The Mt. Adams Sun, Bingen, WA., July 23, 1953, page 4
HUSUM IS NAMED FOR GERMAN CITY
Theodor Suksdorf named Bingen after the German town of
the Rhine. He also named Husum after a German city, although his reason is
not so obvious.
Last week, Mrs. M. Karstens of Helix, Oregon who has just returned from Germany went out to Husum, Washington to compare the two towns. Before she went, as she described as Husum, Germany which has just celebrated its 350th anniversary. With her went Mrs. Alma Ernst of Plattsmouth, Nebraska. Both women were guests of Mrs. Ernst's daughter, Mrs. Ben DeBeer of Bingen.
They had not seen each other for 52 years, not since they knew each other on the Friesin island of Fohr, a seat-girt resort between the Danish and German main lands. Like Husum, Germany, those these agricultural islands and derive their livelihood largely from fishing.
When Mrs. Karstens and Mrs. Ernst were girls, they "thought nothing of corpses that swam up on the land from sunken ships. Sometimes the tides brought good things like oranges and planks. Everything of value was salvaged."
Each square foot of island is precious. Farm buildings are clustered economically together on man-made bounds as protection against the sea which once or so in this century sweeps across the tiny islands. When this happens, the sea-faring inhabitants climb to their thatched roofs and wait for the storm to subside.
But most of the time, life is comfortable. The resourceful Germans love of their lowlands and feel secure a behind the cement dikes. During the present occupation, Mrs. Karstens' family shared their home and food with as many as 15 refugees at one time. But life is getting back to normal as the homeless are being relocated in the central and southern parts of Germany.
Much has changed in the last half century. Some of the few remaining windmills are now museums. And the beautiful costumes of the Friesen women are worn only for state occasions. These costumes show a strong Spanish influence, even to the breast-yoke of filagreed silver.
Married women reveal their status by wearing a red-flannel crown with their mantilla. Single girls remove all doubt about their eligibility by letting a portion of their hair show.
Getting together after so many years was a rare treat for Mrs. Karstens and Mrs. Ernst. They took up just where they left off fifty years ago with names like Bingen, Fulda, Husum to make them feel completely at home.
© Jeffrey L. Elmer