Grandfather Olaf Norberg came to Mora, Minnesota, in 1882, a year before Mora became a village. He died before his grand-daughter, the author, was born, but his accomplishments and his memory shine throughout this vivid portrait of her life growing up in rural Minnesota. Growing up in the house built by her Grandfather, while not easy, ingrained in Vivian Loken a respect for simple values, an awareness of the need to worship, and a consciousness of natural resources such as the Knife River. The river provided not only water for livestock but an ever-changing sideshow as it flowed through the seasons. Other simple sights, such as milk cans standing in the driveway until the Mora Co-op milk truck driver picked them up, have vanished. Such sights as a steam-driven thresher lumbering down the road on its way to the next farm are history. Such sounds as a freight train chugging along rails that run through the countryside, and the lonesome drone of a train whistle, have trailed away into antiquity. Ms. Loken invites readers to listen to the music of the river, feel the heartbeat of a favorite room, and know the spirit of the countryside with its dramatic contrast between then and now.
(2004), 2005, 5½x8½, paper, 202 pp.