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During the spring and summer of 1972 my friend Hannah got “jobs” as working guests on a farm in Lyngdal, the southernmost village in the Norwegian state of Vest-Agder. The stories abound about our experiences during those few months. A few brief tidbits:

1. We discovered that local people were locking their doors and windows when they’d see us walk down the road into town because they thought we were gypsies! Gypsies were not well-liked, but treated more with suspicion and fear.

2. One field at the farm was rented to the town as their local trash dump, so each Friday a procession of vehicles would arrive depositing their weekly garbage. Yes, we were the gypsy gals who worked at the town dump.

3. The 74 year old grandfatherly type farmer started slipping us the tongue along with his goodnight kiss and hug. Uh oh.

4. His 54 year old wife collected many of the town folk’s cast off garbage and stored it (food) in 5 or 6 refrigerators and 2 long freezers she kept in a storeroom. The pears she had canned the year before tingled when they touched the inside of your mouth. We ate a lot of bakery made whole grain toast, cheese, and jam. And, of course, fisk and potatoes.

5. A German Lieutenant occupied their farm during WWII. There were forced to leave. Luckily they had a small cabin in the mountains. The local teenagers didn’t like it when German tourists came to vacation in Norway. We were naively surprised at this 30 year old hatred. How would we feel if the township we lived in in New Jersey had been occupied by a foreign army? Frankly, I’d never imagined it. I think that some kind of Peace Training for citizens should be War Games played with entire towns and cities. Everyone should have to evacuate to country homes or refugee tent cities for months at a time, with no easy access or spotty access to electricity and running water. How ironic that the thing we as a nation are fighting in other lands to defend are the very things we destroy in theirs. Idiotic, isn’t it?

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