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    Senior Member Greg Gates's Avatar

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    Thoughts About How Caucasians People Are an Ethnic Group too.

    On Sundays we have worship services in 5 languages (including English) all at the same time. As you can imagine, this creates many challenges.

    One thing we all have to contend with is the changing nature of the immigrant population. Our church is about 10 years old in its present form and each group is having to reinvent itself to be effective with the Gospel in this generation.

    Some changes they are dealing with are:
    Fewer immigrants
    Aging congregation
    Growing non-Christian influence
    Higher standard of living issues
    But, immigrant congregations are as much preservers of their cultural heritage (serious identity issues here) as they are worshiping communities.

    The battle is between those born in their country of origin and those born here. It's a generational divide. The question is, will the aging-out generation create a desire for the incoming generation to take the lead and recreate a church that will be effective with the Gospel in their generation?

    My point is, so are Caucasian congregations. Almost all of the issues that face immigrant congregations are faced by Caucasian congregations too. They are as much about preserving their cultural heritage as any other group out there. And the same decisions have to be made by our aging-out generation in regards to the incoming generation (or they won't come).

    The chances that any of our congregations will still be a viable worshiping communities in 10 years are precariously small.

    What qualities do you envision must be present in the church today to enable it to be a viable Gospel agent in 10 years?

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    Senior Member Jim Chabot's Avatar

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    Re: Thoughts About How Caucasians People Are an Ethnic Group too.

    Just a thought;

    Our founding pastor would often say that while we are a community of many cultures and what not. And that we take pride and we seek to pass on our culture and heritage. We are here to profit from an entirely different culture, a shared culture where we are working together to preserve and promote the culture of Christianity. This being the most important culture of all, and so forth etc...

    While we do have services in two languages english and portuguese, we are also truly multicultural as we appreciate each others culture and each others contribution to our common culture of Christ.
    -Jim

    To know and to serve God, of course, is why we're here, a clear truth, that, like the nose on your face, is near at hand and easily discernible but can make you dizzy if you try to focus on it hard. But a little faith will see you through.

    Garrison Keillor
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    Senior Member Greg Gates's Avatar

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    Re: Thoughts About How Caucasians People Are an Ethnic Group too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Chabot View Post
    While we do have services in two languages english and portuguese, we are also truly multicultural as we appreciate each others culture and each others contribution to our common culture of Christ.
    That's a great phrase to use.

    Churches are centers of worship AND preservers of culture. We may say we are doing "blank" because we are a center of worship, but in reality, the only reason we are doing it and not something else, is it to preserve our culture. A church can be monocultural for a short time. But inevitably, a new culture emerges to push out the old. So either the new culture becomes king with a peaceful transfer of power or the old culture goes down with the ship.

    Do you think the term "common culture of Christ" can be more descriptive of how the current culture in power wants to be seen than it is prescriptive?
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    Senior Member Billy Cox's Avatar

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    Re: Thoughts About How Caucasians People Are an Ethnic Group too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Gates View Post
    I say the same thing here, but...

    Churches are centers of worship AND preservers of culture. We may say we are doing "blank" because we are a center of worship, but in reality, the only reason we are doing it and not something else, is it to preserve our culture. A church can be monocultural for a short time. But inevitably, a new culture emerges to push out the old. So either the new culture becomes king with a peaceful transfer of power or the old culture goes down with the ship.

    To me, "common culture of Christ" is a term and it is much more descriptive of how the current culture in power wants to be seen than it is prescriptive.
    Cultural identity is like manna. It is lived day-to-day and resists efforts at preservation. Churches can establish their own culture if they are sufficiently insular - think campmeeting/revivalist culture. Yes there are places where one can still attend an old-fashioned revival service, but as time goes by, these take on the character of re-enactment rather than being authentic manifestations of a living culture.
    "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us wthout end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
    - C.S. Lewis
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    Senior Member Jim Chabot's Avatar

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    Re: Thoughts About How Caucasians People Are an Ethnic Group too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Gates View Post
    That's a great phrase to use.

