Gledelig Jul*

Welcome to Evansville Living‘s editor’s blog, 300 Words. I’ve recently been talking to our writers about the efficiency of telling a story in 300 words. That’s what I’ll do with this blog.

My great grandparents, Ole Midgorden and Mary Nelson, were children in 1871 when they left Norway for the U.S. with their families. They were married in Rock County, Minn., and raised their family of 10 children, in Lamoni, Iowa.  The youngest child, Dennis, was my mother’s father.  For my first post I will share the words of mother’s cousin, Dennis R. Midgorden, who recalled in 1995 the Iowa Christmases of the late 1930s:

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and the day after with the Midgorden family was really a gay affair, with as many as 50 people gathering all day.  What had appeared to be a large house would seem diminished when the clan gathered for Christmas. When we all got there and shared our experiences, with laughter and thanksgiving, these quiet subdued Norwegians opened up, especially the men who had little to say normally.  This was true in spite of the fact that they did not celebrate by using hard liquor.  My father has been known to say as many as 50 words on a Christmas Day, which was way over his allotment on any given day. While the male members of the family were not given to many words and long conversations, the women more than make up for this lack.  Clara, Nellie, Caroline and the other women were jolly and happy, making up for the quietness of the men. Everyone, as I remember, was very careful not to offend anyone else and there was a real congenial atmosphere at these Christmas gatherings, where love and gracious living shined forth.

*Merry Christmas!


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