Our Home Town: Strasburg, North Dakota - German-Russian history and culture

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Listen: Our Home Town - Strasburg, North Dakota
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As part of KCCM's Our Home Town series, this program is a sound portrait of Strasburg, North Dakota. Highlights German-Russian history and culture, with various interviews of the town’s residents.

About Our Home Town series: KCCM Radio in Moorhead, in conjunction with the North Dakota Committee for the Humanities and Public Issues, produced a series of twenty-six half-hour programs that documented attitudes and character of life in five North Dakota communities (Strasburg, Belcourt, Mayville, Mott, and Dunn Center). The programs were produced as sound portraits with free-flowing sounds, voices and music, all indigenous.

Read the Text Transcription of the Audio.

You know, this is our hometown, you know, everybody is got its advantages and disadvantages in a small town but you know everybody and it's not like Biz Markie go to a bar and you sit there all night. You don't know anybody here you go to the bar and you can talk all night. If you know, you know everybody that was nice Strasburg North Dakota population 643 our hometown one in a series of programs exploring the values concerns and character of life in small towns produced by Minnesota Public Radio station kccm with funds provided by the North Dakota committee for the Humanities and public issues.Andra day sound portrait, you'll hear why residents like living in Strasburg Pius craft races the history of the German Russian settlers and their descendants describe themselves. The interviewer is John ydstie one thing about it is you can look up at the sky and I didn't see stars any of the Cities Milwaukee's bad. You can't even you can't even see Star tonight. You can do the things with your family much easier more often in a small town my children are only five and six but they go swimming by swimming pools. It's across the street, but we only live a block-and-a-half from it, but we don't have to drive them anywhere. We don't have to worry about them. We don't have any trouble. I can't remember the last time and my business is broken into this hasn't been since I've been back in 8 years 7 years. My biggest problem and being in business with pies the kids stealing babies are 22 shots something small like that. You just the whole lifestyle is different to in small towns. It's a slower pace. Being in business for yourself to is different in a small town because you through problems are different, you know your customers real good. credit might be a problem that you have here that you don't have any big city, but there's so many benefits that I don't even can't even pinpoint because I don't know whether accepting that I feel at home. Here. I am I have lived here now for since 45 the winter of 45 and we have our little church here. I have my friends here and I know nearly everybody and it is is pretty well-known all over the country because he doesn't mean so much to us because we just take this kind of situation. And he comes here once in awhile, you know when it comes to the nursing home and he dances with some of those old women, you know, and but that I would move to Strasburg for that. That and I have children living. I have a son in the California in Vista, California beautiful part of California way in the southern part. And they want me to come there so bad and my condition they said it'd be just the thing for me cuz I can't walk, you know and what I said, no, I don't think you could pull me away from Strasburg. My roots are fast there and we have our Cemetery here. My folks are buried here. My husband is buried here. I lost a daughter a couple years ago of cancer. The oldest one of her children. She was 65 and our oldest son is dad died and he is married here and and Well, it's just home. It is just like a even if you have a new bar and I are trying to get a horse or cow in that new barn and there is an old the shed where you should start stalling, you know, he doesn't like that. Nobody wants to go back to that old shed. And that's the way it is with us. We liked I like to be it. I just like to be here. Seattle and song for I put in a close to 20 years living in different places she in on Siteman traffic And when we came back here in 45. Hawaii for 9 family have two children, Mickey Rosalie And we came back here. We we are ready to climb the walls, you know, because there was there was just nothing here, you know what I mean? But you know you get used to that it took us awhile. It probably took us a Close to Here and Now I still go out I go to Phoenix. I play their Westward Ho Hotel in Phoenix. Usually 6-8 weeks out of a year usually in January and February we have these horrible who enters up there yet all believe it or not. It's it kind of grows on ya. It's like you see here. We have no traffic. We have no no problem. She can do what she liked your own boss. Nobody nobody around not that I don't like people. I love people if I didn't have people to be around. I think I climbed the wall to So all-in-all, we enjoy the quiet country living here. How do you say growing up in a small town like this has helped you in? You know big success and maybe help Lawrence. It hasn't helped. Yes, because we are the hard way. Good place to sleep and all that but we had to work hard. They often talk about it there Lauren. So say your member my account. We used to get up 20 below on. Had a guy in the bar and milk cows by hand, you know, which we both didn't. Feed the cattle in Tom's Hot and he says now look be out on the golf course and things like that. The people are real friendly around here which like you go to some other small towns, which I have been and I hid the people aren't half as friendly as they are around here. I don't know what it is and every people every strange people that come into town they always they can't get over it how friendly everybody is around here in like when kids come younger kids that compared to visit. They always want to stay here and they don't want to go home anymore. I don't know what makes it. If I don't know, they really like here and they even like to move back to Strasburg wild reason why they do come back is they eat our grandparents or uncles or aunts