Sons of Norway
February 2006

Edvard Grieg Lodge 657 District 5
Cincinnati-Dayton, Ohio, and Northern Kentucky
The First Lodge in Ohio
Sons, Daughters, and Friends of Norway
Per Flem, Editor


President’s Message
Greetings Friends,

Hope the New Year finds you healthy and happy.

We had a wonderful time at Jule Fest. This was the first ever that our Lodge has celebrated this holiday in such a splendid manner. It was a warm occasion of fun, food and family. I deeply appreciate how our members worked so hard to prepare such flavorful food, tasty deserts and beautiful decorations. It was that largest attended Lodge meeting we have ever had. Did you see all of the children? We have never had that many children at a Lodge event, ever. We can have a great Lodge if we stay positive and build on this enthusiasm!

There is a full slate of activities being planned for 2006. Please check our webpage regularly in order to stay up with our social events. I have enlisted several key members to help me in the planning for future events in 2006.

Many have suggested that we continue having Lodge meetings with a Norwegian flavor, but meetings where our children and grandchildren feel included and welcome. We want to encourage variety in our Lodge meetings, so, we are going to also plan to have at least one Lodge meeting where a formal dinner will be served.

Linda Burge has been asked to head up a committee to design a “festival” dress for those ladies of the Lodge who share this interest. We believe this could be a great opportunity to build upon the enthusiasm and interest we have witnessed as a result of our Jule Fest. I personally thank many you for your positive feedback and interest with this project.

For those who haven’t had enough snow to shovel, Oslo had about 32” a few weekends ago, promising to keep the skiers happy for a little while. Photo from Aftenposten, by Tor G. Stenersen.

Our next big event is Syttende Mai (Seventeenth of May). This year we have been invited into the home of Kari Poe. She is always a most gracious hostess, full of kindness and love. Thank you, Kari, for once again extending such a warm velkommen to the Lodge and sharing your beautiful home and family with us.

Let me close this portion of the newsletter by telling you a little of the background of Syttende Mai: In 1814, the Kingdom of Norway broke from Denmark after 400 long years of being under Danish control. On May 17 of this year, a constitution was established by the Kingdom of Norway at the Constituent Assembly at Eidsvold, and although Norway was part of the Kingdom of Sweden until 1905, Norway has chosen the Seventeenth of May (Syttende Mai) as its day of liberation and celebration.This day is


celebrated in Norway with parades of dressed-up children and adults carrying flags and singing. Some predominantly Norwegian cities in America also choose to celebrate Syttende Mai. Folk dancing and music, ethnic clothing (festival dresses?), and arts and crafts are often apart of these American celebrations.

Please remember to fly your Norwegian flag on February 21st, King Harald’s birthday.

Beste Hilsen,

Bunad and Festival Dress Interest Group Forming!

Through the years, many members have expressed much interest in Norwegian Bunads.

A real Bunad is a fantastic and revered treasure. Young women typically get their first Bunad at the time of Confirmation. Most are sewn by mothers and grandmothers, through the years a woman adds other special items to her Bunad. These would include silver used in chains, belt decorations, button-type closures and neck pins.

The specific style of a woman (or man's) Bunad is determined from the district they live in, or an area their ancestors came from.

The traditional black skirt, white apron and red vest Bunad is normally referred to as the National Bunad.

To see an excellent presentation of authentic Bunads, go to: click on the English icon, then proceed to click on the area(s) your ancestors came from. It truly is a wonderfully done site.Many of you may have seen Kari Poe in her beautiful Bunad --- there were many others to be seen there, too!

For most in our lodge membership, the cost and procedure of obtaining a real bunad is nearly prohibitive. That is why here as well as Norway there has been interest in the “festival dress” instead.

We will also explore alternatives available to create Festival Costume dresses. We have patterns available and there are possible grant monies available from the Sons of Norway home office.

If you are interested in joining in an interest group exploring the history and traditions of Bunads please contact Linda Burge.

Red’s Opening Day Parade

We may have lost our ride! Bob and Diane Person are considering selling the “Viking Truck”, so we are looking for suggestions in how we might participate in the parade this year. Call Esther with any ideas.

Fund Raising

The Julefest was a fantastic event, in so many ways. It has proven to be an expensive investment in that we needed to buy “stuff” such as coffee urns, coffee makers, candle stick holders, and other party supplies. The $5.00 fee was probably too low considering the value, but when we started we wanted to get as many members there as possible to establish a tradition. Obviously that worked.

Now we need to replenish our funds, and ask for suggestions in that regard. Call Carol Luiso with your ideas.

We will have a White Elephant night at Glenn and Susie Mikaloff’s in April, I suggest you attend not only because it is so much fun, but also because we need your financial support. Last year it was the funniest event we had. Glenn does a fabulous job as auctioneer, and Susie is a great hostess, in a beautiful home. Bring some money.

