Friday, May 03, 2013







Per Harboe

9 Oceanic Drive

Warana 4575








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Per Harboe



Friday, June 15, 2012



Memoirs narrated by

Ella Harboe born Weirup

I was born on 25. March in the year of our Lord, 1901 in a furious Blizzard. A farmer near by where we lived, had to run five kilometers to retrieve the midwife. – I was the fifth in the flock of siblings and came eight years after the one, which should have put a stop to more children, and to the great indignation to the two oldest in the group. – Karla, who was sixteen years and Valdemar fourteen. Kristian (Kette) of 11 years reacted in a more commercial way. He had both rabbits and pigeons and concluded that: "If we get lucky with her, perhaps we can sell her when she gets bigger". Sister Karen, who was eight years old, thought she had got a nice doll to play with, and that nearly could have cost my life. After what is told,  my brother Kette one day put me into my sister Karen's Doll carriage and tied the cat in front. The wild chase went  through the courtyard until the cart overturned, and I fell out without a wound. – My father was fairly robust against brother Kette on this occasion.

The first I think I can remember when life took shape – but only faintly – was that I sat clamped in a swing, which was hung up in the doorway between the lounge and kitchen. My mother and our young girl Jette  bustled around and was busy, because we were so many people on a daily basis. My father was a Joiner, Furniture dealer and a Builder, and there were four journeymen and two apprentices in the workshop, so there was a lot to look after.

Until I was three years old, it was actually quite enjoyable to be "The Fiver". I was actually a toy for the whole family. I can remember my brothers were using me as a ball. They stood in  either end of the kitchen and threw me from one to the other, and I of course screamed from delight. My mother took it very calmly, but I remember that my father cried "don't spill her", so he has probably been a little nervous.

At this time it dawned upon  my mother, that I could easily be spoiled, so now I was kept in the shadow of my sister Karen, who was very beautiful, quick to learn and fast in her remarks. Kette and Karen usually kept together, and when Karla and Valdemar got jobs, there was only father to pamper me and he did it really well.

When I was four years old, I popped across the street to our neighbor – a veterinarian family, which I enjoyed very much to be together with. My father and mother very often were together with them. They were the only ones in the village who said welcome, when my parents and family came from Copenhagen after having lived there for 17 years. It meant a lot – especially for my mother, who now had to get used to being a Jute living in Jutland far from Copenhagen. Fortunately, there were more of the family, who lived in the same village – both my father's and my mother's parents, together with my father's two sisters. The oldest faster Katrine was married to a merchant Kjeldsen, who had a large store in the middle of the village. Faster Anna was married to a photographer, who also lived in Holsted but three kilometers from where we lived. That's where the railway station was, and we had quite a long way to go, when we had to go by train or visit faster Anna. We liked very mush to visit her and her husband, uncle Jørgensen. There were three male cousins and three female cousins, of whom the youngest, Karen, was at my age. We liked each other very much. I was not very big when I walked with my father the three kilometers  to Holsted St., where they lived. I often got a sting in the side; but then my father took me on his back until the stings were gone.  My farther's sister often played with us two "latecomers", which us two first cousins were called. She sometimes dressed up like an old witch. Then the wild chase went through the rooms.. We acted just as if we were afraid. We knew, of course, that it was just dads sister. One thing we were afraid of was when we were visited by Dean Nissen. My cousin Karen had got in to her head that we could risk being "deaned". What she meant I don't know; but we always flew under the couch when Dean Nissen came and dared not get out before he was gone.

When I was five years old my oldest sister Karla married a Baker, who had a shop at Holsted St.  Now, of course, I had plenty of opportunity to go there, because I could visit both my cousin and my sister. But it only lasted a year; then my sister and her husband moved to the island of Fuur, but sister Karla often came to visit us, to my great joy. I remember I insisted to sleep next to her the first night. The result was that the sofa in the lounge was pulled out from the wall. Admittedly there was a fairly broad split which overnight should prove to be useful, because we were both awakened in the middle of the night by an infernal noise, which stemmed from a Tin chamber pot, who happened to be positioned just under the crack – right where my seat was located, and it is not hard to figure out that it was me who caused the "waterfall". I dreamt that I was sitting at the donnie in the courtyard. I must say that sister Karla took the situation in her stride" even with internal laughter, but she was easy getting in to a laugh.

When sister Karen was twelve years old and brother Kette fourteen, they went to the Dance Studio. When they came home, they ordered me around to teach me to dance "Lanciers", and they couldn't understand that I could not learn to "invite to dance"  all the chairs which were supposed to be the people in the dance hall. It usually ended up  with me weeping and gnashing until my mother took pity on me and explained to them that I was only five years old.  I have since learned to dance, thanks to all the young people who were in the house, and they also taught me to sing, so I wasn't very old when I was singing for family and friends.

Now,  as I am writing, we are in the month of November and Christmas is approaching – I can't help but think  how cozy it was when the journeymen,   apprentices and the whole family gathered in the lounge to make Christmas decorations. The men in the workshop had made wood shavings. We created little baskets out of wood shavings in many different shapes  and roses and Jacob ladders. Mother made coffee with lovely Christmas cake. There was always a kettle of water boiling on the stove.

Grandmother and grandfather was of course always with us at Christmas Eve, they lived in the same street not far from us. They were both picked up and returned. It was sometimes necessary, as there was often snow and a very slippery foot path..

I remember when my grandmother was dead, and grandfather was collected for Christmas. He would not come because it was so slippery; but brother Kette, who at this time was in his lout age, took one of the apprentice boys with him and got grandfather persuaded to at least get out of the door, but that was it. Grandfather resisted with both legs, just as a pig to be slaughtered. That was just what brother Kette had been waiting for, because now he could slide in his slippers straight to our door. But the trip didn't go quietly. Grandfather yelled out all the way and called them  "bloody hooligans". Well, as soon as grandfather came in,  my mother knew exactly just how she could get grandfather in a good mood again. A small Christmas snaps did wonders. – At that time the cost of a bottle of schnapps was  twenty-eight ore, so it could be found in almost every home. That was also why "Jens Post" our neighbor, fell in to the mill pond with the post bag and the whole lot. He started his post run in the morning at Christmas eve day. . At that time there was nothing called  letter boxes.  The postman went straight in to the homes. The doors were never locked and people would like to have a little talk with the postman. . – Not much was happening in the small village and Jens Post shouldn't "carry the Christmas out" as it was called; and since there was even a snow storm going, people were particularly generous. So eventually Jense's nose got just as red as the nisse men's hats on the Christmas cards. When he had to cross the bridge leading across the Mill Pond,  it happened.… He was fortunately fished up by a the miller.  Jens explained to the post master afterwards that the damned railing always used to be at the left side, but that night it was suddenly at the right side. When the post master very angry  asked for the letters, Jens post said  nonchalantly "Yes well, what is not her in the bag must be in the mill pond", and that was quite logical.

