Hólmlátur, near the shore of Hvammsfjörður, Iceland, has for centuries been the home of many travellers who have gone from there to explore new worlds.
One of the first was Eiríkur Rauði (Erik the Red) Þorvaldsson and his wife, Þjóðhildur Jörundardóttir. Around A.D. 970, he received land as a dowry from Þjóðhildur’s father, Jörund Atlasson who lived on the farm named Vatn in Haukadal. On this land they built Eiríksstaðir.
When Eiríkur was outlawed in 982, he lost all his possessions, and they left Iceland to explore the island to the west. As the Saga says, he and the family returned, stayed with Ingólfur Ánason for the winter, and finally, in 985, sailed with others in 25 ships for Greenland. They left from Hólmlátur to build a new life far from Iceland.
In 1894, 909 years later, Jörundur Guðbrandsson left from this area and immigrated to Lundar, MB with his daughter, Kristjána, and her husband, Daniel Sigurðsson, born at Tjaldbrekka. In 1903, Jörundur´s son, Guðbrandur, his wife, Jóhanna, and their five children followed and settled near Lundar. Three more children were born and one is now, both in Iceland and North America, the Matriarch of Hólmlátur.
Aðalheiður Jany Jörundson (Adelaide) was born on January 13, 1909, on the farm three miles from the Stony Hill Post Office in Grunnavatnsbyggð. Her mother gave her the nickname, Lalla, after an actress. Lalla learned English at Morning Star School, but was taught to read and write in Icelandic by her mother. Later, when the Rocky Hill School was built, the children walked the three miles daily to attend.
In 1929, Lalla and her older sister, Þuríður, followed to Los Angeles in the footsteps of their sister, Kristine, and her husband, Harry Mitchell, who had moved there in 1924. Lalla was the hairdresser and Thura/Thora, who had married Nils Lansing, and Kristine were the dressmakers with clients in Hollywood.
In 1933, Lalla married Ronald McNutt and together they raised their three children, Gloria, Kenneth, and David, far from Manitoba and far from Iceland. Over the great distance of time, place, and language, Lalla faithfully maintained contact with her family.
On January 13, 2010, our dear Lalla celebrated her 101st birthday. This active centenarian enjoys life to the fullest. The phone may ring and a youthful voice says, “Hello, this is Lalla.” A conversation with Lalla brightens the day. Let us honour the Matriarch of Hólmlátur by sending her 101 greetings and wishes.
Forward this article to all her family and friends old and new in North America and Iceland. The contact addresses are below.
Hólmlátur exists no more. It is only a metal sign. The people are gone. Eiríkur and Þjóðhildur died in Greenland. Jörundur and his family are buried near Lundar, and Lalla’s husband, sisters, and brothers-in-law are buried in California. But life goes on, with blessings. Lalla’s 8th great-grandchild, Marley Margaret McNutt Vazquez, will be one year old on January 19, 2010.
They are a century apart in age, but they are bound by love, the ingredient carried to the rest of the world with the travellers from the Hólmlátur “ætt”. No matter where we are, the Matriarch of Hólmlátur guides us with her heart.
Áfmælis oskir, Happy Birthday, Aðalheiður Jany.