Chapter 3: Peter C. Loewen continued
copyright Lorilee Scharfenberg and Nettie Brandt 2000
Memories of Our Grandparents
(reminiscings by various grandchildren)
When I remember Grandma, I can't but think of a nice spring day, the sun shining warmly and no breeze at all. She was outside so often, singing, talking to the flowers, listening to the singing birds. She was always so overjoyed about new life coming out of the dry earth. I can still see her now, clipping a branch from a tree that was hanging too low. The sparrows were chirping loudly and she said: AShrip, shrap, shrip, shrap, all day!@ To me it seemed she was not satisfied with the singing the sparrows did.
Once when I entered her house to help with the Saturday cleaning (why she didn't notice me coming in I can't understand because we always knocked) I heard her reading Matthew 6:25-34 out loud about the sparrows that didn't worry about the food neither the lilies about their clothing. I was very sure that Jesus had thought up that sermon on a mountain, on a nice spring day as the sparrows sang and the lilies bloomed.
It seemed to me that Grandparents enjoyed life because they took time to do things together. They ate a bit, not too much, but they never went hungry; and worked a bit, not too hard but very steadily. Grandma was never without work. When she worked with wool Grandpa would often plan how to build a machine that would do that for her.
I can still picture them sitting outside on the swing after Faspa enjoying each other's company or looking around to see what was happening in the neighourhood. Neighbours could sometimes hear them singing there together.
When Grandma would begin to chat, she would step on Grandpa's toes so that he would listen and that she wouldn't have to repeat the sentences. In spring and summer when the raindrops would fall she often went outside bareheaded just to get a little wet.
I remember that when Grandma made klops (hamburgers) she would always make one with onions for herself and one without for Grandpa.
When Grandma went for walks, it would always take her a long time because she gathered all the stones and garbage on the road or field and pulled all the weeds that were in her way. She also pulled weeds on the field near their house. And all the time she would be singing, especially when she watered her flowers, of which there were many.
Her grandchildren (Ben's children) saw her going outside in the morning singing the song "Hallelujah, Schoener Morgen". The girls in that family were always eager to bring magazines and letters to the grandparents because Grandma would always reward them with a candy.
Grandpa was known for telling stories to everyone who would take time to sit down and listen to them. His stories always seemed so real. He told them in such a way that we always thought they must have happened to him or before his eyes. He always laughed or cried with his stories as was needed. They remained interesting even if they were repeated.
Shortly before Grandparents celebrated their 60th anniversary they were as excited as little children. Grandma showed me the kerchief that her mother-in-law had given her shortly before they were married. She still used it to go outside. She also talked about the time (a week before the wedding) she and Grandpa had tipped into the snow while riding horse and sleigh. Grandma said that had been a lot of fun. They told us a few stories from their early married life.
One of his grandsons remembers that Grandpa always used to spin his wheels while backing up and driving away with the car. Grandpa was also known for sneezing so loudly and so often that little children would get frightened sometimes.
Grandpa said that with the children coming so thick and fast, their vehicle could only accommodate them on their honeymoon. (It only had room for two.) Leona Loewen
I have many fond memories of my grandparents. My mom would go there one day a week. After school we (the children) would go to their place (from Ebenfeld to Eichenbach). For Faspa Grandma would make waffles and that delicious Kool-Aid pudding.
Grandma would always sing when she was working. She had a neat little garden in the summer with lots of pretty flowers. She was up with the sun in the morning.
Grandma's son Ben had a bull and when Grandma worked in the garden and sang, the bull on the other side of the fence would get angry at her.
Grandpa would sit in the living room or on the garden swing under a tree and watch the birds. I always loved to sit and listen to his stories about his good old days. Sometimes he would laugh and sometimes he would cry. Grandma often sat with him and made crazy quilt blocks or made rugs out of rag strips.
When Grandparents visited at our house, just before they'd leave, Grandma would put her hand in her pocket and we would hear the noise of plastic rustling. We knew what was happening. Her hand came out full of candy, one for everyone. Sometimes after they were gone, we'd find a pile of candy on the table or sewing machine, one for each of us.
