Interview with Barbara Schneider Risling (BR)
Conducted by Bob Dambach (BD)
19 July 2000, Scott, Saskatchewan
Transcription by Beth Freeman
Editing and proofreading by Peter Eberle and Reverend Marvin Hartmann
Prairie Public Collection
BD: Ok. Barbara, why don’t you tell me your
name and where we are?
BR: Well, I’m Barbara Risling, born Schneider,
and I was born in 1911, and I was born the United States - Towner,
North Dakota. So what else was there?
BD: Where are we now? What town are we in now?
BR: In Scott, Saskatchewan. We left the States in
1917. I was six years old, and moved to Prelate, Saskatchewan.
After one year there, my father decided to move to Revenue, because
there was a very dry year that year. He had cousins in Revenue
so he - we moved to Revenue. But when we moved to Revenue, all
the land he could get was beside the Tramping Lake, it’s
a coulee lake. And the land was prairie, it was not even broke.
So my father and my two older brothers, Walter and Lambert, and
my oldest sister Regina, they all went up to break up this land
during the summer. They just lived in a shack. In the fall they
came back and lead the horses and machinery up there, and now
we had to get ready to move. And the way we moved was by hayrack,
wagon, double back buggy, and single buggy. We had chickens on
there. The cattle my father took by train. So we were on the road
three days from Prelate to Revenue.
BD: About how far is that?
BR: Well, I have no idea how far it is, you could
figure it out. From Prelate it took us three days, and the first
night we all slept out under the open sky. Under blankets I guess.
The second night, we stopped at the farm, and this lady said,
“Well the women can sleep in the house, but we have no room
for the men.” So we slept in the house, and we never had
mattresses. They had those ticks filled with straw or whatever,
that was the mattress. So she had them just filled fresh that
day she said. They were nice and high and good to sleep on. So
we had a good night there. And the third night we were on the
farm. We were in Revenue, and out to the farm. But there was not
a farm there, all there was was a shed, a shack. A little shack
where they stayed in. So we all slept there. And my brother took
the cattle, about ten cattle and his pony, by freight from Prelate
to Karrobert. And there was three train days from Wilkie to Karrobert;
the train went every three days. So when he got to Karrobert with
the cattle, the train was gone. Now he was 18 years old, so he
had to decide what to do. So he took the cattle off and took them
in the railroad and his pony came with him. And he drove those
cattle from Karrobert to Revenue. But one night he had to spend
the night out with the cattle. I don’t know where he slept,
maybe with the pony. He stayed there overnight. And the next day
he drove the cattle to the farm home.
BD: How many people made this trip?
BR: Well, on the trip, my father and my mother,
and the boys - well, one of the boys was there, the other boys
went ahead, and Lambert was with the cattle, so two of the boys
were there yet
BD: How many people were in your family, I guess
is what I’m trying to get at?
BR: In my family, there were nine, yah. Nine of
BD: Now why did they leave Towner? Why did you leave
Towner to first come to Canada together?
BR: Well, I’ll tell you what I heard after.
I didn’t know at the time why really. But my father told
us later, the war, Second World War was going on and they were
all called up to be in the war. And my brother Lambert was 18
years old, and he would have been the next son to be called up
into that war. And he said, “In Canada, they’ve not
had to go to the war yet.” So he says, “We’ll
move to Canada.” And then that’s what they told me.
BD: That would have been the First World War, right?
BR: Yeah, the First World War. But the land was
not that good in the States anyway. Was sandy. Nothing really
grew. We just lived off the cattle, off the - making butter, selling
cream and butter. That’s what our living was.
BD: Was it hard for families just to move from the
United States to Canada? Did you have to go through customs, or
did you just come up?
BR: I was just six years old - see, I don’t
remember those things. We went by train. We went from the States
to Canada. My father had three freight cars with cattle, horses,
and machinery. And the three boys, Lambert, Walter, and Phillip
- Phillip was only 12 at that time. They went with the cattle
and watered them when the train stopped and stuff. And my father
and the rest of the family went by train. We went by train. We
landed in Leader first. We were in the dead lands. They were stealing
the land. So we had to stay with my mother’s brother, Uncle
- that’s - [Mirror A67]. So we stayed at their place for
BD: Now your mom and dad, where did they come from?
