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"The Purple Ribbon Sessions" (2014)

Karoline With a K

Ann-Marita Garsed




She boarded a Westbound ship in eighteen-eighty-something

When the ice had finally melted off the deep, Norwegian fjords

Leavin' behind her a little more than nothing

The family farm and the nineteen years that had gone before

In one hand was a bag of pitiful belongings

The other held on to her little sister's arm

Mother and father, they followed close behind her

She was the only one they trusted since they left the farm


And the vessel left the harbor

and they braved the North Atlantic sea

Even breathing seemed unfamiliar

as they headed for the land of the free

Learning 'bout herself along the way

Now she was Karoline with a K


The family found their home in central Minnesota

Where the men broke rocks and the women kept them fed

Karoline was courted by a man twenty years her senior

On a pale blue sky day in the fall they wed


And the summers lasted longer

But the winter's frost was just as cold

Let her feel like she belonged there

as the seasons would unfold

Minnesota was where she was bound to stay

where she was Karoline with a K


I don't know if she ever asked herself

if she was truly happy

I read nothing between the lines

in the letters that she wrote

To the rest of the world

she is simply a statistic

One of many hopeful faces

coming off the boat


But to me she was a believer

before anyone had called it the American Dream

To a future so uncertain

she closed her eyes and took a giant leap

A distant relative who paved the way

Yeah, she was Karoline with a K


Oh oh oh

She was Karoline with a K

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Upcoming events

  • October 8, 2019
    Morro Bay Wine Seller, Morro Bay, CA
  • February 8, 2020
    Nordic Spirit Symposium, Thousand Oaks, CA
  • May 17, 2020
    Farwell Norwegian Lutheran Church, Farwell, MN

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