I thought we had it very cozy in the winter time. My mother usually read aloud for us in the evening from the "English Queens without Crown", "Hans Christian Andersen's novels" or Jeppe Aakjærs "Jens Longknife". I was too little to understand any of it, but when my father and mother laughed, I  also thought that it was very funny. Father went around the table with his long pipe, and I sat on his back. To prevent me from getting bored, I had a comb, which I was allowed to come him with. It could be said that he got "comb for his hair", because I wasn't always gentle.  When he shouted "ouch", I assured him that it was merely a hair not.

There were two teams of neighbors who came and played cards. I was usually allowed to stay up to until the coffee was served, and on that occasion, I remember that I saw my chance to mix all the play money and put them nicely together in the centre of the table, so that when the "game birds" came in from the coffee there was quite a commotion when they tried to find out who owned what money.

It wasn't always easy to be "The Fiver". The four older siblings would try to bring me up, and my mother was, as before mentioned, afraid that I should be spoiled, so it could well result in a little injustice, I thought.

I can remember sister Karen and I were sharing a piece of chocolate. One piece was slightly larger than the other, and we would of course both of us have the biggest piece; but mother ruled by saying: "Karen is the biggest, so she must have the biggest piece", I accepted it calmly; but sister Karen was now insidious, she rushed to eat her part and then sat and stared at my chocolate until I handed over a piece of what I had left. She was always very cunning when she would achieve anything. Even when she wanted a pair of skates,-the cost was then four kroner, and that was of course a lot of money, but sister Karen did it by asking father if she could borrow  two crowns, and when he went along with that, she asked very cattily for another two crowns because two was not enough.  Father of course could not resist that. Yes, sister Karen was quite a bit calculating; but in virtue of her appearance and skill, her will usually prevailed.

I think I must have been 5 years old when I got a disease, whish I today believe must have been poliomyelitis in a mild degree. I could not turn my head or tolerate anyone touching me, and I had high fever. Sister Karen was sweet, she collected  snow in a handkerchief and put it on my forehead, and the old doctor we had ordinated  a hot bandage of coffee grounds. If that was what helped, I do not know; but I surveyed. I got all the children's diseases. The worst was when I got scarlet fever, because it was my fathers sister and godmother, who discovered it. She was married to the grocer  Kjeldsen, who had the great grocery shop. They realized that she could bring the infection with her home to the business. Therefore it went by in the greatest secrecy. And I did not go to the hospital, like all the other children did. Yes, it was no wonder that aunty Katrine was nervous. When she and her husband as young people  established them selves with their business  in the city, she eventually gave birth to eight children, but since there was typhus in the village, she lost them all. She later gave birth to four children, three girls and a boy – Elisabeth, Kristian, Ulla and Mie, who luckily lived and were – except Mie – adults, when father and mother moved to the village. I still remember the old grocery store with stacks of everything possible outside. As soon as we came in, we got a mixed scent ranging from coffee, spices, rope and kerosene in the nose. Behind the disk the assistants jumped to and fro and commanded the apprentices and messengers, and at the front were the peasants with their wives. The men got their pipes filled and a schnapps. Wives got a sweet schnapps, what we today call liqueur. There was dried fish on the floor between the butter tubs – butter brought in by the peasants. It wasn't too appetizing to look at, but it was very cozy.

Uncle Kjeldsen was rarely to be seen. He sat as a spider in its web in the Office, but heard and saw everything that came in to the store. On Sundays, he went horse riding  and inspected the sites and buildings he owned.  When there was a party at the Inn, which was located opposite the shop, he got my aunty to invite the wives of the villagers to drink coffee in the inn's  large dining room. It would give him extra customers.  My aunty was not afraid to give a hand when poor people got in to difficulties. Once  she was awakened in the middle of the night. Gypsies had arrived in the village. They lived in tents behind the Inn. One of the women was pregnant and had come in to pain. The Gypsy did not ask in vain.  My auntie went down and helped  the poor young wife. It was her first child – probably not the last.

 Behind the grocery courtyard - was a road which was called Klausens road – now called "Aagade". There my paternal grandfather and paternal grandmother lived in a small house. I remember it was white, and at the end of the house there was a greenhouse. Grandfather was a gardener and did have a horticulture business in Kolding. Therefore faster Katrine was aware that grandfather would need something to occupy him self with. Unfortunately  it was not long he had the pleasure of it.,  – a maximum of 10 years. I think he died the year I was born to the great sorrow of paternal grandmother. They loved each other very much  and always walked hand in hand, when they went for a walk. It was only  four years later that paternal  grandmother died. Paternal grandmother was an honorable woman, she could be called a "Danekvinde". It has been told that she single-handedly moved a bridge which went across Kolding creek. It happened one night in 1848, when we were at war with the Germans. Paternal grandmother would prevent the Germans from coming over the Creek and threw out the whole thing, both planks and beams in the water, but over came the Germans nonetheless because they discovered grandfather's horticultural business and came in to the paternal grandmother to buy salad. Now, thought Grandma, "I will give you salad", and so she plucked all the dandelion leaves she could find and took good payment for them.(Dandelion is a weed i Denmark). When they went,  Grandma rubbed her hands – not knowing that it was the best German soldiers could get – it was something they were used to eat as salad in Germany.

If paternal grandfather was in the war, I have never heard, but I know that maternal grandfather was at "Dybbøl", because when my brothers asked him if he had shot a German, he said that he had shot up in the air, he could not kill a human being-I hope it is true. In addition to what I have written about my paternal grandfather and paternal grandmother, I don't know too much about them.

 On the other hand, I have been told quite a bit about my mother's family. My great- great grandparents were called Bartels and came from Germany. They lived in Kiel, where my great-great grandfather was a  winemaker. I do not know what kind of wine it was, but he is said to have been very wealthy. They had a daughter, who married a schoolmaster named "Eyser" I don't know his christian name. . He was very musical and was a Cantor at the Cathedral in Kiel. They had a boy and a girl. The boy was baptized Johannes, and became professor of mathematics and got a doctorate in philosophy. He later traveled to America "Denver", where he also became a composer. The girl was christened Cristiane and she was my grandmother.

I am not fully aware of how distinguished  my great grandparents were, but they must have been friends with the count and countess Rantzau. The Countess became my grandmother's godmother and got her first name Otilie. My grandmother left a book of prayers which she received as a christening gift from Countess Otilie Rantzau with some dates and preface. In any case, there was indeed  a scandal, when my grandmother would merry my grandfather. – It was a misalliance, since maternal grandfather was only an ordinary craftsman from Funen. He had been involved in the war and as a Dane –an enemy-so that it could definitely not be done. But grandmother did not drop on his Jorgen; and one day they fled together to Denmark. Grandmother was done disinherited, but maternal grandfather was given a position in his trade, he was a blacksmith and for some time he was a train conductor, and he drove the first train in Denmark from Fredericia. My mother told me that she and her sisters and brothers sat on a high bluff outside Fredericia, where they then lived, and saw grandfather driving the train. It was decorated with flowers and festoons, and grandfather was very proud.

