The United States of America (a guide)

After a couple of glasses of red wine at a café in Oslo last summer I said in a humble way to my American friend that I was a bit disappointed in how little the Americans knows about the different European countries. We were talking about Eastern Europe.

«And what do you know about our 50 states», he replied.

One year later I´d made my «What an average Norwegian knows about the 50 States of the USA». And as you will see: We norwegians are not that used to divide USA into 50 parts. I´m sorry.

 

Arizona
Thelma and Louise in a 1966 Thunderbird on their way off the edge of Gran Canyon.

North Carolina
All the sad country songs about the Blue Ridge Mountain.

Nevada
Las Vegas not a place to go for your summer vacation if you´re newly healed from your gambling addiction.

Vermont
Without them there wouldn´t be any Original Maple Syrup for your morning pancakes.

Washington
All the black and white photos of Seattle in rain in an old brochure about fisheries.

Mississippi
All the churches. And all the sound of gospel choirs from inside those churches.

Connecticut
A small state and a pretty funny name to pronounce for a 14 year old boy studying the US-map.

California
All norwegians bragging about having at least three grandgrandfathers who was digging for gold in the Eldorado State.

Tennessee
Roy Orbison, Muddy Waters, Carl Perkins and the other Sun Record artists I´m now wondering if you have to be 50 plus to have heard about.

Colorado
The snowy mountain in the opening of all Paramount Picture movies as seen in Ben Hur at an ambulatory cinema called Bygdekinoen 1971.

Kentucky
Fried chicken.

Ohio
The landscape as seen in TV-documentaries of Amish People building their wooden houses under the burning sun.

Delaware
Highest point in our neighbour country Denmark 147 meter above sea level.
Highest point in Delaware 137.

Florida
I once lyed to my son about an uncle of mine who was eaten by the alligators while he and his wife was celebrating their honeymoon in the Everglades.

Hawaii
Elvis via satellite from Hawaii with flower necklace but without ukulele.

Idaho
An award-winning black and white photo of Ernest Hemingway kicking a beer can on a street in his hometown in Idaho only days before the accident with that pistol.

Iowa
Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep making some old covered bridges famous.

Kansas
The little House on the Prairie – which I´m sure you americans watched in color.

Louisiana
The National Public Radio Program Ønskekonserten where you each monday could request a song and where Lous Armstrongs What a Wonderful World always was among them.

Maine
All the lighthouses.

New York
The steamship Hellig Olav and my grandfather arriving Ellis Island only hours ahead of the expected arrival of Titanic.

Maryland
A picture in my head of a lot of bakeries all over the state making Maryland Cookies.

Massachusetts
A song performed by the Australian Bee Gees brothers Robin, Maurice and Barry Gibb.

South Carolina
Learned from National Geographic that it´s illegal to fish with dynamite in the fine state of South Carolina.

Alabama
A teacher in our small town Tvedestrand shoving her pupils a black and white photo of Rosa Park refusing to leave her bus seat in Montgomery.

Michigan
Oldsmobil. Cadillac. Packard. Ford. Chrysler. And the country song Detroit City by Bobby Bare which all from rural norway are able to sing by heart.

Arkansas
Home of Bill Clinton and Johnny Cash. One playing saxophone. The other guitar.

Minnesota
What the swedish author Vilhelm Moberg told us through his novels The Emigrants. Historical stuff we first thought belonged to the norwegians only.

Nebraska
The wonderful Carl Sandburg poem Omaha.

Missouri
All Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn told us. Or to be mor prescise: Mark Twain.

Montana
David Lynch was born here. And I like to think that Montana was a location for at least some of the Twin Peaks scenes even if I know it wasn´t.

WisconsinOr easier to explain for a Norwegian:
The state between The Great Lakes and Mississippi River.

New Jersey
The working-class roots in this state as told by Bruce Springsteen.

Illinois
A John Deere tractor as a little green point somewhere out in the Prairie State.

New Mexico
Morgan Kane born in 1855 somewhere along the Santa Fe Trail.
A fictional character created by the norwegian writer Kjell Hallbing.

North Dakota
Norsk Høstfest in Minot. Lefse and lutefisk.

Alaska
In 1867 bought from Russia for only seven million dollar. And the singer-songwriter Jonas Alaska not born in a small town a couple of miles outside Anchorage. An October-artist.

Oregon
Something about beavers. Nothing to do with the oregano spice.

Pennsylvania
In Norway we have a lot of houses of worships named Filadelfia. As Pennsylvania have their city Philadelphia.

Rhode Island
I was sure Rhode Island was a big island somewhere outside New York.

New Hampshire
The story of Berrys in the romantic John Irving novel Hotel New Hampshire

Wyoming
The landscape as seen in Brokeback Mountain.
Or pictured in your head after reading some of the other short stories of Annie Proulx.

Oklahoma
The musical by Rodgers and Hammerstein.

Indiana
In a Norwegian travelogue referred to as a «fly over state«.

Georgia
An early teacher of mine with tears in her eyes telling her class about the first time she watched Gone With the Wind.

West Virginia
As an owner of the Appalachian musical instrument Mountain Dulcimer I know my John Hardy and have watched a lot of youtube tutorials with bearded overweight men sitting at front porchs playing while their wives are recording.

South Dakota
The Wounded Knee Massacre.

Texas
John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline in the backseat of a black Lincoln Continental Convertible in Dallas. And of course this little soundclip. Neil Armstrong calling Houston in 1969 (NB Husk lydkuttet).

Utah
Home of the Mormons (or to make it short: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)

Virginia
Virginia blend written on my grandfather’s tobacco box.