She was a special lady, my grandmother. I lived with her several years in my childhood, and she gave me the feeling of being special. She had delivered 10 children, two of them died, a girl after three days, and her eldest son in his youth, because of diabetes. Lilly was her name, a hardworking lady at a little farm, typical type for northern Norway, small with lean soil. It was located close to Lofoten.

Every time I make a traditional soup called “kjøttsuppe” perhaps translated to “meat soup”, with vegetables and beef or pork, I think of her. Food was her way of showing care and tenderness. Her children are telling stories about her, how she baked eight breads every morning before the rest of the family got up. She was a strong woman, joined her husband fishing prawns at sea, and they worked on the land through the night because the daylight was for fishing.

Lilly 1

Lilly, my grandmother, delivered 10 children and got 15 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren so far.

My grandmother represents the women of northern Norway, poor but strong, hardworking ladies, giving birth to a lot of children. Then they had to fight to keep them alive. Often they had to manage the children and the animals alone. The men left for different type of fisheries through the year; summer, autumn and winter fisheries. Especially the winter fisheries lasted for several months and this time of year was the hardest one to manage both for humans and animals.

I feel so humble for this history, for their efforts to bring us to live, we who came after.
She loved her potatoes, in special a local type from northern Norway called “Gulløye” (“golden eye”). When she got old I used to help her take up the potatoes. I look back at the memory with a smile in my heart.

To honor her we have named our sailboat “Lilly”. The boat has a kind of same attitude of strength and robustness as my grandmother, both in a gentle way. She died right at the start of year 2000, a few hours into it, and had lived nearly through the 20th century. I made meat soup yesterday and thought of her.

 

 

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