2nd Generation Day - 2009
An odd assortment of images and ideas come to mind when thinking about what it means to me to be a second generation Dane.
At first I find it hard to think of a Danish identity growing up in Canada but upon reflection there are some things that this heritage has given me that I do take for granted.
One of the first times I realized being Danish was different than other people was at a young age in school. Some of the other school kids were talking about their middle names. They had ones like Thomas, Peter and Elizabeth. I of course said they had some pretty funny sounding middle names, and told them that mine was a normal one. Of course they asked and I told them proudly mine was Dybkar same as my sister. Thankfully they either didn't believe me or forgot my middle name.
Like a lot of second generation Danes here, one of the greatest influences of Danish Culture came from the church.
Growing up with things that seemed natural to me required a lot of explaining to my early friends.
One of the more interesting ones to explain was how we dressed up in costumes to knock a cat out a barrel to find out who would be king and queen. And of course we did this in church sometime in February.
For mid summer I told some classmates how at my church we would gather outside at sunset on a farm and burn a witch. Again a ritual that required a lot more explanation than I could give at that young age.
I think in retrospect many of these stories seemed a bit beyond belief to non-Danes.
Maybe because Denmark is such a small country might explain why we
hold onto some of these things. Growing up I remember some great things
about being Danish.
With my mother Ann teaching Sunday school and my father John also involved
in the church my sister and I were here as well.
At the age of fifteen I remember getting confirmed, going back to St.
Catharines for a Brunch with the family and guests at the house.
Moving into adulthood I did spend less time at the church but my family
was a great source of Danish influence.
When my wife and I decided to get married it seemed natural to do it
as a Danish Lutheran.
It seems an identity that is inescapable for some.
And finally, one last word on my middle name. When I started running my running friends in Hamilton and Burlington always called me Dybkar to which I now enjoyed the comment. So when a lovely young woman joined our running group, after a few months I called her to ask her out. I said hello Heidi its Mark Sorensen, and she responded with a polite OK. I started making some small talk to her and after a while she stopped me and asked who I was! My thoughts of her being interested in me were evaporating quickly when she said that. I told her I was Mark who runs with her friends Doug and Alison, she then said loudly OH DYBKAR. So that was how I hade a first date with my wife who only knew me as Dybkar.