An encounter with a Winkler man who says all Mennonite surnames the correct way, had Mr. Toews of Killarney rethinking everything he thought he knew about how to say his own name.
“Diewel, Toews, you’d think a man like you would know that a W makes a V sound and the O and E together sounds like an A,” explained the expert from Winkler. “I don’t know where these ‘toes’ Toews come from, but it smells an awful lot like stinky feet to me.”
Mr. Toews had been under the impression that his name was “toes like the body part” and had been calling it that for as long as he could remember.
“It all started with my great-grandfather Dietrich who was sick and tired of correcting the mispronunciations of Englishers,” said Toews. “Ever since then we’ve been a Toes Toews family.”
Toews says he has no reason to defend his choice of pronunciation and if that guy from Winkler doesn’t like it he can go back home on the next train out of town.
“Besides, he’s a Loewen,” said Toews. “He should know a thing or two about adopting Anglicized pronunciations of Mennonite surnames…”
Mr. Loewen went home to Winkler vowing to refer to himself and all his relatives as “Lay-ven” from now on.