20 Books

There are 26 cousins in my family tree, descendants of five children of my grandparents. At 83 I’m the youngest.

The grandparents were Abraham Kroeker and Helena (nee Wiens).

The parents were five Kroeker siblings – Helena, Jacob, Tina, Abram and Peter. The sixth sibling was Nettie, who never married.

For nigh on 30 years leading up to 2020, the cousins met once a month for breakfast. The older ones were gone already, and the younger ones kept passing away as well. Today, at the end of 2021, there are four cousins left, my sister Mary Wilms and me, and Don Kroeker and Betty Thiessen.

My Dad, Peter Kroeker, was a gregarious gardener who liked visiting relatives more than farming. He liked having people come from town Sunday afternoons to our Poplar Grove Farm.

All the cousins got married. It was customary to have your wedding pictures taken by Winkler photographer Sawatzky, then distribute copies to your aunts and uncles.

My Dad collected these wedding pictures, a gallery I inherited.

I sometimes shared the pictures at Cousins Breakfast, and one time put them into a PowerPoint presentation to show at the 100th birthday of Alfred Kroeker.

The Cousins Breakfast era has ended, but not the legacy of our common Winkler history where all of us cousins were born.

I am putting the wedding pictures into a book I will make available to descendants of the 26 cousins.

Aunt Nettie will appear in the book. She was the aunt we all thought looked to each of us as her favourites. She was a legend in her day, a writer, a Sunday School teacher, a school teacher and a friend.

The cousins book will be the 20th publication I have worked on as writer, editor and publisher.

At 83 that’s enough!

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