September 1953 a Norwegian ship, MS Stavangerfjord arrived in New Your harbour after crossing The Atlantic. Among the people on board was President of the Norwegian Parliament Mr. Natvig-Pedersen w. wife, President of the legislative House of Parliament Mr. Lothe w. wife, Member of Parliament Mr. Gabriel Moseid, School Director Mr. Almås w wife and Headmaster, Member of Parliament and "bestefar" Mr. Johannes Wigum (to the left). They were all on their way to New York to spend time with United Nations as official Norwegian observators during the UN General Assembly.
This was an important day in my bestefar's life. Travelling over to the United States of America was no small thing back in 1953, and very few people were elected as UN observators. Back in Norway bestemor Ragna Josefine and 7 kids waited to hear news about this exciting experience. And tales from it has passed down through the generations.
51 years later a letter is delivered to me at work. It is from the Church of Norway, with the information that I am elected by them to be their official observator during the UN General Assembly of 2002.
I couldn't believe my eyes. Me, a UN observator! Two weeks in New York all by myself, payed by the State of Norway! I was not a member of Parliament, what had I done to deserve this? Today,5 years later, I still have no idea what I have done to deserve this election. But that doesn't matter. I was elected and I went to New York in October 2002. Not by the majestetic MS Stavangerfjord, but by an airplane from IcelandAir - I used the opportunity to stop three days in Iceland to visit my brother, my sister in law and their two small kids.
During my two weeks in New York I felt on safe territory. I was following the footsteps of dear bestefar Johannes. How I wished that we have anything written down from his stay, memories, preaches he held in the Norwegian Seamen's Church, any photos...... We do have a few things though. We have his Passport Diplomatic, and we have a leatherbound Bible which he was given as a thank you gift from the youth group in the Norwegian Seamen's Church. My brother, who has inherited bestefar's name has these items. And we have the photo of an elegant Member of Parliament and School Headmaster Mr. Johannes Wigum (to the left :-))
The photo hangs over my desk in my home office, always a reminder that I have strong ancestors. I have a path to follow made by generations walking ahead of me, and I walk that path safe and proud.
The last photo shows my travel diary. I always keap a diary when I travel, for writing, and also for keeping those tiny bric a brac treasures described so well by Paris Breakfast here.