Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Monday, Calming the seas....

     I actually slept with mom last night as she had not slept the night before.  So she sleeps but keeps me up all night.  I was able to call her other credit card that she had (unbeknownst to her) and found out it had been cancelled in 20013.  That would be about right as that was when we had the big fiasco with my brother embezzling about $35,000 from her.  I sign on all her checking and savings accounts so I will get info on how to keep track of these accounts online.  I will have to check them everyday.

     My sweet Sissie transferred $200.00 into my account and told me to buy mom a new wallet and keep the money and the wallet in my bag so mom has money to spend.  This was unnecessary but something Sissie would do.

     Today we are going out to the grocery stores and to a couple of fabric stores.  I am starting on costumes and props while I am here.  I have a a lot to do.  My grandson and I made a strawberry cake and we are going to frost it later.  He loves to cook and make messes like any other 4 year old.

     There are four different fabric stores to choose from here so I can get a lot better bargains and selections when I am here for costumes. I have 12 penguin costumes to make, but those are the only real duplicates.  There are several old fashioned dresses but the will all be slightly different, so that makes them less tedious.  I would like to have the penguins and the five of the dresses done and maybe a few vests before I leave here.  We will see.

Posting this as I don't know when I will be free to post a gain, things take turns here so fast I am having trouble keeping up!

Have a great and productive day, while I try to stay afloat with mom.



Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sunday, What a trip!

     Traveling with an 82 year old woman in bad health in and of itself is a challenge but I think I deserve an award for yesterday.  When I arrived at moms she had not started packing.  I tried to get her to pack Friday night so we could leave in the morning as we had a 7 hour drive ahead of us.  (9 if you count her pit stops)  She was too tired so we would pack in the morning.  She could not get up until nine and then packing was a nightmare, but I finally got her out the door at 11:30 and we were on the road.

     I was going to stop at a truck station 11 miles out of town to gas up before we hit the highway.  Mom was not feeling well and had to find a bathroom right away.  When she says right away I mean she better not walk more than 5 feet or we are home changing her.  Now it is not like this every day but she does have problems.  So I drove right up to the station door and let her out with her bag hoping I would not come into a disaster after I gassed up.  When I went into the station she was coming out of the bathroom with her bag and a smile on her face.  No accident but as soon as we got to the station door she had to turn around and go right back to the bathroom.  We have all been there right?  So I wait and pick out a few snacks and drinks I think we would like and go get the truck and bring it right up to the door.  I get out of the truck when I see her with her cane and I ask if it is okay to leave or should we wait for a while.  No she is fine now and off we go!

     The weather was perfect and we made it over the pass with no problems or snow.  The salmon river gorge is beautiful and in about 1.5 hours we were at the North-fork of the Salmon river.  We stopped and went to the bathroom.  I said mom do not take your purse in.  I did not want to deal with her and her purse and a cane etc.  So after the bathroom break we went into the little convenience store as the rule is you have to buy one over priced item per person per stop.  We bought one soda and a pack of gum.  We took off through the Lemhi's the highest Mountain range in Idaho,  absolutely gorgeous.  When we arrived at Challis which is the halfway point we stopped for a bite to eat.  Mom's back had been bothering her for the past 1/2 hour and she needed a pain pill.  I pulled my purse out of the back and started to look through the 15 bags she had packed for her purple flowered purse and I could not find it.  I took everything out of the truck and no purse.

     I just know it is back at our first stop which has a casino attached to it.  Yeah a casino  shares the bathroom with the gas station.  Mom is beside herself as she should be.  I know I would be so upset and sick.  She is also really hard on herslef because she is aging and doing aging type things and she knows she is losing it but does not want to admit it.  I have to diffuse the melt down that is about to take place.  I get her inside the restaurant and she is shaking and a mess.  Order some food and get her a milkshake.  Then  I start calling directory assistance for every stop we made.  The town pump has not seen the purse.  I cannot get the name of the establishment that we stopped at in North fork as it is just a spit in the road.  Luckily the bar attached to the restaurant had some old timers and they were able to give me the specific name of the store and I was able to call no they did not have a purse.  Now I have to call every credit card company.

     I am cold calling 1-800 #'s as I have nothing else to go on.  I am getting disconnected because we are in a hole in a gorge in Idaho. When I did finally get to speak to a person and they speak English I I am trying to explain this is an lady and she is upset all of the above.  Now we find out the first card has not been used and I am also not allowed to speak to them as I am not my mother.  Now begins the three way conversation on a cell phone to get them to understand the problem.  They needed her ss# she could not remember it, they needed her 4 digit pin code she could not remember them. Finally we get the first card cancelled. They will send a replacement card out immediately.  NO do not send a card until she contacts you.  She will be with me for the next two weeks and my brother will get the mail and use the card.  I have to go through this with every card.  We are at the restaurant for two hours.  I have pain pills and I give her one of mine.  We finally leave but she is still very upset and I can't blame her.  She had 160.00 in cash and a new prescription of pain meds.  90 pills She does not keep her pain meds with her other meds because of my brother.

     I felt so responsible,I should have been watching her closer.   We traveled to Arco (where the first nuclear bomb tests were done). And then onto craters of the moon which is why the first nuclear bomb tests were done here, lovely country.  Her cell phone rang and it was my brother someone had called and had her purse.  He was on his way to get it.  Mom told him to call her when he picked it up.  Of course the call did not coming in until 11:00 that night.  I could tell he was high by the way he was talking.  Of course mom tried hard not to let me hear the conversation.  All her money was there and the cc's we had just cancelled.  Bro had given woman who found purse $20.00 for a reward.  Mom asked about her pills and told him they were for her diabetes and to put them up.  I' m just shaking my head as this is a very smart known drug user and abuser and seller who will know that those are not for diabetes.  But good try mom.  I am sure that was said for my benefit like look I am trying to control  him.  At least the CC's are stopped and he cannot use them.

     Now she is worried about paying her bills, but there is a US Bank here and we can go down and get copies of her checks as I sign on the account and I had ID with me. I have not spoken to her about the fact that I know bro was high because she was already so upset.  I will try to broach the subject today.  I know he has stolen her meds before that is why she is so careful with them.  He has taken such advantage of her all of his adult life and she lies for him and will not really tell us the truth about what is happening.  The problem is she has enough of her faculties and will not allow us to eliminate him from her life.  We have tried and tried.  SO now tomorrow I will have to get her bills paid and figure out how to replace her pills.

     I love my life.  My grandson is too cute and in spite of all this I am going to have a good time.

Have a beautiful Palm Sunday.


Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday, Spring break begins!

Went out to Taco time with a gift card.  $17.12 tooth pasts, soda, milk.  Took some pork riblets out of freezer will serve with rice.

     I sewed like a girl on fire yesterday so I could get out of town today sometime late afternoon.  The weather is gorgeous and I have a young man coming over to work in the yard.  I got all the bills paid and I am ready to rock and roll.  Just a few more things to do in the shop and I need to pack.  Want to leave the house semi reasonable, as I know Hub's won't do a darn thing while I am gone.

     I am so looking forward to seeing my grandson and his fish named Steve.

Do any of you have spring break?

Story Cont:

     Nels was expecting a package of radio parts via the train and the closest connection to the apartment was farther than he usually traveled with the little girls.  The weather was getting warmer every day and Nels felt that if he packed a lunch and took an extra blanket in the cart he could get to the station and the girls could nap on the way back.  It was a completely different route and he could point out sites that would be able to hold their attention. Nels made a pleasant picture as he went down the street. A tall blond boy pulling a large wooden wagon with three small girls.  Violet sat next to Audra on a seat fashioned across the front.  Audra was strapped in and both had their chubby stockinged legs hung down.  Audra was especially proud of her little red boots and spent a good part of the journey staring at them as she would lift them to stick straight out in front of her.  Ruth sat inside the wagon bed and could kneel if she chose to as she hung on to the side.

       The funny thing about the Bjorklund children is that they all looked alike, yet each of them very different.  They all had the same deep blue eyes, their fathers eyes.  Mother's had been brown.  She often laughed about the fact that she could not produce a brown eyed child.  The children's hair was either wavy or very curly and all had the same sandy red/blond color except Violet who had dark black hair.  They were  exceptionally pretty little children but as they grew older the family features of a large nose took over and the boys had extremely large ears.  They did not stick out (thank goodness) but were like saucers on either side of their heads.  What made them look alike was the shape of their faces which were wide and somewhat flat.  The tilt of the eyes was almost oriental and Millie,Oscar and Peter all had very dark coloring.  The darker skin, the shape of the eyes and the flatter face spoke of a Lapland some where in the family tree. There was just a strong family resemblance among them and it became much more obvious when they were together talking or laughing.

     Millie kept the girls hair braided in two pigtails down the sides of their heads and Audra's braids stuck straight out like her boots.   Millie made their little dresses and coats.  Today they were wearing  brown and blue plaid with their brown wool winter coats.  It was warm enough to keep the coats unbuttoned, but too chilly yet to take them off.  Nels was warm pulling the wagon, he had put his coat in the back and had rolled up his sleeves, exposing long white forearms.  His pants were a little short showing the tops of his boots. He had grown since they were made.  Millie would let them down when she had the time, or she would cut them down for the next brother. It took one and a half hours for Nels to get to the depot and Ruth was clamoring for a place to GO!

     He thought he had covered everything, but how could he take all three girls into a public restroom in the station?  Where could he leave the wagon?  The two older ones were not old enough to go on their own.  He stood perplexed outside the depot.

