A recent text to my brother (I love how we use ethnicities as adjectives…ethnictives?):
Me: “In all of your family studies, would you say we’re Viking Normans or French Normandy Normans?”
Him: “I think we have a line that connects us to William of Normandy, so I’m pretty sure we’re French Normandy Normans.”
For some reason, receiving that news was a strange kind of disappointment. I was really hoping we were Viking Normans (Norman being our family name). While the French Normandy Normans can still trace their lineage back to the same Scandinavian beginnings as the Vikings, there is such a cultural disconnect. The Norman language laid the foundation for what we know today as French, but these days the two are very separately their own traditional groups. Sigh…and I was certain my bloodline would be the answer as to why I am so fascinated with Vikings, Norse myths, and Icelandic elves and ponies (although, in a small way, it is).
To be clear, I know nothing about any of those things. At least not in the same way I can explain to you the Disney Effect on Florida’s natural resources or, even, algebra. But I’m working on it. I recently bought a book about Celtic and Norse goddesses and their relationships to the seasons. Another book on Norse myths and culture is on my Christmas list.
In the beginning of the year, I asked my husband to build me a Viking ship. I wasn’t picky; one of these would have been sufficient to sail and row about in nearby Lake Hefner. I was so reasonable about the whole project, in fact, that I would have been happy with a Viking-ship-slash-picnic-table (because, hello? THAT WOULD BE AWESOME!).
And then he surprised me on Mother’s Day with this, my very own Drakkar Oseberg! It currently resides near the television in the living room so I get to see it ALL THE TIME:
There is such a magical history behind the Oseberg, but I find the story of its discovery even more interesting. What many of the locals believed was a burial mound filled with bodies of those who’d died of plague turned out to be the resting place of the original Oseberg Viking ship. The excavation began and everyone involved was pretty much blown away by what was found.
This is a very recently discovered interest of mine, all this Viking business. But what I love about it all is how so many people are dedicating years of their lives to preserving their findings and to building an Oseberg replica. In the meantime, I dedicated Tuesday to writing up the bulk of my Christmas list and “picnic table” is still at the top. My husband is not expected to build me a Viking-ship-slash-picnic-table, as my Mother’s Day gift got him off the hook, but could you just imagine…
Elle: “Matt, where’s Mom?”
Matt: “She’s probably outside having lunch in her Viking ship.”
Oh, to dream…