Anne Squared

Life filtered through the lens of an INTJ, Mom, and healthcare professional.

13/9/2013 – Emigration (of a Ghost)


Copyright – Jan Wayne Fields

Not all arrive. A rosemaled trunk is symbolic of my emigrant Norwegian family with their ill teen-age daughter. She didn’t fear death, but burial at sea. The chest became her casket until sharks harassed the boat. She was found – burial at sea.

The trunk stayed in the family; so has the child, wandering the home of every family member who has her last dry bed.

Hindsight: an independent international adoption, 2 weeks’ notice, six key people with a variation of the name Mary. Mara – Norwegian for Mary. No, she didn’t look like a “Katherine.” Mara was finally coming home.

100 words.


Miss Mara

Links of interest:

Rosemaled Norwegian Immigrant Trunk 

Movable Ghosts

To read other stories,  Rochelle sponsors the challenge. You can find her entry at the link, and other participants at the blue frog InLinkz logo – which I have not figured out how to put in yet….

Categories: Challenges

Tags: , , , , , ,

15 replies

  1. Great piece here.
    AnElephant loves a god ghost story!

  2. I like Ghost Stories… this one was interesting. I have never heard the word ‘rosemaled’… I’m looking it up and may use it. I like it, Anne2.

    • I just did… I like that type of art. I will be using it someday. Maybe for Ethel and Cheryl.

    • Thanks, I am glad you liked it. I will have to write more of them – I grew up with them, so never knew differently 🙂
      I put a link at the bottom of the blog for an example of a rosemaled trunk. Even doubled checked the spelling – rosemaling is a popular painting method – decoration – in Norway and I believe the other Scandinavian countries. (From what I recall of my time as a clerk in a Scandinavian gift shop as a teenager.) Not just a Norwegian form of decoration.

  3. I love the route you took with that image. I enjoy the dark theme.

    By the way, hope you got my email. 🙂

  4. Dear Ann,

    A ghostly tale that left me a bit perplexed. Nice imagery.



    • I am sure I left something out – but since I know the stories so well, I make the leap in logic…
      Can you help me out with what is perplexing?

      • Dear Ann,

        It seems there are two separate stories here. I’d like to have seen more about the ghost of the daughter. It feels to me like it should be her story. Also I didn’t know the significance of the dry bed. I’m guessing that Katherine was the daughter who died. The adoption story, while nice, took me out of the first story. 100 words is a slicing and dicing proposition where less is more.

        It takes practice, but I’ve found it a worthy endeavor that has helped me in writing my longer pieces. I often start with many more words and then decide which ones tell the story best. Adverbs…ly…words are usually the first to go. The other things I ask myself is, “Did I repeat myself?” Can two sentences be condensed into one?

        I hope this helps. And than you for asking. I hesitate to offer constructive crit when I don’t know if it’s welcome or not.



        • I appreciate the feedback – I am learning with these challenges. I spent a semester doing similar exercises summarizing medical and research articles (into their abstracts) and the word count was small each week.
          I will take a look at my writing with your feedback and rework it for practice. Thank you!
          To clarify – the “dry bed” was the rosemaled chest – the place her family hid the her body after her death, her last resting place prior to being buried at sea – her greatest fear – greater than dying.
          The young woman who died was Mara Jacobson (there was a different Norwegian name that was changed at immigration to Jacobson since the Norwegian name had letters not in the alphabet. Mara was part of our family – I don’t remember I time that chest and other items of her family were not in our home.
          I didn’t intentionally name our daughter after the family ghost. I was planning an adoption in one country, an opportunity presented itself a year before we expected a baby – in another country. Long story short, a lot of people had to hustle to make it happen and they all had “Mary” in their name. I got my baby girl – and she didn’t look like the name we picked out. And her birth name was so unsuited, I called her “little one” for two weeks. One day it came to me she looked like a “Mara” – and it fit in nicely with the “Marys” who helped make the adoption possible on short notice. And, I explained to my husband over the phone, it is a family name. It will give her a tie to her new family and we will use her given name as her middle name, for heritage. (Mara and I were in her birth country for a long time to complete the adoption. I wasn’t going to wait indefinitely to name her.)
          As the only adopted grandchild of cousins, she is the only one interested in family heritage – and my mom is telling her all the stories I heard as a child.
          After a stay with Grandma a few years ago, she came home and said “What, you named me after a ghost?! A dead ghost?!” Me: “Is there any other kind?” And I explained the intent.
          So, now my essay is 5000 words 🙂 but I hope the gaps are filled in.
          I am not sure if Norway Mara still paces my parents home, or if she has joined forces with my Mara to vitalize the girl. … a now health, 5′ 90 lb energizer bunny with supercharged batteries. 🙂

          Again, thank you for your critique. It was probably too much to put into one story. I am writing my blog to improve, and welcome input.

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