John W. Larson


family history, Danish immigrants, emigration


My Danish grandmother brought with her and retained an old country ambiance. It hung about her person in the formal way she dressed when visiting, in the erect way she sat and stood, and in her thick accent. When I think of her today, I do not visualize her in a specific residence, for she moved frequently, but I remember her distinctive atmosphere. An English visitor to the Danish island of Sj~lland wrote about 1860 that, "There is a refinement about the middle class of Danes in their household arrangements, seldom to be met with in other countries." During my childhood in Saint Paul, Minnesota, in the 1920's and 1930's my Danish grandmother, who had been born in Naestved on the island of Sjcelland in 1864, achieved something like this refinement, although she, I now realize, had only a small income.