Monday, August 1, 2011

Aunt Eleanor's Journal, December 25, 1981

Aunt Eleanor wrote the first entry in her journal just after Thanksgiving 1981. She wrote her next entry on the night of December 25, 1981. As I read her journal, she seemed to write in it after she had visited her family.

When I transcribed her journal, I typed what I saw. In some cases, Aunt Eleanor added comments within a pair of parenthesis. Occasionally I added comments to clarify things. These comments are included within a pair of braces {}.

Christmas Day nite Dec. 25, 1981

I will write a few more lines in here tonite. I was at Diannes last evening, joining her family on Christmas eve, and today I was with Edward and June at Pamela’s. All of them except Eddie and Jan were there.

I’m thinking of the many Christmas’ in the past when Santa was such a hero. How we waited fro Christmas to come and what fun we would have visiting with the neighbors, it was one big dinner after the other. We would always gather round the piano or organ and sign our hearts out also had skating and sliding parties and sleigh rides. The horses were always decked out with sleigh bells and as they trotted merrily along the bells would ring out so cheerfully. Santa was very real till I was seven years old when I found out he was a hoax but it didn’t stop us from hanging out stockings and as long as I was at home Santa always left something in them. My father and Mother made very sure tho that we knew what Christmas really was, and there was a truly sacred atmosphere there which seems to be missing in so many homes today.

Another event that thrilled us no end was the Christmas program at the little school house. Well it was all so much fun and life was so carefree and gay but years passed and in 1917 we lost out dear Father. He died of anemia on June 28. It seemed that life could hardly go on but of course it did but never quite the same.

That summer Mother, Mrs. Peterson {Nora’s Mother} and Uncle Theodore {my cousin Isadora’s father} decided it was time that we girls should take confirmation lessons so every Thursday Leola, Nora, Isadora and I would ride into Pine River with the mail man and meet with the school principle and go over our lesson. We were good students because in just a couple of months we were all confirmed. It was during the Time we were riding with the mail man that we first saw two young men who used to come out to their mail box to get the mail. We girls were quite smitten and all four of us rather claimed them. Nothing came of it tho and the next summer I went to Wisconson to help in my uncle Louis Hemness’ general store. That summer on the 4th of July I went to my first dance and from then on I was dance goofy. Dancing and singing were my great pastimes. It was also at that time that I got letters from Nora, Isadora and Leola telling me that they had met those boys who always met the mail man and I would get reports of all the fun they were having at parties. I wrote back that they had better not think they could have the one named Neddy cause I was going to have him. Well I didn’t really get him until 1925 that was seven years later. I stayed at my Grandmother’s later on in the summer of 1918 and worked at a little store in Martell until just before Thanksgiving Day, then I went home and came down the flu. I gave it to every member of the family but I was hit the hardest. I really was sick and it took me longer to recover. To be continued.

Jan. 2, 1982
This is a good time to reminisce so I’ll add a few more paragraphs. It was while was staying with my grandmother that I learned a few things about her. She was such a sweet devout person. She grew up in Norway, in her youth she used to take care of sheep and she would ski seven miles to school. She like to read and every day she read in her Bible. At the time I was there she was 81 years old and she would walk up to the pasture in the morning with the cows and in the evening she would go and get them. I think it must have been at least ½ mile away. She milked the cows also took care of the chickens. Grandfather was a stone mason and when he came home he just rested. I remember he always went to bed early. I remember I couldn’t understand Grandfather, he spoke in a different dialect and so grandmother would always tell me what he said. They both spoke Norwegian.

After Grandmother grew up she became a dress maker. She had lots of pictures of ladies she had sewed for and I used to love to sit and look at them. My what fancy dresses they had on.

Well to go back to the fall of 1918, after I recovered from the flu – by the way it was the flu that caused Grandfathers death that fall so I never got to see him again. From Thanksgiving time till Feb. 28 it seems we did nothing but go to parties and dances and it was then that I met Ned and we sure had lots of fun. He made a bet with his brother Max that we would get married before he did. But he lost out on that because on the 28th of Feb. I went to Fergus Falls and it wasn’t long till we didn’t even write to each other. My sister Leola and Max were married a year later.

I was 2½ years in Fergus taking up nursing. I didn’t finish the course because I couldn’t get along with the head nurse and her second in charge nurse. So I went to Mpls. Worked down there as a nurse maid for a year then went back home and loafed for a couple of months. In Oct. I went into Pine River to care for Mrs. George Bowman who was bedridden with inflamitory rhuematism. She was in terrible pain and was a lot of care. One of the treatments we gave her was steambaths. We borrowed someones alcohol lamp and used that to heat the water and she would sit inside the tent like deal with just her head sticking out and get steamed for 20 minutes at the time. The ones who owned the alcohol lamp needed it so we had to get another one. Mr. Bowman couldn’t find an alcohol lamp instead he got a keozine lamp. The first day I used it Mrs. Bowman said, “It looks like there is smoke coming out around my neck.” I came to examine it and sure enough black soot was coming out of the steamer. I opened it up and Mrs. Bowman was covered with the blackest soot. I had to wrap her in a blanket, get that lamp out and believe me I had a mess but we couldn’t help but laugh. It was some job to get her washed clean. I was on that case for over 2 months. Then I spent Christmas at the Stoutenburgs my sisters Emma and Bernice were there too and we had a great time. We all got books for Christmas and everybody was reading. Ned was in the marines at this time. After the holidays I went with Bernice to Martell Wis. There we stayed with Grandmother she was alone and very crippled with arthritis, so she couldn’t be alone. She was still her own sweet self reading her Bible but so bent over, she had to use a cane. Grandma and Bernice always went to bed at 9 o’clock so I had to too, but I would take the lamp and set it on the floor at the foot the bed, turn it down low so it wouldn’t bother Bernice, then I would lay on my stomack with a book right by the lamp and I would read till all hours of the night. Our cousins Erwin and Bernell came too and we had a great time that winter. The next spring I took a job taking care of Mrs Theodore Winger who was bed ridden. She and her husband and 2 bachelor sons had moved into a new home, when she got sick. It was a nice house but they didn’t have any furniture only in the kitchen and their bedrooms. There was an old phonegraph and a few records I used to play. I had an Army cot to sleep on. And the men folks did all the cooking. The same thing day after day. It was a rather dull time. I did get to leave on Sundays and there were young folks that I went out with so on Sundays we had fun. The summer passed, in August I went back to Mpls. got a job as nursemaid for Mary Hoyt age 1 year. I was there till the middle of Dec. then I got called back to Martell. My uncle Edward had fallen off a boxcar and broke his neck, he was paralyzed from the neck down. He had been taken to a chiropractor’s place in Ellsworth Wis. And he needed nurses care around the clock. My cousin Bernell and I took care of him there until after Christmas then he was transferred to a hospital in St. Paul and we went there to be with him every day. He died the first part of January. This was the uncle who never could stand me. I guess I was always goofing off too much. Its funny that it ended up that I had to care for him. I was there by his bedside when he took his last breath.

It is now 12:25 PM. Saturday or Sunday now. And I have to be ready to go to church in the morning by 9:15. So again we will leave this writing till another time.

To be continued...

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