Robert L. Peters

30 April 2013

Goodbye, my friend… rest in peace.

Sam_W_Reimer_1949-2013

Vancouver, Canada

A funeral was held today on Mount Pleasant for my poet-cousin/friend Sam W. Reimer. He will not be forgotten…

Samuel Wayne Reimer was born in Steinbach, Manitoba, Canada on 26 May, 1949, the second son of John K. Reimer and Leona Ruth Reimer. Raised on “the Bible, hymns, porridge, borscht, home-baked bread, and prayer,” he discovered Shakespeare around the age of eight by means of a copy of Hamlet found in his grandmother’s basement. As he put it, “this confirmed my life-long passion for ‘the Word Over All,’ as the Beatles (John Lennon in particular) would do again a half dozen years later.”

In 1964 his family moved to Meade, Kansas, where Sam lived until 1968—“just long enough to be eligible for the Vietnam War and the draft”— an entitlement that caused him to “skip back home” to Winnipeg. Sundry jobs held him in Manitoba for a year or two (Winnipeg Supply & Fuel Company, & Canada Dry offices, etc.) before the happening zeitgeist of “tuning in, turning on, dropping out” swept him west to the BC coast (en route to San Francisco). In Vancouver, a ‘Jesus Rediscovered’ experience and a sojourn with Dave Milton at The House of Daniel would deeply influence his life-course.

Sam married Elizabeth St. John in 1970, a union that would bear a daughter, Jennifer, and a son, Dylan. A stint of writing for Maranatha Free Press in Vancouver predated a 1976 move with kids in tow to Mission, BC, then to the mountainous country of Robson Valley, with spells of work as railway section-crew and in a plywood-veneer plant. A short-lived teaching role in creative writing followed, via Fraser Valley College’s Community Education program— two complete semesters with students aged 18–80! Then it was back to the urban setting of Vancouver, a separation in 1981, and a divorce in 1984.

Since 1987, Sam lived on his own in the Ivanhoe Apartments in Vancouver, where he penned literally thousands of poems. In 2008, a collection of 200 of his works was published in the book Gray Matter Graffitti.

Sam passed away peacefully at Vancouver General Hospital in the early hours of 26 April, 2013, with family members by his side. He is survived by his daughter Jennifer (Kaleeg) Hainsworth; son Dylan (Tonya) Reimer; granddaughters Ella, Huelwen, and Bridget Hainsworth; father John K. Reimer; brothers David (Katy) Reimer and Rod (Deborah) Reimer; sisters Lucille (Jim) Pfeifer and Arvella (Mike) Lucas. Sam was predeceased by his mother Leona Reimer.


20 April 2013

We miss you, Dad…

John_Jacob_Peters_1920-2012

As far back as I can remember, this is the first April 20th that we’re not celebrating your birthday with you… R.I.P.


16 December 2012

Friends are the family you choose for yourself.

(sounds cheesy… but true)


5 December 2012

An Advent weekend in the Dreiländereck…

The occasion presented itself to take Evelin to my old haunts this past weekend — we spent a day each in the Black Forest (Germany), Basel (Switzerland), and Strasbourg (Alsace, France). Ev’s admittedly a bigger fan than I of Christmas celebrations; I’d been feeling a bit of Heimatschmerz (homesickness) of late — this quick romantic sortie to the Weinländer of my youth fit the bill for both of us, providing reminiscent sights, sounds, smells, and tastes (replete of course with raclette, Heisse Maroni, cheese crêpes, local Gebäck and gateau, chocolates, marzipan delicacies, and Glühwein galore).

Our 77 remedial hours  in “the old country” included some speedy Autobahn travel back and forth across Southern Germany, ambling through outdoor Christmas markets in Basel and Strasbourg, a museum visit in each of the three adjacent countries, and some time with my kid brother Phil, his lovely wife Tammy, and their two boys (who live in the quaint old village of Holzen in the Kanderntal).

Below are a few pics from the weekend outing. You can view more on my Facebook page here.

