Anni, and I went to Tokmak for three years in the Russian school. Since we had learned Russian only as a foreign language until then, it was very difficult for us to learn everything in Russian, but our mom helped us a lot and everything went well. This was also the time of the great famine. Grandfather lived with us until my sister Herta was born, then he moved in with his daughter because there was no longer enough space in our home.
On September 4, 1941, as the German army approached all the German men aged 16 and older were dragged away. If my sister, Anni, had been a boy she would have been taken too. We were so glad that she was a girl. Our cousin Victor, uncle Dietrich's (dad's brother) son, was taken that day. He was Anni's age.
I still remember how I ran toward my father as he came home an hour earlier than normal that day. I was a child, only 14 years old. Dad told me he had to leave. I could not understand where and why he had to go. I asked him all sorts of questions, but he couldn't give me any answers because he didn't know much more than I did. Everything was so uncertain, and the thought of leaving made him terribly sad because he didn't know what would become of his family.
It was the same for all the men. Women and children were left behind and the men had to leave, not knowing if they would ever see their families again.
First the men were registered at the town hall, then told to present themselves in Petershagen. Petershagen was the place where everyone gathered, the men, and often their whole families too. Mutti and we children also went along. My mother had packed a backpack for dad, probably with clothes and something to eat.
From Petershagen the men traveled to Tokmaker station, which was about 4 km away. I don't know if they went by train or had to walk. The women and children returned home. I remember that Mutti baked some flat cakes in the pan and then brought them to dad 3-4 km. Away. Many other women also brought some food to their men. When mom arrived, dad asked if she had brought him a family picture. Unfortunately she had not thought to do this. This is how the men were rounded up, and were placed into barbed wire enclosures without resistance.
Because dad was the general accountant in Ladekopp, he always had to sign the cheques so that people could get their wages. Even now, as a prisoner behind barbed wire, having lost his citizenship, the people from the village came to him to sign for all payments.
At the station the cripples and some supplies were loaded onto hay wagons, the rest of the men were taken away on foot. For every 100 men there were 20 armed guards with machine guns watching them.
Tante Tina Wiens worked in Ivanovka as a seamstress at the time, located across the river from Schönsee, about 10 km from Tokmak. She told us that she saw the men as they walked by. They were very sad and tired. Many carried their own luggage.
Then on the evening of September 29, 1941 we were informed that all German families should travel to Tokmak station the next day. At 6 p.m., on September 30, we were to be sent to Siberia. We were told to take enough food for a month. Mom did not waste any time. She asked our Russian neighbor boy, Konowalski was his last name, to slaughter our pig. She then boiled the meat and preserved it in lard. Mum probably also baked as much as possible and slaughtered and packaged some chickens. She always had great foresight and was very practical.
The next question was, “what else do you take along?” Bedding, clothes, photos, id cards, birth certificates, as much as possible to eat and who knows what else. We had few clothes, but we did need to consider that it would soon be cold. And in Siberia it is very cold.
Mom gave away many things, sold some others. Some things were given away as mementos and other things were passed along to someone, who could make use of them, with the understanding that they would be given back to us if we were ever able to return.
After lunch, mom went out into the garden to pick some flowers as remembrances. She was saying goodbye to this home, of which she had grown so fond.
Who knew where we would end up? We were promised that we would meet with our men again in Kazakhstan.
Mom also sat down at the piano. She played and sang many comforting songs. This one song remains in my mind:
Farewell to you, my quiet house,
I leave you with great sadness.
Farewell to you, I now must go,
From you, my much beloved home . Etc.
German: so leb’ denn wohl, du stilles haus,
Ich zieh betruebt von dir hinaus,
So leb‘ denn wohl, ich muss jetzt fort
Von dir du viel geliebter ort. U.s.w.
When they came to pick us up, we took one last look at our dear home. We had no tears. The Russian women wept as they waved to us. But what did those tears mean?
We were held in barracks, which had man-high wooden walls, then an open space, and a wooden roof above. We sat there beside our things or on top of them, one family next to the other. Some people left at times to return home and pick up more things.
We saw a couple of transports roll by, freight trains loaded with women and children. Some German villages were left completely empty. To this day I still feel very sorry for people, who were taken to Siberia. All the suffering they had to endure there! Many, many starved and froze to death. Some trains took people into the wilderness, into the forest, where they simply were told to get off. When people told a conductor that they could not survive there, that they would die, he replied: “That is why I brought you here.”
