Sons and Daughters of Alfred and Bergit Stadem,
Great- and Great-Great-Grandchildren,
As well as all their beloved Spouses
a Lakota Indian family,
and various other Participants
The audience, while entertained by the beauty and intricacy of the flute's rendering, 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 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 worn,or much used.
Some bowls, big and small, and eating utensils.
A broom and dustpan, also much used looking.
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 neatly arranged 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 lower side of the red barn
with the little pony painted in white on the front.
She is a young woman and her clothes are definitely "store-bought" from the Big City, with gold jewelry, which makes her a great contrast to the set, for she represents the royal daughter of the King of Tyre in Psalm 45 who "will come with a gift; the rich among the people will seek your favor," to do homage to the yet more royal 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 look, even with her scriptural basis;
but, then, she has come from circumstances he cannot know and is about to do him a great tribute which only an the royal daughter of a king can give properly give,
with the dignity and good manners that go with her rendering.
The modern audience need not feel uncomfortable with her glaringly opposite appearance and presence in this rustic setting. When she appears on stage, Alfred Stadem never sees her, nor will any other members of his family in the cast, so there is no embarrassment at all for either party.
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, which she picks out carefully from the bowl, she moves to the fence corner and leans on it, looking out beyond into the distance.
"Ven first vi come here to dis countree, oh my! De mange people! Detall buildings! De noise! Da smoke! De Indians and der vagons! Norway too vass like heaven, so bootiful! Only der vass little to eat! My, how quick the people walk here! In New York sister Tena 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 officer. If you don't walk fast enough, or maybe you look sick, dey send you back! All the way back, feeding the fish! I vass eighteen-in between dear Tena and Andrew. God is so gud! Vi were let in the countree and vi set off without any English. Oh ja, 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."
"Newly arrived immigrant, teen-aged Bergit began work as a maid in several Dakota homes and learned American ways of cooking and cleaning. But she kept her good Norwegian 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, good-looking Norwegian-American farmer, Alfred Stadem, and the glances they exchanged changed everything--everything that had not been transformed by the great move to America."
"The ways of Providence, particularly with women, are mysterious. God turned a deaf ear yet again to Mama Stadem's prayer to save face or "reputatin" 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."
Children run about the kitchen and the "yard" barefoot as they play various games. The Chorus sings "Barefoot - Song of Spring."
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."