Friday, August 14, 2009

My Miracle Year: Uff Da

After an all too brief visit to Sioux Falls, I’m back in San Jose, head in a whirl of emotion, elation and story. “Uff da!” (A new Norwegian term I learned from Sandy, it translates as: "I’m overwhelmed," especially for those with Scandinavian roots in the Dakotas and Minnesota.) (To the right: little Minnesota Scandinavians -- me & Steve)

I’m most anxious for my brother to be enveloped in the unconditional love and acceptance I’ve found within our ‘new’ family -- something we never experienced from our father’s side of the family. Shunted from aunt to aunt, then foster home to foster home, we learned early what a 'burden' we were, tolerated for whatever income attached itself to our care.

Rooted in a religion both judgmental and intolerant, my father's family practiced a stoic and dogmatic Northern Scandinavian brand of Calvinism where love and acceptance were luxuries, to be doled out sparingly if at all. In hindsight, I give them the benefit of the doubt; they were not bad people. But they were not very kind to motherless children either. And it didn’t help that my father frequently antagonized them as he had our mother's family.

To be continued...

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