Icelandic Association of Chicago Volume No. 11 Issue No.5, June 2008
From the President's Desk
Kæru vinir og meðlimir Íslendingafélagsins í Chicago:
Dear members and friends of The Icelandic Association of Chicago:
Welcome to this edition of Frón, edited by my fellow board member, Svanfríður Eygló Arnadóttir-Getchell. This is my first Letter from the President's Desk and I have the good fortune of having the examples of leadership to follow from our two most recent prior presidents, Katrin Heiðar and Einar Steinsson, who have served our Association very well in recent years and continue their valued service and wise counsel.
Before sharing my thoughts about our group, past, present, and future, your attention is directed to the more pressing perils, major and minor, which our friends and relatives in Iceland face with the relatively strong [by recent historical Icelandic standards] earthquake and aftershocks in the Southwest of Iceland, which began Thursday, 29-May-2008. Iceland, the proverbial Land of Fire and Ice, is both blessed and cursed with the consequences of sitting astride the Mid-Atlantic Rift, including: earthquakes, volcanoes, and abundant geothermal energy in various regions. Fortunately, unlike the more common experience of California and many other earthquake-prone regions, the Western and Eastern sections of Iceland are literally, over the course of time, very gradually separating as the North American and European tectonic plates diverge, less geologically traumatic then when tectonic plates suddenly lurch towards each other. Graphic examples of this separation, West from East, abound in the natural terrain of Iceland, most especially visible at Thingvellir, the historic original site of Iceland's Parliament, the Althingi. With the principal exception of older rural structures, almost all newer urban construction in Iceland is built to strict codes which anticipate these vagaries of nature. So far, no serious injuries to residents have been reported. Our website, www.IcelandChicago.org has links to current updates, both in Icelandic [Morgunblaðið] and in English [Iceland Review's Daily News From Iceland].
Our Association traces its roots in Chicago back to primarily, then-recent, immigrants from Iceland in the 1920's, who made it their business to preserve their proud Icelandic heritage in the New World and attend to the common needs of the Icelandic-American Community in the Chicago area, especially during the Great Depression, later during World War II, and then to welcome to Chicago successive waves of Icelandic immigrants, their descendants, and friends of Iceland. We are still privileged to be joined by new Icelanders, so-called "Western Icelanders" [the descendants of the first waves of Icelandic immigrants to Canada and the United States], and friends of Iceland who continue to come to the Chicago area or who are being "discovered" already living here in our midst. Please keep an eye out for Icelandic sweaters and listen for the poetic lilt of someone speaking fluent Icelandic! They may very well become our next new members.
Our paid membership continues to wax and wane, as it always has, but in addition to the thirty to forty paid [single- and family-] memberships during each of the last few years, we also value a much larger pool of Icelanders, Western Icelanders, and friends of Iceland whose past, current, and future participation is always most welcome. We are grateful for both new and renewal memberships and invite more of you to join us as current members. A membership form follows in this newsletter and we invite both members and friends to update their current street address, telephone number(s), and/or preferred E-Mail address(es) by using the links on our website. [Also, please E-Mail the undersigned with the correct Icelandic spelling of names that have been incorrectly transcribed in our records.]
At the risk of sounding like a politician telling you how "your tax dollars are at work," I will tell you how your membership dues have been, more recently, put and will be put to good use:
Our webmaster, Marc Johnson, has totally updated our website;
We continue our long-standing tradition of decorating an Icelandic Christmas tree at the Museum of Science and Industry and we will be participating in additional activities commemorating the current seventy-fifth anniversary year of its Christmas Around the World program. Long-time board members, Stella Solis, Lena Hallgrímsdóttir, Joni Shaw, and Katrín Heiðar will be putting newly allocated funds to work to enhance our Christmas tree decorations and welcome your participation in same;
Joni Shaw, our permanent representative, and Larry Shaw [alternate representative] on the Board of the Scandinavian Park Foundation [the old Vasa Park in South Elgin], have encouraged our donation of an Icelandic flag pole, sponsorship of a park bench for the enhanced Vasa Park garden, and our continued participation in the mid-Summer Festival and Family Picnic on Saturday, 21-June-2008 [in lieu of an Icelandic Independence Day picnic] and Scandinavian Day on the Sunday following Labor Day, both at Vasa Park, details of which follow below;
On Sunday, the 27th of July, 2008, long-time board members, Einar Steinsson and Lena Hallgrímsdóttir, continue their coordination of what is now our fourth annual Greater Icelandic Open Golf Tournament and awards dinner, details of which follow below;
Our tradition of celebrating an annual Þorrablót dinner in February or March, with authentic Icelandic food, continues! This past February, long-time members, Anna Kardal and Ásgeir Ólafsson, graciously hosted an in-home Thorrablot. We enjoyed Icelandic Thorrafood made possible by the cooperation of the Icelandic Society of New York and the New York City Icelandic Trade Consulate, including generous amounts of fresh Skyr donated by The Icelandic Milk and Skyr Company [www.skyr.com] , under the brand name of Siggi's Skyr, now available in many Whole Foods Markets. We gratefully acknowledge the continued generosity of IcelandicGlacial, whose pure imported water is available at both Target and Dominicks, the raffle donations of Icelandic CD's from Skifan [their extensive Icelandic website being: www.skifan.is], and the ever popular, very generous donation of deeply-discounted airline vouchers from Icelandair [www.Icelandair.com].
