My Grandmother Louise was Norwegian through and through, she came from a large family of ten, five sisters, and two brothers. I don`t remember much of the brothers, but the sisters, many memories.
There was, Auntie Thea, Auntie Ella, Auntie Laura, Auntie Frida, and Auntie Amelia. Auntie Laura i knew the least. All of them were quite beefy and bosomy except for Auntie Thea, she was the smallest one. The funny thing about them was, they were born right here in the USA, but they all pronounced the word thumb, as tumb. Throughout their lives, the sisters stayed close.
My most delicious memories of them were summer memories, the yearly family reunion. The brothers larence and Thomas , even showed up for that. Every year, it was held in a pie shaped park in my home town in Southern Mn, a small farming community. These Aunts all had five and six kids between them, except for my grandmother, she had only three, and all of those kids had kids, so you can imagine, that little park was near bursting with Norwegians, many of them having funny names, such as, Ludvig, Selmer, Hans, Severin and Olloff.
When the cars pulled up to the curb, piles of kids got out of those cars, not carrying games and toys to keep them busy, all they came with was themselves, and imagination. We played and played with just each other, for hours and hours. We played Red Rover and Simon Says, and we ate and ate.
I remember these matriarchs in their cotton dresses, thier aprons tied under their heavy breasts, sitting clustered around each other catching up on family news, holding plates ladened with food. Their hair up in tight buns at the back of their heads, except my grandmother, i don`t ever remember her with a bun. She must have been the rebel of the bunch.
There was food everywhere, oh the food! Everything was made from scratch back then, everything was pretty much organic and home grown. Fried chicken, potato salads, cakes, bars, baked beans, corn on the cob, breads and buns. I don`t believe i have had fried chicken like that since i was a young child. These women could cook!
This was forty-five, fifty years ago, a differant time and place. The Sisters are gone now, most of their children are gone, and some of their grandchildren. There is no one left to say tumb. The family reunion has dwindled to almost becoming extinct, and life has changed drastically since those days so long ago.
But one thing remains of those sisters, their inner strength, i saw it in my mother and her sisters, i see it in my cousins, and i see it in my daughters, that tough Norwegian stock.
But would`nt you know? Not a one of us can fry chicken like they did. Nuts