A Relative Reunion

Our September 11, 2000 Trip From Minnesota to North Dakota
For A Reunion With Many Cousins

By Julie (Sahli) Kelvie

It all started when John Sahli, our nephew from Milwaukee, did some research on the internet for family names. In the process he realized that indeed he had many cousins in North Dakota and even some in Minnesota. He decided that he would like very much to meet them. He called us one day and asked if Don and I would like to travel with him to North Dakota and become acquainted with his cousins. Yes, we would surely be happy to accompany him.

At this time my niece, Marcella Waterman, expressed a great desire to come with us and meet her cousins again. We planned an itinerary, established some dates that were suitable for everyone and then started to seriously plan the trip.

The first step was to find a gathering place. We called Vivian Hulm at Hague to inquire about the Hague Cafe. Was it available and what about cooks? To our great delight the answer was “yes” to both questions. The date was set for September 13. Vivian said she would contact as many as possible, and she did! We mailed out invitations to confirm the date.

Our trip would begin on Monday, September 11, from Minneapolis. John left Milwaukee on Sunday morning, September 10, driving a Chrysler Minivan which would certainly carry four people and some luggage. John arrived in Minneapolis Sunday afternoon and stayed with us until the following morning when we would begin the trip.

In the meantime, Marcella had her own plans for a cousins reunion at her home in Avon. She mailed invitations to all cousins who were living in and around Minneapolis. Some were as far south as Inver Grove Heights and some as far north as Sauk Center. They arrived in Avon around mid-morning, September 11. Bob Sahli and Mary, Mary Sahli Woods, Irvin and Norma Sahli, Virginia Sahli Hartley, John Sahli, Joe and Florence Kocher, Sally Snobeck Berlin, Mary Ann Hummel Nelson (Marcella’s sister) and Don and Julie Kelvie.

A delicious buffet luncheon was served at noon. Waterman Style!! Much time was spent visiting and exchanging some old pictures and photographs. Many happy memories were shared. Russ and Marcella live in a lovely year-round home on Middle Spunk Lake just on the edge of Avon, Minnesota. We had the pleasure of staying overnight.

We left Avon Tuesday, September 12. Our Destination was Ashley, North Dakota, but first we stopped at Lidgerwood City Park for a noon picnic lunch. Barbara Schumacher invited us for dinner and an overnight stay at her lovely four-bedroom home at Ashley. I kept telling John about the North Dakota hospitality and this was the beginning of it. The dinner was served beautifully with a country style flavor by Barbara and her sister, Millie. There were nine of us at the table. Peter and Phyllis Glatt, Bill and Millie Wald, Marcella Waterman, John Sahli, Don and Julie Kelvie and of course, our hostess, Barbara.

The next morning on our way to Hague, North Dakota, Millie and Bill asked us to stop briefly to visit their homestead. Bill told us their farm goes back three generations on his father’s side.

The highlight of our entire trip was our visit to Hague. We arrived early enough to stop at St. Mary’s Church. We were impressed with the beauty of the interior. I had nostalgic moments of my growing up years in Hague. Our next stop was St. Mary’s Cemetery. Marcella and John took beautiful pictures of the gravesites of my parents, my brother and two sisters. Many others were friends and relatives. God rest their souls for all eternity!

John was very interested in the two houses that my dad built in Hague after he retired from the farm. The second was the home where my brother John and I did our growing up years. Very little has changed since it was built some 75 years ago.

The big event was about to happen! The cousins, nieces, nephews and one aunt started arriving at the Cafe around 11:00 am. They came from all directions. Charles and Mary Chikis from Santa Cruz, California. Frank and Rose Hilt from Aberdeen, South Dakota. Matt Schweitzer and Anna from Timber Lake, South Dakota. Ben and Bertha Glatt, Jerome Sahli, and Viola and Floyd Bitz all from Bismarck. Marcella Waterman from Avon, Minnesota. Don and Julie Kelvie from Minneapolis. John Sahli from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. All the others were from local areas; Barbara Schumacher, Bill and Millie Wald, Peter and Phyllis Glatt, Vivian Hulm, Walter and Katie Hulm, Tillie Schatz, Lena Mosser, Charlotte Buechler, Hildegard Haegele, Lenny Heimbuch, and Peter and Rosemary Kocher.

