Saturday, December 6, 2014

Remembering Christmases Past

When I think back to Christmases of my childhood, there is none that stands out more than the others -  Our Christmas celebrations were family oriented and traditional, yet very special.
Christmas celebrations were centered around church, home, community and school.  (yes, school!)

We got our Christmas tree right in Dalton at Rorvig's Store.  It was trimmed with
big colored lights, glass balls and tinsel.    I remember a lighted angel on the top of
the tree which I thought was beautiful.  I also remember a "tin foil" star on the
top on at least one occasion.

I remember going upstairs on Christmas Eve and looking out the east window,
hoping to see the star that the wisemen followed.  And when I saw a star that
I deemed bright enough to be the star, Christmas had arrived.

When I was very young, I remember going to my Grandma's for Christmas Eve.
The house was bustling with activity as the women prepared the meal.  There was not room for everyone to sit at the table, so one group would eat their meal at the table, and when they were done, another group would eat.   I am not sure how many meal rotations there were!

I remember going home from grandma's and it was late (or seemed late to me).
Because I thought it must be close to midnight, whenever I hear the song, 
"It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" I am reminded of my grandma.
When we got home,  we would open our gifts.
Before opening our gifts, we would say our "pieces" (recitations) from the Sunday School Christmas program.     Sometimes we would do a little program - we did not forget the meaning of Christmas.
I remember after all the presents had been opened, Dad would go down the basement
and bring a big box of red Delicious apples up to share.  

I remember our Sunday School Christmas programs.  There were no microphones, and 
we were told to speak LOUDLY when we said our recitations.
We sang "Jeg er sa Glad" nearly every year.    The teachers reminded us how much
the older people would like to hear us sing one verse in Norwegian.
I remember getting a little cup with the table prayer from my teacher (still have that cup).
I remember feeling happy and relieved that the program was over and we all did so well, 
according to our teachers.

I remember celebrating Christmas in  school - a public school.
We sang Christmas songs, exchanged Christmas gifts
and even had a Christmas program. 
Here we not only sang "Jingle Bells" but we often closed the program
with "Silent Night"

I remember Santa Claus Day in Dalton, but I don't remember every believing
there was a Santa Claus.    We children enjoyed waiting for him to
arrive and give us little brown paper bags with peanuts, hard candy,
and one chocolate cream-filled mound.   There was a free movie shown in
the town hall for the children.

How great to have these Christmas memories!   Those days were indeed simpler,
and I think that it is not only because we were young.
As I started writing this - and it got way longer than I thought it would - I started
remembering many more things about Christmases past.
I hope we are making good memories for our family today, too.
Merry Christmas!
Uncle Carl, Aunt Palma, Esther, Grandma

Dodie, Me, Jim

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Who Said There was Nothing to do in Dalton??

Dalton has a population of probably 250 or so, but since the restoration of the
Dalton Opera House, we have been enjoying many fun events (including
my daughter's wedding reception, but that's another post on this blog!)

Last week, Kai Robert Johanssen from Sarpsborg, Norway
presented a concert.   He has visited Dalton yearly for
the past 11 years and says he would like to come back!
He is a great trumpet player!!

(He brought with him a group from a special school
in Norway, but the pictures I took were not clear,
either due to the lighting or the photographer.)

Cassie & the Bobs entertained to a sold out crowd
this afternoon.   The concert featured the music
of Patsy Cline.    Cassie was a very authentic-sounding
Patsy Cline, much to the delight of the concert-goers.

So glad the Dalton Opera House is back in running order!!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Vintage wedding

The ceremony was held in the Bountiful Harvest Church that
was decorated with crocheted bells and tulle.

The reception was at the DaltonOpera House

Sealed with a kiss

There was even a vintage car waiting for them after the ceremony!
Amy's cousin Glen drove them from the church to the reception.

Drew & Dylan were ring bearers - here they were inside the 
church while the others were outside taking pictures.
Hope to add more pictures of the entire wedding party when I get them.

The flowers on the altar

A wedding dance to music of the big band era

Nick & Amy

Posing by a steam engine!

The "naked wedding cake" - It was delicious!
It was decorated with fruit and real flowers.

Saturday, May 31, 2014


As I sat looking at Pansy faces,
I imagined they were dressed in fancy laces.
Some were stretching out so tall
as if they were ready to go to the ball.
One wore silk and one wore satin,
One spoke French and one spoke Latin;
and I was almost in a trance
when the breezes made them dance.

