( E a r t h I )



1 9 7 4

A Dakota Plains Family

Act I

Scene 1.

Behind the set, flute or autoharp music, beginning softly like a gentle breeze on the man-tall Prairie grass (supposed to give the sound "Tisha! Tisha!" according to Ole Rolvaag of GIANTS IN THE EARTH fame) but soon is lively enough to dance by. It turns slow and melancholy, as if remembering the mighty ones that formerly roamed the Prairie, then by degrees becomes joyful and rich, concluding in notes of trumpetlike triumph or celebration, while repeating a few tender themes of the melancholy period as it dies away.

The audience, while entertained by the beauty and intricacy of the flute's rendering, is staring with probably a mixture of humor, puzzlement, and mild shock or, if a member is closely related, warm and affectionate recognition at the crude and rudimentary set (soon to be described). Also, senses are being richly rewarded by the scent of hay and other good barn smells (this can be provided by having some hay bales on hand to scatter between the rows of seats). A few Tabby cats, roaming around and getting petted, wouldn't hurt either. No romantic dream, the set is painted, cut out of paper, or presented as actual items, such as:

A sink and counter top that have seen years of heavy duty cooking and cleaning. A wood stove with a reservoir (or cove, for heating water), and a woodbox. A small "two seater" table with red checkered oilcloth and two chairs. It receives almost constant heavy duty use, so it should look used. Some bowls, big and small, and eating utensils. A broom and dustpan. Some dish towels made from flour sacks. Two wires or ropes (more as needed) run above the set, so that curtains of army blankets erected and easily taken down. Nothing "modern" except for a small old-fashioned radio and some opened letters stuffed behind it should be seen. Beyond the kitchen scene is a bit of low wooden fencing, just the corner of it projecting toward the audience. Cows, sheep, and horses have rubbed it almost to pieces through the years, and it has their hairs still stuck on it. Off to the side is a painted barn and silo as a backdrop. "Plain View Farm" is lettered in white across the entire side of the red barn. The Narrator appears at center right of the set, where she can stand (or sit down when she is not speaking). She is a young and beautiful woman, stylish in the 1920's or 1930's fashion; her clothes are definitely "store-bought" from the Big City, which makes her a great contrast to the set and everyone who will appear on it. No one knows who she is and wouldn’t guess she is the daughter of the king of Tyre who in Psalm 45 “will come with a gift; the rich among the people will seek your favor,” to do homage to the daughter of Zion. The original Alfred Stadem, a son of the Pilgrims and Puritans in some of his tastes, would not have approved of her and the sophisticated neckline and makeup and jewelry; but, then, she is about to do him a great tribute which only an "outsider" can properly give. The modern audience need not feel uncomfortable. When his facsimile appears on stage, he never sees her, nor will any other working members of the cast. The opening music has just died away as the Narrator gracefully and elegantly takes her position. She stands at a podium, with a folder containing her remarks. The podium, other than the Narrator, is probably the most elaborate item on the set and, like the Narrator, comes from the "outside" World. It is fronted by two panels, carved like two doors, and holding the figures of two medieval, winged angels, standing together and facing outwards. The pair of angelic heralds are portrayed as handsome and unsmiling youth in long, graceful robes. The first angel raises an ancient stringed instrument and his other hand holds the playing sticks. The second has in hand a book from which he is evidently reading or proclaiming, possibly for a long time to the children of men (see Explanation at the end of Text).

Enter the old woman, dressed as a housewife and mother, her hair mostly white but with patches of faint red, who comes out on the stage and stands in the kitchen. The old woman, Mama Stadem, moves slowly but deliberately. She picks up a bowl and leaves the kitchen and pauses, throwing out corn to some wooden chickens and geese set about. Emptying the last kernel on the ground, she moves to the fence corner and leans on it, looking out beyond into the distance. She wipes her eyes as if she needs to see better. She shows no alarm when an Indian man, his woman, and child come up and stand, waiting. They wear Indian face masks, so they cannot be real, but she doesn't notice. She goes unhurriedly back to the kitchen and returns with a parcel of food wrapped in a piece of flour sack. They take it and go, without a word. Mama Stadem remains, gazing toward the world beyond.

Narrator (speaking for Mama Stadem in Mama Stadem's accent but in a young woman's voice): “Uff da! Vat a strange countree dis is. (Mama Stadem shakes her head slowly at this point). Ven first I come here to dis countree, oh my! De mange people! De tall buildings! De noise! Da smoke! De Indians! Norvay vass so different. Dis land ver Papa and I live is now beautiful--he plants so mange trees and lilacs. But Norvay too vass like heaven! Only der vass nutting to eat! My, how quick the people walk here! In New York, I think it was someplace like dat, vi--my sister Tina and me--got off de ship altogether with the mange people who almost run us over! Dey would not let us go to my bruder Andrew vaiting for us someplace, but vi had to vait a long time altogether in big rooms ver dey all slept or sat on de beds. Den dey call our names. Vi go as fast as these good Norwegian legs can, climb the stairs out of breath, answer all the questions from the man. If you don't walk fast enough, or maybe you look sick, dey send you back! Yah! All the vay back feeding the fish! I vass eighteen--in between dear Tina and Andrew. God is so good! Vi were let in the countree and vi set off without any English. Oh yah, I forget. Andrew vass den at the seminary. So jist vi two girls took the train to Dakota. Long. It vass a long, long vay to Dakota. Dat's all I remember about it."

Narrator: "Bergit worked as a maid in several Dakota homes and learned American ways of cooking and cleaning. But she kept her ways too! She worked hard and even learned a little English to get by. But, best of all, she caught the eye of a young, God-fearing, good-looking Norwegian-American farmer, Alfred Stadem, and the glances they exchanged changed everything--everything that had not already been transformed by the great move to America."

Still shaking her head at old memories, the old woman returns to the kitchen, a blanket is drawn up and the scene is over.

Scene 2.

Mama Stadem, as a young matron, is in the kitchen. Her wedding dress hangs on a peg on the wall. Children, all girls, are tugging at her apron as she tries to sweep the floor. She pauses to rest, as she is heavily pregnant again. The Chorus comes in around her, singing "Pillsbury Best"--a name emblazoned in red and blue on the bottoms of the smallest and youngest.

# 1 “Pillsbury’s Best” _____________________

“It never has been necessary for Mama to own many aprons. Just a good square floursack with the edges sewn up and bleached, folded into a three corner way, and, pronto, Mama had her apron! These sacks Mama sewed into pillow slips, sheets, dish towels and diapers for the baby. Even with Mama’s lye soap the red and blue ink that was stamped on them was next to impossible to remove. The result was that ‘Pillsbury’s Best’ was prominently displayed on the seat of the baby. Whoever heard of store bought diapers, anyway?” ---Narrator speaking for Estelle, “Ancestry, Biography, and Episodes of Bessie and Alfred Stadem and Families,” THE STADEM BOOK __________________________________________________________________________________

Gates of heaven made of this-- P

earl--first---the child of bliss!