BR: My mother and father came from Russia, from
Mannheim, Russia. Yeah, beside the Black Sea, they tell me.
BD: And do you know about when they came over?
BR: The came over in 1902. My two oldest brothers
were born in Russia. I think Lambert was four and Balzar was two
when they came to the United States.
BD: So in your family of nine, where are you?
BR: Well, in the states, we were eight. Alvin was
born in Canada. The baby, Alvin. Yeah, he was born in Revenue,
BD: You have other sisters, too?
BR: Well I have four sisters. We moved after living
four years in that little house in the Muddy Lake there. The Tramping
Lake I should say, I’m sorry. And then we bought a section
of land in the Revenue area, and then we had to build a new house.
Then we build new house, I was eleven years old. And while they
were building this house, it was a very, very dry summer. In July,
this nice storm came up. But it was lightening and thunder, very
very severe electrical storm. The little house where my oldest
brother was married in and they had a baby of six months. They
lived in a little house. So they all went over to the little house,
to his house, because the storm was very bad. And Lambert said,
“Yah, I’m coming, I’m coming.” And the
carpenter was there and was working. And he stood - the windows
were not in the house yet, but it was all done. And he leaned
on the windowsill and watched the storm come because it was going
to rain. And the lightning struck the house and killed him. He
was leaning on the sill. And he was killed.
BD: How old would he have been, then?
BR: He was, I think, 22 years old.
BD: So just a very young man.
BR: Yeah, Christine - she never saw her father.
Then we had this big farm, but it was very sad to see this brother
go to die in this house. We never forgot that window. That house
is still on the farm where my brother Alvin lives. He has stayed
on the farm, and his son built a new house there now.
BD: Once you got on the farm, how was life? Was
life very tough? What sort of things did you do?
BR: Well, it was - first off the boys helped to
work and all that. We used the binder saw, of course, like anybody
else. And then the older boys - Lambert got killed, Walter married,
Phillip got married. There were three girls, only three girls
left. So we girls had to help on the farm. And I went to school
until I was 15 years old. In Revenue we had four miles to school,
so we didn’t go to school. For four years, we went - in
November we stopped, in April we started again.
BD: Wait one second. [Fixing camera] Ok, tell me
about school again.
BR: Well, when we went to Revenue, we didn’t
get no school for four winters and then our father taught us in
German the school years. But when we moved to the new house, we
went to the new school, and I had lost four winters. I was eleven
I guess. But I passed my graduate anyway when I was fifteen. And
then it was out in the field. I worked with four horses, six horses
in the field. I harnessed them, I unharnessed them, I watered
them, and I took care of my team until I got married at 19 years
of age. And that was my home with my parents and the farm.
BD: You said your dad taught you in German. Did
you speak German?
BR: We all talked German. Our children when they
started school they couldn’t speak English they talked German
till they started school.
BD: Did you know English from living in Towner?
Or did you learn it up here?
BR: Oh no. We didn’t know [English]. You know
what my sister said when we went on the train? I was a little
girl, and she was fifteen, and she said, “If somebody asks
you where we’re going, you understand it, and you say ‘Up
to Canada.’” That’s all I knew in English, “Up
to Canada.” And when we start school, then we start to learn
BD: You said your dad taught you for those four
winters. How much education did he have?
BR: Well, in Russia? I don’t know. He was
a bright man. And a good worker, too. But my father was limping
on one leg and he had to use a cane for the rest of his life.
When he was just a young man, he was the strongest man in the
colony of Mannheim. So they made him lift weights, how much everybody
could - who could lift the heaviest, and he could lift the heaviest,
and he fell and he hit his hip. There were no doctors in Russia,
so it grew together like that, and then he was walking with the
cane the rest of his life.
BD: Did that make it difficult for him in the field?
BR: No, he went and he worked in the field everyday,
with his cane and he sat down. He was ok. He got to be 98 years
old, but he died, yeah. 98 years old.
BD: How about your mother?
BR: My mother was 80 when she died.
BD: So your mother came from Mannheim as well.
BR: Yeah, they were both [from Mannheim].
