Research for “Love, Death, and the Letter F”

Definition of felo-de-se

1 : a person who commits suicide or who dies from the effects of having committed an unlawful malicious act

2 : an act of deliberate self-destruction 

First Known Use of felo-de-se

1607, in the meaning defined

History and Etymology for felo-de-se

Medieval Latin felo de se, fello de se, literally, evildoer in respect to oneself



In spring preparations for Mennonite Collegiate Institute (MCI) Sängerfest and Graduation took place. I was given parts to perform in both. The big Sängerfest was held in a big tent rigged up and supported by poles. We had no sound system and had to learn how to project our voices.  Naturally a big thunderstorm blew up and gave us 60 students quite the competition. How I wished some of my family would come too. Graduation was held in a separate Sunday. I had to speak again. Of the Schulfest (Sängerfest) my memories seem to be of a Chemistry laboratory demonstration in German. One quotation I made which has stuck with me was: “Reden ist Silber, Schweigen ist Gold!”

My graduation day was a frustrating one. My Mom and sisters and brother Andy (as driver) preferred to go to a distant cousin’s wedding in Morden. I was to milk the four cows and do the chores before going to Grad for

7 p.m. The cows had to be driven home from the pasture a mile down the creek and since I had to start earlier than their usual time, they objected and did not want to go. At any rate, after all was done, I took the bike and headed for Gretna.

Mrs. Siemens was anxiously waiting for me. I had left my graduation dress, made by Sister Betty and Mom, here. So I quickly washed up and changed. (The dress was made of Voile- 25 cents a yard. Our sewing machine had decided to quit for making it and so it was done mostly by hand.) Mrs. Braun had my bouquet ready for me! At school, Mr. Peters was impatiently waiting. They had been waiting as long as possible to take pictures but it had been getting dark and so they took them without me.

At the banquet table in the school “Dorm,” the principal discovered that I was alone. He was rather taken aback and I can still hear him exclaim: “Oh, du armes Kind! Mutti nicht einmal hier!” He would not let me sit alone like an orphan, so he and Mrs. P{eters took me between them! This was a rather hard experience for me.  Everybody else’s parents  were there.


Acute Memories & Promises to Children

Excerpt from the Memoirs of Frank F Enns

Black and white photo of a young boy playing an accordion

This is not Frank F Enns

When children have acute memories for promises made to them by adults what may seem a minor triviality to an older person, may appear as a thing of greatest importance to a child. But a child expects that a promise made by an adult must most certainly be kept. Uncle Abram Dürksen, who I’m supposed to resemble quite a bit, had an accordion. He played it well and soon I wanted to make music too. He put me off with the promise that he would give it to me when I was big enough to go to school. Uncle did this to get rid of me and because he did not expect a child to remember it until the next day.

But I remembered because I had taken him seriously and waited longingly for the time when I would go to school and become the owner of the deeply desired instrument. When I entered school at Memrik, I still thought of that promise and occasionally asked someone going to Molochna to bring “my” accordion back. But it never came.

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.