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Growing Up in North Dakota: A Memoir

Book review by Ken Rogers

Pritzkau, Philo T. Growing Up in North Dakota: A Memoir. North Dakota State University Libraries, Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, Fargo, North Dakota, 1996.


Not all memoirs of homesteading by Germans from Russia are readable. Philo Pritzkau's recollections of growing up in North Dakota, near Burnstad, reads well.

Pritzkau was a professor of education at the University of Connecticut when he retired and was author of several textbooks for teachers. That writing skill transfers well to the prairie.

An example of the 95-year-old Pritzkau's pen:

Our Dad had a great feeling for land. Maybe that was his idea of satisfaction and richness - yearning for and owning land. He homesteaded, filing for a quarter section, 160 acres, and gradually acquiring more until he had at least three times that much. He was a risk taker who had somehow overcome the fear of losing what he had bought on time through possible crop failures, sickness, whatever. Although he didn't like the idea of a mortgage over his head, he could tolerate it. Mother, however, had an obsessive fear about being in debt. The very word, mortgage, struck her with horror. She wanted no part of it.

Reprinted with permission of the Bismarck Tribune

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