Borghild Bergstedt Paulsen
This is a wonderful Church with opportunity for everyone to serve. Very few churches give their members these opportunities. When I first joined the church in Norway, they put me in as secretary of the Sunday School and the Relief Society. I was only 15 years old at the time, and there was nothing I enjoyed more than Relief Society. Then I came to America. In Chicago I didn't have an assignment in the Church, and I only attended Sacrament meetings. The same was true when I first came to Salt Lake, because I lived in a home and worked from early morning until night.
After I was married, I was first counselor in the Relief Society in Springfield, Idaho, and I was also a visiting teacher. In Lava Side, Idaho, I was a counselor in the Primary. In Salt Lake City, a few days before Carl was born in 1925, I was asked to be a visiting teacher. I told them l would like to wait a little while, and when they came around a month later and saw my new baby, they said they could understand why I had declined the calling a month before. I then got that job, and I've had it continually ever since, along with other assignments. I was the work director in the Relief Society of Edgehill Ward for many years.
All during the-war we had to get from 20 to 50 women each week to go down to work at Welfare Square. It was my job to get them down there. Many of the women worked outside the home at regular jobs, and yet we were able to meet our quota (almost 100% every week) at Welfare Square. We sewed and canned fruits and vegetables. I remember one incident particularly. The Bishopric decided that we should let the Mutual and the other organizations have a turn at Welfare Square and not just call on the Relief Society. The Primary President took the assignment for our ward quota on a particular day. She assured me that all the assignments had been accepted. In the morning of the day they were supposed to go, I thought that perhaps one of these women or their children could have taken sick in the night. So I called the President to see if they needed someone to fill in. I asked her if they had the amount required, and she said, "Oh, we're not going." I said, "You must be kidding." She said, "Oh, no, we decided that we would go another time because no one can go this time." I told her that we couldn't do that, when we had an assignment we had to be there. I had to try to get someone else at the last minute. I called Mrs. Lowder, and she said she was on her third load of washing and the rest would have to wait. But, she said she also had bread to bake, but that she would take it over to her neighbor, Mr. Lyon, to bake it for her. Then I called several others. No matter what they had to do, they said, "Yes, they would drop everything and go. I called Sister Walton. I didn't get to explain anything before she said, "Wait a minute." When she came back to the phone, she said, "I just had to tell the people who I was going to ride down to Arizona to visit my daughter to go on without me, and I had to get my suitcase from the car. They were going to give me a free ride down there, but when I heard your voice I knew you needed me, and I told them I couldn't go this time but hoped there would be another opportunity." We had only about one-half the number that we should have had. Of all the times we went down there, that was the only time that the supervisor came and told us they had never seen so much accomplished in so short a time as we had done that day. So the blessings were there you see. We accomplished more than if we had been the regular group that day. After the war, they started having some of those individuals who were receiving the help, fill the assignments. We had fewer assignments and smaller quotas.
I was on the enlistment committee to get members in the Relief Society so we could be 100,000 strong by the Centennial in 1942. The Bishop asked me to get the statistics of every family in the ward. At that time we had 2300 members, purportedly the biggest ward in the Church. I went to every home and filled out a card on every family in the ward.
I was the second counselor to Bessie Westbrook in the Relief Society in the South Edgehill Ward for three years. Right now I'm the Relief Society Magazine Representative, and I've had that assignment for about 16 years. I really enjoy that job. I've been quite fortunate in having 100 percent subscriptions for most of these years. Now that the Relief Society magazine is being discontinued, I will be released from the assignment. I prepared the luncheons monthly for the Relief Society work-day for many years (I did it all alone). I planned and prepared the luncheon and had help to serve it in the ward. Just recently I was asked again to be in charge of the monthly luncheons, but now I am to assign five women on the committee each month to plan and prepare the luncheon. So this should be a good deal easier.