     Unstrapping Audra he swung her onto his hip, while Ruth danced up and down bleating.  Just then a station man came out the door of the depot, he paused to light a cigarette. His uniform was unbuttoned, he was just heading home from his shift.   He must have recognized the dance of desperation that Ruth was performing  because he gave Nels directions to the closest toilet and offered to watch the wagon. The uniform was all Nels needed to ensure his trust and he was off in a flash to get the girls to the stalls in time.  Nels would have to think this kind of a trip through more carefully.  He had thought of food, drinks, a change of clothes for Audra, but not about the fact that the older ones might have to be left alone, and what would happen to the wagon when out of his sight? Millie was always saying to be grateful for providence and he hated it when she was right.  Returning to the wagon he thanked the station man who told him if he hurried he could meet the mail car before it unloaded.  He should be able to pick up his parcel right on the platform.  He then directed Nels down a short cut through two buildings to the mail platform.

     Nels was surprised at the number of people waiting to pick up packages.  Everyone was so interesting. Men in nice business suits and ties stood talking.  Several maids in uniform were waiting obviously for their employers. Pretty girls in spring coats and jackets, secretaries they were called stood waiting, eying each others wardrobe choices and hoping to attract the attention of one of the well dressed men. There was a black man in a kind of overall and floppy hat waiting slightly away from the others.The little girls stared and stared at him.  He smiled, his teeth were so white.  Audra let out whoop and Nels was very embarrassed.  The man did not seem to mind much to Nels relief.

     There was a general hub bub of noise on the platform as people waited for the train car to be unhooked and pushed up to the waiting crowd.  Two cars were linked together and pushed by a small steam engine into place.  A station master with a large book and two men came to the first car, when is was opened it was full of different looking machines.  This was not mail.  A tall gentleman went up to the station master and signed for the car's contents and then started to help a couple of teamster's unload.

     Nels turned his attention to the mail car and people started to jostle and cue up to get things as their names were called. As the station master shouted people stepped forward to claim what was theirs.  The dark man was one of the first to get his goods and it appeared to be baby chicks from the sound and shape of the box.  The box had the strong smell of chicken manure.  Many others were called before Nels, finally he heard Bjorklund!  He retrieved his package and was setting it in the back of the wagon when the tall gentleman from the rail car full of machinery called out, "Did I hear you are a Bjorklund?"  The man's dialect was from Nels home province in Sweden.  Nels nodded the affirmative and the man stepped across the platform to shake his hand.  It was always a welcome to find a countryman, but one from your own province was special.

     Nels and the man exchanged pleasantries.  His name was Olaf Ericson and he was with a company that sold farm equipment in the mid west.  Mostly his territory was Minnesota and the Dakotas.  During the off season when farm equipment was not needed he was sent to represent other smaller bits of machinery and appliances to help round out the selling season.  He seemed to have a real distaste for his current route and inventory.  He was delivering and selling washing machines and he spoke of them as if ashamed.  Nels had heard of gasoline operated washing machines and had read about them.  He had even seen one once in the back courtyard of an expensive home where he had fixed a Victrola.  It had been a loud smelly contraption that looked as if possessed. When running it actually shimmied across the cobblestones. Nels love of all things mechanical especially if it was new or had a motor made him curious, but he had not had the time to stop and really examine the noisy monster.  Here, here was his countryman had a whole car full.

     The teamster and his helper were trying to get as many of the white enameled machines on the horse drawn flat wagon as possible, but they had yet to tie the tubs down.  As the last three machines were loaded a small steam car let out and awful roar and everyone including the horse jumped a little.  That little was too much and three of the heavy tub like vessels fell with a crash off the back of the wagon.  Olaf Erickson let out a stream of profanities in Swedish, which caused Violet to cover her ears.  The younger two understood his tone and looked scared, Violet however remembered enough of her old language to recognize a word or two.  When the children were living in Stockholm while waiting for the trip to America they had been surrounded by nefarious language on a daily basis. Nels winked at Violet and smiled to calm the younger two then hurried over to help Olaf right the machines.

     "These can never be sold as new they are damaged," shouted Olaf and he kicked at one of the machines.  As Nels help to upright a machine the motor which was loosened by the fall made a clanking noise and drug across the ground.  "I don't care what the company says, these washers are just expensive pieces of useless skra'pe."  (junk)  " They are constantly shaking apart in shipping from the Ohio factory."  "I spend more time trying to get replacement parts and fixing broken machines than I do selling them." Moaned Olaj.  Nels had bent over and was examining the broken motor clamp.  "Where will you take these?" asked Nels.  "I have a warehouse about three blocks from here.  This is my last shipment before I will return to start the spring season selling on my regular route.  I will be replaced with another salesman and return to Ohio to take a shipment of Thrashers to Minneapolis in two weeks.  Now I have another three machines for the scrap pile."    Nels was shocked, he did not see that much wrong with two of the machines other than scratches and dents.  The wringer had been knocked off one, but it could be fixed.

       Nels began to see an opportunity and he never missed an opportunity. " I think I can fix these machines." He said.  "Well I can't remove the dents or the scratches but I think I can repair them so they operate."
"Oh, I can fix them too, but I don't have the time, I have a route of deliveries to make and it costs more for the company to ship these back than for me to just take them to the warehouse and use them as parts.  Right now these three machines will cost me a good part of my commission and that I cannot afford," Olaf said with disgust.  Audra was starting to whimper ,she was wet and  the girls were getting hungry. Nels pulled a  beet colored boiled egg out of the lunch box and handed it to Audra. Olaf took note immediately and asked if Nels mother had made the egg. "No, my sister did  and if you want a good Swedish cold luncha'  I will treat you if you take me to this warehouse of yours." Nels said with a smile.

     By the time Olaf and Nels were done with lunch and the girls were all asleep in the wagon bed with a blanket over them, Nels had made a deal with Olaf to fix as many of his machines as possible in the next two weeks.  Olaf would have to get a larger wagon to bring everything over to Nels address.  They shook hands as countrymen and Nels with a few wash machine motors and a box full of scrap parts took off on a fast clip for home.  He had to find a place for the machines that were coming.  There was not room in the apartment and the butcher shop at night only held one or two larger radio consoles.  Where was he going to put washing machines?  Nels couldn't be worried or frightened, he was just excited.

     When he pulled the wagon into the front hall of the building, he rushed into Strom's shop.  He was talking so fast, that Mr. Strom said, "Slow down, slow down, what is this all about?'  Mrs. Strom came from the back and when she saw Nels all flushed and agitated immediately thought of the little girls.   "The kinder"? she said with alarm.  "No, no, they are fine, asleep in the wagon, they have had a big day and so have I." said Nels.  Mrs. Strom went out to the hall and picked up the sleeping Audra from the wagon bed, while Nels explained to Mr. Strom his good fortune and problem all at the same time.  When Mrs. Strom finally realized what he was talking about she was also excited.  To think about having a washing machine.  How much work this would save.  But equipment like that was far too expensive and with just the two of them it would be wasteful, Mrs. Strom explained. " Yes, yes," Nels understood, but right now he had several wash machines coming to this address, what was he going to do?  Where was he going to put them?  "How many machines?" asked Mrs. Strom still dreaming.  "I don't know", said Nels.  "You don't know?" she asked again in disbelief.

      Both Nels and Mr. Strom stood in the shop not saying a word.  Strom was scratching his head and Nels was twisting his cap in his hands. "Manskap!" (men)cried Mrs. Strom and hurried down the long narrow hall to the back of the building.  Nels pulled the wagon to it's storage spot and followed Mrs. Strom out the back door into the large courtyard shared by all the tenants.  Here were the two hand pumps for water and the never ending lines of wash.  The owner of the building was very strict about what was kept in the yard.  He would not allow tenants to store things in the halls or bring anything but wash into the courtyard.  He didn't want trash and heaps of old refuse around his building.

       There was a large lean to shed against the back of the Strom apartment.  Nels knew it belonged to the Stroms and had been built on to the apartment house to store sides of meat cold weather.  Mr. Strom had good intentions, but he also liked to collect things and eventually the cold storage had become a catch all for fracca' ( stuff of some value to the owner but useless to others). Mrs. Strom handed the sleeping Audra to Mr. Strom and unbolted the door to the lean to.  She started to hand out things to Nels. "This, this, and this can go", she said.  Nels  was given an old beat up wash basin, a large piece of copper pipe and a broken kerosene lamp.  "Such treasures." she said.  Mr Strom, looked shocked and bewildered. "It must go, it must go, it all must go, Mrs. Strom mumbled as she delved farther into the mouth of the shed,"today we are getting washing machines."   The fact that the lean to had no lock on it to protect the contents only attested to the value of the odd allotment of things Mrs. Strom was soon throwing into the courtyard.  Mr. Strom did not even argue, but carried the still sleeping Audra back into the shop. After all they were getting washing machines.


Have a great and productive day.


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Thursday, discouraged :(

Made a large salad with lots of goodies for dinners.  Last of the potatoes, bread. leftover birthday cake and I cut up a quart of strawberries into a quart of honey yogurt for hubs to eat for breakfasts this week.  Have no idea what to cook today and really don't care.

     Paid all bills for the month and am totally broke.  Don't seem to be getting any where with studio debt but the monthly payments.  I thought there would be a little left over to put toward taxes but so far nothing. I have been holding a check since January hoping for enough to cover some of it and still not enough funds.  So frustrating and don't know anyway around it right now, just keep plugging away. Still have outstanding tuition so that may help will put the watch dog on it tomorrow.

