And The Valley Goes On

Jean (Phillips) Diehl is releasing her book, “And The Valley Goes On”, April 14th at 2:00 p.m. at the Ninette Community Hall.  The book is a wide-ranging exploration of the Pelican Lake area, covering information on some of the founding families of the area, a section on the Ninette Sanitorium, recollections and stories of pioneer life and the Ninette School as well as over 450 pictures collected by the author, some over 100 years old.  Jean and her late sister Bernice Roberts have researched much of the information in the book over the last 20 years.

 Book Signings:  Souris-Glenwood Library Tuesday, April 16 at 2:00 –4:00 p.m., Belmont Senior’s center Wednesday, April 17 at 9:30 –11:30 a.m., Baldur Museum Wednesday, April 17at  2:00 –4:00 p.m., Cypress River Senior’s Center Thursday, April 18at 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., Glenboro Library Thursday, April 18at 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.

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 Jean Phillips was born in Ninette Manitoba in 1933. When she was 18 she went on a double date with her girlfriend.  They went out with two American men from North Dakota who were camping in Ninette.  The one Jean liked was named Duane Heidelbaugh. Jean enjoyed her date with Duane, but she had no experience with relationships and had no idea how to start one at a distance. So even though she liked him after that one date he went back to ND and she left Ninette to attend Normal School (teacher training) in Winnipeg in 1952.  After graduating, she took teaching contracts in rural schools at Huntly and Hawkins schools.  She met Wilf Diehl and was married in 1955.  She named her second son Duane because she liked the name of her first date.  She lived in Cypress River, Manitoba and in a travel trailer through southern Saskatchewan (with 3 young sons) until moving to Boissevain, Manitoba in 1963.  She moved to Souris, Manitoba in 1964.  She lived on a small acreage north of Souris, raising 5 children with their assorted pets and critters.  Jean was active in IODE, Guiding, the Souris Arts Council, her church and as her children became more independent she started working in homecare.  Once her children left home, she was able to travel, going across Canada coast to coast as well as to England and Australia.  She moved into Souris when widowed in 1994.  Jean used her teaching skills to help newcomers to Canada learn English.  Jean did some painting and other art until her eyesight started to fail.  She learned how to use a computer and got in contact with and attended reunions with friends from Normal School.  She used her new computer skills to track down the young man she remembered from a double date in Ninette long ago and found him a widower living on his farm in North Dakota.  They corresponded and grew close.  Jean now splits her time between Canada and the U.S.  In Canada she visits with friends and family and worked on this book.  In the US she visits with new friends and works on a farm much like the one she grew up on.  She is now legally blind but continues to write and help on the farm.  In her book, her younger self is quoted as saying working on a farm is like being a slave.  She no longer thinks working on a farm is slave labor.


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