How I became Susann

I was born on February 3, 1921 on a very blustery day about four miles southwest of Altona in a village that used to be called Blumenhof, which does not exist any more, only the cemetery is there.

In those days doctors had to be called in by horse and sleigh and registration of names did not take place soon after a child was born. By the time my name was registered it was already the following December. How that happened – well, you didn’t just go to town any old time. It was in December that father gave a paper, just an ordinary piece of paper, a letter, to register my birth, to someone – no-one seems to remember who it was, to take into the municipal office to register my name. Father had written down Susannah. I was supposed to be registered as Susannah, with the “ah” at the end. Well, whoever went and took the letter in decided to change my name and call me “Susie”on the municipal registration, which, of course, I never was. I was always called Susan.

To prove that, I have report cards from my elementary school that shows my name in the Register as “Susan”. I never liked just the single “n”, and so to change that I went to the Norquay Building in 1986 when I planned to go to Australia. I had to have an ID Card for a new passport. I wanted that information to be as I had registered in university. As Susann with two ns. I’ve checked our 1941 marriage certificate and there I am still Susan with one “n”, but by the time I finished my degrees in the 1960’s I was using the two n’s.

I had no trouble getting my Social Insurance or Canadian Pension or Old Age Pension under the name Susann. But I was having trouble getting it that way on my passport so I had to go get it changed. The people in the passport office or Vital Statistics told me to bring in some official document, a school register, for example, before I had turned 15. So I dug up an old school register from the time I was in grade six or seven, Kate Klassen would have been my teacher; and there, sure enough, I was registered as Susan. Not “Susie”, which I never was, or even as “Susannah” as father had wanted to name me. But as Susan.

So I brought a copy of this record in to them, to prove my name had been Susan, and that my name had been wrongly registered. This they accepted but I did have to pay $25 to add the second n, to make my name Susann, the way I had been writing it for a long time already. I liked it better that way, and it seemed to me I was just shortening my name, dropping the “ah” from Susannah as Dad had wanted to name me, and writing my name as Susann.    

I was never Susie. They never even called me Susie at home. Sometimes they called me “Sue”- “Suess” in low German. But I objected to ever being called “Sahn”, that’s low German, an ÄltColonische Wort, for Susan. In Russia it would have been Sonja, and I would even have preferred that.

What else do you want to know?



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Libby’s Crunchola

I’m making this now.  Lynn and me enjoyed this granola on one of our Toronto sleepovers visiting friends Ian and Iarra in their Runcesvaille home. Ian got this recipe from Libby. I eat a lot of porridge most mornings and this is a lovely change still using a lot of oats and even more good stuff. Works wonders with yogurt. I’ve also discovered Spoon Size Shredded Wheat and Bran has more fibre than bran flakes and no sugar and salt.
The original recipe:
1/2 cup oil with a little milk
1/2 cup honey (and/or maple syrup in my version)
6 cups oats (3 quick, 3 regular)
1 cup wheat germ
1 cup wheat bran
Raisins, sunflower seeds, dried apricots (my favourite), dried apples or other fruit.
We also added walnut pieces and dried cranberries.

Mix the dry ingredients, except the seeds and fruit, in a big roasting pan. Boil the liquid ingredients.

Mix the hot liquids into the dry ingredients making sure each bit becomes a little wet.
Toast at 325 for about an hour, stirring thoroughly each 20 minutes.
Add in nuts and dried fruit. A total of 1-1/2 or 2 cups should do.


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Victor Enns reads and writes poetry and fiction. Afghanistan Confessions, poems in the voice of Canadian soldiers, was published in 2014, boy in 2012. Lucky Man (2005) was nominated for the McNally Robinson Manitoba Book of the Year award.