Your Board is mindful of the tradition of alternating the venue for our Thorrablot between a "central" location in Chicago and a remote location, somewhere in the "boonies." We are committed to finding a suitable, affordable, and convenient venue next Winter within Chicago, proper. With your assistance, with continued and new program initiatives to merit greater rates of renewal and new memberships, and diligent creative outreach to potential personal and corporate sponsors, we are committed to having an in-Chicago Thorrablot worthy of the greatest possible participation, with all the trimmings [e.g., Icelandic food, entertainment, a variety of raffle- and door prize- gifts, and, perhaps, a special honored guest], as we can all afford.
Speaking of potential "new programmatic initiatives," I will invoke "President's prerogative" and communicate the fact that, at various times, your Board has discussed the desirability and possibility of facilitating some sort of modest scholarship support, of one kind or another. No final decisions have been made and I am not at liberty to make any such "official" promises, other than to state my own personal commitment to shepherding that pipedream along its way, eventually to reality. Feedback from the entire community of members and friends is most welcome and I solicit your communication regarding same to our Board and to the undersigned.
We all look forward to your participation in our activities in the coming year. Your Board has made a renewed commitment to communicating, as best we can, to our membership and friends. Our Frón editor, Swany, will be helping us in that regard by announcing upcoming activities farther in advance, perhaps on a quarterly-basis. Again, velkomin! Thank you for your participation, contributions, and for your encouragement so that The Icelandic Association of Chicago will continue to warrant your time and talent, as we strive to maintain and uphold our proud, shared Icelandic heritage and tend to contemporary and relevant matters, Icelandic. We encourage your patronage of the above-mentioned corporate sponsors who have donated to our most recent þorrablót. If you have suggestions for any additional corporate sponsors or if you know of Icelandic vendors whose businesses we should be bringing to the attention of our members and friends, please communicate this to the Board and to the undersigned.
John Haldor Hofteig, President [E-Mail: JohnHaldor@aol.com].
From the editor
It never seizes to surprise me how everything changes for the better when spring takes over from winter. In my heart, all sorts of corny and warm feelings take place and what I really want to do is to burst into song (the musical style with emphasis on the Icelandic Folk music) and embrace everything that is around me.
Summers in Iceland were great. It seemed as one could go on, days on end, with out too much sleep. No darkness only daylight. It never bothered me. For several summers I worked in the travel industry business and if I had a penny for every time some foreigner asked me where he/she could buy dark sunglasses so sleeping wouldn't be a difficult task to solve, I would be a wealthy woman.
Summers are like a chicken soup for the soul, at least mine. Everything gets easier somehow. People are more aware of life, it take 5 minutes instead of 75 minutes to get dressed because layers of clothes aren't necessary, people remember to smile at you, eating is fun because of all the BBQ and "get to gather with friends". But most of all there is the thought of 4-5 good months until the weather turns again. You can't beat that!!!
During the next weeks and months there are miscelanious things that we can do together as members of the IAC. During the midsommar celebration on June 21st , we will celebrate The Icelandic Independence Day. The ever so popular Golf Tournament takes place on July 27th and the Scandinavian Day in September and of course many many more things if we let them happen.
