What DNA says

Viking Travels

A few years ago my sister had a DNA profile done. To her surprise, the family stories, passed down from Minnesota Germans and Norwegians, that said our mother’s people were pure Scandinavian and dad’s side was all German, turned out to be more complicated.

Our maternal grandfather came to Minnesota from Hadland, Norway, in the early 1900s, when he was in his teens. He married another Norwegian, whose family had arrived in Minnesota in the 1880s, and they made a family. They spoke Norwegian at home—until mom, their first child, went to school and was made fun of by other kids. Although grandpa spoke with a severe accent, the slap at his daughter rankled him, and he had enough English to declare himself American and English as the language spoken in the house from that day forward.

Dad’s side is a little murkier, but Wandschneiders and Steindorfs came to the States in the great migration out of Germany Read The Article

White Privilege

Washington D.C. April, 1968

Fifty years ago this week I was living in Washington D. C., near DuPont Circle on New Hampshire Avenue. I worked at the Peace Corps office, which was across Lafayette Square from the White House. It was less than a mile walk on Connecticut Avenue from home to work, and walking was sometimes quicker than taking the bus. This was before the Metro, so everything was above ground.

The city ignited with Martin Luther King’s assassination on April 4, and our basement apartment was only a block or so away from the National Guard’s line, established immediately to cordone off a mostly black neighborhood in disarray.

I can’t remember whether we went to work on April 5 or 6, but do remember that there was an immediate curfew in the city (in memory, 4:00 p.m.).  So when we did go back to work the Peace Corps and everyone else shut down by 2:00, so that we Read The Article