1926 Ragnor Benson Danish Home 12/06

Another holiday season is upon us and the signs are everywhere, from decorations and lights going up to the Annual Magnificent Mile Lights Festival that took place this past weekend. This is the 22nd year of this wondrous Chicago event, which is now quite a tradition in its own right! People come from all over (an estimated 1 million visitors!) for the grand tree-lighting parade and to see the beautiful fireworks display. Not to mention the excitement that the holiday spirit brings us this time of year!

The weather is getting chillier and nearly all of the leaves have fallen off the trees now. During my visit with Mormor last week I couldn’t help but stop on the front walk of The Danish Home and admire the changing scenery.
I’m sure the grounds and the neighborhood would’ve looked somewhat similar to Emma 122 years ago as well, give or take a few buildings and modern conveniences! Although much time has gone by between our eras, and the environment, activities and traditions of The Home may have changed, the welcoming spirit, love of heritage and the friendliness of the people definitely have not. I (along with many others) believe that this is what makes The Danish Home such a special place.


Mormor described to me how this sentiment was exemplified last week when crafters visited The Home to make delightful holiday cards with the residents. In turn, the residents created a card thanking Karen Simon and teachers Pearl and Ellen for their time and service with this fun activity. It was signed by all, adorned with The Danish flag and exclaimed, “Mange Mange Tak” (translation: many, many thanks).
This is yet another testament to the kind and congenial atmosphere that Mormor describes about The Home, and I have had the pleasure of witnessing it, again and again.

With that said, it is the season of giving thanks – an American tradition ultimately celebrating togetherness, compassion and fellowship. Although Emma and her family had emigrated from Denmark in 1869, would they have adopted this new tradition in their new home? It is quite obvious that she, her family and the other 11 Founding Women believed and embodied the spirit of generosity and giving thanks – to their elders, their family, their heritage and culture (both new and old) –solely based on their tremendous contribution to their community and their work in senior care.


This Thanksgiving I am grateful for many things, one of which is The Danish Home community, which has helped so many people over the past 120 years.
Its mission, forged by The 12 Founding Women in 1891 and still honored today through The Home, its Foundation, donors, volunteers and supporters, preserves Danish (and Danish-American) culture, traditions and honors and cares for those who came before us. So it is with this that I say ‘Mange, Mange Tak’ to The Danish Home and everyone who supports this mission!

May you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!