(b 1919 Klinock, S Russia)
The following account is a companion to the journey diary entries
made by Margaret's father, Peter
A. Riediger about the journey in 1926.
My Own Memories of the Trip
From time to time someone asks me, "Do you remember anything about
the trip?" Yes, a few things, although I was only six years old.
Here are some of the scenes that have stayed fresh and clear in my memory
all these years
- We left Klinock on a beautiful July morning. The wagons loaded
high with boxes, crates and straw suitcases and some of us seated
on top of all this. While the wagons moved slowly down the street,
a lady came hurrying after us, crying. When she reached our wagon
she laid both arms on the end of the wagon, put her head on her arms
and cried and cried as she slowly kept in step with our wagon.
- Now we are in a city. Mother and I were walking down the sidewalk
when we saw a man lying in the gutter close to the sidewalk. I was
frightened. Somewhere I had heard that when a person drinks alcohol
he burns up inside. I was sure I could see smoke coming from his swollen
face. Quickly I scurried around to mother's left side and hid in the
folds of her skirt. Quietly she said, "Mosted nich chiche."
(You mustn't look).
- The next scene is on a ship. Another little girl and I were skipping
and running around merrily on the deck until I fell and scraped my
knee. I must have cried for the other little girl got scared and ran
away. As I stood there crying I saw two ladies sitting on deck chairs
or benches not far away with their knees covered with plaid blankets.
The one was smiling and beckoning with her finger for me to come.
As I slowly came closer, she handed me a box. I hurried downstairs
to our cabin and when we opened the box, we saw it was full of little
chocolates. What a surprise!
Sometime later a small group of us children were debating whether
the ship was moving or not. There was water all around us. It seemed
we weren't going anywhere. So we took the box, which was empty now,
and we made an experiment. We decided to throw the box overboard,
and if it stayed behind us, then we would know if the ship was moving.
So we threw the box as far as we could and watched - and chattered.
It's moving! No, it's not! The box was riding the waves right alongside
the ship, so it wasn't moving. We had watched the box so intently
that we didn't notice that it was slowly getting smaller - and finally
it disappeared altogether. Hurray! The ship was moving!
- The time came when we left the ship. We walked down miles and miles
of long corridors, sat on long benches, waiting and squirming. Suddenly
we were in a train. I was sitting, or rather wiggling around on Mother's
lap, looking out the window. There were crowds of people near the
train, but all at once two of them caught my attention. They were
my two friends from the ship, the ladies who gave me the chocolates.
Now they were waving to me. As they came closer to the train, the
one held up a brown paper bag for me. I reached out the window and
took it. Surprise! In the bag were six beautiful, golden ripe pears!
How I've often wished in later years that I had known who those ladies
were. I would have liked to write and thank them for their wonderful
- Acme, the final stop. All the other immigrant families had left
the train long ago; our family of eighteen was the only family left.
When we stepped out of the train we were greeted by people in black
- black clothes, black hats, black beards, ladies with long dark clothing,
and cars which were black. All I remember was dark, dark everything
and so again I tried to hide in the folds of Mother's skirt. I'm sure
it was dark, too, but it was Mother!
All the older sisters and brothers were whisked away to various farm
homes to help with the housework and farming. Mother, Dad, Susie and
I were invited to come to the home of Mr. & Mrs. Wiebe, an elderly
couple with grown up children. After a good meal they made a bed for
Susie and me on the floor. Instead of going to sleep, we started singing
the familiar Sunday School choruses such as "Goldne Abend Sonne",
"Gott ist die Liebe", "Der Himmel 1st Blau", etc.
in two part harmony. I sang soprano and Susie, three years older, sang
the alto. Now these good folks belonged to the Holdeman church, and
they did not sing in harmony like we were singing now. Pretty soon we
had an audience; the ladies stood around us listening, some of them
This was our introduction to Canada - a warm welcome, jobs for everyone
and the freedom to worship as we wanted to.
Thank You, Canada!
Last Updated 9 June 2002