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, North Dakota
"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, North Dakota
"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 Dakota
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 writes.
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.
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