Goodman Norwick Oral History Interview, 1983

Overview of the Collection

Norwick, Goodman
Goodman Norwick Oral History Interview
1983 (inclusive)
3 file folders
1 photograph
2 sound cassettes
Collection Number
An oral history interview with Goodman Norwick, a Norwegian immigrant.
Pacific Lutheran University, Archives and Special Collections
Archives and Special Collections
Pacific Lutheran University
12180 Park Avenue South
Tacoma, Washington
Telephone: 2535357586
Fax: 2535357315
Access Restrictions

The oral history collection is open to all users.

Additional Reference Guides

Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Goodman Norwick was born Gudmund Naavik on January 25, 1892 in Frosta, Nord-Trøndelag, Norway. His parents were Kristian (Olson) Granstad and Gura Anna Froestad, but they were never married. They planned to be married once Kristian established himself in America, but after Goodman was born, Guru lost interest in immigrating to America herself. Both Guru and Kristian eventually married other people and raised families. Due to Guru's sickness after a difficult childbirth, Goodman, however, was raised by his paternal grandparents, Ole and Marine Granstad, and visited his mother every weekend once he was old enough to walk between the two family homes. Ole was a fisherman, but the family lived on a farm where they worked in exchange for rent. As a child, Goodman helped his grandfather with the farm and was also very interested in education. He attended seven years of school, and after his confirmation, he began to work as a hired hand for Mr. Tryggve Juberg. Goodman's grandfather died before his confirmation, and when Goodman's grandmother decided to immigrate to America in 1909 with her son Haakon; Goodman joined them. Once in America, Goodman joined his father in South Dakota, working for him and another farmer, Joe Bryan. Both Joe and his wife were educated at Brookings State College, and Goodman quickly learned English from them and Joe's mother-in-law, Mrs. Buchayne. In the fall of 1917, Goodman enlisted in the Army and served at the Western Front from New Year's 1918 until the war's end. After the war, Goodman returned to the Bryan farm and then went into the masonry-plaster business with his cousin in 1920. This venture only lasted for a year, and in 1921, he began working on a farm with a friend. While working there, he met Anna Mellon, who had also emigrated from Norway, and married her in the fall of 1922. They began farming in Northgate, along the North Dakota-Canadian boarder, and had six children: Lyle, Donald, Arlene, Lillian, Milo, and Lola. While his children were growing up, Goodman held a variety of jobs, including truck driving, working for the Fish and Wildlife Service, construction, and building grain bins. He has belonged to the American Legion since 1920 and continues to read and write in Norwegian.


Full Name: Gudmund Joakim Naavik (Goodman Joakim Norwick). Father: Kristian (Olson) Granstad. Mother: Guru Anna Froestad. Paternal Grandfather: Ole Granstad. Paternal Grandmother: Marine Granstad. Brothers and Sisters: Goodman has Norwegian half-siblings (Guru's second family) and American half-siblings (Kristian's second family in America). Spouse: Anne Mellon. Children: Lyle Clayton Norwick, Donald Norwick, Arlene Norwick, Lillian Norwick, Milo Norwick, Lola Norwick, Goodman and his wife had one stillborn child.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

This interview was conducted with Goodman Norwick on June 16, 1983 in Moses Lake, Washington. It contains information on Goodman's family background, childhood, emigration, work, service in World War II, marriage and family life, and Norwegian heritage. Also available is a black and white photograph of Goodman (1983). The interview was conducted in English. The interview was conducted in English.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

There are no restrictions on use.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Custodial History

The Oral History collection project was started during an experimental course on Scandinavian Women in the Pacific Northwest. Students in the course were encouraged to interview women and learn about their experiences as immigrants to the United States. The project was continued and expanded with support from the president's office and by grants from the L.J. Skaggs and Mary C. Skaggs Foundation, from the Joel E. Ferris Foundation and the Norwegian Emigration Fund of the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The project was directed by Dr. Janet E. Rasmussen. The collection was transferred to the Archives and Special Collections Department.

Acquisition Information

Processing Note

The interview was conducted by Janet Rasmussen using a cassette recorder. A research copy was also prepared from the original. To further preserve the content of the interview, it is now being transferred to compact disc. We deliberately did not transcribe the entire interview because we want the researchers to listen to the interviewee's own voice. The transcription index highlights important aspects of the interview and the tape counter numbers noted on the Partial Interview Transcription are meant as approximate finding guides and refer to the location of a subject on the cassette/CD. The recording quality is good

The collection was transcribed by Mary Sue Gee, Julie Peterson and Becky Husby.


Rasmussen, Janet Elaine. New Land New Lives: Scandinavian Immigrants to the Pacific Northwest Tacoma, Washington University of Washington Press 1993

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

The partial interview transcription highlights important aspects of the interview. Numbers may be used as guides to important subjects. Two numbers separated by a slash indicate that the first number is for cassette and the second for CD.

