Hans Pederson in Denmark 2

No photos this week either. I can’t seem to handle them out of the US.

We Americans are always searching for our roots and I’m in the middle of finding mine. I’m spending six days in Denmark, enchanted by the country North, South, East, and West, now  that opportunity has finally knocked not only to see my father, Hans Pederson’s country, but also meet descendents of his mother, I won’t even guess when she died—he died at 67 in 1933 a month after I was born.

Publishing my 2017 memoir, Mysterious Builder of Seattle Landmarks: Searching for My Father put me in touch with the half- brothers he set up as dairy farmers North of Seattle in Snohomish WA. I haven’t met their progeny  yet, but they keep up with the Danish cousins, and this week I’ve met them. in Denmark from Copenhagen-Funen-Odense-Svendborg, they drove Ellen and me to Hans birthplace in Stenstrup. We found the house where his grandparents raised him since his mother had to return to her job as a maid shortly after he was born. Christened at the Stenstrup  church, he started at a laborers’ school when he was seven, and went twice a week until he was fourteen. 140 years later we trudged up many flights of the Bregnigne Church stairs to the  tower where Hans was hit with wanderlust as he watched the train rumble away from Funen Isle to the wide world..

Our Hansen family entertained us royally thanks to cousins Dorte and Hanne. we met their kids and grandkids too. Then they chauffeured us from our hotel to their homes for feasts at lunch and dinner,  a strawberry dessert ,and coffee and to meet their farmer brother for an afternoon drink as we watched the soccer finals. He explained that the  thatched roofed houses with their perfectly mowed haircuts, required permission from the government. They must be maintainedThe special straw comes from Poland.

My father Hans Pederson left Denmark (Stenstrup-Svendborg-Odense on the island of Fyn) as soon as he was released from the Prussian army at 19and emigrated to the US, finally arriving in Seattle in 1884 at the age of 20. He settled there in the right place at the right time and built a life as a successful builder—roads, bridges, dams, and apartment houses.

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