Redrooffs Readers (and Friends) Book-club Reading List (2017-2018)


Edward Dolnick The Forger’s Spell Sept
Joan Thomas The Opening Sky Oct
Margaret Lee Shetterly Hidden Figures Nov
Margaret Atwood Hag-Seed Dec (Cover detail below)
(along with Shakespeare’s The Tempest)
Paula McLean Circling The Sun bumped by Bill Browder’s Red Notice January
Jan Carolyn Abraham The Juggler’s Children Feb
Ann Patchett Commonwealth Mar
Diana Athill A Florence Diary April
Paul Rogers Irregular War: ISIS & The Next
Threat FromThe Margins bumped in favour of TBA


Possibly From Other Titles of Interest
 Peter Wohlleben The Hidden Life Of Trees
Yuval Noah Harari Homo Deus
Patrick Suskind Perfume
Timothy Taylor Silent Cruise
Michael Redhill Bellevue Square
Ian MacEwan Sweet Tooth
Zadie Smith Swing Time
Deborah Levy Hot Milk
Elena Ferrante My Brilliant Friend (Book 1 of the Neopolitan Novels)
Bob Smith Hamlet’s Dresser: A Memoir

Let’s Talk #2



What if as part of “Let’s Talk,” we had a “We’ll Listen” campaign. File this under new ideas and let’s talk and mental health. The idea is this; start with a pilot project in a few high traffic malls, the airport, the universities, the library and offer to listen to passers by for 20 minutes at a time, with a 40-minute maximum. Listeners get a 20-minute rest every hour. Listeninng Pilot projects would be set up during the peak times of stress including Christmas in the malls, exam time at the university for example, listening stations in November running through until Valentine’s for the 1st market test.

The possibilities for listeners would include students who need the experience and wages better than most service industries, and volunteers including seniors looking for a “jobette,” to keep financially afloat, offering half decent wages up to $40/hour, and being able to bring their pets as an additional service to clients. The fees would start at $25.00for 20 minutes, $40.00 for 40. More money like coffee shops for quick turnover.

Extras could include hugs, comfort animals, coffee, milk & cookies, like high powered juice and water bars in gyms. NO mention of therapy or therapeutic value or services. Just listening. Hugging could be offered as an additional service, but not part of the Listeners job. Maybe greeters like going to see Santa. A hug when you come in, a hug when you’re ushered out, and a final hug after payment is made.

iPhoto opportunities could be important and in first years no extra charges for people being hugged or standing next to Listenning people wearing masks chosen resembling Freud, Jung, Klein, Lacan, Kristeva. This is a paradox, yes? No therapeutic value offered and yet photos with psychiatrists and psychologists. Maybe even a “Listenning Hall of Fame!” It’s the earnestness of most helping professions that drives me round the twist.

The recent Manitoba Health Report noted a need for 160 new psychologists working in Manitoba. This Listenning service could draw attention to the importance of mental health, but with tongue in cheek. The LISTENINNG attitude could be substantially different than active listening/clinical psychology or talk therapy, and would best start on a light-hearted note. This is not a crisis listening situation, almost the opposite. Anyone not threatening suicide or carrying a gun or other weapons could step up, and sit down to talk. No Beck inventory, no Briggs Meyers.

Some project specific curriculum and training might be needed, but we would consider listeners in its initial iterations as passive, while providing body language indicating the listener is hearing what is said. Would succeed best with emphasis on recruitment and training. It would be a real people business.

If this were to become an accepted practise, set up next to the key cutting kiosks and neck massages, the training could grow. My experience, and not just for kids, has been positive with the “How to talk so kids will listen, and how to listen so kids will talk approaches by Adele Faber, and Elaine Mazlich. maybe a bit of Virginia Satir and her book “people making,” but would need our own curriculum as the service moves to “active listening.” Both could be offered, with “active listening” requiring an upgrade to premium.

Listeners would have a few prompts if needed, but it’s the listeners paying, so their imperative. There are more and more people living single lives…this would be easier, and a wholesome personal service compared to some others. So pick-up a pre-packaged dinner after you’ve used 20 minutes you would give to prep time, to emotionally preparing to go home whether it’s a zoo or you live alone (I think still the largest market).

