January 17th…“TELL A FOND MEMORY OF YOUR MATERNAL GRANDMOTHER”.
The imprint of one life upon another; what a magnificent marvel it is!! My darling maternal Grandmother, Amanda Margaret Rogness Sletten, had a lovingly positive impact on my life without a doubt. The etymology of Grandmother’s first name comes from the Latin language and means “worthy of love”. Margaret, Grandma Sletten’s middle name, garners its meaning from the Greek language and means, “pearl”. How appropriate that this endearing matriarch of our family was “a pearl, worthy of love”.
It was just a matter of time before this lovely Norwegian girl met up with a Norwegian boy named Clarence Sletten. During their wedding vows on Christmas Eve of 1917, I’m sure our demure grandmother’s beauty was a sight for all to behold. From Clarence and Amanda’s marital union came our beloved mother (in 1919) and down the road of life came two brothers (Robert and Delmaine). In 1929, the family enjoyed the arrival of a little sister (Beverly) for the joy of four children in all.
Although diminutive in stature and imbued with with a quiet nature, this dear godly woman of our family legacy barely reached five feet in height. Amazingly though, Grandma Amanda was a giant in spirit among us and carried within her a heart bigger than all outdoors! Ever thoughtful and tender towards all, she was a happy “hugaholic” that could never get enough of her loving “fix” in squeezing the little cherubs of grandchildren that would come to their cottage for visits.
Over her years here on earth, not only did I have my own fond memories of this dear godly woman, but I also heard of how delighted she was to enjoy any opportunity to gather with her much loved sisters and brothers for fellowship times at the occasion of birthdays or just for fun times, as well.
As a young boy, I remember trotting up to the front door of their tiny home in Albert Lea, Minnesota. While standing at their screen door, I could catch the aroma on the air of her Norwegian delicacy called, Lefse. This potato based treat was rolled very thin and then grilled on a flat griddle till it resembled a “tortilla”, of sorts, with its speckled brown grill marks. The most common way for us to enjoy this delectable dessert was to butter it with rich, creamery butter, then sprinkle it with a thick coating of sugar, roll it up and EAT!
Grandma Amanda worked wonders with another cookie-type delight called, “Kringla” (also spelled Kringle……the word actually means, “circle or a ring”). We’d usually flip this yummy upside down and butter it, then it was a matter of taste buds to either use jam or jelly or other ideas to top off the tasty treat that was fun to eat.
Many occasions brought our clan together under the summer shade trees of their home and, as a little guy, I enjoyed gravitating to the lap of my loving Grandma Amanda. After the meal, one time, I noticed that Grandma had some flesh hanging from the underside of the bicep of her arm. I asked her, “Grandma! What’s that?” “Oh THIS?”, she said, and with a giggle began to flap her upper arm from side to side to make her “flab” to start swinging this way and that. Little me was bustin’ out laughin’ from the sight of it all! Pretty soon, my mother and her sister couldn’t resist and joined in the fun with their mother. The sight of three ladies and their upper arm fat swinging underneath looked like upside down “Jello” gone WILD!! Whooodawgies, there was flesh a flyin’ and giggles a poppin’ in the air there on Abbott Street in quaint old Albert Lea. I guess you could’ve called our ladies the “Fine Feminine Fat Flopper Family!!”
What a cherished Grandmother memory for this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.