     On a more positive note, I made the last payment to Hub's hearing aids of $600.00 so that is paid off!  The shop is doing really well and that is all me, what I really want is to have some money left over to sock on a bill and it seems like it is never there.    Okay, okay it will be okay.  Deep breath.  I can do this. You know bill paying day should be exciting and I should see that I am making progress, why does it always depress me?

     I was able to clean up the house, and I have to run errands today as in get everything out where it need to be as far as mail and deposits.  Run down a few medical bills ,etc. Pay a few things on line and then sew.  I have one more wedding dress and I need to call on a mother of the bride dress due out sometime in April.  I also have at least 8 pairs of pants to hem and a couple of formals to alter.

     Out My Window:  I hope the weather is nice tomorrow and I can have the young man come and do some work in the yard.  We really need to get the branches picked up if we are going to have an egg hunt on Easter for the kids coming over.  If this does not get done while I am home it won't be done before Easter.I have to think that far ahead.

story cont:

          After everyone had eaten as much as possible,  the women would pack up the baskets leaving what ever was left over for the Pastor.  Pans and containers left from the week before were passed  around and returned, a small discussion among the women would determine who would be bringing what for next week.  Some brought the same things over and over, but many others changed for variety.  Smorgasbord was something to look forward to every week.

      The younger girls were cranky and tired.  Audra was asleep on Nels shoulder.  Mr. Strom picked up Ruth and Millie protested that, "She was too big a girl to carry all the way home."  Mr. Strom did not mind, "She was not has heavy as hogs he had carried last week to and from the shop.  I am not too old as to be able to carry a little thing like her."  Millie was checking around to see if anything had been left by the boys, and thought of the six stories they would have to climb with the young ones when they arrived home.

     Nels made no rounds on Sunday.  He was looking forward to the afternoon to read the latest journals and rest.  Mrs. Strom insisted on keeping the three youngest downstairs.  Both Ruth and Audra were sound asleep and Violet was dragging.  She put two on the small sofa she had in her parlor and Violet was laid on the window seat that was cushioned.  "See, " said Mrs. Strom, "all tucked in." All of the the children changed clothes when they arrived home and Millie lay down with Peter.  Nels told the boys if they could not be quite to go down and out to the back yard of the apartment building.  "Stay far away from the Strom's windows if you are going to make a racket."  He wanted the little ones to sleep for a blessed hour or so. Nels often fell asleep on Sunday afternoon.  Try as he might to stay awake and read he just did not get enough sleep during the busy week.

     All too soon the little boys were bringing the three younger girls upstairs.  Millie changed the girls out of their Sunday clothes and put out bread and milk for dinner.  They had all eaten so much at the church no one complained about a simple Sunday supper.  The radio was turned on for most of Sunday late afternoon and evening.  Musical programs, and operettas, were popular on Sundays.  Readings of Shakespeare and Seneca were also available on one of the stations out of New York City.

      The favorite program of the younger children was the Grimm's Brothers hour. Nels was constantly amazed at the the number of new stations that he could get every week.  Radio stations were just starting to understand that dead air space did not make them competitive.  Regular actors were brought in and sound effects started to be come popular.  Stations that did not keep up with the public demands soon folded.  The young Bjorklund's waited all week for the fairy tale episode on the Grimm's Brothers Radio hour even Audra would quietly sit and listen.  

     On Sunday evenings after the radio shows, Osker and  Wilhelm would play their violins and the Bjorklunds would sing every folk song they could remember.  There was much laughter and fun when they tried to translate the Swedish words to English.  They made no sense most of the time.  Nels and  Millie  would pick out American melodies, which were fun for the children and helped with their English but the mostly stuck old tunes from the homeland. Tomorrow was a new week, soon the alarm clocks would ring and the day would start again.  Nels and Millie stayed up later on Sundays after the others went to bed.  They would talk about what was needed and make plans.  This was a custom they had learned from their parents.  Velkommen, to welcome in the week.

     The Bjorlunds had been in Brooklyn, for almost a year now.  They had arrived when Nels was eighteen years four months.  They had to reside in New York until he was Twenty one.  The families original plans had been to settle in Chicago, but plans can change quickly and without warning. Nels and Millie discussed the small size of the apartment.  There were many things that were good about this flat.  It was perfect for Nels radio reception, as it was a top floor on a tall building.  They had a bathroom close and only shared it with one other family.  They liked having access to the roof  in warm weather, and they had good neighbors and help close by in the building.  The problem was the flat's size.  The children were growing.  Nels was 6'1", he would not be the tallest of his brothers.  Where would they put their legs under the table?   They would not always be able to sleep three to a bed.

     It was getting harder and harder, to keep the younger ones in clothes.  The little girls they could pass down, but the growing boys ruined and wore out there things. The appetites of the boys were endless.  More and more food had to be purchased every month. Nels and Millie knew how to manage and they were not without savings.  But Millie worried that Nels worked too hard and she felt that she needed to help some way.  Get a job, even part time after school just something to take the stress of all the earning off of Nels.  Nels was adamant that she stay in school.  He argued that she was of more use to her siblings in what she did for them than any money she could bring in. They had savings, he could earn more, he had ideas.

     Millie's life was much easier in some ways here than is had been in Sweden.  They had no animals to care for, and no gardens to tend.  The main washing was done by a woman on the second floor freeing Millie to just Audra's diapers and that would not last forever. She had help with the mending and ironing five days a week and there was as much cleaning to do in a small place.  Even the stove and cooking were easier as it was coal and not wood that had to be drug in several times a day.  Coal gave an even heat that lasted
longer.   She had an ice box and not a cellar to keep things cold.  Food could be had almost daily and not stored for long periods of time.  Nels was right, Millie would fret and then finally see his point of view.  If only they could get a bigger place.

           Nels buys a washing machine.

Well I have to get busy, chores are calling.

Have a great and productive day!


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wednesday, Thanks for all the well wishers!

Leftover, birthday cake, friends house for dinner, no idea what for today.  Help!

     Had a great Birthday!  Calls from my sisters, my mom, my kids.  I swear 56 Face book wishes!  Friend came over with a funny card and a 20 pack of diet coke.  Another with flowers.  Hubs brought home flowers and a cake.  I took candy to the studio for my three year olds and they sang Happy Birthday and I passed out treats, it was the best.  Handed out candy to the rest of the munchkins about 25 of them too cute. Then I came home and got a call from girlfriend and they had dinner for Hub's and I with chocolate cake.  It was corned beef and cabbage one of my favorites so we had white cake and chocolate cake.  Of course I overindulged and then we watched an Indian  movie, that I can't pronounce about dance.  Loved it!  I teach her kids dance and her husband is head of the dance board, very fun people.  I mean funny people, they have to be to fall in with me.

     Wedding dresses, coming out my ears and I have one to finish before tomorrow afternoon along with other alterations.  I sewed most of the day when I wasn't partying that is......  Stayed up late hand sewing on another wedding dress that is now finished.  Then I have several pairs of pants to hem, prom dresses to tackle and another wedding dress to get out.  Whew.  Better get busy, also the house needs some love.  I don't teach until 5 tonight so I should be able to get most of these things done.  Can not dawdle.  I am a world class dawdler.  I think I will have a post tomorrow entitled Dawdlers Unite!

     Hmmm....... What to do first?  House? Dirty body? Sewing? Bills? Much to do and none of it fun.

     Tap shoes, dance floor rosin and marley tape for dance floor arrived!  Can I count that as getting something done?  Even though the postman did it?  A World Class Dawdler would count that as three things done.


     The weather in Brooklyn had been mild all winter.  Spring was coming early.  It was nice that there was so little slush and mess on the roads and walk ways.  It made Nels daily trips easier. Today was Sunday, the day of rest.  The kids had a lie in for about and hour, before the general hub bub of the morning began.

     Saturday night was bath night and it was an ordeal.  The kitchen table was moved over to allow as much room as possible in front of the stove.  One large wash tub was filled with water.  Water heated on the stove was poured into another large tub.  Peter on down got a good soaking bath but for the rest of them it was a cold a miserable affair.  When one could not scrooge ones body down into the biggest washtub, bathing became a chore. Every Saturday the apartment was cleaned and the bodies were cleaned.  Nels tried to spend most of Saturday out and left Millie in charge of the cleaning.  It was up to him however to make sure the boys took their baths.

     The younger boys called it water hauling day.  When the weather turned really warm they would take a bar of soap down to the back yard pumps and wash up, water would only have to be carried for Millie and the girls.  But now it was at least 5 buckets of water a piece to meet the demands of bath day.  Then the water was lugged down to the toilet a bucket at a time.   Millie always made a treat for this day and for the Sabbath.  She would make four large Stollen.  The first one would be eaten warm after all traces of bathes were over.  They would sit around the table with shiny faces and wet hair.  Millie hair would be wrapped in a towel and everyone had on clean night shirts, covered with shawls or sweater.  Warm Stollen was sliced and eaten with hot coffee and milk.  Cardamon filled pastry with apples and nuts was Nels favorite.  If he closed his eyes he could be back home in Sweden. The crusty outer layer of the Stollen was opposite it's soft yeasty bread layer and then the warm fruit.  Stollen made bath day worth the work.

     Sunday mornings, the children would dress in their best clothes.  Millie took time to really fix the little girls hair and all the girls wore long white stockings.  No one left the flat without Millie's approval.  No shirt tales out,or holes in socks.  Shoes needed to be as clean as possible.  Each child had a penny for the offering even little Audra. Millie would wrap a three cold Stollen in a towel and head down the stairs with Audra on her hip.  The others would follow the older carrying the younger.  Millie had found that allowing the younger boys out first with a whoop and a bang  kept them whooping and banging all through services.  She had to be at the had to try and control things.

