THE COFFEE TRAIN by Margarethe Erdahl Shank


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An autobiographical reminiscence of a childhood in Grand Prairie, North Dakota, warmly recalls the Norwegian grandparents, the relatives and the peacefulness of the days after World War I. Separated from her sisters and brothers by her mother's death and raised by Bestefar and Bestemor, the author lingers on the familiar and humble life, the problems of Aunt Gudrun's romances, the delights of the store Grandpa Rekve owned, the visiting back and forth -- and the fragrance of the ever-present coffee pot. There is Bestefar's operation, their golden wedding celebration, the governor coming for dinner, confirmation; there's her unfriendly feelings for her father, Christmas Eve and progress in school; Bestemor's understanding terms with God make her death less harsh and finally there is the move to Tucson. The manners and the household precepts, the food and the fun, the climate of security -- all these color a backward look with tender remembrance. This doesn't add up to another I Remember Mama although it does have many of the same qualities and is a sensitive tribute to a vanished way of life.

Publisher: Doubleday