Monday, February 16, 2009

Ethnic Heritage Society

Hello everyone, This last weekend I travelled way over to Iowa to attend a meeting of (ASHHS called "Ashes") the American Schleswig-Holstein Heritage Society in Walcott. Schleswig-Holstein is the region in Northern Germany where my Pepper family came from in 1871.
I planned on joining this group and was looking forward to meeting some people and learning about what they had in their library. This group meets quarterly and this meeting happened to be the celebration of the 20th anniversary of ASHHS.
Walcott is a small farming community of 1400 people located in Scott county a couple miles South of interstate 80 and West of Davenport about six miles.
As I entered Walcott I saw a sign advertising a potluck supper for later this month at the VFW hall, which happened to be where ASHHS was meeting today. I also passed the Casey's gas station with one car probably belonging to the employee and a mixture of new and very old buildings. The only people I have seen so far were two pre-teen boys who were walking quickly along the road towards Casey's. As I turned the corner to where the VFW hall should be, I found the street was suddenly packed with parked cars and a line of people crossing the street from the VFW parking lot into the hall.
The change in mood from sleepy farm village into somewhere that I had to actually wait in a line of cars to enter a parking lot was very very surprising.
After I parked and found my way inside I was again mildly surprised at the number of people inside, there was probably one hundred in attendance. As usual I was the youngest in the group.
The meeting started with the ASHHS choir singing four songs in Platt (the Low German language) this was a first for me. The fifth song was Happy Birthday in English, this one I could join in on. After the scheduled Happy Birthday in English, a handful of members in the audience sang Happy Birthday back to the choir in Platt. I was so surprised to hear so many German accents in the room.
The meeting then when into a typical society business mode with the reading of minutes, treasurers report and the other obligations. The president was new and stumbled a bit, but everyone was friendly and there were lots of laughs and good fellowship for all.
This adventure of visiting and joining a heritage society will be interesting for me and I will keep you updated as events happen. I believe this will be fun and rewarding and I encourage you to search out and consider joining a similar society for yourself.

1 comment:

  1. Nice story, Larry. It sounds like you had a good time. I have often found it interesting that small towns seem to have excellent turn-outs for various occasions and groups; but then coming from a small town I do know there isn't too much else to clutter up one's time:)