BD: Did they have any relatives that were left behind
BR: Oh yeah, my father left two sisters over there.
BD: Did they ever stay in contact with each other?
BR: Well, they couldn’t go back anymore. But
he sent money to Russia to bring two of his nieces over here.
One from each sister. And they stayed here. One worked right at
the hospital here in Scott, and she became a nun. And the other
one married, [Ben Herrider A134]. Yeah, I think that’s his
cousin. And that was my cousin Helen [Hornstien A134].
BD: I was wondering, how about your mom? Did she
have family left over there?
BR: My mother. Oh, my mother’s family all
came to the States. That’s where all my uncles are, in United
States. Grandma, Grandpa had died. So this Grandmother here in
the picture, she came with her sons and daughters, 12 of them.
They all came to Canada. And they’re all in the States or
they died there now. And children’s children are there and
BD: Did your mom or dad ever talk about living in
Russia and growing up in Russia?
BR: Oh yeah, Father talked about how nice it was.
The fruit they had was so nice until they said, “There’s
a war coming up and it’s going to be real bad.” So
they thought they heard it was such a nice country in America
and not settled at all. They got a lot of people, and they started
migrating over, and they all came over to America. They landed
in the States.
BD: That would have been 18…what?
BR: Well, they landed here in 1902. We came to Canada
in 1918, but flu broke out that year at the same time. It was
BD: Did you lose any family members in the flu?
BR: No, we didn’t. We were all sick, except
Father , but he couldn’t bend his knee, that was the week
he was supposed to do the milking, everybody else was sick in
bed. I don’t even know how he managed with his cattle. We
were all so sick, but we all pulled through.
BD: Did some of your neighbors come?
BR: Our neighbors came, but they didn’t have
it yet. They came to the window, to talk to the window. They were
scared to come into the house because it was so contagious and
so many people died. So they just came to the window and talked,
and I think this man maybe milked the cows, because Father couldn’t
bend his knee. I was one that could help him put on his shoes
in the morning. “Barbara, come put on my shoes.” When
he got up, he couldn’t bend his knee. So I put on his shoe
BD: So you remember the flu then?
BR: Yeah, I remember the flu, how sick we were,
BD: Were you scared?
BR: Well, maybe we were all scared. Because Mother
was the last one to go down, she made us soup and stuff we ate,
but Mother got it, and it was Father that had to make a little
bit of food for us.
BD: Did it last a long time?
BR: I don’t remember how long it lasted -
maybe a week or so? I don’t know. The doctors said, “Eat
garlic, eat garlic.” I don’t know if we did - I guess
we had garlic. But that was the only medication they had was garlic
to recommend to the people that would help. But some people would
BD: What’s your favorite memory of being a
girl out here on the prairie? What’s your favorite memory?
Before you got married.
BR: Well, I liked to sing. I played my organ, andI
was talented with that. And drawing, I was really good. I still
draw, I just made a picture of a nice bird with my hands and showed
it to my friend, she said, “Now with your hands you made
that bird?” I said “Yes, I did, it was me.”
And I keep on drawing. My hands are still steady, and they’re
BD: You’ll have to show us some pictures when
BR: Yeah, you can see the pictures that I made.
BD: Now when you were a young girl, you said you
did the farm work. What was the thing you liked to do the least?
What was the thing you just hated to do?
BR: Well, I didn’t like to go out in the field,
because it was hot. I had to harness the horses, but I had to
do it because the boys were not old enough. Joel was my brother
next to me, but he was not old enough. We hauled sheaves to the
threshing machine till we got enough help, and we stooped in hot
weather. I worked hard in my life.
BD: What type of crops did your dad grow on the
BR: Good crops. We were so poor, so poor. And when
we bought that land; everything just turned out so good. We had
good crops. Dad paid that land out in no time at all. Everything
BD: And what did you raise? What type of crops?
BR: Oh, we only raised wheat and oats. But we picked
all the weeds by hand. There was no such a thing as spray. And
from the beginning there were no weeds. All were gone because
we started when the land was so new, there were no weeds there.
