Letter to Olaug and Einar from Kaare Espolin Johnson — celebrating 60th birthday in 1967.

Galleri Espolin

Storvågan • Lofoten

“A lot has happened since I gave my thanks for the enjoyable telegram on my birthday. You should have been there; the party started at 11:00 on Sunday morning.

We didn’t invite anyone in particular. We just told everyone who might want to join us – and that they did in great numbers. They were certainly hungry, thirsty and ready for free fun at our expense. Ba and I arrived in town the day before, burdened with luggage and liquor for the party. Svolvær got an alcohol monopoly, which it took from Kabelvåg and only left them the right to sell wine and beer. So we had enough liquor and our friends had purchased wine, which helped with the regalement.

You could feel the excitement in the air – you could feel it as you reached the porch. The lanterns outside were lit; the red one on the corner we called the Red Ruby. I limited myself to drinking choice Easter brew, excellent beers from excellent years, alternating between the Dahl, Mack and Hansa breweries.

The partyers’ spirits escalated with more wine and strong spirits and lots of bread, butter and cakes. Some went home, others arrived, until everyone left at 16:00 so we could use a couple hours to prepare for the evening festivities and filling the house with many of the same guests who were here earlier; maybe they just couldn’t get enough? That was when I started drinking cognac and whisky. The mood turned tropical – a real Lofoten party with dancing on the first and second floor that brought chips off the chimney, shaking the roof shingles, happy slapping and screaming of girls. The finer ladies from town were also there to let their hair down as the evening continued.”