    Churches are centers of worship AND preservers of culture. We may say we are doing "blank" because we are a center of worship, but in reality, the only reason we are doing it and not something else, is it to preserve our culture. A church can be monocultural for a short time. But inevitably, a new culture emerges to push out the old. So either the new culture becomes king with a peaceful transfer of power or the old culture goes down with the ship.

    Do you think the term "common culture of Christ" can be more descriptive of how the current culture in power wants to be seen than it is prescriptive?
    I suppose that it could be, but that it should be quickly seen as a fraud. Pastor Chavier was very deliberate in this, he would bring it up quite often, usually with a reference to Ephesians 4, end ending with a quip saying, "remember this takes effort, an effort that we are required to make, it's not optional you know!"

    After all, if we are unable to fulfil our obligation to make this effort, then how can we say that we are people of faith?

    For myself, I often will attend the Portuguese service, while I can't understand much, I can sing the songs and I can help with sound and media. It's part of the effort that is required, we take an interest in each others culture, for how else will we find a common culture in Christ. Some of us also carry the "Say Hi" app on our phones so that we can communicate with each other in times when someone who is bilingual isn't handy.

    Without the common culture espoused in Ephesians and the required effort to maintain it, then how will we have true integration, how will we find ourselves valuing each other regardless of the culture that we all bring with us? I'm not sure that it's helpful to try and envision what this common culture is going to look like, the trick is in making the effort and not worrying about the end game. Then again the effort needs to be continual, there actually isn't an end game.
    -Jim

    To know and to serve God, of course, is why we're here, a clear truth, that, like the nose on your face, is near at hand and easily discernible but can make you dizzy if you try to focus on it hard. But a little faith will see you through.

    Garrison Keillor
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    Senior Member Benjamin Hobbs's Avatar

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    Re: Thoughts About How Caucasians People Are an Ethnic Group too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Gates View Post
    On Sundays we have worship services in 5 languages (including English) all at the same time. As you can imagine, this creates many challenges.

    One thing we all have to contend with is the changing nature of the immigrant population. Our church is about 10 years old in its present form and each group is having to reinvent itself to be effective with the Gospel in this generation.

    Some changes they are dealing with are:
    Fewer immigrants
    Aging congregation
    Growing non-Christian influence
    Higher standard of living issues
    But, immigrant congregations are as much preservers of their cultural heritage (serious identity issues here) as they are worshiping communities.

    The battle is between those born in their country of origin and those born here. It's a generational divide. The question is, will the aging-out generation create a desire for the incoming generation to take the lead and recreate a church that will be effective with the Gospel in their generation?

    My point is, so are Caucasian congregations. Almost all of the issues that face immigrant congregations are faced by Caucasian congregations too. They are as much about preserving their cultural heritage as any other group out there. And the same decisions have to be made by our aging-out generation in regards to the incoming generation (or they won't come).

    The chances that any of our congregations will still be a viable worshiping communities in 10 years are precariously small.

    What qualities do you envision must be present in the church today to enable it to be a viable Gospel agent in 10 years?
    I don't think whites have any cultural heritage to preserve. Rather they would like to preserve their comfort zone.
    It is time the Church Jesus Christ overcame the disjunctions created by the 16th-century Reformation. What is called for is the 'evangelical catholicism' of John Wesley's 'middle way' in which two historic traditions were synthesized. In this sythesis the English Reformer not only recovered for the Church a viable doctrine of holiness but also pointed the way to a scriptural view and practice of the sacraments that is both apostolic and catholic. ++William Greathouse
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    Senior Member Billy Cox's Avatar

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    Re: Thoughts About How Caucasians People Are an Ethnic Group too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin Hobbs View Post
    I don't think whites have any cultural heritage to preserve. Rather they would like to preserve their comfort zone.
    Right. Caucasian is just a catchall term for 'not brown'. A white person living in Atlanta, Georgia has more in common with an African American from Macon, Georgia than with a white person living in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia.
    "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us wthout end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
    - C.S. Lewis
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    Re: Thoughts About How Caucasians People Are an Ethnic Group too.

