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The following translation has been edited to correct punctuation and a couple of minor corrections to the use of the English language.
Here is the letter from Arnold Sunde translating the Fjordingen articles and his description of the disasters at Ramnefjellet (Raven Mountain).Dear friends of Nordfjord.
I want to thank all of you for being a wonderful audience the days I had the pleasure to be your guide during your stay in Nordfjord. I promised to make translations of everything written in our local newspapers concerning your visit. Never in my life I have seen that a group of Americans has gotten so much attention in our newspapers as you. As some of you probably have brought the actual newspapers with you back home, I have written the name of the newspaper with date and numbered page where the article is to be found. "The sermon on the mount" which was delivered on the spur of the moment at the memory place in the valley of Loen is written in addition to the events of the first day, Monday the 5th of June.
With kind regards! Arnold Sunde.
"Fjordingen" 6th of June. Front page and pages 8 and 9. AT HOME IN ANCESTORS' NATIVE DISTRICT. She was evidently deeply moved, Norma Lamascus, when being handed the bookmark of her father, Jon Anderson. She has her ancestors from Liatunet, the very first emigrants from Innvik, and together with the relatives Barnes Rick and Teri McFarland she is going to spend a night on the family farm this week. The America-visit started with church boats on the fjord and a sermon in the church of Utvik,and the Americans highly appreciated the hearty welcome in the homeland of their ancestors. p.8 RENEWED TIES BETWEEN RELATIVES. "Look at that salta sild" were the spontaneous words from one of the Norwegian-American ladies on entering the stabbur in Liatunet where dried, salted herrings were hanging on poles beneath the roof. On entering this old, well kept farmyard it became evident that this was a meeting with familiar things from their parents and grandparents. This farmyard is one of the oldest in the municipality of Stryn. The America-visit was a success from the very first stroke of oars as the church boats came alongside the peer of Utvik. The guests and hostesses got quickly on speaking terms, and after a short time remote relatives could exchange greetings as well as hugs. After some solemn minutes in the church of Utvik the tour continued to Liatunet where the churchcoffee was served. In the church the sermon was in English. The national anthem was performed by the local mixed choir and the children choir of Utvik, and not to forget the Hymn to Nordfjord written by Elling Reme. The mayor of Stryn was happy to have the opportunity to welcome the American guests to the village from which approximately 3000 persons emigrated at the end of the 19th century. And emigration was also a central theme in Liatunet. Some of the very first who emigrated from Innvik came from this farmyard, and four of their relatives are going to spend a night in one of the old buildings this week. Norma Lamascus was evidently deeply moved when she was handed the mark book which her father Jon Anderson got when he graduated from school in 1905. OLD DIALECT FROM STRYN. The Americans had to get most of the information in English, but not Ernest Anderson, president in Nordfordlaget of Minnesota. My grandfathers come from Svingeset and Bø, he said. He is third generation of farmers who have corn and cattle in production, to use his own words. While we are talking, he presents two ladies who came up to us."Ditta e to Raudijente" (these are two girls from Raudi), told in the old dialect which was used in Stryn more than 100 years ago. His father Edvard, son of Paul Bø who emigrated to America, was born in America, but all the same Ernest could not speak a word of English when he became a pupil in the public school. "At home we always spoke Norwegian", he said in the old, steady dialect of Stryn. "Is it still the 20th day's Knut that carries the Christmas out?" he asks with a twinkle in his eyes. It is evident that he is familiar with old tradition, and he is talking about "svineribbe" as well as "lutafisk". These dishes still belong to Christmas in his home. Lutafisk, potatoes and lefse taste good, he says with a smile. MANY EXITING DAYS. The guests have an exiting week ahead. Some of them have been here before, but most of them have their first meeting with the old country as their ancestors called it. They are going to look for their roots in Vikane, on Nordsida, in Hornindal and many other places. They have the names of their relatives in the bag and the names of the farms on the tongue, and as time passes by they hope to get their questions answered. It is very seldom that more than 400 svele(pancakes) are eaten at a churchcoffee in Vikane, but it is evident that svele is a popular dainty. "Skikkeleg geitost"(real goatcheese). These words could be heard more than once, and nobody seemed to be unwilling to change the American syrup tradition with goat cheese, sour cream and marmalade of strawberries. Finally some of them seized the opportunity to take a dance on the newly mowed field outside the barn before going by bus to the memory