Interview with Barbara Banman (née Enns) 1.3

Dublin Core


Interview with Barbara Banman (née Enns) 1.3


religious life
religious identity







Oral History Item Type Metadata


Kampen, Christine
Thiessen, Angela


Banman (née Enns), Barbara

OHMS Object Text

5.4 Interview with Barbara Banman (née Enns) 1.3 2005-091-4757 27:30 G3 Local Cultures politicians husbands religious life religious identity Banman (née Enns), Barbara Kampen, Christine Thiessen, Angela wav 2005-091-4757.wav 0 Other audio English 10 Meeting her husband, family life Banman recalls how she met her husband. Many of Banman's friends had parents living in Headingley, Manitoba. The girls working in the girls' home (in Winnipeg) - &quot ; the first thing the wanted to know was whether we have a brother&quot ; (the interviewer laughs): &quot ; The boys could take us up at the home.&quot ; Banman knew a cousin of her future husband very well. There was a birthday party, and they met there, in 1941. Banman's sister married her future husband's second cousin, that was another connection. Banman says that the interviewers saw a picture of the house and the car: &quot ; The car was bigger than the house.&quot ; They had two children at that time. Banman's husband was &quot ; a hard worker&quot ; , he started a garage and a fast-gas service in Steinbach, Manitoba: &quot ; We had good times.&quot ; Her &quot ; boys&quot ; were hunters and fishers, &quot ; they had a lot in common.&quot ; Her son, a doctor living in California, still comes to go hunting. Banman recalls that she &quot ; had to be careful that I didn't lose control&quot ; . She jokes that her back problems are caused by her boys. The youngest wanted to arrange her hair all the time. Banman thought that was because her sons never had a sister. She recalls a few pranks played by her sons: &quot ; I was good-natured, I think&quot ; . Banman recalls that her mother had taught her to wear aprons. Banman was standing at the sink, and her sister and her husband came for supper. Her youngest son was standing behind her, and when Banman wanted to walk away, she realized that he had tied her apron to his belt. He had tied so many knots that they had to cut them. (The interviewers laugh.) Banman kept that apron, and when her youngest son got married, her other son Bob gave a speech, showed that apron, and said that they &quot ; finally cut the strings&quot ; . Banman thinks if they would have had a girl, she would not have had these experiences. She asks the interviewer if they have a brother. The interviewer says yes: &quot ; Was he teasing you all the time&quot ; ? The interviewer says yes, but the teasing was not always as good-natured as in Banman's case. Banman says again that she was going to write a book &quot ; How to survive with four Banmans&quot ; (her three sons and her husband). Banman and her husband are 63 years married this year. They have a lot of things to be thankful for when they look back. Last year, Banman suffered a fall, she broke a vertebra in her back. The doctors said: &quot ; It could have been worse.&quot ; Many of her friends have Alzheimer's. Her older sister is 89, the younger ones, Margaret and Mary, both died within one year. The sister who is still alive had a stroke, she is in a care home now. Banman and her husband are still in their own house and try to be as independent as they can. Somebody is mowing their lawn. Banman's grandson David is a lawyer in town (in Steinbach, Manitoba) and took her to different appointments with doctors. Banman took care of her grandchildren a lot when they were younger, because her son Bob was in politics. She said to her grandson David that she had taught him how to walk, and he hung on to her arm, and now she was hanging on to him. David is her oldest grandson, he is 33 now. Banman's grandchildren often drop in for coffee. Banman thinks that &quot ; when you complain too much you scare people away&quot ; . She say that in old age, you don't ask your friends &quot ; How are you?&quot ; because you don't want to hear it. She doesn't want to talk about back ache all the time. Often, people in senior homes &quot ; get stuck there&quot ; , they don't visit their church anymore, they don't talk to people of different ages anymore. Her sister-in-law is also in a senior home (not a care home), she is complaining all the time. When the residents get together, they don't want to know what is going on in the world, they are only interested in &quot ; what's gonna hurt tomorrow&quot ; . Banman is still interested in everything, as her grandson is involved in politics. She and her husband try to take her sister-in-law out of her home, and she notices: &quot ; That was a nice day.&quot ; Her sister-in-law is watching TV all the time. Banman tells the interviewers to enjoy life, and not to let them get down by little things. She tells them that they have &quot ; so many choices&quot ; . 49.525833, -96.683889 12 Interview location: Steinbach, Manitoba, Canada. Wikipedia article on Banman's son Robert Banman 791 Mennonite church life Banman's parents and her friends' parents were deeply influenced by their faith. From her church, Banman expects comfort and respect for the elderly people who might forget and get around slowly. There are some very polite children who open the door for elderly church goers, &quot ; and I always thank them because I don't take that for granted.