Our first home in Seattle was a tiny garage apartment in the back of a large house near Greenlake. I began my American education in a grade school that was right across the street, and felt very special when the teacher sat me on the floor in the middle of a circle of my classmates and they asked me questions about Norway in a language I could barely understand. School was mainly arts and crafts and recess so I got along fine. Play is play in any language. That first summer in Seattle was very warm and my father and I used to walk down the hill to the lake and swim in Greenlake. The first time we went he told me to go out into the deeper waters and swim; no lesson, just do what he did. I followed his instruction and managed to stay afloat. We rented a bicycle in a rental shop nearby and he told me to get on it and ride. He never taught, never held on to the bike or considered that I’d never done it before, and since he expected it, that’s what I did. I rode like I’d been doing it forever. His motto was just do it. He had Nike beaten by a few decades.
I had barely started making headway with my English at my school when we moved to a house so small it could barely hold the four of us. And then moved again to the home where I ended up attending the grade school where I started my show business career. My sister was very shy and, like me, barely was able to speak or understand English. She decided that she would rather work than go to school and found a job at Sears, wrapping packages in the mail order department. She briefly joined the Salvation Army and bought herself one of those huge bonnets you only see now in productions of Guys and Dolls, thinking that this would be the center of her social life. She was disappointed to find out that in America, the Salvation Army is not an organization of Christian young people like in Sauda but mainly people who pick up furniture and other belongings to sell in their stores to help the needy.
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