Meeting the Torvik's

Note: if you are reading for comprehension, you need to understand that Randeen's maiden name is Torvik.

Lisa Torvik is Randeen's cousin. She grew up a few blocks from Randeen's family home in Decorah, Iowa. She has a degree from the University of Minnesota and a masters degree from Yale. Over the years, Lisa has become a professional Norwegian. She speaks Norwegian (fluently) and has studied and lived in Norway. Lisa is the linchpin in making this meeting/reunion work.

In all of the years Lisa has been coming to Norway, she has never driven a car here. Mainly because there is no real abundance of automatic transmissions in automobiles in Norway (or much of Europe for that matter - this may be changing). To facilitate efficient moving from place to place in Norway, Lisa's brother, Joe, is on the trip and is operating as Lisa's driver.

Lisa has been researching the family roots for years. She has traced Bastian Henning Witt Torvik back to a farm about 10 kilometers down the road from Surnadalsøra. The town where the farm is located is called Torvik. It isn't much of a town just a few houses/farms and a gas pump. Lisa has invited all the people that she knows that have any connection to Bastian. There may be as many as 30 people at the party.

Lisa prepping a pork shoulder she bought from a local farmer the day before; Karen helping out

Jay, Kirsten (seated), Halvdan, and Ross

This is where it gets complicated; so, pay attention. Take notes if you like. Bastian's mother was Ellen Marta Johandotterbø and his father was Jo Dropping (best guess as they weren't married, but she was employed by him on his farm). Bastian was raised by a foster family, Peder Olson and his wife Maria. As Peder and his wife grow old, they have no one to leave the farm to (remember Bastian is not a blood relative). Peder sells the farm to Harvold Næss who is Halfdan's grandfather. Halfdan currently owns the farm where Bastian grew up; he is no blood relation. He is a really nice guy as you will see if you continue to read this saga.

Kirsten, also in the picture above, is a blood relative. How so, one might ask. Some time passes and Ellen Marta (Bastian's mom) has another child with some guy from Rindal (up the road about 30 kilometers). Mr. X from Rindal moves out of the picture and the child, a son named Olaf, is raised by a foster family on a farm in Solem across the fjord. He takes the name Olaf Solem. Olaf is Kirsten's grandfather.

Kirsten, Atle (Kirsten's husband) and Ingeborg (Halvdan's wife)

We had 27 people at the shindig. Eleven from the US and 16 from Norway. I may not go into excruciating detail on all of the attendees, but I will give you one more confusing connection. Ellen Marta (when she was about 40 years old) finally gets married to Ola Endereson Solem. This is another Solem, not the one previously discussed. It was common to take the name of your town, farm or parish as a last name. Ola was either from Solem and living in Litlvika or from Litlvika and living in Solem. This is not completely clear. I suggested we get some Mormons working on it as they are pretty good at populating family trees, but that is a topic for another time. Okay, are you with me so far? I hope so. Ola is a sharecropper. He owns no land. He has several children from a first wife who is deceased. As you've probably guessed, Ola and Ellen Marta have a child; his name is Ingvald. You may encounter Ingvald's granddaughter and great granddaughter as the story unfolds.

Arvid (Olaf Solem's son), Joe (Lisa's brother and driver), Sigurd (Olaf Solem's son), Atle

Atla with grandson Sondre (I think it is Sondre)

Even, Sondre, Beth, Kirsten, Jay, Ben, and Kristine with Isak (I think it is Isak)

Ross, Lisa, and Beth

Bjarne's son, Halvdan (in the doorway), and Bjarne

Lisa and Sigurd "cut a rug"; Alia observes and Bjarne and son supply the music

Bjarne kicks it up a notch

Sondre observing

Lisa and Joe

Alia and Greg try out some new moves

Kurt and Sondre

The music is now accompanied with singing

Special cake made by ?

Sondre caught with the cookie

First letter sent back to Olaf Solem by Bastian

We were all invited to Halvdan and Ingeborg's house in Torvik.

Halvdan's boat

The old boat house

Near the boat house

Halvdan's house; the farm where Bastian grew up

Out int he fjord in Halvdan's boat; you can see half of Halvdan's face, Greg, Alia, Ben, and me

Halvdan's house and farm from the fjord

We went for a short boat ride and then back to the house for some additional eating. We had some thin waffles with a creamy mousse (you eat them like a taco; bending the waffle around the cream), and some fruit with another dairy product (maybe a type of yogurt) as a topping. Of course, we had coffee. Remember the blood alcohol level for driving must be below .03, that's less that a beer.

Looking down to the fjord from Halvdan's house

We adjourned to our lodgings, parked the cars, and dove into the beer and wine. Most of us thought that this was a reasonable way to prepare for the next day.

Note: We will be offering a limited edition family tree in the form of an Excel spreadsheet. Pricing has not yet been determined. As a bonus, we may offer some of the recipes used to prepare the food for the party. Reserve yours today!


Anonymous said…
Does this price you speak of include an unlimited supply of them blogs.
Frank Ragan said…
Actually, them blogs is priceless!
Andy F. said…
Oh my God, I had an easier time following the characters in Beowulf! Hope you guys are still having a great time!

Frank Ragan said…
Hi Andy, the family tree has not been completely discussed in this post. If I have the energy, more will be written, but maybe not, fully explained.

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