Grandpa usually waited out in the car for a while until Grandma was ready to go. When she would finish visiting, she would only have one foot in the door and the car would start moving already. Both of them were positive and never became upset. They were a good example to us. Anna Kenegy
There is a cozy little house full of memories, in Eichenbach, which is nestled under a big tree and surrounded by a few shrubs. Two cousins live there now but the previous tenants still roam between the walls; they always will. Their spirits and memories linger on and will for a long time to come. Nothing aggressive, however, just a kind, kindred, graceful Christian blessing mixed with love and care for all mankind. They were my grandparents and they lived there for as long as I can remember. They left a deep impression on me and for a lot of others that also came to know, respect, and love them.
Grandpa was quiet but was full of humor. He was hard of hearing and it was difficult for my grandparents. For example, how did they communicate privately when all the kids were still at home? Grandpa handled it well although technology was not what it is today.
I was scared of Grandfather when I grew up. We lived a short distance away and I didn't get to see them as often as some of my other cousins. Grandfather would play with kids a lot and he would hook their necks with his cane! He meant well but I once questioned Martha and Norma how they could deal with the cane. It was no big deal to them! They knew he was just kidding around. I worked on my fears and I overcame them eventually.
My grandparents loved to go to their families= homes for meals. Grandpa said that the food tasted better with a group of people around the table and with the kids squirming around. Grandma would encourage all the children to clean their plates with a piece of bread. She said, "There are lots of children that are going hungry in the world."
Almost every time when Grandparents would come over, Grandma would put her hand in her pocket and we could hear the candy wrappers rustling! Oh joy! Sweet and sour fruit candy from Grandma! After a while we expected it. Later when she got older and we increased in number, she wasn't sure how many of us there were (she was always accurate). We would just find a certain amount of candy on a desk, table or on the sewing machine. Grandma loved neatness and sometimes when everyone sat down to visit after a meal, the girls did the dishes and Grandma would watch me wipe the table. She'd point out to me where I had missed a spot.
One memory I'll never forget is how Granny used to calm Ben Loewens= bull. She'd be working in her garden, picking weeds or hoeing or talking to her plants and the bull would be going at it mad as can be. Granny would start singing ever so softly and within a short while the bull was quiet.
Grandparents drove a blue car for as long as I can remember- it was old but in good shape. The car was an automatic. The gear shift on the steering wheel would rattle and that is how Grandpa knew whether or not the motor was running and he also felt the vibration of the car.
They were always hospitable, with open arms accepting young and old, large and small. Their home was open to all. I remember that my sisters and I went over to their house to inform them of the birth of our first niece. We arrived at the door and stopped to knock. Before we had the chance we heard Grandma and Grandpa singing. I know that the angels in heaven sang too! The two of them sang out of the old Gesangbuch uneven in harmony and with Grandpa=s shaky voice! It was beautiful! We waited until they finished and then we knocked.
Grandma was a flower. She also loved having them around her house. Lots of petunias and pansies. She would talk to her flowers and they were so beautiful, all summer long! I remember that in later years she received a rose bush. It grew well and started to bloom. When she passed away so did the rosebush! It never grew again.
Grandma would walk up and down the small road behind the house and pick up litter and pull weeds and hoe down the tall grass. She was a tidy person and very organized. As children we always knew where to find the toys, and later in life, her dishes. When we'd go over to visit, she would always have a pile of scrap material sitting on the living room table that was by the window. She would be sitting beside Grandpa sewing with her hands. Beautiful even stitches! She made so many crazy quilts. She didn't want to waste anything. She knitted gloves for all of us and they had individual fingers! My Mom said that she had learned to knit and crochet at the age of 10 and she passed that on to me as well. Great tradition!
Grandma wore gingham aprons and at the bottom she had a cross-stitch design. When she got a new apron, it got a cross-stitch pattern too! Her aprons never had shoulder straps. She just fastened the front with safety pins and tied the waist in the back. She wore heavy glasses by the time I was old enough to take notice of the color of her eyes so I don't what they were. Grandma had wavy white hair, soft as an angel=s wings. Her forehead was suntanned patterned after her waves. Her hair was rolled up in a bun under a black scarf. Her slippers would rustle as she walked since she never picked up her feet but rather shuffled. In the summer she'd wear open sandals because her feet were ill shaped and it was more comfy with the broken or cracked skin on her heels. She had heavy smiling lines on her face, years of smiles!
