Letter to the Editor: Look Forward, Not Backward

In two recent letters to the editor, Tony Beadell stated his opposition to allowing Ephraim restaurants to serve beer and wine. In his first letter, he said he’d like Ephraim to remain much as it was back in the 1950s, and he believes continuing to prohibit the sale of alcohol in restaurants will help achieve that goal. Surely he realizes he is advocating an anachronism, while at the same time enjoying the progressive changes that have come to Ephraim since 1950. I bet he’s glad Ephraim has sewers now. If his house caught fire, he’d be relieved that Ephraim’s well-equipped, well-trained firefighters are handy. If he became ill, he’d welcome the first responders who arrived quickly.

In his second letter Tony says, “Our village is being asked to give up a very important aspect of its heritage, a part of our culture established by our Moravian founders 163 years ago.” Once again he is cherry picking the changes he’d like to keep and those I’m pretty sure he would like to discard. The “culture established by our Moravian founders” included mandatory attendance at church services that lasted up to three hours each Sunday morning and again on Sunday afternoon. The culture also included a ban on women and men sitting together in church, a requirement that church elders approve any contemplated marriage, and many other now-outdated mandates.

I agree with Tony that “we are caretakers of the past” but it is foolish to let caretaking cause us to live in the past, to close our eyes to progress. There would be no Ephraim today if its founder, Andreas Iverson, had not believed in progress. He tirelessly worked to move a tiny, struggling colony into a growing village with a church, school, pier, and a number of business establishments. Iverson accomplished this by looking forward, not backward. In my opinion, the residents of Ephraim should do the same. Permitting the sale of beer and alcohol is not denying Ephraim’s history. It is keeping Ephraim from getting stuck in the past.


Frances Burton

Ephraim, Wis.


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