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Carol Tollefsen Hoagland

Carol is the Granddaughter, Niece, and Daughter of fishermen. Her father emigrated from Skudeneshavn, Norway when he was 16. Her Grandfather was Captain of the F/V The Stars & Stripes, a 50 ft Novi (long line fishing out of Point Judith, RI). He fished until he was 80 years old.

“From a female point of view, that wasn’t just my mother, it was my grandmother’s, my grandmother’s were very close to us. They gave us another even older perspective of what life was like. They were also very strong, strong women, both in bearing up under hard times and strong in that they could manage their own household, their children, their schooling.” 

“I saw such a difference between people who had regular families who had regular jobs. You know, insurance people, all of the ordinary land jobs that had nothing to do with the ocean. And I just always felt different In that sense…As I got in high school, I felt more comfortable with not feeling as different, and friends of mine would say ‘Oh, where’s your dad? What’s he doing?’ And they didn’t understand where my father was. I would explain his fishing and this is what he does and they thought, ‘Wow, that’s really pretty interesting’.” 

“There was a time where they were kind of sparse times. And so they come home in the end with hardly any salary, any money. So those are kinda like, you can see their worry…But they manage and family, aware of that, would bring fish over to help out. Families would interchange in helping out. It was very, there was a strong time of togetherness and responsibility within the families. Because most of them were fishermen.” 

“I can say as a child, I was not as aware of the dangers of fishing, and the worry of fishing. But I can remember seeing my mother often in a very quiet, seemingly concerned way.” 


“I believe that fishing families are often matriarchal because the mom is home, or grandmother, it could be extended family, but women are providing the care of the children, the schooling of the children, anything to do with their family.”

“But my mother did so much. When I look back to all she did, I’m amazed. And she was a very quiet, happy, resourceful woman.”

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