Harold Schmidt cook

A moment from yesterday

April 24, 2019 | Opinion | Volume 23 Issue 9
Laureen Harder-Gissing |
Photo: Harold J. Schmidt / Mennonite Archives of Ontario

We “both have white uniforms,” joked Harold Schmidt in a letter to his girlfriend (later, wife) Enid Culp in 1942. Schmidt, left, was a cook at the Seymour Mountain conscientious objector (CO) service camp in British Columbia; Enid was in nursing training in Ontario. The Second World War disrupted normal life in many ways, including traditional gender roles, as historian Marlene Epp has noted. CO men had to sew and do laundry, and women took on heavy farm work. The war was a time, however brief, when young Mennonite women and men blurred the divisions between women’s and men’s work in a way that future generations have come to take for granted. 

Further reading:
Didsbury drawing
Graduating class
Swords into ploughshares
Canadian Women in Mission
Chesley Lake accordion

Photo: Harold J. Schmidt / Mennonite Archives of Ontario

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