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Gals . . . how NOT to pick up a guy while on vacation

Gals . . . how NOT to pick up a guy while on vacation

Native American Brainfood

The M/S Svea Scarlett and her sister ship, the M/S Dana Scarlett, were built in 1964 at the Landskrona Varvet AB ship yards.  They were named after (would you believe?)  Scarlett O’Hara of “Gone With the Wind.”  Svea Scarlett means “Swedish Girl Scarlett.”

In October of 1941, when “Gone with the Wind” premiered in Swedish movie theaters, Denmark was occupied by the Nazi’s.   No copies of the film were sent to Denmark.  However, since both the United States and Sweden were still neutral countries,  the Nazi’s allowed Danes to take special ferries guarded by German troops from Tuborg Havn in Denmark  to Landskrona, Sweden to watch the movie.  Well over 200,000 Danes and (and in a very low profile) about 25,000 German soldiers crossed the Oresund Channel to see Scarlett O’Hara in Sweden. 

In 1942, the Nazi’s closed the Gone with the Wind ferry operation,  because Hitler had declared war on the U.S.  It has been theorized that Hitler initially allowed the Danes and soldiers to see Gone with the Wind, because it portrayed Africans as an inferior race.

The Landskrona Water Tower dominates the skyline of the Oresund Channel.

(left) Section of a ferry ticket from the M/S Svea Scarlett. Ferries were replaced in 1999 by Europe’s longest bridge. (right) The Landskrona Water Tower dominates the skyline of the Oresund Channel between Denmark and Sweden.

Sleep deprivation was not the word for it.  I had been traveling for 24 hours.  Thirty-six hours before this moment, I had graduated from Georgia Tech.  For months before that I had been going on minimal sleep as I tried to finish the written document, drawings and huge 3D model required for an architectural thesis at Georgia Tech.

Like a scene from movie many years in the future, The Titanic, I was perched near the bow and staring out at this strange object on the horizon.  It looked like a massive flying saucer supported by three columns.   The ship seemed to be steering toward the object.

Hormone therapy is always the best cure for a young man’s frazzled brain and body.  In order to attract my attention, two Scandinavian flicka’s began showing off their perfect English from the starboard side of the bow. Starboard is a Swedish word.  When I glanced toward them they flirted with their eyes and smiles.  I flirted back with a casual wave and a smile.  The smiling and eye contact went on for bit before one of the flicka’s stepped closer and said, “Excuse me sir.  Do you speak English?  What country are you from?  We were just wondering.”

I answered back, “The United States  . . .  Atlanta.

One of them responded, “Oh . . . a Southerner.  You don’t look or talk like a Southerner.

Perhaps I should mention that at this point in my life, I rarely thought about being of Native heritage, knew very little about Creek culture or considered my looks to be that unusual.  Besides, it was common for people in the Lower South to be either bi-racial or tri-racial.

Being a Southern gentleman, I crossed from the port to starboard side of the bow.  We all moved to the tip of the bow so we could talk in privacy.

I learned that they were actually Scandinavian-Americans, just graduated with degrees in Education from the University of Minnesota.  The Norwegian-American was an alternate for the US Olympic Team that would be competing in Munich late in the summer.  The Swedish-American was taking her friend along to visit distant relatives, who lived near Landskrona.

After learning that I had just graduated from Georgia Tech in architecture and was headed to a job in Landskrona that I did not apply for, the conversation got much friendlier.   They whispered and giggled between themselves.

The Swedish-American flicka asked me, “Hey,  we’re tired right now, but how would you like to party tomorrow night with two horny Minnesota Viking girls.  I have never been with a Southern man.   I always wondered what it would be like.  You really don’t look like what I thought a Southerner would be.  I thought they had red or brown hair, dumb expressions on their faces and big beer guts.  But hey . . .  you’re cuter, kind of like a tall, dark and handsome lumber jack – giggle.

I instantly had visions of being the co-star of the sequel to the 1968 X-Rated Swedish movie, I Am Curious, Yellow.   * You can watch this film on YouTube, if curious, yourself. Would be advisable to have a significant other nearby.   Your neighbors might not understand you howling at the moon and running down the street in a hormonal frenzy.