here in andom? I think no one they do, They don't want to go back. It's just amazing really family is an important factor, I think so, I think you know like when somebody gets sick around here. I think everybody knows about it and they kind of I don't know what send out cards to everybody in which is really nice. And I think you take is in a big city while some people don't even know their next door neighbor. I don't know if this is true or not. I've never lived in a bigger size. I lived in Bismarck that the only biggest city I've ever gotten to then. I don't know what some people always say. They don't know where their next door neighbors and some say oh that isn't true. They do to all my life. NTD talk German and we are termed that's why I like it here the best. Play Smart TV. My folks and all you come over here we come from the Ukraine. This is a sad. It's all these people here and the other towns and all of the Godless or east here. Are we ready to come over here? and now 19 six Arrived, here we come. when to buy a train to Antwerp From Southern Russia. These colonies are you know other people live in colonies not Autumn separately on the way, and then we left there. And we boarded a nun better Belgium. Have you landed in Quebec? Well, that's going to both the Comfort free back to Aberdeen, South Dakota. And then to Zealand the first year my dad had some relatives. and Van Zeeland from 19th, June 19th 6 2 octobre 1971 immigrant from alsace-lorraine in 1888 Our people are 18811 to park and come in there and put some prayer country. what's up, every once in awhile to head of War, you know Germany or France and it belongs to Germany while again to friends of our And then like this Kaiser and Catherine under Peter, what is it Peter the Great? Then she invited these people over there is he's getting blank over there. She's the one that populate that part of that that's a nice country there heavy black soil and the native Russians are the major structures. They didn't do anything or something. I guess then in order to build up that she gave him which the about their problem. The first one said too many of our people with three right here in this locality. Where three young fellows you see as soon as you get up to be 21 years old to have to register and have to go to military service. Before that get across the border Brian, but he made it to head usually some. And then to come over here and they found laying down here was 5 mm. And then that that was an 1880 out here right in Strasburg. And then of course, they don't then in the spring of 1889 and families come over the settlement you that's about the left, you know Ana County and the land got scared and don't come over then. What day was that the 1960s and the German border and the number for the one of us schedule fee single family 456 families together, you know, if you look on you and make arrangements and you pay the fare. You know what the fair cost is that time? Grandma has a station Railroad Station Newark to Aberdeen South Dakota repaired 140 rubles adult ticket that timer Aruba was only worth $0.55. But now they say I don't know what would have been about $70 then all the way. It was the first class. I know. Turn on the boat. It wasn't for his class was third glass when the Kaiser be let him ship. I was not 11 years old when we get along but was Strasburg like when you got here? There was no. There was two stores here three already when I got here clients in the bazaars not here anymore telephone call the Strasburg Bazaar when the realtor came in now, it's more businesses at one time on the farmer's daughter. the Golden Lion store in and later on Stroudsburg. Mercadillo fellow was 5 stores at one time. There's two are now. Yeah, the value care damaging your head sweat pets and horse collars and harnesses and barbed wire Chevy engine horse-drawn all that stuff and it's cool. Well when I come over. New Zealand that's what's in the June June Then make that next fall and started school and ceiling was a small-town. We had one school room with a teacher one woman teacher already at a member and I don't know maybe 20 some odd kids and she didn't know what to do with me because I wasn't third grade over there see When I come over here. She put them in first grade in that unit and I could read that stuff. But at pronounce a different, you know. Say and I couldn't see a girl to say guilt or I thought it would say enough c u p y Laurita this soup not cup and stuff like that. Just seeing if every letter you see if we had in our little drama book and Russian School everyone survive at the beach with that page with Latin letters. And of course you express it in Germany, right? And you're you mentioned every every letter there's no silent letters or nothing as they are they like you say quit or something like that. Now you have silent letters there right? Well, you can't we did know that. And I'm in arithmetic too, but I want you to take me too long because I wasn't working alone be out. There is a era we had them for a little while. That is the family were right there, but 20 miles Northwest peaceful and that we had to prove up yet. And I of course I was the oldest under School. I had to come out early in the spring. And come back late in the fall when school lets out at that time and we had two rooms there. But sometimes we all had one teacher and sometimes went to and then I was 17 years old and I started to work at the bazaar store. I got a dollar a day of that thing. $30 a month from morning seven or eight 7:30 in the winter time till 10 at night. We worked you, you know every town had a little band on the baseball team. Does this not anymore much the truth change the station. Everything was Jeremy and having the churches and everything, but that's all then we got the 1910. In the spring. We had five nuns come over from Germany and their This started appropriate School in the church basement at the divided up with that just that was registered. The church was built in 1910 starting starting at 9 with the finished intent was Strasburg a wild west town and started. It wasn't a good Wireless people come over here when I got here yet. They're still had the Army over in 4 digits on that what side of the river sea but there was no no no, pretty quiet little town everybody knew everybody went to Saturn you see what has