Until robots have AI, this business would be about lightly trained listeners listening to people, offering no answers to personal questions and dilemmas, no referrals with qualifiers that Listen INNG offers no therapeutic recommendations. Could be set up at malls big box stores, festivals. If pleased with being heard, likely return business. Think about massage therapy…But unrealistically they would expect listeners to remember them and what they had said. So note taking, also company trained. Everyone with a tablet…

Response # 1
Yesterday I was a passenger on the way to an event, with the driver talking about a workplace situation where he kept telling an employee the same thing over and over again, and she didn’t get it, and nothing was changing. I suggested active listening. I don’t know how impressed he was with that idea, because it is counter-intuitive: we “know” when someone is stupid or wrong so we keep repeating ourselves, hoping they’ll “get it.” Hard to set that “knowing” aside and start listening.

I think it would be quite possible to sell active listening as a technique to get the change you are looking for. But the thing is–it’s not really a technique. Yes, there are some elements that can be learned with practice. But the heart of it is to set one’s own ego aside and truly seek to understand the other person. Setting one’s ego aside . . . how do you teach that? A true active listener has to be in touch with his/her own disquiet, and able to self-calm.
Response 2
This idea really isn’t so new. Couldn’t one simply say that this is what has been taught in clinical counseling courses around the world for the past, what?, century (or slightly more). Sure, there have been some interesting twists and turns along the way, some salutary, some very much not, but the whole spin has been toward the ability to listen actively, including the notion of asking prompting open-ended questions that emerge from active engagement with the speaker. And, setting one’s ego aside, haven’t we been trying to take this on for centuries with yoga, with Zen Buddhism, hell, with Christianity? (I am nothing but a vessel of the Lord…)

My Response
Sure, you’re right. I would propose quickly two answers…one cynical…but no-one has exploited the lower end mass market for this. Imagine all the Trumpeter’s getting what really bothers them off their chest before they have to vote for a numbskull or someone decides to shoot up a school (there could be discrete entrances maybe buy up all the tanning salons going out of business). I started out cynical but always me the optimist will out. And all those Catholics who miss confession, and those Protestants and Jews who long for confession, etc…Could something like this make money? Maybe its like seeing Santa Claus with greeters giving you a hug, while you go sit on the couch and talk, and then shepherded out with another hug, to go for your wallet. While “Three Hugs a Day, that’s the minimum” by Sharon Lois and Bran plays on………so touching…how to regulate?

Response 3
Well, I know that you’re trying to democratize or generalize an idea that’s been with us for a while, and I like the idea of just supplying some listeners. Listeners who don’t talk; they listen. And, they’re paid to listen. 

That’s cool. I’m just pointing out that there might be a few hurdles. But, maybe not many. Maybe there will be no licencing problems because there’s no therapeutic intent or intervention of any kind. It’s all totally passive. I like the image of the RC confessor. Without the final mention of 100 hail marys.

I don’t know. I think the concept needs some work to turn it into a money-maker, that’s all…



My Left Foot


IMG_3049The word amputation makes us flinch

After a rare year without surgery I have a below the left knee amputation scheduled at the HSC on March 26, 2018. My left foot can bear no weight, and I have plenty.

The foot is ever more deformed; this picture goes back to August. Stage Four Flat Foot is the name, pain is my game. So as it offends me, off with my foot! “Lousy cartilage genetics,” said the surgeon who has preformed the previous five foot surgeries and will amputate  The hips too, have been replaced. The pre-op for this amputation will confirm I have enough working parts to do without my left foot and ankle. I want to walk again. I spend most of my time now in a wheelchair. which is a pity. Gimli is a remarkable sensible walking town. So after the wound heals, and I spend 40 days in Rehab learning to walk with a new prosthesis, I look forward to it. Meantime I’ve started work on a new project called The Pain Room.


Let’s Talk One; Monday November 12, 2017


Housekeeping interuptus


Assigned Task: Empty the dishwasher.