Canton* was her place of birth,

Then came Bernice of great worth.

Together, daughters like a ring:

Gem and setting for a king;

In Clark County**, farm they kept,

Four more girls they did accept.

Myrtle, Cora, Alida,

Until a voice cried out an “Uff-da!”

Daughter Estelle starred their crown,

And then they moved toward Bryant Town.

Hamlin County, they moved last;

The barn and house, they built up fast;

Trees and lilacs, gardens too,

ut what was best was the plain view.

Papa looked and gazed afar,

Counties three, he numbered there;

No rocky hills could his sight bar,

He saw a Promised Land most fair.

In Norway mountains hemmed man in,

Valleys squeezed you deep within;

Not so, Hamlin’s Plain View Farm!

Vast it stretched beyond his arm.

No stone walls to shut them up,

The children ran until they dropped.

Everywhere just rich, safe sod,

A gentle, rolling gift of God.

****Canton, SD **Clark County

The Chorus finishes the song, and Mama Stadem stands apart, a hand on her bulging midriff as she contemplates the movements of life within, her eyes closed, her lips moving in a silent prayer. The Chorus sings, "Oh God, Let it be a Boy!"

# 2 “Oh God, let it be a boy!” ________________________

“Mama told she prayed before Estelle was born that if God willed, He would give her a son--not for her sake, but for the neighbors!” ---Narrator for Estelle, “Ancestry, Biography, and Episodes...” ___________________________________________________________________________________

“It better be a boy this time!”

Our Mama said one long, hot day.

“Five pennies make half a dime,

Just one good boy--what would I pay!”

She cooked and scrubbed, and cleaned the house,

She gave her flowers’ daily douse;

The stove wood chopped, the girls fed,

She labored till their time for bed.

“Come, Mama,” her daughters cried,

As they clung close by her side;

“Read us from the storybook,

How Jonah made a whale’s hook.”

“No!” said Myrtle, Number 3,

“I want Joseph down the well.”

But Number 4, as well as Be,

Chose “Daisy Belle Lost in the Dell.”

Mama shook her dear red head,

And bundled them right off to bed;

Laughing, talking all the way,

Her daughters five had their last say.

“Mama wants a boy, I know!”

Number 5 observed to them.

“Why? What’s wrong? It isn’t so!”

Cried Second to another gem.

Finally, they fell asleep;

Mama rose up and she prayed;

Quietly, without a peep,

Her problem before God was laid. Neighbors had begun to talk: “Girls! Girls! Where will it stop?” Papa could just take a walk, But she felt like her head would pop. “Have mercy, Lord, and grant this boon, A son! a son! May he come soon! Not for me, or for my sake, My neighbors, Lord, are hard to take!” Man cannot tell what God thinks best, Until the day the vine is blest; Is it boy, or is it not? It was a “star”--just what GOD sought! *** _____________ The new daughter was named Estelle (Latin: stella, meaning star) Narrator: "The ways of Providence, particularly with women, are mysterious. God turned a deaf ear yet again to Mama Stadem's prayer to save face with her talkative neighbors. Little Pearl, Bernice, Myrtle, Cora, and Alida were followed by Estelle--all ‘Pillsbury's Best’--but not quite what she requested so urgently with an eye on the neighbors." Scene 3. Narrator: The family of Alfred and Bergit Stadem would move from one Dakota property to another until it settled on the land that was to be their very own Plain View Farm. The hundred or so acres that composed the home and crop land were located four miles north and one mile west of Bryant, South Dakota. With a buffalo mound a stone's throw from the yard and enough elevation for Alfred to view three counties, Plain View Farm held special promise and a certain distinction among the other farms--at least Alfred thought so. After giving the farm its name, he set out to plant a forest of trees and lilacs round the house and yard, fashion grand entrance gates with cement and many-colored stones, dig fascinating and lovely fish pools, and do everything else he could think of to make it a little paradise on earth for his wife and growing family. In their eyes at least, he succeeded beyond their dreams of what a paradise might be--even if he never quite got running water to go with all the running children." Children run about the kitchen and the "yard" barefoot as they play various games. The chorus sings "Barefoot--Song of Spring."

# 3 “Barefoot! Song of Spring” ____________________

“From the time the first furrows were creased across our fields until the corn was planted, our farm had an air of bustle about it. We could sense the pulse of things growing. They were days of change. At first the trees were tinged a faint green and suddenly, as if overnight, they broke into full leaf. The air came in heavy and fertile with promise through open doors and windows. These were happy times when we could wake in the morning and not have to lace shoes, but just run barefoot!” --Narrator for Estelle, “Ancestry, Biography, Episodes...” __________________________________________________________________________________

