February 20, 2004 at 8:48 a.m.
This talkative, friendly group finds comraderie in practicing the language of their childhood, sharing stories about their ancestors and getting the latest news from Scandinavia.
These gentlemen have racked up many trips to Sweden. One fellow explained that his relations live in Sweden, so that’s where he goes to be with family. He’s been to visit 11 times and hopes to go again. They all report being treated warmly on travels to Sweden and the Chisago Lakes region continues to be of great interest to the Swedish people, they added.
New ‘members’ and guests are most welcome at these cafe gatherings. The regular group numbers fluctuate depending on time of year, but 12 is a pretty reliable headcount. Some of the group drive up from White Bear Lake and Forest Lake, and others live right nearby.
There’s a variety of professions, income levels and backgrounds for these fellows; but, they all appreciate their Scandinavian roots. They have fun phrasing the conversation at whatever Swedish proficiency level each has. Our interview bounced back and forth between languages, with a couple fellows clearly getting a kick out of weaving Swedish into their remarks.
The men pretty much all grew up speaking Swedish in the home.
Fillmore Lindberg said he grew up east of North Branch and it was all Swedish in the house, until they stepped out the door, and then English was spoken. As kids they learned English at school and from friends.
Immigrant heads of families represented in the group came over to America anywhere from the 1860s to 1913 and so their dialects are somewhat dated. One group member described his manner of speech as “frozen” in time.
This is not a men’s only club, although it’s evolved that way.
The meetings are from about 9 a.m. until whenever...at the Wagon Wheel the second and fourth Tuesdays. The cafe is in downtown Chisago City a block south and east of Moberg Park.