Friday Happy Hour
Friday, May 20, 6–8 pm
We’ll plant a whitebarked Himalayan birch (Betula jacquemontii) tree to commemorate the bequest by the Eleanore L. Franzen estate, which had enclosed the following note: “Miss Franzen was very proud of her Scandinavian heritage and made this bequest so that your organization could preserve Scandinavian traditions and culture.”
Birch trees are an iconic symbol of the Nordic region with their papery white bark, long lean trunks with eye-like knots and the warming sweet smell of the sauna. They grow abundantly all around Scandinavia. Aside from their distinctive outward appearance, many parts of birch are also used for food: their sap is traditionally drunk fresh, boiled down into syrup, and even brewed into beer, and the small buds, harvested in the winter before they begin to shoot, are deeply resinous and aromatic. The chewing gum sweetener xylitol is extracted from birch trees.
Eleanor Franzen (1922–2019) and Florence Franzen (1918–2006) were two sisters who devoted their lives to their parents, John and Ellen Franzen, their church, The Scandinavian Club including the Northern Lights female chorus, The Southbury Lutheran Home Guild and traveling.
Growing up in Bridgeport, Conn. they were life members of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church. Between the two of them they participated in many of its facets: Sunday School, music, fairs including baking! Florence was a secretary at the Fairfield Board of Education and Ellie worked at People’s Bank, Fairfield.
Neither of them ever married, but they were survived by several cousins in Connecticut and Sweden. Florence and Eleanor were two very special ladies who shared their compassion and love with anyone they contacted.
Save the Date: Midsummer Celebration
Saturday, June 25