Tuesday 6 September 2016

Norwegian Immigrants Lisa & Laura Tollessen

"Lisa celebrated her eighth birthday on the boat ride.  After their mother's death in 1929, they returned with their father in Norway, lived there for five years and returned in 1935."


Arendal, Norway postcard circa 1920s courtesy https://www.unc.edu/~rowlett/lighthouse/nors1.htm

Lisa and Laura Tollessen were born and raised in Norway, two of eleven children born to Mrs. Tollessen.  Sadly only four survived.  Their mother was a dark haired beauty with velvety brown eyes.  She was "very good natured" and "a lot of fun".  Their father, on the other hand, was very strict.  He would spend two years on the sea with the merchant seamen as a chief engineer.  

Lisa remembers one Christmas when she found a doll hanging from the Christmas tree given to her by her grandfather.  He was sad when he found out the family was planning to immigrate to America.  They arrived in New York in 1925.  They were met by their cousins who had a big bunch of bananas for them, something they had never seen in Norway.  

They found an apartment in Brooklyn and their father found a job as a dock builder.  Laura says that once they started school, they learned English quickly, despite the fact that the spoke Norwegian at home.  Their mother, however, did not learn English.  

Only four years after immigrating, their mother passed away.  In 1930, the family returned to Norway and the girls lived with their grandparents.  They enrolled again in school over there.  Five years later, they returned to America with their father, this time to stay.  

Lisa went on to marry and have five wonderful children  "They're my life.  That's what I live for," she explained.  Laura agreed.

Brooklyn apartments circa 1920s courtesy http://www.gettyimages.ca/.

No comments:

Post a Comment