Houston County Historical Society annual meeting is Nov. 4
Tuesday, October 30, 2012 5:02 AM
The Houston County Historical Society will hold its annual meeting on Sunday, Nov. 4, 1:30 p.m. at 404 E. Main St., Caledonia, in the sanctuary of the former Caledonia Presbyterian Church.
Two directors will be elected and the year's activities will be reviewed. The featured speaker is Denise Rostad, daughter of Mary Rostad.
"Squirrel is Alive: A Teenager in the Belgian Resistance and French Underground" is the story of long-time Houston resident Mary Rostad's early life as told to La Crosse author and personal historian Susan Hessel.
Rostad, who died in October 2011, was born in Belgium and came to the United States in 1946 as the bride of Houston County native Allen Rostad.
After raising her family, Rostad began sharing the story of her experiences during World War II with school and adult audiences. She was just a teenager when the war began, but was soon working with the Belgian Resistance to pass information and work against the Nazi occupation of her homeland.
Fearing for her family's safety, she struck out on foot with the intention of making her way to Spain and eventually England. Instead, she found herself in France, working with the French Underground.
Darryle Clott, a Holocaust educator and Viterbo University instructor, encouraged Rostad to share her story by inviting her to speak many times to high school, university and public groups.
It was Clott's persistence that led Rostad to work with Hessel to write the story of her life.
Hessel did extensive research on Belgian history, attended many of Rostad's talks and conducted personal interviews, which she combined with stories Rostad had written about her experiences.
The result is "Squirrel is Alive", published by Viterbo University's Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership, and an inspiring story of what one person can do in the face of hardship and evil.
Mary's daughter, Denise Rostad, will share her mother's life story and discuss the process used in bringing the story to print.
There will also be a display of memorabilia from Rostad's life and her book will be available for purchase following the presentation.
Everyone is welcome and refreshments will be served.