Miss Carlson is a guest of Mr. and Mrs. William F. Ohde and family.
Her home is Verberg, Sweden, on the Atlantic Ocean; her parents are Mr. and Mrs. Tage Carlson. Her father is a wholesale grocer and her mother is a registrar, her duties being somewhat like those of our county recorder.
Birgitta must attend school three more years in Sweden then is eligible to attend a University. She says she must make up her mind about the course she will take, whether scientific or literary.
In Sweden, Christmas (Jul) is a long holiday, beginning Dec. 13 with the celebration of Lucia One of the girls in each household arises early, dons a long white robe and a crown of lighted candles, in memory of the saint of the third century in 'Sycamore on the island of Sicily. While singing the Italian song "Santa Lucia", she serves coffee and Santa Lucia buns to other members of the family.
The same custom is observed at school. One of the girls from a higher grade is Santa Lucia, and has eight or ten attendants. They sing "Santa Lucia" and Christmas Carols. Through the newspapers, a town queen is selected. She, with six attendants, rides through the town in a horse drawn wagon, visiting old peoples' homes and hospitals, and collecting money for the needy.
Another Swedish custom is to have a four branch candelabra, lighting one candle on each of the four 'Sundays before Christmas. Christmas Eve is the real celebration. Church service is held at 5:00 p m on that day and a religious service at 7:00 am on Christmas Day Dec 24 is the day for family gatherings. At 7:00 in the evening, Tom Ten (Santa Claus), dressed much as our Santa Claus, knocks at the door. He has a lantern in his hand and a, bag of gifts on his back, and distributes gifts to all the family. Birgitta, an only child, says that this is about the only time during the year that her young cousins are on good behavior.
Then follows the family Christmas dinner. The main dish is Lutfish (ling), a fish belonging to the cod family. The fling is caught during the summer in the North Sea, dried and kept until Christmas. On Dec. 9, the fish is sawed into pieces and put in water until Dec 13. Then it is put in lime and soda water which is changed each day, until it is put in fresh water from four to six days. On Christmas Eve, it is taken from the water, boiled and served with salt, black and white pepper and mustard, accompanied with boiled potatoes, melted butter and white sauce.
The Christmas dining table is centered with a pig's head with an apple in its mouth and crepe paper ears. Most of the holiday meat is pork--- they have a ham boiled, then baked with a glaze of mustard, egg and dry bread crumbs. Other holiday delicacies are pickled herring, herring salad, small meat balls, two kinds of homemade sausage. Vort bread, a dark brown bread is soaked in the broth of the meat. The Lutfish is served just before dessert, which is rice cinnamon porridge. Each person must make up a rhyme before receiving dessert. These dishes are served only at Christmas time. In one serving of the" porridge is an almond-the person receiving it will be the first to be married during the coming year. Before the dinner they drink wine as a toast to Christmas "Skol for Christmas."
The Swedes have Christmas trees, decorated like ours; the homes are lavishly decorated, and many candles are used everywhere. Swedish figures of straw, especially goats, are used for decorating; also small Santa Claus figures and the nativity scene. Tradition has it that in earlier years, the goat brought gifts.
Christmas day is a day of rest and family gathering. All day they eat candies, nuts, fruits, walnuts, almonds, hazel nuts, pecans, dates, figs raisins, apples and oranges. The day after Christmas is also a holiday, a day for Christmas parties, and exchange of gifts. Theaters and shows are open that day and many attend.
New Year is a holy day. New Year's Eve is spent in celebrating, drinking toasts and making resolutions. The Carlson' family spends from New Years to Jan 6 at their cottage at a winter resort in the forest; near their home. Jan. 6 is another holiday, the 12th day after Christmas, and is observed in memory of the Three Wise Men. The 20th day after Christmas, the trees and trimmings are taken down. It is an occasion for a party for the children, who eat the candy and other edibles used in decorating the trees. Trees are kept until Easter, when gangs of small boys from eight to 14 years of age, gather them and l build huge bonfires the Saturday before Easter.