     Millie and the children would meet the Strom's at the bottom of the stairs.  The Strom's would take over the Audra and that left only one or two to carry the few blocks to the church.  Mrs. Strom would tuck Millie's Stollen in her basket along with her pickled egg and beet sandwiches.  As the families progressed toward the church, more and more would join them.  Mostly Swedes, but also some Norwegians and Finns with a German or two mixed in.  You could hear conversations start up in the home language and then in broken English.  This was the one time of the week to meet your countrymen, exchange news, swap stories.  The crowd grew quite loud before they hit the church yard, then families that had become separated would reassemble through the shh's and tut's and hushes and the crowd would ascend the steps into the sanctuary with hushed and reverent tones. 

     There was no assigned seating in America.  Families did not own pews, with the richest families in their own private boxes.  The church was beautiful.  It looked like an upside down ship.  Golden wood beams and trusses soared overhead.  Beautiful carvings decorated the sconces and timbers.  The pews were all the same the countrymen all filed up the main aisle and took a seat.

     The Pastor was a new man sent from Sweden to America.  He could speak both languages and smattering of others.  He was young probably in his mid twenties, he had the slicked back blonde hair of his countrymen with a cowlick that never would go down no matter how much he smoothed it.  He was also very homely.  Swedes were a beautiful race of people, but the National joke was that all the ugly Swedes immigrated.  Leaving a country with only the good looking people.

     Millie loved the church, she loved the hymns and the prayers.  She felt peace during the service, if the boys behaved. Millie sat at one end and Nels in the Middle of the boys.  The Strom's had the little girls.   It was the the most peaceful time of the week for Millie.  When the offering basket was passed each of the children  put in their pennies.  Nels and Millie each put in a dime.  Audra did not want to give up her penny and to keep her from shrieking Mr. Strom would fish a penny out of her pocket to put in the tray. Every week this went on and Audra was given the name Snooks.  She could snooker money out of Mr. Strom and the others with a pout or a smile.

     After the service the crowd would all head for the basement for a makeshift smorgasbord.   There were no plates  just cups and spoons for coffee. Everyone brought a basket and they were unpacked, then each took a handkerchief and picked up a few pieces of whatever was on the table and they sat on benches or the floor and ate while visiting.  In the the good weather this would be taken outside.  There were no chairs and tables yet like some of the wealthier churches, but they were working on these things.  The church had been erected less than ten years ago.  Slowly the members were paying off the debt to the Swedish government that had financed the building. Before the older members had met in a basement of a lodge.  The congregation was very proud of its church, and they had great plans to add new things to make the members more comfortable.  They had added two bathrooms in the basement one for men and one for women.  Had you ever heard of such a thing?  America was a great country.  Not perfect, but as long as these people could get together once a week, speak the language enjoy smorgasbord, life was good.

    One could keep going back over and over again to a smorgasbord until you were full or over full. 


Have a great and productive day!


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Tuesday, Happy Birthday Sissie!

No spend, ate scalloped potatoes and salad for dinner.  Will repeat tonight.  Have no cooking goals in head yet for the week.  I do have a head of cabbage that needs to be used, maybe a stir fry of some kind?  We will see.

     Sissie and I turn 57 years young today.  I am fat and she is skinny.  I am younger....... by seven minutes so I always win.  We will see each other in less than a month and I am so excited.  Have no Birthday plans.  Eldest daughter sent me some cake decorating things and I think a cake turn table is on it's way.  I love to bake cakes just have a hard time not eating them.  Decorating them is fun and creative.

     Hub's asked me what I wanted, and I thought a new garden bench for the front yard, but then I remembered we are adding nothing this year that has to be moved.  I am actually proud that so far this year and it is almost 1/3 over, I have only added socks, and one sweater.  The socks I needed the sweater I didn't.  I have been really good.  I don't see where it has saved me any money however.

     The shop was busy yesterday and I took in two bride dresses, I have a third coming in today.  I sewed pretty hard yesterday.  I was also able to get a list of bothersome to do tasks done for the studio, and really got a major bit of choreography done with the company.  I also was able to get all the laundry done. but still have one basket to put away and then I ironed a big stack of pillow cases and napkins, table cloth or two.

    I had two things happen yesterday that I thought of as blessings (actually our whole lives are blessings) but as I was working on the pillow cases I noticed that my mangler was not as hot as I thought is should be.  Now it started out strong and then seemed to peter out.  It was plugged in and turned on, then I was interrupted by a wedding dress so I turned it off.  When I turned it on again nothing.  No heat.  Crap!  This is a very expensive piece of equipment and it is 25 years old, I am not going to replace it any time soon.  So I started to pull it apart and the electrical attachment that went into the machine was loose.  I tightened a few screws and it worked!  SO HAPPY!

     I went to Wal-Mart last night (Aggravating) we needed honey and I needed CD's for the studio.  You can buy honey there in big containers cheaper than anywhere else.  I don't like to use my Bee's honey for bread baking or cooking.  I put these item in the back of the car and I could hear them rolling around as I drove home.  No big deal.  After I gathered the groceries I noticed the lid was off the honey and it was turned over on its side.  Has anyone ever spilled honey?  Panic ensued and I unwrapped the sack expecting a big mess and the little seal on the cap in side had held  NO MESS! Whew! missed the big one that time.

     Small silly blessing but I will count them anyway.

No story today, I have to go research a plane ticket.

Have a great and productive day!


Monday, March 23, 2015

Monday, Lots to get done this week!

We ate soup and bread on Sunday. Will cook up the scalloped potatoes today,  no plans for other meals but have asparagus and many salad fixings to eat this week.

     I need to order a plane ticket,  get the yard cleaned up, pay all the bills for the month, figure out Easter, get costumes for the spring recital lined up.  These are my goals before the end of the week. I also want to be completely caught up in my shop, although we know completely caught up will never happen.

     I did no housework this weekend and boy is the house is trashed.  I need to change the sheets on the beds, and do a huge pile of laundry.  This is what happens when I start to work outside.  I fail to work inside and then I walk through the house with dirty shoes and so the bathrooms are littered with Kim leaves and sticks and dirt that falls out off my clothes and hair.  You see I can't garden without rolling in the dirt, it is just my nature.

     I noticed that I am a little stiff and sore today from my work out yesterday, but I have been much worse.  Hub's had Quartet practice Sunday night which is so nice, as I get 2 free hours to control the remote or do what ever I want without commentary or question.  Not that I do get questioned but there is something about the peace of being alone that I love. 

     I stayed up way too late Saturday night and was so sleepy through out church.  Then I came home a took a long nap, I did not want to get up. I need to get the house organized so bad.  I have a hard time getting things done when the house is a wreck.  So I am going to work on getting it whipped into shape first.  So off to strip the beds and clean up the kitchen, start the laundry.  I also need to find a box for the piano music that had been on the sofa for a month, how is that for procrastination?  I am the queen of putting things off let me tell you.

     Took a break from above and finally cleaned the house up a little.  Was reminded by my ballet Mistress, that I need to order Marly tape for the floor, dance rosin, get more copy cd's,  and something else I can't remember.  So glad I am in charge.  Oh that is right tap shoes for my little boys.  Ugh! I just stopped and ordered these am I good or what?  Oops forgot the rosin, stop call, okay done.  Do you suppose I could do that with the Marley tape?  Okay done,  the Mistress will be so pleased with me and she usually isn't so I am starting out the week good!  I will have to go to Wal-mart for cd's so that I will do tonight after class.

     story cont:

           Mr.Sloan lived three days, before one of the maids who was caring for him came down with the illness. Soon the family was affected. The Doctor who came from Stockholm at a very high fee diagnosed Polio.  Polio was one of the most dreaded of childhood diseases.  There was an epidemic of polio cases in Sweden at the time. Quarantine was set upon the farm. Mr. Sloan's relatives were notified and he was quickly buried in the church yard.  The memories of these few months were sad ones.  Polio was very contagious and it mainly affected children.  It was a random disease striking Sweden most severely. 

   In the three months that the Bjorklunds remained in quarantine, they tried hard to keep the children separated from  the staff, but Nels and Millie were with Mr. Sloan a great deal and then they were with the family it was too late to stop the insidious.  Far Mar said to send the maids and hired men home, but Far argued that they would just spread the contagion farther.  No they would stay in the old house and do the best they could. 
     It seemed that the hired help took the disease harder, Nels had a mild case and Millie came down with the symptoms last of the family. Mother was of no use during the scourge as she was pregnant again and very weak.  Father developed a weakness on his left side and then seemed to recover. Because the help were all in the old house together it was up to Millie and Nels to keep the farm running and the sick nursed. 

     When the maids and the two farm hands recovered and were not allowed to return to their homes.  The fear of the disease ran deep and they stayed on with the Bjorklund farm.  This was a blessing for all Millie and Nels.  Fathers case was a little worse and the hands were able to get the spring crop in with Nels help.  The dairy stayed running but not at full capacity.  Far Far sold off half the stock and he practically had to give them away.  No one wanted animals from a farm where a polio quarantine was in progress. Nels and Millie had never worked so hard.  Nels on the farm and Millie at the house.  Both missed their books and past times dreadfully. The house was getting dusty and cluttered and for the first time in their young lives things were not running smoothly at the Bjorklund farm.

