This past Saturday, Ruth and I helped Dregne’s celebrate 40 years on Westby’s Main Street. When Dave and Jana Dregne bought the corner building in 1975, it was a full service hardware store with nuts and bolts and ropes and wrenches and all the rest that makes up a hardware store.
But now, 40 years later, it’s a gift shop worthy of a destination visit. Not just a gift shop either, but a Scandinavian gift shop that shines a bright light on Westby’s Norwegian heritage. If you want authentic Norwegian sweaters and a lefse grill or maybe some Swedish clogs and pair of Scandinavian mittens, this is the place. And much, much more of course.
An enormous crowd trailed through the store on Saturday, coming from near and far. A bus load of Norwegians arrived, 40 of them, each one with a camera and a smile. I spent 15 minutes talking with a fellow from Oslo about Wisconsin’s barns and silos, and comparing pictures in my book about barns with Norwegian barns that he knew.
Dregne’s also have a wide selection of books by local authors, and not so local—I was there signing books, sharing a table with Tomah author, Larry Scheckel.
It was a busy, interesting day.
THE OLD TIMER SAYS: No matter what your ethnic background, a visit to Dregne’s in Westby is a fun experience—even for this old German.
BOOK OF THE WEEK:
NORWEGIANS IN WISCONSIN, by Richard J. Fapso (Wisconsin Historical Society Press). The book begins with the mass movement of Norwegians to Wisconsin in 1837 and continues with the history of this second most popular ethnic group in the state.
Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fund raiser for them):
The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs, Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps and Jerry Apps a Farm Story.
Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including The Quiet Season (on which the DVD A Farm Winter is based), as well as Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm, (which are related to the DVD Jerry Apps a Farm Story). Also available is Jerry’s new novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County as well as Whispers and Shadows and his newest nonfiction book, Wisconsin Agriculture: A History.
Contact the library for prices and special package deals.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
October 4, 1-3 p.m. Readers Realm bookstore, Montello. Ag. History
October 7, 6:30 p.m. Reedsburg Library, Whispers and Shadows
October 11, 10-12:00 a.m. Heartland Forum, Chicago.
October 11, 3:00 p.m. Old World Wisconsin-Wisconsin Ag. History
October 12, 6:00 p.m. Coloma Historical Society. Limping Through Life
October 15, Prairie du Sac Library, Whispers and Shadows
October 17, 9-4 Teaching writing workshop at The Clearing, Ellison Bay, WI
October 17, 4:30-6:00 p.m. The Clearing. Book signing, Whispers and Shadows, Wisconsin Agriculture: A History.
October 23, 10-11:00 a.m. Wisconsin Historical Society Museum (on the square). Whispers and Shadows. Wisconsin Book Festival.
October 23, 3:30 p.m. Wisconsin Historical Society Auditorium (On UW Campus) Wisconsin Agriculture: A History. Wisconsin Book Festival.
October 25, 2:00 p.m. Schlitz Nature Center, Milwaukee with Boswell Books. Whispers and Shadows.
October 29, Brown County Library. Premier of TV Documentary,” The Land With Jerry Apps. “ Book signing, Whispers and Shadows.
November 1, 2:00 p.m. Gard Theater, Spring Green. Ag History and Wisconsin Place Names (a Robert Gard book).
November 5, 7:00 p.m. Baraboo Library, Whispers and Shadows.
November 7, Edgerton Book Festival, The Land (TV documentary) and Whispers and Shadows
November 10, 6:00 p.m. Wausau Public Library, Wisconsin Agriculture: A History.
November 12, 7:00 p.m. Bellville High School Auditorium with Bellville Public Library. Wisconsin Agriculture: A History
November 14, 9:30 -11:30 a.m. Sheboygan County Historical Research Center. Wisconsin Agriculture: A History.
November 15, 9:15 Midvale Lutheran Church, The Land (TV documentary) plus discussion of Whispers and Shadows.
November 17, 7:00 p.m. Hotel Red (1501 Monroe Street- corner of Regent and Monroe, Madison.) “Wisconsin Agriculture: A History, a discussion with Doug Moe. Sponsored by Mystery to me Bookstore. Book signing to follow.
November 18, Preview of TV Documentary, “The Land With Jerry Apps” Wild Rose High School Auditorium. Whispers and Shadows book signing. (Time to be announced)