I was about twelve years old when I first read of my Two-Greats Grandfather, Christoffer Haraldsen, who was a sailor that was lost at sea. There were no details about what happened, only that his family was left to manage without him. I sat and reread the account and then thought about what might have happened. In a very personal way, I was saddened at the family loss of Christoffer. From that day on, anytime someone made a comment or told stories from my Norwegian heritage, I have listened with great interest. I have been frustrated at the lack of information and occasional miss information. Like when I learned that it was really Christoffer’s father, Harald, that was the ship captain who was lost at sea. Christoffer was a ship carpenter who drowned in an accident in the bay of Christina (now Oslo) Norway.
Then about in 2000, my teenaged daughter, Meagan, brought home a video for our family to watch, that she had seen in the theator and really liked. I sat and watched "The Perfect Storm" with my family that night. The true story of a New England fishing boat that was lost in a bad storm made my whole family cry. I could not help but think of my 3-Greats Grandfather, Harald, who was the captain of a small freight ship that went down in a bad storm in the Skagerrak strait between Denmark and Norway in the mid 1800’s. After the movie was over, I told Meagan and some of my other older children that they had a 4-Greats Grandfather who’s story was very similar to the one we had just watched. They only gave a "That’s nice dad" look as they were thinking, "so what?"
I just couldn’t, and can’t, get it out of my mind, the idea that because how the story was told, my family can morn the loss of a fishing boat captain from New England, and at the same time they don’t really care about our own "Harald" and our other family, who came before us. So since 2000, I have researched every true detail I can find about Harald and our other progenitors. I have also studied where they lived, and what life was like for them. I am now putting this information into a historical novel for my children. My goal is to make my children cry for their 4-Greats Grandfather, Harald, like they did that night for George Clooney’s charactor in "Perfect Storm." I want them to feel the same emotions for all our family who have blazed the way so we could be here now enjoying the good life that they feel for our other close family members.
So inspite of the fact that I am a terrible speller, a slow reader, and have only learned to type (which I do very poorly) when I started to work on my novel, my nickname is now "Storyteller" and boy have I found a great story to tell.