Basel, Switzerland, is a humanist city on Rhine located where the Swiss, French and German borders meet. Its famous Christmas market was our destination on Saturday (Ev and I were accompanied by my brother Phil and his wife Tammy); the market now includes the area around Basel’s 1000-year-old Münster (cathedral) as well as the traditional Barfüsserplatz, where we also visited the Historisches Museum (which houses the Upper Rhine’s most comprehensive cultural history collection).

Holzen (bei Kandern) is the quaint old village in the Black Forest where my brother Phil and his family live. We stayed with them for two nights, during which the seasons changed dramatically. We felt fortunate to be able to take in the exhibition “Pop Art Design” and view the showrooms at the Vitra Design Museum in nearby Weil am Rhein (designed by Frank Gehry, the museum is somewhat of a ‘Mecca’ for the worldwide design and architectural community; creations of Charles and Ray Eames such as their famous ‘Lounge Chair’ feature prominently).

Straßburg (aka Strasbourg) is the capital and principal city of the Alsace region in eastern France, and is the official seat of the European Parliament. Dating back over 3500 years, the city has held Christmas markets since 1570. Strasbourg’s famous cathedral, the world’s highest still-standing structure built entirely in the Middle Ages, was visible from our charming attic room at the Hotel Gutenberg (Strasbourg was also where Johannes Gutenberg created the first European moveable type printing press in the 1400s).

 


30 October 2012

My Dad… and poetry.

Winnipeg, Canada

We buried my Dad yesterday. Thanks to the hundreds of friends and family members who came to his farewell ceremony—a celebration of a 92-year life well lived. Thanks also to the many who have written me with kind words of condolence and shared memories.

Among the simple things that gave Dad pleasure throughout his long life was poetry. During the time of fellowship following the lunch yesterday I shared one of his favorites—a piece that expresses well his egalitarian Weltanschauung, and a piece that he would delight in reciting from memory—in that deep and spirited voice that anyone who knew Dad is sure to miss.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

House by the Side of the Road

THERE are hermit souls that live withdrawn

In the place of their self-content;

There are souls like stars, that dwell apart,

In a fellow-less firmament;

There are pioneer souls that blaze the paths

Where highways never ran —

But let me live by the side of the road

And be a friend to man.

Let me live in a house by the side of the road

Where the race of men go by —

The men who are good and the men who are bad,

As good and as bad as I.

I would not sit in the scorner’s seat

Nor hurl the cynic’s ban —

Let me live in a house by the side of the road

And be a friend to man.

I see from my house by the side of the road

By the side of the highway of life,

The men who press with the ardor of hope,

The men who are faint with the strife,

But I turn not away from their smiles and tears,

Both parts of an infinite plan —

Let me live in a house by the side of the road

And be a friend to man.

I know there are brook-gladdened meadows ahead,

And mountains of wearisome height;

That the road passes on through the long afternoon

And stretches away to the night.

And still I rejoice when the travelers rejoice

And weep with the strangers that moan,

Nor live in my house by the side of the road

Like a man who dwells alone.

Let me live in my house by the side of the road,

Where the race of men go by —

They are good, they are bad, they are weak, they are strong,

Wise, foolish — so am I.

Then why should I sit in the scorner’s seat,

Or hurl the cynic’s ban?

Let me live in my house by the side of the road

And be a friend to man.

— Sam Walter Foss (1858-1911)


25 October 2012

John Jacob Peters 1920-2012

Winnipeg, Manitoba

The send-off Celebration (aka funeral) for my Dad will be at the McIvor Mennonite Brethren Church in North Kildonan, 200 McIvor Avenue (just off Henderson Highway) on Monday, 29 October 2012.

Viewing as of 10:00 am.

Service at 11:00 am.

Lunch/reception at 12:00 noon.

Burial (in Steinbach) following…


21 October 2012

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.