I'm a person that really likes to go places and do things and see things. Once, I remember we had been over to Hildeborg's when she lived on Redondo Avenue. It was either Hildeborg's or Sigurd's birthday. Helen and Harold were there. We had a very enjoyable time. The next morning, being Monday, I decided to do my washing. I think I was on my third or fourth wash when the phone rang. It was Harold Christiansen. "How about taking a trip to California'' He hadn't said anything about it the night before. I don't think he knew it himself. I said, Wonderful." He said, "Can you be ready about 12 o'clock?" I Said, "Oh no! I'm washing. I can't be ready by twelve." He said, "I probably can't be ready either. We just now decided." I asked him, "Why are you going?" He said, "I should write to my sister, Signe, but it's easier to just drive down and, I thought you'd like to go with us. We'll take mother and Mrs. Watts and drive down." I told them I'd be ready as soon as I could. I would hang up the washing and then I could go. The children were in school. This must have been about 1941 or 1942. Kristine was about 14. I ran over to Hildeborg's house and asked her what she thought about it. She said, "Go on. That's the only way to do it. I've got a suitcase you can take if you need it." I told her that it was no use preparing meals ahead for the children, that they take what they want and when I get home everything I fix is still in the ice box. At that time, we only had an ice box. So, I got ready and wrote a note telling them I had gone to California and for them to take good care of themselves. At 2:45 we drove through Sugar House on our way to California. The kids came home and found the note telling that I had gone to California. We were down there a week and really had a good time.
There was the time when Kristine was home from New York on vacation. It was a Monday morning. Abel and Carl had gone to work on Finn's house. Kristine was planning to leave for New York the next Saturday on the plane. I was going to get all her clothes ready during the week for her to take. The rain started to pour down. About 10 o'clock the boys came home because they couldn't work. They said, "Let's pack and drive Kristine back to New York." They wanted to go because that summer they had met two girls (twins) who had been out to Salt Lake and now were back in New York rooming with Kristine -- Glendora and Gloria Schwantes. They had taken these girls out when they were here and really liked them. So I got busy packing Kristine's clothes, whether they were soiled or not. I figured that anything that had to be done to her clothes could be done by hand back there. There would be plenty of time for that when we got there. Far, who had retired in 1950, had to go up town and take care of some business. The boys did too. When they came back everything was packed, and we were on our way. This was the 11th of September, 1950. At 2:15 p.m. we were driving through Parley's Canyon. On our way to New York, we drove by way of Canada to Niagara Falls. I had a big beautiful plant that Kristine wanted so badly for her apartment. I said, "Let's take it with us." When we came to the Custom's office in Canada, the Official asked us whether we had any plants or fruits, and we said that we didn't have any fruit but that we did have a plant. When he saw the plant he said, "Well, you just as well leave it with me because they won't let you take it into the United States." Of course, when we arrived back into the United States, they didn't ask us anything, and we wouldn't have had to leave it, but I hope the Custom officer enjoyed it anyway.
When we got on the freeway in New York, the traffic was so great compared to what we were used too that Abel said, "They can talk about a rat race, but if this isn't a rat race then I don't know what is." We arrived at Kristine's apartment and stayed for over a week. We had stopped overnight at La Grange with my sister Magnhild. When we got there Far said, "I'm not going any farther, I'm staying here." I said, '"Well, if you want to stay here, fine. I'll go with the boys to New York and you stay here until I get back." When he heard that, he decided to go along. He didn't want to stay there all alone and lose out on all the romance that he expected between the girls and the boys. So he went. I know that he has never enjoyed anything more that he did being with those girls and going to all the places we went. We really had a wonderful time. The day we came back, Berg invited us down for dinner. When we got in, Abel said, "You're looking at the two happiest rejected lovers that you will ever put your eyes on." So I guess they hadn't taken it too seriously anyway. They were both still hoping, I think. However, nothing ever developed.
Another trip I took in the fall of 1953 was when Winn Bowers was going back to New York. She was going to take a U-Haul trailer full of furniture. She and Kristine were going to set up housekeeping together. Kristine was teaching at Lexington School for the deaf. Winn invited Far and me to go with her. Her parents didn't want her to go alone. Far said no, he wasn't going to go. He said it was just too risky, driving clear back there with a U-Haul. I said, "All right, I'll go alone. I guess you will be all right while I'm away." Every day while I was away, when anyone called or visited, he expected the worst. He was sure we were both going to be killed, but we made it wonderfully well all the way across the country. Winn is a marvelous driver, and she timed it so we would get to the apartment in New York when there was no heavy traffic. Everything was quiet. It was Sunday morning, and we just parked the trailer outside the apartment and were able to get everything directly into the apartment. Right after, came a friend Julie from Cleveland who moved in with them too.