Loewen gatherings were fairly traditional. There was a lot of singing. Then came the children's poems. There was one rule: Stand in front of Grandpa and talk LOUDLY! Norma would cry a lot and I almost choked of nervousness. There would be some discussions and then some presents. We'd get a pen, hanky or a small plastic bowl or towel from the aunts or Grandma. Not too much candy - that was Grandma's idea. Everyone would bring a snack - oranges, peanuts, brownies and popcorn. Grandma would always bring puffed wheat cake with cocoa. Then the young folks would start throwing orange peel around the room. Uncle Jake would usually join in too! There was a lot of noise and some wrestling just for fun. In later years I would look over at the man of old and notice that he just sat there and enjoyed what he could. Grandpa must have said a quiet prayer for his descendants and enjoyed seeing them happy and healthy and then ask the Lord for strength to go on. I know that he prayed when he had no idea what everyone was talking about and especially during church. Grandma said that is what women do. Pray in Church. Worship!
I don't remember the grandparents having many cassette tapes. The radio in their car didn't even work! Nowadays that is something to look for! Cousin Pete drove an older model Chevy and it had long white antennas on each mirror on the doors. I believe he had another one on top. I remember visiting at Ben Loewens across the yard from the grandparents= home and Grandma said that she couldn't understand young people doing things like that. All that unnecessary stuff on a truck! She was satisfied with the basics.
For the longest time she laundered with a washing machine that had a wiring problem and that would almost throw sparks when she'd touch it. Water for washing was heated in a big kettle in the little room at the end of Uncle Ben's woodworking shed.
Grandparents both loved the Saturday night "singings". The cousins over the age of fourteen would go over to their house and sing for them and then enjoy a snack that everyone brought. Grandma made us learn a song she didn't have the notes for. One thing I can't forget is her ginger cookies or her cake doughnuts. That was something that was her favorite! Not mine, but hers. When Grandma got disoriented after a stroke, she talked about wearing a white robe. She was so much with the Lord already. At her funeral I couldn't stop crying until the preacher mentioned a cloud coming down with Jesus in it to take us all home. I imagined Grandma wearing white, and all of us going up with her in a cloud. Lena Peters
We used to go to Eichenbach about once a week. It was always a special day. First we would go into Grandparents= livingroom where we would greet Grandpa. In my youth I always was a little scared of him and we always had to shake hands with him and we were never sure when that walking cane would hook our leg and he would try to pull us closer. I always thought his voice thundered and growled as he spoke and I never understood him well but my Mom found it amusing. Next we=d check out the toy drawer where we=d find comfortable rag dolls with blankets and clothes. With so many cousins around we could not have wished for better times.
Now Grandma had her own quiet way about her. She would stitch on a blanket or knit mittens and then all of a sudden you noticed that she was setting the table and we=d all anticipate Faspa. As she worked, she sang and it made you wonder if she was dreaming about what she sang. I knew she was always praying for us.
As I grew older, I noticed different things. It was almost like paradise to walk through Grandma=s flower garden. There was that hot bed which had parsley, dill and lettuce inside and beside it were beautiful flowers stretching their necks up with pride into the sky. It seemed like they tried as hard as possible to tell of the tender care that she gave them and the songs they were used to hearing. They looked very peaceful and happy.
Now when we sat with Grandpa, it was easier to visit alone or with just a few people because of his hearing loss. We would greet each other, make small talk, there would be a lapse of silence and then he=d peer down at his toes, first with one eye, then the other. Soon you=d see a smile spread across his face and you knew a story had landed. If you=d look at him expectantly, he=d clear his throat, spit in his sawdust bowl and then the story would begin.
