Saturday, March 14, 2015

Friday, bad wife...

No Spend.  Dinner was salmon, asparagus, wild rice, salad.  There are enough left overs for today.  I think I will do chili with the ground beef.  Chicken I will put in the crock pot so I can de bone it and freeze for later.  I need to find a good chili recipe.

      I was not as diligent this week about laundry as I usually am, I know I talked about it but I never truly got the dirty clothes all the way to the machine.  Monday they sat in a pile in our room.  Tuesday the pile was bigger and got into a basket that was moved into the hall.  Wednesday more was put in basket and the basket made it downstairs to my shop.  Why my shop?  I don't know.  Then Thursday it finally was a pile and a basket and at 1:30 in the afternoon I did a load of whites.  About 2:30 I went to do a load of darks and discovered both of Hub's concert shirts.  Yikes!  He has to play tonight and I have to wash this stinky shirt and it has to dry and I won't be home to pull it out of the dryer.  I have had since last Saturday to do these clothes.  What was I thinking?  I was thinking how much I hate laundry.

     So I quickly washed a load of darks and took out the two shirts and put them in the dryer with the dry whites as I knew this would dry them faster.  Then I left for the studio.  Called Hub's about 5:30 and told him where his shirts were, one is perma press so I didn't worry about ironing.  I got home just as he was leaving at 6:30, he is in concert black with his Bugs Bunny tie (Bugs Bunny playing the fiddle).  As he was walking down the hall to the garage I noticed a white sock stuck to his back with static.  It was so funny.  I could just see him walking in the the pit in a long line of people dressed all in black in a semi dark theater with this white sock on his back.  Okay I rescued him.  But part of me didn't want to:) Does that make me a bad wife?

     I will certainly finish the laundry today.  Made four loaves of bread yesterday and I let it over raise, need to pay more attention to times.  Just to busy putzing around.Other than laundry I have no real plans for today, just the regular sewing, banking and I think I will get my nails done.  It has been a month and they are grown out and nasty.  I just hate to spend the money.  I am going to the play tonight with some friends.

story cont:

        Having four adults who hung on every word and deed molded Nels into an unusually sensitive and smart boy. Much was done in the years he grew up to make sure he was allowed to gain knowledge on any subject that interested him.  He learned to read at a young age and became very adept at fixing things like Far Far.  From his Mar Far he learned a love for books and music.  There was a piano forte in the front parlor of the Farm house and his Far Mar also played the violin.  Nels loved to listen to music, he became almost as adept at fixing a Victrola as Far Far.  Every night there was music in the house.  He and his rapid succession of siblings could sing folk songs the minute they learned to lisp.  So the idea of sound coming over a radio wave had a magic that Nels found hard to resist.

      The three rooms that the children lived in were cramped and crowded.  The Kitchen, held a coal cook stove, an ice box, table,two chairs, a high chair, three low benches, a pantry cupboard, and a low boy hutch.  The walls were covered with pans, washtubs, tools and clotheslines that could be drawn across the room.  The kitchen also acted as a living room.  The bedroom had a double bed for the girls, and a set of bunks beds for the boys. A slide out bed came out from under the bunks, for Osker to sleep on, he kicked and moved so much at night no one could sleep with him.  Nails were hung on both sides of the room for clothes and the children all shared one big trunk and a one large dresser.  There was also a washstand by the door leading to the kitchen.  A small coal stove took up a corner of the room.  This was lit in the coldest weather. The parlor had another set of tables and chairs, but this room was off limits and  reserved for Nels to work.  There was no privacy.

     The rooms of the flat were built in a shot gun effect with the kitchen and the parlor hooked together by a large open doorway.  The third room had pocket doors that could close off from the kitchen.  There was only one exit from the flat, the kitchen into the hall.( not including the fire escape through the kitchen window.)   Every square inch of the rooms were used.  When you got nine bodies in the flat it became more than cozy. Homemade radio receivers  and parts were all over the parlor.  Receivers would be fashioned in  and Victrola's would be hauled up the stairs and refurbished. Each area had a table and a different set of tools.  Nels would move from table to table in his work.  He could fix clocks and tune pianos.  His prices were reasonable and he knew how to bargain.  He would make house calls for an extra fee and he became very good at bartering.

