the past as prologue

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When I was eight or nine, I had a remote-control airplane with a “glow plug” motor and a control cable to guide it around a gradually widening circle until it ran out of fuel and glided to a two-point landing ready for re-fueling and more fun. I used precious birthday money to buy the plane; hurriedly put it together; and took my little Piper Cub or whatever down to the corner where the street was wide enough for a good test.

I primed the motor, spun the nylon propeller to get it going, and launched my beauty into the air for its maiden flight. I can still see it nosedive into the pavement, my aviation adventure over. I never had another remote-control anything. What was the point?

Life experiences like this one are partly about what led up to them. In life, the people who went before me matter. Their lives and their cultures and histories have something to do with how my life turns out. Learning about my ancestors helps me know where I’m coming from, a key variable in knowing where I’m going. You never know what will make a difference.

Until recently, I’d missed most every opportunity to know more about the people and culture that came to me through my Norwegian-American mother, who certainly had a lot to do with how my life got started.  I’ve decided to commit this year, 2014, to learning about what it means to be half-Norwegian. I hope that those who follow along get curious about their origins, too.

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