    Which Caucasian culture are we talking about here? The lutefisk eating ice fishing uff da variety? Or the bluegrass picking purple hull eating ones? Or the prairie chicken chasing chicken fried steak ones? Or dese dem and dose guys from New Yoik?
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    Senior Member Rich Schmidt's Avatar

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    Re: Thoughts About How Caucasians People Are an Ethnic Group too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sarah Smith View Post
    Which Caucasian culture are we talking about here? The lutefisk eating ice fishing uff da variety? Or the bluegrass picking purple hull eating ones? Or the prairie chicken chasing chicken fried steak ones? Or dese dem and dose guys from New Yoik?
    He's talking about all of them. He's pointing out the similarity between what we are often referred to as "ethnic churches" and the churches we don't usually bother to label, because it's just normal ol' white folks. He's pointing out that we all are, in some ways, working to preserve a culture that should not be considered synonymous with "how church should be" or "how God says church must be." It's just "how church happened to develop in our particular culture." Which leaves us with decisions to make going forward, especially as culture changes all around us, with upcoming generations living in those new cultures, not our old ones.

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    Senior Member Greg Gates's Avatar

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    Re: Thoughts About How Caucasians People Are an Ethnic Group too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Schmidt View Post
    He's talking about all of them. He's pointing out the similarity between what we are often referred to as "ethnic churches" and the churches we don't usually bother to label, because it's just normal ol' white folks. He's pointing out that we all are, in some ways, working to preserve a culture that should not be considered synonymous with "how church should be" or "how God says church must be." It's just "how church happened to develop in our particular culture." Which leaves us with decisions to make going forward, especially as culture changes all around us, with upcoming generations living in those new cultures, not our old ones.
    Wow, wish I could say things that well. thanks!
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    Senior Member Craig Laughlin's Avatar

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    Re: Thoughts About How Caucasians People Are an Ethnic Group too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Gates View Post
    Wow, wish I could say things that well. thanks!
    Been there. Naznet has a way of doing this. 30 posts later someone says in 3 sentences what I was unable to say in a couple dozen posts.

    On topic... I think you are right about this. I think a part of the problem in the American church is that we "froze" our culture somewhere in the 60's or 70's when we became cultural warriors. The ethnic churches are struggling with culture because they are coming from a different one. We are struggling because we still think it is 1975 and the world has moved on. At least the ethnic churches recognize they have a problem. I'm not so sure a lot of evangelical churches get it yet.
    Last edited by Craig Laughlin; May 18th, 2017 at 09:23 AM.
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    Senior Member Jeremy D. Scott's Avatar

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    Re: Thoughts About How Caucasians People Are an Ethnic Group too.

    I gave up using "Caucasian" to describe myself many years ago. On forms, I check "Other" and write in "American". I didn't even know what Caucasian meant and when I looked it up, I thought that I might as well write Mesopotamian as much as Caucasian. Most of my lineage has been in North America since the mid 1600s. If I'm not American, what am I?
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    Senior Member Jim Franklin's Avatar

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    Re: Thoughts About How Caucasians People Are an Ethnic Group too.

    As a Cultural Geographer, I wonder how many Caucasians have been to or seen from a distance the Caucasus Mountains or know where they are or that they are part of the boundary between designated Europe and Asia in the Eurasian land mass.

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    Re: Thoughts About How Caucasians People Are an Ethnic Group too.

    Jim--I'm aware of where they are My previous reply was tongue in cheek of course, but I made it because we once lived where a new pastor declared us "the most racially diverse and welcoming bunch of people he had ever met." Yeah, right, a group of 300 or so blond haired blue eyed North Dakotans were so diverse since some were Swedes, some Norwegian, some Slavs, some Poles, and a lot were of German background. And it was nothing at all like the culture of West Texas, or Arkansas, or Colorado. But then an inlaw of one of the families visited. He had "married Norwegian" even though he was black. He lectured us that unless our music and worship style grew to reflect black culture, latino culture, and Asian culture we would never grow. This was before the oil boom. Finally one lady asked where we could find a black, a latino, or an Asian to minister to?

    I live in a mostly latino area. Maybe 25% would be considered Anglo here. Our local church is a mix of attenders and would be considered generic white culture church. There are some latino churches. Some churches have very intentionally tried to move to a racially or ethnically mixed church culture, and it is the latinos and native americans that tell us "if we wanted to go to church with you we would already." Some Anglos have tried worshipping with them quietly at their churches and been......rebuffed.

