Archive for Wednesday, July 18, 2001

After 30 years, Anne-Marie returns

July 18, 2001

The last time Anne-Marie Petersen was in Baldwin City, she was an exchange student at Baker University in 1969.

Now, more than 30 years later, Petersen, who is a native of Denmark, is revisiting the town she called home for a semester.

"It was really funny walking on campus last night," she said. "I remember it very well. I could see myself walking there 30 years ago."

Petersen, along with her husband Johannes Berggreen, are staying at the home of Tom and Alice Anne Callahan-Russell. The two couples have been friends for many years and have managed to successfully carry on a long-distance relationship.

"I first met Anne-Marie's folks when I was over on a Scandinavian tour several years ago," Callahan-Russell said.

Callahan-Russell was first introduced to Petersen's parents in the late 50s by a teacher who was a relative of Petersen's. Callahan-Russell said the friendship grew from there.

When Petersen came to Baldwin to attend Baker, she lived with Callahan-Russell's family.

"It was a very nice household to go to," Petersen said. "It was so nice to live there because I felt like part of the family. I felt very welcomed."

"My sisters have never forgotten her first visit," Callahan-Russell said.

The couples have kept in touch by telephone, mail and the occasional visit to Europe by the Russells.

"We've kept track of each other's families' lives," Petersen said. "It's been like family all these years."

It's taken 30 years for Petersen to come back to Baldwin, she said, because of a fear.

"I always wanted to come back, but I don't like to fly," she said.

But she took a fear-of-flying course and passed, receiving a certificate for her efforts.

"I made it," she said. "I'm here."

Peterson also braved the flight to the United States to visit her husband's daughter in Baltimore, who just had a baby.

"The motivation for her to fly was not strong enough until we had a granddaughter," Berggreen said.

At the end of their visit, Petersen and Berggreen will have spent three weeks in the United States, with one of those weeks in Baldwin.

Callahan-Russell said they have been happy to entertain the out-of-town guests.

"We're just so glad she made it back over to visit," she said.

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