Third Culture Kids Go Public

I haven’t written about The Public in a while. I feel like I wrote so much about it when they opened in the fall of 2022 (am I getting that right? the passage of time feels weird) that I kind of saturated Mennotoba with local beer stuff and I didn’t want to be all one-note.

But maybe you were not aware that I wrote about The Public all the time. So here I go!

Did I ever tell you that the good folks at The Public often host great events? For instance, not only were we there for a panel discussion on Third Culture Kids, but we were also there the previous night to hear Two Crows for Comfort performing live in the taproom. (They’re so good, I bought their record!) And then last week Wednesday they hosted an HTA event called Stories from the Homeland: Stories of Metis Identity and Manitoba History.

Sad you missed these? Well please put Saturday June 24 on your calendar because that night at 7:00 they’re hosting an author reading featuring Andrew Unger (of Once Removed fame), MaryLou Driedger (of Sixties Girl fame), and Mitch Toews (of Pinching Zwieback fame)!

BUT I created this post to tell you about Third Culture Kids and the panel discussion. Even though it is long in the past by now.

In the picture you’ll see the panel at the front of the room: Alexandra Ross, Mark Reimer, Faith Eidse, and Charity Schellenberg.

I don’t know when I first heard about the Eidse family with their four daughters Faith, Grace, Hope, and Charity. I think it might’ve been from Charity’s daughter when we met in high school. I had an impression that it was strange that I was not familiar with this family… but this only points to the fact that I wasn’t a Steinbacher nor was I an EMCer, even though my history was closely linked with this place and denomination (and I later became both, though I am no longer an EMCer but that’s another story for another post, okay?).

Also there is the danger that I might be making that up. But I do have a distinct impression that someone told me about this family as if I was the last person here to hear of them. Because with four daughters named in such a way, it’s just really marketable to the supporting base I would think, and very memorable.

However, I definitely remember the first time I heard the term Third Culture Kids. At one point in the late ’90s I spent a fair bit of time with a sibling trio of MKs and they used this term to describe themselves. Being unfamiliar, I repeated, “Third Culture Kids? What’s that?” It was explained to me, and being 18 this blew my mind in an “oh OF COURSE!” kind of way.

I dunno — do you need a definition? I’m pretty sure my readers are all far more educated than I am and you’re probably just slumming reading this blog but anyhoozle just real quick, my good friend Wikipedia says that Third Culture Kids (TCKs to be lazy moving forward in this post) have been raised in a culture other than their parents’.

So I think maybe you can see how there’s a lot to unpack there, #itscomplicated et cetera.

And I’m not going to be able to talk about it very well and in fact that’s not why I’m writing to you about this. Rather, here’s where my mind went:

Searching for Renewal: The story of the Rudnerweider/EMMC 1937-1987

Yes really.

I was excited to purchase this book from the MCC thrift shop across the street because it contains some of my own family history. Because it turns out that not only have I been closely acquainted with MKs and PKs in my lifetime (and married a PK) but my own maternal grandpa was a PK himself. His father was a minister and this book tells of his role in this conference and has a few pictures of my great-grandparents and my grandparents too. It also talks about the Eidse family. Because this book talks about the time when Mennonites left their “in the world but not of it” separateness and embraced evangelicalism, “going out into all the world” — sending out missionaries — in the 1940s and ’50s this was happening. (Again, a rough overview of my impressions of reading I did a few years ago and meant to blog about but didn’t quite know how because this is MESSY in my opinion — how to hold and digest this while not dishonoring the people who have gone before yet also being frank about the bad things… and what do I even mean by “bad things”? I think I’m not prepared to articulate this at this very moment. I apologize.)

SO. I wished I had brought the book along and read that section to them. I should go and read it now. But I’m late for my next appointment and I don’t want to delay hitting publish on any more posts.

I’ll just close abruptly, for now, with this:

You should come to The Public (<– click there to get to their website) on June 24 at 7pm. But also come any other time they’re open, it’s my favourite place. You can bring your own food in or get a pizza delivered or whatever, FYI. (But don’t come and eat your food and not buy any beer — that’s gross behavior.)

ttyl! erin