That little poem was written by me when I was in grade school.  I was maybe
10 or 11 years old.    I probably would not have even remembered it if my
mom hadn't had it framed with a picture of pansies.
Mom loved pansies, so when I plant them, they remind me of her.
I chose these at the greenhouse because of their vivid, contrasting colors.
I just hope that they will thrive for me - would love to put them in those tiny 
vases over the summer months.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Syttende Mai

Celebrating Syttende Mai at my great-great uncle's farm
in Canada in 1913.

Yesterday, we celebrate Syttende Mai in Dalton it was the 200th anniversary
of the Norwegian constitution.    There was a marching band, this Viking ship, and
people of Norwegian heritage, carrying Norwegian flags that all 
made the walk through downtown Dalton.

This wedding dress is from the Vang Valdres area in Norway.
My Dahlager ancestors came from Vang Valdres.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Dear Grandma & Grandpa

(Today I was thinking of all the changes that have taken place since their deaths, and so I thought, 'what would I tell them, if I could?' -   So here goes:

Dear Grandma & Grandpa,

     I am the youngest daughter of your youngest son.  I was born many years after you left this world.   Things have changed around here, that's for sure! 

     Grandpa, the house you built in Minneapolis has been torn down!  The area is now industrial, and any homes that you might remember are long gone.    The house on the farm in Silver Creek is gone, too.    The house in St. Olaf Township is gone...not only the house, but all the buildings on the farm site!    Your home in Fergus Falls does still stand, though it does look a little different today.'
     The church in Minneapolis where you both sang in the choir is still standing, 
and Kvam Church still stands, looking much the same as when you were here.  
Many of your descendants are members of Kvam today.

    I think you would still recognize Dalton - to be sure, there have been many changes, but the general layout remains the same.   The depot is gone, the train tracks have been removed, 
but you could still eat in the cafe and buy groceries in the same place you did in the 1920's.

    But these changes are nothing compared to the changes we have seen in our world!   
You never got to watch television; and the world of computers would most likely be mind-boggling to you!  Why, we have even had a man on the moon!

    Medicine has changed, too.    
If you were here today, chances are you would live longer than in your 70's.
Many diseases have become rare due to vaccinations
and many have become treatable that were not in your day.

    Grandma, you wouldn't believe that today, women wear pants!  
They wear shorts, and short, short skirts - in public!  Yes, even in church!    
And you would likely be appalled at the tattoos!   Even women get them!  

    I think you both would be very unhappy with the changes in morality and spirituality.
God was the center of your home.
This is not true for many families today and it is reflected in so many ways.

Grandpa & Grandma, you would probably be very happy (and proud) of your
descendants (well at least most of them!). 
They have carried on your love of music, love of working with wood, 
your family heritage and yes, even your stubborn-ness!   
God is the center of many of your descendants' lives.
We get along well as a family - and you would be glad to know
that last summer we met with the relatives from Verdal, Norway -
the very place you grew up, Grandpa!

Yes, there have been many changes - too many to tell you,
but so many things remain constant as well.

Sure would have been nice to know you!

Pictured below are the children of my grandparents.
Back:  Ben, George, Joseph, Ralph
Front:  Rachel, Anna


Tuesday, January 21, 2014


When I was working on my family history some time ago,
one of my great-grandpa's brothers was sort of a mystery.
His name was Trond Dahlager.
I knew he lived in Worth County, Iowa and
for a time, two of his children were living with
my great-grandparents.
I traced him as far as Brookings, South Dakota
and it ended there.

Now, thanks to a tip from another relative, I have
learned that Trond and his second wife had more
little Dahlagers.  [I assume his first wife died young.]

One of his children with his second wife was Jules Dahlager.

So of course I googled "Jules Dahlager"

I learned he was a painter in Alaska, and he was
called "one of the most beloved painters of Alaska."

I saw pictures of his wonderful paintings, and most of them
were thousands of dollars, so any thought of possibly buying
one of his paintings was definitely not in my budget.

So on to e-bay....there, I found a postcard with his painting on it!
And it was at a price I could afford.
So now I have a "painting" from my famous cousin.

By the way, there are a lot of talented artists in the
Dahlager family, so while it is not surprising to find another
artist in the family, to find a "famous painter" was just plain special.