Up and down the five of us. We took up one strip up, put it all
in the piles, down the other, and up and down the field we picked
them all by hand. I worked hard all my life. And my sister’s
ninety-one, and she was with me, we all worked together. It wasn’t
just I that worked hard, you know, we all worked hard. The whole
family worked hard.
BD: How big a farm did your dad have?
BR: Well, we only had one section of land. It was
enough for three teams of horses to work that land.
BD: Ok, when you got married at age nineteen, did
your life becomes easier or harder?
BR: Well, when we first got married - we got married
in ’30. And in ’30 it got so bad. We lived with his
parents for two years. Well, nothing grew, there was no rain.
Everybody tried to move someplace else - a lot of people left.
We had the 1930s. You heard about the food rush - the rationed,
had ration cards to get food and everything. No, it was bad. And
then we moved on our own, and then we had the children. My parents
gave me two cows with two calves, they gave me chickens, see my
parents are well-to-do. And they started us out. And they helped
us all along.
BD: You did have a little bit of land, then?
BR: At that time when we moved on our own, we had
two quarters. Two quarters, his father let us have two quarters
but we paid him back for the land slowly. That’s the two
quarters. And then after the [import line A206] in ’49,
we had a flood. We were just about drowned out. It was an old
place, and it was so cold that nothing melted. All at once it
got warm in April, and everything started melting at once, and
the water just came running through our yard, and we were surrounded,
with no telephone, nothing. It ran through the barn where the
cattle lived - right through the barn, out the other end. And
here we sat with no telephone, and the basement was already filled
to the brim of this little house. And then we said well, we have
to get on tables, on chairs whatever when it gets worse, but it
just filled the basement, and then it broke through [Aboginies
A214] Dam, about three miles - two miles I think from our place.
And then when it got broke through, then it started going out.
But it was three days we were living in - surrounded by this water.
And with the little children, and no telephone.
BD: And where was your farm?
BR: This was about four miles out of Revenue on
BD: And this is the family farm you were talking
abut you lived on?
BR: No. And then Rochus, my husband said, “We’re
going to move. This is enough here. It could happen again.”
So two miles north of our place, that’s in the Revenue area,
this farm was for sale. It was a Ranger off of the main one, moved
to the States, and he wanted to sell. So Rochus talked to this
man, and sure enough, he sold us this section of land. It was
only two miles north of our house. So we moved there. That’s
were we are - this is the farm. And we thought we were city people.
There was a telephone; there was a well with water there. We had
to carry the water maybe - it was not a quarter of a mile, it
was a little bit closer from that well. We had a well. We had
an upstairs, downstairs, a furnace in the basement. We couldn’t
believe that things went this good. And then it went good, and
in no time we had this land paid off.
BD: So it was a lot different in the -
BR: Seventeen years we lived on this farm.
BD: How many?
BR: Seventeen years. And then this other little
boy was born - the last one that’s talented, Gilbert was
born. And he was raised on this farm. I made up the song of him
on this farm, from this farm. And then Hutterites started moving
in. And there was a lot of people that were tired of farming,
because the year was quite bad. It was a bad year. We were not
allowed - I shouldn’t say we were not allowed. They asked
us not to seed. The government paid so much for our quarter -
I forgot how much - not to seed because we did not move anymore.
So the government paid people not to seed that year. So a lot
pulled out. We were the only ones left in the end. So we had to
sell too. We were surrounded by Hutterite people.
BD: And this was in the 1970s?
BR: No, that was in 1971, then we gave up and let
them have it.
BD: And then you moved to town?
BR: Then we retired, Rochus was already - how old
was he? I forgot now, but he was in the age when he should be
retiring. And then we moved to Scott and bought seven quarters
of land west of Scott. And then we had three boys come. Roy lives
over here, one son. He got two quarters, and the other one got
one here and two out there, and Bill got some, this one, and Rochus
had one quarter left, until he died, he didn’t want to part
with it. When he died, I paid out for it. But in that, in ’78,
this one son that was living downtown, he was a school bus driver
and what not, and he drove to North Battleford one evening in
’78. And it was ground drifting, a little bit but it was
not that bad. And he drove to North Battleford. And just about
a quarter mile out of North Battleford, he was killed in his car.
He was 44 years old. They said they thought the lights were further
away and they could cross the road in front over to another farm.