Mother told me that they had a nice time in Fredericia, there was water and a beautiful forest, which was called Trælde. There they went very often. They were four siblings, maternal grandfather the elder, then came a boy Frederik, so Emma and finally Otilie – named after her mother. Maternal grandfather had good work, and in the evening, when maternal grandfather came home, they had a nice time singing polyphonic songs. Poor grandmother was unable to be with them, because when she lived at home, she sang in the choir that great-grandfather conducted, and he continued to press her voice up in the treble, so that her vocal cords were damaged. I remember that she spoke as a horse chuck.

Grandmother and maternal grandfather may also have lived in Kolding, while my mother was very young because she told me that she was in a sewing club once a week with a lord mayor Chjørring in Kolding, where the mistress was reading aloud and helped them with their handy work.

When my mother was old enough to fly from the nest, she traveled to Copenhagen and worked as a maid in various houses – preferably with fine families, since my mother thought she would learn the most in places like that. If my maternal grandmother had something to do with it I do not know, but it is not impossible; because she herself was of a fine family. My mother observed several things  in the "fine houses". for example if they had invited people for dinner the soup had to cook  all night before the day it was supposed to be served, and it was cooked with so much wine, that they almost couldn't taste what it was.

With the poet "Kellands", where my mother was a maid, they were often visited by  many known actors, among others "Oda Nielse"n, which at the time was a very celebrated actress. Oda Nielsen always wanted my mother to assist her in and out of her overcoat, although there were servants.

I do not know whether my mother and father met each other in Copenhagen, but father was employed in a large furniture firm, "E.B. Hansen", where he was an apprentice and became  a journeyman.. It could have been a random meeting, which then evolved; but it nearly failed. My mother knew a girlfriend who had gone to America, and she had sent mother a ticket to travel over to her. It suited my mother very badly, now that she had come to love my father and he to love her. My mother felt that she had a commitment to her friend and believed that the ticket had to be used. My mother walked sorrowfully to the ticket office to retrieve it, but the guy in the office must have sensed  that she was anything but happy, for he asked directly whether my mother was sorry to go to America. When my mother acknowledged it, he said that she did not need to go, because the ticket could be reimbursed. The ones who were happy were my mother-and father. they got engaged, and it wasn't long before they married. When they had been married for two years, they expected their first child.  How unlikely it may seem,  my mother told me, when I was going to be a mother; that she didn't have the faintest idea how a child was born. She thought it came by the navel opening up. She came headlong out of her ignorance, when she spoke in confidence with a neighboring wife about it. The outspoken woman said, in her Jutland accent, with a hearty laughter: "No, little lady, children are coming  out exactly where they bloody well came in"  Oh yes, holy naivety; one can have ones thoughts on how much my grandmother has told her children. It was probably taboo to talk about that kind of thing in her home.

In my father's family there were six siblings, four boys and two girls. The boys called Mathias, Christian, Carl and Frederick. Carl was my father, he was number three in the group. Frederick was the youngest. The two girls, were called  Anna and Katrine. Mathias traveled to America. I have never been told what he was doing, but he did quit well for himself  from what I know. He also visited the family here at home  occasionally. Christian was both the high hope and the black sheep of the family. Meaning that he was artistically gifted, and was also academically  trained as a sculptor an wood carver;  but as so often happens with artists, many friends, a large flock of children and happy about drinking. These three things can consume  the budget. He was particularly skilled to repair old alter pieces in churches  and were many times at the Empress Maria Feodorovna. She had many Russian sculptures that had to be repaired, but it could nevertheless not suffice  in the household. There were five children, Ella, Alma, Marie, Olga and Karl  besides an old grandmother, aunt Philippas mother. Uncle Christian died fairly early, just in his forties. Uncle Frederick settled in Viborg as a photographer until he moved to our town in 1915, after Uncle Jørgensen's death – i.e. faster Anna's husband, who was also a photographer. Uncle Frederik took over the business. Uncle Frederick and aunt Marie had a son Svend, who, to their great sorrow, died when he was a bit over forty years old. He was the only child, and aunt Marie died a few years after. Uncle Frederick came to live at The Elderly Home in Hosted, where he died after having been there for two years. On the other hand,  faster Anna became a good 90 years before she died. Unfortunately she had to part with one leg, before she died.

Both my father's and mother's parents came to live in Holsted in their olden days, so we were, as before written,  an extended family. When I was about four years old, I got my first shock. There was a thunderstorm. Sister Karla was home with her little boy Karl Max, he was 10 months old, and I loved him, of course. One evening – I remember it was in the evening between the last of August and 1st of September. We were all in bed. Sister Karla and her little boy slept down in the living room, the rest of us on the first floor.. We had a large gable room, where both my father, mother, sister Karen and I slept. Kette had his room next to ours, and the journeymen and apprentices in the other rooms. Fortunately none of them were home, because it was Saturday night.. We had probably been in bed for about an hour.  I dreamt that I was attacked by a bull. I yelled and screamed. When I woke up to my horror I heard sister Karen scream: "I am going through the floor".  At the time there came a deafening racket, and suddenly I was alone in the bedroom. A few moments later Kette came and lifted me out of the bed, out on to the stairs and carried  me down. In the passageway at the courtyard stood my father and mother.  The door out to the courtyard was open.  In the yard was Karla with her little boy on the arm. The rain came pouring down. The little Karl Max kept the small hands on his head and could not understand where all that much water came from. I can remember that we all huddled  together, and my mother said: "Thanks God we are all saved". Father took me on the arm, and we went out in the kitchen in the dark. We had kerosene lights everywhere, so it took a bit before they were turned on, and it was a terrible sight that met us. The chimney was split in two by the lightning. Lime and plaster was lying all over the floor.  And on the kitchen cupboard, in all the mess, was mother's lovely home baked Christmas cake.  Fortunately it was covered by a  clean towel, so we could eat it. When we came into the launch rooms we were wading in crusted glass. The lightning had followed the gold frames of the pictures on the walls. There was a smell from burnt wood;  but curiously enough there was nothing that burned. However, there were a lot of holes in the roof. Nearly half  the roof was missing. It wasn't long before the neighbors  arrived. They all believed that it was at their place the lightning had  hit and were more or less shocked. One of the men turned up in his wife's trousers in the belief that it was his own panties he had taken. Our neighbor, the vet, came over with chocolate and cake; but not many of us could get anything down. I, for my part,  was sitting on my mother's knee and shook and jagged my teeth for a couple of hours. I had a difficult time overcoming the shock. For several days I did not dare walk alone up in the loft, and strangely enough, I could not bare to listen if there was a barrel organ playing in the street.  I just ran in and wept.

