Tuesday, April 17, 2012

N: Norway

My grandfather immigrated to the U.S. from Norway in the 1920s, when he was about 16 years old.  He came with his mother, his brother, and his two sisters, after their father died of diabetes in his early 40s.  The family traveled to western North Dakota (aka the middle of nowhere, and a very harsh and windy nowhere at that!) where the father's brother had immigrated to some years earlier.  I suspect the widow and her 4 children were sent to the father's brother, anticipating that he would marry the widow and provide for her family.  Not sure how that all worked out, other than the widow (my greatgrandmother) never remarried.  My grandfather died when I was 23 and one of my big regrets is that I never asked him for stories about his immigration - the boat, traveling through Canada from Nova Scotia to North Dakota, etc.  I'm not sure he would have told me, but I sure wish I'd have asked.

My grandfather married my grandmother - who herself was also Norwegian but born in Minnesota.  They spoke Norwegian as their primary language and my father says he didn't learn English until he started school.  They always remained very fiercly proud of their Norwegian heritage.

My father then took up with my mother who is (gasp!) Swedish and German.  My mother said that sometime after she and dad got married, my grandfather said to her "you're pretty good for a Swede" and he meant that, sincerely, as a compliment.

Over the years, my grandparents traveled to Norway a few times, and had Norwegian visitors regularly.  My parents have done the same.  My father has re-connected with some relatives over the years and has a pretty good idea of where his family originated.

I would love to visit Norway.   A good friend of my husband's met a woman from Norway some years ago and they married and he now lives in Norway, so we have that inspiration.  Plus it is gorgeous.  Given my penchant for rocky, wild shorelines and mountains, Norway looks right up my alley.  And I would really like to see my great-grandfather's grave.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Welcome and thanks for reading! Feel free to leave a comment - I'd love to hear from you.