Moorings Old and New: Entries in an Immigrant's Log

Moorings Old and New: Entries in an Immigrant's Log

Moorings Old and New: Entries in an Immigrant's Log

Moorings Old and New: Entries in an Immigrant's Log

Excerpt

Life and Conditions in Arctic Norway during the author's childhood were little known in the rest of the country, and were virtually a closed book to the world outside. A land of majestic natural beauty it is also a land of sharp contrasts, between winter and summer, between grimly stark landscapes and those of bewitching appeal. In the lifetime of the author's parents, and even during his own childhood, most people in northern Norway led a toilsome existence and faced the fearful perils of stormy seas. But they were deeply attached to this region where their forebears had settled before the Christian Era. Though they might migrate to far-away lands, the imprint and memory of their childhood home remained enshrined in heart and mind till life's last day.

In the latter half of the nineteenth century a large number of Norwegians emigrated to the United States and settled in the Middle West. Norsemen played important roles in the early development of Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and the Dakotas. In this pioneer period when the prairies were brought under cultivation communications were undeveloped and markets were distant. For the Norwegian immigrant farmers the physical hardships were intensified by their unfamiliarity with the customs and language of their new home. Moreover, they were haunted by intense loneliness. They had slipped their old moorings and many felt adrift. The late Professor Knut Gjerset of Luther College, Iowa, who at the age of five was brought to Minnesota by his parents, said that the most vivid of his early childhood memories was of . . .

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