The next shock came when I was almost six years old. At that time Sister Karla, her husband and little Karl Max lived in Vinderup.  Karl Max had just turned three years old, and I loved him and was very pleased when we got the letter that we could expect  the family on vacation. One afternoon, as I came in, after I had been playing with my girlfriends, there was a telegram sent from Vinderup. My  mother was reading it aloud, and it said: "Karl Max has been run over and is dead". First I was paralyzed, but then I screamed and continued to scream until my mother put me to bed. I got fever, both at night and the next day. Mother explained to me that she had to travel to Vinderup to be with Karla and that I could well understand. The next day, I had no fever and was able to get out with my girlfriends, who comforted me, each in their own way.  I got over it, but never forgot the little boy.

My horror, when I was little,  was to hear brass music. I remember when my father became "Rifle Shooting King" and was followed home by a brass band, I was hiding behind all the skirts I could find. It was probably the big tuba, which I thought sounded dangerously.

 When I was 6 years old, I was in school and at the same time learning to play the piano. Sister Karen was  a clever  pianist., and I was almost brought up in music because I from very little was played in to sleep by my father, who played well on violin.  With regard to piano lessons, I think it was tackled  the wrong way.  I was only 6 years old when my cousin should teach me piano playing. I remember that I had a plait in the neck and it was used by my cousin to pull every time I played badly.  I was crying, of course, when I was supposed to have playing lessons. It didn't help much  when my sister Karen undertook the task to go further with me. You can probably imagine how it goes when a sister is playing the teacher. It only helped when dad  took care of me, despite the fact that he only played the violin. He got me so far that we could play together. Unfortunately, he could not read my fingering position; so  where it was not specified, I had to find it out my self, and that affected the dexterity.  If mom and dad could afford the expense for the lessons my sister Caren got from Mrs.Svarre, I would properly be cleverer to day. However, I have managed  with what I have learned. and the music has given me plenty of joy.

There were various people in my childhood, which I particularly remember, because they were almost eccentrics. We went walking to the Tirslund plantation to see the large stone, as in a child's eyes was a mountain. On the road that led to Tirslund there was a small ramshackle hut with bags cramped in the Windows. Here lived Maren Eg. She was supposed to be the daughter of a man who was called "Plunder Hans", and who lived in Bjøvlund plantation. It was said that he as a young man he had been hiding in the bush by the road and had plundered lonely people when they passed by  – hence the name. Maren Eg existed by begging. She went along with a big sack on her back, scarf around the head and a ruffled, dirty apron in an equally dirty dress, but what I thought was the worst by far was her face, it was so full of deep dirty wrinkles and a nose that due to drunkenness, looked like a strawberry. It was frightening when she came in at the kitchen door and said in her Jutland dialect: "Can I have a bit". Mom gave me a ten-ore, it was a lot of money back then.  I was asked to  give it to Maren  I didn't dare not to;  but I really shook with fear. Maren took the ten ore and said: "Thank you very mush my little girl.You are good to the pure people, then the lord will be good to you". That must have been the only pious talk from Marens mouth, because just as soon as she had received enough money to pay for a bottle of spirit  she drank her self drunk. It was then a completely different flowery language that came from her lips. Sometimes she tried to get on board the postal wagon but was prevented by the driver. She was allowed to stand on the foot board, and then she sang "Hjalmar and Hulda" , and her side remarks were definitely  not intended  for virgin eas.; but otherwise there was really nothing evil in Maren. I remember one day when I should pick up some milk for my mother. We got that from the Parish Cheef". I had just come out from the courtyard with my bucket full of milk when I, to my horror saw Maren Eg come towards me. In my hand, I had some biscuits, which I had received from Kirsten Mikkelsen, and in my distress I ran over and gave them to Maren .  Maren must have been touched because she embraced  me and kissed me. I got myself free and rushed home to tell my mother. Mother stood there  petrified. Then she took me over to the kitchen sink and – yes it was good that scouring powder was not invented at that time, because I wouldn't have had much face left, the way I got washed.

Ole Olsen, or "Ole Pip", as he was called, I was not afraid of, although he looked very weird. He was big  and boney, his head sat down between his shoulders, and his back was curved like an arch. . He always had an umbrella under his arm. He had an idea that if there was a thunderstorms, he could simply turn up the umbrella, and he wood not get hit by lightning. He was very afraid to cross over the rail tracks  at the station. When he had to cross the rails, he took off his shoes, one in each hand, looked to both sides and jumped in long strides.  Children and many adults were very amused when they saw him.  I often felt sorry for him and I thought that he should much rather be called "Ole with the umbrella" (a well known song amongst Danish children) but I could not imagine that he should sit at my bed and tell fairy tales.

We also had a journeyman who was called "Grim". He came and asked for work one evening. He had a bird-cage in his hand with a Falcon. He said that he himself had caught it and was very pleased with it, so the cage with "Groh" was hanged up in the workshop.

Unfortunately, he didn't have much joy of the bird. One morning it was laying dead.  Grim had a confidential relation to death. When he made a coffin, and it was almost finished, he laid himself in it and took his dinner sleep there. He said that he had attended the last execution that took place in Denmark, and I think it made a lasting impression on him when the executioner,  after having finalized  his duties, threw a couple of brand new white gloves away. It seemed to Grim the pinnacle of wastefulness.

Finally, I mustn't  forget the sweetest eccentric I have known! Our neighbor, veterinarian Sørensen. It is difficult to say how old he was, because I think he has been old in all the time that I have known him; but I will never forget him. I can still see him sitting in his horse cart on the way to a veterinarian job. The whip was only used to swing around  in large arches  and the body followed the rhythm. Claus, as the old horse was called, did not even notice the whip, even when there was shouted: "hay-hay".  No, Claus decided his own speed.  When he reached "The Guest House" he turned around by himself; for it was always there, that the old veterinarian came to think that he had forgotten something.  Then he had to go back and retrieve it. I felt so sorry for him, because both his feet were full of corns. It was not always he took on his shoes, if he had to goe  out at night in a necessary errand, and we could hear how he cried "ouch-ouch-ouch". There were cobblestones, so it wood probably hurt a lot. Usually he came over every Sunday morning to my father. They played chess and could sit all morning without saying anything else than what is said in the game. Of course, when the veterinarian was checkmate – or what ever it was called, then he said "aush-auch well", and puffed on his pipe. Yes, the old veterinarian had his eccentricities,  but he was good at heart.  When he came home in the evening from his sick visits, he often had a large bag of sweets which he poured straight down into my lap. It also happened, when he was summoned to a wealthy farmer, whose cow was sick, that he charged a bit extra on the grounds that he had just been seeing a poor man, who could not afford to pay, and it was only reasonable that the wealthy paid for him. I have often seen the veterinarian come home, opening a drawer in the bureau and put in a handful of money. Nothing was ever missing in the home. . Mrs Sørensen was very religious and often had guests for a well-set coffee able. It was usually the wives from religious homes,  but mom called them "the black wives" They didn't refrain from criticizing the coffee table when they went home. They thought it was an extravagance without equal.