He'd mention that he was one of the first in the village (Rosenhoff) to buy a car when many of the people were still quite verbally against it. One day a member of a certain family became ill and it seemed to be an emergency. They were so happy when Grandpa offered to take them to the Doctor. Grandpa never heard much complaining from them about owning a car anymore. He also gained many friends quickly because of the car. They all wanted a ride and so he changed from a one seat car (bench) to a two-seater so he could take more people along. Maybe marriage was a reason as well? Agnes Guenther
Our Silver Wedding by Anna (Barkman) Loewen originally in German
Five and twenty years have sped quickly by
Since we stood at the altar
Giving each other hand and heart
Now we look back at our married life:
In 1922 on the 5th of February
We pledged our wedding vows.
Rev. John Friesen spoke the wedding blessing
And the promise stands to this day and hour.
We stayed for a year and a half in our parents= home (CDL)
And then moved to establish our own home on a farm
Given to us by our loving father.
There we were very happy and Yes,
These happy years went quickly by
When our parents were still with us with their wonderful advice.
When we needed their help
The road to our parents= home was always close.
Oh, how many wonderful times we've had
In the parental home - we need them still.
And we now confess that we didn't appreciate enough the parents' love - so true and wonderful.
But they couldn't stay forever in this world so full of woe
The parting was so painful for our hearts.
We are glad that they have come to their eternal rest
From their earthly pilgrimage.
The Lord has blessed our marriage
With twelve children in number
But one of our beloved that he had giv'n us
He took quickly to the Heavenly Home!
After looking over this beloved family
We don't feel worthy of this gift
How many happy hours are spent in the family circle
When parents= love entwines them all.
To draw them to the Heavenly Kingdom
We oft go to the Lord in prayer
Where we sincerely ask His help
And give Him all our hurts and cares.
Now three of our precious ones have freely giv'n
Their hearts to the loving Saviour
We will not stop praying and pleading
That the loving Shepherd will save them all.
That all of them will be there when that hour will come
That not one child will be missing
In that blessed Heavenly Home!
Peter and his wife Anna lived out their lives on the Quellen Kolonie in Mexico and to their great joy were able to witness all their children accept the Lord. Their greatest wish and prayer was that all their grandchildren and great-grandchildren would join them someday in Heaven. Anna died first, after suffering from several strokes while Peter passed away peacefully in his sleep several years later.
PETER BARKMAN LOEWEN -submitted by Lorilee Scharfenberg
Pete Loewen was a farmer: first in Riverside (close to Morris) and then for most of his life in Chihuahua. Elizabeth was a homemaker and mother.
Pete grew up in Rosenhoff in the Province of Manitoba. He was the oldest son of Peter and Anna Loewen. In 1940, he was baptized and became a member of the Kleinegemeinde Church in Rosenort. He served as a C.O. from 1941-1945, both on the farm and then later at lumber camp. In 1948 he helped survey the land in Mexico for those who were moving to Chihuahua. He married Elizabeth Brandt in 1949. In 1952 they, together with two children, moved to Mexico.
In 1958, many people from Quellen Kolonie, including almost all the ministers, left to move to Belize. One night Elizabeth had a dream that her husband would be called to the ministry. When she spoke to Pete about it, he told her that he already had received a personal, verbal calling from God but had not mentioned it to her. Shortly thereafter, in 1959, Pete was elected as a minister and in 1961 at the age of 39 he became the Bishop of the Kleine Gemeinde in Mexico. He served as a leader in three churches for a combined total of 30 years in the ministry. He had several heart attacks, one in 1987, another in 1990. He loved counselling and educating others.
Pete participated in mixed farming. He owned approximately 400 acres of land at the peak of his farming career and had several milk cows, hogs and chickens. He was always an extremely patient man even during seeding and harvest. His sons really appreciated the fact that their father was a jack-of-all-trades; he could seemingly do anything he put his mind to. The very first tractor he owned was a John Deere AB@. Unlike many farmers, Pete wasn=t terribly loyal to one particular company, although he seemed to prefer John Deere combines and International tractors. His favorite truck was his 1969 blue Ford. One of his greatest disappointments came after his first heart attack when he realized farming was too difficult for him. The farm was sold when he and his wife moved to Lowe Farm to do mission work there.
Pete's hobbies included reading and carpentry. He always set aside time to read his children a special true story, usually on Saturday nights. Pete also took the time to make each of their five children something special such as doll furniture for the girls and wheelbarrows for the boys. Christmas gifts were usually gifts that he had made himself. The gifts were put on the kitchen table and covered with a blanket so the children couldn't see them.