     No additional help could be had for any price and it seemed that the quarantine hung heavy on their shoulders.  Far was becoming less and less satisfied with the Swedish government.  He felt that the poorer classes were unfairly burdened by the quarantines placed on them.  Finally the quarantine was lifted and all things that could hold still were fumigated.  What a mess. Sulfur powdered with other ingredients was sprayed over almost every surface and surviving thing. Mar observed that the cure was worse than the disease that really for its length of quarantine had not left anyone worse for wear.  It was a sad house of dirt when the doctor arrived three days later to lift the ban.

     Millie looked down at her scratched and red hands. She had washed too many sheets and had her hands in water almost continually every waking hour since they had taken poor Mr. Sloan off the cart.  Looking at her hands reminded Millie that she still had diapers to wash and sitting here reminiscing while Nels worked  on a radio did not get her work done. " I am almost finished," Nels replied when Millie shook her hands in front of her.  "Don't be too late", she said as she picked up her lantern and headed up the stairs.  The halls of the tenements were required by law to have a gas light, but one small jet per floor and landing was spooky when one walked alone.  Millie and Nels always carried a lantern at night.  It was a habit carried from the old country. The over head lights in the apartment would wake the sleeping ones in the rooms, and someone always had to make a bathroom trip down the hall.  A lantern was just better.

     Finishing the laundry, Millie too stock of tomorrow's breakfast.  She had found out early in her days in America that organization at night made for a better morning.  Who was she kidding ?  Mornings were like a mad beehive at the flat.  Carefully after unpinning her hair , she slipped into her nightgown and quietly opened the pocket door.  She peaked with the lantern at all her sleeping brothers and sisters and then knelt down by her bed to say her prayers.

     Some nights her prayers were rote and mundane.  The same things over and over.  At other times she would really stop and pour out her gratitude and needs to the Lord.  Tonight she hurried as she heard Nels enter the flat.  She was still awake when Nels crawled into his upper bunk.  Nels never said a prayer unless she made him and then it was short or wrote.  Millie sighed, she had more things to worry about that Nels spiritual welfare.  She really needed to worry about the children's lack of socks.  Should she get wool and knit them, or buy them machine made?  Homemade would last longer, but the time element was  a problem.  Each needed at least 3 pair, as She did the math in her head she fell asleep.


     Well I had better get to work, time is a wasting.

Out My window:  The rain we were supposed to get  Saturday is here today so I cannot have anyone come over and work on the tree limbs, that is probably good as it will keep me in the house and working.

Have a great and productive day.


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sunday,The weather man was wrong!

     Went out and bought groceries and stuff to make Easter baskets, also had to get windshield wipers for truck.  Hub's needed three prescriptions filled. We went out to very late lunch.  I bought 4 herbs for my window box Herb garden.  Spent about $195.00 all told.  Came home about 6:30 and put all the groceries away and then made a big pot of split pea soup.  Also put together a large baking dish of Scalloped potatoes and ham, and made 4 loaves of bread.  Put two loaves in the freezer.  We will have the potatoes tomorrow.  Will eat on the soup for the next couple of days.  It used up the butt end of a large ham I cut up and froze.  I also used 2 lbs. of split peas out of the storage and three cans of condensed milk.

          It was actually nice outside today.  I kept waiting for it to get awful and it never did.  Hub's took the dog for a walk and then I was able to get him out in the yard.  There were several larger tree starts that needed to be cut out and I did not have the hand strength to get them out.  One of our beds between our house and the neighbors had tree starts that did not get grubbed out last year.  I ask Hub's to walk around the yard and scope out everything I wanted removed.  Of course he had to get out a bunch of tools.  Why is it men have to get out every tool they own to do a job?  First it was the long pruners, then it was the grub hoe, then the Pulaski, then he decided he needed the chain saw.  Really?

     Hub's does not move quickly, getting out the chainsaw and the 100 ft extension cord and strewing it across the huge back yard around all the shrubbery.  Fun!  But I tried to be patient and actually did not kill him, but I did load the truck completely by myself.  While he fiddled around.  I just decided to not get angry and do what I could.  Finally he is ready and he starts working on a Ponderosa Pine in the back of the lot.  This was not one of the trees I wanted worked on or gone.  It is a huge tree next to a Giant Sequoia that makes up a privacy fence between us and our back neighbors.  My patience was wearing thin.  He cut off all the branches he could reach flush and really let more light into the yard where we were having a moss problem and it didn't disrupt the privacy at all.  What he did do was make the bee's that were in our hive under the Seqouia really mad.  So that stopped his nonsense.  You have to love Mother Nature(sometimes)

     I was able to get him to remove everything I wanted and clean up the 8 large pines and Larch that grow along the back.  We probably have about 4 truckloads of branches to take to the landfill, it was worth it because they look so nice. Well it will look nice when the mess is cleaned up.  Then I wanted the hedge between the neighbors done and another huge pine cropped a little.  I have wanted to get rid of this large Ponderosa for several years as it is a split trunk and has already broken once and landed on the neighbors house.  It leans a little and they have a shallow root system so I feel it is an accident waiting to happen. 

     Now Hub's is a forester, he does trees for a living.  He does chain saws for a living.  They are gasoline powered, but I insist that all tools except the mower be electric as I am the one who uses them and I will not mess with an gasoline engine.  If we need a huge chain saw Hub's can bring one home from work.  Well wouldn't you know it but on the last project the saw throws it's chain.  How convenient, I smell a rat.  Now we have to stop and the job isn't finished and I hate a job or a plan that is not finished.  So hub's heads for the garage and I start to haul branches into piles to be collected later.  What is taking him so long?  Start to uncover the 100 foot bed out front that is full of perennials.  On my hands and knees it takes 4 trips across the 100 feet to get it uncovered.  Hub's is still not out of garage.  Okay he had better be  dead or I will kill him.  I know this sounds vicious but you have to know how slow this man is and how good he is at getting out of any kind of work.

     I go into the garage and he is fiddling with the chainsaw and very frustrated. He needs my help.  This I am dreading, because I cannot  control my frustration when I have to work on something with him.  He has taken apart the saw over a flat box of different screws and machine parts.  So he isn't sure what goes back on the saw.  There is one screw that you tighten to fix the fit of a chain, why is the machine apart?  Well gasoline saws are much easier to fix. Yeah like right this is why I don't own one because they are easier.  I start looking at what he is doing and it is obvious to me that parts are missing and something is jamming the chain.  So I send him into look up parts on the Internet thus freeing myself from his help.  I find 4 parts that look like they belong and really look into the guts of the chain and sure enough there is a really stiff twig that is folded around and is jamming the chain.  This is why it slipped in the first place and why the machine had to come apart, but Hub's does not realize this.  Has he put on a pair of cheater glasses so he can see detail?  NO!  I pull out the twig and start to put the machine together. Finally I am at the point that I need him to put on the last two nuts and tighten them down, I call him from the computer and he does the lug nut thing.  I tighten the chain and we are able to finish the project.  I have never met anyone yet that is so mechanically challenged.  Although he has built me many beautiful pieces of furniture, slowly and I did not watch him do it.

     We took the truck to the land fill and then went and bought groceries.  I am having a young man come over to clean up the yard and cut up all the branches next week.  Hub's cannot bend over that much and his knees are shot.  I swear I am going to go into the doctor with him next time and insist on some x-rays. He insists that he is fine.  He may be fine but I am losing my mind watching him.  Okay enough,  I just needed to rant.  I am sure he has  just as much to say about my joints locking and my fevers, and my infections and the cost of my medicine.

Out My Window:  A great day for yard work.  I bought 4 herb plants to put in my herb box outside kitchen window.  I did not get them planted this evening but will do it tomorrow.

  story cont:

     Millie knew that her grandparents and parents had grown very frustrated with  the Swedish system and Hierarchy of title.   In Sweden a Title is Vital.  A title could open any door quickly.  The Bjorklunds had land and they had money but they had no access to title and privileges that it bought.  Even with Far Mar's connections Father and Mother had a very difficult time getting Nels into a school that could challenge his abilities.  He just didn't come from the right class of people.  They were peasants, one did not rise above that station.  Father had traveled with Nels to several schools, where he had passed all his tests way above normal marks, but still excuses were made to keep him out.  Finally a tutor was hired to come and live at the farm.  His purpose was to educate Nels so he could attend a school in Britain. Millie could remember how upset her parents had been every time father returned from one of these school trips.  Far Far would try to calm Father down, but all he could see was that the system was taking unfair advantage of his son.

     Far Mar did what she could in helping Nels with his education, but he soon outstripped even her learning.  Nels was thirteen when Mr. Sloan came to the farm.  He spoke fluent English and Swedish. He was  also well schooled in the classics and in mathematics.  Mr. Sloan must have been shocked by the unusual house and it's inhabitants.  So many things going on at once.  So many different and contrasting personalities.
      A grandfather with mechanical genius and a work ethic to match his brains.  A grandmother from the aristocracy, soft spoken and almost perfectly useless on a farm.  The father was a driven laborer making sure his children new the value of work from a young age.  The mother was from the peasant class and so different from her mother-in-law, she never quit moving even with her swollen joints she was constantly doing something.  The only time she really rested was when she was close to the birth of a baby.

       They all lived in one large newly built farm house.  Different from most of the houses in the area as it did not have the low ceilings that were so popular in many dwellings.  The original older house was now Far Far's workshop and would also house the school room.  Mr. Sloan found the big house a little too noisy and chaotic for his taste and soon made his quarters in the old house.  There Nels would spend a good part of his day in study.

