Sunday, May 18, 2014

May 17

Two hundred years ago, on May 17, Norway gained its independence.  So every May 17, those with Norwegian heritage celebrate Syttende Mai (Norwegian for May 17).  Wisconsin’s major Norwegian settlements were Stoughton and Westby.  And both places have major Syttende Mai celebrations.
This year, as I have done for many years, I traveled to Westby and signed books for several hours at Dregne’s Scandinavian gifts, one of the largest and best such gift shops in the state. Such fun it was to talk to the folks who came by my book display—the occasional one saying something to me in Norwegian.  My reply is usually a smile and a “Huh, what did you say?”
Syttende Mai is a homecoming for many families.  I talked with a man from Rochester, MN.  “I grew up here,” he proudly announced.  I talked with a woman from Rochester, New York.  “My family has roots here.”  Of course people from LaCrosse, Viroqua, LaFarge, Holmen and many other nearby communities were well represented
Lunch from Borgen’s Café—a great place for Norwegian food—is always a treat.  Visiting with my longtime friend, Howard Sherpe, author and woodcarver extraordinaire, and Westby native, is always fun.  My daughter, Sue, came along and saw many of the goings on from a kiddie’s tractor pull, to a rosemaling demonstration.
 It was a cool but sunny day—a great day for a celebration.  A great day for those with Norwegian backgrounds.  Also, a pretty good day for those of who claim German as our heritage.
THE OLD TIMER SAYS:  Hats off to the Norwegians.
 SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT:  I learned this past week that there are still openings for my one-day (June 21) writing class at The Clearing in Door County.  Go to this link for further information.
If that doesn’t work write or call The Clearing:
12171 Garrett Bay Rd, Ellison Bay, WI 54210
(920) 854-4088.


May 20, Midvale Community Lutheran Church.  11:30 a.m.. Presentation, Limping Through Life.

June 20, Wausau Historical Society, 10:00 a.m. Presentation.

June 21, Writing Workshop, The Clearing, Door County 9-4
July 12-19. Writing Retreat, Rhinelander, WI.

July 23.  Jacksonport Historical Society, Mr. G’s, 6:00 p.m. Jacksonport, WI. Horse Drawn Days

July 29, Ephraim Historical Foundation. 7:00 p.m. Barns of Wisconsin.

Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fund raiser for them):
The library now has available both of Jerry’s DVDs, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps and Jerry Apps A Farm Story.
Also available are several of Jerry’s book including The Quiet Season (on which the DVD A Farm Winter is based), as well as Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm, (which are related to the DVD Jerry Apps a Farm Story).
Contact the library for prices and special package deals.

Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division St.
Wild Rose, WI  54984


1 comment:

Diana said...

I watched the Syttende Mai parade in Stoughton yesterday. What I noticed was that many of the parade-watching groups were 3 or even 4 generations all together- lovely. I also noticed the beautiful bunads of all different styles. I loved seeing an entire semi flatbed trailer lined with past Kings and Queens in traditional Norwegian dress, smiling and waving to the crowd. Some in wheelchairs, some with canes, all of them proud.