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Mrs. Nick Scabad

AIR #76
August 2, 1973

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 overboard.

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 chaperones.

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 Hungarian.

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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