They thought they had time enough. And they were running, he went
fast - they were not hurt, he hit the bag of the car, but I guess
he hit - the steering wheel got his chest and he lived long enough
to get the ambulance to the hospital. There was a priest there
and gave him last rites and everything. And he’s buried
in Scott Cemetery. And now his father is buried there, he died
in ’89. He was 79 years old; he would have been 80 in a
BD: Why don’t you tell me a little bit about
your husband now, how did you meet your husband?
BR: My husband - we went to school together. At
that time you know, we were just kids. But later at that time,
people, the younger generation, they didn’t get no place.
They didn’t get out of the district. So they all intermarried
each other, with whoever wasn’t, and then finally, I had
other friends before, but then Rochus came. We gave it two years,
and then at 19 we got married. And he was a good husband, I miss
him very much. I miss him very much.
BD: Was his family German-Russian, too?
BR: Yeah, they came from Fronsfeld. He came from
a different [village]…but they talked the same language
as we did. You saw Rochus’s picture on the table there.
Yes, he was a nice young man.
BD: Now, did his - did he have a similar background?
Were his parents born in Russia as well?
BR: Yeah, they came from Russia, they came a little
bit later then my parents came. I have it all in the Revenue book
when his parents came. I think they came in 1905, direct to Revenue.
And he was born and raised in Revenue all his life. I came from
the States. (But so we lost this one son)
BD: How many children did you have?
BR: I had eight children. Six boys and two girls.
And this little one came seven years after the other ones. That
is the talented one in the family.
BD: So how much range is there between the oldest
and the youngest? How far apart were they?
BR: All two years apart - not quite. Not even quite
- all down, until this one Bill here, he was the baby. And then
seven years after, then this little Gilbert was born. Yeah, he
comes home quite often.
BD: And you said three of the boys are farmers as
BR: Well, Bill is farming right out of town, that’s
where we moved his house for him. And Roy got back trouble and
couldn’t keep farming anymore. Roy, he’s 60 now. He
moved over in his acreage now, kept one quarter of land, made
his own. Built a new house that he lives in. He’s the one
that looks after me. When I need him, Roy is here. Last night
he did the lawn and everything. I pay him a little bit, then he
looks after Mother. He’s the one that looks after me. Or
else I couldn’t stay here.
BD: Why don’t you tell me about some of your other children,
what they’ve done?
BR: Well, Leo was a salesman, and he was from Saskatoon,
and he moved to St. Paul, Minnesota. And then he died two years
ago, that’s the second oldest son. We buried him here. He’s
buried beside his brother and his father.
BD: And how old was he?
BR: He was buried on his birthday at 66 years of
age. He had a heart attack 20 years ago, and then he was ok until
- he died in his sleep, his heart gave out again. And then next
was this Albert, he got killed in the car accident. Rosemary,
she’s living in Saskatoon. She’s working with old
people, taking care of old people. But she just retired the end
of June. She is 65. And then [Ree - Ree’s A313] the marathon
runner that worked in a university, and Roy’s a farmer.
And Dorothy lives in Mission, BC and she’s in bad shape.
She walks with a cane, and they don’t know what’s
wrong with her. She’s got something in her bones.
BD: You were telling me a little bit about your
marathon runner. Tell me a little more about him.
BR: Marathon runner? I have all this right up there.
He started running at 42. I have him on tape, they taped him in
Saskatoon. Then he was 42 when they taped it, the tape I have.
Then he said, “I’m good for running another 10 years,”
and he ran until he was 62 years old and he made his hundreth
marathon. Now he’s in Saskatoon and he’s retired.
BD: A hundred marathons’s a lot, isn’t
BR: Yeah, well, oh yeah. He ran in marathons - he
ran in Bismarck, he ran in Boston, Chicago, Hawaii, all those
big places. He ran all those marathons.
BD: And he holds a record?
