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  • 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.


    MOTIVATION TO ADOPT

    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

    1.

    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.

    2.

    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 ...

  • 0 read more Watching Las Reinas: Escuela Secundaria, Cuauhtémoc, Chihuahua, 1990s

    Watching Las Reinas: Escuela Secundaria, Cuauhtémoc, Chihuahua, 1990s

    by Abigail Carl-Klassen

    I never got to be in the contest

    for the beauty queens even though I was

    nominated every year since I started

    school with the Mexicans. I bet

    I would have won too—everyone here

    is in love with rubias. I just got to bake

    cupcakes for the fundraiser. I didn't

    march in the Independence Day parade

    or dance folklórico either. My parents

    wrote letters saying it was against

    our religion, but I still had to help

    decorate during art class. I loved

    cutting out hearts and flowers for

    the floats and getting to use spray

    glitter. No matter how ...

  • 0 read more Interview with Anna Wall

    Interview with Anna Wall

    by Anna Wall

    ________________

    1. Tell us a little bit about your background.

    I grew up Old Colony Mennonite in Nuevo Ideal, Durango, Mexico. I have seven brothers and four sisters. I am the third oldest. My parents, all four of my sisters and one brother live in Mexico. Two of my sisters do seasonal work in Canada. I travel back to my colony in Mexico about once a year to visit.

    2. What was your community's relationship with storytelling, writing, and books?

    Storytelling in the forum of gossip was practiced incessantly in my community. Books and writing not so much; in ...