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  • 3 read more A Birth, a Flag, and My Introduction to Military Erotica

    A Birth, a Flag, and My Introduction to Military Erotica

    by Becca J.R. Lachman


    From: Rebecca Lachman

    Date: November 2, 2012 2:22 PM EDT

    To: Mann, Jeff

    Subject: Our intertwined books

    Greetings, Professor Mann.

    My name is Becca J.R. Lachman. I'm a poet and composer who teaches writing at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. I've been meaning to email you for awhile because it seems we share a unique connection. Here's the story in a nutshell:

    Last spring, my first collection of poetry The Apple Speaks was published. While visiting my hometown in NE Ohio, I distributed a few author copies among family members. My 83-yr-old Mennonite grandma handed ...

  • 0 read more By Way Of The Barn

    By Way Of The Barn

    by David Elias

    "Through the ample open door of the peaceful country barn,

    A sun-lit pasture field, with cattle and horses feeding;

    And haze, and vista, and the far horizon fading away."

    Walt Whitman

    Read almost any Mennonite author and sooner or later you will come across a reference to some variation of "the barn" in their work. And we've already had references to barns in some of the presentations at the conference here. The place has a habit of popping up in their poetry and novels, short stories and essays, perhaps only mentioned in passing but just as easily chosen as ...

  • 0 read more Oral History

    Oral History

    by Connie T. Braun

    My memory has captured an image of her; apron clad, in the kitchen, the table-top dusted with flour, her thick hands in dough and, as the table creaked under the weight of her efforts, my plump grandmother vigorously pummeling it so that it would rise again, divine. Yet, as potent as an image is, and more than I might realize, memory is of the tongue.

    In my grandmother's kitchen, the food of my childhood was not only delicious to the taste buds, but the foreign names, like zwieback[1], the glide of vowels, diphthongs of dialect, and jumble of ...

  • 0 read more Daughters Speak: What the Father Offers

    Daughters Speak: What the Father Offers

    by Mary Ann Loewen

    I remember years ago accusing my husband of being easy on our two daughters and hard on our son; I also remember my daughters accusing me of favouring my son over them – in fact, their secret name for him was 'Baby Prince.' And one of my daughters admits that she is kind of a 'daddy's girl.' Two years ago Sons and Mothers was published – a collection of stories that I edited, written by Mennonite men about their mothers. A corollary to that, Mennonite women writing about their fathers, is currently in the hands of the publisher. Working ...

  • 0 read more Family, Nonviolence, and Social Class in Adoption: One Family's Story

    Family, Nonviolence, and Social Class in Adoption: One Family's Story

    by Hope Nisly

    "You're going to have to face it, Mom," my daughter taunted me. "Me and my friends are just white trash. And we do white trash kinds of things."

    She was fifteen and had only lived with us since she was eleven. I was explaining to her why we wouldn't allow her to go with her friend's family to a casino. I had a pretty good idea what went on there. The other parents both drank and played the slots while our two 15-year-old kids did what they wanted – which included drinking, smoking, and sex in the ...

  • 0 read more Adoption, Faith, and Belonging

    Adoption, Faith, and Belonging

    by Fran Martens Friesen

    I recently interviewed several families living in the Fresno, California area to explore their experiences with adoption. The following five stories, told from the parents' point of view, are limited to the following scope: Mennonite and/or Anabaptist families, Caucasian parents, and transnational adoptions of children from Asia. Here I present several vignettes categorized into the following: Motivation to Adopt, Initial Bonding, and the child's Construction of Identity. In all of these categories, I note the role of religious faith and how it is reflected in various and meaningful ways.


    Anthropologist Linda Seligmann (2013) examines the ...

  • 0 read more Displacement, Mennonite/s Writing, and the Human Barnyard

    Displacement, Mennonite/s Writing, and the Human Barnyard

    by Kyle Gerber

    In her introduction to Acts of Concealment – the volume of published proceedings from what might be retrospectively titled Mennonite/s Writing I – Hildi Froese Tiessen quotes Robert Kroetsch's thoughts on narrative revelation and concealment: "To reveal all is to end the story. To conceal all is to fail to begin the story. Individuals, communities, religions, even nations, narrate themselves into existence by selecting out, by working variations upon, a few of the possible strategies that lie between these two extremes" (qtd. in Tiessen 19). Despite the 27 years between that first Mennonite/s Writing conference in Waterloo ...

  • 0 read more Art, Migration and (Home)making: Mennonite Women, Mexico and ‘the World’

    Art, Migration and (Home)making: Mennonite Women, Mexico and ‘the World’

    by Abigail Carl-Klassen

    50 years after their arrival from Prussia in the 1870s, 7,000 Altkolonier (Old Colony) Mennonites left Manitoba and Saskatchewan to form new, more conservative colonies in northern Mexico, due to conflicts with the Canadian government concerning secularization and compulsory English language instruction mandates for colony schools. The Mexican government promised Old Colony communities educational autonomy and exemptions from military service in exchange for occupying and developing remote, yet contested, territory in the wake of the Mexican Revolution. The first colonies in the states of Chihuahua and Durango were established in 1922 and 1924 respectively and grew quickly as a ...

  • 0 read more Self-Portraits with the Flower Women (Las Mujeres Flores, Yo, and Eunice Adorno)

    Self-Portraits with the Flower Women (Las Mujeres Flores, Yo, and Eunice Adorno)

    by Abigail Carl-Klassen


    One time I watched Willy Zacharias’ mom lift a refrigerator above her shoulders and into the bed of an F150. Engalander teenage boys, friends of her son, stood stupid, slack jawed with a dolly and bungee cords in their fists, as she swatted them back with her neck. Wiping her hands in the pleats of her dress, she tipped her head back pursed her lips and said, well, guess I’ll get supper started.


    After supper, the men talked in the living room while Leah and I scraped the last bits of baked potato into the trash. Stacked towers ...

  • 0 read more The Schekbenjel Goes for a Ride: Mennonite Settlements, Chihuahua, Late 1980s

    The Schekbenjel Goes for a Ride: Mennonite Settlements, Chihuahua, Late 1980s

    by Abigail Carl-Klassen

    I had me two girlfriends once. In different Darps but still close enough

    to walk. I'd visit one Sunday after church, then I'd visit the other one

    Sunday after supper. After I started working, just a Schekbenjel, but still

    making some dough, I saved up. Bought me a motorbike. Thought I was

    hot stuff cruisin' in and out of the Darps. I could go to a bunch of them

    now since I wasn't just walkin'. The bike was small but I was real

    fast. Kicking up dust like nobody's business. One Sunday, I'd blown

    off ...