     Millie was allowed to join Nels for some of his studies.   Grandmother spoke some English and she enjoyed going over these lessons with them. Mr Sloan was surprised that Father still insisted that Nels had farm chores in addition to his studies.  He was not being raised to be a gentleman.  After all  what use was that without title?  Millie as the oldest girl had much of the care of her younger siblings and the the house, even with two maids.  She was not being raised to be a fine lady.  Yet the strange grandmother insisted that the children, learn the piano and spend many hours a week in pursuit of music.  Such an odd set of circumstances in this family.  Mr. Sloan often did not know what to make of them.  He was well paid and well fed, he had his own lodgings and as a tutor nothing was better that teaching children who really wanted to learn.

     It was obvious to Mr. Sloan that Nels was much like his grandfather when it came to mechanics and encouraged Nels in this pursuit.  Machinery and electronics was an up and coming field of study and no where was this study more encouraged than in America.  Mr. Sloan sent off for many published journals and papers on the latest inventions and experiments.  Most of these were written in either German or English.  Far Far taught himself to read English in order to read these papers.  He made no attempt to speak the language as did his wife, he just wanted to read and understand what was going on in the world with all the new machines and devices.

     Evening meals were spent discussing the latest findings.  Before long America started to take on a new charm for the Bjorklunds.  America was where all the new ideas were coming from, it was America that had no class system.  In America children were schooled for free.  In America there were many Universities that did not discriminate because of title.  People were judged on their merits.  In America women could go on to a higher education, in fact it was even encouraged. 

     Mr. Sloan was primarily tutor to Nels, but the younger boys Oskar and Dil were reading well past their years.  This had much to do with Mar Far.  She was quiet and unassuming and always had a book in her hand.  She loved her grandchildren and her way to be part of the household was to entertain and distract.  By the time the crisis of Nels education was brewing mother had produced  six more children.   There was always a child in her lap or by her chair.  She would read to them, sing with them, teach them music and letters, numbers, games.  Anything to keep them out from under the feet of their constantly pregnant mother and the maids.  Mar Far valued quiet and she became very good at settling her grandchildren by keeping them interested in whatever she was doing. In her soft spoken way she brought calm to the house and the children.

     Nels could be educated and a battle could be fought to get him into a University in Stockholm, but how many other battles would there be?  There were six more children who very likely would be in the same situation Nels was in.  Were the Bjorklunds willing to fight this over and over again?  They would never always be part of the peasant class, no amount of money or education could take the place of a birth-rite.
When Mr. Sloan had been with them almost two years and Nels was close to fourteen it was decided that he was ready to leave home.  He had been accepted to a boarding school in England.  His English was good enough and he could pass all the entrance exams.

     Millie remembered the packing of Nels huge trunk.  The excitement of the younger children as things were made ready for his departure.  She didn't really know how to feel.  Nels was older and sometimes bossy, would she miss him?  In some ways she would.  She loved to play duets with him on the piano.  She loved that she could be quiet with him and he didn't mind.   Too soon the day for Nels to leave was here and his trunk had been sent ahead to the rail station.  Mr. Sloan was to accompany Nels and get him settled in school.  Mr Sloan had recently come back from England with high praise for the programs that Nels would be apart off, all new and the latest in science and research.  On the morning of their departure Mr. Sloan did not feel well.  He thought it would pass, but when he went to climb up on the wagon bed his leg went out from under him and he fell.  When father and Nels hurried to help him it was obvious he was burning with fever.  Before they could get him into the house he started to have convulsions. 

     The trip would have to be postponed for a few days until Mr. Sloan recovered. 

Have a peaceful and restful Sabbath.


Saturday, March 21, 2015

Saturday, Crappy weather tomorrow, frustrating.

Enchiladas the last two days, even though hub's left them in the oven too long.  I made a nice bunch of chicken broth with the bones and skin and froze it, but not until after hub's ate some of it as soup.  What a dork!  Took out a good end butt of ham and will make a big pot of split pea soup and some scalloped potatoes this weekend.  I also need to make bread.   Will  have to go to the store tomorrow.  We are out of most fruit and milk and other things.  It never ends.

     I finally got into the doctor after teaching Thursday evening and Hub's went to the store for my prescriptions.. They switched me to a more powerful antibiotic and a nasal spray.  The fact that the Xeljanz that I am on causes sinus infections as its #1 side affect.  It is  about $3278.00 a month for this medication and then all the meds to fight the side affects.  Lovely.

     I was very cranky Thursday, with everyone even my students.  I just get tired of not feeling my best and headachey gets old.  I need to stop complaining and be grateful that this medication works better than any other I have been on and just deal with it.  My joints are much better and my range of motion is almost normal in joints that had very little motion a year ago.

     I took D#3 and myself to get our hair done today.  It has been since last May that my hair has been cut and colored and then we went to the coast the first of July and washed out the color in the sun and the wind.  So I have been touching up the roots for almost a year.  My hair was about 3 inches beyond my shoulders and it needed to be cut.  B's hair was a mess and needed cut also, so we had a beauty day even though I was not really up to normal.  I just sat and kept my eyes closed as my hair was done, it was lovely although sitting that long gets to me.

     I asked my ballet Mistress who also rents our spare room and bath off the shop to stay and watch the shop this morning. I had many people picking up and I am glad I did, we were at the parlor so late.  She had to have been very busy.  I came home to a ton of new alterations.  When I get into costumes this spring which will be soon I am going to have her sew some for me.  She is really good at creating things, and can pin and make props and hair pieces.  She is a little afraid of sewing.  I can leave her though and  my clientele all feel confidant with her.  It was very nice of her to stay today and take over.  She is a real asset to the studio and sometimes I feel like she is my brain.
Out My Window:  It has been beautiful the last 3 days and of course tomorrow it is supposed to rain and be cold which makes me frustrated I would so like to get some yard work done.

story cont:

     Millie had every burner on the stove going, trying to get dinner ready and  boil extra eggs for tomorrows lunches.  She checked the oven and there were still two pieces of crisp warm oatmeal left and she generously sugared the slices and told Wilhelm to take them over to the Stahl's.  Old Mother Stahl and her daughter could eat the simple treat and it never hurt to be neighborly especially with this noisy tiresome lot.  Inga Stahl would return the plate after her brother came home from work and she would help Millie pin her new dress pieces to fit.  Inga knew how to sew well and you could often hear her machine going in the other apartment.  She did piece work for a local factory.  Her quiet and taciturn older brother picked up and returned her work for her six days a week.  Even though they did not speak the same language, they spoke sewing.  Millie judged Inga to be in her early thirties and valued the  friendship they had developed over patterns and pins.  It was just nice to have another female opinion.  Nels didn't notice and Oskar was color blind. 

     The few hours between school and dinner flew by for Millie.  They ate rather late between 6:30 and 7:00 depending on when Nels arrived home.  When she heard him on the stairs she would send the boys to help unload the wagon.  At least with this many brothers it usually only took one trip down and up for each.  Millie hurried Violet to help set the table and even Ruth could set around the spoons. The table was  ready by the time Nels and the boys had everything unloaded and stored away.  Millie sat down after she poured water into the large kettle for washing the supper dishes, it would be hot when the meal was over.  When all the benches and chairs were pulled out and occupied  one could hardly move in the room.  Three of the boys actually leaned up against the ice box and Nels could put his elbow back on her sewing machine.  They had an American word for this, cozy, but she called it crowded.

     Millie always insisted on a Swedish grace to be said before breakfast and supper.  Nels never argued and gave her his support even as far as hitting the younger boys on top of the head with his fork if he caught them in irreverence.   As hard as his mother had tried religion never meant much to him, it meant so much to Millie and if she would support him he would support her. After supper was eaten and Nels and the boys did the dishes while Millie readied the three youngest for bed.  Nels  turned on the family radio to listen to what ever program they could get in the evenings.  He was always trying different stations and frequencies,as so many new stations were starting up. Millie heard the little girls prayers and then turned off the overhead light and slid the pocket doors shut. The radio was turned off and Oskar and Whilhelm had taken violins off the bedroom shelf.  They would play softly while the girls fell asleep. Nels and Millie both played the piano, and Nels played quite well but neither had touched a piano since leaving Sweden.  One could not get a piano up six flights of stairs. Both missed the instrument, but Nels would not admit it, when Millie voiced her longing he would reply, "I play the play the radio now."

     The sound of the violins brought Inga over.  She and Millie worked over a new dress pattern, or sat quietly drinking coffee and doing hand work.  The doors to the two flats would be left open in a few weeks when the weather was really warm.  Mother Stahl liked to listen to the music. She also enjoyed the chatter of the children, something Millie could not understand. Nels went into his parlor workshop or downstairs in the butcher shop if he was working on something larger.  He usually had one of the boys help him. When the clocks struck nine Millie and Inga would put the sewing away.  There were often as many as five or six clocks going off in unison or seconds apart in the Bjorklund house.  Nels kept a clock he had fixed for several days to make sure it kept time.  Millie would often say, "This is the only house in America where nine bells can last a minute and a half." Clocks would go off repeatedly one after another.  Inga and Millie would  laugh at the different chimes and tones as Inga said good night.

     If Nels was downstairs, Millie would join him after the boys were in bed.  She would shoo her remaining brother upstairs and she a Nels quietly talked about the day.  They did not get very much time alone together and sometimes after a long day, Millie would just sit and watch Nels work.  Quiet was nice and they enjoyed the silence together.  When Nels worked in the flat they would keep the doors between the kitchen and the parlor open and work quietly.  Millie could catch up on studies, or the never ending mending and ironing.  Even thought they had help with laundry, nine people took more than an hour a day to keep up linens and clothes. It would be nice to get Audra out of diapers and the boiled wool soaker pants.