Then,  there was the big bombshell: The Swedish American gal innocently asked, “Hey Richard, we have always wondered what it would be like to grow up underprivileged and in an inferior school system.”

The Norwegian-American gal followed with, “Did your house have indoor plumbing and a kitchen?  Did you have to use one of those hot  outhouses with a tin roof,  when you were growing up? 

Say what-t-t-t?”    From thence onward, the loudest sound on the bow of the M/S  Svea Scarlett was the squawking of the sea gulls above.

Their dumb questions were the deal killer.   I realized that they condescendingly viewed me as a Cousin Jethro on the Beverly Hillbillies . . . a kinky,  adventurous weekend’s roll in the hay that would giggled at in secret, when they got back to Minnesota.

After a few Midnight Sun nights

After several good nights’ sleep and observing the egalitarian attitudes of Scandinavians toward all peoples, my bruised pride healed.  The Swedes and Danes recognized that I looked different than them, and thought it was a good thing.  I was treated with nothing, but kindness and sincere hospitality, the whole time I was in Scandinavia.

I am a “semi-Creek” and merely looked a little “ethnic” to the newly minted Minnesota school teachers.  My experience was absolutely nothing compared to what  full-blooded Native Americans and African Americans have endured for four centuries.

Think about it.   What if your people were brutalized by centuries of slavery, imperial warfare, repeated thefts of your lands and incessant oral put-downs much worse that I got from the Minnesota gals.  That couldn’t help from affect everything you did.   It would create self-limitations to what was possible.  It was social engineering at its worse and its damage is not going to be undone in the twinkle of an eye.

We live in a world of instant fixes –  pass some laws, throw billions of dollars into a legion of social intervention programs,  keep people in prison longer; hire more police and give bigger guns to police . . . They run the spectrum from socialism to fascism in concept  and yet, things seem to be getting worse and worse as the chasm between haves and have not’s continues to grow.

I don’t have an overnight solution to the problems that were four centuries in the making.   However, as individual Native Americans you can steer the bows of your own ships in a different direction than that of the miserable lemmings, marching toward societal self-destruction.   Just think how the words you speak and the words you write would feel, if you were on the receiving end.

PS – Our outhouse was air conditioned. 

CrimeScene

The author (dark coat) prepared for a life of confronting racism and fossilized brains, by kidnapping Georgia Governor Lester Maddox, while a student at Georgia Tech. This veritable icon of racism was hauled to a secret location in Georgia Tech’s famous Model T. We threatened to return him back to office unless state employees filled two large rooms with food for the poor. That ransom was not paid in full so Maddox was returned to the Governor’s office. Yes, this really happened and the photo was on the front page of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. If only the AJC had given Track Rock Gap such positive publicity . . . different century . . . different world.

 

 

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Richard Thornton is a professional architect, city planner, author and museum exhibit designer-builder. He is today considered one of the nation’s leading experts on the Southeastern Indians. However, that was not always the case. While at Georgia Tech Richard was the first winner of the Barrett Fellowship, which enabled him to study Mesoamerican architecture and culture in Mexico under the auspices of the Institutio Nacional de Antropoligia e Historia. Dr. Roman Piňa-Chan, the famous archaeologist and director of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, was his fellowship coordinator. For decades afterward, he lectured at universities and professional societies around the Southeast on Mesoamerican architecture, while knowing very little about his own Creek heritage. Then he was hired to carry out projects for the Muscogee-Creek Nation in Oklahoma. The rest is history. Richard is the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the KVWETV (Coweta) Creek Tribe and a member of the Perdido Bay Creek Tribe. In 2009 he was the architect for Oklahoma’s Trail of Tears Memorial at Council Oak Park in Tulsa. He is the president of the Apalache Foundation, which is sponsoring research into the advanced indigenous societies of the Lower Southeast.

2 Comments

  1. kevint09@comcast.net'

    Richard,
    so you took on one of the big dogs, Lester Maddox himself. I’m impressed!

    Reply
  2. Did you notice that he didn’t like me touching him? Hitler didn’t like people to touch him . . . even his long time girl friend. I think the monsters of the world started becoming so as babies.

    Reply

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