Across the fields long furrows ran That Papa plowed so straight and true; To plant the corn was Papa’s plan, And reap a harvest as his due. We sensed the pulse in tree and grass That looked so bare and dead--alas! Our hearts, they quickened more each day, We felt a turn was close at bay. “Lulu, do you see that tree?” “The one whose branches make a cross?” “It looks like green and can’t be moss.” “Oh, no, you’re wrong!” chimed in dear Be. The sisters flew to brother Art. He wasn’t quick to play his part. “Perhaps--maybe--but it’s too soon, Wait until the next full moon.” But, Change, it came like overnight! All woke to find a thrilling sight. The trees that once were lifeless brown Now waved full-leafed from trunk to crown. Our windows opened to an air That Adam knew in lost Eden; Like Paradise, with fragrance rare, We breathed it in, again! again! Oh, wonderful! when morning dawned, And off we raced through open doors; To splash barefoot in slough and pond And celebrate New Life outdoors! **** As the children settle down to play quieter games or draw pictures with sticks in the dirt, the Chorus sings "Farm Life." # 4 “Farm Life” _______________ “The everyday fare [and family life] of the farm revolved around the things we raised.” ---Narrator for Estelle, “Ancestry, Biography, and Episodes...” _________________________________________________________________________________ Farm life is no La-Te-Da! For each day started in the dark. Mama first, then our Papa, At their chores before light saw. Sugar, flour, coffee too, The store in town had them for sale; But things we bought were precious few, We raised our eats, from snout to tail. Meat and produce from our land, It came from sweat of brow and hand; Cistern stored our cool, rich cream, Till we poured it in the churn. Vegetables we canned or stored, The basement was our freezer then; With little spent, no food bill soared, Yet we got each vitamin. Mama cooked on her wood stove, It heated water in a cove; She baked bread of the finest kind, Her recipe was “Omtrint” signed. Washing was a two day job, We boiled clothes until they screamed; Elastic first gave out a sob, Then stretched to Timbuktu, it seemed. O Farm Life! It had its joys, Even though we had few toys. In winter, frost formed on our beds, We snuggled tight, with close-packed heads. The hardest thing was--you guessed it! That hut outdoors where you must sit. In dark and cold we made the run, Till White-Owl had compassion. *** ___________________ “Omtrint” : ”guess”; White-Owl: “emergency” nightjar, or commode kept under the bed Mama Stadem interrupts the playing children to give one a broom, another a pail to feed the chickens, another a dish pan of water for the flower bed. A school bell sounds in the distance. The girls all hurry to get their books and lunches and march off to school down between the benches of the audience, Mama Stadem looking after them at the fence corner. The children come running back home, throwing their books down. Mama Stadem pulls out a big tub into the kitchen. The Chorus sings "Saturday Bath" as the blanket curtain is raised to admit one family member after another, starting with the youngest, the Baby, and working on up. Clothes are thrown up over the blanket as the youngster gets ready for her bath. Mama Stadem carefully folds the clothes for the wash basket or goes to pour in more hot water from the stove. At least once the blanket falls unexpectedly, revealing someone in the tub or maybe a bare bum, done in cardboard, sticking out from the tub. Screams and splashes. The blanket is hastily raised. #5 “Saturday Bath” ________________ “The Saturday bath, while the kitchen was warm, required bringing in a large wash tub, filling it with rain-barrel water that we heated on the range or took out of the reservoir. The lack of privacy and drafts from the opening of doors made it quite an ordeal. We first bathed the baby, then next in line of years. Hot water was added after each bather had finished to warm up the water for comfort and effect for the next to step in.” --Narrator for Estelle, “Ancestry, Biography, and Episodes...” _________________________________________________________________________________ MODESTY had little chance When we all did our bare-limbed dance Across the kitchen to the tub To snatch a fast and weekly scrub! Baby first, then each in years, With Mama checking behind ears; “Shut that door!”--you heard a cry; Draughts were bad as soap in eye. Toward the end the stuff grew thick, You couldn’t stir it with a stick; In stepped Pearl at the last, All warm effect was long since past. It’s hard to say what good it did, But rituals are hard to rid; What Saturday would be complete Without our blushes like a beet? What other day could bear the sight Of fronts and rears exposed to light? Yet God gives grace with each sore test, On Sunday morning we looked our BEST! *** As each young bather finishes, she (almost always she) come out dressed in her Sunday Best, a Bible in hand and stands "at attention" in the yard. Finally, Mama and Papa come forth, Bibles in hand. They sit down together as in a wagon, with Papa shaking the reins for the imaginary "horses." The Chorus sings "Sunday Service". #6 “Sunday Service” ___________________ “Most of us remember the spiritual life and atmosphere of our home. The concern for and dedicated efforts to live a Christian life. This we remember in our home. The family devotions each evening and on Sundays if we couldn’t make it to church because of road conditions. This didn’t happen very often because if the roads were too wet, we’d go by horses and wheels. If too much snow for the car, it was by horses and sleigh. All week we worked to prepare our clothes, shoes, lessons, the conveyance so that we should be found in our local congregation, five miles from home.” --Narrator for Estelle, “Ancestry, Biography, and Episodes...” ___________________________________________________________________________________ At home and church our parents taught The Word of God just as they ought; A Christless home grinds up each gear, It has no focus, there or here. We seldom wondered what to do, Our parents showed us what was due; To Sunday School we went prepared. No lessons done? We never dared! Devotions in our home each day Instilled in tender hearts a Way To godly life and happiness, By faith AND practice that will bless. The Road that we all then begun Is best when you have started young; Train up a child the way to go, And he will never end in woe. Loving Jesus was the Aim, It wasn’t showing-off, or game; To honor God for all He’d done Upon the Cross for everyone! And so we scrubbed and starched and dressed And went to church with clean clothes pressed; We never asked why we should go, It was the Plain View Way, we know. *** Act II Scene 1. Opening music is given by the flute or autoharp. For the first time, it has some definitely melancholy but still sweet strains in the music. The tempo picks up at the last, then abruptly cuts off. Narrator: "Mama gets her boy at last. Her fervent prayer may have been delayed by the charming, vivacious, big-hearted Estelle, but her seventh child was clearly a boy. His name was Arthur, an angel of a lad of the most quiet, grave, and sweet disposition. Soon followed another girl, a handful of activity and selfless devotion if there ever was one, as if to make up for the ‘mistake’ in Arthur's gender, and she was named Ruth. But again Providence turned mysterious and chose to temper the staunchly feminine line of the Alfred Stadems with the male variety, perhaps for Arthur's sake, giving him a brother, Leroy, the last of nine Stadem children but certainly not--with his steadfast and caring ways--the least. Soon, all too soon, however, comes a parting of the ways. And for the big Stadem family it began with Christian high school, entailing a trip by train from Bryant to far-off Canton, South Dakota." The Chorus sings "Off to the Academy!" along with the intermixed melody of the old hymn, "Praise God From Whom all Blessings Flow," as the oldest Stadem children stand on a railroad platform and then go and put their sad faces into the "windows" of a cardboard train compartment. # 7 “Off to the Academy!” ________________________ “”After grade school we were privileged to attend Augustana Academy [a historic, Scandinavian immigrant-based, Christian institution of learning], a trip which we took mostly by train over a hundred miles from home. Always tears were shed as we left home...As we sat ready to leave, and the younger ones standing by, the finale was to sing ‘Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow!’ It left a deep impression and a long-remembered ritual.” --Narrator for Estelle, “Ancestry, Biography, and Episodes...” __________________________________________________________________________________ A hundred miles by train or car, The separation seemed too far; But go we must, and loved ones part, From Pearl first to Ruth, Lee, Art. “We Would See Jesus!”--motto dear-- Augustana’s firm foundation; “We Would See Jesus!”--oh how clear! That high, aspiring education! Each class and school activity Was centered on that noble goal; We trained and studied hard daily And came through disciplined in soul. From principal to green freshman, Augie stood up next to none; Ole Rolvaag, Amundsen, Some say even Lincoln’s son! ‘Tis sad it ever closed its door, The Promise never lost its gleam; The gold it gave us in years four Has never ceased to shed its beam. *** Narrator: "Papa and Mama have worked, loved, and prayed unceasingly, and the fruits of their long labors are maturing. They have brought up a family on the Dakota Prairie, right through the Great Depression and the worst droughts and dust storms of the 'Dirty Thirties.' Many fled the Dakotas during these hardships. The Stadems stayed, and, in family at least, flourished. The nine beautiful male and female children are now grown into mostly teens and young adults. The seven sisters are attractive and marriageable young women. Somehow getting all their varied schedules and locations to agree, they assemble with their two brothers, along with Papa and Mama, slightly grayed in hair and stockier, for a family portrait." The Chorus sings "Family Portrait." # 8 “Family Portrait” ____________________ “Not only did the nine of us receive Christian education, but somehow Papa and Mama put aside monies so that even the grandchildren could take advantage of the opportunity of attending a Christian high school. A Christian respect for the nation was instilled in us, and Papa especially stressed Christian leadership and gave tribute especially to Abraham Lincoln. We thank God for parents who loved the Lord Jesus, read the Word to us, practiced its teaching, being faithful, and taught us to do the same. We thank God for all Papa did for us. We thank God for you, Mama. ‘The godly shall flourish like palm trees; those that are planted in the house of the Lord are under His personal care. They shall bring forth fruit in old age and be vital and green.’ Psalms.” --Narrator for Estelle, “Ancestry, Biography, and Episodes...” __________________________________________________________________________________ From Two grew nine who all stand tall-- Fruits of parents tried and true; Arm in arm, not one can fall, The chain of FAMILY they grew. Link on link, they gleam pure gold, Spirits free and in Christ bold; No sluggards, these! They seize the day, Giving ALL to work or play. Pungent, sweet, and chewy too, Their characters are all true blue; No stuffed shirts of Pomposity, They love a laugh, whate’er it be. Down to earth, or up to heaven, They’re salt to meat, or just good leaven; They stand out unique in a crowd-- Individuals, God-endowed. Pillars of America, Facing firm her mortal foes; When Duty calls, no hem and haw! Into the fray each one then goes. No wasting life, no emptiness, They have an Aim for all they do; While others wander in a mess, They cannot miss with their Plain View. *** The Narrator calls out the names of the girls and boys in turn as they take their places for the portrait, so the audience can learn all their names as a photographer out front makes the motions of taking the picture. The picture-taking over, young men appear and go and pair off with various of the girls after a respectful bow to (and an approving nod from) the seated parents. The first young man, dressed in a spotless white flight cap and uniform, comes to court his chosen sweetheart and first hands a little gold airplane to Papa Stadem, who makes it swoop about in the air before he "crashes" it nose-down on the floor for fun. Papa Stadem throws his arms around the young man when he approaches, leading Pearl as his choice. Evidently, he has taken Bob close to his own heart. As for Arthur, he stand gravely with his brother like Joseph with little Benjamin in Patriarchal Times (see Explanation at end). The curtain is raised (or lowered as the case may be), and Bernice stands before the audience. Mama Stadem goes into the yard, dressed in her everyday housedress and apron, to water her flowers with dish water from the sink. Bernice gazes at her while the Narrator speaks her thoughts. When she is finished, a young man in a stylish cowboy hat comes, takes her hand, and leads her away behind the curtain or down between the rows of seats and they proceed slowly as if in a wedding march, the young man's eyes straight ahead and Bernice's eyes modestly lowered. Narrator: "'Mama,” by Bernice Stadem." A handsome man has called to me who, like you, loves tenderly; but, Mama dear, I can’t forget how children on your lap could sit. You rocked us in the leather chair and kissed away each hurt and care. Then when we climbed upstairs to bed, You listened close to what we said. Each child’s prayer would raise a tear as when your Mama bent her ear. No orchestra was e’er so grand, nor sang a finer choir than when Mama played our pump organ and crooned so gently “Beulah Land.” Your throne, dear Mama, was your stove where you cooked up a treasure trove: pancakes browning on the top, rice puddin’ in the oven hot, and coffee cheering long wash days-- you treated royally this way! Movie shows were mighty few, but we had better things to do; Flinch, caroms, and popcorn fun, a lamp of kerosene for sun. And now, Mama, I must leave you, yet I’ll cherish dear Plain View, strong and firm in foundation, and built on Love for everyone. (CHORUS): And now, Mama, I must leave you, yet I’ll cherish dear Plain View, strong and firm in foundation, and built on Love for everyone. (repeat, and FADE) When “Mama” is finished, Bernice departs with her young man, and Leroy steps forward. Papa replaces Mama in the "yard." He sits on a stool fixing something, or he is mending boots and shoes after looking at the sky through the open sole of one of them and giving a doubtful shake of his head. Leroy stands gazing at his Papa, and he too shakes his head. Ruthie slips by, and she has a little mixed bouquet of Papa's lilacs or Mama's flowers in her hand. A "wind" is blowing on her, ruffling her plain dress and hair. The strong, sweet scent of the flowers, carried by the "breeze," goes out to the audience. Narrator: “Papa” by Leroy Stadem Dear Papa, why do you still say “Yah” for “J” the Norske way? It makes kids laugh at you sometimes, as if you’re quoting funny rhymes. Dear Papa, you are different, you act just like an immigrant! Working hard, you till the sod and never forget to thank God. Horses, mules, share your toil as you plow Dakota soil. Sweat lies often on your brow, thick as cream fresh from our cow. When I do wrong, I miss a meal, or get a switch I can’t help feel!] Oh, Papa, you are stern but true, to all you built here at Plain View. Dear Papa, why do you still say “Yah” for “J” the Norske way? And that blue sky in your eye-- it’s not like ours, I wonder why. That color is a deeper hue than we see here at old Plain View. And sometimes when you look at me, I feel mountains and the sea. How odd you are, dear Papa, still; you heap no riches for your Will. You’re just content with daily bread baked the way your Mama did. It could be swell to live in town, but you hold town-life is unsound. To be God’s farmer is your aim, and have a wife to share your name, a family to train up right in God’s own eye and neighbors’ sight-- that’s the life here at Plain View. Dear Papa, how I love it too! (CHORUS): Dear Papa, why do you still say “Yah” for “J” the Norske way? Dear Papa, why do you still say “Yah” for “J” the Norske way? Dear Papa...