Julie was from a home which was worth maybe eight or 10 million dollars, because they had a whole block right in the middle of Cleveland. It was a big mansion with servants for everything. I helped clean the girl's New York apartment and get them settled. My shoes hurt me. I hadn't taken any shoes with low heels with me, so I went around with some plastic bread wrappers tied around my feet with old rags. I had no idea of the kind of home Julie came from. She was just as nice and common as any of them. It wasn't until later that I found out about the elegant home she came from. I thought I should maybe be embarrassed by it, but I couldn't help but laugh when I thought of it ... how I had gone around there cleaning with my bread wrapper slippers. They never said any thing. They were all busy at school. I stayed at least two or three weeks and had a wonderful time.
We went down to Greenwich Village one night to the theater. The play was about a girls' school and how the girls managed to get in touch with their boyfriends and be with them on the sly, etc. It was funny and very entertaining. It was in a very small theater. We came about three minutes before curtain time, and they had sold our reserved tickets. They only had three seats left on the first row. In this small theater we could touch the man in the orchestra that was playing right in front of us. There was a woman who was directing the play, and playing the piano, and reading a novel, all at the same time. During the intermission she took the novel with her and dropped down into the basement of the theater. Her name was Natalie. It struck me so funny the way she could direct, play the piano, and read all at the same time that I got the giggles and started to laugh. I couldn't quit, and I laughed all night. Every one looked at me, and I think they were more interested in me than the play. When it was over we were the last to get out, and one of the actors on stage said, "I wonder if she got out?" And someone said, "No, there she is. She is still there." So evidently the actors had been as interested as anybody else in my uncontrolled laughter. They apparently thought I was laughing at the play, but it was at Natalie at the piano. When we were outside the theater, we saw Natalie. To look at her, anyone would have thought she was a woman that had just come from scrubbing offices, the way she was dressed and everything. She was a good looking woman, I suppose about 45 or so, but just ordinary in appearance. She was so talented and could do all these things at once, and everything went so smoothly. That's one of the things I don't suppose any of us will ever forget, the night I couldn't quit laughing in the theater. I'm glad we got those particular seats because we were right in the front where we could witness unobstructed this unusual sight.
In 1956 we took a trip to Norway, Far and I. We went on the ocean liner Oslofjord. There we visited from one end of the country to the other, as well as relatives in Sweden where my mother and father came from. We visited the home where my father was born. It was up on a plateau above the valley. My father lived there until he was 19 years old, when he came to Norway. The city of Arendal, where I lived, had burned down to a great extent. It was decided to build it up again, and many young Swedish fellows decided to go over to get work in the saw mills. My father was one of them. Many of them stayed and lived there the rest of their lives. When my father left Sweden, he planted an apple tree just outside their home. When I visited there, part of that apple tree was still living. It was almost 90 years since he had planted it. At the time when my father lived there, there were about 225 people living on this mountain plateau. When we visited, no one was living there any longer. Some of the homes had gone into ruin or had been moved down in the valley. His home was all gone. We saw some of the bricks left from the oven of the home, but that was about all. There was a road up from the valley, but it was so far away from the ocean that the people ordinarily climbed the steep trail from the ocean with most of their provisions, which were brought in by boat. You just wouldn't believe the climb they had up to the top of the plateau where they lived. My father had told us about the big sacks of flour they had carried on their backs up this trail because it was so much shorter from the water front. We visited the graves of my forefathers there and met cousins we had never seen before. We certainly enjoyed our visit to Sweden.
In Norway, we traveled clear up north where Far came from, and for the first time, I saw the midnight sun, which is something that you just can't describe, the feeling when you see the sun at midnight just at the horizon. It was something special to see, because many people travel there year after year, and it just happens that they don't see it because of cloudy weather. We had a wonderful time for six months. Everyone was so hospitable and nice, especially up north they were just so happy to see us and made us feel so welcome. The country is so beautiful you just can't imagine it. Far and I had been talking about taking a little trip down to Switzerland and Germany, but Far said, "Why on earth should we go down with those foreigners when we can be here with friends and relatives. So we spent nearly all our time in Norway and about a week in Sweden, and we just got over to Denmark for a few hours on our way home.
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