Container(s) Description
Goodman Norwick was born Gudmund Joakim Naavik on January 25, 1892, in Frosta, Nord-Trøndelag, Norway. Frosta is about 25 km northeast of Trondheim on the Aasenfjord. His name Gudmund was changed to Goodman in the US, but it wasn't his idea. The US Army put the "r" in his last name. His father was Kristian Granstad and his mother Guru Anna Froestad (name of farm). Both were from the Frosta area.
249, side 1 133:
Kristian immigrated to South Dakota as Kristian Olson, but there were so many Olsons in the community that he took the name of the farm, Naavik, where both he and Gudmund were born and raised. Granstad was the name of the husmannsplass on the Naavik farm.
249, side 1 155:
Gudmund's parents were engaged to be married and had "spent some time together". They decided to wait to be married until Kristian had established himself in America; he emigrated because it was hard to make money in Norway as a common laborer. Goodman was born after Kristian had left for America. Guru had been working in Trondheim, and after Goodman was born, she lost all interest in coming to America. Guru was very sick from a difficult childbirth and couldn't take care of Goodman, so he was raised by his paternal grandparents, a situation that Kristian knew about and agreed to.
249, side 1 199:
Goodman saw Guru every weekend after he was big enough to walk between their places. She eventually married (3-4 years later) and raised a family.
249, side 1 206: GRANDPARENTS
Paternal grandfather was Ole Granstad and paternal grandmother Marine. Ole was a fisherman but lived on the Granstad "husmannsplass" and worked (for rent) for the farmer whenever he was called on in exchange for the privilege to be living on this place. Grandpa had his own 2-man boat, which looked like the old Viking ships having oars and a sail. He and a partner would sail across to the north side of the fjord where the herring fisheries were. After spending the night, they'd string out the nets and drift with the tide. After a few hours, they hauled up the net. If it contained fish, they'd re-fish the same area. If not, they moved elsewhere, drifting and fishing for four-five hours more. The herring were put up and sold by quarter, half, and full barrels. A steam-operated ship would come and pick up herring if someone in Trondheim ordered some. This boat connected the Frosta peninsula and points further north up the Trondheimsfjorden (Levanger and Steinkjer) with Trondheim Sometimes Goodman took the boat into Trondheim.
249, side 1 279:
One such trip was special: the day King Haakon VII was crowned in the Domkirken cathedral. Gudmund saw wonderful things in the city that day: the approach and landing of Haakon's ship, Haakon's riding in a grand carriage, parades, governmental representatives, and a variety of ships in the harbor. Goodman was not in the cathedral for the coronation, but he did attend services there just before he emigrated.
249, side 1 307: CHILDHOOD
Kristian emigrated the spring of 1891 and returned in 1898 when Goodman was six years old. Kristian intended to take Goodman back to the US to attend school, but he and his grandparents were a family unit by then. So Kristian left. Goodman worked on the farm between 15 and 17. He wanted an education, but there was no money.
249, side 1 338: SCHOOL
Four or five small schools consolidated into one large school about five km away. Attended school seven years and missed only two days: he really enjoyed school. Had lady teacher for grade 1; then, male teachers for grades 2-3, 4-5, and 6-7. His grade 6-7 teacher was also the farmer at Naavik, and Goodman played with his children. Talks about qualifications of teachers.
249, side 1 389: CHURCH
Their church was Frosta, the only one then. Now, there are two (Frosta and Logtun). He was baptized and confirmed here. Remembers the number of people confirmed, Karl Seip (?) was the priest, and he had to answer only one question.
Christmas, Easter, and Sundays. These were religious holidays and no work was done.
249, side 1 : FARMWORK
Goodman cared for horses on the grandparents farm, and his cousin Margrete took care of the cows.
249, side 1 443:
Grandfather died right before Goodman's confirmation. He then went to work and lived on Mr. Tryggve Juberg's farm as a hired hand. He was paid 60 kroner a year plus room, board, and some clothes: shoes, two sets of underwear, and one garment. Stayed there two years.
249, side 1 479: EMIGRATION
Kristian sent Goodman a ticket to come to South Dakota where Kristian had been farming since he first immigrated. Kristian had filed on a quarter section in about 1891-2 but lost it in 1898 when he returned to Norway. At this time (1908) Kristian had married and was farming leased land in Deuel County, South Dakota near Brandt, southeast of Watertown and almost on the Minnesota border.