(repeat, and FADE) Leroy leaves, and Ruthie takes his place, glancing lovingly at Papa and then looking straight at the audience fearlessly as if she can see them clear as day. Her long stockings, like Mama’s, lack elastic-stretch due to being boiled in hot water, and droop at her ankles. Narrator: “Papa and Mama” by Ruthie Stadem Papa and Mama truly love the Lord! They sing the “Doxology” in the old Model T Ford. When they come home at midnight from Lutheran Fellowship League meetings, the cows waiting to be milked give them a warm, mooing greeting. Papa never complains about the weather. He always says, “It’s going to get better!” Each morning Papa comes in from the barn to say, “It’s BEAUTIFUL in Chicago today!” When things don’t go so good as a whole, Papa likes to sing, “It is Well With My Soul.” Papa and Mama have family devotions each morning, And Jesus Christ is the one they are adorning! You ought to hear Papa when he kneels to pray for Old Mexico, day by day. Papa is strict but in the right way; he tells us that later we won’t have to pay with acts of sin that could drive us from God as we travel to heaven from Dakota sod. (CHORUS): Papa is strict but in the right way; he tells us that later we won’t have to pay with acts of sin that could drive us from God as we travel to heaven from Dakota sod. (Repeat, and FADE) Scene 2. The flute music, turning even more plaintive, resumes. It dies away, again abruptly. The curtain moves and is gathered in folds about a bed on which two of the sisters, Alida and her youngest sister, Ruthie, are lying. Alida is tossing about, her eyes closed. She suddenly sits up and cries out soundlessly. Narrator: "They crashed! They crashed! Arthur and Bob crashed! Oh, the smoke, the fire! It's that plane Mr. Shoup sold Bob--it wasn't fixed after all like he said!" Ruthie, clutching a faceless, worn-out rag doll, does not awaken. Alida stares at her, looks as though she will try to wake her, then shakes her head, covers her face with her blanket, and the scene ends with the return of the music, but it is very sad and gentle, like a funeral dirge. There is once again the sweet scent of lilacs in the air. Scene 3. Narrator: "But dreams are dreams. They may not come true. Thinking it the wise thing to do, Alida keeps silent about her terrible visions of the night. After all, who--she thinks--would believe her? Who, indeed? On the other hand, something is definitely wrong with Papa Stadem. He has grown more and more upset and unhappy. His pastor's children, for instance, can do nothing right, according to his view. He is also upset with Bryant, the merchants who have turned so 'worldly' in their ways he will not allow Mama to do business with them. Even the town baseball club comes in for its share of Stadem fire when it holds a meet on a Sunday. Papa Stadem has only to see the pastor passing in the street and he is filled with uncontrollable fury. What has become of the man who planted all the sweet and beautiful lilacs? He is on the verge of becoming a troll or even a fire-breathing dragon! And Mama is concerned--very concerned." Chorus: "Fishin' on Sunday." # 9 “Fishin’ on Sunday!” _____________________ Narrator: “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel...”--Galatians 1:7a; “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of Christ, for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.” --Gal. 2:20-21; “Let all bitterness and wrath, and anger, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”--Ephesians 4:31-32. _________________________________________________________________________________ “The Grace of God is the sufficiency that makes the joyless hour throb with glory, that puts the glow of heaven on the fading page of earth...” --Narrator for Estelle, “Ancestry, Biography, and Episodes...” _________________________________________________________________________________ The heart of man is dark and deep, The things therein can make flesh creep; How can we from God’s Grace now turn? What gain is there in works that burn? The letter of the Law will kill, It makes your spirit deathly ill; Grace, not Law, will set us free, It’s Christ who won our liberty. Branded with the Hagar mark,* We labored, slaves, in sin’s deep dark; Then one day Light shone so bright,** The blinders dropped from off our sight. God paid for sin, the price complete-- Shed Blood of Christ, our Mercy-seat; Washed in His Blood, from sin released, Our new life by Christ’s death purchased. *** _________________ *Hagar: “For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the Mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Hagar. For this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.” --Gal. 4:22-26. **Receiving Christ personally in the heart as Savior, the glorious Second Birth as a Child of God by His Grace While the Chorus is singing, they or a helping group of “slackers,” “loafers,” “Town ne’er-do-wells” are acting out various pastimes--practicing casts with bamboo fish poles, reading the funnies in the paper, playing cards, or catching forty winks with a bottle in hand, all while Papa Stadem looks on with dour and disapproving grimaces, a Bible clenched in hand. The flute gives out wild catcalls and devilish whoops and Papa Stadem, unable to endure the merriment any longer, swings a horse whip about and scatters the laughing peanut gallery. He follows them out as soon as the narrator has spoken what he is soundlessly mouthing. Narrator: "'To the firepits of Gehenna with them! May they all burn in Gehenna, I say!'" Mama Stadem comes out, looks sadly around, shaking her head. She stands, facing the audience, head down. Papa comes back out, his clothes all rumpled and a big stick in his hand, and he stands face to face with red-haired Mama like a snorting bull before a red cape. "Narrator: 'Uff da--a--a--aa! Oh Papa, God might take von of us, if vi don't stop dis all dis judging and putting down of people!" The music, now unmistakably ominous, resumes, and breaks off with a clash of a cymbal as of thunder as water pelts down and Mama stands her ground while Papa ducks his head and scurries for cover. She seems to be pondering something only she knows. Narrator: "What is Mama thinking might happen to her beloved family? Does she know something of what is in store for her? Arthur--what about him? He has gone off to war in the South Pacific, serving in the Navy. Little Ruthie--the soul of family devotion--is clinging close by the home fires, and Leroy is too young yet to venture forth (though soon he will as another Navyman!), but her other children are scattering to the far corners of the earth, to Sioux Falls, Minnesota, Alaska, Washington and California, even to the jungles of South America as missionaries. Cora, their missionary daughter, seeing her Papa overtaken by the root of bitterness, would write to Mama’s brother Andrew, pleading for help, but months would go by and no reply--he hadn’t turned the page over so he had not read her plea about Papa. But would Brother Andrew have been able to turn Papa back to the right path? Not knowing these developments, what does the troubled heart of Mama Stadem discern in the dark clouds swirling overhead, darkening the sky over Plain View Farm?" INTERMISSION Act III Scene 1 Pearl, in prayer, is kneeling beside her bed. Narrator: "The eldest daughter, Pearl, is now a married woman with a brood of her own. She and her vigorous, outgoing husband Robert Ginther have moved to the West Coast, and 'Bob,' an avid flyer, fisherman, and a carpenter in a shipyard, has begun building a new house for his wife and family. Best of all in her eyes, he loves the Lord. Yet, with all her responsibilities in her home and at church, she does not forget Plain View and the dear souls on it. Particularly, she prays for Papa who has been growing worse, not better. He has even developed a bad stomach condition, and grumbles and blames it on Mama's wonderful cooking! Yet Papa, Pearl reflects, is a very strong man. She had seen him do things that still amazes her to think of. Fixing a fence without wire cutters, he would bite the wire in two. What would it take to change his mind and heart, after he had become so fixed on hating the sinner instead of the sin? Grieved, one morning Pearl sank to her knees as she went to prayer. 