        Every night these had to be emptied out of the pail of water they were kept in on the back fire escape.  Diapers were washed and boiled in a special pail on the back of stove, rinsed and hung on a clothesline that attached across  the kitchen.  Drying overnight only to be snatched down first thing in the morning.  What would it be like to not have diapers across the kitchen in the morning? Millie could not remember a time in her life without diapers.She thought back to the apartment her family had lived in when they were in Stockholm.  It seemed like years and years ago.  Millie had just had her fifteenth birthday along with Peter's sixth.  She was twelve when they left the farm.  Was it really only three years ago?


Have a great and productive day.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Thursday, back to the doctor.....

$17.85, peppers, soda, chilies, eggs on sale stock up!  Put frozen chicken in Judy (where is Judy?) told hub's to make himself a big salad for dinner, which he did.  I will do chicken enchiladas today for dinner and should have enough for tomorrow.

     Well my sinus infection is creeping back.  The headache I had Tuesday night that I thought was from dancing out with the girls all day was the beginning of the terrific sinus headache I could not get rid of yesterday.  I was feverish last night and cranky.  This morning I have this continual smokers cough (I don't smoke) I sound like someone with emphysema.  Hurts when I swallow.  So I cancelled the cataract appointment I had this morning to take measurements of my eye and upcoming surgery to try and get into my physician.  Ask me how tired I am of this crap!

     Are you tired of me because I am tired of me?

     Started choreography with my company kids last night it was fun even though I did not feel good.

Out My Window:  It is going to be beautiful today to bad I will be in bed for most of it!

no writing today just too ill.

Have a great and productive day!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Wednesday, headache? I wonder why?

No Spend, Hubs ate the last of the chili.  I have everything to do chicken enchiladas just need to cook the chicken.  Well actually take it out of the freezer.  Have no idea what to cook.  I know I can do a salad.  But I am too washed out to think about food right now.

     Yesterday went great other than I was exhausted.  We finished and arrived back at the studio at 3:15 laid the floor taped it and then classes started at 4:00 I teach at 4 and I was so tired.  When I got home at six I just wanted to put my pj's on.  I made hubs grill me a steak I had picked up really marked down and we shared it and then I just vegged on the sofa until I went to bed early for me.

     I have now been off antibiotics since last Thursday and feel like I am going right back into an infection.  I have a terrific headache that I felt coming on last night but than what did I expect after yesterday?  This morning it is pretty bad.  I just took a couple of headache formula Excedrin if that does not cut it, back to the Doctor.

     I am starting on Mary Poppins choreography tonight and I want to get  as much done as possible before spring break.  So I have 4.5 ours with the older girls and  3 hours with the younger.  I think I can get a lot finished in that time and then threaten them to practice over the break.  Which they won't do but I can pretend.

     I had such an outpouring of help from parents yesterday and it was great.  The dancers were awesome.  The students that watched were very polite and intrigued.  It was just a very fun day, although long, I was super proud of my students, they make my life worthwhile.

     I really need to concentrate on costumes and get those ordered and make lists.  Arghh! Don't want to think about it right now!


     When Nels would return to the flat he would have maybe a precious hour to work quietly on a radio or clock.  He loved his work and seemed to never have enough time to really study anything new.  There were so many industrious inventions that Nels found fascinating.  One of the jewelers gave him an electric iron that was not working.  He could not wait to take it apart and figure out how to fix this small machine.  He found sewing machines boring.  They were so simple, very necessary but simple.  Nels loved electricity, he loved how it worked and what it could do.  There was just never enough time to really work on things that intrigued him.  There was always a dirty diaper, a ruckas among the younger boys, laundry, food, money.  All the things he had to worry about.  He tried to put his frustrations out of his mind and concentrate on what he could do and not the things beyond his control.  This was something that Millie was much better at than he.

     Nels could hear Millie  coming up the stairs with Peter in tow, the other three boys would arrive home in about a half an hour.  The little ones had been up now for at least and hour and he was anxious to get on with his day before it became too late. Spring was coming and the days were getting longer, more time for him to collect work, and forage farther from the neighborhood.  The younger girls were playing quietly on the larger bed.  Not the usual state of affairs.  Millie came in and they all clamored for her attention, climbing down and running, dancing, pulling at her until they had all been sufficiently kissed.

     She put down her books and hung up her coat, then pulled out of the icebox the cold oatmeal she had put into a square loaf pans that morning.  Heating a skillet with a bit of butter she sliced the oatmeal and fried it on both sides until crisp.  Then she either sprinkled it with sugar or poured a bit of light molasses over the slices.  The children ate their snack and as they finished the younger boys would arrive whooping and stomping up the stairs.  They never did anything quietly.  Millie could not wait to get into a larger flat.  There were times she felt so confined and surrounded by noise, she kept these feelings to herself.  There was nothing to do about their situation than to make do and make do she did.  She fed her brothers slices of toasted oatmeal and either coffee or milk depending on their preference and then gave Nels a verbal list of what was needed from the shops as he rushed out to pick up his messages from Mr. Strom and go on his rounds as he called them.  Dil would go with him to help carry and keep notes. 

     Oskar was bookish and immediately would get the younger two boys up to the table to study.  English was a hard language and even though the children had all been taught from a young age they still struggled.   Violet would join them learning her alphabet and numbers, both in Swedish and English.  Millie would try to get a little studying in as she could with the constant interruptions of the younger two girls.  Oskar was a big help to her and the fact that he loved to study made her evenings easier.  He seemed better at keeping the younger boys on task.

     Millie was anxious to get to her sewing machine, to work on a new dress pattern Nels had been given when he had fixed a machine in a neighborhood south of the building.  It had been a nice apartment and the owner of the sewing machine had told him to take the box of patterns with him as he went out and to dispose of them for her.  He was so excited to get home that day, knowing that Millie would be thrilled going through the box of modern patterns. Nels was able to collect so much that was thrown away by others.  It was sometimes like Yuletide when he came home. Nels had found many mechanical toys in the refuse piles of these better homes. He would clean them up and fix them for the younger girls.  They had a box of things to keep them busy.  Millie kept this box up high on a shelf and it was taken down during the evenings to distract her younger siblings while she tried to get dinner and a little time for herself. The younger boys helped get dinner started while Millie sewed for a few minutes.

     Oskar was counting out potatoes, and Whilhelm was scrubbing them in the dish tub. Oskar  then sliced the top off beets and Whilhelm scrubbed those clean as well.  Millie put the beets and potatoes in different pots to boil.  When the beets were finished she would pull off their skins and she would boil either eggs or fish in the deep red water.  The eggs would come out bright pink and so would the fish flesh.  Sliced beets, potatoes, sliced eggs, fish and bread were often an evening meal. They did not have the variety of food they had in the old country but what they had was plentiful, Nels saw to that.  He worked very hard and although they had come to America with a nest egg as the American term went Nels would not touch the money from the old country it was for the purpose of educating all of them.  He had made his mother a promise. Sometimes Millie and Nels fought over the use of the money, but what Millie lacked in patience she made up for in other ways.  Millie could get more done in a short amount of time than most people.  She just intuitively knew how to schedule and proceed in a task to make the best use of her time.


Out My Window:  It has rained for 4 days so I think we are in for some good weather.  Everything is greening up and it is wonderful.

Have a great and productive day!



Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Tuesday, Happy St. Patrick's Day

Taking the kids out dancing at different schools today, so I will be one tired girl by this evening.  Wish me the luck of the Irish!

Got to be to the studio by 8:30 this morning, Ugh!

Have a great and productive day.


Monday, March 16, 2015

Monday, Just because it is on sale.....

$40.00 nails done, $6.00 entrance to play for friends, $120.23 groceries, stock up on cereal with coupons, also steaks for Easter ?  Not sure about Easter yet.  We ate left overs Friday, and  Saturday we pieced anything we could find.  Today I made homemade chili.  I pulled a recipe off the internet.  I am afraid of chili.  It was on of the first dishes I made for Hub's and his fishing buddies when we first married.  I was not an accomplished cook, as my mother was a hamburger helper and Swanson frozen chicken cook.  I did not drain the burger and there was about an inch of grease on the top, everyone got heartburn, it was a disaster.  I was so embarrassed and mortified.  So I just do not do chili.  Pulled recipe off the internet and followed it and it was delicious.  Surprising what following directions will do, and then I did drain the burger.  It also used up 1 can of chicken broth and 6 more cans of beans, and 1 can of tomato paste, one quart of home canned tomatoes!  How can one beat that?

     Hub's wanted a treat after dinner on Sunday so I started sour cream sugar cookies.  This is an ancient recipe from Sweden of my great grandmothers.  They can be rolled or dropped. When I am not in the mood to fuss I drop them and then press them with a fork dipped in cinnamon and sugar with a dash of nutmeg.  They will harden very quickly so these cookies were called dunkers.  They were like rocks in a few days and one dunked them in coffee and they are delicious.  When frosted they stay moist longer.

