Norwegian Vacation Part 2 – Family Reunion

by Lindy

It’s been over 100 years since Lauritz Anton Kjønnerud (Kenrud is the Americanized surname) and Elise Marie Hagan left their homes in Larvik, Norway – the southern coastal region. (Home of Thor Heyerdahl, Kon-Tiki adventurer.) They left Norway (independently) in the early 1900s for better lives; times were tough in Norway and America promised a land of opportunities. Lauritz and Elise are my maternal great-grandpa and great-grandma. They were married in Couer d’Alene, Idaho on August 30, 1913 (exactly 90 years before my wedding anniversary on the same date!)

I am fortunate that my grandpa Andy (Lauritz’s son) and uncle Kern (Lauritz’s grandson) maintained contact with some of our family in Norway and that I’ve had the chance to get to know them throughout the past 10 years; especially with the ease of email and Facebook. The Sons of Norway in Seattle helped to reconnect my grandpa with his Norwegian relatives after Lauritz and Elise died, leaving him and his brother orphans. Kern has also passed on the letters between the families in Norwegian and old photos of their first homestead in Bellingham, Washington. Having the opportunity to see these has left a lasting impression on me and I’m honored to have this legacy to share with my children.

Photo Credit: Lindy Neubauer

Lauritz, Ralph and Andy Kenrud, Bellingham, WA

Photo Credit: Lindy Neubauer

Elise on the farm, Bellingham, WA

Photo Credit: Lindy Neubauer

Ralph and Andy (great uncle and grandpa) cutting wood, Bellingham, WA

Photo Credit: Lindy Neubauer

Lauritz, Ralph and Andy Kenrud, Bellingham, WA

Photo Credit: Lindy Neubauer

Fishing in Bellingham, WA

Photo Credit: Lindy Neubauer

Lauritz, Ralph and Andy Kenrud

Photo Credit: Lindy Neubauer

Ralph and Andy Kenrud, my grandpa and great uncle

Photo Credit: Lindy Neubauer

Elise, Andy and Ralph Kenrud | Bellingham, WA

Photo Credit: Lindy Neubauer

Lauritz and Elise in Bellingham, Washington

My husband and I visited my family in Larvik first in 2004 and then in 2011, some came to visit our family in Seattle and now we’ve just returned from our big family trip to Norway where we were able to spend quality time with most of the cousins and great uncles/aunts. It was an incredible experience for me and impactful for my children as well. Kiersten (5) is now smitten with her cousin Jakob and claims to want to marry him and Brendan (2) perpetually stuck by Jana’s side. They all played so well together despite the language barrier.

Photo Credit: Lindy Neubauer

Driving from Oslo to Larvik

We had five days of spending time with all the family, rotating visits to everyone’s houses. Highlights were having late night conversations with our accommodating hosts Kristian (cousin) and Heike, as well as tasting various new liquors with them, having a fun cookout at the beach in Stavern with waffles, sausages and lefse, spending a day with Kjell (great uncle) and Inger eating and reviewing ancestry documents, meeting a new cousin from my great-grandma’s lineage, Heidi, and hearing all the creative things she’s involved with at her job, seeing and learning about Henrik Ibsen’s ‘Rat Virgin’ sculpture in Skien on the Telemark canal, meeting younger Kristian and Ingrid’s new baby girl, Line, and Kristian taking the kids on a tour of his police station in Skien. It was wonderful seeing Beate (cousin) and Espen’s home and tasting a traditional Norwegian soup with flatbread and lots of butter. We also had a great time seeing Håkon (cousin) and Reidun’s home and getting to know them more. We also got to meet another cousin of Kristian, Espen and his wife Pham and their two lovely daughters. They had lived in the U.S. before, so there was a lot to talk about. Of course, there never is enough time and I’m sad we didn’t get more time with everyone. I’m certain we will visit them again someday though.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Brendan and Inger, great aunt, Larvik, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Norwegian dinner; Larvik, Norway.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Brendan, Jana and Heike; Larvik, Norway.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Beate and Brendan + me; Larvik, Norway.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Beate, Inger, Kjell and Kiersten; Larvik., Norway.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Delicious Norwegian Jello Dessert

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Delicious Norwegian Meatballs, courtesy of Inger.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Lindy and Kjell reviewing ancestry documents; Larvik., Norway.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Inger, Annika and Kiersten; Larvik., Norway.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Kjell and his grand nieces; Larvik., Norway.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Lindy and Heidi; Larvik, Norway.
Creative cousins.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Lindy, Heidi and Annika, Larvik, Norway.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Frozen row boat in Larvik, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Hungry swan. Larvik, Norway.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Playing on the beach; Larvik, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Henrik Ibsen’s ‘Rat Virgin’ Sculpture. Skien, Norway.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Climbing up the ‘Rat Virgen’; Skien, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Kids taking over the computers. Skien, Norway.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Welcoming Kristian’s new baby girl, Line.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Ane reading to Kiersten. Skien, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Skien family. Beate, Reidun, Ane, Espen, Jakob, Oscar + me, Annika, Kiersten, Brendan.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Traditional Norwegian soup, courtesy of Beate. Skien, Norway.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Legos are universal. Jakob, Oscar and Brendan; Skien, Norway.