place with view to the wound in Ramnefjellet(the raven mountain) in the valley of Loen. ************ Arnold's Story ************** Once upon a time there were two villages at the end of Loen lake. Nesdal and Bødal. The villages were surrounded by high, wild mountains. Early in the morning people started to work in the fields. As the sun reached the position right ahead a mountain in south-east, people went home to have lunch. Therefore this mountain got the name "Middagsfjellet"(the mid-day mountain). The western neighbor mountain got the name "Nonsfjellet" because noon (meal) used to be eaten when the sun was right ahead of the summit. But the largest and steepest of all the mountains was Ramnefjellet(the raven mountain). At daytime the mountainsides would be heated by the sun, and during the night the mountains would provide a suitable temperature for the crop. The soil was excellent, created by lots of moraines through thousands of centuries. Therfore these villages were the most fertile of inner Nordfjord. Even wheat could be grown here. In the lake trout could be caught in abundances, and in the forests there were red deer to be hunted. Everyone living in these villages had reason to feel privileged by being inhabitants of Nesdal and Bødal. Sometimes the noise of stones falling downwards the steep mountainside of Ramnefjellet disturbed the idyl of the valley, but people were accustomed to the sound of falling stones. But one night in January 1905 something dreadful happened. A terrible noise echoed from all the mountainsides in the valley. An enormous rock had fallen down from Ramnefjellet into the lake down beneeth. As the undercurrent in the lake reached the banks of Nesdal and Bødal a wave of 60 meters of height arose and forced its way through the villages destroying houses and killing people. 61 inhabitants of the two valleys were drowned in that wave. Those who succeeded in surviving the catastrophe had to leave their homes. A crevice was observed by geologists in the mountain, and there was reason to fear another rock slide in near future. But as time passed by and nothing happened, people began returning to the valley to restore their farms and rebuild the villages, and in 1936 they had succeeded in doing so. A farmer in Nesdal had married the sister of my mother, and the 12th of September the same year my mother was going to visit her sister in Nesdal. As she wanted her family to have a look at her son who was 3 years of age, I was permitted to go with her. My mother has told me over and over again that just as we passed the house in which she was born, I got a fit of coughing. Being afraid that her son had caught a cold, she decided to spend the night in her earlier home before going to Nesdal. I appreciate that decision very much because the next day Nesdal as well as Bødal were leveled with the ground. Another rock had fallen from the Ramnefjell. This time the wave washed away everything up to 72 meters above lake level. The destruction of the two villages was total. Only a couple of houses were left undamaged. 74 persons were drowned this time. But this was not the last rock slide from the capricious mountain. In 1950 it happened again. Also this time I happened to be in my mother's childhood-home and had the opportunity to watch the enormous forces in the lake caused by the rock slide. Some years ago my wife and I had the opportunity to spend a night in a house in Nesdal owned by my cousin. It was a beautiful night in October. It was a strange feeling standing in that place in the darkness of the night looking at the black,steep silhouette of Ramnefjellet, listening to the different sounds from the cascades tumbling downwards the mountainsides. That special mood can't be felt anywhere else. Arnold Sunde Firda Tidend Wednesday 8th of June. p.6 and 7. AMERICANS WITH ROOTS FROM GLOPPEN. "I love this place", Dennis Gimestad says. This is the fourth time he visits his roots in Gloppen. Now he is in charge of a group of Americans who wants to see where their ancestors came from. 76 Americans are walking towards the Nordfjord Folkemuseum. They have just been at the dairy of Byrkjelo where they have got a guided presentation of the dairy and some samples of the products. Also old cheese was test-tasted. Fantastic nature. They were satisfied with the visit, and for corn-farmer Otto Gimmestad it was very interesting hearing about the agriculture in the municipality and the new technological dairy-production. "It has been very exciting to come to Nordfjord and especially to my roots here in Gloppen. I am looking forward to see Gimmestad after the visit here at the museum. At home I administrate enormous fields of corn. There are no mountains like here. The nature is fantastic", and all of them agree saying unanimously that it is such a wonderful landscape. Everything is so different from where we live. 134 schoolchildren in the barn of Frislid. In the barn of Frislid the mayor of the municipality welcomed the guests to Gloppen. Then the barn got filled with beautiful song by pupils from the school of Sandane. They performed the Nordfjordsong, Hanen stend på Stabburshella and Kråkevisa. The children were applauded with smile and admiration from the American audience. The