Borghild Bergstedt Paulsen
Mor's House with Porch Swing
Swing is visible in left window
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I must tell about our old porch swing. It is over 40 years old. Everybody has loved that swing. There has been more romance going on within the family on that swing than at any other place. There were Harold and Helen courting on the swing, Herman and Martha, Berg and Art, Tudie and Kaare, and I don't know who else. All of these romances have resulted in happy marriages. We still love that old swing.
Carol says that she thinks I operate by faith, and I guess I do. I remember about seven years ago, I was washing on a Monday morning. It was about the 6th of May, and we had just had a big snow storm. I thought I would hang out the wash anyway -- which I did. Then I remembered one thing that I should have starched but hadn't. I thought, "Well, maybe I'll run down and starch it." The snow that I had under my shoes caused me to slip on the landing at the top of the basement stairs, and I fell to the bottom of the stairs, hitting my tail bone on each step on the way down. When I got down there, I was in such terrible pain that all I could do was scream. I called Mor (my mother) as if I were a child. I lay there screaming, although I knew no one would hear me. I had to let it out of me or I felt I would have died, the pain was so bad. Finally, I was able to crawl into the downstairs bed, but the pain was still so terrific that I couldn't bear to remain there. So I thought, I would crawl upstairs and get to the phone to get help, which I did. I called Hildeborg twice but her line was busy. When I couldn't get her, I thought I would have to walk over to her house. As I went through the living room I could see my face in the mirror. My face and even my eyes appeared to be green. I had no idea how terrible I looked till I saw myself in the mirror. When Hildeborg saw me, she thought I had had a heart attack. She lay me down on the sofa and ran for a pain pill she had. I took that and felt a little better and wanted to go home to my own bed. My whole body was sore for months. I couldn't get out of the bathtub in the usual way. I had to first turn around on my knees in order to raise myself up. One day I asked Mrs. Garrett, "How on the earth did you get over that rheumatism that you had?" She told me that the doctor said there was only one thing to do and that was to use aspirin for the pain and then take hot baths morning and night and stay in the tub at least half an hour with the water as hot as you could possibly stand it and keep adding more hot water as needed. I thought if it helped her it should help me too. I stayed in the tub as long as two hours at a time. It wasn't but a week or so until all my pain was gone, and eventually I became perfectly all right. I haven't felt any pain in my back since. I didn't even go to a doctor.
On the 26th of October 1967, we were up in Ogden to visit Kristine. Berg had one of the neighbors with her, and we were outside looking at the garden. Berg called to Kristine that she had a fire on her place (which turned out to be a trash fire in the neighbor's yard). We walked over to see, and I stumbled in a large gopher hole and my knees went right in and became twisted. It was terrible, but I managed to get to the car, and when I got home I could hardly step on it. I again used hot baths and soon could walk to the ward with a cane. That too is perfect now. It took quite awhile, about a year. I always felt that time will heal anything, and it looks like it does. A few days before I twisted my knee, I had promised Bonnie I would come and stay with her children while they went back east to get a new car. I was wondering if I could manage and I thought, "Well, I will just do what I can and let the rest go. Just so I'm there with them. We managed and got along all right.
Once when Abel was just a little boy, he was out sleigh riding behind the ward meeting house. He had such speed that he couldn't turn and ran right up against a snow bank. He put out his hands to stop and broke his wrist. I thought it was just a sprain but wrapped it up with a splint which I cut from the lid of a cigar box. A few days later he injured it again, and I took him to the doctor who had it x-rayed and discovered that his wrist was broken. When the doctor saw the wrapping job I had done, he said it was set so well he didn't want to undo it. He just left it the way I'd wrapped it and the hand healed right up.
As a family we used to go up to Brighton and Alta to ski ... mostly Alta. In Alta there was an abandoned CC Camp building in the upper end which we used to hike up to. There were no lifts. We had to do it on our own power. We used seal skin and canvas covers under our skis to climb up there. I'd bring with me a good stew and all kinds of food. We heated it up on the camp stove and had a nice supper. This was as a family and some cousins. Then one of the group would drive the car down to the bottom of the canyon and the rest would ski all the way down. The one that took the car down would sit and wait for us. The kids thoroughly enjoyed it, as well as the adults.