shpitzdishesthLeave my desk, turning around in my wheelchair, remembering I have empty cups and mugs on my desk. I turn back pick them up. Take them to the dining room table. Notice salt and pepper shakers waiting to be filled. Before rolling into the kitchen on to the lino, I notice the floor is dirty. Turn back, get a small bagless vacuum cleaner, (replaces the Shop Vac in my locker bought on impulse because I wanted to vacuum my apartment and was angry I didn’t have the Miele anymore, so in a self-defeating act of defiance I bought a huge high powered shop vac at the local Home Hardware, which was always in the way until I replaced it, the ShopVac I mean), and vacuum the kitchen floor. Realize after, it’s likely full, and spill the bagless vacuum container when I open for it to go in the garbage. The good hepa filter is really dirty, (partly because I use the vacuum to pick up my coffee grinding spills) so I rinse it, and manage to open the dishwasher door, I see I have no counter space so I start to put away the spices usedfor supper yesterday. Fill the salt and pepper grinders. See the coffee containers, grind the rest of it, and realize I’m going to run out this week, when the phone rings. It’s the Dr.s office, he’s covering in Emerg today can I come tomorrow. No, how about Thursday, ok at 1:20. Roll back, put the filter back in the Handi-Vac, and vacuum the floor again, closing the dishwasher to do so. Open the door under the sink to vacuum and the recycling is full. I collect the newspapers and realize I will have to change my WFP information for the third time since September because delivery has stopped while I wait for a replacement master card. I fill up the recycling bag to have an excuse to go to the main floor and check my mail before I “finish” emptying the dishwasher. So, as suspected, too early, no mail yet, but aha I sure fooled me! Because I have this here blue bag of recycling to toss into the bins at the end of the hall. I get back and realize I’m thirsty, drink water, seeing my thermos of coffee say, ok you can stop for coffee AFTER you finish emptying the dishwasher. So now I’ve got the dishwasher open, and I take out the utensils and pout them away first, then pots pans, mostly lids it seems, but maybe leave the soup pot on the stove to make more soup to take to my brother who is in hospital. You can look up the recipe for beef and barley soup AFTER while you have your coffee, so the rest of the bottom of the dishwasher I put away. Then start on the top shelf. I notice grain bread with a bread knife and butter beside it, cut myself a slice, pour the coffee (nearly there!) into one of the clean mugs I’m putting away.

And then, and then TA DA! I finish putting away the clean glasses and other stuff from top shelf.

Elapsed Time 55 Minutes. Coffee and recipe search …….

Next Assigned Task: Fill the dishwasher.

Salt you can see


We were sitting around after our holiday roast beef dinner, sated though still with some red wine in our glasses. I said that I have started checking before posting a new idea for my Idea Catalogue, which is where I’ll re-post this. I said we should have salt we could see. It’s hard to see because it’s white and disappears on your food. I’m farsighted making it more difficult. So a google search, and Argentina is on the case. This may just be an advertising campaign,  but it’s a damn good idea, don’t you think?

One of the reasons I like Mingus/Like Listening to Mingus


Ted Curson, Trumpet:

CursonreDolphyimagesAfter a yearlong stint with Cecil Taylor that resulted in one concert and a recording for United Artists (Love For Sale, 1959 or 1957 [depending on who one asks]), Curson joined Charles Mingus in a quartet in 1960, with reedman Eric Dolphy as a foil. “I got a phone call from a friend of mine and he said ‘I got a call from Mingus and I don’t want to play with that crazy motherf*cker. You want to take my place?’ It was in Teddy Charles’ loft, and there were a 1,000 or something musicians in there jamming, and I met Mingus and we played and everybody dropped out and that was it. He said ‘maybe one day I’ll call you’ and about two or three months later I get a call at about midnight and it’s Mingus. ‘Ted Curson? Charlie Mingus here. You start right now. I’m at the Showplace in the Village and as soon as you get here, you go to work.’ I got there and he said ‘Okay ladies and gentleman, here’s your new band – Ted Curson and Eric Dolphy – and you other cats are fired!’ Curson stayed with the Mingus group through 1961, including an important performance at the Antibes Jazz Festival in France in July of 1960. Curson was the group’s media spokesperson, which was a good thing for the trumpeter, as his image became more firmly rooted in the European public – laying the groundwork for a warm European reception a few years later. For Curson, “the main thing I picked up from Mingus was to ‘do your own shit, straight ahead no matter what.’

My Big Sister Wallops a Bully


After your tumble down the stairs in the pram, I was charged with taking a very black and blue you to the store, past the gauntlet of Roy Smith and his gang of bullies.  They started taunting margme about how you looked, and I had just had enough. I hauled off and gave Roy a good right hook to his left cheek. He didn’t see it coming from preacher’s daughter me. It must have hurt, because, he said,  “That dame sure can hit.”   One of my Gretna memories. Today, I’ d be charged with assault and sentenced to doing community service.(No priors).