I read a story about it. A woman and her son were among those unfortunate people left in the Siberian wilderness. The people dug holes into the ground or the snow and covered them with branches and soil to keep warm. They ate berries and whatever else they could find in the forest. This one woman told herself that they were going to die anyway, so she took her son and left with him. Where to she did not know. They came up to a river. At the riverbank she asked a man with a boat to please take her across the river. He asked what she would give him for it. She gave him her son’s boots. Eventually they came upon a village, where they were able to find shelter.
After many years, the son wanted to find out what ever happened to the other people out there in the forest. When he found the spot, he only found the bones of all the others who had been with them.
Other Siberian deportees were taken to other forests where they had to work extremely hard. Their clothes were worn until they were only rags. Food was very scarce and many died of hunger and cold. Many stories have been written by the survivors. When I read the stories, I bend my knees and thank god that we were spared all of these hardships.
Now back to our history. In our barracks many hymns were sung. Our mothers still knew them all. We younger people enjoyed the singing and enthusiastically joined in as we learned the songs. After all they were never allowed to be sung publicly or taught to the youth in Ukraine. Godlessness had reigned in Russia for 25 years. Men were arrested for any religious activity reported by a neighbour.
War raged around us. Bombs fell, shell fragments flew around us. Mum always covered us with duvets to protect us. One of the splinters hit Tante Ina’s finger. It became infected and later she lost the ability to bend it.
The wagons that were to be used to send us eastward were needed for military operations. When the Russians realized that they would not be able to transport us away, they tried to kill us with incendiary bombs. Fortunately the bombs landed in the storehouse next to us. Of course, we were all panicking and ran from our barracks into a small forest nearby. A soldier confronted us and ordered us to go back, or he would shoot. Mum replied: "well, shoot." and we walked on. He let us go. Some probably did go back.
All night we stayed in the woods. We took turns keeping watch over our things. During my watch, I lay on the ground and kept hearing the earth beneath me rumble with the noise of bombs and guns. Our hope was that the German troops would soon arrive and save us from the Russians so that we could return to our homes. In the morning everything was completely quiet. We were all told to return to the barracks, but instead we headed for a nearby Russian town.
A Russian woman took us in with all our many belongings. She left us her house and stayed mostly with the neighbors, only popping in from time to time. We believed that her husband, who was a soldier, was probably hiding next door and waiting for the Germans arrival as well, because when the Germans did come, he was also suddenly at home. Along with the Germans the 6 German men, who had been sent to dig trenches also returned. These were the only men who were with us when we later set out with the trek. All the other men were gone.
The woman had dug a trench which we could run to and hide in whenever there was an air raid. We also had enough to eat. I remember how good the ribs tasted, that mum had cooked at home and brought along. I think we were with the woman for 5 days. Then the German troops reached our area and we were able to return home that very evening. We could see a big fire at the train station.
In our house the furniture had all been moved to the centre of the room, and the floor covered with straw. The soldiers must have slept here. We got rid of all the straw and arranged our things back as they had been. Outside the livestock was running wild. We caught a pig. The collective used to keep all the pigs in our neighbour’s barn, but they had gotten loose in all the mayhem. We also found our cow again.
In October 1941, once the German Army had taken control of our area, my mother was reinstated as a German teacher, my oldest sister worked as an interpreter for the regional land office in Halbstadt.
At home our hearts were heavy for our father and Mutti's husband. But immediately other concerns came upon us. Anni was to be sent away to dig trenches. She was 16 at the time, Elfi 14 and Herti 7. Mutti knew the chairman of the village well because he had worked closely with dad. He freed Anni from the obligation to dig trenches. This was a great relief for mom. We continued to wait and hope that dad would return home to us, but in vain.
Tante Sara and Heinz Gossen lived in Tokmak at that time. Quite a few people found things which had been stolen from them for sale at the market there.
The food was scarce, but we were back in our own house. We had millet for porridge, sunflower seeds, 2 zentner of wheat (about 100kg), and some barley, with which to bake bread. We didn't have any potatoes or meat.
Dad's stepsister sent us half a bucket of potato via a friend. What a joyful surprise! Mum peeled the potatoes really thick and planted the peels in the spring. That year we had a good and blessed potato harvest.
After the first harvest we again had beans, fruit and grain.