     Nels never had a hard time getting a woman from one of the other apartments to come and watch the three little girls.  He had the latest in radio equipment in the parlor.  Mrs. Faust from below would come up and watch the little ones in order to listen to the radio.  The laundry and ironing were done by another woman who came to the flat everyday at one o'clock to listen to a serial program.  In good weather Nels would take the radio to the roof where it got exceptionally good reception and the other tenants would join the family to listen.  Soon every tenant in the building had a crystal radio set.  All from barter with Nels.  Crystal receivers were touchy and required constant upkeep.  Anyone living in the building knew who to call when their set failed to work.

         The main floor of the tenement  building was a store front butcher shop, operated by a butcher named Mr. Strom.  He and his wife  lived in the back part of the main floor. He was also from Sweden and he and his wife had no children.  They loved the Bjorklund's and Mrs. Strom especially adored the little girls.  Mr. Strom  had the latest in receiver sets.  Nels had talked him into buying it to increase his business and to his surprise it did.  He said the radio brought him luck; people came to browse the meat display and talk over the chickens as they listened to what ever program happened to be on at the time.  If they outstayed their welcome and felt uneasy staying too long in the shop they bought more, people would come to the Strom's shop at particular times of the day to listen to a program.

       Mr. Strom allowed Nels to park his wagon in a store room in the hall.  He also allowed Nels to work in the store front in the late evenings.  Some overly large Victrola's  would be to hard to get up six flight of stairs.  If Nels was going to make a visit or bring home a piece of work and a delivery from the shop was close to his route he would put Mr. Strom's packages in with the girls and make deliveries of sausages and chops.  Nel's was just that kind of person.  Always looking for an opportunity to make a difference in his bottom line. He did for other people because they in turn would do for him, he did for other people because it was right. Nels had a huge responsibility to his family, he had promises to keep.  Eight sisters and brothers all younger than himself was a tremendous burden, Millie was his greatest help.  She had shouldered his burdens with him.  They argued and fought like any brother and sister, but Millie was different than him. Millie was a Saint.

     Millie turned fourteen when then set sail from Stockholm and she had many good domestic skills, like Nels however, she was the eldest girl with seven siblings below her, only youngest three were girls.  She was surrounded by men her mother would remind her. The problem became Mar always producing another baby.  Millie was two when Oskar was born, she didn't remember anytime that he just wasn't there, she and Oskar were very close.  Millie could vaguely remember Dil's birth.  Her parents were so proud, so happy, three sons and a daughter.  Her Mar took to calling her," little helper", help she did.  Mar had Wilhelm thirteen months after Dil and when Millie turned seven on her name day Mar gave her a special gift another brother.  Millie was allowed to name the baby and she would call him Peter.  When asked why she wanted Peter ," she stated,"That was the name of the Apostle upon whom Christ built his church."  Nels could still remember how proud Millie was of her answer and how he had gagged behind his hand. All  Millie could see was the new born doll what Nels could see was that Mar was not recovering from the birth of her latest son.

     At seven Millie became an adult.  The Bjorklunds had full time help at the farm for household  and field work.  This had started soon after Far far had married.  Far Mar was not good at house chores.  She was soft spoken and kind, helpful in her own way, but she was just no good at, cooking or laundry, skimming the milk, butchering, making cheese.  Any skill that a good farm wife had was just beyond her.  Household duties fell to Mar and two maids, one for taking care of the dairy and cooking the other for the laundry and house. With fourteen people including help to feed, three of them small children Mar and Millie had much to do. Millie was taught at home to read and write, her Far Mar was a remarkably talented teacher.  She also went to Bible School two times a week and on the Sabbath.  Bible classes were taught by what ever Pastor was appointed to the local village church.  Her education was far better than what she would have obtained at the village school where her brothers were sent. She yearned to go to school like them and to get away, by the time her parents made the decision to leave for America she would have two little sisters. Violet and Ruth  came two years after Peter and with each baby Mar became weaker.

     Millie's home education would become a great asset to the Bjorklund children.  It was running from her lessons, to assist in the kitchen, or to chase a toddler, then back to the piano, only to be interrupted by her Mar for some domestic task, who would then apologize and send her back to Mar Mar and her books that fortified Millie for what lay ahead.  Although her schedule was always fractured , she learned much, much more than any local school house could have taught her.  She was quick to a task, but always completely focused once she got to her work.  She could be interrupted and return, to something as if uninterrupted.  It was a coping skill, one never knew what Dil, Wilhelm and Peter were going to be up to next.  They drove the maids to distraction, and Mar's legs were often too swollen to chase them down.  Millie had to be on her toes and have one ear on her brothers at all times.


Sorry this is so late, I was side tracked by by customers. One has to make a living.

Have a great and productive day.




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