fourth time in Gloppen. One of the most smiling faces belonged to Dennis Gimmestad. This is the fourth time he visits Gloppen. The last time was two years ago. His grandfather, Anders Olsen Gimmestad, emigrated the 23d of May 1876 to Minnesota. Dennis is of the opinion that it is important to take care of one's roots. All his family members are of the same opinion, and in many homes there is a picture of the old church at Gimmestad. "It's fantastic to be here again. I feel welcome here, and I love to be leader for American people who are here for the first time. I can see how they appreciate having the opportunity to be here. Many are very curious and do not hesitate to establish contact with relatives, whereas others are more reserved. Some of us even leave the bus to live with their relatives for some days. It's a wonderful way to learn to know a Norwegian home", he says. Dennis has learned some words of Norwegian and admits that he would be very happy to learn to speak Norwegian fluently, but it is a very difficult language to learn, he says with a smile. JOY. It's not difficult to perceive the joy of the American guests. Twelve of them have their roots in Gloppen and they talk all of them simultaneously." We have been looking forward to this moment for a long time. It is very exciting to see the home of our grandparents. We feel almost as being at home because of being received so well. But it is very cold here. As it is summer now, we are not prepared for winter", they say before going to visit Guri Hoddevik in Jølet who offers the guests svele and coffee. After a guided tour at the Nordfjord Museum in Jølet, they went to the old church at Gimmestad. Because of snowfall in Traudalen the dish of rømmegraut was served in the village hall, Runnevang, by Sudstranda ungdomslag. Fjordabladet Thursday 9th of June page 5. CONCERT FOR AMERICAN GUESTS. Pupils and teachers of the cultural school in full dress performed a lot of beautiful songs and music during the church concert the 7th of June. More than 70 American guests that for the time being are participating in an emigration-festival of Nordfjord got a broad specter of song and music in the church where almost every seat was occupied. The dean,Rolf Schanke-Eikum, welcomed the guests and the parish priest, Therese Brustadmo, told a little about the interior decorations and the history of the church. "Some of you are related to people who were baptized or married in this church", Brustad said. The program could offer song and music from a lot of countries and with teachers and of music from Norway, USA, Russia, Sweden, Austria and Great Britain and also pupils from different nations, the concert could without doubt be entitled to be a multi cultural concert. EXHIBITION WINDOW. Our efforts towards building up culture and music and the fact that we have a lot of competent talents and teachers in the municipality, have made us self-contained with clever artists. The cultural school is in many ways our exhibition window, Berge Bjørkedal says. SONG IN NORWEGIAN. The applause proved that the Americans appreciated the concert. Some of them had to wipe off a little tear after "Amazing grace" and "Norge, mitt Norge" performed by Michael Pavelich. Finally all stood up singing the national hymn, a worthy finish of a successful concert. A VISIT AT HOLMØY TRADE SCHOOL. Banners were put up as well as fruit on the tables when the Americans started the day with a visit in the museum at Holmøy Tradeschool. The guests from USA were welcomed by the mayor, Gunvald Ludvigsen, and were guided by Ola Holmøy, Kristi Holmøy, Anita Vinsrygg and Dagfinn Skrede. The visitors got information about the school and its history. On the first floor an exhibition of tools, jewelry and other things were presented to them. Many of them were very impressed by the objects from the viking-age and the fact that the school had a view to the deepest lake in Northern-Europe. Fjordingen Wednesday 8th of June.page 16 NORWEGIAN-AMERICAN FOLK-FESTIVAL. The visit from America has become a real folk-festival. Even if the summer temperature is waiting to come, it is evident that they feel at home. Monday it was the folk museum at Nordfjord, yesterday it was Holmøyane and Nordfjordeid, and today it is the Nasjonalpark-center and Hornindal. A dense program has been drawn up, and all the municipalities will do their utmost to please our American guests. It is important to look and hear what is being told, but the most important issue seems to be the search to find the place from where their ancestors came. As time passes by, names of farms in Hornindal and Stryn emerge from the memory. It is almost embarrassing to realize that some of them know the genealogical table better than people in the same family living here in Norway. So far it has been a successful stay, and Thursday they will go to the western coast before returning to spend a night with friends and relatives. One highlight to which all are looking forward to, is the great finale in Stryn cultural house. Fjordingen. Friday 10th of June. Page 10 and 11. STRONG TIES BETWEEN RELATIVES. A deep sigh of relief came from the guests when it was announced that there would be lefse to the coffee in Smia Wedensday. The American guests had