In the downstairs room, the corner cupboards, table and benches were old but the fireplace was new, as were the colorful chairs, actually not new but recently purchased.
The fireplace was of a typical Norwegian style, built of stucco with an aged copper hood and an opening that accommodated logs placed in the traditional upright arrangement.
Many of the copper pieces, decorative plates, and other accessories were family pieces that were Gunder's or had been given to him at the time of his brother's death. Some of the items though, Renee recognized as belonging to her mother. Grandmother Helena had given some of them to her granddaughter Monique. The little black sewing machine, a Singer, which sat on the shelf above the beds, had accompanied Helena, when she left Norway, as a young bride with her French husband. Renee recalled that her mother, taught by Grandma Helena, had learned to sew on that machine as a young girl, and made most of her own clothes.
All of these thoughts and memories tumbled through her head as she looked about the room. By now, though, Philippe had managed a quick "toilette" at the little vanity and was eager to sample the hearty breakfast which he knew was waiting for them downstairs. He had heard the door open and a few minutes later a call from Gunder that breakfast had been delivered.
As they sat enjoying the freshly baked bread and traditional hard sausage and cheese, with plenty of hot coffee, Philippe asked Renee to tell him more about her great grandmother. Sitting in this very traditional Norwegian kitchen, it was easy and fun to begin retelling the stories she had heard, as a child, from her mother, about her great grandmother Helena.