The loss of our father was particularly difficult for my mother because in April, 1942, my youngest sister, Gretchen, was born, and she never saw her father. So Mutti was now a single mom with 4 daughters. I stayed at home after Gretchen was born and it was my job to bring Gretchen to Mutti at school regularly so she could breastfeed her. In the summer of 1942 it was my turn to work as an interpreter in the office of a Russian village.
In the fall of 1942 I started in the 8th grade in Halbstadt, which of course was in German again.
On March 25, 1943, my sister Anni and I were baptized by Pastor Hein (a pastor from Quedlinburg, Germany) with many others in Petersagen and we were admitted to the Christian community. My baptismal verse was "But it is good for me to draw near to God ". Psalm 73: 28a. The pastor was a captain in the German army. On that occasion he also performed Christian marriages for a number of couples who already had children.
He could not give us chatechism classes, but after talking to us, he said that he felt that those he had baptized here were more firmly grounded in their faith than many of the young people, he had baptized at his church in Germany.
Then the Russians started to push the German troops back and the Russian front advanced toward us. We saw a lot of German militia move past our home. We served the soldiers apples. Again and again we had to put soldiers up in our home. There were also gypsies. Mum always tried to have the officers stay with us. She quartered them in the front room and we 4 girls and mum were in the back room. Mum always hung a blanket between us. This had to serve as our door. We also placed a table and chairs on our side of the curtain so that we would notice if anyone tried to visit us in the night. Mum always told us that the officers would behave in a more civilized manner than enlisted men.
In September, 1943, I entered the teacher training institute in Prischib. But that did not last long, because the Russian army pushed the German army back westward and we were glad that the Germans let us come with them as they retreated to the west. We did not want to be under Russian rule. We had too many bad experiences in Russia as Germans during the Soviet era.
Then on September 11, 1943 we set off with the trek, in the rain. Since Anni worked at the regional land office, she was given a team of horses (a white mare and a black stallion) and a wagon, which we were then able to use on our trek westward. Our cow was tied to the back of our wagon. The streets were overcrowded and dirty. We were fearful of the Dnieper crossing. We had to cross over on a floating bridge.
We crossed the Dnieper and stayed in Alexandrovsk (or Alexandrovka) from September 25, 1943 to October 25, (I thought it was only 2 weeks). From there we were allowed to continue on by train because my mother had a small child and that spared us many hardships. How grateful we were that we had been spared so many of the hardships that so many others had to go through. We came to Kamenets Podolsk, where we also spent Christmas (someone told me that we were there 2 months). In Litzmanstadt we were all deloused and then arrived at the Warthegau province at the beginning of 1944.
Mutti got a teaching job in Mogilno and Anni got a job there at the school board in the office. We lived about 3 km from Mogilno, in Bistritz. Anni and Mutti had to travel to Mogilno every day for work. We only had one bike and with that one bike they commuted to and from work. One rode for a ways, put down the bike, and continued on foot, the other would walk her portion and then pick up the bike and ride until she overtook the other. She would then put down the bike and so on. Later, we moved to the city, Mogilno. Grandma with Rudi and T. Käthe always stayed with us, so they could look after Gretchen.
In the Warthegau all students of the LBA (teacher training) were called together again and I was allowed to continue studying in Luthbrandau. This time in the teacher training institute was probably the best time of my life. At Christmas 1944, we were all allowed to go home. We were given bedding, which our families needed very much, but after Christmas we returned to school again and I took everything back to the Teachers Institute. I was later sorry that I did this because soon after our return we were forced to leave again and had to leave everything behind. Unfortunately, we could not complete our studies. It was wartime, the front was drawing ever closer to us and we had to flee further west. We girls of the LBA (the boys had already been conscripted into the army) travelled on foot. Once we slept in a barn on straw. On the way dear people invited into their homes for a meal. So, after 2 days we arrived at the station in Mogilno where we were to continue our trip by train.
As we walked onto the platform, someone suddenly yelled my name from a train window, "Elfi". And much to my surprise, it was my younger sister Herta. I was overjoyed to have found my family again. The other girls had to go on to find their families but I was already together with mine. When some of them arrived home their families had already left. I was so thankful that I could be with my family again. The other girls had no food with them. Mutti had cooked potatos and also killed and cooked some rabbits, so we had food. Mutti also shared our food with the girls.
Anni, as I mentioned before, worked for the school board in Mogilno and was supposed to stay behind to destroy all the papers. Once Mutti had found me, she went back to the school principal and told him that she had found her lost daughter and wanted to take Anni with her as well, so she could keep her whole family together. The principal let Anni go with us. Another big reason to be grateful. So now we could all move further away from the Russians together.