BR: Yeah, I have awards and stuff of his. Framed
and everything in there. Yeah, he’s the one that - he’s
in the states right now, every summer he goes to the States for
about a month, just to travel. And then Roy, who lives next on
the farm, and then there’s Gilbert. He started out with
a radio announcer in [Lodeminster A337] and then he already put
him in television up there to say the news. And then he moved
to Swift Current in 1970. He got married in 1973, and he acted
in 1974. He was a radio and TV announcer, and on weekends he played,
a one-man band, all over the area. Then he wanted a change. So
he moved to [Salmon Arm, BC A343]. And he’s been there for
six years. He started out in the newspaper, which he didn’t
like. They hired him with the radio again. He’s with the
radio again now. He sells things out for the radio though, he’s
a salesman for the radio now.
BD: Now who’s the one that does the music?
BR: Well this is Gilbert. Gilbert is the musician.
He started singing when he started talking two years ahead of
him [Alia A340] taught him “Little Doggy in the Window”
and those little songs. And he sang it. By seven he played the
guitar by ear, and then he was on his way. We bought him a good
guitar, and when he moved to Salmon Arm he had all his equipment
in a little trailer he took behind. Away he went, and the first
year he lived out there, when he came out one morning the trailer
was empty; everything was stolen. So he had to get all new instruments.
But he got better instruments then he had before. So, yeah, he
was here in Scott in June. He came in all the way with his daughter,
she’s the lead singer now. And so they played for the Scott
Days. They call it Scott Days; he played here - we went over.
BD: So then he must have got the music from you,
you told me you were musical?
BR: Well, I played the organ and I taught my children
on my knee to sing. In the evenings there was no radio. No nothing.
In the evenings after supper they were on my knee on a big rocking
chair, one had the lap, the other two were sitting on the side,
and I sang to them. I sang to them.
BD: You told me earlier you wrote a little song.
Could you sing that song for us?
BR: I have it on tape…
BD: Sing a little bit now.
BR: Well I can sing it too, but I - it’s not….
BD: Sing it; go ahead sing it for me. Go ahead.
BR: Ok, it’s a - see I sang it for him, and
he’s supposed to… but then I did that in ’71
already, this tape. [Singing] I was born and raised in Saskatchewan
Where the golden fields of grain are grown.
Where a herd of white faced cattle
Roam the pasture of Father’s farm.
I’ll always be a farmer’s son
Although I’m many miles from home.
I’ll never forget those happy days
I lived with my parents on our farm.
Those school-bus days are memories now,
That took me 14 miles to school.
Come to meet me every evening
Was my faithful dog named Pell.
I’ll always remain a farmer’s son
Although I’m many miles from home
I’ll never forget those happy days
I lived with my parents on our farm.
[more speaking voice] I remember so well coming
home from school.
I’d rush into the house and call out, “What’s
for supper Mom?”
She’d always smile and say, “Hungry son?”
But farmer’s life is not all roses, [end of
BD: [Beginning of side B] Verse again about the
city life? What did you say?
BR: Ok. Can I start?
A farmer’s life is not all roses,
But nature surrounds you at all times.
That’s more then a city can offer
With noise and pollution at all times.
I’ll always remain a farmer’s son,
Although I’m many miles from home.
I’ll never forget those happy days
I lived with my parents on our farm.
BD: I’ll give you a little applause [clapping].
Very good. So obviously you like the farm life, you think farm
life is good.
BR: Oh, I wouldn’t change it for anything.
This is like living on a farm here. The grandchildren come, “Let’s
go to Grandma on the farm.” It’s quite and peaceful.
My son came home one time when he still lived in Swift Current,
and he said, “Mother, you live in a little paradise and
you don’t know it, or don’t realize it, that you live
in a little paradise here.” It’s quiet. I love it
peaceful and quiet. I love my home and I love to be in it.
BD: Now when you were growing up as a child, did
you sing in your household? Did your family sing?
BR: When I was six years old, Father had all those
records from Germany. The German records that we had that gramophone
with that big horn on there, and he had all those German songs
with the yodeling. When I was seven years old, I sang those songs
on that gramophone and I yodeled like they did. When we got people
to come to visit, they asked little Barb to come in, and I had
to sing for them. And they gave me money - ten cents, twenty-five
cents. At that time….
BD: Do you remember any of the German songs? Can
you sing a little German song for us, too?
BR: We start forgetting the German songs.
BD: Yeah, you probably remember a little bit though.
Think for a second.
