I shared information about my mother´s mother´s family (Hoffman) so I think it only fair I share something of my mother´s father´s side of the family (Mehrer). Both families were German immigrant farmers from South Russia and came to Canada at the beginning of the 20th century to help populate and develop the prairie provinces.
While in Calgary last month I stopped in to visit my grandfather’s only living sister, Meta, and her husband Lex. They still live in their own home and put out a garden every year. At 91, Great Aunt Meta is in great shape and shared a wonderful story about her parents, my great grandparents, when they first settled on the homestead in southern Alberta.
As told to me by Meta (Mehrer) Davis
Father was out turning sod, when he had some trouble with the horses. He called to Mother, who came across the road, leaving the little ones in the house, thinking she would only be a few minutes. It took a long time before she returned – to an empty house. Panic-stricken she rushed out, calling the little ones but all that greeted her was silence. After searching the yard she returned to the house wondering what she could say to their father.
In the Kitchen, on one of the walls there were six large hooks on which to hang heavy garments. On one of these hooks hung the long, black wool coat that Dad had brought from Europe. A long bench sat underneath. As she entered the kitchen she noticed a slight movement of the coat. She pulled it to one side and there sat four little people, sleeping and perspiring. John holding the baby and a little girl on each side of him.
He explained to his mother that she was gone so long that he decided to keep them safe in case someone came to take them away.
Note: It was not uncommon for children to be abducted in Europe in the 1800s and John had heard these stories. Their ages at the time Baby (Frieda) one year old, Martha 2 ½ years, Beth 4 years and John 5 ½ years.
It was my dear grandfather, John, who protected his siblings all those years ago. He is the gentleman sitting on the far left in the family picture. Aunt Meta is standing beside him. He married my grandmother, had six children, thirty-two grandchildren and many great grandchildren. I remember him as a kind and caring man, always making sure his family was safe.
I also had the opportunity to visit my grandfather´s only surviving brother, Great Uncle Paul. (He is the little boy between the great grandparents in the family picture above). He is 86 years old, the same age as Mom. He also lives in the same care home as my mom so she gets to see him often. He, along with his brother, Great Uncle Andrew, farmed the original homestead, until fairly recently. He also had many interesting stories to tell me.
I wrote about the 100 year celebration of the Mehrer family here if you wish to learn more about this side of the family.
It was so wonderful to spend time with my grandfather´s siblings and hear stories about him and the family. I just wish I had spent more time with him when he was with us, as Grandpa loved to share stories.
Do you have any old timers in the family that enjoy sharing stories of the past?
Amanda has travelled to some interesting places like the United Arab Emirates, Spain and England. She has always enjoyed herself, in spite of the dangerous situations she has found herself in. This time her BFF, Leah from England, is coming to visit her in Alberta. Will she be able to find enough fun things for them to do? After all it is only Alberta, her home province in Canada.
Read more about the book, a great review and a message from me here. Pop over to the site, make a comment and share if you wish, to help me celebrate.
Thanks so much for the support all of you have given me and Amanda over the past few years.
A couple of posts ago I showed this picture of my great grandparents, Henry and Katharina Hoffman taken when they arrived in Canada in 1909. They came from South Russia with three children, had one on the way to the homestead in Alberta (my grandmother) and had seven more once settled. This picture was taken much later with the surviving children. My grandmother is standing, third from the right. This picture of Great Grandmother and Great Grandfather Hoffman at their 50th Anniversary, in 1954, shows all the children and their spouses. My grandparents are the second couple on the right. The only one still with us is Great Uncle Tony, married to my grandmother´s sister Ann. (First couple on the left) The descendants of these brave, hardworking people have been meeting every five years for the past 30 years at The Hoffman Reunion. The reunions are organized by a different family group each time. This year the reunion was organized by the Raymond Becker family, descendants of Great Aunt Lindina, one of the little girls on the original picture. It is a lot of work and they did a great job. I am so glad I crossed the Atlantic to attend.
It was so great to see all my many cousins, aunts and uncles. We ate fabulous German food, caught up on news, reminisced, played cards and board games, looked at old pictures, shared hugs and ate some more. Being together was all that mattered. Family pictures were taken and loved ones no longer with us fondly remembered. I brought my 14 year old grandson and my 8 year old great granddaughter, who had a fabulous time. I was able to take mom out of the nursing home for a couple of hours to attend. At 86 she was almost the oldest person there. 136 attended this reunion; out of over 250 descendants spread all over the world, that is a good turn out. The youngest was 11 days old, the oldest 91.