'Oh, Lord, you may take one of my little ones, even the baby, Joyce Marlene, if that is what it takes to save Papa from his own wrath. Only--give me the grace to bear it.' The moment she uttered those words, so costly for a mother to say, her heart flew free of its terrible burden. Then she knew for sure God had heard and would save Papa." Pearl slowly rises, wipes her face and eyes, and goes to the cupboard nearby. She opens it and goes to reach for something when a photograph of an airplane tumbles out. She picks it off the floor and puts her hand to her face as she looks at it. Scene 2. The flute plays, and there is a definite rhythm and melody of the gentle, mourning Prairie grasses waving in the wind. It grows louder, climaxes, then slowly fades. The Narrator leaves her post as the music begins, as if she is drawn to it against her will. She moves slowly in a circle, then takes the long, flowing scarf at her neck in her hand and performs a slow dance to the music. Expressing the movements of the music, she is one with it. When it ends, she is back at her podium as if it had never happened. Narrator: "Plain View Farm will never be quite the same again. Cold winds of change, some born in the darkness of the human heart, have blown across it. As a beautiful daughter of Papa Stadem would someday say, she who is called "Star" or Estelle, 'Your children and children's children [0 beloved Plain View!] will become middle-aged, then old. The living will become the dying. The strong will become the weak. The dreamers will become realists. The process will never go into reverse, for the old will not become young again. Therefore the Gospel of Jesus Christ offers not only a frame for beauty, but offers beauty for the hour when life has been rubbed naked of its luster...' Estelle, the "star" of the family, wrote those words, and we know it is places of utter darkness where the stars shine the brightest." Chorus: "The Plain View Side." # 10 “The Plain View Side” ________________________ “Your children and children’s children will become middle-aged, then old. The living will become the dying. The strong will become the weak. The dreamers will become realists. The process will never go into reverse...” --Narrator for Estelle, “Ancestry, Biography, and Episodes...” __________________________________________________________________________________ What heritage will stand the test When life turns raw and dark-perplexed? Those times must come, of death and loss When now you must take up your cross. You are alone, yet not forsook, Your Counselor stands by His Book; His Spirit also sends a Dove With Balm and Cheer straight from Above. Those who chose the Plain View way Have oh, so much, so much to say! They’ve come through fire, water too-- ABUNDANT LIFE is now their due. Crowns of Life grace every brow. Overcomers, they know how! Glean their secrets for the strife, Which can help you all your life! Refined like silver and like gold, Their lives are Sagas to be told; If you like them in God abide, You’re walkin’ on the Plain View side. *** Scene 3. Narrator: "Papa and Mama Stadem celebrated their Silver Anniversary on Plain View on August 19, 1933, in the midst of the Great Depression. They would both live to celebrate their Fiftieth in better times ahead, but first between the Silver and the Gold ran a dark, icy cold river, full of rapids and man-killing rocks. Lulu was right. Death, like a shark, lurked in that river and would catch the very ones dearest to their hearts--Arthur and Bob. For Alfred to change, one terrible loss would not have been enough. He was that strong a man. After all, he had a thousand years of Vikings in his blood! The date is January 9, 1947." Pearl is lying on her bed in her home as the blanket-curtain is lifted. She has her baby Joyce with her in bed. There is a knock at the door. Without her glasses, she answers the door and the pastor of Mountain View, her church, enters. "Narrator: "Mrs. Ginther, I have sad news for you. Both your brother Arthur and your husband Bob were instantly killed in an airplane." Pearl sits down the bed, puts her head in her hands. "Narrator: "Can you hear Bob's widow? She has spoken very softly, very softly to herself. She has just said, 'I have the answer.' The pastor departs. Chorus: Portions of "In the Gloaming" and the response: “Love’s Old Sweet Song.” Scene 4. The six small Ginther children gathered around their mother. The eldest, Darrell, takes his mother's hand. Narrator: "The boy, his brave heart breaking, means every word. ‘Don't you worry,' he says as manly as he can manage, 'I'll help and support you.'" The scene ends with some flute music, echoing "In the Gloaming." Scene 5 The audience now participates as the audience at a funeral in the Bryant City Auditorium. Two closed coffins are drawn on the blankets up front. A white cross is set between them. Two pictures, one of Arthur Stadem, the other of Robert Ginther, stand by each drawn coffin. A golden airplane is hanging above the coffins and the cross. It slowly turns first one way and then the next. The widow and her parents sit together in chairs set down in front before the coffins. A podium is there also, at which a gentleman in a clerical collar stands and "speaks." "Narrator: "Friends and the beloved family of Arthur and Bob, may I read first this article in the Academy CLARION? 'The entire region surrounding Sioux Falls was shocked by the airplane crash which occurred near Baltic on Thursday, January 9, when two men were instantly killed. Grief came to the Academy family including a host of alumni when it was learned that the victims were none other than Arthur Stadem ('41) and Robert Ginther, the husband of Pearl Stadem ('31). Robert Ginther had come from his home at Puyallup, Washington, to purchase a plane for a friend intending to fly it back home. He and Arthur went out in the morning to hunt foxes and coyotes and in 13 minutes the crash occurred, leaving Pearl with a group of 6 children, the oldest of which is 12 years, and leaving also an empty chair in the hitherto unbroken family circle at the Stadem home...' 'You, dear friends, in your deep bereavement, have our most sincere and heartfelt sympathy. May the Lord continue to grant you His all sufficient grace, comfort and wonderful peace. Last Thursday, January 9th, 1947, dawned for you and for the rest of us as so many previous days had done. It was a beautiful day here in South Dakota--an exceptional mid-winter day. The warming sun had risen in a cloudless sky. The morning air was fresh and invigorating and yet almost balmy. It was wonderful to be alive. Perhaps some of us wondered what the day would bring. This was the morning which had been decided upon on the part of Robert Ginther and Arthur Stadem for the taking of a hunting trip by plane. They were going to pursue a sport and a pastime engaged in by men almost since the beginning of time. These were, however, modern hunters quite unlike those of ancient or medieval days--even different as far as method is concerned from those of our grandfathers and even our fathers' day. They set out to bag the wily fox and the elusive coyote by aeroplane. It was no initial venture. Men and perhaps women too have been following this new up-to-date method in keeping with our scientific age--for not a few years. This latest and seemingly most exciting and thrilling way of pursuing the wild game was not new either to Ginther or Stadem. Thus no doubt with anticipation and expectancy they entered the idling plane and left the Sioux Falls Airport. Only a few minutes later the tragic accident had happened. The plane had plunged to earth and the two men were no longer with us. When the sad news of the tragedy reached our ears it seemed impossible and unbelievable. We, with you the bereaved, were left stunned and shocked. It seemed as though the day was suddenly gone and the shades--the dark shades of a starless night had enveloped us. Well, I know that you, who were thus so heavily bereaved began to grope for light. Thanks to God we knew where to look. We began to look into the face of God--into the face of a loving God--into the face of a loving Savior--for it was our blessed Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who revealed God to us...And what do we see? A face full of compassion and sympathy and love..." [This then, the incomparable face of Jesus Christ, is the first thing I want you all to see. "[Secondly, dear friends and family of Robert and Arthur,] truly it is always well to bear in mind that man proposes but God disposes...the Lord directs the evil in this world, even the sins and crimes of wicked men so that his purposes are served, so that His Divine plans are executed. The History of Joseph gives us a wonderful and striking illustration of this truth. To his startled brethren who stood before him in awe and wonderment there in the Prime-ministers office in mighty Egyptland Joseph said: 'Ye meant it to the