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Norwegian heritage forms friendship spanning Atlantic Ocean and 41 years
by Leslie Ehrenberg
It was in 1978 – 41 years ago – when father and son, Birger and Bjarne Vestmo of Stjørdal, Norway, were in the states visiting relatives. One of their stops was a stay in Dawson where Birger’s brother John Vestmo and sister Bertha Sundby were living.
It was a beautiful spring day and John, Birger, and Bjarne jumped into John’s yellow Chevy pickup for a day trip. A trip that would lead them to meeting Bervin and Arline Skjei, rural Appleton residents, and to a life-long friendship with them and their son and daughter-in-law, Kevin and Kathy Skjei.
“I was driving, and at each intersection I didn’t know where to go, so sometimes I went right, then left, and then straight ahead. I did this many times and then John said, ‘We are near Madison now. Let’s go to the nursing home. I’m sure there will be some Norwegians there,’” recalled Bjarne.
As it turned out, the nursing home was packed as they were celebrating the 80th birthday of one of their residents. There also were some Norwegians: Enter Bervin and Arline.
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