Anno Domini 2014 is a part of human history now, also for us members of our local Chapter.In retrospect we can look back on many years of great activities among us. But 2014, is nevertheless a year that will shine especially in the history books. It was the 200th year since Norway signed the constitution at Eidsvoll on May 17th 1814 which became the foundation of our national and political history. It was an event that was celebrated jubilantly all over Norway, as the poet Ole Vig once put it in his well known poem: “Fra Vesterhave til Kjølens Rand, fra Nordishavet til Kristiansand.» Even in the smallest village and fjordarm. King Harald V was central in the celebrations at Eidsvoll, and so was Nordmanns-Forbundet’s Headoffice in Oslo, inviting members on a most exciting sightseeing to our national shrine, followed by an informative visit and sightseeing at the Parliament in Oslo and a grand dinner at Grand Hotel on charming Karl Johans gate.

 One might say that our chapter distinguished itself by starting the celebrations early at The Norwegian Seamen’s Church in San Francisco on March 30. We were honored by having the Consul General of Norway, Hilde Janne Skorpen (Consul General for 13 Western U.S.States) as our guest speaker. She outlined beautifully the complex and exciting history of our Independence, and the significance it has for modern Norway. The church was packed for  the occasion, and we thank Hilde Janne for making the meeting so exciting, educational and informative.

Norwegians Worldwide/Nordmanns-Forbundet chapter in San Francisco has over the years celebrated many famous Norwegians, like Henrik Ibsen, Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson and Ole Bull. In 2014 it was Alf Prøysen’s turn, who would have been celebrating his birthday in the summer. He is one of the greatest troubadours of Norway of all times, especially popular among children, but also elderly people adored him. One person said: Prøysen kept me alive. –Prøysen was also a great author, illustrator and playwright, adored for his connection with  Norwegian  Radio and Television, not at least in “Barnetimen”.-On May 4th,, in the Church in San Francisco, the one and only Alf, was as alive as ever. And the guests were many. It was especially great to see so many young people, many students from the University of California in Berkeley. Dagfinn Kvale, bringing his guitar,told the fascinating Prøysen life story, and Liv Helga Hammeren Fure, the hostess at the church, also a professional singer, led the charming Prøysen songs, accompanied by church musician Ken Muir. “Du ska få en dag i mårrå” was sung with such enthusiasm, with such spirit that it was easy to think that we took part in a religious service!…

It so happened that Norway’s previous Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland attented the church service with her husband, Norwegian Conservative politician Arne Olav Brundtland and their granddaughter. When Gro heard that Alf Prøysen was going to be celebrated by Nordmanns-Forbundet afterwards, she said spontaneously: “Alf Prøysen is one of my heroes. We will like to attend” And they headed directly to the first row. It was great to see how joyfully they took part in the program. It was truly a day to remember.

Tove and Hans Norlander have been among the best supporters of Nordmanns-Forbundet for years, inviting our members to their lovely home in Healdsburg,north of San Francisco. It happened again October 11 in 2014, and more than 30 of us were on our way in the most glorious weather. What more can you ask for than heading for the Wine-country, in the middle of the wine season.We were in the best hands, knowing that Hans Norlander is a decorated wine connosseur. He had been busy making this year’s batch and taught us well the secrets of his art of wine making, much appreciated by our members. Tove and Hans served us the most delicious peasoup accompanied by their Swedish “Bullar” before we went into their beautiful, harmonious garden. But this was only half of the program.  Tove is well known in the Bay Area and beyond for her great jewelry which she demonstrated for us in her special workshop. – It was a memorable day throughout, which again has strengthened our Chapter of Nordmanns-Forbundet/Norwegians Worldwide.

And it is a pleasure to ask you to  continue enjoying yourselves at this Annual Meeting.We will soon listen to Irene Lindbeck Tibbits who is the Chairperson of the Norwegian Seamen’s Church here in the City by the Golden Gate, our host. She is a member of Nordmanns-Forbundet/Norwegians Worldwide.-Most of you know this, but Irene is a well/known Air-stewardess, having had the honor of being stewardess for two U.S. Presidents for several years, Carter and Reagan.- Irene was chosen by Norwegian TV2 to be presented in the series: “Eventyrlige Nordmenn”. Irene will tell her story and show TV2s CD. Thank you,Irene. We are proud of you and look forward to the presentation.