evil--that is, when they heartlessly and cruelly sold him into Egyptian slavery--but God meant it to the good"--Genesis 50:20..." The pastor goes and sits down. The plane slowly ascends out of sight as the Chorus sings. Chorus: a portion of "Blessed Assurance Jesus is Mine" Final music is a flute-offering of taps in honor of Arthur, played gently and gradually fading away. Scene 6: Narrator: Deaths, especially of this kind, are never very tidy. Loose ends abound, in which lawyers often stand to profit when once involved. The airplane salesman, Mr. Shoup, has lawyers working on the case. He intends to get the full price for the defective, crashed plane from the impoverished widow, one way or another. In the meantime, he has moved, unwittingly, to her town of Puyallup in Washington State. Pearl Ginther happens to meet a relative of Mr. Shoup's at a church picnic. This is her chance to bring about a settlement without the lawyers and a court session she believes would go against her. She is virtually penniless, but a pastor-friend of the Stadem family, prior to this, has reaped a minor windfall of $10,000 from a crop of flax, and he intends to tithe $1,000 when the Lord tells him to give it to Robert Ginther's widow instead. $1,000 covers the price of the plane. Mr. Cecil Shoup can now be faced with the uncondemning and forgiving Face that Peter the Christ-denier, later the great Apostle and Martyr, gazed upon just before his Lord was led away to death on the Cross." The kitchen of a small trailer home. Pearl knocks on the outer door. A woman answers and looks very startled at whom she sees calling. Pearl Ginther steps in and sits down across from Mr. Shoup as he motions her to a chair. Narrator: "'Are you Mr. Shoup?' 'Yes,' he said. 'My name is Pearl Ginther, Bob's wife. I've come to find out what really happened--' 'Okay, lemme me tell you then! I warned Bob about his flying too low--' 'You know what happened, and I know what happened,' said Pearl, interrupting Mr. Shoup. 'Now I would like to read you a paragraph from a letter Bob wrote before the accident and left in his suitcase, a letter to the three young men who were partners with him in the purchase of the airplane. My husband wrote, 'Mr. Shoup is a honorable and upright man. When he does a job he does it right.' Well, that's what my husband thought that of you, and that's what I think of you. What do you want to settle for?' 'Seven hundred fifty,' Mr. Shoup said. Now this was one hundred dollars less than what Mr. Shoup's lawyer in Sioux Falls had earlier quoted her." Pearl reaches into her purse as Mr. Shoup, his face flushed, starts to write out a receipt. Narrator: "Pearl hands Mr. Shoup a gospel tract with the money and says, 'It's something called "Jesus, Christ and Lord, the Light of the World." Would you read it and believe it?' Mr. Shoup said he would. Pearl stood. 'You know the world is in an awful turmoil.' Yes, he agreed. 'But do you know what's worse?' she asked him. 'No,' he muttered, the money and tract in his hand. 'The turmoil in our own hearts. You have a welcome to our church, and my door is open to have you visit us anytime.'" Pearl Ginther then leaves Mr. Shoup and the woman. Narrator: "Shortly after the interview, Mr. Cecil Shoup left town and returned to Sioux Falls, to his home and his wife." Scene 7: A large white cake is drawn on cardboard. It represents the grand cake of Alfred and Bergit Stadem's Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary. Alfred and Bergit sit like weary royalty on either side of the huge edifice of ornamented cake, reading letters and cards of graduation to each other. Their hair is quite a bit lighter at this date, August 19, 1958. In fact, their hair and the cake frosting are approaching quite the same tint by now. Narrator: "The house was packed with family and guests for the celebration. But Papa would allow no one to cut into the special cake baked by a nationally-renowned expert in Volga, South Dakota--it was too full of memory, too full of Plain View Farm and all the love that had transpired on that bit of dark, rich Dakota soil. It has the names of all the Stadem children, plus the steepled Bryant church and the family house and barn, but the names of Bob and Arthur are marked with golden crosses. Papa Stadem leaves his chair and walks slowly toward the fence, gazing beyond. He smiles at some old memory, then he pauses and wipes his eyes. He recalls how he was a small boy standing by his mother's sickbed, feeling quite helpless, as she steadily grew weaker and weaker. Then his mother died, and his father took him and the other children over to his parents after his father had prepared his wife for burial. 'Dressed in white, with that quiet sleep on her face, she was so pretty,' his father told him later. At his grandmother's place, it grew dark and time for his father to return to the desolate homestead, the sod house of which he would later be so proud. His Papa was hitching up the lumber wagon and about to bid them all good-night. Only a five year old, young Alfred gathered up h is courage and spoke in a way that was beyond his years, 'Papa shall not go home alone. I want to go with him.' To his surprise, the adults' plan was changed. 'Do you want to go home with Papa?' asked his grandmother in a kind voice. 'Yes,' he said. Into the darkness drove the young father seated on the lumber wagon with the little boy at his side. Sitting on that hard wooden bench, riding slowly along the trail homeward, the blackness of the night upon them, the father and son were talking about their loved one. Much later, their destination reached and the chores done, he lay curled up in his father's arms. Did his father sleep at all that first lonely night without his beloved wife? God only knew that. Forty five years had passed since then, but he thanked God for the memory of how he had tried, in his simple boyish way, to forget his own hurt and comfort a grieving, broken-hearted parent. And never would he forget his father's arms about him that long, dark, cold night. 'O the comfort and security of a father's love!' he thought, in the warmth of the remembrance." Chorus: based on the old Norwegian hymn: "Alas! Now my impoverished heart, weary of the world's sorrow and delight, quietly, quietly let me repose at my Savior's heart." Scene 8. Narrator: (speaking of the young woman at the fence corner) "Bergit Stadem, the vibrant newlywed, stands by the fence, gazing beyond at what only she can see, the spring corn sprouting fresh and green in the fields--a joy and pleasure to any farmer's eye. She is not yet by any means the old woman whose beloved husband passed away twenty eight long years before the day she slipped away from earth at age ninety-eight. Her sunny-red hair loose, she is dressed in her wedding dress, in which she was married on August 19, 1908, and she clutches some freshly-picked sunflowers in her hand. All things, light or dark, have yet to come to pass for her, this young and untried bride of Alfred Jorgen Stadem the Dakota farmer. Nine children have yet to be birthed, breast-fed, diapered, and raised all the way to godliness, self-sufficiency, and love of God. Until her mission is complete in every detail, how many eggs will she gather in the henhouse? How many loaves of bread will she have to bake? How many meals to make? How much washing and ironing will she do? How many gardens will she plant, water, and weed? How much canning in stifling, hot kitchens? How much wool to card and quilts to sew for her family and the mission barrel? How many homeless tramps, Indians, and Watkins' salesmen will she feed and send refreshed on their way? How many sick children will she nurse back to health with prayers, bedside vigils, and homely remedies she learned in the Old Country? God, only God knows. And, in the darkest night, when the worst happens and loved ones are lost and the very stars of heaven seem to fall from the sky, leaving only empty desolation and broken dreams, what will be left in her heart? Will the Lord find faith, hope, and love still shining bright and strong, when He finally comes for her soul with golden-winged angels. God only knows. Fresh off the HELLIG OLAF steamship from Kristiansand, Norway, what of the world's sorrow and delight does she know? Orphaned, her parents had both died painfully young--that much she has suffered. Will there be more such things to bear? She and her sister Katrine, or Tina, had been forced to sell their little one-cow farm to get passage to America, the land of new beginnings. That, too, wasn't exactly easy--traveling to such a big, unknown foreign land as America and finding work without even knowing English! But she had weathered her parents' deaths by God's grace, and the Atlantic passage to America as well by God's grace. Would it be any different in the future? she wonders. Then again, as it always had been in her short life, God is love, she knows. That would never change even if all else did. Indeed, the last words her mother uttered was to ask for her. 