Quote of the Day: What’s in a name? That which we would call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. William Shakespeare

I am participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. My theme is open-ended. My goal is to write daily posts using each letter of the alphabet in April (Sundays off for good behavior and to make it work for the alphabet). I’ll be writing family stories, memoir or journal prompts, reviews about theatre and food, maybe a visit from my sock puppet characters Millie and Willie, and using photos I’ve taken along the way. Enjoy!

AA is for Aalgaard. What can I say, with a name that begins with two A’s, I’m usually at the top of the list. I’ve written about us and our name before, and this time, I’ll add a few things. I am the fourth of six kids born to George and Jane (Siberg) Aalgaard. We’re from Good Hope Township, located in the Red River Valley of Minnesota. My sister Joy (#6) and I saw The Addams Family musical which has a great song, “When you’re an Addams.” It inspired us to talk about what it means to be an Aalgaard. When I posed the question to my sisters Nancy (#3) and Joy (#6) and my Dad, they said, “Educated, talented, helpful, and good looking.” Dad said, “Norwegian.” We are definitely Scandinavian-Americans. We’ve been lefse eating Lutherans going back generations. For our Christmas meal, mom still makes lutefisk (with varying degrees of joy in eating it), Swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes, escalloped corn, and ice cream pie. (I’ll reserve favorite family recipes for R day.)

Aalgaard’s are quick to lend a helping hand to a neighbor or a friend. We like to gather for special occasions. You’ll see us filling a pew in church (especially back in the day when all 8 of us attended our little country church, Bethany Lutheran), and we have been regular campers at Mount Carmel Camp near Alexandria, MN since I was about four years old. One of my brothers, James (#5) became a Lutheran pastor, and another one, Phil (#2) fills in to preach in the area. That might make us sound really religious, but I don’t think we are. We attend and get involved in churches at varying degrees. I consider myself spiritual, but not hardcore religious. For the most part we are preachers, teachers, farmers, and caregivers.

Top picture: Nathan's Confirmation. Both sets of grandparents are there, plus mom and dad and the six kids. Bottom left: Nancy, Mary, James doing a play Bottom right: Bethany Lutheran Church program

A page from my scrapbook. Top picture: Nathan’s (#1) Confirmation. Both sets of grandparents are there, plus mom and dad and the six kids.
Bottom left: Nancy, Mary, James doing a play
Bottom right: Bethany Lutheran Church program

My mom was a nurse (in some ways, still is). As Scandinavian-Americans, we can be a bit reserved, conservative, and at times emotionally unavailable, although we’re working on that. I don’t consider us to be very political or over-opinionated. That said, I also believe that Aalgaard’s think for themselves and aren’t likely to just follow the crowd. We’re fairly conservative but not against a little adventure. We love to read, sing, listen to each other, share stories and our musical talents. Aalgaard’s won’t be the loudest people in the room, and I consider myself to be the most cheerful of the bunch.


And, one of all six of us in the waiting room at the hospital when our dad had triple bypass surgery. He’s doing pretty well now, but it was a scary time. It’s also created some discussions that families have to have about the future, the legacy, and the parents’ wishes, but that’s a topic for another day.



Mary (#4), Joy (#6), Nancy (#3), Nathan (#1) , James (#5, standing behind Nathan), and Phil (#2)

Go. Create. Inspire!

Journaling Prompt: What does it mean to be you (your family name)?