What does it actually mean to grow up Scandinavian-American? A book presentation of Eric Dregni's 'Vikings in the Attic'
Chicago, Saturday Feb. 11 - Author Eric Dregni gave a satirical and uplifting presentation of his latest book Vikings in the Attic at the Swedish-American Museum.
An audience of 30 people had gathered when Dregni began the presentation with the same statement as in the introduction of his book.
“This is the book I wished I had read while growing up,” Dregni said.
The author grew up under Scandinavian influence since his grandparents emigrated from Sweden and Norway. However, all stories from Scandinavia weren’t passed on to him. Vikings in the Attic is Dregni’s attempt to explore those untold and hidden stories in Nordic America.
“My grandparents only passed on the good stories,” he said. “They never told me about the hardship of terrible ocean voyage or the aunt that committed suicide. I had to go and discover for myself all of the things they didn’t want to say.”
For all the tales his grandparents told him, Dregni quickly discovered there were quite a few they neglected to mention.
“Damn Scandinavians don’t talk,” added a laughing Dregni.
Tim Anderson attended the event since he recently bought both Vikings in the Attic and Dregni’s other book, In Cod We Trust.
“I have Norwegian background and I was fascinated to hear more about the immigration to America,” Anderson said.
“I think you feel pride where you come from and I would say it’s some kind of romanticism longing after your roots.”
Before Dregni closed the event, he demonstrated why Scandinavians born in America are far more traditional than native Scandinavians.
“They [People born in Scandinavia] don’t have anything to prove, but people here have to show it,” Dregni said. "We [Nordics in America] eat three to four times as much Lutfisk as over there,” he jokingly conceded.
"Vikings in the Attic: In Search of Nordic America">
By Eric Dregni
280 pp. ISBN: 978-0-8166-6743-7
University of Minnesota Press
For more info on the Chicago Museum: Swedish American Museum