-I also want to emphasis the corrections and updates on your e-mail addresses if they are any. To these addresses I will send out the IAC Newsletter. Our ultimate goal is to cut down on snail mail and only send to those without an e-mail.-
I recomend that you get out there, support our Association and celebrate summer with us.
Take care, yours truly,
Let's use this opportunity and celebrate the Independence Day together in a group of fun loving Icelanders!
Iceland's Independence Day, June 17th
We'll have our Annual Icelandic Independence Day celebration June 21st, in Vasa Park, Route 31, South Elgin, IL. Like last year, our celebration will coincide with Vasa Park's Annual Midsommar Festival, which offers various festivities and experiences emphasizing our Scandinavian heritage. The park opens at 2 PM, the entrance fee is $5 for adults with children 12 and under free. We'll meet around 3 PM and will have reserved some picnic tables, and put up the Icelandic flag for identification. You can bring your own picnic basket, or purchase refreshments in the park. The festival goes one until 9 PM - for more information and directions, please visit www.vasaparkil.com
Let's use this opportunity and celebrate the Independence Day together in a group of fun loving Icelanders!
The Greater Chicago Icelandic Open 2008
4th Greater Chicago Icelandic Open 2008 will be at Highland Woods (2775 N. Ela Road, Hoffman Estates) on Sunday the 27th of July at 3PM. The format is the same as before, Texas Scramble, in teams of two players. If you need a partner we will find you one (for the tournament that is ;-) The fee is $35, and includes the golf, bucket of balls, and a cart. There is a trophy for the winners, and medals for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place, plus many other prizes and giveaways. We will award the Longest Drive for women and men, longest putt, closest to the pin, and of course, "hole in one", but no car, maybe next year. The tournament is almost sold out with 10 teams so far, so sign up as soon as possible if you are interested. You can mail your check to our treasurer Larry Shaw and make sure it is payable to the Icelandic Association of Chicago
(Lawrence O. Shaw, Treasurer 147 N. Buckingham Drive Sugar Grove, IL 60554)
News from Vasa Park
This year's Scandinavian Day Festival is on Sunday, September 7, 2008. The theme of this celebration is "Honoring Scandinavia's Contributions to the World". We would like to be a presence this year with a booth to sell Icelandic food and another booth to display some of our foremost accomplishments.
We are looking to you for suggestions and help regarding tasty Icelandic treats that we could sell. They ran out of water last year - that's one thing we could possibly provide that would be easy.
The country-specific displays will highlight both past and present day Scandinavian contributions in such areas as science, the arts, economics, manufacturing, etc. At our board meeting we thought of such things as Althingi, Decode Genetics, Ossur Prosthetics Company, Vigdus, first female President, Reagan-Gorbachov Summit, and Geothermal energy. We look to you, once again, for your thoughts and items for display.
The Scandinavian Park Committee is working hard at cleaning up and beautifying the park. One effort is a garden and walkway with flowers native to our countries and an inner walkway with benches. The Icelandic Association has voted to donate a bench and plaque. The garden should be beautiful this fall. More buildings will be gradually added to the park, including a gazebo (a lovely place to have a wedding).
So, mark your calendars for September 7th. Email your suggestions regarding food and Icelandic display items and if you are able to help at either booth, to Joni Shaw - email@example.com.
The Opening Ceremony is at 11:00 or 11:30 AM with a procession of the flags with people in National costumes. Are there any of you who have traditional dress who would be willing to be in this procession and carry the flag. One of the Vikings carried our flag last year.
Check out the park website at www.vasaparkil.com for further information about Scandinavian Day and other happenings in the park.
The Icelandic Association of Chicago cordially invites all Icelanders, descendants of Iceland and friends of Iceland to join our organization. Please forward a copy of this Membership Form to anyone interested in joining.
Icelandic Association of Chicago
2008 Membership Form
Full Name of member/s____________________________________________
Name of child/children_____________________________________________
City, State, Zip-code______________________________________________
Phone Number____________________ E-mail_________________________
New Member_____________ Renewal Member_____________
Annual Membership fees: Individual/students: $15.00, Family: $25.00
147 N.Buckingham dr.
Farsælda Frón - The Icelandic Association of Chicago Newsletter. Editor: Svanfríður Eygló Arnardóttir-Getchell, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.IcelandChicago.org. Correspondence: The Icelandic Association of Chicago, Jón Hofteig President.