Trusting, accepting and always openly welcoming. These are traits that always come to mind when Mennonites are being described. Right? Ahhhh not actually. Usually it was quite the opposite. Mestrusch was more the norm back in the day. If a stranger was spotted within a Mennonite community, questions were quickly posed: Wäa es daut? Wua es hee von? Wot well dee? (Who is that? Where is he from? What does he want?) And these questions were usually posed with intense urgency and fervor!
Here we see Henry A. Brandt posing in front of a mid twenties truck loaded with sheet metal. (ca 1927) Off to the far right, we can see the Joap Tjliewa-shu peering past the curtains to see who was parked in front of the house. One can almost hear her thoughts, “Wäa es daut? Wua es hee von? Wot well dee”?
Yes, there was a time when many Mennonites were EXTREMELY distrustful of anyone, everyone, anything and everything. (and this still holds true for many today) However, this does not describe all Mennonites. Many were (and are) trusting, accepting and always openly welcoming.
My mother was one of those who always looked for opportunities to extend graciousness and kindness. I remember the time a backpacker wandered onto the yard and asked my parents if he could set up his tent on the lawn for the night. My mother instantly extended him a hearty welcome and allowed him to set up his tent. Then she promptly returned to the house to prepare the traveler a dinner of wareneki and forma worscht. (As was her nature, she would return 35 minutes later to offer seconds and make sure that there was no corner of his stomach left empty before bringing out a piece of pie with ice cream for desert.) The backpacker would have fallen asleep in a food coma and then had to put on 40 miles the next day to burn off the dinner from the night before.
So what happened to Henry A. Brandt and the load of sheet metal? There were no official reports in the neighborhood but it’s highly probable that he delivered the sheet metal after a long day’s work and drove home where he too may have indulged in a wareneki and forma worscht dinner.
What about the Joap Tjliewa-shu? Well, Mrs. Kliewer saw a load of wood being delivered to Peter B. Reimer across the street. There was speculation that the Raymash were building an addition to the house. Where were the Reimers' getting all the money to build such an addition!? Those were mysteries to be pondered over faspa with the Ejtmon Rampul-shu at a later date. (The Rampul-shu could usually confirm any rumors by listening into the "party line").
Plautdietsch word of the day: mestrusch
Definition: Distrustful \ suspicious
*This insight into Mennonites has been provided for entertainment purposes only. Some names and dates have been changed. When in doubt, always think better of the next person before speculating on the financing of house additions.