On the last day of April, there are also big bonfires to welcome spring. The flames are to warm the spring and frighten off witches which are supposed to return at that time. This custom dates from a time prior to Christianity.
Every day in the Swedish calendar is a name day. Birgitta has two name days, Oct. and Dec. 9. She then receives a gift from her parents.
People named for saints, like Birgitta, are traditionally supposed to be lucky and happy. Birgitta says she was lucky to be chosen to come to America and is having a very happy time.
Some of the foods she has first experienced here are cherry pie, hamburgers, turkey, malts and corn.
The native costume of Sweden is very costly. It is handmade, having a white full blouse, black wool skirt and wool apron and bolero. All are lavishly hand embroidered and decorated. With the costume is worn red or white hose, black shoes and white head dress .The old costume is still worn in Dalarna, a part of Sweden. In other places it is worn June 24, mid-summer, when they dance around a pole decorated with leaves and flowers. They dance the old Swedish dances as well as modern ones. The costume is also worn for weddings and confirmations.
Traditional Swedish recipes of interest are: Herring Salad: 2 cups diced cold boiled potatoes; 2 cups diced cold boiled beef; 2 cups diced beet pickles; 2 cups diced dill pickles, 2 cups diced pickled herring. Toss lightly and chill. Garnish with hard cooked eggs sliced lengthwise in pinwheel effect, with whole yolk in center of salad.
Lucia Bun: 1 cup milk, scalded; 1/3 cup butter; 2/3 cup sugar; 1/2 teaspoon salt; cake or package of yeast; eggs, beaten; 4-1/2 cups sifted flour; 1 cardamon seed, crushed raisins. Add sugar, salt, butter to scalded milk; cool to lukewarm and add the yeast. Stir well, then add the eggs and cardamon and gradually stir in the flour. Beat thoroughly, place in greased bowl, cover and let rise to twice size. Knead on lightly floured board Roll a small portion at a time, and cut into strips about five inches long and 3/4 inches wide. Place two strips together, crossing as for the letter X and then curl ends to the center. Place four raisins (or currants) on the center of leach bun. Put on a buttered baking sheet, brush with beaten egg. Cover with a clean cloth' and let rise until double in bulk, about 1 hour. Bake in moderately hot oven, 400, for 12 to 15 minutes. Frost with powdered sugar frosting on the ends, if desired.
Vort Brod (Swedish Christmas bread) Liquid malt makes this recipe well worth a try. 1 pint milk, scalded and cooled to lukewarm; 1 quart sifted flour; 2 cakes or packages of yeast; two cups diluted malt extract; 1 teaspoon sugar; 3 or more cups sifted rye flour; 3/4 teaspoon salt; 6 orange peels; 2 cups molasses.
Combine the milk and flour, beating smooth. Add 1 mashed yeast cake along with sugar. Beat well. Cover bowl lightly and let set in warm place overnight. In the morning, add the malt extract (made lukewarm over hot water) mixed with the second yeast cake. Add enough rye flour to make stiff dough. I Add the salt, beat well. Cover bowl and let rise until doubled in bulk. Cover orange peels with water, cook until tender; drain and save cooking syrup. Grind the peel, add the ground peel and molasses to the syrup; heat to lukewarm and add to the dough, beating well together. Knead in the bowl, adding more sifted rye flour as needed to make a firm dough cover and let rise again.
Turn onto lightly floured board; knead thoroughly until firm and rather elastic, using a bit more rye flour if needed. Divide the dough in half, covering the half not used. Shape into three small oval loaves cover and let rise on bread board until light. Turn upside, down on greased loaf pans. Score each loaf with three gashes with a sharp knife. Bake in moderate oven 350 for 45 minutes. Brush tops with hot water about 10 minutes before time to remove from oven. Make remaining dough into loaves or cut in strips and make a braided wreath; if desired, brush with beaten egg, sprinkle with, sugar and chopped almonds.
