At the Whidbey Island Nordic Lodge monthly meeting on Saturday April 21st, author Dr. Inga Wiehl read excerpts from her recently published book, Heartstrings: A Tale of Danish Loyalty, Resistance, and Homecoming, discussed her research for the book and answered questions from her audience.
Inga first explained that the occasion for Heartstrings was the death of her mother, which brought her back to Denmark in December of 1984. After her funeral, she spent a week by herself in her mother’s house in Southern Jutland, where the memoir is set. While there, she would look out the window at the land she had loved first and at the photographs on the walls that she had seen all through her childhood, especially those of her grandmother, who had lived with her the first ten years of her life. Inga explained that she had never bothered to ask any questions about her grandmother’s life before she became part of their family but that during that week after her mother’s funeral, she realized that she now wanted to do so. How had her grandmother managed to run her farm, bring up two children, and survive to be the strong, resilient, mild, and loving grandmother that she was ? She did not know who to ask; her grandmother’s generation of mostly women was long gone, and her own parents were gone as well. All she had were her own memories. She came to discover however, during subsequent summers of researching Southern Jutland history, that she also had a rich archive of personal and national records pertaining to the years Southern Jutland was German territory (1864-1920). Inga scoured second-hand bookstores for books not available in local libraries and visited museums, buying what she could not borrow, and started drafting what would become Heartstrings.
The rest is history, figuratively and literally, carefully researched and told in a heartfelt manner. It’s a story both real and as the author has imagined it in letters between her grandmother and her friend Carola. It’s a story is of a region and its people at a particularly challenging time in history as well as a piece of immigrant literature, written from the double perspective of those who left and those who stayed behind.
Inga Wiehl holds a B.A. from the University of Copenhagen and an M.A. and PhD in comparative literature from the University of Washington.
At the February 18th monthly meeting of the Whidbey Island Nordic Lodge, Daughters of Norway member Kristine Nerison Collins shared her Adventures with Norwegian Goats and Cows!
Kris, a Whidbey Island resident for 37 years, been a very enthusiastic Norwegian all her life. It all started with the stories her mormor (mother’s mother) used to tell her about where her mother had come from (the Valdres area), reinforced by a few old photos.
Kris visited Norway for the first time with Ed Egerdahl (who for many years taught Norwegian here on Whidbey) in ’99 and was enchanted. Her dream became to live there to experience the seasons, customs, and to just go more deeply into the culture. Life finally allowed Kris to do this in 2007, and she was able to spend 9 months there helping a family with their cows This was very special, because she was able to live on the same exact hillside – almost on the same farm – as her great grandmother had!
Kris equipped herself with Norwegian language skills by taking classes in Norwegian as a second language while in Norway. She wanted to be able to talk to the old ones about their growing-up years, and read all their books. She feels that ‘old ones’ are much closer to their past, and thinks some of the traditional ways they had of doing everything has new relevance for us today as we attempt to cultivate more sustainable lifestyles and get back to the land a little.
Kris’ career has been as an x-ray tech and mammographer. She boasts of 3 beautiful children and 1 granddaughter. Kris has been a member of the Daughters of Norway organization for 10 years, and was a member of the Sons of Norway for 5 years while working in Everett. Writing and photography are hobbies that she uses to share her travels, and she hopes to write a book someday telling about the same. Kris has been to Norway 3 times in the last 4 years, spending 15 months there altogether, and she is going back in April of this year for 3 more months! Kris will be returning to her goat family.
Landscape Photo credit : Photo by Toby Simkin
On Saturday February 11th the Whidbey Island Nordic Lodge participated in the 4-H Super Saturday held at the Coupeville Middle School. They taught two classes. The first class was on making Scandinavian heart baskets with members Carla Birkleland, Emilly MacCormick, Ingri Johnson, and Lori Hansen teaching. There were 8 children in this class.
The second class was an introduction to the Scandinavian Troll and was led by Cherie Iverson, Dick Johnson, Ingri and Lori. There were 12 children in the Troll class.
Whidbey Island Nordic Lodge’s officers and team leaders for 2012 officially assumed their positions on Saturday January 21st, with former Lodge President Barbara Wilson officiating. Pete Berg was installed as President, Dick Johnson as Vice President, Liz Berg as Treasurer, and Emilly MacCormick as Secretary. Team Leaders for 2012 were also recognized for the roles they have assumed.
Barbara preceded the installation ceremony with a review of events during the past year that have led up to the restructuring of our Lodge into the Planning Teams that will allow Lodge membership to more fully participate in creating the Lodge they envisioned during a brainstorming meeting in February 2011.
Officers for 2012 were elected at the November meeting and Team Chairpersons were selected by the Teams established at that meeting, after members had had an opportunity to let others know where and how they would personally like to contribute to the Lodge in 2012 and who they felt would best represent our Lodge as officers.
Noting that our new team structure, our visions, and the way we conduct our business will undoubtedly have to be tweaked in the coming months, especially as the new building is constructed, Barbara also reminded members that this new team structure for the Lodge nonetheless offers members a solid vehicle through which they can continue to express their wishes and dreams for the Lodge – be a place to be heard – and further offers them an opportunity to work together with other Lodge members in new ways.
At the January meeting the Lodge’s President of the Whidbey Island Nordic Lodge, Pete Berg will be installed as President for 2012, Dick Johnson as Vice President, Emilly MacCormick as Secretary, and Liz Berg as Treasurer. Numerous other lodge members will be recognized as Chairpersons for the various other teams that were established in November to plan and implement social, cultural, operational, outreach and communications activities for the Lodge. Former Lodge President Barbara Wilson will officiate.
Lodge Members will also take pause at this meeting to recognize the national organization under which it is chartered – The Sons of Norway – by viewing the film Fram: Forward into the future: Celebrating 100 years of District 2 Sons of Norway 1910-2010.
The Whidbey Island Nordic Lodge is unusual amongst Sons of Norway Lodges in that it focuses on, as its name suggests, Nordic culture and tradition celebrating all Nordic nations.