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(Jack Driedger does such a good job of writing up his self-portrait - we'll use his own words).
I was born and raised in the Old Colony Mennonite village of Blumenheim eleven kilometers east of Osler, Saskatchewan.
As far back as I can recall, I have always been interested in writing. My first published writing was for the Pathfinder page in our weekly farm paper more than seventy years ago. I must humbly confess that I was thrilled to see my writing in print.
Although I have had only two books published, Growing up in Blumenheim and the Plaudietsch version Enn Bloomenheim Oopjewossen, I wouldn't be at all surprised if all of my other writing were consolidated it would result in more than 40 books.
Not long ago I retired from ten years of writing two regular columns entitled Looking Back and Depression Ingenuity for Folklore, a magazine published quarterly by the Saskatchewan History and Folklore Society. I continue to write the occasional article for Folklore.
For a short time I wrote a series about retirement in the Saskatoon Free Press which is no longer being published. I hope my writing did not contribute to the demise of this weekly.
Although I seldom write a letter to the forum section of our Saskatoon Star Phoenix, I am astounded at how often people tell me they have noticed, which of course encourages me to keep writing.
At the present time, I spend a lot of time writing as an Elder for Elder Wisdom Circle. An Elder is a person over 60 years of age who can use a computer and whose application to become an Elder has been approved by the board of directors.
Although we get a lot of letters from teenagers, any person can ask for help with personal problems, knowing that their letters are strictly confidential. They are assured that an Elder will respond within ten days.
Elder Wisdom Circle was started in 2011 by Doug Meckelson. Since that time, about 600 Elders have responded to over 270,000 requests for help with personal problems. Advice seekers come from all walks of life beginning at about age 11 or 12 to well in their nineties. I have responded to more than 4,000 requests for help. There is seldom a day that I do not write a letter of respect and empathy for some person struggling with the problems of life. About 8% of the people respond with touching expressions of appreciation.
Besides writing, I have been telling stories during my 25 years as an interpreter and tour guide at the Western Development Museum in Saskatoon. Here I continue meeting preteens to people in their eighties and nineties from all over the world. I guess they want to hear my stories because the museum covers 100 years of history and, being 86 years old, I can relate personal experiences of much of that era. What I have not experienced directly my parents have told me about, since they settled as homesteaders in this area 100 years ago. It feels good to actually have people listen to what I have to say.
Mmmmm. Makes me wonder whether I should put some of those stories in writing.
- Jack Driedger
Two of Jack Driedger's books are available through the MHSS book sales department;
See the Book list by authors names on this site.
Enn Bloomheim Oppjewossen a review by Jake Ens. (contributed).
[Note: you will find audio files online of Jack reading from his book Enn Bloomheim Oppjewossen on his webpage. Another link to that same page.]
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Mennonite Historical Society of Saskatchewan (MHSS)
Room 900 - 110 La Ronge Road, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, S7K 7H8
Archive Hours: Monday: 1:30 - 4:00 p.m. Wednesday: 1:30 - 4:00 p.m. & 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.