We traveled to Treuenbritzen, 20 km southwest of Berlin. Here we were housed in the attic of the Schneider family. We were thankful that we did not need to stay in a refugee camp. Grossmama and Rudi with Aunt Käthe were also in the same city, but on their own. We witnessed many air raids. Berlin was often attacked. We always had to go into the air-raid shelter, but in Treuenbritzen we did not experience any bombing.
The front was getting closer, we heard so much about the rapes perpetrated by the Russian soldiers. Because we were all female, we knew what to expect. Mutti had another idea. She was always worried about us and made many good decisions. She asked Anni to write to Mrs. Schäfer, who was the wife of her previous boss at the land office where she had worked in Russia. The Schäfers lived on a farm in Schleswig Holstein. You were only allowed to move if you had a certificate from the mayor of the area. Mrs. Schäfer was very welcoming and sent us an invitation to come live with her. But when we arrived, she had already been required to take-in a widow with her son. So Anni and I found accommodation and work with Fr. Schäfer, and Mutti with the two little ones got a little room with a Maier family in Rohlstorf on a farm, about 2-3 km. away from us.
This move took place in January 1945 and the war ended on May 8 of the same year. Germany was divided into four parts: the Russian, British, American and French zone. We were in the British zone.
Mrs. Schäfer gave us some potatoes and probably also other things, which we brought to Mutti, Herti and Gretchen. Anni and I were so starved that when Mutti cooked the potato we ate them all and filled ourselves up. Mrs. Schäfer probably marvelled at how many potato Mutti and the little ones could eat.
At the Schäfers table, Anni and I sat next to the grandma and grandpa, who were seated at the end of the table. We were allowed to eat our fill, but we likely restrained ourselves and were always hungry.
After a while Mutti started to work on the estate as a milkmaid, which meant milking 17 cows morning and evening. Mom's arms developed boils (furuncle) from the heavy work.
Mum wanted to have her family back together again, so Anni also took a job as a milkmaid. After a while I was also able to move in with them and took over Mutti's milking duties. Later German soldiers, who were released from captivity and unable to get home because their homes were in the Russian zone, came to take over the milking.
When we were allowed to travel from Treuenbritzen to Schleswig Holstein, Mutti offered that Grossmama, Rudi and T. Käthe join us. But Uncle Rudi did not want to move on anymore, he was very tired of moving constantly, so they stayed where they were. Later they sincerely regretted this decision because when they did decide to join us they had to travel by foot, pulling a hand cart. They were often stopped by Russian soldiers, but they never revealed that they could speak Russian, otherwise they would have been sent back to Russia. It was not easy for them and often they wished that they had come to us earlier. They frequently had to spend time with other refugees in barracks or barns and Grossmama also began to feel poorly. When they reached Hagenow Grossmama could not go on. She was taken to a hospital where she was found to have colon cancer. They even did surgery, but they could not help her. She loved being able to sleep on white sheets again, but her condition worsened. She was very sorry that she could not reach us and be cared for by her daughter (Mutti). Mutti tried to get back to her, but she could not get permission. The mayor said she could travel to see Grossmama, but that he could not guarantee that she would be allowed to return to the British zone. Mutti did not want to abandon her children. Gretchen was only about 3 years old. Hagenow was in the Russian zone. Grandmother died on the 6th of December 1945 in her 63rd year of life.
When the soldiers took over the milking, Anni and I got jobs in the grainey. We had to turn the grain, so it dried properly and didn’t become damp or go mouldy. We also chopped up the grist for the horses and weigh it out for the coachmen to picked up in the evening.
Anni and I memorized poems by Schiller and Göthe to keep our memories sharp while doing this mindless work.
Anni later got a job with a young landowner in the von Stumm household. She worked as the cook and was well liked. I worked in the fields during the summer and in the winter I worked in the grainery or I helped with the threshing.
Now we had enough to eat. Mutti raised rabbits and chickens, so we always had meat. We also had a vegetable garden, so we had enough potatoes too. We fed the rabbits boiled potatoes. We got our firewood from the estate, because there was a forest on the estate.
Tante Käthe and Uncle Rudi also lived with us, they also ate at our table. At that time we worked mainly for food. People from the city would come wanting to trade their possessions for food. We would also occasionally receive packages from Canada. "Care" packages from our relatives. They contained clothes and food. That was a great help to us.