'Oh my, de beauty and splendor of Mama love!' Bergit marvels. 'Looking on her face I tot I saw de Face of--' Bergit turns from the fence corner and starts back to the house. The Narrator closes her book, steps before the two angels, and bows low to the audience. Great-Grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren of Bergit Stadem may go to her and take her hand and bow with her. She remains there with the children, looking back to watch Bergit. The flute sounds the lively notes first heard in the introductory prelude as the young Bergit Stadem goes into the house, exchanges her beautiful wedding dress for a drab housedress and floursack apron, ties back her flowing hair, and picks up a broom and begins briskly sweeping the kitchen floor. The End (The Cast comes forward to the Audience, singing the Stadem Reunion theme song, “Back Home Again”; Audience is invited to join in) __________________ EXPLANATION The two angels: representatives of the 1,000 years of Christianity and Christian heritage in the Old Country (“Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts.” Psalm 148:2). The author also likes to think that the guardian angels for Arthur and Bob are even now standing vigil on Plain View Farm. Joseph and Benjamin: the two sons of Rachel, the wife whom the Patriarch Jacob loved most; two sons were born of her, she died in bearing Benjamin. Joseph was the 17 year old who was sold by his jealous half-brothers (they hated him because he was their father Jacob’s favorite) into slavery in Egypt. He later was made Prime-Minister of Egypt, and by God’s direction laid by stores of grain for a world famine, making him the savior of a starving world; he was also the means whereby God brought the people of Israel into Egypt to be made and fashioned a great people before returning them to the Promised Land (the entire story is in the book of Genesis). There are several striking similarities between Joseph and Arthur Stadem. He was the first son of Alfred and Bergit (“Bessie”). It is possible he was the apple of his father’s eye, being so long-awaited in the family line, as well as evidencing every mark of good character you could want in a son. His sister Pearl recalls the singular beauty of the day of his birth. She went outdoors just after his birth on a cold winter day and found all the trees transformed. Water had fallen on them, freezing into a fantasy of ice crystals and long icicles, and snow fell upon the ice, creating a Wonderland that she had never seen repeated in nature. Joseph, it is written in the Psalms, “went before them” and was tested until the time the ruler of the Egyptians set him free. Born February 22, 1922, Arthur, too, “went before” the Stadems, killed on January 9, 1947 in a plane crash near Baltic, South Dakota. Additional Note of Comparison with Joseph: Arthur, before his death, worked on the farm and bought land to be added to the Stadem holdings, for the provision of his parents. Joseph, after becoming prime minister of Egypt, provided for his aged father and entire family relationship, saving them from certain starvation in the seven years of world-wide famine. Thus, Joseph was the instrument by which the people of Israel were increased from a family to a great nation which God could later use according to his great, everlasting Promise and Covenant with Abraham. Further Songs and Music #11 “In the Gloaming, “ “Love’s Old Sweet Song”--portions of #12 “Blessed Assurance, Jesus is Mine”--portion of #13 Old Norwegian hymn, portion of: “Alas! Now my impoverished heart, weary of the world’s sorrow and delight, quietly, quietly let me repose at my Savior’s heart.” #14 “Back Home Again”--PLAIN VIEW FARM Reunion theme song (lyrics and music available on request) Complete Listing of Lyrics, Hymns, and Other Music Arrangements for PLAIN VIEW FARM: 1. “Pillsbury’s Best” 2. “Oh God, let it be a boy!” 3. “Barefoot! Song of Spring” 4. “Farm Life” 5. “Saturday Bath” 6. “Sunday Service” 7. “Off to the Academy” (with portion of hymn, “Praise God from Whom all Blessings Flow” 8. “Family Portrait” (with narrated pieces: “Mama,” based on a tribute composed by Bernice (Stadem) Schaefer, “Papa,” based on a tribute composed by Leroy Stadem, “Papa and Mama,” based on a tribute composed by Ruth (Stadem) Harrington, and with narrated portions from Estelle (Stadem) Rangen’s “A Little Papa,” “A Little About Mama,” sections of her monograph, “Ancestry, Biography, and Episodes...”) 9. “Fishin’ on Sunday” 10. “The Plain View Side” 11. “In the Gloaming”--published song, and possibly “Love’s Sweet Song”, a published song 12. Portion of hymn, “Blessed Assurance, Jesus is Mine” 13. New arrangement for Norwegian song, “Alas! Now my impoverished heart...(etc)” 14. End of Drama: Cast and Chorus, followed by Audience, sing “Back Home Again” and possibly “Blessed be the Tie that Binds” 12. Additional Music: Flute (or harp or organ) Music for places stated in the text of the Drama PLAIN VIEW FARM A Musical Drama in Three Acts Copyright (c) 1992 by Ronald Ginther Butterfly Productions Puyallup, WA 98371 “Praise ye Him, all his angels: praise ye Him, all his hosts.” Ps. 148:2 Proposal for “Stadem Family Heritage Farm,” 1996, by Ronald Ginther 1. Restore the barn, or build a replacement that looks the same but can be used for different functions: barn playhouse for putting on Christian plays and for musical events, sleeping accommodations, kitchen. 2. Move and restore the old Bryant Lutheran Church building. It could be rebuilt on the property if the Bryant parish will donate it for the sake of somebody preserving it. 3. Remake the new garage into an authentic one-room school house of the type that used to be seen on the prairie. 4. Acquire more artifacts for the Farmstead collection in the shed. Farm auctions would be a good source. Perhaps people could donate items or get owners to donate them to the collection. 5. Eventually, build some Norwegian village-style cottages, locating them out of sight of the house. A giftshop, too, might be a good idea, if people began coming in sufficient numbers to see the Stadem Heritage Farmstead. It would be very easy to get together attractive Stadem-theme decorated cups, sweatshirts, calendars, various writings, and other memorabilia. I know a man here who has a business doing such things for people. And there are many other such businesses everywhere. 6. Other ideas are acquiring the land that contains the Buffalo mound, and the field across the road in front of the house so that parking can be put in that would be out of sight of the house (the idea is to preserve the original appearance of the area around the house as much as possible). 7. Put in paths that would take visitors to the various points of interest without the beautiful grass being worn away by foot traffic. 8. Erect a windmill, since one used to stand near the barn. It is very photogenic, and also an authentic Stadem Farm landmark in the old pictures of the place. 9. Anything else anyone may want to add??? This property is dear Aunt Ruthie’s, of course. All changes would have to be first okayed by her. Nothing should be done if it isn’t her own desire too. God will put the same vision in our minds and hearts if it is of Him and not sheer imagination. My whole feeling is bound up in this: share Christ through the medium of Christian heritage. I believe many people can be reached and saved eternally by this means. Others will be strengthened in family and commitment to family and godly living by what they see at the Stadem farmstead. The Stadem farmstead has a great message. It only needs to be presented to take hold. _________________________________ You are the God Who does wonders. You have declared Your strength among the peoples.You have with Your right arm [Jesus Christ] redeemed Your people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph Psalm 77:15