BR: What was the one they sang not long ago? Alvin
knows it too. If Alvin comes back we could sing it here, but then
it will be put away because you won’t be here. What was
it - the return of - see, my mind is getting all dead - I get
BD: Sure. Let’s talk about something else.
Lee did a documentary about German-Russian food a year and a half
ago. What are some of the foods you remember your mom making for
you and then you passed on to your family as well. Tell me about
some of the foods.
BR: Yeah. A German meal is [shelza B25] - in English
- cabbage, beet, and potatoes. In German is [kraut, rumverrer,
croush B25]. That was a main German dish. And then the noodles,
then they [shplitten the noodles]. They’d make [shplittennoodles
B27] and dompf noodles, all these - all German things that they
made. Some I don’t even know how to say it in English because
it’s just German food.
BD: What was your favorite meal your mom would make
BR: Well she - whenever, she made that knoepfla
soup and a [pass ipfa B31] that is crocus with cheese - those
we loved when she made those. And Kugler. Kugler is good, and
blodchenda - they baked them with pumpkin. I still make those,
and I still make the Kuchen. It’s cream Kuchen. I had it
last week when my children came with my grandchildren, they loved
BD: What is the grandchildren’s favorite?
BR: Well, they love that Kuchen, for one thing.
I didn’t tell you I had 25 grandchildren, and 29 great-grandchildren.
Yeah. And my oldest grandchild is already 26 years old.
BD: You’re much too young for that.
BR: Yeah, well, I got married at 19. But he lives
in the States, the oldest one. He’s in the army. He’s
in Florida right now. He’s the oldest great-grandson. Yep.
Even a grandmother to two black children, and one Indian little
girl that are in the family, yeah.
BD: Do you get to see relatives? I mean, I know
you have a lot of relatives. Do you get to see a lot of relatives?
BR: Well, they are just about all gone. One time
I went to Saskatoon, that’s Lambert’s mother, Lambert
[Schnasha B44], she’s 94. I see here whenever I go down.
And my brother Joel lives in [Colona, BC] but I don’t -
Seminar is not far from Colona.
BD: You said your sister lives close by, doesn’t
BR: My oldest sister lives in Calgary. We see her
once or twice a year. This Elwin, my brother - we’ll be
going in August 23, going for her 98th birthday. My sister, yeah.
Her memory’s good, you could talk to her about old things
like that. She remembers everything, but she walks with a walker
just to protect her because she fell again not long ago. Um, this
is her right there.
BD: I thought you said, maybe I heard wrong, but
I thought you said we were going to meet your sister this weekend.
Who are we going talk to?
BR: That’s the one in Unity. She’s coming
to Tramping Lake. That’s my sister Philippina. She lives
in Amer - like, she left her home in Tramping Lake and moved in
BD: Now when you two get together, what do you talk
BR: Oh, about everything. She was here when the
Schneider boys were here. My two cousins Schneider were here,
and she came with her daughter - her two daughters, my two nieces.
That’s about two weeks ago she’s here, yeah. And we
had a nice visit and talk about, everything from old times mostly.
BD: You talk about when you were growing up at all?
When you were young girls?
BR: Yeah, about when we moved, talk about stuff
like that. And when we moved from - this is a little bit of a
funny thing to put in there - when we moved from Prelate to Revenue,
when we stayed at that house, the lady said we could stay at her
house overnight. Years later our mother told us, she said, “You
know what that lady said to me? She said, ‘There’s
one day in your life that you don’t know what you’re
doing. And that was the day when I married my second husband.’”
[Laughing] Oh they were both - I don’t know, but our mother
told us this. It’s a little funny thing.
BD: Now who’s the fellow that you said would
sing with you? Who sang? You said there was one of the fellows
here that would sing a German song with you?
BR: My brother Alvin, yeah.
BD: Is Alvin here?
BR: He’s a cowboy. He sings cowboy songs,
and he’s a good singer. See, it’s in the Schneider
- my father was a good singer, and Alvin, oh, I wish he could
sing you a song.
BD: Is he here? You said he’s here today?
BR: I guess he went to the store with a bunch.
BD: I think they’re just standing outside.
BR: No, I think he went to the store.
BD: Oh yeah, I saw him come back.
