Mennonite Heritage Village

Books and More Books!

Village News (November 22, 2018)

By Becky Kornelson


Books and More Books!

When I was a child, I was very excited to learn to read. It was amazing that letters formed words when put together! Words put in order made sentences. I loved books and read and reread our few books.

When my father (Almon Reimer) was about to move to an apartment, I found an unfamiliar children’s picture/story book among his things. Dad told me that his father (John C. Reimer) had used it in his classroom back when he used to teach in a one-room school. The book is large, with lovely pictures and descriptions of animals. It is written in English.

I received a book for Christmas from my grandparents one year when I was young. It is called Jenny Wren’s New House. My sisters and I reread this book many times. My grandmother loved birds and passed this love down to me. Did you know that the male wren makes several homes and then waits for the female to arrive, at which time they choose one as their nesting spot?

My mother, an avid reader, read to us and told us many stories. She had a children’s book from her own childhood which was passed on to me. Tattered, torn and well loved, The Old Woman of Cheesehill entertained us children many times over. Mom had a limited education but learned a lot by reading the dictionary and studying maps and the globe.

I have also inherited Dad’s school readers. The dull green covers and small sketched pictures fascinated me. The four Canadian Readers had stories such as “The Mouse and the Lion,” “Robinson Crusoe,” and “A Dog of Flanders.” These tales were entertaining to my siblings and me.

Recipe books are a real treasure, containing favorites that I have enjoyed again and again. I now have the original Altona cookbook (copyright 1958), with a check mark by the recipes most successful. You cannot beat jam-jam cookies put together with “Wild Plum Jam” at Christmas. I have made “Chocolate Candy,” a quick and easy treat, even in my childhood. Recently I helped my 10-year-old granddaughter, Nadia, cook up this recipe. She was proud to make the candy almost by herself. The “Chocolate Fudge Cake” recipe was a favorite of all of us growing up. In fact, Mom made it for several of our weddings, and it was a winner.

I have also received several genealogy books. I remember the book about the Klass and Helena Reimer family being written by my grandfather in 1958. Grandpa and Dad would often discuss the family lines, to be sure to get them into the book correctly.

The book Milwaukeer Lesebuch 1 also came to me after Dad’s passing. This small brown book was printed in 1880 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It teaches how to hand-write the alphabet in the German Gothic script and also how to read printed Gothic script, which is more familiar to me.

A very large, heavy, hardcover book also became mine. Its German title, in Gothic script, is Martyrer Spiegel, which translates to Martyr’s Mirror.  This book was published in 1915 in Scottdale, Pennsylvania. I can read a lot of the words but not fast enough to hold my interest, so I will leave it on display.

Lastly, I found a Gothic-print Bible among my Dad’s possessions. I cannot read the script well, but it is treasured because it contains the basis of my faith, passed down through the centuries. My people’s faith was based on the truths in the Bible, which is God’s loving word to all.

A love of reading can be passed down from generation to generation, and I am thankful that my ancestors felt that education was important. I am happy to see my grandchildren learn to read and love to read.

Calendar of Events

*MHV Off-Season Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 9:00 AM-5:00 PM*

November 23, The Klassens, Paraguayan harp concert with dessert and coffee – 7:00 PM

November 26, The Russian Mennonite Story Book Launch – 7:00 PM

December 2, Vespers Service – 7:00 PM

December 10, Steinbach and Area Garden Club meeting – 7:00 PM