Chippewa Falls Luth. (cem.) West lake Johanna Ch. Terrace Mill Some came from Åbjør... visit with the Belgums in Nora

The plane lands at Cleveland, Ohio, I have arrived in United States. Nobody had given me the hint that house number and street address had to be written on the immigration papers to be allowed into this promised land, but after a while I was allowed to borrow a PC and print the necessary address list from my family CD (homemade in Åbjør) – which even included a photo of the Fossens in Glenwood. ”Nice looking family” said the lady at the immigration-counter and rammed my passport with suitable stamps.    At that moment I felt the time for my plane leaving for Minneapolis sprinting away like a 100-meter runner on steroids, and started to run like I would have the devil himself in my heels. .. I managed to beat the devil by a couple of minutes, and entered the Continental domestic flight to Minneapolis. I was met at the airport by the Fossens, and managed quite soon to relax among my own tribe.

The following days I was guided around the area, visited with a lot of nice people, did my best to fill the memory cards of my camera, and in the night putting the information into system. In situations like this one have to act like a sponge in the bathtub. Oh, I felt very comfortable with Dianne’s scanner and broadband-connection. The relatives supplied me with a lot of old photos, cemeteries, churches and old homesteads in the area ended up digitally. The Museum in Glenwood had a very good filing system for old newspapers from the area. The big difference between our ”Valdres” and ”Glenwood Herald” was that the latter  could be said to have been a pure gossip-column, but that’s good when you are searching the needle in the haystack.. In Nora Twp. We were taken on sightseeing by Jim Belgum, and after that trip my eyes wad widened quite a lot. More  than 130 years ago there had been people from small Åbjør as pioneers in that area. (Maybe the World is not so big… after all !)

On Saturday, September 20. Dianne and Milo arranged a family reunion at the elders’ center in Glenwood, and I met with a bunch of nice people. Among the older generation, more of them spoke my own dialect. There were even people arriving from North Dakota.  I tried to be a good ambassador for my home area, hoping that the borrowed feathers (Laptop and projector) together with homemade PowerPoint presentation from Åbjør and Valdres would trigger the urge to visit our Valley as soon as possible.

The Fossens equipped me with both a suitable book for diary and maps of the United States. And on Sunday September 21. , I started on the first leg of ”the long travel”. I was taken by my hosts down to Crooks close to Sioux Falls, SD, and spent the night in good company with the Holdahl family, wto took me to the Busstation – and I pointed the nose westwards.

On the following pages this writing are comments made after returning to Norway, the plain 11 pt. Times are a direct rewrite of what I wrote during the following 3 weeks. (I have to admit the English is – the original notes are in Norwegian)


-- so feel free to join me on my trip ----