A long time ago, when Julie, my sister, and I were kids, we used to visit this place. This farm once belonged to the youngest of my Grandmother Werner’s brothers. It later was taken over by his son Alvin and daughter-in-law Agnes Rusch. It still remains in the family more or less as one of Alvin’s grandson’s now owns it. It was one of the remaining farms owned by the Rusch’s of the Town of Stetin.
I spent time in that barn when I was little watching the cows get milked and playing with the cats. I walked its fields. I smelled the manure and the hay and the fresh air that comes the farm life. It was a successful farm in that my mother’s cousin Alvin had kept making a profit from milk checks well into his 70s.
It is in places like this that my mind turns to author Ben Logan and his own stories of what it was like for him to grow up in the southwestern part of Wisconsin. “The Land Remembers. Remember the land.”
Anyone who is related to a Rusch in these parts of Wisconsin has ties to this land. The towns of Stetin and Berlin were named so by German immigrants who settled here in a way to remember the places in their homeland in Europe. These people were of hearty Lutheran faith. They came here to settle and live a free life.
I remember my great uncle Ben as a soft-spoken man. When ever he came with Alvin and Agnes to visit my Grandmother, Uncle Ben was the quiet one. He just sat back and listened to the talk and said “Ja,ja. (Yes, yes in German). I still visualize him leading the team of Belgian draft horses in to the barn and telling us kids to stand clear so we don’t get stomped.