Mrs Sørensen was never the  less very friendly. I got both this and that, when I ran across the street to visit her. In the time of fruit I ate myself a stomachache in plums, and I got large branches with red currants  – so much so that I almost couldn't carry them, Mrs Sørensen also took me with her to Sunday school and the Christmas tree in the mission House. I was most happy to go to the Christmas tree in the citizen association. It was usually on the fifth Christmas day. I will never forget the view of that Christmas tree. There were so many lights on and they were sitting in rows right into the trunk.  There were both apples and oranges, which together with the pine gave a wonderful fragrance.

It could happen that the plucky citizens themselves were a little "decorated" when they came home for dinner after having decorated the tree right from the morning. It was cold in the hall, and they had to have  a couple of drinks to warm themselves on.

I think there was much more snow, when I was a child, except for the ice winters  we have had. I remember that there were many more sledges on the road than cars. It was very cozy, when, in the evening, we were sitting around the table with the kerosene lamps lit and then hear the bells from the sledges going past, the rumbling noise from the wooden sledges and the children's happy laughter.

On the other side of the dairy, which was next to the current Esbjerg/Kolding road crossing bridge, was the marketplace on a a slope which of course was used for sledging.  There were always some big milk toboggans, which were used for the transport of milk from and to the farms. I can remember that some big boys took one of them and slid it down the hill across the road and right into wood turner Christensen's House. The hole corner of the house went to pieces.  Unfortunately I can't remember what  happened then; I wasn't very big.  I do remember that I went on a toboggan trip with Ingeborg and Aksel Andersen. There was an old woman walking on the road – her name was Boel. Axle stopped and asked her if  she wanted a lift, but Boel responded: "No thanks! I would rather sit with my bare ass in a snow drift".

The sledge track on the marketplace didn't last for very long. There was to be built a dispensary shop next to the dairy. My uncle Kjeldsen then built a shop next to Town Clark Iversen's house with a driveway in between. In the middle – between Uncle Kjeldsens business and the chemist- the taylor Johansen built a House.  All three houses were built together with the chemist building. Behind the houses were the hill where we had been sledging right up to the market place. This was retained for several years. The animals were transported along a country road that went between butcher Hansen's House and "Cake-Grethes" House. Also, there was a road between Iversen's  and the store uncle Kjeldsen had built. Although I was a little anxious, I was very happy to go with my father hand in hand to look at all the animals. The market tents also had my curiosity because of the many wonderful things you could buy.  I especially liked to eat the great sweet square pieces of sugar. But I was never allowed to get them.  They were unhealthy my father said. Honey hearts I couldn't  get either; because my father had been in Kristiansfeldt to visit his aunt. When he was around to look at the city he also went in to the factory which made the honey cakes. When he saw how they treated the cakes he promised himself that he would never buy honey hearts  any more.

To stay a bit with Kristiansfeldt can I tell you that my father's sister Maren in a fairly old age witnessed a historic event. She managed to attend the reunification (a part of Denmark had been under German rule for some time) and had due to her high age been reserved a position , making it possible for her to see King Kristian ride across the border.  She was mentally very sound;  but nevertheless didn't live long after that.

Back to the marketplace; it was transferred to another position as far as the cattle were concerned.  On the other hand; the horse market was still in the village right up into the forties. It was held at the hotel owner Larsens place where there was room enough for horse trotting  and not too far from  the snaps drinks.  Although the village  wasn't very big,  it was eventually a civil servant place  with  District Office, post office, two lawyers, one counselor, two schools and the Tinghus with its prison cells, and of course a police man and a doctor. All these authorities, I think, to days people would describe more or less as eccentrics; at least as seen with the eyes of a child for old people.  The veterinarians eccentricities have I mentioned.  The doctor used to, when he was visiting patients, to find the housewife's sawing basket, sit and wind up the yarn, and put it in order, while the patient was quizzed about the symptoms. The "Jurisdictional Bailiff" sometimes walked his dog. If he from a  long distance spotted  another person, which also aired his dog, he cried "Keep yours to yourself"  The same gentleman suffered defeat one day at the Carnival.  The jurisdictional bailiff stood as a spectator in the middle of the door to the House where the party was held. My brother Christian, who was disguised as the devil could not get past him.  He  resolutely jumped over the district bailiff. The bailiff lost his dignity from fright and exclaimed:  "what on earth was that?"  but the jubilation did not allow the jurisdictional bailiff to be insulted.

The Postmaster, I think, always looked very dignified.  I do not know if it was because he had a wooden leg and wobbled with his body when he walked. He was a nice man and very musical. He and my father played often together on their violins.

The wives of the gentlemen I have mentioned  I knew very well.  It was important,  as in all villages, to out do each other. Most of the families had children, some in the confirmation age and some slightly older. There were only two balls  a year, the shooting association ball and the Christmas tree ball.  For that reason the prominent families had parties for the young people who were friends of their own children, and it was often quite a lot. Both my sisters and brothers and nephews and cousins were always there. I remember that a closed wagon was sent around, to pick up and bring home the young people. I myself was unfortunately too small to go with them, but I was used as sleeping partner for lawyer Schmidt's daughter, when the parents were out, and the maid had time off.

Although,  just as in all other children's childhood, there were many stumbling blocks,  I enjoyed the coziness  of the village itself.  There was, first and foremost pies and quiet.  It was quit seldom that a truck came past. When, on a summer evening, we were sitting on a bench outside the House, we could, for along time hear a faint rumbling sound, before a cart finally turned up with peat, retrieved from the surrounding bogs. Sometimes it came from many miles away. Because of the bogs there were many Storks who lived in different places in the city. The frogs croaked in the meadows and in "Vestermosen" '. The neighbors visited each other, got their pipes stopped and a chat as well.  One might well sit outside until ten o'clock without freezing, but usually my mother got up from the bench and after having asked my father what the time was,  packed her crochet  together and said: "Now, I will go in and put the compote on the table", then we had a nice rhubarb porridge or sweet porridge. Usually at this time my brother Kette came home and threw three or four lovely trouts on the table. He loved to fish, but there were also problems with it.  Kette would preferably fish in the creek east of the mill pond. The piece of meadow he had to stand on belonged to the pub owner.  If the owner was in sight, he had to get away quick smart because the pub owner always had a stick he used to express his emotion with

At home Kette had an entire menagerie of dogs, cats, rabbits, pigeons and fowls. I remember he had a dwarf hen which was sick. Kette didn't know what to do about it, but then came my brother Valdemar.  He suggested that the chuck should have a teaspoon of schnapps, and it got it. Believe it or not, the chuck improved. Kette thought that as it helped that much, they had better give it another schnapps.  It got that with the result that the head fell on it's side and it had a blissful death. Brother Valdemar looked very thoughtful and concluded that it should probably not have had the last one. On the other hand, he had a rooster that was full of courage. There were no children who dared to go into the courtyard, without being accompanied by an adult. The rooster flew straight in to the heads of those who dared go in. I remember that my sister had to go to the loo down the yard, and veterinarian Karl had to stand outside the door and swing a flag. It was the only thing it was afraid of. It ended its life in a soup pot, and none of us children had any pity for it. It was different when the pig was slaughtered. When early in the morning I heard the heartbreaking cries from the pig I putt myself under the blanket and propped my fingers in the ears. I didn't not come down from the bedroom before the  butcher was scraping the hairs off, after it had been scalded. Then I was brave enough to hold it's tail. 