&quot ; Banman attended a dinner raising money for the MDS (Mennonite Disaster Service) in Landmark, Manitoba. They served a very nice dinner for 200 people. A friend of hers (a retired doctor) observed that there were only &quot ; grey hairs&quot ; , &quot ; grey heads&quot ; . Banman said: &quot ; That are the ones that pay&quot ; . You need a lot of money to run a church. When she was young and went to church in Grunthal, Manitoba, nobody got paid (not even the minister), they had a &quot ; calling&quot ; , now everybody gets paid. She thinks that in her youth, people were more considerate than now. Mennonite Disaster Service 946 Cultural identity, Mennonite faith Asked about her cultural identity, Banman says that she &quot ; would lump it all together&quot ; : her heritage, her faith inherited by her parents. It was a very strong faith, they were committed Mennonites. However, Banman never felt that the Mennonites should isolate themselves. Banman recalls that the &quot ; church family&quot ; is very important to her. Banman &quot ; would say that I'm a human being, first&quot ; . She again underlines that she was impressed by how her parents handled the terrible things they had gone through thanks to their faith. Her &quot ; Mennonite background has been very strong&quot ; but she is &quot ; not saying that we are betting than anybody else&quot ; . They have &quot ; friends from all over, very good friends&quot ; . Banman does not regret what she has done in life, she discussed it once, and they told her that if you had another chance, you might make worse mistakes. (The interviewer laughs.) 1103 Parents, faith She has often talk with her sisters about her parents: They were &quot ; good role-models&quot ; . When they lived at Grunthal, Manitoba, they lived with her uncle (her father's brother) and her aunt, they shared the same middle room. Her mother and her aunt never had an argument in all those years. They did a lot of singing, that's how they learned to sing all the German hymns, all the verses. They had no radio, TV or phone. They sang while doing the house work. Banman often talks with her cousin (her uncle's and aunt's son) living in Ontario on the phone, they talk about &quot ; what a great childhood we had&quot ; . Prayer was very important but it was &quot ; not overdone&quot ; . When her parents had visitors, they talked about what they had lived through in Russia &quot ; and what they were saved from&quot ; , and found &quot ; things to be thankful for&quot ; . But they didn't think that they were better than others and that &quot ; God didn't allow that to happen to me&quot ; . Banman has never been involved with any other faith than the Mennonite faith. An acquaintance of hers didn't want to get baptized until she would get married because then she would see to what faith her husband belongs to: &quot ; So, she was practical.&quot ; Banman thinks that &quot ; it is far easier&quot ; in a marriage and with children when both spouses are &quot ; committed to the same idea&quot ; . Her parents showed them that &quot ; strength of character&quot ; . Banman's mother never used a sleeping pill or an aspirin. What her parents did was to share their experiences with people who went through the same things. Banman read in a book that the author felt sorry for the older Mennonite women because they could not communicate their experiences properly. Banman states that this was not true, thinking about her mother. Later, she found out that some of the Mennonite women in Grunthal, Manitoba, had not only been afraid of rape but had been raped during the Russian Civil War, &quot ; eventually the most horrible thing that can happen&quot ; . However, they would not talk about that all the time. Her mother cried a lot, she took all her daughters to say goodbye to her family when they left. Banman's grandmother, also Barbara (Banman was named after her) wanted her to stay, and maintained that the situation in the Soviet Union would get better again. Her grandparents were deported to Siberia later on: &quot ; verschwunden, spurlos verschwunden&quot ; (vanished, vanished without a trace). 1507 Political career of son Bob Banman Banman recalls that they had a lot of Jewish friends too because her son Bob was in politics. They had a friend who was an NDP (member of the New Democratic Party) &quot ; but we had good talks with him&quot ; . That friend told them that the Mennonites don't talk about their faith enough, unlike the Jews. At the ceremony where her son was handed over a portfolio (Minister of Industry and Commerce of Manitoba), some of the people had brought their family bibles to swear on. There were three Mennonites: her son, Harry Enns, and a man called Braun from Altona, Manitoba. They all said: &quot ; We are firm&quot ; . The Legislature would have to talk in French sometimes because of the French minority. As a reaction, Bob Banman, Harry Enns and Arnold Braun started to speak Low German to each other, they called themselves the &quot ; Low German Mafia&quot ; . No transcript. audio 0



“Interview with Barbara Banman (née Enns) 1.3,” Local Cultures, accessed April 16, 2021,