Turning Thirty

What were you doing the year you turned 30? Or if you’re not there yet, what do you imagine you’ll be doing?

I was going to do a post on Gina Estensen (Emil Borreson’s future wife) when I got to noticing something: the ages of their parents, all around 30. When Emil was born in the Halfway Creek area in 1872, his father Elias was 33 years old and his mother almost 35. They had arrived in America three years earlier at 30 and 32 in the same year they’d married.

It was a bit different for Gina’s parents. Her father Bertinus had arrived in America via Philadephia in 1875 at the age of 29. Her mother Maria Thorsen emigrated from Noway in 1876 at the age of 26. These two met in Pigeon Valley and married in 1879. Gina their firstborn arrived the following year.

Think of it: four immigrants to a new land at the ages of 30, 32, 29, and 26. The former couple practically celebrate their honeymoon with a one-way wedding trip to a new continent! The latter make the same kind of trip as young singles at an age our children may move to another state and we worry about them. And of course getting “back home” would have been a little complicated for these Norwegians too.

I was serving my first congregations at South Wayne, Wisconsin, the year I turned 30 – and later that year our family moved to Elroy 110 miles away. We thought it was big move, but compared to crossing an ocean to a new country without home or job awaiting . . . ! These thoughts give me a new respect for my ancestors.

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