Autobiography Essay

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Sociological Autobiography: Bruce Mork, witten November 29, 2000, and updated a bit in 2010 My Parents Grow Up in Norwegian-Lutheran Farm Families My parents, born in the early 1920's, both grew up in large Norwegian-Lutheran farm families in Minnesota and Iowa. My mother's was the kind of gemeinschaft community analyzed (and perhaps romanticized) by the German sociologist, Ferdinand Tonnies. Life was lived in a circle of extended family and church. Ethnicity and religion were closely related. Mom's parents were the children of Norwegian immigrants; the church, and its cemetery, was on land donated by one of her grandparents; services were in Norwegian; Norwegian was spoken in the home to such an extent that her older brothers (the second generation born in the United States) spoke only Norwegian when they started school. Social life was among relatives on neighboring farms, and her closest friends were her siblings and her many cousins. All her life my mother yearned to recreate the kind of community in which she'd grown up. At the same time, she resists labeling that period as "the good old days." Her family, and most families they knew, were poor. People in towns did a little better, but for farmers, times were already tough in the 1920s. In the 1930's, drought and Depression made them even worse. Mom remembers walking out with her father into a corn field that was mostly dust, with the plants all withered. She can't imagine how her parents coped with all the worry. They lost their farm to a mortgage foreclosure in the early 1930's, and her parents worked rented farms the rest of their lives, until they retired to town. Both of her brothers left school in their early teens to work on neighboring farms. Mom and her two younger sisters were able to finish high school, but no one was able to attend college, which was a great sorrow to their mother, who had

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