Friday, January 19, 2018

In growing up in Iceland I was not known to be one to "play it safe", frankly I think the more scary or daring the adventure was the more I was for doing it - that could perhaps explain why, after meeting Del  in 1944 and on a second meeting - it really was not a date, just a dance - a total of  eight hours max - when he proposed I said "yes".

If I was to try to explain it would do no good - some things are just meant to be.

That I - a nineteen-year-old naive girl living on an island called ICELAND, a tiny country in the Atlantic just below the Arctic circle - a country virtually unknown to many Americans  until WWII happened - would meet a nineteen year old sailor who was brought up in middle of the United States, in a small town called Bloomington, in Illinois.

His brothers enlisted also; one in the marines, one in the army and one in the navy and were sent to the Pacific - Del expected to be there also, instead he found himself sent across "torpedo Junction" to a "God-forsaken place"  called Iceland.

When we met at the first dance he had been stationed in the country just a few months and had not learned to speak Icelandic - I spoke very few words in English - I was a waitress at a restaurant in downtown Reykjavik called Hressingaskalinn so I knew words like coca-cola, cigarette, hey you...

Even after 70 years of marriage I am not able to explain---I have no idea what caused me to give up family - country - yes and even language and accept a proposal that I barely understood.

I had no idea who he really was - his family - were they rich? - Were they poor? - Nice? - Mean? Never entered my mind to ask these questions.

What has love got to do with it? Everything!  Hmm, possibly also my first sentence at the start of this partly explains ...I'm still not known to "play it safe." As my grandson Andrew, put it "Wonder what daredevil thing (or was it "crazy thing"?) Grandma will do next?"

So far I have enjoyed River-Rafting in Colorado, Paragliding in Utah and Iceland, Zip-Lining in Minnesota,  Air Balloon Ride in Texas, indoor Rock-Wall climbing in Illinois. Last year I traveled all the States between the East coast (Vermont, Maine) to the west coast, Seattle Washington, plus a side trip into Canada. Fantastic drive through some of the most beautiful scenery.

At almost 93 I'm a firm believer in "keep it moving!" Stretch - dance - exercise...Oh, by the way talking about exercise here is a Dilly that family members, Dale and Melinda) sent me at Christmas time:

Start by standing on a comfortable surface with plenty of room on each side. Now, with a five-pound potato bag in each hand, extend your arms straight out and hold them there as long as you can. Try to reach a full minute, then relax. Each day you will  find you can hold this position for just a bit longer. After couple of weeks move up to 10-pound potato bags. Then eventually get to where you can lift 50-pound potato bag in each hand, hold your arms straight out for more than  full minute. (Don't get discouraged. This may take some time.) After you feel confident in that level, put a potato in each bag.


Photo: Iceland

Ieda Jónasdóttir Herman is an author and motivational speaker based out of Illinois. At the age of 88, she wrote and published her first book, a memoir of growing up in Iceland. She has since published two fiction works for children. Following a stroke in 2016, she has dedicated her time to education of stroke awareness and encouraging seniors to become more active in life.


Fall of 1945.

So I was now an American housewife (a few months anyway) and I should know how to make an apple pie. Didn't look to difficult...:-)

 My mother-in-law was a whiz...she just threw stuff together, flour-milk-eggs-butter, beat it well with a wooden spoon. Then she divided the dough into two balls and rolled them out into  beautiful circles, deftly placed one into a pie -pan. Heaped in all the pealed apple-slices, just a dash of flour, handful of brown sugar, sprinkles of Cinnamon.. Then she cut fancy leafs into the other circle and placed on top. Sealed the edges by fluting the dough with her fingers all around...Beautiful yummy apple-pie!

So, I had made notes on approximate amounts of ingredients, and kind of threw the stuff into the bowl and stirred briskly. Divided my dough in half, didn't look to bad - so far so good. Started rolling out the dough, it didn't want to stay put!!! Every time I had this nice circle the size of a dinner plate and started lifting it up it shrunk to a dessert-plate size :-(

I called my husband - who was now out of the Navy and was outside working on his car - for help. I was sure he'd watched his mother roll out the dough numerous time, maybe even helped! Sure enough, he said put in more liquid...Okay, so now when I rolled the dough out  it stuck to the table and the rolling pin!

 At this point I used my own devise, I scraped the dough off the table and patted the thing into the pie-pan. Got all my filling in only to see that we had no Cinnamon...Had to walk to the store, that fortunately was nearby...Had to walk back home and ask my dear husband what the word was for Cinnamon as I had forgotten, or,  more likely I had not even learned the English word for Kanill. He didn't know what I was asking so I got the empty glass container, he sniffed..Ahh, Cinnamon... Then back to the store I went.

Now to get the top on and make it pretty, easier said than done, this ball of dough stuck just as much as the first batch. I contemplated my dilemma for a moment - then small piece by small piece I picked the dough by my fingers and placed on top just here and there...then did the same for the edges and pinched all around...and put it into the oven. I was on pins and needles, waiting...

Hey it wasn't pretty, a little heavy and doughy,  but came out okay, by first American Apple Pie :-)