I've come across more than a few over the years, but I think I'll go with this one:
My great-great-grandmother was named Inga, she was born in Norway & came to the US with her parents in the 1880s, when she was about 15, I believe. Her father, Andreas, had grown up on a farm, but he was the youngest of nine children, which meant he wasn't going to inherit the farm from his father, which is why he first left his home area for Haugesund, where he became a merchant, & where Inga was born & spent her early years. In Norway, he was more of a general merchant, but when they came to the US & settled in Chicago, he & his brother started a fish company, which specialized in lutefisk & fruit syrup (if it weren't for the large Scandinavian community there, the business would almost certainly have failed miserably). We have some photos of the family home in Chicago from around the 1900s-1910s, & it's very... lavishly decorated, shall we say? Andreas's business didn't do terribly, but it's a little strange & not at all what I or my living family would expect.
Though they were raising a family with several children, Inga & her husband's marriage was never especially happy; we have snide notes they wrote back & forth to one another over the span of decades, & they suggest that Inga was seriously considering trying to get a divorce around 1918. Regardless, they remained married. One of the notes, we think it's from some time in the '20s, is in Inga's handwriting, & reads along the lines of "Alfred, we have no more gold and silver to sell anymore." Another intriguing suggestion- Alfred's father had done work with gold, making watch cases, but he had been long dead, & it's believed that any wealth that had arisen from his career probably didn't remain by this point.
The Depression hit the family quite hard; Alfred had bought a chicken farm, very much against Inga's wishes, in Michigan shortly before it began, &, as one might expect, it did not go well (it did result in my great-grandfather doing jobs for the Chicago mobsters for a few years, but that's another story). In the mid-'20s, both of Inga's parents died, & her sister Magda, who had never married & still lived with them, ended up being taken to a mental institution after their death. Sometime around this time, Inga & Alfred stopped speaking to one another. Alfred moved up into the attic, only coming downstairs to sneak food from the kitchen when he knew Inga wasn't in there. As far as we're aware, Inga & Alfred went at least 20 years living in the same house together without speaking a word to one another; my grandmother remembers that when they'd visit her grandparents every Sunday when she was young, from the living room, they'd occasionally hear the creaking of someone coming down the steps from the attic, & her aunt would just silently get up & draw curtains over the doorway to the room while her grandfather took food from the kitchen & returned upstairs- no one acknowledged him.
In her final years, Inga began to experience arteriosclerosis, better known to some as "hardening of the arteries." One of the possible symptoms of arteriosclerosis is dementia, & she began to exhibit behaviors which led the family to believe she was experiencing dementia. The house always had a dish of cookies whenever my grandmother visited, Berlinerkranser (literally translates to "Berlin wreathes," though it's a very Norwegian cookie), & when my grandma, as a young child, reached for one, her grandmother would slap her hand away, saying it was for the "special guests," until one of her children would convince her to let my grandma take a couple, but the "special guests" were mentioned multiple times by Inga. On at least one occasion, she was found sitting out on her porch, quietly singing the Norwegian national anthem: "Ja, vi elsker dette landet."
Eventually, someone finally asked her who these special guests she kept referring to were, & she announced that she was expecting a visit from "General Eisenhower & the King of Norway."
The three living generations of the family & the family who was alive then all pretty much just wrote it off as being due to the dementia, told as a sad story about our ancestor losing her mind as it were.
When I first got interested in genealogy, I primarily focused on my direct ancestors, & so when I worked on my Norwegian family, I almost entirely just worked on tracing lines back as far as possible, without looking into their siblings or my cousins for quite a while. It was only a couple years ago I properly took the time to look into Inga & her father's siblings & the lives they lived, & took it upon myself to know what happened to the rest of the family, & one of Inga's siblings, her eldest sister, Lovise, stuck out to me. Sadly, she has no living descendants, else I'd try to be in contact, but she was married to a man named John Helmich Wilson, who was half-Scottish & half-Norwegian. I think Wilson's father had something to do with shipping, which was how he met Lovise's mother-in-law, Vibeche Janson, who's family wasn't exactly the usual farmers I'd come to expect from the Norwegian families connected to mine. Her father was a notable merchant, as well as the American Consul General in Bergen, appointed by the President of the United States. Her brother was a notable poet, as well as the founder of the Unitarian Church in Norway. Other brothers also served as Consuls to various nations (one was Consul to Liberia- not sure about the other one). Her maternal grandfather was a notable bishop, who in turn was descended from a notable family of businessmen. Her paternal grandfather also served as American Consul General in Bergen, & was descended from a family of notable merchants, who I believe may have had Dutch roots, who had ended up in Bergen because of it's being a part of the Hanseatic League. Her grandfather's half-sister was the grandmother of Norway's best-known composer, Edvard Grieg.
Louisa died 1907; her husband's death isn't certain, but assumed to be before 1920.
All this put some things in perspective. They weren't related by blood, but the family's in-laws were quite prominent to say the least, the kind of people who would have had the opportunity to have reason to meet with "General Eisenhower & the King of Norway," & when taken with the context of the allusions to "gold & silver," the photographs of the lavishly decorated house in Chicago, the suggestions of notable relatives, one has to wonder if Inga's family had been quite well off, thanks to their family connections, & if, in her declining state, constant reference to the "special guests" was Inga's way of trying to remind herself, & the family too young to remember, of the way life once was.