Standing, left to right: Floyd and Viola (Wolf) Bitz, Lenny (Wolf) Heimbuck, Ben Glatt, Barbara Schumacher, Charles Chikis, Phyllis Glatt, Don Kelvie, Katie Hulm, Walter Hulm, Matt Schweitzer, Anna (Hulm) Schweitzer.
Middle row, left to right: Hildegard (Wolf) Haegele, Bertha Glatt, Vivian Hulm, Mary (Hulm) Chikis, Julie (Sahli) Kelvie, Charlotte (Hulm) Buechler, Tillie (Hulm) Schatz, Lena (Hulm) Mosser.
Front, left to right: Jerome Sahli, Bill Wald, Pete Glatt, John Sahli, Marcella (Hummel) Waterman, Millie (Glatt) Wald.

Lunch was served at noon. The food was prepared by Sally Schall and Helen Fischer. Victor Schall was assisting in the kitchen. Some selections of soup dated back to the time when our mothers were cooking. Much visiting took place during and after lunch. Many pictures were taken of all the cousins including a large group photo. One of the points of interest was viewing the pictures on the walls which dated back to early beginnings of Hague.

The next memorable trip was to the former Sahli farm. Katie Wald and John Sahli had been in touch by e-mail for quite some time and had talked about this event. She kindly volunteered to escort us to the Sahli farm which her son, Duane and wife Eileen now own. My brother John and I were born on this farm. The house no longer exists, but some of the other buildings were still standing. The barn was a point of interest to John. He and Marcella wandered around in it including the hay loft. The root cellar was my point of interest because I made many trips down there to gather things for my mother. I was always barefoot and invariably there were lizards lurking on the damp wet steps! Duane and Eileen were pleased to show us their lovely new country home. And well they should be.

Since we were invited to a birthday party at Hague, we returned to visit the Peter Kocher home where Rosemary served cake and ice cream honoring Rose Hilt, Peter’s sister, on her 91st birthday, September, 13. We enjoyed visiting with them in their lovely home. Pictures were taken.

Katie Wald had invited us to stop at their home in Strasburg on our way to Linton. We saw many interesting collections including the marvellous toys and electric trains which husband Felix had put together. Felix Wald proved to us that retirement does not have to be boring.

Al and Teresa Tschosik invited us for dinner at 6:00 pm at their home in Linton. Al is Marcella’s cousin. The Tschosik household reflects hospitality the moment you step through the door. It has always been that way dating back many years when we traveled with Gladys and Henry Hummel to visit them. The good news this time was that John met his cousin, Mary Sautter, on his mother’s side. She is married to Duane, son of Al and Teresa. They own and operate the Model Bakery in Linton. Many of you are familiar with their home-made goodies that date back to the time when our mothers were baking.

Teresa had prepared a delicious dinner. There were eight of us at the table. We were delighted with home-made sausage, baked chicken and many other delectable items. After dinner John and Mary exchanged many pictures of the Sautter families. Al entertained the rest of us in the living room with his musical accordion. Al and Teresa insisted that we stay overnight. Did I say “hospitality”? John is catching on. Al just recently finished the basement with two bedrooms and one nice bathroom.

One happy moment for John was to find out that the house he was born in was still standing. At that time his grandmother Sautter used it as a rooming house and even today it is still used as a rooming house in Linton.

Last, but by far not least, we stopped to visit one of my favorite nephews, Ben Glatt. I have known and loved Ben dating back to the time when I was teaching at Mandan. He and Bertha would come from Bismarck to visit, bringing their first-born, curly haired David.

Ben and Bertha live in a lovely townhouse in Bismarck. Bertha is at her best when she can serve a delicious dinner for her guests in their beautiful dining room. We have many happy memories of the years when we visited Ben and Bertha. We always brought Margaret Sahli with us when she was still living. Did I say “hospitality”? John is convinced now. Ben also has an interesting line of hobbies and Bertha showed us an assortment of beautiful quilts which she makes.

We hated to admit it, but our reunion was coming to an end. On the road home on I-94, we stopped at a very special place. It is called the Broen Memorial Home at Fergus Falls, Minnesota, where my brother Frank lives. He will be 101 on November 20th. His mind is good and he has no illness. Frank is a remarkable person and we are all very proud of him.

Our first travel companion, Marcella, left us at Avon where her husband, Russ, anxiously awaited her return. Thank you, Russ! Thanks, Marce!

When we arrived at our apartment Friday evening in Minneapolis, John said he didn’t want it to end. We looked at each other and talked about the fact that it all happened in such a remarkable way. All we could say was that Somebody up there loves us and cares for us!!

Thank you and God bless!

Julie, Don, Marcella and John