Sunday, September 11, 2011

Anna Hornnes Visits Norway 1907/1908, part 1

Evje Railway Station and Train, 1901
[photo courtesy of Alf Georg Kjetså]

Anna Hornnes made plans to return home in 1907/1908 for a visit as she had promised when she left Norway five years earlier. The narrow gauge railway train shown here at the Evje Station in 1901 was at that time running from Kristiansand in the south to Byglandsfjord north of Evje og Hornnes a distance of about 50 miles. Anna rode this train from Evje to Kristiansand when she left and she rode it back up the valley on her return.

“April 27th 1907. I had learned to love America so well, I just didn’t want to go, but I had promised, so off I went. The big Ocean Liner slowly gliding farther and ever farther from the dock, til the people finally looked like little specks, only then did we think of looking for our staterooms. I had a real nice girl, also born in Norway going back on a visit, for my roommate. Soon we became real good friends, and walked endless miles around the deck. Her home was way up North as mine was just as far to the South.

“May 8th 1907. We stayed in England for a few days, then from Hull we took a nice boat for Kristiansand, Norway. We had one grand crossing the North Atlantic was like a millpond, we had such a good time, made friends right and left, danced and flirted to our hearts content. On the morning of May 13th we sailed in to the beautiful harbor of Kristiansands fjorden (bay). It was 3:30 a.m. and we were all on deck and, Oh, such a morning, the sun was just peeping up from the Eastern snow capped hilltops. I never will forget my first sight of home after five years absence. It is such a beautiful town, set like a jewel on the shores of an arm of the Atlantic. The birds were nearly splitting their slender throats in welcoming me home. A great many wonderful trees, and in a center of a park stands an old wonderful church, this I passed on my way to the Hotel in a cute taxi, drawn by two horses. I was nearly sure someone would be at the family hotel, watching for me. After I got settled, washed and changed my clothes I had a light breakfast, at 8:30 I started to find out if anyone was in town. We were a little late from England, but they knew I’d get in soon, so I was sure to find someone. I walked into the big public dining room, and lo and behold, there sitting with her back to me, and having her breakfast with a friend sat my mother. She had been in town three days waiting for me. I stepped up to her and put my arm around her and said “God morgen mor”(good morning mother). She had a hard time for a minute in saying anything, but she was blessed with a quick wit and a load of a sense of humor. So we both had a good laugh and saved our faces. It was good to see her again. She was 65 years of age and looked 50. Small and very active, not too fat, good looking with reddish brown hair, natural curly with a little white in it.

Anna’s mother, Anne Gundersdatter Uleberg, ca 1907

“We spent the day shopping and getting my two trunks on the train. We left for my sister’s home 36 miles up the valley, and such a cute train. It seems so funny after the big long trains in Boston and New York and other big states, to get on the little Seterdals Bunin. We soon were on our way and it is a most wonderful naturally beautiful valley from Kr.sand.S to as far as the train goes 40 or 50 miles up to the very foot of high mountains. A river runs alongside the railway, right a long, and it makes a picture, whenever you look out of the windows."

End of part 1

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