My parents were both half Norwegian. Mom's maternal family originally were the Kjilis, which someone at Ellis Island translated as Kelly. Dad's paternal family were the Amundsons, which someone at Ellis Island translated as Amerson.
The ground was sprinkled white by the time we pulled up to Mom’s childhood home on Wilson Street in Winona. It looked like the coating of powdered sugar from the Embassy commissary that Mom shook to over our Norwegian Christmas cookies.
Here I was on July 4, 1955, expected to assume duties as Press Attaché and Information Officer, American Embassy, Caracas, Venezuela - after only two months of practical orientation in Washington, preceded by five years of corporate public relations, a BA from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, courtesy of the GI Bill, and roots reaching all the way back to a one-room schoolhouse on the prairies of South Dakota. Not exactly elite.
In South Dakota, where my dad's from, you swim in a crick, you put a ruhf over your head and you set down ruhts.
In the Foreign Service, where I'm from, they sent Dad and Mom and Susie and me back to his ruhts every few years to remind us that we were Americans. It was called Home Leave.