Susann with 2ns 2



Baby Doll jpeg_face0Vic was a good-looking, handsome, healthy boy. Impatience was and still seems to be one of his characteristics. I used the carriage downstairs for his noon naps and the crib upstairs for the night. One September day I had put him to sleep in the carriage and left it in the living room. He had just learned to walk. I had decided to carry out a pail of water for washing the car.

I went back in immediately and to my shock I heard him howling down in the basement. He had managed to toddle to the basement door which I had not locked with the hook. He must have pushed the door and when it gave way he lost his balance and toppled down stairs. His face was black and blue on one side. I took him to Dr. Boreskie at once. No bones had been broken but it was a most frightening experience. And I had vowed that this baby would not fall down stairs as Garry had.

As a one year old Garry had also followed me down the cellar stairs in house at Lena. I had put a pot of hot water on the cellar stirs to cool for later use. He tripped over it and scalded his leg. The other time he came down the stairs at the John Neufelds house head first managing to stay upright with legs high in the air until I caught him a few steps up from the bottom. On another occasion we were visiting at Uncle Abe Enns’s and there were some other children romping around. In one place there were two doors close together and, in trying to elude the others, he took the wrong door – into the basement.

He had a nasty cut over his eye. — Only Marg did not seem to be quite as athletic!

Well, Vic got better again and as he got older he tried going down the stairs from the second floor. I had already placed my large heavy trunk across the top of the stairs as a barricade. But in an unguarded moment he climbed over the trunk and made his jaunt downwards!Watermelon and Rollkuchen

By the time Margaret was twelve and a half years old, she was finished with Grade 8 and entered the M.C.I. Of course she was the youngest student in the school and occasionally had to take some ribbing from her classmates. This did not seem to bother her much and she soon showed them that she was mature enough to be first in class. Margaret was ten years older than Vic and was quite a lot of help in taking care of him especially when I went back to teaching. The M.C.I. did not have school on Monday but on Saturday instead. This meant that she would be home on Mondays and I would be home on Saturdays.

thumb_Watermelon and Rollkuchen_face0

Something I read today.

Monster Seeks Minder

Jimmy-BangThis essay starts someplace and goes somewhere else. The hyperlinked Paris Review essay may explain what  I know I need to do, and am getting to, likely too late …but the conflation of being a sexual predator where it starts, as a man a monstrous man to make art, whereas all a woman gas has to do is leave her children… is a leap not worth making. It lacks equality. The range of human behaviour, often past all previous imagining (mass shootings, mosque bombings say) includes the dark side…”just wanna fuck n fight,” as The Kills paraphrase Marcuse in Eros and Civilization.

What seems to be missing now I think on it, is the possibility writers and artists may sublimate their darkest thoughts and desires to make profound art and literature, with whatever their imagination, thinking and writing give them. It’s not just writers and artists of course, we can all write for our lives[1].

One of my first short stories in university was about a conceptual artist advertising for a willing subject who agrees to be brutally beaten to death with a lead pipe and then have his various parts lacquered into place, on canvass. The process is captured by a stationary video camera. Then the finished piece including video and body painting is “exhibited.”… No matter how much I might want to beat someone to a pulp, I am 100% more likely to write imaginatively about it, than actually do it.

So Manhattan ok, screwing a high school girl as a moral question, in a great movie. Screwing your adopted high-school-aged daughter at home, not ok. The distinction between representing and doing is essential.

back to the essay….

Noticing the pram in the hallway in the essay, made me recall the time mother left me in the hallway, in front of an open doorway to the basement while she washed her new Studebaker, while I rocked the pram and flew into brick wall face first. So I’m told, I was only six months old. Then, when I was three, she locked the door against me…etc… to study for her B.Ed . So I was told. Those stories became poems in boy (Hagios 2012). So I make the connection to her selfishness first. Yeah, I think she was a feminist without much information or guidance except knowing she had every right to be equal to a man, and as such able to make her own decisions. (Susann with two ns will catch this up.)Susann's First Car

My father who shut his door to brood, think, read the Bible and prepare sermons also offended little boy me, and what selfishness I’ve chosen in my life is closing the door, as the essayist does, to write. My sister said she looked after me because “Mom and Dad were doing God’s work, somewhere else.” Selfish for God.

Another irony, I was at my selfish worst writing boy, locked in my room writing and drinking and writing. My 2nd ex-wife had done a runner, my third about to be wife was in Toronto doing her Ph.D course work in Toronto in 12 months. A pattern here, made worse because I was neglecting my daughter who was busting her brain to do well in a Kelvin IB program, it was self-defense and a shout-out to me who had his hearing aids out and the door closed. The boys were older, and that’s another story.

