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‘Where I’m From’

By Staff | May 17, 2019

Sue Sitter/PCT Haaland Estates Activities Director Lisa Hanson shares a message with residents and their families.

Moms, families and residents enjoyed reminiscing, poetry reading, songs and a pie social at a special Mother’s Day celebration Haaland Estates Saturday afternoon.

The celebration began with a reading of “Where I’m From,” a collection of poems sharing the life stories of Haaland residents through brief memories and objects with personal meaning.

Haaland resident Charlotte Tuchscherer’s memories presented a poem titled “I Am From Outdoors”.

A photo of Tucscherer on a park bench accompanied the poem. Other poems about washing machines, irons and milking cows feature photos of Haaland residents posing with antique appliances and milk bottles.

Carissa Hoveland of Wild Minds Studio photographed the authors, who posed with objects on display at Rugby’s Prairie Village Museum.

“It’s about the residents and their lives, what they did throughout their lives kind of connecting that in a poem, and a picture that they took of them representing their poem,” said Tuchscherer’s daughter, Marlene Schaan.

“I think it’s just a wonderful, wonderful thing. It’s a very nice tribute to them.”

Tuchscherer agreed. “I think it’s wonderful,” she said.

“You talked about the farm, and the grass, and the trees, and your cooking,” Schaan reminded her.

“And that I couldn’t mow my yard,” Tuchscherer smiled. “The boys had to do it, because I couldn’t do it good enough for me.”

The poetry project resulted from a collaboration between Rugby’s Village Arts, Inc., Haaland Estates’ activities department, and the North Dakota Council on the Arts.

Matthew Musacchia, Fargo, coordinated the project for council, enlisting the help of a toolkit created by State Folklorist Troyd Geist.

“(Geist) kind of came up with the toolkit, and sort of had the activity planned, then he more or less taught it to me,” Musacchia said.

Musacchia explained creating the poems evokes positive memories from years gone by.

“A lot of it has to do with the positive effects of nostalgia.”

Musacchia contacted Haaland Estates’ Activity Director Lisa Hanson with the project.

Musacchia, Bonnie Berginski of Village Arts, Haaland staff and volunteers interviewed the residents, writing down their memories in a format to create the poems.

Musacchia said Geist created the project with the goal of improving residents’ mental health and engaging them in creating works built from their memories.

He noted three things the project specifically combats are ” loneliness, helplessness and boredom. That the mental health benefit is really what Troyd is going for. That says a lot about the positive effects of nostalgia.”

“So it’s supposed to engage them and make them happier, and they have a product that they like. As far as I know, it’s gone very well. Lisa said it’s gone very well.”

Residents also compiled a cookbook of favorite recipes with Hanson. Alice Heintz, who sat at a table with her family, said, “I contributed quite a few of them. One was bread pudding, and Russian mint pie.”

After the poetry reading, residents and their families joined in a rendition of the song, “M-O-T-H-E-R” and enjoyed slices of pie served by Haaland staff in flowery hats.

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