We also had a small goat, but because I was so small,  it was my sister Karen and veterinarian's Karl, who had the most pleasure from it. My father had made a small cart that could be hitched after the goat. One day Karen found a piece of curtain, which she put on her head as a Bridal Veil, and Karl should of course be the groom. He got an old hat of his father 's. Kette agreed to lead the goat with the vehicle. So we went  down the street – right down to Uncle Kjeldsens business. When they stopped there, my uncle came out, and he,  who otherwise was a grave man, couldn't  resist the  bridal coach.  He fetched a piece of chocolate for them as their bridal gift.

In the eastern part of the city on a hilltop was Tinghuset – a stately two-storey building designed by the famous architect Bindesbøl. The upper floor contained a courtroom, judge room, lawyer's room and witnesses waiting room. In the lower the prison caretaker lived with his family. In the two wings, which were added to the back of the main building were prison cells. To the East, for women and to the West for men. It was rare that the cells were empty. It didn't take much for a drunk to be shown in to detention. At that time there were quite a few secret pubs – and the snaps was cheap. I once saw the policeman come driving with a drunk man on a trolley. When they reached Tinghuset the cart was overturned, like it had been a sack of potatoes. He was throwen about in to the courtyard and into custody. I thought this was frightening, but it was mouch worse when my father came home and told us that a young thief should have lashings. The prison caretaker had not closed the prison door fully when he took the prisoner in and that suited the prisoner. He got out and yearned so terribly for his mother. They found him after a couple of hours in the search. The poor boy got many lashes and screamed so it could be heard over half the village.

A trial could also shape up tragicomic. A man appeared in court for sexually abusing a pig.  Under interrogation the jurisdictional bailiff suddenly became absentminded and looked after a few moments at the defendants and said: "Did you think that it was a pretty peg?

We also had a fortuneteller in the village. Semine was her name. Her husband was a drunkard , so the food for herself and her husband she earned by doing washing for people in the daytime and in the evening she told fortunes to young girls. The worst thing was that Semine could not be reconciled with her neighbor. – Their gardens adjoined, and Semine had their chickens in her garden, where they destroyed everything she had sown.  Semine found a solution. She was lying in wait with a bread knife in her hand at the hole where the hens used to get through.  Every time a measly hen put the head through the hole  Semine, grabbed it, cut the head off and threw the body across to the neighbor, where it belonged. Of course it did not go without a hitch. Semine nearly got into trouble, when the neighbor, Peter, came rushing in with a large stick in his hand. Luckily, Semines children were present, and that put a damper on Peter's anger, but they were never good friends after that, although the matter was settled out of court.

As a child I was very sensitive to the teasing that always exists between siblings, especially when it was about my appearance. As I grew up it was worse. Sometimes I was told that my hands and feet were too big, and that my brain was good enough, but there was just too little of it. Unfortunately my  father could not help it but laugh.  I cried; and that was for a time the only weapon I had, until my mother promised me a good hiding if I didn't not stop with that whimpering.  I hardly dared to cry after that; not even when my dog had to be shot.  Since then it  has always been difficult for me to cry.  On the other hand, I have had a grinding feeling in my throat and that can be very painful. . I think that my father's and mother's age had a lot to do with the fact that they were not really able to familiarize themselves with the world I lived in. My mother had, although we always had a young girl to help, enough to do with so many people on a daily basis. Another thing was that both my father and mother had a sense of humor and perhaps not always understood  what  was stirring in a child's soul.

I started school fairly early, because my sister Karen was going to be confirmed and had to go for preparation at the school. Since there was a fairly long way to the school, my father and mother thought that it was good that I initially could be accompanied  by her.  The first year- I was six years old at that time – went smoothly of course, but then came the problems. I had of course been given instructions by my father and mother to say Mr and the teachers, and I was not allowed to speak jydsk (danish with jutland accent). I don't know how Karen fared, but Kette could easily  speak jydsk to his comrades, and speak with a cobenhagen accent when he was at home.   At school I spoke as we were used to at home, but was obviously teased because of my Copenhagen accent.  I have never been particularly pleased going to school. I think I was a bit late developed because when I got older I jumped one class. – but I have never been exceptionally clever at school.

The one of the teachers I liked best was Thomas Juul.  He was only teaching during the winter and lived out in the country. He was in my humble opinion the-born educator. He was so patient. When he stood at the blackboard and explained an equation, he said "You just have to tell me, if ye do not understand it, because then we will start right from the beginning".

There was an addition to the head masters dwelling, which was used as a dining room for the children who came in from the countryside and had food with them; but it was indeed used for dancing, when there was a break. It was mostly when the weather was bad. I can see the teacher, Thomas Juul, for me when he took on his blue plush shoes and danced with us right until the bell rang and the break was over. I never brought lunch, because my mother insisted that I should come home and have dinner with them.  That was perhaps all right, but it was difficult to manage within one hour from twelve to one.  It took me at least ten minutes to walk each way, so I couldn't allow my self time for looking around much. Children usually do that a lot and they don't walk very fast.

It wasn't always nice to walk past the farm which was located in the middle of the city – the one solicitor Iversen had built and sold to Frederik Christiansen. Now a days it would not be possible to let the urine from the cattle farm run right out in to the gutter  and then down in to the creek. We had to hold our nose and jump across the pools, which had formed on the road.

The creek I mentioned was, and still is, a beautiful feature for the village.  It runs from East to West, winding itself between meadows and gardens and is a wonderful place for both adults and children. It was especially nice that it ran just at the bottom of the playground at school. In every break we went down to the Creek in the summer time. We climbed out on the branches of the large trees leaning out across the water. The boys went bear feet and chased small fish away from the brink. Further to the West was a swimming place where I learned to swim just four strokes and was very proud of it. The worst thing was that the toilet waste from the judges house occasionally came sailing as small islands on the water. Then some body shouted "a shit" "a shit";  and every body got busy and was scrambling to get out of the water. Yes, hygiene was not very important at that time. It was strange, there was no more diseases than there were.

The bridge leading across the creek was a focal point in Holsted, because from there roads were leading to all the corners of the world.  When I went to school, I had to pass it every day.  It was hard to pass this bridge, because when we stood in the middle of it and looked out, we could see the meadows with the mill in the background. The meadows were covered by yellow  butter flowers, and on the roof of the pub there was a storks nest with stork chicken in it. To the other side big trees spread their branches across the creek and there were always swans. There was enough to look at to nearly make one late for school. .

