July 18, 2015
The small town of Leirfjord has been talked about around the family dinner table our entire lives. Grandma Benson came from here in 1915. The Benson family including my Mom and Uncles went there in 1927 to visit family. We have plenty of pictures and a few stories from that trip. Grandma returned there in 1932 during the Great Depression. The Laguna plumbing business must have been doing OK. She went again In 1958. Our parents and Aunt Betty and Uncle Carl made an epic trip there in 1976. Sister Conni, Coral and Jack went there in the 1990’s. Aunt Eleanor and her sister Lorna made it there a few years ago. It was our turn to finally make the pilgrimage to the ancestral home.
After the previous day’s drive, we were happy to be able to just drive around the little town. After the usual gigantic breakfast, we went to the church where our Grandmother was baptized and confirmed. It was built in the 1860’s but is well maintained. Grethe showed us the vestments that she made for the Pastor. The designs were approved by the Bishop.
We visited the grave of our Great Grandparents Elena and Martin Arntsen Moen. My great Grandfather passed away in 1947 having raised a huge family by fishing and farming. We also visited the grave of Uncle Hans along with the grave of grand daughter who died in 1954 from WWII munitions that accidentally exploded. It was a very sad story.
We wanted to see the foundation and location of the family farm Moen Gard. Translated it means roughly Hill Farm. The current owners of the land were quite happy to show us the old granite foundation upon which part of their new house is built. I wandered around and took pictures of the site that we see in the old family pictures. Of course, we were invited in for cake, sandwiches and coffee. Afterwards we toured the studio of the crafty couple with aged bodies. They are still creating works of wonder at well into their 80’s. We bought some great pieces. The location of purchase made them even more special.
Grethe was an Art Teacher until Havard became sick. He creativity is every where in the house. We admired her numerous collections and creations.
Naturally we went to the boat harbor to see where the family of fishermen set sail in their small boats. We briefly stopped to purchase some Horn Salt. We now know that it is the secret ingredient to make perfect Lefse. It is also the perfect smelling salt to wake up Rocky. I hope we can get it through customs. We afterwards journeyed to the modern port where farmed salmon are loaded on to ships and trucks for delivery to Costcos everywhere.
We enjoyed a delicious dinner of Sea Salmon or what we would call Steelhead. We had several helpings along with Lefse and coffee. More stories were swapped and we collapsed around eleven. It was still light outside.