Elleda Wilson: Meeting Merete

Oct. 6—While perusing Facebook last week, out of the blue, a message from someone named Merete Hortman (pictured) popped into the Ear's screen: "Hallo from Norway," she wrote. "Your cousin, Jane Rice, is trying to contact me today, and I tried to call her back, but no answer. Is she OK?"

Totally mystified, the Ear had to wonder what was going on, not knowing a single soul in Norway, not to mention Jane died over a year ago, in California, at the ripe old age of 96.

After a few back and forths, it became clear that Jane's Facebook page had been hacked, and it was the hacker contacting Merete, pretending to be Jane. Merete then found the Ear on Jane's Facebook friends list to inquire about Jane.

As it turned out, though, Cousin Jane actually knew Merete, and visited Merete in Kristiansand in the 1990s. After chatting for quite a while on a Facebook Messenger video, finally the Ear's question of the day popped up: "Are you related to my grandmother, Florence Espe?" Yes, Merete is a long-lost cousin.

The Ear had always heard about the Norwegian side of the family, but never saw any photos of them, and never knew their names. What an interesting twist of fate, and a wonderful surprise, thanks to a hacker, that Cousin Merete would literally pop up out of the land of the fjords. Perhaps a trip there is in the future?