By Dr. Edward F. Keller
Self published by Dr. Edward F. Keller, Dickinson, North Dakota,
1997, softcover, 158 pages, softcover
In Memory Stories author Edward F. Keller again demonstrates
incredible detailed recollections of his early childhood at his
Emmons County, North Dakota farm, and at his now famous hometown
Strasburg, North Dakota, the birthplace of bandleader Lawrence Welk.
In stories like "My Mother's Apron," "Daily Mass," Horse Power"
and the many others, Keller evokes the wholesome, sacrificing and
hard working spirit of his German Russian ancestors during the 1920's
and 1930's in Emmons County, North Dakota. Stories tell of a way
of life at a difficult time on the prairie, the honorable use of
what nature provides and the far-reaching effects of faith. Keller
returns the reader to the reader's own childhood and to revel in
his own roots.
Comments about the book
"You have a great way of bringing bits of the past to life for
those of us who weren't there."
--- Jerry Klein, San Juan, Capistrano, California
"Your stories are excellent, I enjoyed every one of them, even
though I did not personally know any of the people mentioned. Somehow
it seems as though you were talking about my own little hometown
in Wisconsin, from the same period of time."
--- Bernard Killinger, Hastings, Michigan
"I am pleasantly surprised by your writing ability and your use
of language. Your words are evocative of a time and place removed...very
nicely written work."
--- Terry J. Aman, Editor, Bottineau Courant, Bottineau,
"I am about your age, so I can relate to all you write about;
the farms, neighbors, town and church. Keep writing. Those people
our age who grew up on farms and small towns can relate to those
"good old days."
--- Michael Voller, Strasburg, North Dakota
"You have an amazing memory for detail, and in this kind of writing
God is in the details."
--- Rev. Terrence Kardong, Writer and Researcher, Assumption Abbey,
Richardton, North Dakota
"Your stories put flesh on the bones of my genealogy."
--- Rev. William C. Sherman, Historian and Sociologist, Grand Forks,
"Emmons County Record readers love your weekly stories. Your writing
captures the essence of prairie living, from an era when you were
growing up on a family farm to the present. Even those who never
lived in this part of the country enjoy your down-to-earth perspective
and glimpses of the past. Your love for the land and for humanity
are evident in your writing."
--- Allan Burke, Editor, Emmons County Record, Linton, North
Edward Keller the Garrison Keillor of German Catholics
The Forum, Fargo, North Dakota, October 11, 1998, Page C3
Book review by Gail Gabrielson, Davenport, North Dakota
Norwegian Lutherans have Garrison Keillor and Lake Wobegon, and
now German Catholics have Edward Keller and Strasburg, N.D. (and
make sure you roll the "r" when you say Strasburg).
The big difference is that Keller really grew up in Strasburg
and has a book full of true stories that will entertain readers
of any ethnic background.
Keller is a retired Dickinson, N.D., dentist, but don't worry,
there are only two stories about his dental practice -- his retirement
party and flying to Fargo for a convention.
Otherwise Keller's latest publication is full of gentle stories,
simply told. His work will be a lasting legacy for his family, one
of the reasons he began writing.
Sometimes the stories are recitations of facts and historical
data, but a greater number concern Keller and his childhood on the
family farm. He describes his father handling his rosary during
Mass, "the large, wooden, brown, marble-sized beads with three-inch
crucifix, the one from Russia yet, that once was his mother's."
Keller also does essays on his mother's home remedies, the versatility
of her apron and the traditional meals she cooked for feast days
or Sundays--borscht soup, ring bologna and potato salad.
Keller, who writes a weekly column for the Emmons County Record
in Linton, also provides stories about the county, the Catholic
Church in North Dakota, the role of nuns in building communities
and personal history.
Keller's great-great-grandfather came from Russia to scout out
Dakota Territory. He went back and arranged for his children and
their families to immigrate, but he didn't join him. "Phillip, in
is 70s, stayed in Russia, an enormous sacrifice ... because he loved
his children and wanted them to live in a free country," Keller
Some of Keller's journal entries end rather abruptly, but sometimes
there's just nothing left to say. In any case, he was probably born
to write. He recalls his favorite Christmas gift was a set of rubber
stamps of the alphabet and an ink pad.
About the Author
The author of Memory Stories, Dr. Edward F. Keller, was
born in Strasburg, North Dakota in 1927. In 1941, he left for Canton,
Ohio, to attend Brunnerdale Seminary High School. He later served
in the military as a dental technician, attended St. Thomas College,
St. Paul, Minnesota, and graduated from Marquette University School
of Dentistry, Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1955. He is now retired after
practicing dentistry in Dickinson, North Dakota for 42 years. He
lives with his wife, Shirley, in Dickinson. Dr. Keller is author
of My First World published in 1995 also available from the
Germans from Russia Heritage Collection.
Reprinted with permission of The Forum, Fargo, North Dakota.
Write Stuff Southwest Area Edition Inspire,
Dickinson, North Dakota, Summer, 2004
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