Lögberg-Heimskringla - 13.02.2004, Blaðsíða 8

Lögberg-Heimskringla - 13.02.2004, Blaðsíða 8
page 8 • Lögberg-Heimskring a» 13February 2004 HlSTORY • SAGA Heimkoma - Coming Home ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF MARGARET H. (JONASSON) HOLMES Margaret H. (Jonasson) Holmes Stittsville, ON There's no place like home", said Dorothy, in The Wizard of Oz. I'mremind- ed of these words every time I arrive in Winnipeg and walk outside the airport. I breathe in the air and look up at a clear blue sky before making my way across the road to pick up a rental car. most of all we enjoy renewing old memories while exploring the city. Even with many changes over the years it somehow remains the same. Last June our main objec- tive was a joiirney to Churchbridge, SK where our Mother was born. She lived there with her family for the first twenty-two years of her life. I'm sure she must have always had the same feeling about her hometown as I do for Winnipeg. We used to visit mamma 's family in Churchbridge for two weeks every summer, Concordia Church at its present site When I first started 'com- ing home,' after an absence of about twenty-one years, I remember feeling it was like putting on an old pair of gloves. They were warm and comfortable, they fit perfectly and I felt good wearing them. Here I was with the same feel- ing last June after my flight from Ottawa. My sister, Connie, was arriving the next day from San Diego. We have made this trip for many years now. She from the west and me from the east. We meet to visit family and friends but going from one farm to anoth- er. Each one was different with new adventures but always with the most wonder- ful meals prepared using mainly farm products. Not many items from the town grocery store found there way into these homes. As children, we had a lot of fun helping our cousins with farm chores and just spending time together. To mamma it was coming home to be with her family who always received us with a warm sense of belonging. We became part of the community even though we were city folk. This included attending choir prac- tice and services in Concordia Lutheran Church as well as other social functions held in the Concordia Hall. The church was located near the Lögberg district of Churchbridge, northwest of town, with the hall directly across the road. The first Icelandic settlers arrived in the Churchbridge area in 1885. This settlement was called the Þingvalla dis- trict and was located to the east of town. Here many Icelandic pioneers built their homesteads and by 1888 a Lutheran congregation was established. As the influx of Icelanders grew in Þingvalla many families moved further north to the district which became known as Lögberg. This is where mamma's family settled in 1904. This same year the Concordia Lutheran Church was built in the area which was now called Vesturbyggd by the Icelanders but became known as the Concordia district. mamma was baptized in the church following her birth in 1905. All her family were lifelong members of this Icelandic congregation from the time of its formation in 1901. The church site chosen was five miles north of Churchbridge and beside what is now #8 highway. A ceme- tery was located next to the church as well as a barn which was built later. In 1915 the Concordia Community Hall was built across the road allowance from the church. Residents of the three Icelandic districts; Þingvalla, Concordia and Lógberg-Calder, generously gave free labour and financial donations towards this endeavour. A cairn was erect- ed in 1935 near the hall in honour and in memory of the pioneers of these districts. It was unveiled at the time of the Golden Jubilee Celebration to commemorate the founding of the Icelandic colony in 1885. The Concordia Church and Hall was the centre of the Icelandic community's social life. Dances and concerts were held in the hall as well as plays in both lcelandic and English. The Icelandic Celebration, íslendinga- dagurin became an annual |tCOD.KIi< The Cairn plaque event, held on 17 June, with toasts given to Iceland, Canada and the Icelandic pio- neer setflers. There would be a full day of speeches, Icelandic songs rendered by the Concordia Church Choir and many sports events. The fes- tivities would end with a dance in the hall and a hearty lunch prepared by the dis- tricts' women in the hall's attached kitchen. Another annual event was cemetery was spruced up as well with grass cutting, weed- ing, planting saplings and some repairs if needed. As the years passed, progress, with change and new opportunities took its toll and the population drifted away from the Concordia dis- trict. Living patterns changed with better roads, paved high- ways and the closing of small schools. Many events, which were part of the social life, Mothers' headstone with flowers planted the 'cleaning bee' held to give the church and hall a thorough scrub and polish. This was an all day affair and was also regarded as a picnic. The shifted to Churchbridge. Eventually the barn and the hall were sold. Continued on next page <m ir uiw fiin* im mv wmw, hri u i%mw Hwvnu-m <i* nni \ nn wwnnh

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