I never found out whether the woman I first married was selfish. Well, because I was selfishly getting drunk, you know like writers do. Same in my second relationship. Now I’m realizing learning to cook for women was probably a mistake, because once you are good at something you can unselfishly share in a family it can take you away from your selfish writer self. A chronic depressive, I never ever expected a woman to do much of anything for me but sleep in the same bed without fail, though I have had some definite advantages over the years and more recently married to a full-time professor, including an appreciation for good design she could afford, with good conversation and companionship not the least, though learning how to poach an egg is also right up there.

Now I poach my own eggs, as the third marriage winds up, and I’m left to look after myself. Despite disability it’s not that hard, nor would looking after someone else. Much harder is finding someone to look after me, something I never expected since my first hip surgery in 1969, though I did learn a lot from my brother and sister. Few women will look at me without thinking I’m going to be a lot of work. I’m physically becoming monstrous, need lots of meds and rest, and would love someone to clean up after me. How stupid is that. It’s 2017!

Now how do I find a woman ready to lick my stamps, like Vladimir’s Vera, and clarify my communications and maintain a steady flow of poems whatever to magazines. Minimize the number of my appointments and make sure I get to the ones I need to keep. Plus keep house, sleep with me, read books and enjoy conversation, and cook at least tolerably well.

cover57Wanted, I’ll say in my online dating profile…Monster, rarely travels, goes out only for food or doctors, constantly plays music at home; seeks minder, gatekeeper, conversationalist, and companion to provide peace and the eats so I can write…and finish another damn story!

[1] Ted Dyck, founder of the WFYL mental health movement in Saskatchewan.




Gruenthal School

Gruenthal School

My parents were now well established at their new location, having lived here since 1923. My brother Martin was the only one born at this place–and that at home in the “house end” of a large barn. The new house was located on Buffalo Creek with the east-west road running past our yard on the   south side. We lived only a quarter mile west of the new Public School which had been erected by the government in 1911. Instructions were to be in English now. German was taught a half hour each day from 8:30 – 9:00 a.m.and Religion a half hour 3:30 – 4:00 p.m.

The teacherage was built just south of the school but on the same yard.With the creek and the wide open meadows near by, it was a wonderful situation for someone like myself to be outdoors, play, catch gophers or just roam around to my heart’s content.

As indicated earlier, the school register shows small classes at the beginning. I only had two teachers for the eight grades which I did in seven years. My teacher for the first seven grades was an excellent, vibrant, thorough and dedicated one, Miss Kate Klassen.

The discipline she exercised then would not be permissible today. If a children found it difficult to sit still, she tried to teach them by tying them to their desks. Often a little one would wet her or his pants under these circumstances. Mouths were taped shut with adhesive in order to teach them not to talk. A lot of work was done at the blackboard – heads were often pushed forcibly against the board couldn’t perform or remember. Yet an average youngster could cover both first and second Grade in one year. This included writing legibly — not just printing. Beginners started school after Easter. This was all the Kindergarten they needed. They had a good head-start on Grade I when they returned to school in September. — Even today I feel that this would be plenty of time to prepare a youngster to start Grade I in September.

My negative memory of Grade I was the punishment I received when I accidentally broke a transom window with a snowball. I loved to play outdoors. As the snowdrift around the school was high, the Grade 7’s and 8’s were throwing snowballs over the school. As youngsters love to imitate, I thought I could do it, too. But no such luck. My snowball shattered the small window. The teacher, of course, had to punish me with the strap. My little wrist and arm swelled up blue to my very elbow. In those days the rule in Mennonite families was: “If you get spanked in school, you’ll get a double dose when you get home!” Scared of repercussions at home, I tried to hide my arm but Mother soon realized that there was something wrong and asked to see.She sent me to Father. Father was the “Official Trustee” since our district did not have a School Board. When he saw my arm, I did not get another spanking. I just overheard him saying to Mother: “Can’t she ever do anything in moderation?”

