The Norwegians in our midst are getting all revved up to celebrate Leif Erikson Day, Oct. 9. This famous Norse explorer is credited with being the first European to reach this continent. One second grader I taught years ago said, “Yeah, but when Columbus discovered it, it stayed discovered.”
Thanks to Nancy Robinson we have a few facts about the man who inspired this holiday. The spelling of his name? Depends on what language you speak, it seems. Erikson, Eriksson or Ericson. In Old Norse his name would have been Leifr Eirksson. He was the second son of legendary Erik the Red who probably established the first European settlement in Greenland around 980. Erik would have joined his son in the search for Vinland but a fall from his horse left him unable or unwilling to venture out. The Groenlendinnga saga suggests that Erikson made three landings on North America. First at Helluland, (now probably Baffin Island in Nunsvut, Canada, the second in Markland (Labrador) and finally Vinland. Vinland is probably somewhere near Newfoundland. The site is still being debated.
Sympathy to the family of Margaret Marie Sager, longtime Forest Parker who died in June. Donations to Saint Bernardine’s Church may be made in her memory. Mrs. Sager wasn’t Norwegian but because of Dan Bjornson she became active in the Elvesund organization. She even became president for a time. The name Elvesund is the name of a river in Norway, according to my source.
Norwegians are also celebrating the 100th birthday of Thor Heyerdahl. He is a famous Norwegian ethnographer, adventurer and writer. In 1947 he and some companions launched their famous voyage in a hand built balsa wood raft, the Kon-Tiki. The crew sailed 5,000 miles from Peru to the French Polynesian Islands to prove that contact among ancient peoples over vast distances was a possibility. The expedition lasted 101 days. He authored Kon Tiki Expedition:By Raft Across the South Seas. You can visit the Kon-Tiki website or you could read the book.
Hooray for Jill Wagner and the Boy Scouts of Forest Park. On Sept. 20 these fine young men teamed up with Saint John Church for the purpose of cleaning up the alley just north of the church, between Washington and Bergman Ct. Pastor Leonard Payton organized the event. Matt Brown of Brown Cow fame is the Scout Master who got the scouts psyched up for this patriotic venture. They spent three hours cutting down weeds, trees and hauling away yard waste! Boy Scouts from Troop 107 took part, including Thomas Winnicki, Noah Lyons, Vishnu Nair, Henry Wagner, Miles Smith, Jah Alleye and Wesley Cannon. Thank you, Scouts!
Congratulations to John and Diane Rice on the wedding of their daughter Nicole last weekend to Bill Callaghan!
October birthdays this week: Allen Latall, Jason Fabiani, YoYo Ma, Patrick Michael Olson, Morgan Hosty, Sue Paschke, Todd Cote, Samantha Thiesse, Jean Schmidt, Cody Healy, Marissa Mullen. Happy anniversary to Todd and Denise Marler Katie and Johnny Tricoci, Dan and Rebekah Scollard Karen and Craig Kurey, Karen and Tim Hawkins.
Jackie is a former Chicago and Elmwood Park schoolteacher with an undying love for music, friendly pets and a host of life’s other treasures too numerous to list. She was born on the far southwest side of Chicago in a great neighborhood when it was a great time to be young.