BR: So he came back.
BD: Maybe we could walk outside and say - I have
a few more questions, but…
BR: He wouldn’t have his guitar with him anyway.
BD: I mean you could just sit there and sing like
you sang for us. Maybe the two of you could sing a little German
song for us.
BR: German song? Well maybe if he remembers.
BD: Come on, we’ll see. Maybe he remembers
and then we’ll tape you.
BR: If something doing like those people from the
States were here and from Germany, we had a party there. And we
had our folks with the old songs. We sang. Alvin and I and a few
nieces, and we sang for hours for those people.
BD: When you were growing up, was the church very
important for you and the family?
BR: Oh yeah, when we didn’t know - well still,
Sunday is church for me. If I don’t get to church, I’m
not happy. Yeah.
BD: Being from the Kutschurgan you’d be Catholic,
BR: Yeah, our parents were Catholic and we were
raised and we carry the tradition. As long as I’m alive,
I’ll go to church. And I love going to church, and it -
there’s somebody there - oh yeah, she’s bringing Alvin
in. This boy…was it a girl?
BR: A boy, you can’t tell these days, they
have different hair….
BD: Unless they have haircuts like me.
BR: Yeah, yeah. Is it your son?
BD: No, he’s a young student.
BR: Sang me the choir for five years, from 14 until
I got married. Then I couldn’t sing anymore with children.
You know now, we have a nursing home in town, and I sing with
a little group of the ladies that sing, and I’m the old
one. I sing in every - once a month, we have a lay mass, and then
I sing, I still sing in the choir, yeah, a group of us.
BD: The church in town, is that still active?
BR: Oh yeah, the church is still. I sing along in
church, but I don’t go out to the choir, but in my seat,
I sing along, full voice. I sing in church.
BD: What is the name of the church in town?
BR: St. James.
BD: And what church did you go to in Tramping Lake?
BR: St. Michael’s.
BD: Is that still down there?
BR: Oh, St. Michael’s, oh yeah. It’s
a mission. And Revenue was, uh, I wrote it down.
BD: It’s ok.
BR: [Skip in tape directly to singing in German]
Barbara and Alvin singing in German [B93]
BD: Very good.
BR: Yeah, there’s a few more.
BD: One more. See if you can think of one more.
That was good.
[Many voices, confused]
BR: See she can’t think of, we don’t
do it that often, so we don’t - we get away from everything.
BD: Do you want to do that over again? How about
we do that.
BR: That’s the only one, you know. But we
could start maybe [German B103]. That’s where it starts
again. How does it start?
[Someone, not Barbara or Alvin, sings a few bars
BR: No, that’s a different one. Let’s
do this one over again.
BD: Thank you, very good.
[Another skip in the tape]
BR: We were there two, three times in this place.
BD: We need a light on in here.
BR: This is 83 years old. And this, there was a
school fair…when I went to Revenue school I was about nine
years old, and there was a school fair and we had to draw a picture.
I drew this picture here, and I took first prize for it.
[Flipping through pages, looking through an album]
BR: This is all the drawings I have. This is just
pressed flowers. This was for my birthday. These are from Scott.
These are from Banff. These are from Banff.
BD: Where are these pictures from that you had here
a minute ago?
BR: The pictures? Did you get this one? I just made
this one. This is where I sit when I draw. This is my desk where
all my things are. Let me get some - I drew first with pencil
and then with this. I’ll have to get some paper out of my
drawer. This is a good one here. Took my chair in there, so I
have to sit on this one. This is my old way of working. [Drawing
for a long time.] See, I do it in pencil first, and then if it
is not too good, then I rub it out and do it over again until
it’s what I want. The rabbits, I…. [More silent drawing]
See this is a bad one too, that was a nicer one then this was
[Skip in tape]
BR: A cat, ok, I’ve had cats.
BD: Ok. Good, that’s good, yeah.
BR: So that’s a drawing. And my writing I
do at the same table here. I have a chair here and I - see. I’ll
just do one piece. [Autoharp strumming, halting, then “Just
As I Am” plays] It doesn’t sound right, it needs to
be fixed. [“Just As I Am” again, with Barbara singing]
BD: That’s good, yes.