It was different in the winter time. It wasn't funny for a small six-year old girl to walk the long road to school; sometimes in snow and frost. I remember one day, when I was going home from school that it had blown a veritable Blizzard;  I had to stumble through large snow drifts. When I was so close that I could see our home,  I suddenly had to do a wee.  I could not bring myself to do it in the middle of the road, but I had to rush and therefore I went into a snowdrift next to a house corner. I could easily get the pants down, but it was impossible for me to get them up again as my fingers were rigid from cold.  I went the last piece of the road home with my pants down.  When I came in through the door, I fell down on to the kitchen floor giving my mother a big fright. She yelled  "but little sweet heard".  I did not hear any more because I was so busy  screaming from self-pity and cold. My mother got my clothes off me. My pants were one big lump of ice.  It wasn't long before I was in a warm bed and drank lots of chamomile tea. Strangely enough I didn't get a cold.   I think I was strong and healthy. My mother was also careful with what I should have to eat. She was used to, from her own home, to eat vegetables; so we always got plenty of that. We grew it our self in the garden but it was also cheap to buy.


When I was 9 years old we moved to my mother's father's house.  It was about a hundred meters from where we lived at the time. My grandfather had been dead a few years when my uncle  Kjeldsen, who owned the house we lived in, needed some  money – and because we rented the house, we had to move. It had probably not happened if my fathers sister Katrine had lived, but it was good that we had a place to move in to.

My father then added a storey to the house and built a workshop in the courtyard. There also had to be a furniture shop. All in all it was quit a mouthful to handle; but as he was able to draw the house himself and do the carpentry work it all went well.  My mother also worked hard I will say. She emptied the coaches for bricks and stacked them, so that the brick layers could easily get hold of them. Yes, there were guts in our little mother.

When we moved to my grand fathers house I was 9 years old. My father built the workshop first where we lived until we could move in to the new house. The bottom floor was from 1912. It shaped up well in the beginning. My father was very creative. In addition to drawing houses, he invented and made farming machinery.  I do not know whether my father had taken out a patent on the machinery, but he certainly had that on the chairs he invented. They were from mahogany, polished and put together, so that they could be packed in a flat box. My father had them on exhibition at the technological Institute in Fredericia and received many orders.  It was in 1914 that war broke out. Since dad had to use metal tubes for the chairs and the pipes came from Germany, it all stooped. – Also the farming machines stooped since the wheels and everything he had to use also came from Germany.

I shall never forget when the first world war broke out on 1.of august; it was on a nice summer evening. We were sitting, as we usually did,  on the bench outside the House. We were in a very somber mood because  the parish chef, Mikkelsen, who should manage the call ups, sent the young men, who were not themselves going to be called up, out with the call up orders. They came galloping on horses all night.  Also my brother Kette had to leave for the engineering  troops and was there for two years. As a border town  Holsted was quartered with soldiers, both dragoons and infantry. One of the schools was made in to barracks.  The soldiers who could not fit in there, were accommodated around the town with landowners-but only for dinner. We had no less than eight soldiers who should have food every day. It was a hard time for my mother.  I had started to go to the priest for my confirmation and had to walk 4 km every other day besides going to school.

It was not easy in the winter time.  Us "priest children"  had to stumble through snow drifts and mud  When we arrived to the parsonage, the clothes and boots had to be hanged to dry at the stove inside the education room which was not very large.  The consequence was that the smell caused some of us  to pass out. Apart from that we didn't not regret the trip, because we were usually joined by horsemen who were on patrol. They were, of course, on horse back, and would like to have a bit of entertainment. As soon as the village had got over it's fear of war, it wasn't long before it was discovered that it wasn't too bad to have soldiers in the shops  and the pups. The Inn and the confectioner were always filled with soldiers. There was also a lot more life in the village. The Regimental Orchestra often gave a Concert with a ball afterwards. The daughters of the village, of course, could not resist the "shiny buttons",  There was life and happy days, until the Spanish flu arrived.

In the early years it was mostly soldiers who got infected. There was an old gymnastics hall, opposite "Tinghuset",  which was used as army hospital. I do not remember how many died. I can only remember that a soldier got out of bed one night and in a fever frenzy went in to the mill pond near by, where he drowned.

When I was fifteen years old my father got attacked by tuberculosis. It was a hard blow for the family.  We did not have to feed the soldiers any more.  When my father went to hospital and my brother Kette was drafted, there was only my mother and I left in the House. My mother thought that it wood be good for me to get out and learn  something. I came as a maid in to the House of a judge  and earned the "huge" salary of 25 øre pr. day. But I learned a lot and had a good time. The only thing I didn't like was the two over pampered pit dogs. They gave me a lot of problems. I remember that  one evening we had a party for the city's top people. A cousin of the house wife – she had to learn housekeeping – was this evening at the table. We had a cook, and I had to serve. It ended horribly. I had a large heavy dish with meat rissoles in one hand and a sauce pitcher in the other. The cook opened the door to the dining  and the two pit dogs saw their chance to run away into the room. I just reached the table when one of the dogs  rushed straight against my leg. The result was that I happened to tilt the dish with the meat rissoles  and a nice big rissole took speed over the edge of the dish and landed in the lap of the solicitor and continued down under the table right in front of the dogs, and that meant trouble.  A blazing battle started between skirts and legs of the dinner guests. The ladies shirked and the gentlemen laughed, so tears came down their cheeks.  The  judge snatched the plate with rissoles from me, so that I could get hold of the dogs. I got them out in the kitchen and there was the cook holding her stomach from laughter.

Another time we had dinner, I also nearly to go out of my wits. My hostesses had founded an Art Association in the village.  Poul Reumert, a well-known actor, was engaged to read up one evening. He should of course dine  with us, and I should serve. If Poul Reumert was thoughtless or a Cheshire, I am not sure;  but when I served the plate for him, I felt his hand grasp mine and continued to hold it down, while he talked to his dinner partner, and it was impossible for me to move forward. I stood completely helpless and insanely stared my hostess in the eyes. It must have dawned  on the actor, because he gave my hand a squeeze before he let go.