Another picture from Aftenposten by Tor G. Stenersen.

Membership News

We have several new members to welcome into our lodge.

First, Carolyn Hahn, fiancé of our late beloved Leif Torkelsen, joined us in December. Carolyn is a familiar face as she came to many of our meetings with Leif. We look forward to her involvement in our lodge.

We welcome Roald Storetvedt into the lodge. He joined at our January lodge meeting. Roald is the son-in-law of Leif. We trust we will see Roald and his wife Aida at our lodge meetings. Roald was born in Norway we will look to him as a resource for our Norwegian cultural questions.

Our third new member is Carol Mostad. She was excited to find our website. Her connection with Norway is on her father’s side. She mentioned that she grew up with many Norwegian relatives. Her interest now is Starfield Belgians. Carol can tell us more about the that breed of dog when she attends a lodge meeting.

Remember that you can give the gift of membership in Sons of Norway, it is a simple process. If you have a family member that you think would enjoy membership in , call the 800 number.

Esther Charlton, Membership Secretary


As you can see below, there are two positions open for officers. Anyone interested in becoming more active in the lodge should consider this opportunity to serve and enjoy the benefits of working with a talented group of Norwegian-Americans. Contact Karl Flem if you wish to become more involved.

Call for cookies

Kaleb Flem is planning to make his annual expedition to Barnebirkie in Hayward Wisconsin
February 23d. For 20 years this 51 kilometer cross country ski event starts in Cable and ends in Hayward, where a special young person event takes place. About 9,000 skiers are expected to attend, so that means a lot of cookies are needed. Please put your cookies in a sealed plastic container with our lodge name on top.


While it might seem early, it shouldn’t be surprising that the group that put together Julefest is already planning on the next one, scheduled for December 9th. They request any suggestions or criticisms that might make the next event even better. Please direct comments to:



Luke Sutphin{1}, Nancy Johnson{2}, Jan Garnaes-Johnson[6], Patsy Bannick[6],Ryan Soderberg[14], Sylvia Casas[15], Linda Burge[17], Jo Marie Karam[20], Mark Kodobud[20],Nicholas Karam[25], Carol Mostad[27].

Robert Charlton[11], Robert Hippert[13], Karl Flem[14], Larry Bannick[17], Bryan Fox[19], Alene Rice[23], Alex Crocker-Lakness[24].

Sonja Kinney[1], Katherine Sanders[2], Sarah Karam[17], Robert Price,Jr.[18],Gretta Hahn[22}, Donna Kent[25], Robert Price,Sr.[26], Walter Varland[27], Robert Kyvik[27].

Picture of Henrik Ibsen around 1900.
Picture from Aftenposten by Carl Stormer.


Celebrating the genius of Henrik Ibsen, more than 500 events are scheduled in Norway, and abroad during 2006. In the January issue of Viking magazine there is a detailed description of some events, including a presentation of Hedda Gabler by The University of Cincinnati College’s Conservatory of Music, April 27-29th.

Viking magazine listed a telephone number: 513-556-6638.

Esther is organizing a group experience for Thursday, April 27.

While the tickets are free, they are limited so call or email Esther (923-3798) soon.

Nina Downs

Hello fellow Sons of Norway members!

It gives me great pleasure to have been given the opportunity to serve as your next Social Director. I wanted to take a few minutes to tell you about myself, my relations in Norway, my plans and/or ideas for future meetings and ask for your feedback.

I am a second generation Norwegian. My mother, Annichen Hassel Hauge Thomason, was born in March of 1945 in Oslo. My father, Thomas Thomason, was born in 1939 and raised in southern Kentucky. He had a career in the Army and was serving in Germany when my parents met and married in 1965.

Nina and Bob Downsat the Ullevaal Soccer Stadium 2004

I was born in Stuttgart, Germany, my brother was born in Brussels, Belgium and my sister was born in Tehran, Iran. Yes, we are an international family! My father retired from the service in 1980 and we moved to Louisville, Ky to be closer to his family. I graduated from high school in 1983 and then attended the University of Kentucky for 2 years, returning again in the late 1990's and finally graduating in 2001 with a BS in Dietetics.

In early 2003 I met my husband, Bob Downs, and moved to Cincinnati. He is a soccer coach/trainer. We were married in November 2003 in Jacksonville, Fl where Bob is from. Our son, William Benjamin, was born in August 2005, on the 100 year birthday of my grandfather, William Hauge! We love to travel and spend a lot of time visiting friends and family everywhere as well as traveling for soccer tournaments. I am currently a stay at home mom, a job which makes me greatly appreciate my mother, who passed away in 2002.