He wasn't too excited about coming, but his grandmother made him. Her youngest boy (single) came in December 1908 to stay with her. Goodman was interested in more schooling and actively pursued and was accepted into a military academy even though he was a few months too young (needed to be 18). Five years of military training was compulsory in Norway and by attending an academy, he could fulfill the military requirement and be a commissioned officer with an education. But Haakon his uncle wanted to emigrate, and arranged for his mother to be cared for. But she decided to come to America, and so Goodman wanted to come also. He was released from his military obligation but did not get his papers back (confirmation and smallpox vaccination). If he had returned to Norway before he was 23, he would have had to serve in the military.
249, side 1 606: TRIP OVER
The party consisted of Goodman, Grandmother, and three cousins (Gina, Margrete, and Ole) who were Kristian's sisters' children. They came from a big family (6-7 kids), which was split out into the community when their father drowned on a fishing trip in the fjord during a big storm. The mother left and nobody knew where. They traveled by train from Trondheim (Trondhjem) to Oslo (Kristiania) and by boat (Fredriksfjord) from Oslo to New York. The trip took 9-10 days; the weather was good, and both Goodman and his grandmother (age 73) enjoyed the trip. His grandmother's health improved in America, and she lived to be 86.
249, side 1 646: NEW YORK
Haakon (also in the group) took care of the papers; no one else knew English. They took the train from New York to Chicago to Brandt, South Dakota, arriving on July 1, 1909.
249, side 1 666: SETTLING IN
Goodman joined his father and helped him with farming on a farm located one mile from town. During the first winter, Goodman had the choice of attending school or doing chores for other people as his father had no work for him. Goodman didn't want to attend the first grade at 18 years of age and chose to work for other people, working from 6 am to dark for $10 a month. He later regretted this choice as another fellow did the school route, earning a high school diploma in two years.
249, side 1 705:
Goodman continued working for his father and another farmer until Joe Bryan hired him full time. The Bryans lived near a German settlement on his mother-in-law's farm (Martha Buchayne ?). Both Joe and his wife were educated at Brookings State College, and Mrs. Buchayne (originally from Norway) was an avid reader and had a library. Goodman was nuts over books, so between the books, the women, and Joe, Goodman learned his English quickly in one year. He adopted Mrs. Buchayne as his second grandma.
249, side 1 TAPE 249; SIDE II:
The Bryan farm was his home base from 1916 until spring 1920, spending three years of this time in the service.
249, side 1 085:
Goodman enlisted in the army in the fall of 1917 and received his citizenship in this manner. (His father had never received his citizenship papers.) He entered the Fourth Division around Christmas 1917. Training occurred in Camp Green, NC, for one month, and basically consisted of bayonet training. English officers were training American officers in bayonet practice. Goodman and two others had the job of keeping the willow dummies in order during jab practice, so he really never received active training. He then went to a camp in NY for five days before going overseas. They landed in Brest, France; went across northern France into Calais to join the British troops in Belgium.
249, side 1 196:
Tells a story about Calais and the American and British troops.
249, side 1 210:
The Americans were sent to Paris and spent 8-9 months at the Western Front from New Year's 1918 to the war's end. Goodman and his division were in the battle of Chateau-Thierry for four weeks. (The Marines were in the Belleau Wood battle.) Each division had their own objective to reach and stayed until they were replaced. The next move was to St. Mihiel (near Verdun) for one week; then to the Argonne for 30 days , a rough one. Then to Metz (Germany) but no action there because the armistice was signed. (These battles were on the southeastern corner of the Western Front near France, Belgium, and Germany.)
249, side 1 249: WORLD WAR I WARFARE
Goodman experienced all kinds of gas; wore out two gas masks. He never was in trench warfare; they were on the move all the time, and he was glad never to have gotten into hand-to-hand fighting.
249, side 1 261: AFTER THE WAR
He spent 8 months in Germany, the last three months in Koblenz in the Rhineland. Goodman was selected to return to France to become a commissioned officer (lieutenant). But he chose to remain in Germany with his regiment (Company M, 47th Regiment). He and five other fellows were the only original members left out of 253 men; if the orders came to leave, he wanted to go with his regiment. He was offered another chance for a commission if he'd remained in the army an extra year. But, he refused that also.
249, side 1 337: CIVILIAN LIFE
Goodman returned to the Bryan farm. They sold the farm that fall; he helped move them into town and stayed with them during the winter. In the summer of 1920 he joined his cousin, Ole, in the masonry-plaster business. The work was regular but the economy was poor. Goodman lived off his Dakota State bonus ($385). He failed to collect his share of the plaster business profits, and eventually lost these shares.
249, side 1 382:
In 1921 Goodman worked for an ex-Navy guy, who had bought a farm.
249, side 1 389:
In the spring of 1920, he helped establish an American Legion Post but there weren't enough people to keep that post going.
249, side 1 420: MARRIAGE AND FAMILY
He worked on the farm with his friend for one year. During his time he met, dated, and corresponded with Anna Mellon whose family were farmers. When his friend lost his farm, Goodman, having not drawn his wages, lost them. In November 1921 Goodman went and stayed at the Mellon farm in Canada. He worked for Anna's uncle the summer of 1922 and married Anna in the fall of 1922 at a little church at Northgate (about three miles from the North Dakota border). This church, Copperude ? Lutheran Church, was organized by the Norwegian community, which included Anna's family. Anna had emigrated from Norway as a young girl with her entire family. They were strong on the Norwegian language, and Goodman's kids understood both English and some Norwegian.
249, side 1 480: WORK
After marriage, Goodman and Anna returned to SD and Goodman got a job with the county. Anna's folks wanted them to farm, so the Norwick's returned to North Dakota-Canada in 1924; Goodman leased farms until they bought and moved to a half section on the west side of Northgate (on the Canadian side). "Didn't have nothing for 11 straight years." He moved out and came back over to the States.
249, side 1 553: CHILDREN
He has six children: Lyle, Donald, Arlene, Lillian, Milo, and Lola.
249, side 1 583: AFTER THE FARM
During the 11 bad years he drove a truck in Northgate. Then he acquired a job with the Fish and Wildlife Service at the Des Lacs Wildlife Refuge for four years. He could have transferred jobs, but the move would have interrupted his children's education. He had a variety of jobs with the city after that. Then he joined a construction crew in Kenmare. After the construction company dissolved several years later, Goodman joined another fellow building grain bins around the countryside. Goodman retired in the 1970's due to gout in his legs. He enjoyed building.
249, side 1 675: CHILDHOOD
As a child, he played by himself at road building and really would liked to have done that. He also played with the teacher's children (five boys and one girl) even though he "was ranked far below them" (social standing). Goodman keeps in touch with his half-sister in Norway (three years younger than him); she regularly sends him the local Norwegian paper. He and his daughter Arlene are returning to Norway in the fall of 1983 to see this sister.
249, side 1 714: NORWEGIAN HERITAGE
Goodman brought nothing with him to America, leaving all his trophies, skis, and skates with his half-brother, Dietrik. Goodman was very active in athletics as a boy in Norway. He's looking forward to seeing the area where he played soccer and where he went to school. Also, one of the sons of his 6-7 grade teacher who had encouraged Goodman to continue with school.
249, side 1 763: ON BEING NORWEGIAN
Snakker litt norsk. He writes Norwegian (letters) more so than speaking the language.
Has belonged to the American Legion since 1920 and lived in Moses Lake for three years with his children.
250, side 1 TAPE 250; SIDE I:
250, side 1 016: FAMILY
His wife died in 1974.
250, side 1 033: REMINISCING
Goodman tells a story about the late 1890's (1898-9: the Spanish-American War days). The pure white wheat flour imported from the States was non-existent because of the war. They used this flour to extend their own grain flours (rye, oats, barley). When the white flour supply dried up, Goodman (6 years old) and his grandma collected bark from the "furu" (pine) in gunny sacks. The outside of the bark was peeled off, and the inner cinnamon colored stuff was ground in a coffee grinder and added to the ground grain flour as a white flour substitute.
250, side 1 099: DIFFERENCES IN FOOD
Fish in Norway was good; had a herring meal a day and never got tired of it. The dairy area around his home provided butter, cream, and cheese through the creamery. The milk was brought in, skim milk taken back home, and the farmers were given monthly checks for butterfat and milk brought in.
250, side 1 138: READING
Read very little Norwegian books and writers; more poets than writers. Karl Seip confirmed Goodman and organized the school's song (?) book.
250, side 1 170:
End of tape.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Education--Norway
  • Emigration and immigration
  • Family--Norway
  • Marriage service
  • Naturalization
  • Norwegian-Americans--Northwest, Pacific--Interviews
  • Norwegian-Americans--Social life and customs
  • Ocean travel
  • World War, 1914-1915

Personal Names

  • Granstad, Marine
  • Granstad, Ole
  • Mellon, Anna
  • Norwick, Arlene
  • Norwick, Donald
  • Norwick, Lyle
  • Norwick, Milo
  • Bryan, Joe
  • Froestad, Guru Anna
  • Granstad, Kristian
  • Jugerg, Tryggve
  • Norwick, Goodman--Interviews (creator)
  • Norwick, Lillian
  • Norwick, Lola

Corporate Names

  • American Legion
  • Fredricksfjord (Steamship)

Family Names

  • Frøstad family
  • Granstad family
  • Naavik family
  • Norwick family

Geographical Names

  • Frosta, Nord-Trøndelag (Norway)
  • Moses Lake (Wash.)
  • Northgate (N.D.)

Form or Genre Terms

  • Oral histories


  • Farmers