John Jacob Peters, 1920-2012

Early today, my Dad passed on into the next realm… he sees more clearly now than ever before in his 92 years—and he’s no longer tied down by time and place and gravity. Heartfelt thanks to the many friends around the world who have invested in prayers, provided emotional support, and expressed condolences…

(Psalm 121:1, the Bible)


6 September 2012

Off to school…

Frankfurt, Germany

One of my colleagues at Circle mentioned this morning that her daughter was off to school for her first day of Grade One. I then brought up the tradition I knew from growing up in Germany—upon entering first grade, parents and/or grandparents present the child with a “Schultüte or Zuckertüte (literally School Cone or Sugar Bag); a decorated cardboard cone filled with chocolate, candy, toys, school supplies, and other goodies. The idea is to make the anxiously awaited first day of school a little bit sweeter…

I came across this old photo of my Mom and me (at the age of 5) on my first day of school… with my Schultüte.


6 June 2012

R.I.P. Uncle Pete…

Winnipeg, Canada

My 92-year-old Dad called a few hours ago to inform me that his 98-year-old brother Pete had passed on into the next dimension earlier this afternoon. Peter Jacob Peters (Uncle Pete to me and many others) will be remembered by his family as a joyous, poetic, green-thumbed patriarch; and to others as a truly remarkable and many-faceted “character” in the true sense of the word.

Peter J. Peters immigrated to Canada from the Ukraine with his family at age eleven (when my father was six). He took his schooling at Gretna in Southern Manitoba, and later enrolled in teacher training. At the outbreak of World War II, Pete enlisted in the RCAF—upon his eventual return from overseas service he attained his BSc. in Agriculture. Following graduation, he worked with the Extension Service of Manitoba Agriculture as a potato specialist (where he became known as “Potato Pete” to those in the field)—among other significant achievements he is credited with paving the way for the commercial potato industry in Manitoba. He also applied himself to the Strawberry Experimental Demonstration program at Hadashville in Eastern Manitoba, and as a direct result of his efforts, the Strawberry Growers Association of Manitoba came into being. Pete served as Secretary-Treasurer of the Manitoba Horticultural Association, was President of the Western Canadian Society for Horticulture, revitalized the periodical The Prairie Gardener, and wrote and published A Century of Horticulture in Manitoba. Aside from his horticultural pursuits, Pete was also a prolific poet (with too many published books to list here) and was active throughout his adult life in church and community activities, renowned for his entertaining hundreds with his photography-poetry-musical presentations.

Photo: Peter J. Peters in 1945 (while requisitioned to serve as a tri-lingual interpreter at the Nuremberg Trials after the war [on account of his fluency in Russian, German, and English]—a time he prefered not to speak about). Thanks to my brother Jim for the scan from an old photographic print.


13 November 2011

Evelin Richter [mostly well behaved]

Winnipeg, Canada

I’m pleased to announce that the book we designed* for my girlfriend entitled “Evelin Richter [mostly well behaved]” is now in print (40 pages, cloth-bound hard-cover).

Ev’s purpose in issuing this book is to increase exposure for her figurative sculptural ceramic work (her goal is not really to sell books). As she puts it, “While I love living and working in Winnipeg Beach, the reality is that a rural resort community that dwindles down to some 500 or so souls in wintertime simply does not have enough collectors or art buyers to put soup on the table—I’m hoping that the body of work shown in this book will help me to find gallery representation in some major urban centers… I welcome suggestions from friends and patrons in this regard.”

Here is a link to an online PDF “eBook” version that you can download for free (5.7 MB, after opening the html link, just “save” the PDF to your computer). Ev would be delighted to receive feedback (positive or critical) and she’d be equally delighted if anyone viewing this book would “share” this link, pass it on to art lovers you may know, or help connect her with your favorite gallery. :-) For anyone wishing to purchase an archival-quality hard-cover book, please let Ev know (send her an email here)… a batch of books will be available in time for Christmas giving.

•Thanks to my colleague Adrian Shum for doing the heavy lifting on the design/production!


« Previous PageNext Page »

T +1 204 943 3693
© 2002-2014 Robert L. Peters
All rights reserved.