I grew up going to Norway every summer, generally for almost 3 months. We stayed some time in Oslo and did a little traveling around, but most of the time we spent at our summer cabin in the south of Norway by a town called Kragero. My family owns an island called Aero. It is not very big, there are only 4 cabins total on the island. Our cabin has no running water and no electricity. It is my favorite place in the world and pure heaven on

earth! We spend our days swimming, fishing, hiking, and sunbathing. I attended the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, and have been back to Norway almost every summer since 1998. My husband and I went for Christmas and New Years after our wedding for a honeymoon and, Benjamin and I went to Norway for 5 weeks last summer. I hope to keep going at least every other year until I can no longer travel.

I am very close to my family in Norway. I have 2 aunts and uncles and 6 cousins. They live everywhere from Gjovik, Raufoss and Oslo to Bergen. My grandparents were wonderful people and my biggest role models in life. My grandfather passed away in 1986 and my grandmother just passed away in 2005 at the age of 93. She has family trees for both sides of her family tracing back to the mid 1600's. Her uncle, Odd Hassel (born May 17, 1897-died 1981) was given the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1969. I joined the Sons of Norway because it is important to me that I keep in touch with my Norwegian heritage and that my son be influenced.

Nina and Benjamin visiting Kragero

As Social Director I would very much like to see more people attending our monthly meetings. I would like to have meetings where we learn more about each other and our connection to Norway.

Our March meeting will be a “Show and Tell” meeting. You bring an item, a picture, a letter, a memory, or an idea that you love about Norway and share it with everyone. Can’t wait to want to learn how to do rosemaling and wood carving. We are planning to start a sewing/knitting/craft circle and hope that many of you will join us.

Lastly, but most importantly, I would like to hear some feedback from you! What kind of meeting would you like to attend? Do you prefer to meet in restaurants or in someone’s home? Would you like to host a meeting or have a suggestion for a place to have one? What time and day is best for you to attend a meeting? Please e-mail, call or write me with your thoughts and ideas!

A young skier, Sophie Winetrbourne, age 7 near a pond
called Ovreseterjera, in the hills around Oslo.
Photo from Aftenposten, by Tor G. Stenersen.

(From Sons of Norway)

Easter is April 16th this year. Easter is just as big as Christmas in Norway, celebrated all week with parties, family and mountain vacations.

Folk traditions abound:

If there is frost the night before Easter, and the following Sunday night, there will be a long frost to come (sounds like Ground Hogs day to me). If it rains on Easter (likely in Bergen I’m told) the summer will be bad. Other traditions tell that it is a good idea to set out a broom on your stoop on Maundy Thursday. People did this because they believed that witches flew to Bloksberg that night, and if they did not leave out the broom, the witch would take a horse, goat or cow instead.
Today, Norwegians like to go up the mountain to enjoy sun, and snow. This may be related to a tradition of looking at the sun (sunrise service) from a mountain top Easter morning. People believed that the sun danced with joy because Jesus was resurrected. Others like to get in the last bit of snow sports for the season.

February Meeting

This month's meeting will be at the Golden Corral on Saturday, February 18th at 4:00PM. The speaker will be Dorthe Helene Baardseth a Norwegian AuPair in this country for a year.

Dorthe has been to a few of our meetings and is a delight to hear regarding her insights of American versus Norwegian culture, and her slight accent. Those of us who grew up in homes listening to Norwegian accents will have fond flashbacks I’m sure.

The Golden Corral is at 5325 Ridge Road, off 71.

RSVP to Nina Downs @561-1759 or Esther @ 923-3798

Lodge Officers and Chairpersons:
Karl Flem
9436 Morrow-Woodson Rd.
Pleasant Plain, OH 45162
Nelda Chandler
11409 Geneva Rd.
Forest Park, OH 45440
Carol Stone
224 Countryside Dr.
Lebanon, Ohio 45036
513-228-0245 513-683-3631
Carol Luiso
1006 Paxton Lake Dr.
Loveland, OH 45140
Social Chairman
Nina T. Downs
1478 Montegor Dr.
Cincinnati, OH 45230
Cultural Co-Chairs
Sandy Nelson
Diane Person
Raffle Chairman
Susie Mikaloff
7472 Stone Ridge Dr
Springboro, Oh 45066
Membership and Counselor
Esther Charlton
3798 Susanna Dr.
Cincinnati, OH 45254
Newsletter Editor
Per Flem
4269 Berryhill Ln.
Blue Ash, OH 45242
Lois Evensen
PO Box 9450
Cincinnati, OH 45209
Foundation Chairman
Donna Marstrander
5527 Woodvalley Ct.
Mason, Ohio 45040-2622
Robert Kyvik
2555 Goodfield Pt.
Dayton, Oh 45458

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