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!



  1. That Indian movie about dance you can't pronounce = "Aaja Nachle", starring mega-star Madhuri Dixit in her comeback role.