    Any ideas for our town?

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    Senior Member Greg Gates's Avatar

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    Re: Thoughts About How Caucasians People Are an Ethnic Group too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sarah Smith View Post
    ...is the latinos and native americans that tell us "if we wanted to go to church with you we would already."

    Any ideas for our town?
    Do the pastors of the anglo, latino and native amercian churches know each other? Do the churches do anything together?

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    Re: Thoughts About How Caucasians People Are an Ethnic Group too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sarah Smith View Post
    Jim--I'm aware of where they are My previous reply was tongue in cheek of course, but I made it because we once lived where a new pastor declared us "the most racially diverse and welcoming bunch of people he had ever met." Yeah, right, a group of 300 or so blond haired blue eyed North Dakotans were so diverse since some were Swedes, some Norwegian, some Slavs, some Poles, and a lot were of German background Finally one lady asked where we could find a black, a latino, or an Asian to minister to?
    Any ideas for our town?
    Hey, you start mixing Swedes and Norwegians - where will it all end. My folks pastored a church in a small town in eastern SD - Carthage - Jim Franklin's folks had pastored there a number of years before. We moved away in '55 and I didn't go back until nearly 50 years later. As I drove into town from the north I passed cemeteries on both sides of the road. When I lived there the cemetery was east of town. When I got into town I asked some of the people about the cemeteries. The one on the east side of the road is the Norwegian and the one on the west is the Swedish, I was told. Clearly priorities had been established.
    When we moved to SD the various ethnic Lutheran bodies were merging. There had been 3 Lutheran churches in Carthage - Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish. There may have been a German or two, but for the most part, in that area, the Germans were RC.
    They all came together for church. Apparently burial is a different proposition altogether.
    The lady asking where they could find a Latino, black or Asian to minister to reminded me of a story I'd heard years before in a class at the University of Texas. We were studying about the rise of Nazism in Germany - about how on earth someone like Hitler could rise to power there. The prof was telling about a request reportedly received from the mayor of a small German town. An order had gone out from Berlin to boycott the Jews. This mayor had written Berlin noting that there were no Jews living in the town and requesting that one be sent so they could comply with the boycott.
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    Senior Member Jim Chabot's Avatar

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    Re: Thoughts About How Caucasians People Are an Ethnic Group too.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kennedy View Post
    Hey, you start mixing Swedes and Norwegians - where will it all end. My folks pastored a church in a small town in eastern SD - Carthage - Jim Franklin's folks had pastored there a number of years before. We moved away in '55 and I didn't go back until nearly 50 years later. As I drove into town from the north I passed cemeteries on both sides of the road. When I lived there the cemetery was east of town. When I got into town I asked some of the people about the cemeteries. The one on the east side of the road is the Norwegian and the one on the west is the Swedish, I was told. Clearly priorities had been established.
    When we moved to SD the various ethnic Lutheran bodies were merging. There had been 3 Lutheran churches in Carthage - Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish. There may have been a German or two, but for the most part, in that area, the Germans were RC.
    They all came together for church. Apparently burial is a different proposition altogether.
    The lady asking where they could find a Latino, black or Asian to minister to reminded me of a story I'd heard years before in a class at the University of Texas. We were studying about the rise of Nazism in Germany - about how on earth someone like Hitler could rise to power there. The prof was telling about a request reportedly received from the mayor of a small German town. An order had gone out from Berlin to boycott the Jews. This mayor had written Berlin noting that there were no Jews living in the town and requesting that one be sent so they could comply with the boycott.

    When I was looking around to buy a house in Maine, I happened upon a nice antique cape in the town of Stockholm. The realtor was nice enough to show it to me, but felt the need to mention that I might not like living in Stockholm. The swedes are vicious people you know, you will probably feel more at home with your own people, were his words.

    Thinking back home to a dear friend and long time pastor who's parents actually emigrated from sweden, I couldn't imagine what this fellow was talking about. I had heard about the Norwegian Bachelor farmers and the Lutherans from Garrison Keillor, but the swedes? Didn't make sense. Turns out that the house was right next door to a fellow who had passed away from arsenic poisoning he had incurred while drinking coffee at Church.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-arse...in-the-coffee/
    -Jim

    To know and to serve God, of course, is why we're here, a clear truth, that, like the nose on your face, is near at hand and easily discernible but can make you dizzy if you try to focus on it hard. But a little faith will see you through.

