Sunday, May 13, 2012

Family and life

I finished Maggie's book about 6 A.M. on Thursday. It was an amazing tale of her life, so far. I am just impressed at her ability to get it all written down and organized. Some day, if I get lucky, I will get to meet her and her family. She is in a really great place in her life, physically, mentally, spiritually.

 I was conceived in Bergen Norway back in 1950, but transported in utero to America to become an American citizen before either of my parents. Life in Norway was tough back in the early part of the last  century until about 20 years after WW2. While visiting my cousins in the mid 60's I remember climbing around on the German bunkers on the mountains around Bergen. It was hard, as a kid, to imagine what went on there only twenty some years before.

My father, Otto, got to spend some time in the country visiting relatives when he was a boy back in the 1920's and 1930's. Here is a picture from that era with his younger brother, Audun, and a young girl called Alma. I always thought this was a cool pic from up on a mountain farm.
  I found out about fifteen years ago that I could have applied for Norwegian citizenship up until about my 21st birthday. I could have had dual citizenship like several of my cousins. Travel would be easier if I could afford to do it more often. Sometimes life takes you where you are without letting you take any scenic side trips. At least I got to take a few glances as I went by. I wish I could think of something clever to say about regrets (I've had a few).

Funny thing is I grew up in "the best country in the world" and I believed that for the first half of my life, but things have changed. There are empirical measurements that now show otherwise. While denial is a strong tool, it is only effective for so long. A few years back I saw that a baby born in Turkey had a better chance of survival than one born in the U.S. I could tell right away that the U.S. was in trouble. I guess the world can stop sending these, as we can no longer take care of what we have.
 "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

The world has changed as it will always be destined to do. For me, it is a yearning to go to other places and drink them in. Maybe it is the viking blood in my veins or just a nagging in the back of my mind that things can be better than this. Sometimes I let the feeling take me there and at other times I just try and push it aside because of the practical realist that I have to be. It's not that I am unhappy, but just wanting a little more.

Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers! Without you all we couldn't be here and in reference to the latest news, breast feed your children as long as you want to, or not. It's no one else's damned business!


  1. Are you one of those Norwegian bachelor farmers Garrison Keillor is always talking about? Is that Lake Wobegon in your back yard? Inquiring minds and all that you know.

    Like you, I don't know how we've gotten ourselves in such a mess. Maybe the Great Melting Pot is turning into a witches brew.

  2. Love the photos!!!

    And yeah, I get a yen to go a-wandering now and again and the Highlands beckon but the cost is too dear so I start thinking about places here in Ohio that I enjoy.

    Thanks for the Moms' Day good wishes!

  3. Mr.C, I am a lot like those Norwegian bachelor farmers, except that I have been married for 29 years. "Dear, I told you I love you once. If anything changes, I'll let you know."

    Kay, living close to the bone gives you strength of character, but does nothing for your wanderlust. Mothers are wonderful. Everyone should have one! (?)

  4. Another part of your "story" that I find so amazing.... your parents traveling across the Atlantic to give their baby chances they did not have.. AMAZING!

  5. I visited Bergen in July 2009 just after I had visited Iceland for the first time...a most charming and beautiful place...I loved it!

    Life has many surprises Jon and I certainly did not even dream before July 2009 that just over a year later I would be living on the other side of the never know what is around the corner.

  6. I love that pic of your Dad and his brother on the pig!

  7. If you were to apply for Norwegian citizenship now, would you have a priority? Hypothetically speaking...
    I have not made it to Norway yet, but hope to. My wanderlust is getting stronger as I get older and less physically likely to do all of the wandering that I lust for! My Norwegian great grandparents came over on a boat,and the story is that great-grandfather died on the trip. So, great grandmother married another man on the trip over, and he claimed the kids as his own....a hard story to confirm, but maybe someday we'll know for sure. Uff da!

  8. Kelli, living up to that legacy has been an exercise in self-disappointment.

    Vicki, you are an amazing person. I followed your adventure from before you started packing.

    Knat, it's one of my favorites.

    Carol, I don't know if they would let me in any easier. The Cooker has a similar story of her maternal grandparents. It is hard to be sure of the facts in those old stories, but times were tough and different then.

  9. Don't worry my friend, America will again rise up... It just has too!

    Thanks for all your kind words on the book and I love the picture of your Dad on the pig. Its a typical Norwegian picture from that era.

    You truly are a Viking!