Mutti's father's sister, (Aunt Agathe and Uncle Heinrich Regehr) lived in Canada. They were not too young anymore. Aunt Agathe died in December 1951, Uncle Heinrich lived with Anni and her husband Hans in Kitchener for a while, but when their children arrived and the house became too small, he moved out. They were very nice people. He died in about 1955.
Then there was Papa's cousin (Aunt Agathchen with Uncle Daniel Conrad), who vouched for us so that we could come to Canada.
In Germany we heard rumors that you could emigrate to Canada. Since the Russians were allowed to take all Russian citizens back to Russia and they were even allowed to go into the other German zones to find russian citizens, we often contemplated emigrating to escape the Russians. We were happy that we were finally in a country where German was spoken, but things in Germany did not look very good at that time.
So Mutti asked if our Canadian relatives could help us. The Regehrs were too old and could not help us, but they encouraged the Conrads and they managed to get us to Canada. We arrived in Montreal Quebec on August 26, 1948 on the ship "Tabinta" at 11: 20-11: 30 and at 13:30 we stepped on to Canadian soil for the first time.
We arrived in Kitchener on a very hot day. While we were still in Germany, Mutti let us (Anni and me) sew dresses of thick wool fabric, she wanted us to make a good impression here in Canada. So we put them on, but it was too warm here, and we did not keep them on long.
Here in Kitchener Conrads took us in first, we lived in their basement, but soon they found Mutti, Herti and Gretchen a small apartment with a Mennonite family. Anni and I stayed with the Conrads. We were soon employed, Anni started at "Smile's and Chuckles" (chocolate factory) on September 7. I started working at "Goodrich" (rubber factory) on September 8 but I was laid off after 2 weeks because the "Union" said DP's (Displaced Persons) were taking jobs away from Canadians. I crossed the street to "Kaufmann", also a rubber factory. They were also laying people off but there was no "union" and they hired me. I worked there for 4 years. I stopped before Elvera was born.
Aunt Agathchen Conrad was very supportive of us. She found us housing, and a job for Mutti. The "Good Shepherd" church on Margaret Ave. was looking for a caretake. They did not want to hire a woman. But T. Agathchen managed to persuade them to accept us. We were strong workers and Mutti was only 45 years old after all. We were allowed to move into the little house next to the church. We could be together again and had 2 bedrooms, a living room and a kitchen. We felt so rich and were so thankful for the God's gracious guidance.
Anni later worked at "Schneiders" (meat factory), Herti went to school and Gretchen started in 1st grade. The school was not far away. It was very difficult for Herti. She was put in a much lower grade because she did not speak English. She would have been happier in a class of kids her own age. She learned the language very quickly and was then moved up to her proper grade. After graduation she got a job at "Mutual Life".
Once we paid off our travel debt, Anni married (January 28, 1950), and soon afterwards I married (February 16, 1952) and Herti married on July 31, 1954. Our husbands helped Mutti a great deal. The grass had to be cut and in winter the snow had to be shoveled. The church was on a corner, so there was a lot of sidewalk to shovel. Everything had to be done with the shovel, there were no snow blowers back then. My husband Jacob got a hernia while handling the heavy ladders to hang the curtains in the auditorium. He had to be opperated on. I also got a hernia when I was young. The container I had to carry to spray the lawn for weeds was probably too heavy.
Then on July 3, 1955, Mutti married and moved to Leamington and thus the church work ended.
We liked to vist Mutti and father David Krüger in Leamington. The children know David Kueger as Opa. They all liked him. He was a dear Opa. They had a farm, so we often drove there to help harvest the tobacco. Burley tobacco was hung up in the barn where it had to dry and then mom and dad packed it later. The leaves were stripped and packed.
We celebrated many a family celebration at the farm. The house was big and the children had a lot of fun there. They probably have many good memories from those visits. Mutti and Opa then sold their farm and they built a small house. Mutti felt really at home there. When Mutti could no longer look after Opa he had to go to the nursing home and, Mutti moved into an apartment in town and later into an apartment in the nursing home, so she could visit Opa more easily. Opa died on May 17, 1980. Mutti died on March 20, 1994. I still miss her and Wish that I had done more for her in her last years of life. I have always valued Mutti and we got along very well when we lived together. When I first got married, I gave most of my attention to my husband and family, but after Mutti's death, I wished I had taken more time with her.