tasted a lot of delicious dishes after their arrival in the country, but they had to wait for four days until they got their favorite dainty LEFSE. Wednesday could not be carried through in accordance with the program because the mountain road to Geiranger was closed because of snow, but nobody seemed to be sorry. Instead of going to Geiranger they got time to walk on their own in Stryn and dance at Horndøla brigde. Jon Kristian Brendefur played the popular accordion called "torader", and among the Americans there was a girl who got hold of a guitar. "Healthy to move after delicious food", was a comentary. At first they had visited the national park center, and some of them had chosen to leave the bus to live with friends and relatives. To meet the cultural life of Hornindal became a great success even if the icy summer temperature had chased great deal of the program inside. Before coming to Smia they had a guided presentation of the Svor museum and a concert in the Hornindal church. The stay in the church offered a special highlight because Bill Kvinge took his place behind the organ. For 40 years he has played the organ in a church without any payment, and to thank him for his devoted work the congregation of the church, they had given him this voyage to the homeland of his ancestors. Also the Svor museum was a special experience to some of them because they had their roots back to the sculptor and got the opportunity to look at their relatives cast in bronze statues. Yesterday the tour went to Selje and Vågsøy before their stay in Nordfjord will come to an end with a final performance in Stryn Cultural House. Some of the guests will extend their stay for some days to live with their relatives to get better acquainted with remote relatives. Fjordenes Tidende 15th of June page 18. MEETING OLD RELATIVES IN THE OLD COUNTRY. Last week approximately 80 Americans visited the places from where their ancestors came. Marilyn Storm was one of them who met relatives during the stay in the old country. The meeting at Vågsberget became a cordial one. Before the two busses with the Norwegian-Americans came to Vågsøy, they had spent some days in Stryn, Gloppen, Eid and Hornindal and Selje. Everywhere an extravagant program was carried through to make the group feel at home. In Vågsøy they got an interesting guided tour in the factory of Domstein before being welcomed to the old guest house by the municipal director Olav Horn accompanied by the Holvik school brass band. Luiz Santiago Ruiz and two of his pupils from the municipal music school took care of the entertainment during the lunch. Laila Schult told about the municipality of Vågsøy. Finally there was a guided tour at Vågsberget for those who wanted to move their legs. SECOND COUSINS. To Marilyn Storm the tour to Norway also was an excellent opportunity to see Norwegian relatives that she had not seen for a long time. Margot Domstein, Aud Flo and her daughter Margaret Flo Johansen had a cordial meeting at Vågsberget. The grandmothers of Marilyn, Margot and Aud were sisters and half sisters, and the families have kept human contact across the Atlantic ocean. "My grandmother Marie Våge left Norway at the age og 16", Marilyn Storm tells while looking at the old family pictures which Aud Flo had brought her. 11 TOURS TO NORWAY. Marilyn Storm has already visited Norway 11 times and is a real friend of Norway. The national costume of Nordfjord she bought 20 years ago and is sill being frequently used. "For example when we are celebrating the 17th of May for a whole week. Then there sometimes will be too many sweet cakes", she adds with a smile. The Norwegian-American teacher speaks Norwegian well after having overcome the begining. The lively conversation between the ladies goes on in a mixture of English and Norwegian, and former visits on both sides of "the pool" are being remembered with joy. "This tour has been really fantastic, and we are very impressed with everything we have been allowed to experience. We are being so well received without regard to where we arrive", the friend of Noway says. A SUCCESSFUL TOUR. Arne Sølvberg from Stryn is in charge of the main committee which has prepared the reception of the Norwegian-Americans in Nordfjord. He tells about successful arrangements all over the route with a balanced presentation of modern and historical Norway. The day before arriving at Vågsøy, the group visited Selje and Stadtlandet where Knut Djupedal and Dagfred Berstad took care of them with a guided tour to the monastery and a presentation of the village of Ervik. A group of local ladies in Ervik had prepared a delicious fish soup that scored a great success. "I also have to praise the mayor of Selje who on the spur of the moment managed to get hold of a boat from Måløy as the monastery-boat got engine trouble en route" he says. "In spite of bad weather the whole week the group has been in high spirits, enthusiastic for being so well received everywhere in the municipalities of Nordfjord", he finally adds. Fjordingen 13th of June. Front page and pg. 16. THE BRIDAL CROWNS BECAME THE CROWNING GLORY. "How can you forget old Norway", the American guests were singing at the parting party with the hosts and hostesses from Nordfjord, and most probably they will remember this tour for a long time. Complete success from the very first day, and a fantastic finale where the presentation of bridal crowns from Nordfjord in a literal sense became the crowning glory. 