Catechism memorization started in Grade 3. I recall the contest that, whoever knew the 200 answers so well that the teacher could not get him or her stuck, he or she would be given a party at the teacherage. How she tried to get me stuck by asking back and forth through the Catechism! I made it to the party, too. And there I had my first taste of Jello!JelloSusann

In the winter the roads were closed to cars so the teacher’s car was put in our garage for several months; on blocks, to save the tires. She would either walk back to town for the week-end or stay over in the teacherage. Often my older brother would get her on the “caboose” at 20 – 30 below. She would still sit on the front seat with her legs dangling out of the front opening of the caboose. The teacherage would be cold and I recall going out to her residence to help her with getting in wood, lighting a fire. One time she opened the wood stove lid, put in paper and kindling wood and then pour kerosene over it. When she lit it, the fire burst up high and she’d keep on warning me: “Don’t you ever try doing this!”

The school itself had to be heated with wood and coal. We had a big stove in one corner at the back of the room. It had a sort of “jacket” around it. Students sitting near the stove would be roasting and those in the far corner were freezing. In the morning we had to take our ink wells to unthaw them on the stove’s ledge. During the first recess we often placed potatoes on the stove ledge — by noon the atmosphere of the room had the pleasant aroma of the potatoes we would have for lunch.

During the dry years of the 30’s this was indeed a luxury enjoyed only be some kids. Most often a honey-pail with maybe a “jelly-bread” sandwich in it was all that kids had. I recall one especially poor family who usually came to school bare footed when the spring snows had not all melted yet. Later in spring the children of this family keenly anticipated catching grasshoppers after four so they could fry their legs for supper.

Christmas Concerts were always the “high point” of the school year.Practices began early in December. What singing! Our teacher would borrow the gramophone from the Gretna Public School and use it to teach us the Christmas carols in two-part harmony, — no piano, no instruments, etc. The dialogues and monologues were fascinating! Of course all this in the German language.– The real magnificent tree with real wax candles. A father usually was in charge of lighting the candles and watching the tree for the rest of the program. A song was sung during the lighting of the candles, usually “O Tannenbaum” i.e. “O Christmas Tree”. The school was packed and in order not to have crying babies disturb the program, the teacher bribed the mothers with a yard of flannel to leave them at home.

The big boys would hang over the partition [low wall] at the back of the room to get the best view. Parents would of course discuss which child performed the best or wore the nicest dress. The opening congregational song “Dies ist die Nacht da mir erschienen–” still echoes in my mind. Of course, a good Christmas Concert meant a good teacher!

Winter blizzards were fierce and treacherous. Walking a quarter mile to and from school on the open prairie often meant: Look out! Under very adverse weather conditions, our older brother would sometimes come with the horse and “stone-boat” to pick us up at school. I remember peeking out from beneath the fur robe [cow hide] to see him walking beside the horse making sure that he would not miss the trail home. Mother would have the oil lamp lit and placed in the window. Everything seemed to be whirling and twirling in never-ending circles about you – pitch dark. There were no hydro or telephone lines to guide you. Oh what a joy to see a glimpse of the light in the window!

There were no T.V.’s, radios or oodles of games to while away a long winter evening. We had the Free Press Weekly and was it ever read! We had first introduction to “Little Orphan Annie,” “Moon Mullins,” “Home Loving Hearts” etc. Books available were only the ones in the school library and there were not many of them. I’m sure I’ve read the “Anne of Green Gables” series at least once every year. Therefore our texts were a joy to those who wanted to learn.

How exciting were those Geography maps of distant places! We had to know the capitals of all the countries of the world and had to be able to locate them on the large wall map. With pointer in hand I’ve had imaginary trips to far away places. Our teacher traveled a lot during the summer and enhanced her geography lessons with the cards she sent to her pupils from various places.

Outdoor play in winter meant tobogganing, sliding on the ice-bound creek and roaming through the bushes was in my life’s blood. There were so many rosehips to pick and chew along the creek. There were rabbits, muskrats, beaver and deer to look for. Many a nice slide was made down the straw

stack which had been kept for winter cattle feed and was covered with frozen snow. There was no nice toboggan. All I used was the top lid of a can or a shovel on which I would sit and hang on to the handle between my legs as I slithered down the slope.

Since oil lamps and lanterns had to be used, going to bed early was not a problem. Homework had to be done by lamplight, too. Mother would knit and sew. We had a checker board and my Dad liked to play the game with me. I re-call teaching him to read English from my books. He was born in 1879 and had only a Private School [German] education. But I still considered my Father to have a good education. Considering he was orphaned and abused since the age of seven, I still marvel as I recall his wisdom and intelligence. People living about us considered him quiet, well-groomed, trustworthy gentleman.




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