    Garrison Keillor
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    Assistant Site Administrator/Forum Host Kevin Rector's Avatar

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    Re: Thoughts About How Caucasians People Are an Ethnic Group too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Chabot View Post
    Turns out that the house was right next door to a fellow who had passed away from arsenic poisoning he had incurred while drinking coffee at Church.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-arse...in-the-coffee/
    That was a truly crazy story:

    http://murderpedia.org/male.B/b/bondeson-daniel.htm
    God is really good.
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    Senior Member Jim Chabot's Avatar

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    Re: Thoughts About How Caucasians People Are an Ethnic Group too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Rector View Post
    Lets just say that I'm not an attender at the Lutheran Church when I'm up there on a Sunday. Either United Baptist or Sacred Heart works for me. The pastor at UBC is my insurance guy, and the Priest at Sacred Heart is my neighbor's cousin. I used to go to the Nazarene Church to support Steve and Stephanie Malcolm when they were there.
    -Jim

    To know and to serve God, of course, is why we're here, a clear truth, that, like the nose on your face, is near at hand and easily discernible but can make you dizzy if you try to focus on it hard. But a little faith will see you through.

    Garrison Keillor

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    Senior Member Jim Franklin's Avatar

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    Re: Thoughts About How Caucasians People Are an Ethnic Group too.

    John, if you lead your congregation in the singing of "Holy, Holy, Holy" it just might confuse some people into thinking that the Lord Almighty is Norwegian if they hear it as "Ole, Ole, Ole."
    The parsonage at Carthage was directly across the street from the "Luteran church" and the pastor Rev. Vickner and my dad became very good friends. Because Pastor Vidner had previously been a missionary in China before the Japanese had waged war on China,he was asked quite often to speak at our local missionary meetings and in turn he asked my dad to speak to the "Luteran Brotherhood."
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    Re: Thoughts About How Caucasians People Are an Ethnic Group too.

    Every time I see Caucasian I think about the t-shirt I saw that featured several lined-out misspellings of Caucasian and ended up with 'honky'.
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    Re: Thoughts About How Caucasians People Are an Ethnic Group too.

    No, our town and county and two of the surrounding counties in North Dakota literally had no blacks, native Americans, Asians, or latinos. There were Native Americans in one of the surrounding counties. Grand Forks would have been another matter, as it has a vibrant latino culture. Sometimes we criticize people for not reaching out to other ethnic groups when there literally are none of the other groups to which they can reach out.

    Here, yes, the pastors of the various ethnic churches strive to work together. The pew packers are friends and coworkers. But when it comes to Sunday, most of the non Anglos do not want to attend an Anglo culture church AND are very unwelcoming to Anglos that might visit their church. We have 3--maybe 4?--black families. They have no ethnic church but worship with and lead in predominantly Anglo churches. They have been hooted out of latino churches.

    One funny from our days in ND: the Lutheran hymnal we sang out of had all the songs in 4/4 time. Many of the people were transplants who loved southern gospel, ccm, and gospel songs. Our organist and pianist were always willing to try but just could not hear any time but 4/4. Syncopation? Forget about it. They could not hear it nor comprehend it. We marched through every song we tried. And you know what? That was ok.

    We newcomers had no right to insist on things done "our way".

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    Senior Member Jim Franklin's Avatar

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    Re: Thoughts About How Caucasians People Are an Ethnic Group too.

    When we lived in Fargo, ND I do not remember any Americans of other heritages but my last semester of 5th grade some refugee Chinese enrolled in our school soon after WWII was over.

    Previously at Watertown, SD some Mexicans were brought in to replace the farm boys who had enlisted or been drafted into the military for the war effort. Some were housed in town at homes that voluntarily were opened to them. The stories that that got around were that some slept on the floor rolled up in blankets because they were not used to beds while others used to sleeping with their boots on slept in the beds.

    Sarah whereabouts in ND did you live?

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