15 brides, each with a bridal crown on her head, made an interesting finish of the American visit that came to an end in the Cultural House of Stryn with dinner, speeches and dance. This was a historical event Fjordingen Wednesday 15th of June. page 10. NICE FINISH OF A NICE "AMERICAN WEEK". "How can you forget old Norway", the American guests were singing at the parting ceremony in the Cultural House of Stryn Saturday night. The cultural evening arranged by all the municipalities of Nordfjord made a worthy finish of an exciting week where lost family feelings became renewed once again. "I want to thank the whole committee and especially Arne Sølvberg", the mayor of Stryn said as the whole party was satisfied having eaten the old, traditional Sunday dish, SOSAKJØT. The Nordfjordlag of Minnesota responded with a picture of the banner which they once got as a gift from Nordfjord, and it was evident that they appreciated all the experiences of the stay in Nordfjord. The evening of Nordfjord was a successful exhibition of traditional culture. The bridal crowns are already mentioned, but the performance of song and music presented a true picture of the quality of our culture. We have local sources of a broad spectre of culture. Michael Pavelich managed to present the program fluently with his excellent knowledge of the two languages. It was the American themselves who asked the question. How can you forget old Norway, and we believe they will remember the country for a long time after this visit. It is not possible to experience everything in a week. Probably there was not enough time to the search for relatives, but many of them have already plans to get back soon. Saturday was dedicated to Stryn. The most part had spent a night by friends or relatives when they met at Sagedammen at Ulvedal, which has become a municipal cultural place. The old sawmill and the forge was a special experience in addition to a savory dish. We met many Americans who knew more about dried, salted herring and cold potatoes than a usual inhabitant of Stryn. The visit to the emigration-stone at Fjelvarden was the last arrangement for which Stryn was responsible. The Americans are pins-collectors, and with the municipal pin in the pocket and a CD with picture and text made by Arild Bergset they have got concrete memories from the stay. Rasmus Sunde told about the book of emigration which he has written, and the fact that a new edition of "the priest book" has come, was welcomed with joy. This is a book which always will be of current interest, and the fact that the author and photographer was present was of course an extra successful marketing of the book. The Nordfjord evening was a mulitiexhibition of culture without limits between the municipalities. A fine mixture of modern and historical entertaining elements. It is a praiseworthy tradition to make a common effort to entertain common guests. page 12 A TOUR WITH MANY HIGHLIGHTS. "One of the highlights of the tour is to be invited to a Norwegian home." This is the sincere opinion of the couple Otto Gimmestad and Donna Gimmestad. They visited Hans and Brit Rand where they had the opportunity to see how Norwegian families live. A guided tour in the village and Norwegian food were also on the program. "Is it a Norwegian tradition that guests always will be offered a lot of food?" Otto asks. Everywhere they have been, they have been received as royal persons. At home in Minnesota he remembers well that the house of a Norwegian relative always was full of food in case some visitors would emerge, and everybody who entered the house became invited to the table to eat. We have taken care of Norwegian traditions in our family, and we make lefse as well as krumkake and lutefisk, but not as good as this, Donna says. "My mother used to make gombe, and it was quite an experience to taste it again", says Otto and praises the Norwegian hospitality. STEEPER THAT I COULD IMAGINE. The two Americans enjoyed being invited to a Norwegian family. "It is interesting to see the everyday life of a Norwegian family", Otto says. He is farmer himself and is interested in the Norwegian agriculture. "It is steeper than I could imagine here. This is in fact a contrast to our flat landscape in Minnesota." The host and hostess appreciated to have guests. "It is pleasant and interesting to have guests with roots from Sørsida", Hans adds. TUSEN TAKK, LEFSE AND SVELE. Otto has got his roots from Gimmestad in Gloppen and one of the highlights was to see Gimmestad and the church. In spite of very bad weather they have appreciated the stay and to be better acquainted with Norwegian people. Communicative barriers are being overcome by using signs and tokens, but some words like lefse, svele and lutefisk are to be found in their Norwegian vocabulary. Both of them want to come back once again, and then they will also visit Møre where Donna has her roots. "Everything on this tour has been a highlight", is their unanimous conclusion."
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