Sunday, May 17, 2009

Chicago: Day Eleven

This weekend we (Norwegian Americans) celebrate the 17th of May or Constitution Day. I read that there was a concert at Minnekirken, which is the only Norwegian-speaking church left in Chicago. It is the only one in a 400 mile radius. So I planned on attending.

After work I took the CTA out to my old neighborhood. I walked past my house, it looked very different. I went past my grammar school, it actually looked bigger than I remembered. I went to St. Philomena church. It was closed. I went past where I worked for five years, sold. I went to where the restaurant my mom and I use to go to, gone. I went to my all time favorite Chinese restaurant, gone. The bowling alley, American Decal factory, Bresler’s Ice cream factory, all gone.

I did however find a pizza parlor and had a slice of Italian sausage, thin crust. It was great, just as I remembered it!

Then I went to Minnekirken. The last time I spent any time there was in 1976 when the King of Norway visited the church. The church was all decked out for Syttende Mai or 17th May. All of the pews had Norwegian flags. The women were in traditional dress. The music was great.

The church is this medium size Nordic church at Logan Square circle. The alter looks like a white castle. The stain galss windows are heavy. There are Norwegian paintings all over. I love this place.

Our speakers included Kari Diesen-Dahl, board president, Rev. Wayne Miller,, Bishop of the Metropolitan Chicago Synod, E.L.C.A. and pastor John Andeasen. However, I was most excited about the person who gave the 17th Mai address, Olav T. Lanke. He is the vice president of the Lagting. He is the Norwegian speaker of the house! I got to met him afterwards and that was great.

After the concert there was a reception. We had open face sandwiches, coffee cake and beutiful cakes. I sat with a number of people talking about being Norwegian in America.

Finally I walked down Fullerton avenue waiting for a bus. I passed a number of Botanicas. These are shops that sell spices, herbs and statuary for the worship of Santeria. I was curious but tired and simply looked in the window. I got home tired but boy, did I ever have a good day!

Norway Folk Dance

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