Tudi, Kristine, Carl, Abel, Finn, Berg, Mor
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Another thing we frequently did was to drive up to Park City. The service station attendant would drive us up the mountain to the Silver King mine. Then he would take the car back to the highway. We hiked up to the summit of the mountain where the Treasure Mountain restaurant is now and then skied all the way down to the highway. One time in 1939, we were skiing down the mountain. My nephew, Harold, came down first. He fell and made a big bath tub in the snow. I was following behind him and went right into it and broke my angle. At the time I didn't know it was broken. I have had so many sprained ankles that it didn't seem to worry me. It hurt so terribly that I decided the romances I had read about where the girl sprained her ankle and couldn't walk and the fellow had to pick her up and carry her home weren't the baloney I had thought them to be. Now I realized that it could hurt that bad. I had to walk down about a mile by myself. I didn't want the others to stop. I told them I could manage to the Silver King Mine and for them to go down to Park City. Then they could come and pick me up. But, I had a hard time before I got there. I could only stand on one ski. The other one I couldn't touch to the snow because of the pain, and I had to work my way down (and I was all alone). It was snowing and getting dusk and very quiet up there. I had the feeling of wondering what was going to come next, being alone in the mountains in this situation. But I got down and home. I didn't call the doctor for several day because I thought it was just a sprain. But it didn't get better and in fact got worse. I called the doctor, and he said it was broken. He had us have it x-rayed, and then he came to our home with his nurse and set it (using the kitchen table). It cost me $15.00 for the doctor and $6.00 for the X-ray. The ankle has been better than it ever was. I have never sprained it since then and I had sprained it several times before.
Another trip that we really enjoyed was one I took with Harold and Helen from Park City to Brighton. We skied over the mountain to Brighton where we had a room reserved on the 3rd story of the old Brighton Hotel (before it burned down). The snow was 15 feet on the level. It was right up by the window where we slept. We arrived there in the evening. It was moonlight and beautiful, so we decided to go out and do a little skiing before we went to bed. Coming down the hill to the flat, we happened to cross the creek on a bridge without even realizing the creek was there. If we hadn't crossed on that bridge we would have fallen down in the creek with our skis on and certainly been injured. We enjoyed skiing the whole next day. We skied right over the tops of the cabins because the snow was so deep that year.
I should tell something about Bestamor (my mother-in-law). When Far's mother came to America in 1909, she was 65 years old. She had the whole family with her. Far's father had died before the turn of the century. Bestamor had lived in Norway up to this time, but she seemed to feel right at home here. She never learned to speak English. I remember they told us about one of the first days they were here. She had taken Anna's little boys for a walk and got lost. She didn't know her way home and neither did the boys. Someone recognized she was lost and took her in. Finally, they learned from one of the boys that her son was named Paul. So they called Paul Paulsen on the telephone, and he came and got her and brought her home. It didn't seem to bother her. She said that she knew she would get home.
The first time I met Bestamor was one Sunday before we were married when Abel took me out to his sister's home. She lived with her daughter, Anna, and her husband, Edwin Christiansen, on the west side. They called the place Brighton. Edwin was in the Bishopric out there. After I had visited with them, Abel asked them what they thought of me. They said they thought I was all right, except maybe a little too sporty. My skirt only came to the top of my shoe. They thought my skirt was a little short. This made me too sporty.
When we got married, Bestamor was there for the wedding dinner after our ceremony in the Temple. She stayed with us for a few days. I was wondering what I could serve her. She didn't have a tooth in her head. I had gone to the store and bought some beef liver, and I cooked that for her. When she saw it she said she didn't care for liver. I said I didn't know what to serve her, because she didn't have any teeth. She said, "I can eat anything - steaks, chops, anything that you have." And she did. As long as she lived, she ate everything, and without any teeth. When she first came here they took her to a dentist and she got new teeth. They had a picture taken while she had them on, and that was the only time she wore them. A few years later, Paul went to the dentist. The dentist said to Paul, "You know, your mother was really a miracle at her age to come and get teeth and never have to come back for any adjustment. They just fit so perfectly." Paul said, "Well, I'll tell you why. She never had them in except long enough to have a picture taken of her. That's why she never came back." Of course, we all got a kick out of that. But she always kept her teeth with her. Up in Idaho one time, she was staying with Ingrid and Simon. She didn't even have a suitcase, just some of her things in a bundle. This was on the floor in the closet, and the kids started to play hide and seek. They sat on the bundle and broke her teeth. When she found this out she said, "If they hadn't been such beautiful and good teeth, it wouldn't be so bad." Of course none of the rest of us were worried a bit because we knew she never wore them. We really got a kick out of that.
