He had never seen bananas before but when someone
came around selling some he decided to try one. Unfortunately, he tried eating
it peeling and all. The effect wasn't at all pleasant so he threw the banana
Elizabeth Raser Scabad came to the United States from Hungary in 1913.
Elizabeth's parents made arrangements for her to travel with one of her former
schoolmates, and with an older man and his wife who were their 'sponsors' or
Before she left home, her mother packed food such as home-cured ham sandwiches
for her to eat on board ship so she wouldn't get sick from eating the ship's
food. Mother had warned them, too, about the ship's water, so they drank beer
while on board.
Mrs. Scabad and her daughter Eva laughed as they recalled a friend's
introduction to bananas on his ocean trip to the United States. He had never
seen bananas before (Mrs. Scabad had never seen them either until she saw them
on the ship) but when someone came around selling some he decided to try one.
Remember he had never seen a banana in his life so he tried eating peeling and
all. The effect wasn't at all pleasant so he threw the banana overboard. No
point in trying to eat fruit that tasted like that! He noticed that others,
however, continued to buy and eat, and finally someone showed him that the
peeling was supposed to be removed. He tried again and this time decided
bananas weren't so bad after all.
Elizabeth was a good sailor and didn't get sick at all on the boat as they
came, either from the boat's motion or the food. She was able to dance all the
way! Others in her party didn't fare so well though. One boy on board, she
recalls, became very ill, though probably neither the boat nor the food had
anything to do with it. Elizabeth, using her mother's home remedy, rubbed his
throat and chest with lard and garlic, and he was soon better. When the ship's
doctor came to see him he commented, "I smell garlic," but the boy protested,
"No, I haven't eaten any garlic." He was very grateful to Elizabeth and kept
in touch with her for quite some time after they were in the States.
Her sponsors and the other girl accompanying her came only as far as Chicago
so from then on she was on her own. Alone on the train from Chicago to
Glendive she became more and more lonesome. The brakeman felt sorry for her so
he bought her some fruit and filled her apron with it while she slept. She was
surprised to waken and find her lap full of fruit.
She could speak no English so the lady next to her showed her that she was
supposed to eat it. Elizabeth remembered her parent's instructions and
explained, "No, my daddy told me not to eat anything anybody gave me," and put
it on the seat. When the brakeman came through he, too, showed her that she
was supposed to eat it, and finally she did - and suffered no ill effects.
From Chicago the train came straight through to Glendive, Montana, but she
insisted, "I'm not going to Montana." Glendive, yes; Montana no. She did get
off at Glendive, though, so she found herself in Montana.
By the time she reached Glendive she was really lonesome. Her godfather (Aunt
Margaret's husband) met her at the train and what a joy to hear him call,
"Come on, Lizzie, come on!" She cried, "Oh, my God!" ran to him and grabbed
him, she was so glad to see a familiar face and hear a familiar voice.
Elizabeth Raser (Scabad) suffered much from homesickness the first weeks she
was in Glendive before she had a chance to get acquainted. "Glendive", she
observed succinctly, "was not much to look at in 1913."
She soon secured a job as dishwasher at the Jordan Hotel. She missed her
parents and brothers and sisters, and at noon as she walked through the alley
to the post office (the post office then was located where MDU is now, corner
of Towne and Kendrick) she would cry into her apron. How she cried! She
remembers with appreciation the sympathy demonstrated by a man who worked at
Douglas-Mead (where Farnum-Gabert Drugstore is located). He always came out as
she was going to the post office and was sorry for the young homesick
There were other people from Hungary in Glendive, however, and it wasn't long
until she became acquainted and was less lonesome. Then Nick Scabad entered
the picture. She went to a weekend party in New England, North Dakota - they
danced three days and three nights - and there she met him for the first time.
It wasn't long until Nick came to Glendive to see her - and kept coming. In
1914 they were married.
As a girl in Hungary, Mrs. Scabad had learned to make lace, using a hook, and
could make exquisite lace from just string. She also knits and has done much
beautiful embroidery. During both world wars she knit sweaters for the
soldiers. Through this she acquired a new 'son'. She included her name and
address with each sweater, and one of the boys who received a sweater began a
correspondence. His mother had died when he was a baby so he had written to
Mrs. Scabad, "I'm going to be your boy." Mrs. Scabad's mother heart is big
enough to include other 'sons' besides those born to her so she was willing to
include him. The correspondence continued, and he brought his bride to visit
Scabads on their honeymoon. She gave them some of her handwork for a wedding
present - sheets, pillowcases, dresser scarves, chair-back sets.
Clyde Bower of Billings is another of her 'adopted' boys. She recalled the
time when her oldest son, Wendell, asked her, "Do you want a boy?" She laughed
as she told how she had protested, "I'm too old!" Wendell quickly explained
that he just meant providing a home for a high school boy. She wasn't too old
for that, so Clyde became one of her boys, too.
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