After eight months my father came home from the resting home and Kette came home from the service, so my mother needed me again. It wasn't really much that I was at home. Both my sisters, brothers and cousins sent for me  when they needed help. And I could be used both as a nurse, baby nurse and a domestic help. It was even cheap for them because I usually made doe with used clothes and some times something made for me;  but otherwise I was very happy at home with my father and mother. I had now grown to an age where I would like to go to balls-either Citizen Club Ball, Christmas Ball or Sports Ball; but it was difficult for me to get permission. My father and mother did not like much to let me go on my own. It then had to be my brother Kette's duty to act as chaperone for my friend Musse and me. The first ball, we attended  was not a  quit normal experience. Musse had been given new teeth.  It was fairly common at that time to receive that as a confirmation gift. My parents didn't think that it was necessary for my part, so I  wondered what I should do to be a match  for her. I came on thinking that I could do a "good figure" of my self literally. Up in the attic there was an old chest of drawers.  I knew that there was an old girdle belonging to my oldest sister Karla.  I got hold of it and laced my self up so that I was hardly able to breath;  but we managed to go to the ball.  It was a nice summer evening and all the windows were open. Musse and I sat under a window and looked at the dancers. Whether it was drag from the window I do not know, but suddenly  Musse came to sneeze. The result was that her new teeth flew out of her mouth and on to the middle of the floor. Musse was fast to jump after them, collect them  and dry them  in her handkerchief and put them in her mouth again. I had to reassure her that nobody  had seen it. Shortly after I could feel  that I could not move my head. It felt just as if there was something in the neck which was stuck in my hair due which I had made in to a nice "ball". It was indeed important  to act as adult as possible, when you are only fifteen years old. I then tried to feel what was the cause, and great was my horror when I felt a big girdle pin which had broken out from the dark material and was now poking out in to the free air.  There was only one thing to do. Pull it up and throw it away through the open window making sure that nobody had seen it.  That was the first time I went to a ball without my father or mother accompanying me.

Like any other village, our village of course also had its eccentrics. In addition to those I have all ready mentioned, there was "Hop Katrine", "Hatch Line" not to mention "Happy Frederik". Frederick was always drunk, and sometimes even really drunk. He was a kind of a handyman and earned good money, luckily he was not married, so he could just use all his money, and he did. I remember that he one  summer evening came wobbling  in the middle of the road with a stick in his hand, which he pounded in to the road  in a measured way every time the curved legs took a step.  Suddenly the legs didn't want to go his way.  Now his retreat went  just as measured backwards  until he stepped sideways and finished up in the ditch where he was dormant for three to four hours. After that he got up and at once started to sing "Amanda fra Kerteminde".  Frederik was now ready for today's happenings and tonight's "coffee punches"(coffee and snaps). .

In the House, my father built, there was in addition to our own apartment two minor apartments, which was rented out. One at the first floor and one at the ground floor.  Kesten and Jette I remember best as the first tenants. Kesten paid no rent, for she had been our adviser right from when I was born. Jette was called for "Holy Jette" because she was very religious.  Of course so many people were like that, but Jette tended to preach too much where ever she came. Kesten, in contrast, was  her exact opposite,  smooth and straight forward. As for example we had, as all other houses at that time, a WC in the courtyard. It was a summer evening and it was a long time ago since we had rain. Kesten and Jette had their own small piece of garden plot behind the WC, where they grew  potatoes.  Kesten was watering her little plot of poatatoes  while Jette was sitting on the toilet and heard Kesten mooving about behind the House. The following conversation went on: "Kesten! what are you doing out there?" Kesten answered: "I am watering my potatoes Jette"  Jette said: "You don't have to do that, our Lord will look after that".  Kesten said doggedly: "Mad woman! wouldn't you think that God has more important things to do than watering my potatoes?". -Kesten had been  a farmer's wife and knew that farmers can't entirely rely on our Lord when it comes to the rain.

When I was sixteen a letter arrived from my mother's sister in Assens; she was a matron in a hotel named "Hotel sønderjylland".  The Hotel Owner was a widower and had two daughters at my age. Now my aunt Otilie felt that I should come over and visit her. I was of course delighted.  One Sunday morning  my father took me to the train – a beautiful summer morning it was and with brilliant sunshine.  I enjoyed the trip, although I had to wait for five hours in Tommerup. Well, I arrived in Assens, late afternoon, and the first thing my aunt did was to pull my high sett hairstyle down. I had to show off my long plaits, my aunt said.  I had a lovely holiday with my aunt, but I must say that I got my life's greatest shock the first evening. The hotel was under renovation, and some walls were torn down. Asta, the eldest of the daughters, had her room in the attic at the other end of a large Chamber. I would of course share the room with her. At ten a clock we went together, each with a candle light.  There was no electricity because it was during the war. We nearly dropped our candles;  because when we were going through the Grand Ballroom,  we suddenly saw human sculls lined up along the walls,  one head next to the other all the way.  We screamed and my aunt came running. When she saw what was the cause she got very furious.  It did not take her long to get hold of the work men who was the cause of the rough joke.   I must say they got a good owe haul. . My aunty was certainly not the one to joke with; they had to remove the sculls.  It turned out that there had been a grave yard at the site and they had found quite a few skeletons.   The workers were not very particular about it and I don't know what happened to them later. .

When I came home from Assens   good news awaited me.. They had  built a picture theater , and they had asked if I wanted to play to the films three evenings a week with a fee of 15 kr. per night, so I got stuck in to it.  In the beginning I  thought it was quit amusing, but eventually it became quite trivial. It helped a lot that we were a few young people who under my father's leadership formed a small Orchestra. We played every Sunday afternoon and had a very nice time. The Orchestra consisted of flute, violin, cello, bass and piano. It was amusing to see how the neighbors gathered themselves below the Windows, when we played. It was the first and only local Orchestra in the city.

Gradually I came to play with other orchestras to balls and concerts to great anxiety for my parents. The nights I was out playing  I didn't come home before five a clock in the morning. That was generally, when after a concert  there was a ball and most often extra danceing afterwards. I was often very tired, but I earned  35 kr. on such an evening and hat was a lot of money back then.

It all got to an end when I took music lessons with an Italian gentleman Bonnaki in Esbjerg. When he was told how active I was, he simply forbid me to play neither to bal or concert nor at the picture theater. I had to nicely rehearse four hours every day on the piano, but the Spanish flu put a stop to that when it started in earnest.  I of  course did not go free but became infected by the sweet young man who I later married.  My profession as a musician was finished, my fiancé did not want me to knock about in the night and come home sick and tired in the morning.  I devoted my self to the small orchestra we had every Sunday. At that time I was eighteen years old and I got married  when I was twenty one..

Friday, June 22, 2007


Atter en glædelig familie begivenhed

Nedenstående kom fra Claus og Bente. Vi ønsker dem og de nye forældre hjertelig tillykke.

Hej Per og Randi
Jeg prøvede at sende nogle billeder d.6 om aftenen af bettefisen der blev født kl.21.16 til din pmand adresse nu prøver jeg din hotmail
Han hedder William og er så fin
Og mange mange tak for fødselsdags kortet her på min fødselsdag. William og forældre (Jacob og Kirstine) var her i går hvor vi fejrede hinanden.
Hilsen Claus

Saturday, August 12, 2006


En glædelig begivenhed.

Hi til hele familien!

Her er en glædelig familie myhed.
Angela og Math har meddelt at deres baby er på vej. Babyen har meldt sin ankomst først i det nye år. Det bliver så Randis og mit fjerde oldebarn. Angela melder alt i orden hos både mor og barn. Randi og jeg er meget glade for det og vi ønsker alt det bedste for forældre og baby.Som I kan se er det lidt svært at sige hvem babyen ligner mest. Det ser ud til at være en musikalsk baby der lytter til ipod.

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