Family devotions were strictly kept every morning at breakfast and no one could stay in bed! During the week the family had silent prayer at meals but on Sunday the prayer was out loud. Children were often called into the parents' bedroom to discuss a problem and it would be brought before the Lord.
A family highlight was taking meals to the fields and working together, harvesting beans and picking corn ears that the picker had missed. The family still heated their home with wood so they would sometimes take trips to the woods in the mountains, pack a picnic lunch and everyone would saw and cut as much as they could. In the evening, after there was a good load cut, they'd enjoy a family picnic together in the bush. Pete, Elizabeth and the children also did a fair bit of travelling together to visit family in both Belize and Manitoba. Pete always made sure that when the family left for trips to Belize, they=d leave on a Saturday. This was so that he could stop and conduct a church service in Yermo (Old Colonist village) on Sunday. His children sort of dreaded this because they were so excited about travelling but it was a stop they always made. It became a bit of a family joke! Another trip that most of the family took was to the province of Ontario and then later, Manitoba. It was an enjoyable adventure that cost little but built a wealth of wonderful memories!
Pete died suddenly of a heart attack in 1994 and he is deeply missed both by the family and by the church that he led for so many years! Elizabeth enjoys keeping the house and yard in order, knitting, reading and gardening. She still manages to find time to do some travelling on her own.
ANNIE LOEWEN REIMER
I attended the Rosenhoff North School for seven years and was baptized in the Rosenort Kleine Gemeinde Church on May 24, 1942 by Rev. Jacob B. Kroeker. Klaas attended the Ekron School, southeast of Steinbach, for seven years. He was baptized on July 7, 938 by Rev. P.P. Reimer. Klaas and I were married on July 18, 1943. We were married in the forenoon and another couple (John L. Friesens) was married in the afternoon. Many of our guests came for dinner but due to the afternoon wedding, our afternoon program in my parents= home was not attended by many - we all fit into the living room.
We truly enjoyed living in the bush at Woodridge for two winters (1946 and 1947) with three other couples, logging and making pulp. Shortly after we were married, Klaas and I fostered a little boy named Eddie. It was heartbreaking when we had to give him up. In 1948 we moved to Mexico and made a new start in a strange land.
We were thrilled to welcome Sarah, Henry and later Aaron into our family circle. We have enjoyed our children and grandchildren immensely. Our most meaningful family time was when we travelled to Mexico in 1971 by bus. All three of our children were still living at home with us. Klaas and I enjoyed seeing our children follow the Lord in baptism and also witnessing their marriages.
In 1960 we moved to Belize with several other families. The jungle brush was cut with machete and then we had a TD9 crawler that cleared the bigger trees. We farmed approximately 188 acres. We have been involved in crop farming. We have grown corn, beans, milo and we have also tried rice. We have owned up to 69 cattle but have scaled down at present to nine and have only one, which we milk. We also grow citrus, papaya, bananas, and coconuts in our orchard. The first tractor we ever owned was a Minneapolis R (in Canada) and in Belize we purchased a new Massey 35. We tried various kinds but in later years we owned a John Deere tractor and combine.
We have enjoyed travelling together through the years. A highlight in our lives was visiting our brothers and their families in Manitoba in 1951. We also made fourteen trips to Mexico (QC) but they were not all pleasure trips. We journeyed together five times to Canada between the years 1965-1994. In February of 1982 we reunited with our family for our parents= 60th Wedding Anniversary. We had a blessed time together. In February of 1993, all of the living family members met again in Belize. Margaret had passed away since our last gathering.
On July 18, 1993, we celebrated our 50th Wedding Anniversary. Our relatives and friends had done a good job preparing it for us.
On February 9, 1995, our only daughter Sarah, wife of Wilbert and mother of six children (five boys, one girl) passed away to be with the Lord where there will be no pain and sickness. She died of cancer at the age of 43 years after being sick for six months.
Klaas has been a farmer most of his life while I have enjoyed the role of a homemaker. Klaas and I both really like to work with soil and plants (gardening). I also enjoy knitting, sewing and reading.
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