     I bought 2 cans of Betty Crapper (Crocker) frosting in blue and green on sale after Christmas. $.50 a can what a bargain.  It is nice to have a couple of cans of frosting for quick funeral cakes and such.  Well I pulled out the green for St Patties day as these are for Hub's office, he can help frost them when he gets home from Orchestra practice.  I frosted one cookie with the icing that is very green, a weird shade of very green like really unappetizing  petri dish shade of green.  I tasted the cookie and I really didn't like it so I gave the other 1/2 to the dog.  She immediately took it to the front room to eat it on the only decent rug we have in the house and promptly spit it out green side down.  I then shamed her to eating it which she did begrudgingly.  Now this is a dog that will do a back flip for anything sweet.  Consequently the two cans of frosting are in the garbage and I whipped up some vanilla butter cream with green tint.  Much better taste and look.  Dog gobbled my trial right down.  So dog approved frosting it is. Note to self don't buy that canned colored crap even if it is on sale.  Don't take it even if it is free.

     Paid the house payment on Friday and the rent at the studio.  I have one more payment of $600.00 on Hub's hearing aids and I need at least $1400.00 for studio taxes and then whatever my eye surgery will cost.  I am really looking forward to a time where I don't have some big extra bill taking all my money.  It is
discouraging.  Work, work, work, pay the government and the doctors.

  Out My Window:  Of course it was rainy and crappy yesterday and today was plain awful.  I wanted to go on a bike ride this weekend.  But we are so short of snow pack I will be grateful for the farmers.


    Nels was impatient for Millie to get home this early spring day.  He had made two trips this morning with the babies returning to the apartment once with a larger radio set and two small ones.  The girls were getting bigger and needed more room, he could not trust them to really hold still and not kick and squirm.  When they had first arrived an Brooklyn (New York) Audra had not been quite a year old.  Violet and Ruth were just three and four, he could put Audra in the wagon back sitting on a blanket and the other two sat in a bench seat fastened with straps.  Audra had managed to take a nice radio that was not very large and throw it over the edge of the wagon.  Nels had to completely rebuild it.  He was just grateful it had not had a wood frame as he then would have had to replace the structure at his own cost.  He had to keep a much closer eye on the girls as Audra grew older.  Violet and Ruth would sit. but Audra, well she was Audra.

     On his first trip back in the morning he pulled into the main floor hall, Mrs. Strom had come out and taken the girls into her back apartment.  Nels took his larger set upstairs.  Six flights was no easy climb especially with an large radio set.  The two smaller crystal sets were no problem, but that meant two times up and down the stairs by ten in the morning.  There were at least another three stops to make before lunch and he hurried back down the stairs to the Strom apartment.  Mrs. Strom had the little ones up to the table drinking milk and eating pieces of a Swedish klatche' cake.  She cut Nels a generous piece and set down a hot cup of coffee.  Nels, used to protest at this treatment , but had given up after a few weeks.  Mr. Strom looked forward to this time of the morning.  "You are too good Mrs. Strom." Nels said.  Her reply was to smile and continue to bounce Audra whom she had just picked up from her chair.

     Mr. Strom came in from the store front, and Nels stood up taking his coffee with him.  He crammed the rest of his cake in his mouth and went to relieve Mr. Strom at the butcher counter.  " You couldn't even let him finish, his klatch!" she chided.  "The poor boy just sat down."  Nels tried to give Mr. Strom a quarter hour every  morning to sit and have a break, with coffee and whatever stollen there was for the day.  Strom also enjoyed the babies.   "Mrs. Blumenthal, just walked in", Mr. Strom said in a hushed voice.  Nels smiled and Mrs. Strom rolled her eyes knowingly.

     Mrs. Blumenthal, was a very cranky Jewish widow.  She was well known throughout the neighborhood for her complaining and shrewd business dealings.  Mr. Strom's shop was not kosher and he could never figure out why she had to shop at his place.  She had to have chopped chicken, she had to argue if it was fresh.  Was it the freshest chicken?  She would argue about price, she had to have you weigh it three times.  She counted her money out of a greasy old purse and put it down as it it was her last pence.  She never had a good thing to say no matter how nicely she was greeted.  Shopkeepers went to great lengths to avoid her.  Nels always thought of Mrs. Blumenthal as a game. He would do what ever it took to make her smile.  He was ingratiating and that just seemed to irritate her more.  "How was she feeling?,  was she too hot? was she too cold?  Could he weight the chicken a fourth time?  Nels would always run around the counter and open the door for her as she left.  She would grumble about old chicken, prices, cheats, charlatans , she always had something insulting to say.  What Nels and Mr. Strom did not know is that she bought this chicken for her cat.  She ate kosher chicken from the kosher butcher two blocks over.

     Nels picked up the girls from the back and loaded them back in the wagon, with the promise of play by the churchyard.  Mr. Strom asked him to make two deliveries and  he took off pulling the wagon toward the west of the neighborhood. Brooklyn was dirty, it was dark and smokey even when the sun was shining.  There was no grass and very few trees.  He missed the open sunshine of his childhood farm, someday he would return to a place of open sunshine.  Brooklyn would be their home until he was at least twenty one.  Then things would change.

      Now he had to get two blocks over and pick up a set, then her had to deliver his meat packages.  One of these deliveries was on a third floor, this meant walking two young children and carrying Audra up three flights of stairs.  Nels had devised a system for just such a predicament.  He would walk the two older girls into the building while carrying Audra, then he would set Audra down next to Violet and run Ruth up the first flight where she could still be seen, then come down and do the same with Audra, then repeat it at last with Ruth, this same process continued up all flights, up and down, up and down.  Going down was not such a challenge as he had the two older hold on to the banister and he walked slowly in front carrying Audra.  It only took one split lip for Violet to devise this system.  Never let then out of your sight.  Nels was a typical tall Swede but he was as thin as a whippet.  When he finally settled down in a place of his own he would never walk another set of stairs.

      Bethel Luthern Church, was a large Swedish Luthern Church that served his countrymen and many others in the Brooklyn neighborhood.  It was the church that he and his Siblings went to on Sundays.  It was the church wear Oskar and Dil were learning studying for confirmation. The church had a grave yard and one of the only patches of grass for several blocks.  The funny thing was that a favorite place for the girls to play was the front steps. His lot in life was to see that his sisters did not get hurt on steps and these were concrete much harder than the wooden steps of the tenements he usually climbed. Nels would let them run for 1/2 an hour or so and then load them back in the wagon.

      He would stop at Hansen's market for six bottles of milk and exchange yesterday's bottles.  He would stop at the Jewish market for bread. He bought two loaves everyday and four loaves on Friday.  The Jews made the best bread, hard and full of rye just like at home. Saturday was the Jewish Sabbath and Jews did not work on the Sabbath.

     Nels often wondered if they yelled on the Sabbath.  The Jewish store was always very noisy, they never talked to one another they yelled.  They made huge hand and arm gestures to make an emphasis on what they were saying.  When Nels had taken the girls into the store for the first time the yelling had made Audra cry, Violet and Ruth just stood with eyes full of tears and lips trembling.  A young girl came out and whispered into the old Jewish man's ear as he stood behind the counter yelling and gesturing, he seemed to be able to out yell all of them, he exclaimed something in Yiddish and looked back at a small dark figure in the door, he became silent. His look was guilty almost sheepish.  Nels asked for the bread over Audra's squalls.  Two loaves of the freshest warm bread were wrapped up in paper and when Nels paid the Jew gave him three lumps of sugar with his change.  He made a silent hand movement that the sugar was for the girls.  No yelling just a silent shifting of his eyes and hands.  Nels quickly popped one of the lumps into Audra's mouth and she stopped crying , eyes wide.  Nels said thanks and had the two younger say thank you which they did shyly in Svensk, until he said English and then only Violet whispered thank you around her lump of sugar.  The shop stayed silent as they left.  Immediately after the door banged shut behind them the shouting started again.  Nels did not look straight into the shop but out of the corner of his eye he could see the huge arm and hand gestures again.

     If the bread shop was not busy Nels would often leave the girls in his sight line as he rushed in to buy bread.  Always the owner would hiss a word and the shop as if magic would grow silent.  Three lumps of sugar would appear with his change.  He would say thanks and as he left the noise would start again.  His Mar Mar always said people were not strange they just had their ways and reasons.

     Home again Nels would start the long trek back back up the six flights of stairs.  Some times he would challenge the two younger girls to follow him while they held fast to the handrail.  Violet had only made it four flights, but he knew if he continued making it a game, someday she and Ruth would be racing each other,just like his brothers.  Nels hurried the girls and took off coats and scarves.  He sat them up to bread, butter and a piece of baloney.  Pouring out one of the pints of milk into three cups, while he heated the cold coffee on the stove.  Nels took the remaining milk bottles out of their carrying rack and finally sat down.  He was tired. He watched his sisters as he chewed his bread and drank the hot coffee.  Violet and Ruth were quiet and Audra's head was bobbing as she fought sleep.

     Ar precisely ten minutes to one,  Mrs. Price would bustle into the flat and start clucking.  Mrs. Price did not talk she clucked  like a chicken.  Tuts, cricks, coos, came out of Mrs. Price.  She swiftly picked up Audra  and took her into the bedroom, where she was changed and put down to nap.  Violet and Ruth were tucked into one of the boys beds.  Nels pulled the shade, hoping they would stay down for and hour. The door between the two rooms was slid shut and Mrs. Price was cleaning up the lunch dishes and had put the sad irons on the stove to heat.  The next hour she would quietly listen to her radio serial and iron the children's clothes, do basic housework or perhaps just sit and quietly listen.  Nels would rush out and make his way to the two Jewelry shops within walking distance of his building.  Were there any clocks?  Clocks paid better than the cheap crystal radios and he was usually able to get one a week. Then home to work on what ever was waiting for him from his daily trips.


Have a great and productive day!