Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Josie's 100th Norwegian Presentation

You are not going to believe this, but Josie had YET ANOTHER family heritage project at school!  

I know!  

It's crazy, right?  

This time the project was centered around immigration and each child had to do a short presentation to the class, sharing a tradition that was brought over from the old country, that his/her family continues to do.  My children are true Americans.  They are mutts in every sense of the word and are blends of Norwegian, English, Scottish, Polish, Russian and Austrian heritage.  But the only traditions that they follow are the Norwegian traditions from my side of the family.  Like a true Californian, Gordy didn't even know where his family had originated from until he met me and I asked.  In the United States, all the non-asian people who ended up on the West Coast coast migrated from the east.  And most left the East Coast to avoid such nosy questions about heritage in the first place.

I grew up very differently.  We lived in the same town as my Norwegian grandparents and we spent most holidays with their Norwegian sisters and brothers.  Sweaters were knitted in the patterns of the old country, cookies were eaten and prepared, we ate Julekake at Christmas and learned to say grace in Norwegian.

My mother's side of the family came from England and Scotland by way of Prince Edward's Island in Canada and we knew about those family members, too, but the Norwegian side was more in our face and who in their right minds wouldn't chose to associate themselves with the family members who appreciated a good pastry and a strong cup of coffee?

Our children feel the same way - even though they never met those Norwegian Grandparents or those norwegian great-aunts and uncles.  I've tried telling them about their other heritage, but without traditions and stories, there isn't much to go with for school presentations.  

But if I had had a fourth child, I would have had to make something up - or researched polish traditions or bought my youngest child a kilt, because I'm getting just a wee bit bored with the Norwegian-heavy school presentations.  My children are being raised on the East Coast, and unlike the school-years of their California-hippy, heritage-free father, the "Where I'm From" presentations are endless.

The assignment this time around was to talk about where your ancestors came from and share a tradition with the class.  Josie chose to share the recipe for Sankake.

No matter that most of the kids in her class won't have access to the molds.  It's the thought that counts.

While giving her presentation, Josie was going to wear a Norwegian costume that my grandmother Ruth made for me when I gave a similar presentation to my sixth grade class (or was it earlier?  I should have asked my mom) but she decided to skip that part at the last minute and wore instead a sweater that Ruth made for Meredith back in the 1970's.

Josie paired the sweater with her dauchsand leggings which I'm sure my dog-loving grandmother would have liked.  Norwegian sweaters are very versitile that way :).

I did have Josie pose in my Norwegian costume for photos because by next year (and next year's heritage project) it will probably be too small for her.

Prepare yourself for cuteness.

I absolutely loved this outfit when I was growing up.  I remembered being very proud when I got to change into it before the heritage performance at school.  I didn't have my grandmother's Solje (pin) back then, but she must have lent me one to wear since I remember having a pin at the collar.

If I remember correctly, I only wore my outfit for the length of the performance and then my mom had me wear it again on Christmas Eve.  Josie probably made the right decision to wear the sweater instead.  Her presentation lasted all of 2 minutes and it took five to get into the entire outfit.  

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