January 10th


Photos courtesy Lise


The Box of Chocolates

ONE of the most beautiful countries in the world, Mordochka, is Norway. It’s so beautiful that people jump out of bed every morning in gratitude. Yes, of course, dogs jump out of bed too!           
     This story begins 70 years ago in Norway and Denmark, and it’s still going on. Did you know that they say the people of Denmark are the happiest people on earth? Maybe it’s because they’re so kind.  

     It was 1945 and World War II had just ended. The people of Norway were very hard off because they had been occupied by Germany and were what was called severely “food deprived”.
Of course, that was true everywhere in Europe but, even so, the government of Denmark wanted to reach out and help their neighbor country and, through the Red Cross, they took part in
a summer program in which children from Norway went to live with children in Denmark for the summer.

     And so, the summer after the war, a child named Marit was sent to live in Denmark for the summer. Marit was just 14-years-old.  She went to live with a family who had two daughters, Lise and Grete. Grete was also 14 and Lise was six years younger. For two summers Marit went to live with Grete and Lise, and they became like three forever sisters.  

     When things got better in Norway, Marit’s family invited the sisters’ family to come visit. For four years they went back and forth to visit each other, but then Grete and Lise’s family moved to America. That was in 1949. 

     Right before New Year’s the next year, in 1950, a box from Norway arrived in the mail to the sisters’ family: a big, red, wonderful box of chocolates! Yes, it made them very happy, Mordochka, because just 1 big, red, wonderful box of chocolates made them feel close to their dear Norwegian friends. It’s special to feel close to people, Mordochka. But wait until you hear what happened after that.

     Grete, Lise, and Marit all grew up and married and started families of their own—but, still, every year Marit’s parents sent a big, red, wonderful box of chocolates to Grete and Lise’s parents.  When the sisters’ parents eventually passed away, Marit sent two big, red, wonderful boxes of chocolates: one to Grete’s family and one to Lise’s family.   

     And now, even though Marit and Grete have passed away, Marit’s son, Jan, still sends the same big, red, wonderful box of chocolates to Lise. Even after 70 years, Mordochka, the box of chocolates is just as special when it arrives in the mail with all its magical stamps, as when it first arrived when Lise was a little girl. Not distance, not time, not borders, not even death or war, Mordochka, can stop, or break, ties of kindness and love.

—Told to us by Lise. The chocolates, unfortunately,
were already gone when she told us or she would have surely shared them with us, for Lise was born in the land of happiness and kindness.

 ©InterestEng. July 2013 - April 2022 §  The stories in the magazine portion of the site are written by English language learners. Stories are corrected by a native English speaker.  § Photos are staff photos or used with permission.  §  To contact us:  go.gently.on@gmail.com