Celebrating the Past Twenty Years

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The original cover that thrust David and Dennis Pischke into the spotlight. Their book was an early “tell-all” story about child abuse. It came out the same year as the U.S. blockbusters, “A child Called It” and “Angela’s Ashes,” and before Sheldon Kennedy announced to the world that he’d been abused as a teenager by his former hockey coach. Many books about child abuse followed.

The date was November 29th, 1996. It was a snowy, Friday night during Ashern’s annual “Midnight Madness” that Where Children Run was launched at my little print shop on Main Street. The moment David and Dennis Pischke opened a box and lifted out the first copy is unforgettable; how people came in droves, bought books and celebrated with us. My brother flew in from Ontario to share my joy. I still remember the next day—cleaning up the leftover lunch, emptying the used coffee cups into the garbage and mopping the floor. Before going home I stopped at the Petro Canada station to see friend, Jean Postlethwaite, who I found reading it in her office. She’d stayed up all night with the book.

All I’d hoped for was to sell enough copies to pay the printing bill which was huge. Days later, the twins and I were guests on the Peter Warren show on CJOB radio and, as the say, the rest is history.

Years passed, then When Memories Remain was written, followed by an incredible dry spell as I juggled the demands of a full-time job and tried to teach myself how to write fiction. I seldom mention the non-fiction book, Just a Matter of Time, because it was a labour of love that I wrote about the plight of grassroots cattle producers during BSE, but so many of them couldn’t bring themselves to read it, I was left a bit heartbroken. Following that came some of the toughest years of my life and for awhile I stopped writing.

Now, as I travel throughout the province promoting my novel, Be Still the Water, I am keenly aware that the reason most people are coming out to these events is because of Where Children Run. Twenty years has taught me a lot and I am humbled by every reader who chooses to read my books. Visiting with all of you, both in person and over the internet brings me sincere joy.

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Updated and redesigned for it’s eighth printing, Lisa Friesen of Winnipeg designed the new cover.

Today I am truly grateful. For the Pischkes who trusted me to tell their story; to Peter Warren for announcing it to his listeners and the readers who bought it, read it, and told their friends. To the librarians and bookstore employees who recommended it, and now, I have the unbelievable luck that it is starting all over again with Be Still the Water.

Twenty years have taught me that we all have challenges to face and overcome. I also know that it can be done with the support and love from family and friends. Writers are nothing without readers and today I want to say thank you.

Twenty years to the day.

6 comments on “Celebrating the Past Twenty Years

    • Hi Shannon. I assume that you dad must be Helmut Neufeld. I knew your Dad when he was an RCMP officer in Ashern and so it was incredibly fun interviewing him about his dealings with Mike and then writing about him. Helmut contributed a lot to the book and I’m quite thankful for that. We are friends on Facebook so we still keep in contact which is very nice. Thanks again for writing and maybe we’ll meet sometime.

  1. Hello. I have read the story of David and Dennis. It was a truly heartbreaking read and I couldn’t wait to get to the end of the book as I hoped that those two little boys might get their revenge…and they did. I invited Dennis and Robin to my place and they came! It was a great pleasure to talk with him….he’s such an incredible and amazing person. The hardships he and his brother endured were unbelievable…and moreso that he turned out to be such a great man, husband and father. (He autographed my book and I treasured that book for some time but somewhere in my travels (moving), I misplaced it.) I’m so very happy he found his place in the world and is living not only a wonderful life he made for himself, but also that he is living!

    Not sure if you remember me but I had wanted you to read my book in hopes of getting it published…but you were in the middle of writing about the mad cow disease and had referred me to someone else. I never did go ahead with publishing it even though my family approved it.

    Kim Futch

    • Hi, Kim. Very nice to hear from you again. Yes, I do remember that you contacted me and I’m sorry I wasn’t able to help at the time. My plan is to host a weekend workshop for people looking to publish their stories so watch for that in an upcoming newsletter. I have had so many requests over the years that I feel it is something I should do and that it might help a few people. Anyway, glad to hear you had the opportunity to meet Dennis and Robynne. Yes, I agree – they are wonderful people. Thanks again for writing and I hope to meet you sometime in the future.

  2. I met David Pischke on his walk for abused children. I had seen him on our local news before leaving Ontario to meet my sister in Alberta . I had been mezmorized by the story he told about burying Domko in the manure. It was such an honor to meet this really lovely man and his wife. I bought the book and have just recently been re-reading it. We too lived with an incredibly abusive stepfather, so I could so relate to so much of their story. I felt a brotherly type love towards this man even though I did not really know him. I was profoundly saddened to find out that both him and his wife are deceased. I only found out recently. Is Dennis still alive. I can’t imagine what life for him would be like without David! The thought makes my heart break. I am 64 years old and still vividly remember the nightmares of an abusive childhood . Those wounds may heal but forever scars remain. Bless you for writing such a well put together account of extreme abuse and chaos! That book is a gift to all survivors of childhood abuse. It explains how these monsters got away with their torture. Our stepfather was cruel to some of his own children, but he was much worse with us. Thank you for giving these guys a voice for themselves and us all!

    • Hi Gayle. Thanks so much for writing. I am so glad that you had the chance to meet David and Lynne. They were both such wonderful people. And I understand what you say about feeling a brotherly love towards David immediately – I felt exactly the same way. Dennis is doing very well. He is semi-retired now and he and wife Robynne live in Selkirk, Manitoba. I saw they recently and hope to get together again in the new year. I am sorry to hear that you suffered as a child – my sincere hope when I wrote the twins’ story was to bring to light the lasting effects of family violence and am grateful that it appears the book accomplished what we set out to do. Thanks again for the wonderful comments and I hope that your future is filled with many blessings.

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