birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

My Mormor

My grandmother, who we all call Mormor, (Danish for "mother's mother") is 88 years old, lives in Costa Mesa, and is still a Danish citizen. She emigrated to the U.S. in 1957 with my grandfather and my mother, then only 1 years old. Mormor is the matriarch of the family, a mostly female family with three sisters and five grandchildren, four of whom are women.

Mormor wanted to have boys and instead she had three girls. She tells them all the time that she wishes they were boys. Mormor was mostly a housewife when my mother and her sisters were growing up, working part-time as a secretary at the local University. My grandfather was an engineer and traveled a lot. They also moved around the country when he switched jobs, from New York to Ohio to California. My mother went to 5 different high schools.

Mormor has always been an artistic person, crafting, painting, knitting and sewing. She has handmade so many things and given them away or sold them. One time my cousin visited a friends home during December and she identified one of Mormor's painted wooden snowmen. The friends mother had purchased it at the consignment store where Mormor had a space. When my grandfather was alive he would cut out the wooden pieces and she would paint them. Then she started painting porcelain, got into jewelry making and now is into quilting.

She has been a knitter for most of her life and is probably one of the best knitters in her area. She goes to a weekly knitting meet-up with mostly younger women and teaches them her tricks. They all think she's amazing. Mormor is amazing - a mother, a grandmother, a great-grandmother, a Danish citizen, a crafter, a traveler. She attends concerts and reads Buddhist literature. She's 88 years old, still lives on her own, drives her own car, is healthy in mind and body. She's traveling to see her 90 year old sister in Denmark later this year. And when she turns 90 she wants to invite everyone to join her on a European cruise.


The Stams