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July 26, 2013 - Karin Elton
This morning I watched an Alec Baldwin/credit card commercial on TV that shows a bunch of rowdy, scrubby Vikings having a family reunion. I thought of the family reunion I’ll attend Saturday. Mostly Norskes will be there, although one set of cousins got mixed up with some Belgians. But those Kjorness-DeSmet cousins turned out pretty well nevertheless.
There is another set of cousins that flew off to California long ago so I’ve never met them. I’ve just heard of them. I think they are the ones that wimped out and changed the spelling of “Kjorness” to “Churness.” They must have said the heck with getting people — especially Californians — to try to pronounce that name and spell it correctly. (I actually don’t blame them — Every new teacher right up through college I had to help pronounce — “yes, it’s Norwegian” — and then they would end up saying Jurness or Kyorness anyway.)
I lived in San Francisco for a while and my name plate on my desk said “Karin Kjorness.” With my strong Min-ne-sohta accent and a foreign-looking name like that, I was asked if I was right off the boat. “No, I’m just from Minnesota, that’s all,” I told them.
I’ve been to plenty of family reunions on my mother’s side but none on my father’s side of the family, so I’m especially looking forward to this one. I just don’t know where my horned helmet is.
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