been said. We're from kazansky. Gobierno a disco. Yes. No, yes is like a county or something like that and they across the river is the river that forms the border between these people Southwest here but a nightmare and they came from We're all German Russian Community. I would say and many are parents most of them still speak it and many of us speak it fluently. Some of our children speak a few words of phrase here and there. They want to learn. In fact some of our boys say mom. Why didn't you teach me German when I was smaller and they get in every word of every phrase they can. well, I can talk German Yeah, but I It doesn't mean that much thing people are people in. It doesn't make that big a difference. Is there a family following the old Jim and customers or cook German food on? Everything I want a few people very young open unsophisticated. They don't wear facades. And I find that very delightful lot of the things that we're striving for. pricing on a national basis and education just come naturally hear anything that led to the the drug scene for example in the urban environment and sophistication the role-playing passage of people were wearing so we try to change any our approach to two people on here that really wasn't that necessary because people didn't put on airs and sophistication or build walls around themselves and try to be be proud of my background and there ain't no way apologetic. I think in the past because of the history of the two World Wars. People have been somewhat. have feelings of inferiority and also the the fact that most of them have German as their second language of someone with German as their first language, so they are somewhat apologetic and have some feelings of inferiority. Type II year we had is as a school. We did an intensive study of the German Russian history culture some of the language get as many books as we possibly could get into our library 2. What should I say most of the self-concept of the students? and out After working at this for about six months, we had students could volunteer to make tape recordings to be analyzed by a speech therapist when he had it. She had her doctorate in speech therapy. Give us a very thorough analysis of it which we then interpreted back to the students so they could overcome some of the yeah the axons and mispronunciations. So I feel the more week that I can do to. Make people feel proud of their Heritage rather than apologetic. Be good for the community fine. If I was going to find out who I am. I can't cut myself off from my roots. So the more I go back and Tracy's routes and the different cultures on with it the more I know know myself. You have gone through the phase where I thought I could just cut all that off. I could see where I was harming Myself by doing it so know if I reverse that what kind of traits would you attribute to? The German Russian people are stubborn ideas. Get the mean I'm so deeply involved. Can get very stubborn angry. Loyalty very loyal I've heard stubborn a lot when asking people what characteristics why. Why do you think they are stubborn? It goes back to the feelings of inferiority of a person doesn't feel adequate. He's going to stand real firm on familiar ground not about to change the more they Overcome their feeling of inadequacy the easier they are to change at one time. It was probably considered now, I don't know why but people didn't really care to let other people know that they have this Russian German background. I think when they left it fell it was a detriment. I think today was some more liberal thinking the breakdown of these epic music groups and so on. I think it it really it really doesn't affect them too much either way, don't we Yeah, they've told me that already when I went to school. and terrestrial simple and I don't know. I suppose we have kind of a farmer's walk. There's really, you know, you can tell that they're so it's a lot of can you be a lot of work involved in or something? And otherwise, I wouldn't know if there's so much difference. I think they're very in most cases. They're ambitious. They're hard-working. They try to get a hit they do put value on education. Although I think this is kind of gone the other way. They're very competitive. One thing I think that is detrimental to their very own their very prejudiced are very biased. They are very quick to criticize they don't like to feel that their opinion is the right opinion and they're a little bit too fast and that they had a little bit too quick to condemn. I think God I think they're just because there's a change doesn't mean it's bad. How is race around here Farm in this community I went to school there. Never got away from home in my tech ever. Wish you had not really because I don't think I'd had to hold him. So I have today if I the wrong do, you know a man can accomplish overnight, you know a lifetime old Legion overnight and the longer you're under eyes change. I think I figured myself lucky for staying where I am. We don't have a very yet very mixed Community. It. It's not very mixed. It's mostly German to know if pride in German ancestry you knowing Beauty Gaga join them or leave them. How do you feel about that? German? Russian Heritage? Does it mean anything to you? Not really my grandma's talks a lot about how she came over and everything I got was born in America, so I realize I like most people come from German Rush thing, but I don't really care. I don't think about it. That much is a tears rolling down their face. C&R 390 Dance Floor game Shopkins not to breathe and then fry sausage started going and Hyde. Strasburg North Dakota, our hometown one in a series of sound self-portraits illustrating the attitudes and character of life in small towns produced by Minnesota Public Radio station kccm with funds provided by the North Dakota committee for the Humanities and public issues producers of the series are John ydstie, Dennis Hamilton and Bill seem ring. You may purchase a cassette copy of this program by contacting kccm, Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota 56560. total RC

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Digitization made possible by the State of Minnesota Legacy Amendment’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, approved by voters in 2008.

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