A popular event, after the German meal and Hoffman Olympics, is the silent auction. Family members donate items and others bid on them to raise funds for the next reunion in five years. The bidding is fierce as everyone vies for cherished items such as hand knitted afghans, homemade wine, jams, pickles and many other treasures. There is much friendly competition, no one gets hurt and most leave with something to take home.
You can see my great granddaughter had a lot of fun and met many relatives she didn’t´t know she had.
Every time I attend these events, I feel so blessed to belong to such a large loving family that stays in touch with each other, no matter where we live.
I just returned from a trip home to Alberta, Canada, where I attended my grandson´s graduation and a large family reunion, visited many friends and relatives and spent quality time with mom, my son and his family. Needless to say I had a wonderful time. I´ll let the pictures tell the story.
So glad I could be there for this important occasion.
I saw many relatives I hadn´t seen for some time, including my 91 year old great aunt and her husband in Calgary, my dad´s 90 year old brother and my 86 year old great uncle in Medicine Hat. Always good to see them and hear their wonderful stories, some of which I plan to share on this blog.
I´ll write more about the family reunion which deserves its own post.
It´s now day 5 of the Five Day Challenge. This is how it works: Post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or a short paragraph and each day nominate another blogger for the challenge.
This is my picture for day 5
Family Picture 1909
This is one of my favourite family pictures. As you can see it is very old. It is of my Great Grandfather and Great Grandmother, Henry and Katherina Hoffman, my great Uncle Gust and Great Aunts, Tillie and Lindina. Great Grandmother is expecting my grandmother in this picture. The family had just arrived in Canada from South Russia. As Germans living in South Russia, they could no longer stay due to the political climate at the time. After crossing the Atlantic in a cattle ship, they were about to travel by train across Canada to their homestead in southern Alberta. The journey was delayed by a stop in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where my grandmother, Lydia, was born. Once settled on the prairies, Great Grandmother gave birth to nine more children. I remember her as a strong, hardworking woman who always put family first.
This will be my last blog for a couple of weeks as I am travelling to Canada soon to attend a Hoffman family reunion in southern Alberta where the many descendants of these hardy, brave individuals will celebrate with food and stories, and carry on the tradition of family get-togethers. I expect to see well over one hundred relatives. We are all forever grateful that these incredible people made the decision to immigrate to Canada when they did.
Now I would like to nominate Marylin at Things I want to Tell my Mother Marylin writes wonderful stories about her mother, before the onset of Alzheimer´s, in a compassionate and often humorous style. You will enjoy her blog.
Thank you so much for following these posts.
Here is my picture for Day 4 of the 5 day challenge.
About The Five Day Challenge: Post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or a short paragraph and each day nominate another blogger for the challenge.
The Four Bears
The four bears, Elvis, Ted, Tootsie and Spot, lived on a farm with a little girl who loved them very much. She played with them everyday and made up adventure stories for them. The little girl grew up, as little girls do, and moved to the city. She put them in a box and seldom took them out or told them stories. She had children of her own who had their own special teddy bears. She moved to a bigger city and then to an even bigger city by the ocean. The box with the four bears always went with her. But the box was never opened and the bears had not seen the light of day for many, many years. Then one day, the girl, who was now a grandmother, was cleaning out a storage locker when she opened a dusty old box. “My teddies!” she shouted. She hugged each one, cleaned them up and aired them out. “You are coming with me,” she said. They didn´t argue. They always went with her. Elvis, Ted, Tootsie and Spot were put back in a box and travelled across the ocean. A few months later, when the box was opened, they were greeted with brilliant sunshine and heard a familiar voice say, “Welcome to Spain!”
Now I would like to nominate Nancy over at Living the Seasons. A visit to her site is a must. She is an excellent photographer, her posts are great to look at and enjoyable to read. She has a wonderful sense of humour and every now and then lets the beagle write a post!
Here is my picture for Day 3 of the 5 day challenge.
The Five Day Challenge is: Post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or a short paragraph and each day nominate another blogger for the challenge.
Darlene in the Desert
This is a picture of me in the desert of the United Arab Emirates. I visited a friend, a few years ago, who was working there at the time. I had such an amazing experience. When I returned home, I knew I had to write about it. Six months later, I started a story about a twelve year old girl who travels to the UAE and has an adventure. This story eventually became Amanda in Arabia – The Perfume Flask, my first published novel. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. In my case it turned out to be fifteen thousand words. Like me, Amanda has done more travelling since.
Now I would like to nominate Fatima Saysell at Welcome to My World to do the 5 day challenge. Fatima was born and raised in Spain, lives in England and travels to France for holidays whenever she can. Hop on over to her blog where she shares great pictures and writes about her wonderful camping trips to France.
I am having fun with this challenge, hope you are enjoying the short daily posts.