Brendan and Jakob at the police station in Skien, Norway.

Brendan and Jakob at the police station in Skien, Norway.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Annika, Kiersten, Baby Line and Ingrid.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Dressed for the weather. Stavern, Norway.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Staying warm at the beach. Stavern, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Beach cookout, Stavern, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

The girls: Jana, Annika, Kiersten. Stavern, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Jana locked up in Stavern, Norway

The Guys' Jonathan, Brendan, Kristian. Stavern, Norway.

The Guys’ Jonathan, Brendan, Kristian. Stavern, Norway.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Stavern, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Beautiful Norwegian girls, Ane and Julie. Larvik, Norway.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Kids’ table for celebration dinner. Larvik, Norway

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Bear hug. Kristian and Brendan. Larvik, Norway.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Family photo with Håkon taking the photo. Larvik, Norway.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Strong liquor.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Neubauer

Stronger
liquor.

Some of the things I loved about Larvik and Skien was the stunning, natural beauty, the crisp fresh air and the kind, authentic people. I enjoyed the traditional Norwegian meals with lots of bread, cheese, meat, fish and spreads on open-faced sandwiches and especially the meatballs and potatoes. I loved how everyone is active outside despite the cold weather; you can see bicyclers, runners, hikers and soccer players everywhere. There is a Norwegian saying we’ve learned, “There’s no such thing as bad weather; just bad clothing.” So true! I became adept at dressing in layers and was quite warm and comfortable. I really like the cold-weather, Nordic fashion with a blend of rugged function and beauty. I also love Norwegian design and decor in their homes; it’s so natural, rustic and quaint with a lot of personal touches.

Now that I’m back in the U.S., I reflect a lot on my ancestry and the people who came before me, their journey, as well as what aspects of me are distinctly Norwegian (stubbornness, determination, outdoorsy, down to earth.) I like to think I’m Norwegian even if just 75% of me is and I can’t speak the language well and I’m the 3rd generation in America (on both my parent’s sides).

I’m happy to report that to honor my Norwegian great-grandparents, my uncle Kern has arranged for Lauritz and Elise’s names, where they immigrated from and their dates of arrival to the U.S. are going to be added to the last available rune stone at the Leif Erikson sculpture, a tribute to Scandinavian immigrants, at Shilshole Bay Marina in Seattle. The final stone will be added to the 13 existing runic-like stones arranged around the statue in the ancient tradition of a Viking ship. The stones display authentic Viking designs, and each stone holds plaques with the names of Scandinavian immigrants to honor their history.

leiferikson.org

Leif Erikson statue at Shilshole Bay Marina, Seattle, Washington Photo Credit: LeifErikson.org

Leif Erikson International Foundation (LEIF) commissioned a new base for the existing statue and a display of some 850 immigrants’ names. (More names were added in July 2010, for a total of 1,767.) The statue base is a large granite stone approximately six feet high, in the middle of a plaza. It is encircled with upright, runic-like stones, featuring authentic Viking carvings and plaques with the names of immigrants, along with their home towns and years of immigration.

The base and tribute display were designed by internationally known artist Jay Haavik, grandson of the former pastor of Ballard First Lutheran Church, the Rev. O. L. Haavik.

The Norseman Leif Erikson symbolizes the courage to venture to a new land.- leiferikson.org

leiferikson.org

Lauritz and Elise will be honored on a rune stone like this.
Rune stone, Leif Erikson Statue at Shilshole Bay Marina, Seattle, Washington
Photo Credit: LeifErikson.org

My next post will be about the concert we went to in Sandefjord, Norway to see Norwegian rock band Tainted Souls perform live. It was awesome!


2 Responses to “Norwegian Vacation Part 2 – Family Reunion”

  1. […] Norwegian Vacation, Party of Five Norwegian Vacation Part 2 – Family Reunion » Apr 20 […]

  2. Rick Hardy says:

    Lindy, it was enjoyable reading about your trip. I especially appreciated this post about your family. Thanks for sharing! Oh, and I’ve started watching Lilyhammer. This just after seeing an episode of House Hunters International that took place in northern Norway. Ha!

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