Foreign student tells of trip
On the morning of June 15 1960, I got a letter that I had been anxiously waiting for a long time. It came from the American Field Service in New York, and told me that I had received one of their scholarships for 1960-61. All that day I couldn't think of anything but. America and what my new home would be like; I was overjoyed. After that I was very I busy. I got many papers to fill out and send to different places and I visited many places. At past I had gotten all my papers, passport visa and other permissions. However, before I was ready to leave my home, there was another difficult thing packing. I packed and unpacked and packed again, and at last I had to leave half the things I had wanted to take with me. I really felt relieved when I could send away my suitcases.
One week later on August (10, I left my home for one year and went with my parents and grandmother to Halsingborg, a town in southern Sweden. There I had to leave my parents, but instead I met 91 other Swedish boys and girls who were or their way to America as AFS students, too. From there we went by ferry to Elsinore in Denmark, then we passed through Denmark, Germany and Holland by train. In Rotterdam we met all the other AFS students going by the same shin it all more than 900. And went on board. The boat was not the biggest one to cross the ocean, but it was big enough for me to get lost every time I tried to leave my cabin during the first days. The boat trip was the greatest experience of my life up to now. It lasted ten days, and we had lots of fun, On the days we sat on the deck, played games, or just talked with people from other countries. In the evening we sang and danced. Sometimes we were seasick, too, of course, but most often we had a wonderful time.
Though we had lots of fun on the boat, we were all happy when we could see the first lights of New York City. it happened at four o'clock in the morning on August 21. At two the same day I was ready to enter the United States of America. Two days later I met my new family in Des Moines, Iowa, after a long, nice trip by bus. Late the same night I saw my new home and my new town for the first time. I had reached my destination and a new different period of my life had begun.
I now have the pleasure and privilege of recognizing as one of the most distinguished graduating seniors of the class of 1961, Miss Birgitta Carlson. Distinguished not only as an outstanding and well-liked student of MHS, but especially as our Swedish foreign exchange student. Birgitta was born March 26, 1943, at Varbarch, Sweden, to Mr. and Mrs. Tage Carlson.
This 5' 6 1/2", blue-eyed, dark blonde is kept busy by participation in the many activities at MHS and the community. Birgitta is a member of he Quill & Scroll, pep squad, and student council and sings in both mixed chorus and girls' glee. She attends the Lutheran church and is a member of the Walther League. When qualifying for the state speech contest, Birgitta received a it rating on public address. She has no special pastimes as there are so many nice things to do all the time.
Birgitta is taking American history, typing I, American Problems, speech, and English IV. She lists her favorites as: Foods - chicken, hamburgers, and chocolate sundaes; color light blue, and subject - history. Birgitta's pet peeves are playing softball and being seasick. Being chosen Homecoming Queen this year was the highlight light for Birgitta.
When asked to comment on her impressions of MHS, teachers, students, and the US in general, Birgitta replied, "I think MHS is a very nice school. You do not have to work so hard and have more time for fun in American schools than in Swedish schools. I like all the teachers I have. I like American teachers because they are more like friends and less like the boss than do Swedish teachers. As for the students, I think most of them are wonderful, and they have all been so nice to me."
"I think the United States is a great country. I have had a wonderful time, and I know I'll miss it even though I think it be wonderful to get home to Sweden, too." (We'll miss you too.)
Birgitta's future plans include going back to Sweden in August, going to school in her home town for three years, and then to a University to study something which is undecided decided as yet. Birgitta leaves this advice to the underclassmen: "Try to get to go to foreign countries as exchange students. It is wonderful."
To take her advice could also fulfill her secret ambition which is to get all the students in Manning to come over and visit her in Sweden.
In conclusion, we the students and teachers at MHS and the entire community wish you, Birgitta Carlson, the best of luck in the future. We hope you have enjoyed and prospered from your stay as much as we have enjoyed and prospered from having you. Again we wish you success and happiness in Sweden or possibly in the US. You're very wonderful and deserving of it.
Birgitta opening a present
Birgitta - not sure which school event
Birgitta with her grandmother & mother