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.


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