3/19/42 - More about Greenland

Glaciers, one thousand - two thousand feet deep;
Rocks, glacier worn, and rocks sharp and steep
Ev'ning - but no night in June and July;
Eerie darkness at noon in the mid-winter sky, -
No autos, no telephones; but two picture shows;
Lakes, and kayaking, for girls and their beaus;
Also fine skating and sports of deep snows,
No thought of war and all it implies;
Danish-owned Greenland is man's paradise.

It came as a shock when Dr. Baregard, Greenland's only dentist, called that land "paradise." The old geography books tell us that Eric the Red, who discovered Greenland, give that country a "false boom" by giving it such an alluring name. Truly there is little verdure there. No trees, no grass, no flowers, except in the very southern part, where lovely blue lupines and yellow poppies grow. The Greenlanders lead a simple life - the life which always makes for greater happiness. There is little struggle to "keep up with the Joneses'" because the Joneses (or their Eskimo counterpart) live in the The hospitals, painted red, the white churches and school houses are the most pretentious buildings. The teachers are Danish, and of course the Danish language is taught in the schools. Most of the Greenlanders have been taught about Jesus, and have accepted Christianity with child-like faith. The churches are all Lutheran - because practically all Denmark is Lutheran. Their language is quite interesting. Dr. Baregard told me it is a poly-synthetic language - which made me look at him with the vacant stare of an ignoramus. But he graciously loaned me his book, which explains all. The Greenlandish (and outlandish) sentence starts with the most important word; for instance, "kayak," which is qajaq" in their language. If they want to express some simple thought about the kayak, their word, which is really a sentence, is like this: "qajartutdlarqigsorasuangortipatigut." Let's cling to our good old English. But the thing that makes the Greenlandish language unique is the fact that they have no word for "war." They never heard of war - until our American ships came up there to protect them. And that is why Dr. Baregard is looking forward to his return, in June, to the land which he calls "paradise."

Dr. Baregard's hobby is color photography - in lantern slides, and moving picture. Where would he find brilliant color in cold, drab Greenland (except the extreme south)? In the women's clothes. How they love color! I did not see the movies, but the lantern slides and Mrs. Baregard's souvenirs (which I mentioned last week, but the typesetter didn't) show the most amazing gift of harmonizing colors. The Eskimos from Alaska who visited Cleveland wore the drab brown suits and shapeless dress, made of animal skins without benefit of the dyer's skill. The Greenlander women wear the most beautiful suits. The waist is trimmed with all-bead collar, or Bertha, at least eight inches wide. The smart, well-fitting pants have bands of intricate embroidery, done with beautifully dyed skins, cut to less than 1/16 of an inch in width. Their trim boots, coming above the knees, are made of the strongest skins, also gorgeously embroidered. The married women wear blue boots; the unmarried, white. The Danish women have brought over some modern hair-dressing ideas; and I want to tell you that some of those young Greenland lassies are downright pretty. Now they must get their beads and all imported accessories from the U.S. and Canada.

Mrs. Baregard, the dentist's sister-in-law, has charming souvenirs, in the form of curious ivory figures, made from the walrus tusk; bead doilies; moccasins, made of dog skin, with the white hair inside; embroidered belts; and a lovely bag, made of sealskin. Now I must close - long before I'm finished with my story. I'll just insert the line left out of last week's "poem" - not that it is important, but makes sense, anyway, "While the drill-shaped road scraper" (Cuts a cute dental caper).

Florence B. Taylor

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