As we planned, we knew the Summer Mural would have so much meaning. Gathering hay, an impending summer storm, milking time, a family farmyard in1950. At first, we thought it would be about this land that we now live on. But when details were scarce and photos of this place nearly impossible to find, we decided to bring to life a place that was still alive in memory, the Goertzen homestead in Landmark, MB.
My dad was born there, I was born there. And one special lady who was 12 years old in 1950 could remember every detail and recount in vivid colour what daily life was like for this family with 10 children, milking cows by hand every day, still making hay with teams of horses, every family member intensely involved in the living of the whole.
I was enchanted to listen for hours to my aunt tell about clothing, toys, special events, difficult times, traumatic incidents and problem-solving ingenuity. Every space on this wall could capture true life!
It helped that we had an aerial photograph from that era. And piece by piece, every inch of the wall took on meaning. My Oma always grew hollyhocks beside the house. My uncle liked to do everything fast, so he is already milking as the cows come home. The children played with straw houses and little green pumpkins as their people.
It was an immense privilege to dive deep into family history and to bring the farm to life.
When students and families visit us next year, it will be a joy to share the stunning artwork with all of its tiny details. There is so much to discover. Come see it for yourself in 2024.
(Pictured in the photos above is my dad with his great-grandson in front of the unfinished mural this summer. What is not pictured is the finished product. That must be seen in person.)