Lögberg-Heimskringla - 14.06.1991, Blaðsíða 3

Lögberg-Heimskringla - 14.06.1991, Blaðsíða 3
Lögberg-Heimskringla • Föstudagur 14. júní 1991 • 3 Laufey Ólafsdóttir, Hoople, N.D., remembers life wasn’t easy growing up the daughter of a farmer in lceland. Over coffee she says: “From thetímeíwasa títtle girl Iwas always dreaming of this country. Things were supposed to be so rosyhere, you heard that. I remember I was a títtle kid and two or three of us slept in the same bed and I was aiways praying under the bedcovers andaskingtheLord, ‘GetmetoAmerica.’Iwantedtogeta two-story house, that was my prayer, and I wanted to have one baby, a boy, preferably, get married, and I swore thatifl evergot to the position that I would be running something andl had hired help, I swore on the book that Iwasgoing to begood to them. Becauselhave worked some places in Iceland where people have not been niceto me. ” The two-story house is just west of Grand Forks, and she and her son farm 800 acres, and she has tried to be good to the help. By Lmnco Nlxon The hands are the things you notice fírst — big, northern hands bom to hard work and handy at many things. “Oh, those Viking hands,” Laufey Olafsdóttir Aaland says. “I think I have enough bones for two. I used to think my hands were so terrible, I used to sit on them all the time or hide them wherever I could. And then one day I thought, Oh, my God, if the Lord thought this was good enough for the ends of my arms, why in the world would I be sitting on it?” ‘You used to leam those kinds of things growing up in Iceland’ Hers are hands good for swinging a scythe or a rake during haymaking, or for spinning wool or notching a sheep’s ear. You used to learn those kinds of things growing up in Iceland. Her fa- ther rented a farm called Álftarhóll in Austur Landeyjar. It was a little way inland from Iceland’s south coast. “He was not a big farmer, he was a small farmer. We had horses and cows and sheep,” Laufey says. “The farming in Iceland is altogether different, there’s just the stock farming. There isn’t any grain farming anywhere.” This is a long time ago that she is remembering. She doesn’t say exactly when. She doesn’t want to tell her age. “As Iong as people think you are older than they, you get respect,” she says. “Straight south of where I was born and raised are the little islands, Vestman Islands, Vestmannaeyjar,” she says. “That’s where my dad used to go in the middle of the winter. A lot of farmers would go there in January and February to work until the spring work started at home. They worked in the físhing. There’s a fishing industry there. “He went there when I was 14 years old, and I took the farming over for him. He had intentions of being back before the sheep came in. He fell off a truck and got injured very badly, he was in a hospital for many months. Donations to Lögberg-Heimskringla Inc. w Helga Cochrane, Gimli, MB........$10. Mrs. Margret A. Leggett, Kipling, SK...................$10. Tom Bjamason, Port Hope, Ont.....$50. Eyfi 0. Walterson, Beausejour, MB .$50. Niels Bjamason, Winnipeg, MB.....$10. Theodore M. Williams, Riverton, MB..................$20. Mrs. Gloria Meadows, Winnipeg, MB................$17.90 Robert G. Goodman, Winnipeg, MB..................$10. Mr. & Mrs. Charette, Guelph, Ont ..$10. ffl loving memory of my parents, Ofeigur & Una (Siugurðardóttir) Gunnlaugson of Wynyard, SK. from Sarah Merkley, Forestburg, AB ...$50. Maurice Oleson, St. John’s, Newfoundland...$17.90 Mr. & Mrs. Paulson, Lundar, MB ....$10. eyau “That’s how it came about, when the sheep came in, lambing, that I had to take care of the lambs. “There were less than a hundred sheep. Lambing wasn’t so bad until it came time to mark the ears on the lambs. “There were three different marks that we had on the ears. There was one on the right ear and two on the left, and I had to start with that one little slit on the left ear. Just so you knew who owned the sheep. “Later in the spring when we started taking the wool off the sheep, which was not until in June, I think, then you catch the lambs again and do the final marking. “It seemed simple enough to make one mark, but it wasn’t so easy. “It’s funny, I’m kind of scared of blood,” Laufey says. “It was scary the Joirt ... Icelandicr^® Canadian Frón I Send membership fee of $25.00 single or $35.00 family (includes membership in the Scandinavian Centre) to: lcelandic Canadian Frón 764 Erin St., Winnipeg, MB R3G 2W4 Telephone: 774-8047 first time I had to take a knife along and cut the ears on the lambs. I had no problem running them down because they were pretty fresh. “I think I tore a little bit the ear of the first one I did. I was going to do it so gently, so I wouldn’t hurt the lamb, and I was doing it wrong. But then I quickly leamed how to do it. I was to snap it off real fast.” Her two older brothers were work- ing in the Westman Islands that year, too. The oldest of them came home about May 9, to help with the spring work. “By then I think all the sheep had come in, all the lambs were bom and I had plowed up all the vegetable garden by hand — it was all done by hand, we had no other equipment to do it—and probably was a long way planting po- tatoes. It was potatoes and rutabagas usually that we had. Then, of course, we had to fertilize the area where we would do the main haying for the cows, the best haying area. That I had been doing, too, before my brother came.” Her father stayed in the hospital in Vestmannaeyjar until into the sum- mer, but the farm managed without him. There were four brothers and eight sisters, and they knew how to work. “ We all grew up kind of fast, I think, ” Laufey says. “There was always some- body coming and asking my dad or mom, ‘Can you lend me this one or lend me that one to work?’ We went all over doing gardening, doing housecleaning, working where there was a baby to be born. We never got any money. We got the enjoyment of doing it. “My mother always used to say to all ofus, ‘Rememberwhen youstartwork- ing for other people, you work as hard as if you were doing it for yourself, or a Everyone worked hard to live little better. A little better,’ she would say.” It was good advice. Laufey remem- bered it when she started working dif- ferent jobs later on in the town of Selfoss. She worked once for a dressmaker named Magdalena. “A friend of mine had seen that she needed somebody to do some sewing, just for the springtime. She said, ‘You go to her and tell her I sent you.’ “I remember I was so shy I could hardly look up. I went there and I told her I had seen that she needed some- one to do sewing. She was very stem. I was scared to death of her. “And she said, ‘Have you learned any sewing?’ “I said, ‘No.’ “ ‘Oh, that won’t work then.’ “And I said, ‘Well, I would like to try anyway.’ “ ‘Oh, it’s no use.’ “And I said, ‘Can’t I just try? I’ll work two weeks, and I won’t charge anything if it doesn’t work out.’ “ But it did work out. Laufey learned quickly, and she and Magdalena be- came fast friends, and one day Magdalena told her something. She had a way of reading what was coming from the grounds in the bottom of a coffee cup. “I would drink the coffee, and then you’d kind of shake it all out and tum it upside down and let it dry, tum it on the saucer. And then she would take it when it was dry and look in it, and this is what she was telling me. I was in my twenties, anyway, twenty-something. “She said, ‘You know, Laufey, I see you going to another country, and it looks like you’re just not going to come back again. I see you go, but you’re not going to come back to live in Iceland. You’re going to come to visit, butyou’re not going to come back.’ “And I said, ‘Magdalena, you’re crazy. That is just a stupid thing to say to me. You know I would never leave my country. You know how loyal I am. You know that, Magdalana.’ “ She smiles. “My country was so important to me. I knew I would never leave my mother country.” No, of course not. But that’s another story. Courtesy of Grand Forks Herald



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