Mennonite Heritage Village

Toys, Tea Cups, and Chairs

Village News (September 20, 2018)

By Becky Kornelson


Toys, Tea Cups, and Chairs

There are treasures to be found among possessions and antiques we inherit. Although many items owned by my parents (Annie and Almon Reimer) went to the local MCC Thrift Store, the things built by my dad and the antiques were shared among us.

My siblings and I divided the toys that had belonged to my parents. The first item I chose was actually my grandfather John C. Reimer’s toy streetcar. I was surprised to see that this tin toy was still in good condition. My next choice was a red tin bi-plane that had been my father’s. It still winds up and runs. I remember Dad had always been interested in airplanes, so this must have been a well-loved toy. Another toy I chose was my mother’s German-made, children’s sewing machine that actually used to work. It is shiny black metal with lovely gold designs. It still has the original needle. I remember what fun this toy was to play with as a child.

In my Mom’s custom-built teacup cupboard, I came upon some delicate gold-colored, iridescence-lined teacups. I found they were part of an entire tea set, including a teapot, a sugar bowl, small plates and more teacups. Dad told me the story behind this tea set, which had belonged to his mother. Her husband, John C. Reimer, had been a teacher at various one-room schools in the Blumenort area. When important people, such as the school inspector, came to the schools, Grandma would be expected to serve him tea. I can just imagine a few of her molasses cookies on the plates and piping hot tea in the cups.

A plain wooden chair is a treasure from my great-grandmother, Anna Derksen Sawatzky. She landed in Halifax as a four-year-old with her family. When they came to Manitoba to settle, they had no furniture. After building a shelter, this was a chair they had bought. How many of my family must have sat on this chair, enjoying conversation.

Another chair I also inherited from Great-Grandma is a black rocking chair with a round set-in leather seat. Through the years it stretched out to form a hollow, so a cushion now makes it more comfortable.

I brought home a white chipped bench from my father’s house. It played an important part in my childhood and sat behind our white enamel-topped table in the kitchen. This is where “us girls” sat, leaning against the wall, eating our fried potatoes with chow-chow or ketchup and home-made brown bread.

It has been wonderful to inherit some of my family’s things. These treasures are still useful or at least interesting to display.

Calendar of Events

September 27, Volunteer Appreciation – 7:00–8:30PM (all volunteers are welcome)

October 20, Third Annual Local History Lectures – 7:00PM

November 10, 2018 Christmas Market