Bestamor was one who never thought of herself. She always thought of the other person. She was always willing to do what she could to help out where she was needed. She stayed with Anna most of the time. Anna had the most children and really needed her. Ingrid was one who could get anything done. Anna was a little slower. Bestamor was one who wasn't afraid of anything. Harold took her for a ride in the sleigh one time up in Idaho. He had two horses hooked up to the sleigh. During the ride, the horses got scared and started to run. He was so little he couldn't hold them back. When they passed the house, the horses went right on down the hill. They finally stopped in the corral of the neighbor farm, where they ran right up against a big snow bank and stopped. We ran after them and when we got there said to her, "We'll bet you have been scared out of your wits." She said, "No, I knew that when they ran long enough they would stop."
One of Anna's boys, Trygve (Rex), seemed to be her favorite. At least that's the way we all felt. She would do anything for him. He bought a little hot-rod car of some kind. All he had was a plank across the car for a seat, and she drove from Salt Lake to Springfield, Idaho, sitting on this plank. She was in her late 70's. She was just that kind of a woman. Although she looked like an old woman, she had very good coloring and beautiful hair. She was a good looking woman. You could tell that she was old. Not having any teeth didn't help either.
She liked company and enjoyed being with young people. At our home she really enjoyed it because we always had lots of company. My sisters, who were single, came with their boyfriends, and then she was really in her glory. She was romantic and read love-stories until the end of her life. She had an excellent memory. She could remember many things that happened to her as a child. Her father, Abel Ellingsen, had a sail ship in which he hauled freight from the north down the southern part of Norway to Bergen. Then he returned with other cargo back to Lofsten. He would come home and tell about the theater and plays he had seen in Bergen. Bestamor could retell those plays she had heard as a child as though she had been there herself. She did have a great memory.
When she stayed with us in her later years, we asked her if she would like to go down to the Old-Folks party in Liberty Park. She looked surprised and asked us why she would want to go down there and be with those old folks. She liked to be with the young people.
She was remarkable in so many ways. When she was 85 years old, she slipped and broke her hip while living at Anna's home. We sent for Dr. Christopherson. He said she would need a specialist to check her hip. They put her on the dining room table and set her hip. Then they put her in a cast from her arm pits down to her ankles, without even an anesthetic. I guess it hurt pretty bad. All the time they were putting it on, she was scolding them in Norwegian. She said, very sarcastically, "Now they always tell me these doctors have hands that can handle you so gently. I can feel they're gentle. They certainly are." Dr. Christopherson could understand Norwegian and he got a kick out of it. He said he would have given anything if he could have had her scolding on a record. He said he wouldn't have to practice any more, because he could have retired on the income from the records. She had to have the cast on for three months, but it broke all to pieces a week or two before the three months were up. The day she got the cast off, we brought her home to my place. I put my hands on her back to support her, and it wasn't too long until she was able to walk again. She lived seven years after that. When she went outside she liked a cane, but in the house she managed fine without it.
One night Berg had a party. We thought because Bestamor didn't understand English that we would put her to bed early. We did get away with it, but we felt kind of sneaky about it, because we knew how much she would have enjoyed it. That was the only time we tried to not include her.
Bestamor stayed with us the last two years of her life. Finally, it got so that I was attending to her about seven times a night when she called for me. Abel finally said that maybe someone else should take her for a little while to give me a rest. So we asked Paul and Martha, who took her for six weeks. We decided we would take her six weeks each. While she was there, she fell and broke her arm. Paul set it and when the doctor saw it he thought it was a pretty good job, a little crooked but would do for her age.
At conference time, Martha wanted to be free for a few days so she took her down to Anna's house. They gave her a bath one evening, and towards morning she was gone. She died at Anna's, which she wanted to do. When Thelma called us and told us what had happened, she said she saw a beautiful bird flying up in the air, and she had an impression that Bestamor was doing the same thing, flying up to her next home. She was 92 at the time of her death.
When I was sixteen, I read a book called Trouble Woman. It was about a woman that went through a great deal of difficulty. Each time she had difficulty, she reasoned to herself that she would get over it and that it wasn't really very bad. It was unbelievable that she was able to feel that her troubles were only minor. Finally, her son was involved in a murder and was to be executed. That was the first time she felt like she had any real trouble. After all the other adversities, no matter how hard they were, she would say, "That's no trouble." Reading that book inspired me to be optimistic about life and difficulties. I think it was the first book I read when I came to America. If I ever thought I had any trouble, I always reflected on the Trouble Woman and how she reacted to her problems.
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